Monday, June 23, 2014

"He's been there. He knows what you're going through" (June 23)

Transfers have come and gone and I'm staying right where I'm at! By the next transfer, supposing I leave the area, I can rid myself of the nickname "greenie." Yes!

This week has been a pretty good one! Although, all of our investigators flaked on our appointments...but, oh well!

I started reading The Book of Mormon again. I made it through 1 Nephi in two days so that was a new record for me! Haha!

We saw a lot of people this week! A quick update on what's been going on:

*Jena's baptism is in two and a half weeks! She's getting SO excited for that!
*We met a less active woman who told us the prophet Elijah is upset with the Priesthood and there are going to be major changes in the church when Elijah goes to the scientific community in July or November.....yep.
*We've been teaching MaryAnn the lessons. She was baptized into inactivity. The lessons are going rather well, and we just taught her the Plan of Salvation using the cutouts we made. It helped her and us too so we could keep everything in order and the lesson on track!
*We met an older, less-active couple. Mary has gone through a TON of trials dealing with family deaths and feels that God is mad at her. While Sister Seaich chatted with Mary's husband, I stayed at the doorway with Mary and tried to give her some words of comfort. I don't remember exactly what was said, but she started crying and said, "You sound just like my brother. That's exactly what he would have said." It was a really neat experience. I know it was the spirit working through me to provide Mary some comfort. She invited us back to talk some more, without us even asking!
*The Brickey's took us to Costa Vida for dinner on Friday night. I figured that was worth mentioning. I've never been to Café Rio, but everyone compares CV to that. It's preeetty good.

Like I said, it's been a pretty great week. However, it's been a very HOT week. Aside from the first three days which didn't reach above 77, it's been in the 90s and I'm DYING. We found the Perren's sprinklers were on when we got home and we walked over to their yard and just stood and got sopping wet. It was divine. 
Still a kid!!
 I found a great scripture during personal study about the Savior and His love for us. 1 Nephi 21:14-16

"But, behold, Zion hath said: The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me--but he will show that he hath not. For can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee, O house of Israel. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me."
He has an infinite reminder of what He's done for each of us through the Atonement. Never think that Christ has forgotten you. He loves you. He knows you personally. When you're in your own Gethsemane, remember, He's been there. He knows what you're going through--the pains, the discomforts, the imperfections, the afflictions---everything. He will never forget you. That's my challenge to each of you this week: Build a stronger relationship with your Savior and rely on the Atonement--it's there for all that will use it.

I love you all, and I miss you! The Lord loves you!
Sister Tyler

Transfer #3 (June 16)

Why hello my loves! This is the last week of transfer number THREE! I've been in Caldwell for four months. Crazy. This has been the fastest transfer, I swear. I'm anticipating the call from President on Saturday could be ANYTHING. The possibilities are endless, really. I could stay, but I could also go. You'll know next week!
Looking back on these past six weeks, a lot has happened, but at the same time, it seems like nothing happened.
Sadly, we have no progressing investigators or less-actives for that matter. However, Sister Seaich and I are still continuing in our efforts to sow in this area, even if we don't get a chance to reap. I've often thought about what we're doing wrong. Honestly, Sister Seaich and I have worked really hard to invite others to come unto Christ, just as our purpose states. We've done a great job fulfilling our purpose, but even though we've filled our part of the bargain, it's not hurting us if investigators and less actives don't show up to church or keep their commitments. It's way too easy to get discouraged when the area seems to be suffering, but in all reality, it's not suffering at all. We're doing everything we possibly can to find people and teach them. It all comes back to agency. My companion and I teach people, not lessons. We make sure they understand what we're teaching, that they can feel the spirit testify of truth, and we extend commitments and follow-up. It's up to them and their use of agency to keep those commitments.
What I do need to be better about is doing a thorough follow-up rather than just brushing the "Oh no, I was too busy to read [insert reading assignment here]" off the shoulder. So that's my personal goal this week: to really emphasize the reason for and importance of the commitments we extend. Maybe then the people in our area will begin to understand the why of church.
All in all, it wasn't a bad week at all. In fact, we had some pretty awesome moments!
We taught a lady named Rachel over at a 5th ward family's home. It was a pretty great lesson. We started off asking inspired questions. After Rachel had said they aren't attending a church, I immediately asked, "Why?" Where'd that even come from? She thought about it for a minute. Here she was, a religious woman, and she hadn't really thought about why she hasn't chosen a church. Her response was fabulous. She said, "I haven't found a church that is fit for my family." From that point, we were able to make a perfect transition into the first lesson. The second point is: The Gospel Blesses Families. She really liked that. Rachel is a fireball. She has a LOT of questions. She asked what members of the church think about other religions. Sister Angell shared the 11th Article of Faith with her: "We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may." Then she explained that we do not preach about other religions from our pulpit. We respect all other faiths. Rachel was content about that. It was a really great lesson. We gave her a Book of Mormon and invited her to read the introduction and testimonies found in the first few pages. She accepted. Hopefully she'll follow through with those commitments!
We met a man while out contacting members to find less-actives, and this man said, "I don't go to church anymore. I've done my time. I'm good." Nooooooo! Does "Endure to the End" not mean anything to this man? He was super standoffish so we didn't get a chance to share anything with him. Oh well.
We finally met a less active man in the ward, Tom. He is angry at the church, meaning the people of the church. When his wife died, people said, "God took her for a reason." That just upset him even more. Some things are just left better left unsaid. When I thought more about it, I decided that God doesn't "take" people. He just lets death happen. I wanted so badly to tell him that I wasn't there to tell him what those people said, but I do know that through Christ, he can find comfort and closure. We really want to help him work towards the goal of being sealed to his wife in the temple. I think that'd be amazing. We aren't going to give up. He may have a lot of issues with people, but he so desperately needs the blessings the gospel can bring to him and his life.
It was really was a great week. We met a lot of people we can help. 
Hopefully there will be one who will choose to benefit from the spirit we bring! 
I want to end my email with a quote that Sister McCleve shared in Gospel Principles yesterday: 
"When obedience ceases to be airritant and becomes our quest, in that moment God will endow us with power." 
Ezra Taft Benson
I love you all so much! Happy belated Fathers Day to all the fathers out there! Y'all are great! Have a fantastic week everybody! 
Sister Tyler

It's me again! (June 9)

Hello my loves!
Another week in the mission field: DONE! It's P-day! Yay! 
This week wasn't as crazy awesome as last week, but really, any week in the mission field is just awesome when you're on the Lord's errand!
Sister Seaich and I went on day exchanges with our sister training leaders. I went with Sister Bailey to 12th ward. That was kind of tedious, but fun nonetheless. We walked. A lot. It was super hot and humid for once. Man. That, most definitely, wasn't the fun part!
Remember that llama from my first week in Caldwell? So, we decided to name him Cuzco. It's only appropriate.

We found a dead fish on the side of the road. I guess when you're in Idaho and you see roadkill, anything goes!

So, I don't think I'm meant to rude a bike. Sister Seaich and I were riding down our favorite hill, and I ran over something and my tire literally blew. It wasn't a goat head. It was a flipping NAIL. A huge one, too. Argh. It was a struggle....and I'm too broke to buy a new tube. Man. Missionary life, y'all. The struggle is so real.


But no, it's been a good week. We didn't get to have a lesson with the Nelsons this week because Courtney was sick, but we stopped by earlier in the week and she loved church, which is great! Her only hold up is wearing a dress.....that's pretty sad, but it's something we can help her get over.
We got in with the Bradshaws! We've been really good at catching him at home now. We talked to him and his wife. It's interesting to me that they both have different religious views. He believes in a higher power, and she believes in God. It was really nice. They're a part member maybe we can, at least, plant a seed there!
We found a new investigator for the YSA this week! His name is David. He lives at a halfway house, believes in Greek mythology, and his doctor apparently prescribed smoking. He has the desire to learn and he wants to be baptized. It's going to be a tough run with him, but everyone needs the gospel. I often have to remind myself that not everyone grew up with a gospel foundation like me. With that said, it may be an interesting experience, but a learning experience at that!
Sister Seaich and I spoke in YSA sacrament meeting yesterday and told our conversion stories. Speaking for 20 minutes is a WHOLE lot easier than I thought it'd be. I left my poor companion with ten minutes to speak. Whoops. It was nice. We got a lot of compliments on our talks. Hopefully we were able to touch at least one person in the congregation.
Like I said, this week wasn't as eventful as last week, BUT it was good! 
I love you all and I miss you a TON! 
Have a good week everyone!
Sister Tyler

We've Been Waiting For You! (June 2)

Well hello! This is the week of month number FOUR! I'm still a baby buuuuuut I'm getting older! A LOT has happened here in Caldwell this past week. The Lord's hand has most definitely been evident in our work these past seven days. Let's get down to the nitty and gritty. The context isn't grammatically correct, but I just felt like saying that. So. What's something funny that happened this week? Oh my goodness. So. Much.

Oh, poor guy. So, we were driving on the boulevard, and this kid is on his bike riding on the sidewalk, and let's just say....don't overdose on crack. It kills. That night, we were telling Bishop Barclay about it, and he told us this story about the day he was driving down Midland towards Target and saw a family riding their bikes. The dad and the son were on one of those tandem-like bikes so the kid can help pedal but it's not a full-on tandem. Anyways, the dad's pants weren't pull up nearly enough, and the kid had no choice but to sit behind his dad as they biked down the road. Poor child. I have never seen Bishop laugh so hard. We were all crying. Yes, this is usually how our correlation meetings start out. Haha!

This week comprised of listening to a training from our district leader who's from the Dominican Republic and can't speak English that well, contacting, tracting, and more contacting! It was a fabulous week! Really though, no sarcasm whatsoever!

So, we decided to contact all the members that live in Faith Landing and Pamela's Loop so we can see who still lives there and who's moved. The first day was very tedious. Everyone who answered their door was not who we were looking for, or nobody answered at all. Not to mention, it was in the nineties this week....I know that's really nothing to complain about....but when you're in a skirt all day.....haha. So, Tuesday, nothing really happened. I don't know about Sister Seaich, but I was getting pretty discouraged--however, I refused to throw in the towel. Wednesday, we continued our efforts to contact those we haven't seen yet, or those who didn't answer their doors the day before. We were in Faith Landing for about two hours and in those two hours, we got a door slammed in our faces, we met a man with a tear drop tattoo, and nothing came from any of that. We got to the last street, Enoch Drive, yes. Enoch, basically the eternal city, or the promised land. So naturally, trying to keep my attitude positive, I start saying, "We're on Enoch. Enoch and his city was carried into Heaven. So, obviously, this is it. We're going to find a golden investigator on Enoch."

We knocked two doors. Again, no luck. We got to the very last door for the entire complex, and a lady answered. We asked her if it was the Nelson residence and she nodded, rather hesitantly. Her body language made my thoughts immediately go, "Crap. Another day. Nada." But then she explained that her husband was less-active and she wasn't a member, and then she invited us into her home. The first words she uttered were, "We've been waiting for you."

Now, this is where my eyes got wide, and I wanted to look up and say, "What?" We had a nice discussion with Courtney. We learned that she has been reading The Book of Mormon every night, and she's been waiting for missionaries for about six months, but no one told anyone. Her son, Daniel, from another marriage who is living with them, is ten and he wants to be baptized. There's no doubt in my mind that Sister Seaich and I were inspired to contact in Faith Landing. Although tedious, and uneventful, we endured to the end, and found, not one, but two investigators! We had about a thirty minute discussion with her about the church, and met Daniel and Anabelle (Brother Nelson's daughter), and set up an appointment to teach them. We walked out of there and literally, we started walking back to our car on the verge of tears. Golden. So beyond golden. What's more golden than gold? But really though.

We taught Courtney and Daniel the Restoration on Saturday, and before we started the lesson, we asked if she had questions, and she said, "Lots." So we started teaching and by the end, all the questions had gone. When I told the story of Joseph Smith and gave the account of his vision, I have never felt the spirit so strong. It was incredible. Heavenly Father, after four months, put someone in mine and Sister Seaich's path who is truly prepared. Wow.

Sunday was a miracle. The Nelson's came to church, and so did Sister Cook, a less active member. We'd visited the Cooks three times in the past three weeks. The first time, we met her and her son, and we invited them to church. They committed. They didn't show up. So we followed up with them the next week. Committed them to come to church again. They said yes. They didn't show up. The third time, we stopped by and invited her again, and she committed. I figured we'd have to follow up yet again, but miraculously she was at church on Sunday. She sat with us, and at the end of one of the most spirit-filled sacrament meeting, before the closing hymn, Sister Cook leaned over to us and said, "Thank you for being persistent with me. I really needed this. I need to be here." I had to literally fight back tears. Although I do not convert people, my efforts combined with the spirit, contributed to Sister Cook coming to church.

I cannot put into words how grateful I am to the Lord this week. My heart is full. It may have taken four months of work, but it's all in the Lord's timing, and it was well worth the wait to see the hearts of the people here turn to the Lord and come to or come back to Christ. Conversion is a life-long process, and this week has strengthened my faith in the Savior like none other and I have become more anchored to the gospel. Now that I've seen first-hand what the Lord is capable of, I want to give it my all and never lose faith; never give up. I have come to know for myself that this is the only true church on the Earth today. Together with the Bible, The Book of Mormon offers the fullness of the gospel and with it, we can find peace and comfort from and knowledge of the Savior, Jesus Christ. I don't consider my choice to serve for 14 more months a sacrifice. It's nothing but a divine opportunity to work alongside the Lord in His vineyard. I love you all! Have a fantastic week, everyone! Don't forget how merciful the Lord is! Love, Sister Tyler

Clyde the Camel (May 19) fellow Americans....pahaha, sorry. My old district leader does a killer impression of Obama. Just sayin'. How are you all?!
This week has been FILLED with the spirit and, of course, with humor, as always!
Let's kick off this week's email with a word of the week, shall we?
Manipulation: Taking away your investigators agency by asking them questions that will cause them to answer the way you want them to. "You do want to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, don't you?" "Because you believe the Bible, you'll certainly pay tithing." "You do want to take me out to dinner this week because you love missionaries, don't you?"
So, I told you we had transfers last week, and I got Sister Seaich! I LOVE her! She's just so awesome--very motivated, hard-working, very spiritual. This week was kind of slow since I was just helping her get to know the area, but hopefully this week will pick up a bit!
We visited a TON of less actives this week! We finally caught Brother B who is basically impossible to find at home since he works all around the country. We talked to him about why he left the church, and since his family is part-member, I felt inspired to ask him if he would feel more inclined to go to church if his wife or kids expressed a desire to go. That made him think. So, even though he's gone most of the time, his wife isn' we're going to stop by more often to try and get in with her!
That was just awesome and we both felt great. We can get him, somehow!
We saw Sister S, who is also the only member in her family. She, however, is active. It's just a matter of getting her husband and son interested in learning about the gospel! She has a great testimony of the Plan of Salvation. Her only problem is that she feels that she can't explain doctrine all that well. When she said that, I was drawn to the PoS pamphlet I've kept in my bag for the last two weeks for whatever reason, so I pulled it out and handed it to her and challenged her to read through it with her husband, especially as they are struggling with having a daughter who has severe heart problems. We are going to check back with her sometime this week!
We saw many other people, like Sister C and Austin who expressed desired to come to church. Although they didn't show up, I know that as we are diligent, and loving and persistent and bold, we can get them there.
This week was just grand. Fabulous really.

Sister Cannon called me on Monday night and asked me if I could sing with Sister Seaich, Sister Bowler, and Sister Bailey (new Sister Training Leaders) and she asked me if I could find 4 elders to sing with us. So, I called and called and called and all the elders said no. Now, I know I shouldn't use super casual or degrading language, but THOSE PUNKS! It's been stressful, so, now we've resorted to just us sisters singing. Hopefully it'll be good since we're performing at zone conference in front of 1/3 of the mission. Yikes. We're singing Come Unto Christ by Sally DeFord. It's a beautiful piece. I love it :)

So, let me explain the subject. I met a camel this week! Clyde lives just down the street and around the corner from us! We were riding our bikes, and saw a bunch of people brushing Clyde in the drive way so naturally I had to take that moment to feed a camel some carrots. DUH! How often is it that you'll meet a  domesticated camel? Gosh! He's HUGE. 

I have to apologize. I was awful and taking pictures this week, and we decided to try out the Caldwell Library and the computers are awful and I can't really upload the pictures I want to. So, never fear. They will be up next week at the Family History Center. Hahaha.
I have a really good feeling about the rest of this transfer. I'm working on my fourth month in the field! Woohooo! The church is SO true! :)
I love you all! Have a fabulous week and share the gospel with everyone you can! We have the most important thing; the most valuable and precious gift. It's not to be kept to ourselves. There should be church buildings on every corner of this country and around the world. There are 7 billion people in the world, and only 15 million members of the church---that includes less-actives. There should be 7 billion numbered among the fold of Christ so let's get to work! I love you all!
Sister Tyler

Saying goodbye is hard! (May 12)

Well hello there! I just got back from the transfer spot at Luby Park with my new companion, Sister Seaich! It was hard to say goodbye to Sister Ketring. In fact, I felt bad, because she cried and I didn't...but, I'm just not a crier. Oh well!

I apologize, I was in such a rush this morning that I forgot to pick a word of the week. I'll save the humor for next Monday! A lot has happened this past week in Caldwell. I'm getting so close to the members--which rocks, and sucks all at the same time because it'll be hard to leave when the time comes. I suppose I have about three months left in this area. Sweet! Trust me, I'll make the most of it! So last Monday, we had a funeral service for Elder Van Cleve (we call him Elder Van that approved? Probably not....oh well). We "killed" him and he's flying home tomorrow and he just wanted to have one last hoorah with all his missionary friends. So that was fun! We're really going to miss our zone leader!

I started Jillian Michaels on Monday night. The Idaho Nampa Mission is called "The 40 Pound Mission", however, rather than gaining the weight,
I plan to lose the weight! BAM. I bought a four dollar scale from Savers and I lost a pound this week. Whaddup!

Oh my freak. There was this lady at the family history center. Let's call her.....Crazy K. The name is very literal. She's cray. Anyways, Crazy K is very loud and very much like Tessa. She was talking with the Spanish elders while they were waiting to email, and she says, "Beatrice is actually my Spanish name. That's what I introduced myself as at the pulpit in Spanish ward." None of the missionaries could contain themselves....including me. I put my head down on the keyboard and just laughed until tears ran down my face. It was grand.

We had our first lesson with Jenna! She's been reading Preach My Gospel so it was more of a discussion rather than a lesson--which was really nice. She has such a desire for everyone to have the gospel. We set a baptism date with her for July 9th! That's her grandfather's birthday. He's a member, and he's practically on his death bed, so she wanted to make her baptism as special as possible. She's such a sweetheart. We love her! We took Abby and Chloe the first time, and the Young Women's president from her ward the second time. Since Jenna's parents are only comfortable with sisters teaching her, and she lives outside our ward boundaries, we need to fellowship her in the right ward. She went on Sunday with her mom, who's less active, and she loved it! Man. She's golden. Even though we can't count her lessons for our numbers, [it's not about the numbers, numbers, numbers] it's great to feel her spirit and influence. She's such a strong young woman. I just adore her and love her to pieces. I really hope I stay in the area until August so I can be there when she's baptized!

We had dinner with a family--the Buttorfs....emphasis on "Butt". Make sure to pronounce the t's! Be not afraid of the "Butt!" They made sure to tell us that....haha, but anyways, Brother Buttorf served his mission in London South! WHAT. So jealous. We was around the temple a lot. Man. I'm so jealous. You know how I am when I hear anything about anyone going to London. Gah. I also held a brand spankin' new puppy at their house. TOO precious! Sister Ketring and I were headed up to a member's apartment when the elevator opened and we saw sleeping bags, pillows, and a bookshelf just sitting there. Sketch. After the lesson, we got back in the elevator and it was gone. Sketchier. There's something about Caldwell apartments that are just sketchy.

We started teaching a baptist missionary in the YSA who's been attending church with a member. He's found so many similarities between the church and his. I was afraid that all he wanted to do was Bible bash, but he listened intently to the lesson on the Restoration. It was so spiritual. Sadly, he didn't like the focus being on him and only him, so he "semi" dropped us. We're just going to give him some time with the Book of Mormon, to read it and to pray about it. And the member will let us know when we can go back. I was surprised to hear, "He's Baptist and he's interested in learning more about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." I feel like those two terms just never go in the same sentence....but hey! It's good!

So, remember the word of the week last week? BSU? So, I heard a member say, "BSU--the only university where they put the BS right in front of you." Pahaha. My life. Sorry to any Broncos fans who are reading this....but let's be honest....only Idahoans are Broncos fans....right? If not, sorry not sorry. We knocked on a less-active family's door on Wednesday. We've been meeting with them since March just trying to get to know them and build our relationships with them so we can teach them the importance of church and the gospel. The wife let us in on what happened in their lives before moving to Caldwell. Wow. Lots of rebellion came from her daughter. Teen pregnancy. Embarrassment. Burned out from holding so many church callings and so on. She told us that is was a miracle that her daughter even let us in the first time we knocked on their door because she was so against the church and anyone having to do with it. She said that we touched her heart somehow, and that touched my heart. I'm helping people open the door to happiness. Wow. That felt so great.

So, Elder Ngatuvai ate it on his bike riding down Caldwell Boulevard on Thursday. He called us and when we got there, his tire was totally bent and he told us someone ran into him with their car, and since they were in a rush, they gave him a 20 dollar bill. What a pill! Haha, turns out, he was tried to go up on a curb and the odds weren't in his favor... Also, Bishop played the first part of Sexy and I Know It for that approved? Hmmm.

We taught Ann again! She finally has a Vietnamese Book of Mormon. Now we're just working on getting her a Bible! It's still so strange to me to be teaching someone who has no idea who the Savior is. Obviously, it's a rare opportunity. When am I ever going to teach someone about Jesus Christ who has no idea who He is? Chances of that are slim to none, and I'm really grateful to be teaching her. We gave her a framed picture of Christ to have, and she just loved it. Ah, she's so great. I love her. Obviously I got to skype home yesterday and that was just marvelous! It was so great to see my friggin' awesome family! I'm so lucky! Although, I still feel dumb for sending Mom money....but I just feel so bad so easily about spending my money! Gosh! Haha, thanks for all of your love and support back home. I really appreciate all of you and everything you do to make me feel loved and appreciated! The church is true! :) Until next week! Love, Sister Tyler

Three Months in the Mission Field! (May 5)

Hey everybody! Today marks three months since I left home for the MTC in Provo! WOW. I feel like these have been the fastest three months of my LIFE. Sometimes I wish time would just take a chill pill. Transfers are getting close. Sister Ketring and I FINALLY have gotten our feet on the ground and we have a TON of work going on in our area in the Caldwell East stake. However, our area is getting split so although we are most likely getting new companions next week, one of us will probably stay in 5th and YSA and the other in 12th. We just got word on who is housing the sisters who will cover 12th ward--Kris Mancinelli! She's a recent talk about convert retention at its finest! Sister Ketring and I have both agreed that we would love whatever area we serve in. We were iffy on 12th ward because we didn't know anyone, but we went to ward council for the second time in 12 weeks....and the council is all on the same page and united in every way. We love that. In fact, Sister Ketring and I kind of argued over who will get 12th ward. It's that good....

So, Word of the Week, yeah?! BSU: Boise State University Football. The only good sports team in all of Idaho. Ridiculously over-hyped and exaggerated. You Texans think football gets crazy down south? No no no. I've seen cars, mailboxes, and even homes that have been painted blue and orange in support of the Broncos. It's unsettling. Next time we go by Dakota's house, I'll take a picture of the mailbox in his neighborhood. Really, ya'll. It's crazy.

So, last P-day we hung out with our zone at a park in Caldwell. I think a pipe broke or sprinklers were on all night because the grass was super moist. Grrrrross! We played sand volleyball with the elders and sisters and just hung out and chatted. It was a really laid back P-day. Today, Sister Ketring and I are going was 80 the other day and I don't have very many clothes cool enough for 80 degree weather. I was DYING. It's also our zone leader, Elder Van Cleve's last P-day with us before he goes home!

A few weeks ago, after trying to contact her three times, we left a card on a woman's door. The thing with cards is that nobody ever calls us when we leave them....yet we do it anyways because you never know what might happen. So, about a week and a half passes after stopping by her house, and we get a phone call. It's Donna's granddaughter! We set up an appointment and visited with her in the early afternoon. Turns out Donna takes care of her mom who broke her pelvis--ouch!--and isn't home between 1 and 11:30PM. No wonder we haven't been able to contact her! Haha, she's a super nice lady. She isn't endowed and she's married to a nonmember, so we'll be working with her! She lives in 12th ward so perfect! We're getting work started! Her granddaughter, Simone, just got called to a mission in Peru! I can't remember which though, but by her description of the mission, the can's and the cannot's...I'm grateful I'm serving stateside. Mom, you should be too! Yikes!

We had dinner with the Carter's again! Sadly, Tessa wasn't nothing funny happened there, dang-it. So, we went to Sisters Conference on Tuesday, which is basically Zone Conference but with all the sisters in the mission. It was grand. We got rebuked for our eating habits. Sigh. It's safe to say, Sister Ketring and I have agreed to actually take that 30 minutes between 6:30 and 7 and exercise....haha. Jillian Michaels, puh lease! Back to Sisters Conference, though. We played with play-do....and our team attempted to make a temple.'s awful. We shouldn't be architects. That's for sure!

Sister Cannon gave a great address on the talk by President Uchtdorf called "The Forget-Me-Not." It was splendid. They gave us forget-me-not seeds. They're really pretty flowers! Sisters Conference was a lot of fun. I saw Sister Gubler along with the other sisters from my MTC zone. They're all doing well!

Wednesday morning was a sticky situation. Let's just say I started off my day by stepping in dog poo. The Neal's dog is 15 years old, blind and's just time. After that dilemma, Sister Ketring and I, since we have a bike rack, went to help the Spanish elders retrieve Elder Torres' bike. So, Torres isn't very smart. He bought a bike....even though he's in an all-car area....and just left it in downtown Caldwell without locking it up. He left it there for three days. So yes, it got stolen and we wasted miles. But it was funny to see Elder Collette laugh at his companion.

Last week, I told you that we've been doing service for Grandma and pricing her belongings so she can sell them. I found a baseball card.....and his name.....was.....Bob Boone. Now say it slowly. Now say it fast. Yup. His name is basically Baboon. Too. Much. Oh good times.

 Alright, we got a call from Naomi this week. She's decided that she doesn't want to be baptized. I knew what was coming as soon as I heard the words, "We need to talk." Yes. She broke up with us. However, we are still going to visit her since she didn't drop us. We caught Bruce and chatted with him about her situation. He thinks it's just the smoking situation. She's too dependent on smoking, and he's had a lot of great talks with his mom about it. So, we won't give up on her. Not yet.

We've been helping the elders clean Sister S's house as she gets ready to have her 4th a single mom. So, we walked into her back room, and you couldn't even see the floor. It looked like the room of a hoarder. Sister Ketring and I worked pretty fast and got it all cleaned out in about three hours. It's now a cute craft room. There was just a lot of clutter. I've vowed to never let my home get that bad...but really though. It's been fun helping her out with cleaning and prepping for baby C!

We went out to the orchard in Marsing with the YSA and learned how to thin apricots! Then we had ribs and s'mores. Yummmm. Can I just stay in the YSA for the next two transfers? The food is exquisite. Break the Fast yesterday was maaaaaarvelous. Oh man. Food. It's the best four-letter word out there. Speaking of food, our stake president, President Lewis, took all the missionaries in the stake out to GOLDEN CORRAL on Saturday after Stradling and Ngatuvai's baptism. Pure bliss, I tell you. Elder Ngatuvai stacked up on sliders, since he can't have his McRatchet from McDonald's while Elder Stradling stuffed his face with every single dessert and while eating his cotton candy, he said, "I think I just got diabetes." The kid's smaller than me. It was golden. Man. President Lewis is the bomb. He knows that missionaries aren't perfect and he's totally on our side. It's great. He's just great.

While we were there, Jenna and her parents walked by and we met her parents. They love us! They said she can start taking the lessons from us and we can even meet at HER house! Blessings! Sister Ketring and I finally got our Sunday schedule DOWN just in time for transfers! Haha, we attended all three wards. 5th ward at 9, 12th ward council at 11:30, 12th sacrament meeting at 1, left for YSA after the sacrament, YSA testimony meeting, sunday school and relief society. Break the Fast at 4:30, and a shepherding couples meeting at 5....dinner at 6. We were booked!

We found a new investigator in the YSA! We're meeting with Jay on Tuesday! This week has been one of the best weeks since being out. I had a lot of fun. We've done a lot of work. we're getting the field ready for the next missionaries, that's for sure :) I love you all and I hope you all have a great week! I'll let you know what happens with transfers next week! Mom, you'll obviously know on Sunday! Can't wait! Love, Sister Tyler

When your stomach growls, eat grass! (April 28)

H'lo! How are my lovely Tejanos? This sister missionary is quite lovely, if I do say so myself--not in a prideful way, of course! This week was chalk-full of funny moments and great missionary experiences. Oh my goodness. I'm laughing just thinking of them all. But know the drill. Word of the Week! "Be Chill My Soul": A motto by which all missionaries should live. It makes it so you feel at ease with your area, your terrible companion and helps you remember that things are just more fun when you are chill. But really y'all. Everything really is so much more fun when I'm not so up-tight. Some missionaries don't understand that you can be obedient and have fun, thus they are robots. After all, I'm living a pretty strict life for 15 and a half more months. I need to be chill or I'll lose my mind. Let's be honest here! Alright, time for a weekly recap! Last P-day, we went hiking at 3 Fingers in Jordan Valley aka in the middle of NOWHERE. It was gorgeous, nonetheless. Elder Hatefi tried to chase a cow and he looked the fool, that's for sure. In addition to chasing a cow, we had to explain to him the difference between a cow and a bull. The contrast is obvious. Cows have utters. Bulls don't. So, Hatefi was looking at all the cows and said, "Haha, that cow has a really small utter. I wonder if she gets made fun of by all the other cows!" Yep. That's my district leader. It's safe to say, I've been sick pretty much all week. Easter was the worst of it, but ever since I've been battling a cold. Nevertheless, my sickly being hasn't kept me from doing work. We visited Ashley Sabin on Tuesday with the Elders since they can't get into her house in the afternoon, and she is awesome. We've gone with them to visit her quite a few times. She just loves us. She's HI-larious! Then, I felt sickly so we went home and "chilled" while I tried to feel better. Now, after the meds kicked in, we went to dinner. Oh yeah. Dinner was quite an experience. Our dinner appointment was at the Carters. We walked in and I saw Kenny that I had met previously in Frisco at the YSA branch. That's where it all started. He's a little strange. So I was trying to figure out how on EARTH he was related to the Carters. Their daughter, Anna, just got back from a mission in New Zealand. She's fantastic. Their son, Andrew, is about to submit his mission papers. He's afraid of shots. Uh oh! But anyways, Sister Carter left to pick up her husband, so we were left with Andrew, Anna, and Kenny. We finished eating, and this blonde lady walks in in an orange sweater and pink bell bottoms with a tray of tilapia. The family goes, "Hey Aunt Tessa" in the most dull, "Sisters, we are so sorry" tone. She sits at the table and starts cutting up the fish and offers it to us. After we all say, "Oh no, we just ate", she puts a bite size piece of fish on my plate. Now, I wasn't going to be rude and not eat it. So, as I pick up my fork, she goes, "Kenny, you should try this!" and she scoops up the fish with her fork and thumb off of my plate. Thanks, Tessa...but it gets better. Sister Ketring and I were talking to Anna and Andrew about coming to the YSA since it's so small and we're trying to get people to come. So they're nodding their heads and agreeing to come, so we invited Kenny. He's 31 and that's the cut-off BUT we're desperate. So we tell them where and when the branch meets and Tessa chimes in and says, "Everett at 1 o'clock?" Okay, I'll try to be there." Y'all. The lady's at least life. Turns out, she's Kenny's mom. She's a child of God. It's fine. After dinner, we went to Dakota's. He's not really progressing anymore, but we did find out that his step-mom, Lissa, spent the weekend in a psych ward. We weren't too surprised! She roomed with a lady who claimed to be a "prophesier" and a man who yells, "Heil Hitler!" stole her sprite--they only get two sodas a day--and she chased him all around the psych ward and she broke her toe. Idahoans. Let me tell you. Now let me explain the subject of this e-mail to you. We met a lady, Sister Gonzales, who the Elders warned us of talking our ears off if she came outside. Well, she did. She started talking about dandelions and said, "Ya know, people mow their lawns, and pull weeds and throw them away, but what they don't realize is that they're throwing away perfectly good food." She then took the dandelion and stuck it in her mouth and ate to her heart's content. It took every inch of my being not to laugh. Trust me, after I'd held it in for five minutes, I got in the car and busted a gut. Oh my goodness. I love these people so friggin' much! By the way...Mom, I've come to LOVE asparagus! It's divine! But anyways, we had another seminary barbecue, but this time for Caldwell High School. The turnout wasn't as great as the barbecue at Vallivue, but it was fun. Elder Collette, one of the Spanish elders, saw a kid in a shirt and tie and said, "Right on! Future companion!" Turns out, that kid was a nonmember and though Collette was gay. But it's fine. The things missionaries say that get them into trouble.... We walked around the College of Idaho campus and, let me tell you. It's gorgeous! Too bad credits don't transfer there....otherwise....haha, just kidding! We had our first lesson with Anne, the Vietnamese girl that Mariah Funk introduced us to! It's so strange to me that she's never heard of Jesus Christ until she set foot in America. Wow. It's going to be fun to teach her about him. Sadly, at that point, we hadn't been able to get her a Vietnamese Book of Mormon. So that was stressful to not be able to read from the scriptures. She doesn't understand a whole lot of English, so the language barrier definitely makes teaching her a challenge! That night, we had dinner with the Chaineys and noticed a whole row of copies of the Book of Mormon in all kinds of languages. So Sister Ketring asked if they had a Vietnamese one. They did! Sister Chainey gave it to us to give to Anne. That was definitely a tender mercy of the Lord! Also this week, we found two new investigators while we were sitting around Grandma's house pricing things. The woman thinks she's going to die soon, but if it didn't happen when she went skydiving at 80 two years ago, she's got at least ten years left. So, Naomi still hasn't come to church. That's a downer, and so we have to move her baptism yet again. It's stressful, but we'll get there. I think if we can get her son, Bruce, to go to church, then we can get her to go. Oh well. We won't give up on her. Sunday was fabulous. We're starting to LOVE the YSA. They're all fabulous. We went to a fireside with the YSA last night, and it given by a man named Mike James. He went from Hell's Angels biker, drug addict, and disrespectful of women to completely converted to the gospel and sealed in the temple to his wife last September. It was truly moving. This week has made my love for missionary work skyrocket. I love it SO much. The laughs, the memories, the's just grand. I love it. I wouldn't trade this sacrifice for anything. I don't even think of it as a sacrifice to serve the Lord for the next 15 and half months. It's a blessing and a privilege to be called to the work. I love Him so much. Have a fantastic week, everyone! The Lord knows and is mindful of ALL of you! He loves you! When in doubt, count your blessings. You'll be surprised :) I love you all! Love, Sister Tyler

Facebook....It was fun while it lasted! (April 22)

Well hello strangers. How're y'all doin'? 
#BecauseofHim this week was quite awesome! As you all know, this week, we had the opportunity to log onto Facebook for two hours a day and proselyte! I had some really great conversations about the Savior with some really great people! In fact, one of the young men I chatted with watched the video and we talked a little bit about the Plan of Salvation and that was awesome! It was nice to be able to plant some seeds and to open the door to Christ for all those back at home! 
So, are y'all ready for the Word of the Week? I'm sure you are.
Card of America: That precious piece of plastic that gives us the wonderful allotment of $140. The only problem is that we seem to use the money as well as the country uses its money.
But really, y'all. $140 is NOT enough. I'm down to 93 cents on my card. But this morning, I met up with a darling young women's leader of mine from Japan! Sister Bishop! Ah! She's too precious! She bought all of Sister Ketring's and my groceries! How sweet of her! She's definitely taking care of the needy!

I feel like little to nothing happened this week but a lot happened.
Last P-day was boring. Bland. No color. We just chilled at the Kimball building with other missionaries and were bored the whole time. You need to understand this: I was so bored....I played an ENTIRE game of Monopoly with other missionaries. I don't think those two and a half hours were pertinent to my salvation. But oh well.
We met with Sister Gray, from America Somoa--she's friggin' cool, and Sister Feinhour and discussed ideas of how to get work pumpin' in our area. They are FULL of great ideas! We had interviews with President Cannon and Sister Ketring told him that I'm ready to train. OH NO. But hey, there's a sister coming in from Allen, so hey! I wouldn't mind training a fellow Texan! 
I learned this week that you can thaw a ham on a trampoline....courtesy of the Yearsley family! Ha! One of the boys came in the house after attempting to jump on the trampoline and said, "Mom, I can't jump on the trampoline with the turkey rolling around everywhere!" Okay then....
We met with Naomi. She's doing pretty well. We reiterated the importance of church and baptism. She didn't show up to church this week though. Hopefully we can get her there next week. 
Okay, let me tell you--when we're over at a family's house for dinner and they're absolutely silent, it's pure TORTURE. Don't do that to the's awful! 
We've tried to contact a lot of less actives this week but no one's answered their doors. Argh. Oh well. Lots of cards were left! Haha! 

Awkward story: We met the Bluncks, a less active family, and Brother Blunck answered the door. We talked, and he invited us over to have dessert on Easter with the Funks (funny, right?). So we went straight over to the Funks to ask them about them and we walk in and say, "hey, Sister Funk! We just wanted to talk to you about the Bluncks!" and Sister Blunck turns around and says, "Oh sweet. I'm Sister Blunck!" Sister Ketring saved our BUTTS and just talked about Easter and dessert. Phew! That was a CLOSE one!
I helped make Peruvian food at the Carlisle's this week! Who knew condensed milk blended with crackers poured over a potato and lettuce would be so good? Who said Idaho couldn't be exotic?!

Easter was awesome, despite the fact that I was sick out my mind. The elders gave me a blessing yesterday morning and I was fine by the end of the night! I didn't get to eat any candy though, or as much ham as I wanted to. Oh well! Easter isn't about the candy or the food, but it's about Christ. He lives! Because He lives, we will live again! I love my Savior! Think of Him always!

Anyways, I'm off to hike with the zone up by Emmett! It's going to be a fun P-day! I'm hoping I won't get too sunburned! :) Have a fantastic week everyone!
Your missionary,
Sister Tyler

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Hello my lovelies! My goodness this week has FLOWN by! I know you all miss me oooooh so much, but I wish time would slow down!
I heard DFW had a hail storm?! I hate being away during April and May. Tornado season sucks and it makes me stress. However, I have full faith that the Lord will take care of y'all.
So, let's get this show on the road. Word of the Week, yeah? Get pumped!
Greenie Mail: Greenies get 10 times as much mail as they are entitled to get. I guess that's their revenge for us calling them greenies. It dies out though before they stop getting called greenies.

The Greenie Mail has finally ceased. Oh well. I see your love for me has diminished. It's fine. I've been out for two months. It's about time. Sigh.

SO. Let me recount this past week's happenings for you.
Last P-day was fabulous. We had Winger's for dinner again and that made me ecstatic! What is in that sauce?! We joined the Brickey family for Family Home Evening and we read out of Preach My Gospel with them to help their family get into the habit of learning from it just like Elder Ballard asked us. The Brickey’s are awesome. We love them to death. So, you know the guy from Daddy Day Care? The one whose face the little girls defile with makeup? Yeah, so Brother Brickey looks and talks just like him. I'm almost convinced he just got a buzz cut and died it blonde because DANG.

Tuesday, we went and talked to the Activity Day girls. My goodness, they're too presh. One of them asked us how to deal with bullies and it broke my heart. We did, however, give her some great advice and we bore testimony of Christ. While the world goes up in flames, the only thing that will stay constant is the Savior and His infinite Atonement and love for each of us. We handed each of the girls a Book of Mormon and challenged them to give it out in a month. All of the leaders accepted the challenge too. We have lots of families to follow up with now!

So, I finally had to take defensive driving.....because I got in a wreck.....three years ago. But hey! I got a 90 on the test so I am now "legal", if you will, to drive in the Idaho Nampa Mission. Why did I only get a 90 though? Well, a T/F question asked a statistic about drunk drivers. Now, is that really pertinent to my ability to drive? I think if you ask me, I aced it!

We learned this week that Kenny, Grandma's son, has checked himself into rehab in......drum roll please.......Las Vegas! Ironic, right? But on a serious note, I'm so happy that he's taking that step. He went to rehab in California before, but he wasn't in a good place at the time. Now that he's found his testimony and he truly wants to stop, the Lord will assist him in doing so. Sister Ketring and I went to the Post Office on Wednesday to ship his Book of Mormon to him. Grandma asked us to write our testimonies in the cover, so we did. That was neat. Hopefully he will appreciate that!
We had dinner with the Brickeys. Did I already say I love them? We quoted Brian Reagan and played "Left, Right, Center". The game was a bit tedious but fun at the same time. Is that a plausible combination? I'm sticking to it anyways, mind you.

We taught Naomi this week about the Word of Wisdom. She's accepted the invitation and challenge to quit smoking. She got some teeth pulled two days later, so my guess is she's keeping the commitment! Haha! Naomi is changing rapidly and that change is so evident. She's become more spiritually in tune with the Lord and His will. It's so wonderful to experience her conversion to the gospel---and to the Lord, of course.

Friday was an AWESOME day! We went to the Vallivue High School seminary barbecue and literally the entire school showed up. There are almost two thousand kids. Wow. Mariah Funk brought her friend, Anne, a young girl who moved from Vietnam with her family about eight months ago. She and Mariah were talking about Jesus Christ and who he was. She has never heard of him. Mariah wasn't at all certain how to approach the topic so she brought Anne to meet us. Needless to say, we have a new investigator! We just ordered her a Vietnamese Book of Mormon and Bible. We're teaching her on Friday--my two month mark! Woo! After the barbecue, we went around to less actives and part-member families to invite them to come to the ward Easter parties that we had on Saturday. None of them showed up, but it's fine. At least they were invited!
We watched The Best Two Years with Bishop Barclay and his family. It was fabulous! Beyond was definitely a good time. Sister Ketring and I were laughing so hard at the accuracy!

This week was just fabulous.We found out we can use Facebook this week and we are so excited to spread the word on social media this week!
I wish every week was as good as this one! We're quickly approaching Naomi's baptism date! Sister Ketring and I are getting excited!

I love you all, and I hope everything is going well down in Tejas! I miss it! I miss you all! All is well in Caldwell, Idaho!

All my love,
Sister Tyler

Monday, April 7, 2014

Just a few pics!

Conference ROCKED!

Hey y'all! I hope you all enjoyed conference as much as I did! I also hope that you all got something out of conference--specifically, M. Russell Ballard's talk on following up and being a missionary because missionaries need the help of members to find people and to keep people active!

Something Sister Ketring and I realized this week is that we won't be in this area forever, so less actives should not have to rely on the missionaries to be fellow-shipped. What happens when we're their only friends and we get transferred? They go right back to being less active. SO. Do your visiting teaching and home teaching. Don't just throw names to the missionaries and do nothing to help. Semi-rant OVER :)

First thing's first: Word of the Week! Trunky Smile: The grin that is displayed on a departing missionary's face as he day dreams of movies, girls, swimming, video games, and swimming with girls. So this definition doesn't exactly pertain to me, considering I'm: a) 16 months away from home & b) a sister missionary. BUT, our zone leader, Elder Van Cleve is going home next transfer and his trunky smile is on his face ALL the time. It's eerie.....and quite funny considering he didn't smile at all last transfer. Clue #1.

This week has been filled with ups and downs and twists and turns. Satan is working hard to disrupt the work, but we've been pressing forward with full faith and increased effort. Two of our investigators dropped us: Chris and Priscilla, and Jenna as well. Chris and Priscilla are living together and they shouldn't be. We discussed the Plan of Salvation, and that somehow got brought up, however, neither of us said anything about it. We figured we'd wait until the next lesson to discuss it further. They texted us on Wednesday and told us they didn't feel comfortable with us and they want to discontinue the discussions. Fine. Jenna, the 15 year old girl who approached us at church last Sunday, got into a fight with her mom and no longer has her approval to be baptized. Jenna is, however, still reading her copy of PMG and her scriptures and she knows the church is true. The opposition rests with her mom. Dakota, also, erased his baptism date from the white board and we were confused. He wants to wait until he can come to church before setting a date. He can't come to church until after his senior project is done. He's doing it through a church, and if the pastor finds out he's been in with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he would drop him and he'd fail the project. If he fails, he doesn't graduate SO. We're playing it safe. Rescheduling isn't the end of the world....

Good came from this week though. I extended my very first baptismal invitation to Naomi after reading 2 Nephi 31 with her for the third lesson. She accepted the commitment and we've set a goal for her to be baptized on May 3rd! I am so excited! Not to mention General conference was this weekend and that's ALWAYS good! Our district kept joking about the prophet making THE big announcement: "Pack your bags. We're going to Missouri." Hey, it'll happen sooner or later!

So, I'm sure you're wondering about the April Fool's prank on the Elders, or maybe not, but I'm going to tell you anyways. On Tuesday, Elder Short (refer to car czar) called each companionship in our district and told them they'd be getting a car and to meet him at the Linden building. E. Hatefi called us IMMEDIATELY after and screamed into the phone. That was the start of a war. The elders got to the church and Ketring and I popped out and yelled "April Fool's!" They. Were. Livid. And they biked away in the cold, frigid make it worse. It's safe to say we woke up the next day to a saran-wrapped car. No big deal. We stole their ties.....all of them. Hatefi wore the same one for three days. Then they came into our house and Sister Neal allowed them to hide all of our food and send us on a scavenger hunt. Clever. It's all over. For now. We haven't decided if we want to retaliate or just leave it alone....I think we should just quit....or else we'll end up in the white handbook....or worse.....the INM Dictionary. Dun Dun Dun.....

So, it's been a bittersweet week. I'm grateful that I can have fun every so often to keep me sane. What was your favorite part about conference? I loved President Uchtdorf's talk about having an attitude of gratitude. "Put down the bottle of bitterness and drink from the goblet of gratitude." You can try to count your blessings, but as you do so, you will find they are uncountable. ALWAYS have gratitude! I love you all! Have a fabulous week, y'all! Be an example! Be helpful to the missionaries! Love, Sister Tyler

Second Transfer: Two scheduled baptisms!

Hello all! This week has been filled with blessings and so many lessons! 
Before I delve into this past week's adventures, let's start off with the word, or in this case, phrase of the week!
Pray About It: When you ask President Cannon for permission to do something that you really know is wrong in the first place, this will be what he'll say. It means NO.
Too accurate.

So last P-day was marvelous! We drove up to Jump Creek to go "hiking." It ended up being more of a walk down to the waterfall, but we climbed up the hills so it was more of a "halk." It's beautiful up there, nonetheless. The scenery from the parking lot reminded me of the Irish countryside. Very hilly and green. Y'all. I love seeing green everywhere. It's gorgeous. Not to mention, the weather was perfect. I got to wear short sleeves! YES! After the "halk", we went to Wingers (are you really that surprised?) with Elder Hatefi and Elder Reischman. So, E. Hatefi ordered a coke and they brought him a Pepsi. He was MAD. He reminded me of Mom when she goes to McD's and orders a Diet Dr. Pepper and they give her regular....not okay! But it was fine. Sister Ketring's mom actually sent her a Wingers gift card. YES! 

We went service tracting on Tuesday with Abby. She's a ward missionary now! First, we did spring cleaning at the Neals. That was an experience. Two words. Dusting. Sucks. We went over to the Siddoways, who were getting ready for their 50th wedding anniversary on Saturday. All we did was move a box, and then Sister Ketring played As Sisters in Zion on the piano. So, since we shared a spiritual message of a sort, that can count towards our weekly numbers, right? ;) Afterwards, we went over to the Dougals and pulled some weeds. We headed over to Grandma's, but she wasn't home so we looked across the street and beheld the house where the G’s live....Sister Ketring and I looked at each other and decided that we needed to serve those kids and their mom. We did their dishes. They were stacked. Their house smelled like a gerbil's cage that hasn't been cleaned out. The kids were dirty. Trash was EVERYWHERE. But we did it with smiles on our faces. Those kids deserve better but we don't know how to help them. I walked out of there with an attitude of gratitude for the home my parents built where Christ is the foundation, where love resides, where service is rendered. So, thank you Mom and Dad for loving me the way you do and for everything you've done for me! 

On Wednesday, I went on exchanged with Sister Wright! We went to her area in Homedale. We were BUSY. But I didn't feel like I had fun. The work was great...but I feel like I didn't get to express my personality with her. Hm. Oh well. We met some interesting people. One of their investigators has two sons, and they were running around blowing snot bubbles. Big ones. Gross....another investigator, Rocky, lives more out in the country, even though you can't really get more country than Homedale anyways. He's so obsessed with guns and hunting, you'd think he was from Texas. So, not knowing that holding guns was against the mission rules (sorry Mom!) I held a sniper rifle....yikes! He has at least 60 guns of all sorts. He also shoots cats. I like him. Sister Ketring and I were playing phone tag all night....I hated that. What did she want?!

So, when we exchanged back on Thursday, I was SO excited to have my companion back! Sister Ketring told me that Dakota has accepted the gospel and wants to be baptized. She and Sister Ammodt taught Dakota and Wednesday and asked him if he'd been praying about Joseph Smith and the BOM & he said he knows it's true because of Alma 33:14. SO Sister Ketring took that opportunity to extend the baptismal invitation and he accepted! He'll be baptized April 26th--Dad's birthday! SO exciting!
On Friday, we had appointments set, but our appointment with our previously "new" investigator was a no-go. Jamie didn't answer. Hmmm. But we taught Kenny and restarted the lessons with him and he is now gaining a better understanding of prophets!

Saturday was a LONG day! Mostly because of the anxious and long wait for transfer calls. We had breakfast with our district at the stake center and amid the chaos, we all received a voicemail from P-Can. We're staying right where we are! Woohoo! We headed over to the Montana building for a combined district meeting with Elder Fuller's district. E. Hatefi and Fuller gave an excellent training. We read through John 11, the story of Lazarus being raised from the dead by the Savior. The Elders asked us to think of ourselves as Lazarus. The point of the training was, we may feel dead, and we may feel like it's over and there's no hope and there's no where to turn. We may be "dead" for four days, four months, or four years, but we are not the only one who is suffering. Jesus wept because he had to wait to raise Lazarus. The Lord has to wait to relieve us of our afflictions because if He does it right away, we will not learn and we will not grow. It kills Him to have to wait. Our Father in Heaven is so willing to bless us, but we need to have faith and we need that growth. After those four days or four years, how great will be the day when Christ says, "Arise, and come forth." Always remember why we have trials and always remember how great that day will be when we are relieved from them and rise triumphant out of adversity.

Sunday was INcredible! After fast and testimony meeting, we were approached by a young girl, around 16 or 17, named Jena, and her friend Kelsey who is a laurel. Jena asked us how long it takes for her to be a member. SHE WANTS TO BE BAPTIZED! We set a date for April 26th, same day as Dakota, so we can ensure we get all the lessons in! AH! Blessings. We also taught the youth in 5th ward the importance of Preach My Gospel and why they should study it now. Ian Brickey, a youth, came up to us and told us that was the best combined YM/YW lesson he'd been in. Tender mercies. That night, we had a zone activity. Some members from another area put together a sensory presentation and it. Was. So. Incredible. We were blindfolded and walked through the life of the Savior--his birth, earthly ministry, atonement, crucifixion, and resurrection. They would put things in our hands such as hay to represent his birth, a nail to represent the crucifixion. We were helped onto our feet and walked around the room blindfolded, and helped carry a beam. I only felt a fraction of what the Savior felt. I was in tears. It was beautiful. At the very end, we were back in our chairs, and as they talked about the Savior coming to the America's, I felt someone take my hand---he represented the Savior. More tears. It was beautiful.

This week has been magnificent. I'm so grateful to be here. I'm grateful for the gospel and I know this is the gospel of Jesus Christ and this is the same church He established. The gospel is for everyone! Share it! I love you all!
Sister Tyler actually worked?

Hey y'all! Happy last full week of March! I trust y'all're getting your April Fools jokes all set, huh? I know we are! We've got one of the Mission Office Elders, Elder Short (i.e. the Car Czar) in on the prank. So the plan is to have Elder Short call both companionships of Elders in our district and tell them that he's got a car to give and he's chosen them. Now, the mission office will be closed on the 1st because the new missionaries are coming--so he's going to tell them to meet him and Sister Short at the stake center on Linden to get the car. They'll have to bike all the way over there and Sister Ketring and I will greet them with one car in the parking lot: ours. Cruel, huh? That's the beauty of the situation!

It's that time again. Word of the Week. HBH: Home But Hiding. people that are home but won't answer their door. It's usually painfully obvious they're home. May shout "We're not home!" or send their 2 year old to the door to tell you the same thing. They are too cowardly to tell us to our face that they aren't interested in Exaltation. I can one-hundred percent testify that this definition is true. We once knocked on someone's door--a member--and the dog started barking. We could hear them inside shushing their dog. No answer. So, my loyal readers, when the missionaries knock on your door, either answer it or make sure we can't hear you inside or else we will laugh at you and write home to our families about you. That is all.

Sister Ketring and I are going hiking up in Jump Creek today with our zone--on a real hike--with hills--real inclines--on actual mountains. Hopefully the weather will be good to us. It's pretty sunny right now. Exquisite. It's been in the 50s and 60s here in the afternoons which has been absolute bliss! Before we venture out of Babylon into the wilderness, I'll tell you a little bit about my week. The Lord has blessed me in so many ways. As I look back and ponder on this past week, I can truly see the Lord's hand in every situation I've come across. Blessings have been presented in so many different forms whether it be by receiving a prompting and acting on it thus leading us to an investigator, a box of letters and goodies from the Beehives back home, a golden referral, a compliment, and more. This week has been filled with blessings! Let me share my week with you! Monday-For P-day, we hung out as a district and attempted to go luck. Bowling tournaments were going on...I though people just joked about bowling leagues...whoops. While we were walking back to the car, something caught all of our eyes--not literally though so don't worry! We saw a man riding down the street on his bike in booty shorts and a long black wig. I quickly came to a realization that there are many people in the Caldwell/Nampa area who are in desperate need of the gospel....and maybe some additional therapy.

Tuesday-A GOLDEN REFERRAL! They exist! The APS, while teaching an older lady, came across her daughter, Priscilla and her husband, Christ. They are a part-member family--Priscilla is a less-active and Chris isn't a member. We stopped by their house in Pamela's Loop the day we got the referral. Christ answered the door and their dog, Lucky, ran out into the yard. Sidenote: If you think Dakota and Annie are hyper, you should meet Lucky. Although, he is super obedient unlike the beasts that reside in the Tyler home. But anyway, Christ is SUPERB! He even told us he and Pricilla and the girls would be at church on Sunday before we even invited him. Hence the "Golden Referral." We had another lesson with Dakota and this time, practically his whole family joined us and we got to know them all a little better and became more comfortable. Dakota's parents, Dale and Lisa, are now taking the discussions with their son!

Wednesday-The four week follow-up AKA the new missionary meeting was today. It was grand. Much counsel was given that opened my eyes to the importance of the work and my purpose. I also got to see the sisters from my MTC zone! AH! I've missed my sweet Sister Gubler. She's doing pretty well and is currently serving in Cuna! Her companion, Sister "Happy Happy" doesn't speak a lot of English so that's been a struggle for her--but hey! Sister Gubler is learning Idaho. Who ever said Idaho wasn't or couldn't be exotic?! We met with Kenny tonight to work on overcoming his weakness--vodka. We established that his testimony will not progress until he puts the bottle down. Any advice?

Thursday-Today could have been busier and more productive, but it was fun nonetheless. We went to district meeting--that's always....interesting. Then we went to McDonald's. Really y'all. My district has a problem. I can constrain myself from the poison, but Elder Ngatuvai (Nag-too-vie) downs like five McRatchets every time we go. Then we went to Sister Saben's with Elder Hatefi and Elder Reischman to make enchiladas. So basically we ate...just to eat more #firstworldproblems.

Friday- WE TRACTED TODAY WHAT?! It's like pulling teeth to get Sister Ketring to tract but I'd been feeling strong impressions that we need to go tracting at least once a week. We chose to go today. We drove over to Bishop Stratton's neighborhood in 12th ward and parked. A prayer was said and we were on our way. We walked down Tricia St and literally every. Other. Door said, "No Soliciting." We knocked on about seven doors. Three of the seven opened their doors for us. All were receptive to the message of the gospel. First, we met Roxanne, who was a little hesitant to open her door more than a crack, but she was super sweet and as we conversed with her, the fear she had crept away and she put on a smile. She invited us back! A couple doors down is a woman named Samantha. We saw Easter decorations on the windows so we decided to share a message about Christ and the resurrection. She invited us back, too! The last house we found success at was Jaime's. Jaime opened the door and was totally receptive. We bore the good news about Christ and she smiled and said, "I know. Christ is wonderful." We have a return appointment with her so she is now an investigator. Roxanne and Samantha are potentials but I have faith that we'll get them! or at least we will help plant that seed so when the time is right they will come unto the fold. Blessings! Nothing but blessings! We met with Dakota, Dale, and Lisa again and found out that Lisa was baptized during her previous marriage! The reason she became less-active was because her ex-husband didn't wear a tie to church and some women from the ward scolded him and told him not to come back without a tie. OH NO THEY DID NOT! Offense is real and can be the reason for someone's downfall. That's why we should always act out of love and not out of spite like those women did. On the subject of Dakota's ambition to be a preacher, we found out that BYU offers a seminary program and you can be paid to be a seminary teacher. Plus BYU is dirt cheap, SO. He's now considering BYU. BAM. I love that family to PIECES. I got a package from the Beehives today! They are just the sweetest!

Saturday-DeAnne and Tiffany invited us into their home this afternoon. We discussed DeAnna's concerns about Joseph Smith and the first vision. We gave her scriptures in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon that validate and support each other so she can study and come to know of the truthfulness of the gospel for herself as we guide her through the lessons. We committed her to read the BOM and to pray about it. Hopefully she will be receptive to the spirit when He testifies of its truthfulness--that same spirit that led her to Sister Ketring and I in McDonald's just the other week.

Sunday!-I made it through yet another week! Chris and Priscilla and the girls were at church today! They loved it! Everyone was so warm and welcoming to their little family. Chris looked radiant. You could just tell that he could feel the spirit. It was awesome. Priscilla asked me during Relief Society if her girls could serve missions when they're older and I did and internal fist pump! She's thinking long term...yes! I've felt so loved by the members today. Grandma pulled me aside before sacrament and said, "Sister Tyler, I was looking at you the other night and you just glow. You are so radiant and just downright gorgeous." The compliment may have been rendered by an 83 year old, skydiving granny, but it really meant a lot to me as I've struggled with self worth. That compliment was a tender mercy of the Lord. He knew that I needed that today. Mariah Funk, one of the laurels, gave a talk today and quoted me. To be quite honest, I don't even remember what I said exactly, but apparently it was profound and it stuck with her since the night of the youth fireside Sister Ketring and I taught. I wanted to burst into tears having been given the affirmation that I have already touched the life of someone here in Caldwell. Me. Sister Tyler. That was yet another tender mercy. Mariah announced from the pulpit that because of what I said and because of the example Sister Ketring and I set for her and the youth, she is now preparing to serve a mission. How can anyone deny the hand of the Lord when they can see Him working continuously in their lives? After this week, especially, I can never doubt the tender mercies the Lord has granted me. Kenny said something really funny during sacrament. Grandma's phone started ringing after the blessing on the bread, and Kenny goes, "It better be God." GOLDEN. We walked out of 5th ward this afternoon to find our car covered in cards. THOSE ELDERS.

All is well in Caldwell. I am working as hard as I can as a representative of Jesus Christ to bring other unto Him whether they be of another faith, less active, or active. I love being a missionary. I love having the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost and to feel of His power and influence in a way I've never experienced. My mind has been opened more than I thought possible and I am learning so much. I know with the entirety of my being that this is the gospel of Jesus Christ! Have a fantastic week everyone! Remember who you are and whose you are! My favorite little bit of wisdom from my favorite and only of course, Mom! See what I did there? I love you all to PIECES! I miss you BUNCHES!

Love, Sister Tyler

PS. If you're wondering what this so-called "McRatchet" is, it's a McDouble and a McChicken stacked on top of each other. It looks so gross....

Four Weeks Down!

Happy Saint Patrick's Day, y'all!
The wind is FIERCE today. My hair is not agreeing with me, but it's fine<--definite sarcasm. How was spring break? Only two and a half months until summer, right?!
First thing's first, word of the week! Backer: The missionary who stands behind the car while the driver reverses to "guide them out of parking spaces." They often get hit because no one cares or pays actual attention. 
     No worries y'all. I may be the one backing, but my companion actually pays attention...sometimes.
     This week has been QUITE a roller coaster, but it's been very spiritually uplifting. 
My companion and I have made a goal to put forth nothing but our best effort starting tomorrow. Playing has become dominant over work and it's caused us much grief and embarrassment when we reflect on our week and find that we've only taught...I don't even want to tell you how many lessons.
I've prayed so much for a change to occur in our companionship that would allow the desire to work to increase. Let me tell you, I've been praying for the same thing since the first week. It got worse and worse. But then Zone Conference happened and P-Can (President Cannon) passed out a talk by Jeffrey R. Holland entitled, "Teach the Atonement" and he laid down the law---as always. Elder Holland emphasized the importance of the white handbook and work. He said, "When we send you home, we'll say, 'If you want to play, play." That really struck me. I am not here to play. I'm here to work. In addition, one of the missionary recitations came to mine. "Teaching of Ezra Taft Benson." President Benson says, "I have often said one of the greatest secrets of missionary work is work. If a missionary works, [she] will get the spirit. If she gets the spirit, she will teach by the spirit, and if she teaches by the spirit, she will touch the hearts of the people, and she will be happy..." Sister Ketring and I have both been struggling to feel the spirit and I know it's because we haven't been giving our best efforts to the Lord and to our wards. Following Zone Conference, we had a really great talk with each other, and my companion realized that she needs to work. That was such a blessing. 
     So, given my intro to this email, this week hasn't been very productive. We tried to visit less actives and got through to some. In fact, we were sitting at McDonald's one day, and this lady comes up to us and starts talking to us about how she left the church and wants to come back and her daughter was walking her dog and found two sister missionaries.....come to find, it was her daughter Tiffany who we had met two weeks ago, and we tried to visit but no one was home and we didn't have a phone number. So we made an appointment for Sunday to go to her home and talk to her about the gospel. Well, during our 4th hour of church (2 wards, remember?), we get a voicemail from Diana. She had changed her mind about wanting to come to church and called to cancel. Nope. We still went over. She opened the door and talked to us despite the voicemail. She told us her concerns. She used to be a Jehovah's Witness so she has heard MANY things about our church. Her main concern was that if Satan can disguise himself as an angel, that Joseph Smith might now have actually seen God, the Father, and Jesus Christ and that the Book of Mormon is really of the devil. However, I bore witness that the Book of Mormon is good and there is nothing good save it come from God. The Book of Mormon talks about Christ as does the Bible. The Book of Mormon teaches all to come unto Christ. Then, Sister Ketring asked Diana, "What drew you to us in McDonald's the other day?" That question caused Diana to think---to really think. She responded, "I don't know. Something did." And that's when my awesome companion testified that it was the spirit that had lead her to talk to us on Wednesday. Diana realized that she is, and I quote, "in the midst of a spiritual war." It's so true. We are ALL in the midst of a spiritual war. The adversary will NOT claim a ceasefire. He wants to win more than anything, and he will not quit until he does. We always have to be on our guard. We always need to remain close to the Lord. I was so grateful that she acknowledged that. She also agreed to meet with us on Wednesday and to come to church with us next Sunday! Never give up!
     Also, on Saturday, we met a man outside some Elders' house (we were giving them a ride to lunch with the district) smoking, who turned out to be a less active. While we were waiting for the Elders, we approached the man and talked to him a little bit and then invited him to attend church. All it took was an invitation. Elder Fuller and Riley texted us and told us he was at church with them on Sunday. He may not have been a less active in our area and it may not have counted as anything for our companionship, but we still fulfilled our purpose by bringing SOMEONE unto Christ.
     It's amazing what can happen when we are in tune with the spirit. SO many blessings. 
     I miss you all! Have a fantastic week! 
Sister Tyler

PS. I'm sorry Texas doesn't have a Winger's Bar & Grill. It's heaven on Earth. That's all.