Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I love my life

(Note from Sister Spring's mom:  there are 2 weeks of posts this week.  March 27th post was added today.)

Hello Family! Mom and Dad sent me some pictures in their e-mails this week from the celebration...Looks like a good time! We have the best family. (: Good job keeping it a surprise, Grand-ma! (: 
Well, another week has passed by. I honestly do not understand time. It goes much too quickly. This place has become so special to me. At a meeting a couple of weeks ago, our sites director, Elder Edman, was relating an experience he had a few years back. I want to share it with you. Elder and Sister Edman served as the President at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah for a time. There hundreds of new missionaries come each week, and each week hundreds of missionaries depart to their various locations across the world. On one occassion an Apostle and two of his guests came to tour the campus. These guests were women who were very influential in the religious world (I am not sure of their religious denomination..or if they even associated with a certain sect). Elder Edman remembered that they were even on first name terms with the Pope. As this small group was meeting in a room prior to the campus tour, the conversation turned to how these missionaries received an assigned place to serve.  One of the women, a little startled by this information, said, "You mean to tell me they prepare and go through all of this and they do not even choose where they go?" The Apostle humbly responded, "A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to spend a few hours placing a couple hundred missionaries in their assigned location. I did not guess on one of those." I have heard various Apostles relay similar experiences and each time it is a subtle reminder that I am where I need to be. You know stubborn me...I need all the reminders I can get.

It is interesting to think about this process of being called on a mission. These men pray and seek direction from Heavenly Father and place each missionary in the exact mission that they need to serve in.

Perhaps not the one desired by each missionary. Take me, for example. I had two rather specific conditions with Heavenly Father as I accepted His answer to me that I needed to serve a mission. In my mind, and probably vocally a few times, I stated to Heavenly Father, "Okay...I will go on a mission. Just don't send me somewhere cold.  And preferrably not a Visitors' Center." As I have placed my trust in Heavenly Father's decision for me to be here in Ohio, I have found so much happiness. I often reflect on the phrase I heard numerous times from you, Mom and Dad..."Let go and let God." I truly know this is exactly where I need be...with the people I need to be with. He is in charge. (:

Here is a picture of the Kirtland Temple.  Sorry for the delay...I do see it everyday.  This was two Sunday's ago at the Temple dedication anniversary.
  Now to counteract my lack of enthusiasm for the Vistors' Center call in the begginning, let me recount a couple experiences from the last two weeks at the Kirtland Visitors' Center, a place I now LOVE. My duties at the VC primarily revolves around three tasks. 1) Take people on tour of the historic buildings on the sites. 2) Call people all across the world and invite them to learn more about the gospel.

The people we call are people that visitors who came on tour leave for us to call. 3) Answer in-coming phonecalls of people who want to receive a free Bible, Book of Mormon, Finding Faith in Christ DVD, to meet with missionaries...etc. Each of these tasks have required me to stretch a bit outside of my "comfort zone". However, each one of these tasks I have learned to love...most days at least. (: Here are some stories to demonstrate a little bit of what these entail.

1) Tour-Well, how about I just tell you a little about what we do on tour.

As the visitors arrive we greet them and begin the tour in a room with a photo story of the early events in the Restoration. We watch a film about Kirtland. Then comes the fun. There are four different buildings that we usually go through: The Whitney Store, the Whitney Home, the Sawmill, and the Ashery. It is amazing how each tour is different. While we generally relate most of the same information, each is different because the tour is not merely a tour of stories and artifacts. We have an opportunity to share personal experiences and share testimony. Even at the Sawmill...It is incredible. Anyways, I love my life. Some fun tours that we have taken in the past couple weeks...A family of eleven (Emily, Mashaela, Abbi, Crystal, Lizzy, Katie, Cassie, Eric, Braelen, Mom, and Dad), Kilee and Jolan, two deaf women, and a group of about 15 youth visiting from Canada. Just to name a few.

2) Out-going calls. We talk with a lot of people in various countries with different personalities and situations. It was, and still is, pretty scary to me. But I see the miracles happen. One that comes to mind is a young man named Fumil Jalal. I can not remember the friend who left his name but I do know I was a little nervous to call him.

Sometimes I feel invasive. Sometimes I worry I will not have the right words to say. Sometimes I fear rejection. Ultimately, I find confidence as I "Let go and let God." (: The phone call with him was very enjoyable. Excitedly, he accepted the invitation to learn more about Christ through receiving a copy of the Book of Mormon and a visit from the missionaries. I told him I would call in a few weeks to make sure he was able to meet the missionaries and ask how it went.

Well, I called him this week to follow-up. It was a wonderful conversation that lasted approximately thirty minutes. It was much more personal than the first encounter which led to learning a lot about this boy's story.He currently resides in California, but his story begins in Pakistan. He was raised in a Christian family. This did not bring for the most pleasant upbringing. He shared with me the trials he faced daily. One of which was on his trek home from school.

Each day he chose which street he would walk down, knowing that it did not matter because persecution waited on each of them. Other students would beat him up because of his faith in Christ. Through that trial, amongst others, his faith was strengthened in Christ.

Well, his family has been meeting with missionaries and reading from the Book of Mormon. He loves it. Anyways, I love being able to learn from different peoples experiences.

3)Incoming. Here is one conversation I truly loved, paraphrased of course....

Me- "Hello, this is Elizabeth with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. How can I help you?"
Other Line- *silence*
Me- "Hello?.....Hi....Hello?"
Other Line- (quietly speaking...) "Hi...Movie....Jesus"
Me- "Oh..you want the movie about Jesus?"
Other Line- "...yuh..."
Me- (starting to realize that this is probably a child.) Alright, well, what is your name?"
Other Line- (mumbled) "fdjh---ice)
Me- "Pardon? Will you say that one more time for me?"
Other Line- "djhfj-ice"
Me- "Will you spell it for me?"
Other Line- "M-a---r------(struggling to spell his name)...Well, you can just have my 'real' name...Man Man...m-a-n-m-a-n."
Me- (fully confident that Man Man is indeed a child) "Alright Man Man...Is your mom or dad there?"
Other Line- "yuh...let me get him...."
It was a lot funnier in real life. Perhaps I should have saved that one to tell in person. Oops!

I GOT MY "LICENSE" THIS WEEK!!! Finally.  Before being able to drive as a missionary, at least in the Ohio Cleveland Mission, we have to complete packets during our personal and companion studies.  These packets include Role Plays, reading scriptures, journal entries, and various other things.  After completion we then receive our "Tiwi" card in the mail.  Tiwi is a program installed in each of our mission vehicles that monitors our driving.  It warns when we are speeding, driving aggressively, not wearing our seatbelt..etc.
 Anyways, those are some of the things I do at sites. I have the best life EVER!!!!!! (: Sorry for writing a novel....It happens sometimes.

Polly Jones and I.  Joey allllways makes us yummy treats!  Sister Jones and I ate the corners in honor of Sister McAlister (those were her favorites)
 I hope this finds everyone doing well. I LOVE YOU!!!
Sister Spring

Sister Spring's Grandpa Aimo turned 80 on April 1.  She wrote her good friend Amy and asked her to be "Elizabeth" for the party.  Amy is a good friend of the family also, and knows Sis. Spring's Grandparents quite well.  I thought you all might enjoy these photos.  Thank you Amy!  You are a very good sport!!  Brittie Spring (aka "Mom")