Saturday, August 19, 2017

Moroni's Quest (Aislin)

Well, folks. This was the week that basically all of my dreams came true. We had a road trip across beautiful Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and listened to General Conference talks the whole way; I got to see my favorite little town of St. Stephen again and got to have sleepovers with Sister Kilmer, Sister Lefler, and Sister Barlow; I got to see some of my favorite people from St. Stephen who were excited to see me again and made me feel good knowing that I'd made a difference in their lives before I left; I got to be the official photographer for Moroni's Quest and experience the Book of Mormon in a way that I never imagined I would. 

So for people who don't know what Moroni's Quest is, it's kind of like Trek but with the Book of Mormon. There were roughly 140 youth there who all dressed in Nephite-style tunics for 4 days, and participated in various reenactments of Book of Mormon stories together. Basically a dream come true, am I right or am I right?

 After a late night spent binding Books of Mormon up in leather to give to all the kids (and by late, I mean we stayed up 'til 1 AM to do that. WAY past regular missionary curfew), we got up bright and early on Wednesday morning and headed to the campground to help everything get started for the day. I won't give you a play-by-play of the week because that would just take too long. A lot happened! I'll just sum up some of my favorite experiences/thoughts/inspirations/etc.

LEHI'S VISION - So the first day consisted of a few reenactments from 1 Nephi, my favorite being Lehi's Vision (of course). We led all the kids to the Iron Rod (AKA the PVC Pipe Rod) and then presided to tempt them to let go and come get some candied apples at the great and spacious building. The funny part was, we started too early, before they ready for all the kids to make it to the tree, so after we had been trying to get all these kids to let go of the rod we then had to tell them "OK for reals, you gotta let go and head back to the beginning because we have to start over." Obviously, there were a lot of kids who didn't believe us (I don't blame them) and so they stood firmly where they were, with their hands grasping the rod, looking very confused and refusing to budge, no matter what we said to them. At first it may have been a little a little frustrating but then I was like, "Well, it's good to know that these kids have a pretty solid testimony of the Iron Rod." Eventually we got it all figured out and started to let the kids move further along the rod, confusing them even more when we started offering them bright red candied apples if they'd only let go. I felt like a pretty apostate missionary. The whole time I just kept looking behind me at the tree that had been lit up by spotlights and wishing I could be over there instead. I feel like I learned a lot more from being the "bad guy" then I would've if I had been one of the kids holding onto the rod because now I know what it feels like from both sides (even though it was really just a game) and let me tell you, the great and spacious building is so not worth it.

NEPHITE HOUSE PARTY - Wednesday night, after the reenactment of Nephi building the boat, we had a "Nephite House Party" (Brother Cartier, the CES director who was in charge, refused to call it a "dance party" because "there are missionaries here and they're not allowed to have dance parties." haha!). They blasted music from one of the cars and the kids danced and partied for an hour. Then Brother Cartier followed it up with the verse from chapter 18 of 1 Nephi which says,"And after we had been driven forth before the wind for the space of many days, behold; my brethrenand the sons of Ishmael and also their wives began to make themselves merryinsomuch that they began to dance, and to sing, and to speak with much rudenessyea, even that they did forget by what power they had
been brought thither; yea, they were lifted up unto exceeding rudeness." He gave a talk about the need for the ability to "bounce back" from having fun to spiritual matters. Everyone felt guilty for partying after that, haha! But it was an awesome lesson, even if it was a sneaky one.

CAPTAIN MORONI - So even though I was the official photographer, I still didn't know what was going on the whole time. I just went wherever Anita told me to go next! On Friday, Anita told me to head down to the main field because that's where the next reenactment was going to take place. So I walked down there with a few of the other missionaries and when we headed over the hill, I saw Captain Moroni and nearly DIED. OK, not really, but I did yell, "HOLY CRAP, is that Captain Moroni!?" and then ran down the hill as fast as I could to get a picture of him. AH it was so cool! 

THE SAVIOR AND THE LAST BATTLE - The highlight of Friday was, of course, when they did the reenactment of the Savior coming to the Nephites. They had all the kids gathered in the field and then they blindfolded them all. Over loud speakers they played sounds of fire and explosions and thunder and screams and the kids were all freaking out. Then Brother Cartier read 3 Nephi 10:1
"..there was silence in the land for the space of many hours" and then everything stopped. Nobody spoke for at least 5 minutes. It was amazing because you could tell that all 140 of the youth who, only a few moments before were screaming and laughing as they stumbled around blindly, were starting to realize what was coming next and the silence that descended on the field was very powerful. After the moments of silence, the Stake President (the only one Salt Lake would allow to play Christ) started walking up the hill dressed as the Savior. The leaders started taking the blindfolds off the kids who all stood there watching and waiting. He walked up to each one of them and gave all 140 kids hugs. Everyone was crying! I was crying mostly because I knew that I wasn't going to get a hug but also because I knew that when the Savior really does come, I won't be forgotten. After the Savior had hugged all the kids, he called up a young man from each of the "tribes" (the kids were all split into tribes for the whole 4 days, just like trek families) and they all knelt in front of him as Brother Cartier read about the Savior calling His disciples. When Christ left, all the young men headed back to their tribes and bore their testimonies of the Savior and (if they had them) read their mission calls. It was so cool to get to hear the kids' testimonies. One kid was talking about how amazing it was when he first took off his blindfold and was blinded by light until his eyes adjusted, and then the first thing he saw was the Savior walking towards him. 
After the reenactment, I was sitting with a group of kids, listening to their testimonies when Lindsey, a girl from our ward that was until recently a less active, sat down next to me and gave me a hug and cried. After a few minutes she let go and said, "Well, I'm 95% sure now that I want to go on a mission." AH! That made me cry harder than when the Savior came over the hill! Seriously, I punched the air and yelled "YES!!!" and then we both just cried and hugged some more, haha! I'm so excited for her though! She almost didn't come to Moroni's Quest but Sister Barlow and I kept bugging her about it, and now she's preparing for a mission! She got straight to work and talked to Bishop on Sunday.
  
The biggest testimony builder for me was the last battle that takes place in Mormon. This reenactment happened on the last day of camp, the day after the Savior came. We watched the reenactment of Mormon hiding the plates and we listened to the verses. I had just read Mormon right before Moroni's Quest so I had been thinking about it a lot. Mormon's story is just so sad. I was taking pictures of the kids as they split into groups of Lamanites and Nephites. After a few minutes, music started playing and then kids all started screaming and charging at one another, attacking each other with their foam swords. While I watched them battle I thought about Mormon 3:12;
"Behold, had led them, notwithstanding their wickedness had led them many times to battle, and had loved 
them, according to the love of God which was in me, with all my heart; and my soul had been poured out in prayer unto my God all the day long for them; nevertheless, it was without faithbecause of the hardness of theirhearts." 

That was when I couldn't take it anymore and just straight up started sobbing. Even though in real life, that battle didn't take place until 400 years after the coming of the Savior, to me, the Savior had just come the day before, so it really put that battle into perspective for me. And the fact that Mormon loved those people so much and continued to pray for them, he knew that it was hopeless. I can't even begin to imagine what that must've felt like. And we know from Mormon 1:17 that Mormon had been forbidden to preach to the people, because God too knew that it was hopeless. Mormon really was a prophet for our day because God commanded him to write down his testimony not for the Nephites of his time, but for us. For me and for you and for all the people I talk to as a missionary. 
 After the battle, Moroni took the plates and started writing down Moroni 10:3-5, Moroni's Promise. We use these verses all the time as missionaries and after watching the battle scene, I asked myself, "How am I extending Moroni's Promise? Am I being bold enough about it?" Look at what Mormon and Moroni went through to get the Book of Mormon to me, a missionary in 2017! I hope that I can be a more persuasive testator of the Book of Mormon now. 

OK, this is a long email, and I haven't even told you half of it. But here are some of my final thoughts.

I absolutely, positively LOVE the Book of Mormon. It's true. It's SO true! It's meant to help me and you and everyone. It's everything we need to know and we just have to read it! I learn from it every time I open it. I wish I could say more, but time's already up. Please, continue to read the Book of Mormon every day! I love it so much and I love all of you :)

Talk to you later!

Sister Enright

PICTURES:
I gave my camera to one of the elders one day so he could take pictures of me because I knew mom would be sad if there weren't any :)

 Me with my fancy-pantsy camera (I know what I want for next Christmas!)


Same thing

When Lindsey told me she was going on a mission!!!

Me crying because the Book of Mormon is too amazing

Me and Sister Lefler

August 14, 2017 (Erin)

Okay, well I don´t really have a whole lot of time to write all of you, but love and miss you all. This week it has been super hot and I feel like have sunburn on top of sunburn on my face. And it´s not raining in the evenings anymore which makes me super sad. The only time it did was with Hurricane Franklin which apparently hit Veracruz or close and since we´re the next state over we had a good day and a half of super cloudy, rainy weather. Rather a disappointment what with the calls from the elders to tell us that we needed extra water and food just in case. But I guess I´ll get over the lack of a hurricane experience.

Oh so the other night we had a family home evening with some members and the branch president´s wife was giving the message and talked about the Brother of Jared and that he saw the finger of Christ and then eventually Christ showed himself completely to the Brother of Jared. I´ve never thought of this before, but she talked about how he saw Christ with a body of flesh and blood, which at this point Christ hadn´t been born, so the brother of Jared saw Christ as he would become. Interesting no? Still thinking on this part and how it all worked.  

Um............guess that´s it for today. Not super entertaining, but I love you all lots. I´m gonna go home and put my nice new washed clothes away. And I think I´ll go make a pineapple slushie, yum.

Hna Enright

Michael gets the priesthood. (Amik)

Hi family! This week has been pretty good. Sunday was pretty busy. In fact the gospel principles class was the biggest class we have had in a long long time.

We had exchanges Friday with the zone leaders and the first thing we did that morning was go to Muscoy and do service for this less active lady.  We had actually  got in contact with her the week before and previously had no info on her.  But one of the first things she said she needed done when we contacted her was some help getting her yard under control.  So Friday morning we went on over and started using a pair of weed whacker's to start clearing out the yard.  There was much dead grass, which was the main thing that we were taking care off. It took two hours and we still did not get everything.  However, the best part was that she actually made it to church on Sunday Nobody in the ward knew her at all.  So now we had another less active the ward could start working with.  

Anyway, another thing cool thing happened Wednesday.  Normally on Wednesday nights we do our MCM, missionary correlation meeting.  But this time, we had a special kind of MCM  with much of the ward council and we went through the ward list.  We found about 70 names that have moved out and now the ward is
taking action to remove the names from the ward list. Another, thing we noticed is that a lot of people seem to be moving to Texas. About 80% of people moving or have moved went to Texas. Also, this Sunday Michael got the priesthood!  He was the one that got baptized right before Elder Schmid left at the end of last transfer. So he will be baptizing his son next Tuesday.  

Anyway, I also finished Myplan yesterday. It is kind of weird that I will now be moving on into the next stage of my life.  Myplan was such a cool idea, it must be helping so many missionaries.  Also, on a side note, since my Mission president is in the Myplan videos every time he goes to the airport to pick up missionaries.  The missionaries going home, who just watched Myplan, recognize him and he has been asked several times if he would be able to have his pictures be taken with them. He is a missionary celebrity!  Also, I just remembered that in the last email I mentioned how Elder Brown hit his head and was kind of out of it for a while.  Anyway, now he is feeling a lot better and today we went to a grave yard where one of his great grandfathers was buried.
So that was cool.  Anyway, this last week is getting pretty full of appointments, and I still have not written a letter to myself.  I got a departing email a few weeks ago that asked me to write a "heartfelt" letter to myself. And I am supposed to take that in with me to the mission home this Monday.  So I better start get that started soon. 

Also, a few weeks ago we got a referral for a family of four from a visitors center, I think it was the one at temple square, but I am not sure, but it said that they were Spanish speaking so we sent it to the Spanish sisters that covered our area.   However, on Sunday there was this lady that just walked in and was there for all three hours.  Anyway, we talked with her and found out that she was one of the members of that family.  One of the questions, she had, which was confusing her was where her husband was since he  apparently said that he would be coming to church as well.  However, after calling the Spanish sisters after church we found out that her husband went to the Spanish ward, which is at a different building.  So that
was cool.

Anyway, as with must Transfers.  The area seems to be launching right before I leave. But, I am so happy that Michael is going to be able to baptize his son.  That really was one of my main goals this transfer.

Anyway, I just want to leave you with my testimony.  It is short and simple.  I know for myself that the church that Jesus Christ himself established during his earthly ministry is back on the earth. That church was restored by the Joseph smith, a prophet of God and is the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Joseph Smith was given the very same priesthood that Jesus Christ used to establish his church.  The Plan of Salvation, which gives us the purpose of life and the knowledge of what we have to do in this life to return to Heavenly Father is true. That we all are able to change our lives and become who God knows we can be by repentance.  And central to this is Jesus Christ who established his church, took upon himself the role of Savior and suffered for our sins when he performed the atonement which allows us to repent. And  I know this to be true in the name of Jesus Christ amen


-Elder Enright-

 Farewell temple trip with departing missionaries

And lunch!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

August 8, 2017 (Aislin)

  Hello, everyone! This might be a pretty short email. Sister Barlow and I have to leave soon for our 6.5 hour roadtrip to St. Stephen, New Brunswick. Moroni's Quest starts tomorrow!!! Needless to say, I'm a little excited.

  First off. Today is my 6 month mark!!! YIKES, time goes by too fast out here.

  Anyways. Now that I got that announcement out of the way, I'll get on to the more exciting stuff.

  This week wasn't too great for finding. Mostly because we were out of town. We had a two day New Missionary conference on Thursday and Friday. Long, but so worth it. We had a lot of new missionaries this transfer and they didn't really get all the info in the mission home that President wanted them to get, so we had trainings on the mission culture and rules and Preach My Gospel and effective scripture study, etc. It was so much fun! I learned a whole lot and I was so excited to start applying it all into my missionary work. 

  On Friday, we drove home from the conference just in time for a dinner appointment. Afterwards, we stayed a couple hours to help sew our tunics and everything we needed for Moroni's Quest. Now we each have two Nephite/Lamanite tunics to wear for the next 4 days! I'm so excited for Moroni's Quest! It's going to be such an amazing experience and a wonderful opportunity to strengthen the testimonies of the youth in the Maritimes. 

  I wish I had more to tell you this week. The work in Wolfville has been suffering a little with us constantly being out of our area. We had an investigator drop us (over text) last night. It was rough. I realize people have their agency, but I also know that I could've been a better teacher in order to help them lean a little more towards choosing the right. In our new missionary conference this week we learned about having faith the find the elect, and how important it is to not get discouraged when someone drops you, or someone yells at you, or a door slams in your face. You just have to say, "It's OK, because our message is true!" because that's all that matters. If I know for myself that my message of the restored gospel is TRUE, and I proclaim that with every ounce of strength and courage I have, then if someone rejects me, they reject me, but it shouldn't make a difference to my testimony and my foundation of faith. What's true is true, no matter how many people doubt it. This week I want to get better at boldly testifying of the things which I know to be true. #1 I KNOW that the Book of Mormon is the word of God! I know that Christ really did come to the Americas to teach and bless the people here. How could he not have? I love my Savior more than I can say. I remember when I was in primary and we learned about Christ blessing the children, I was so worried that I was going to be grown up by the time the Second Coming happened and Christ wouldn't want to bless me anymore! What an irrational fear that was, haha! I know that Christ loves me, has loved me, and will forever love me, whether I am 6 or 19. What a comfort that is!

  I love you all!!! I hope you all remember this week just how much your Savior loves you! Talk to you next week! :)

- Sister Enright

P.S. One more quick testimony of prayer! Friday night, during my prayer, I asked Heavenly Father to help me laugh a lot the next day and do you know what Sister Barlow and I did all day Saturday? We laughed! I didn't even realize that God had answered my prayer until late that night. Keep in mind that God always answers your prayers and it's so important for us to recognize that and be grateful for it! Laugh lots this week! Love you!


PICTURES!


 Sister Barlow and me


Brother and Sister Bush - I love them so much!

President Pratt on the back of a missionary's planner. HA!

August 7, 2017 (Erin)

Whelp, we went on an adventure today with our district to see some pyramids. I have lots of pictures, no worries. It was super pretty, but so freakin hot! I´m dying of thirst right now. 

Nothing super amazing has happened over the week. We had a branch activity where a total of no one showed up. Just us and the Branch president, haha. So they kindly gave us their pineapple they brought and we canceled the activity. :(  We also had a family home evening Sunday afternoon in our little casa de oracion and the attendance was only slightly better with an extra 2 (young adults whose parents weren´t home so they ended up with nothing else to do). 

Oh, I have a good story. So we´ve been teaching this family of about a zillion people. The one Friday we ended up doing a family home evening with a whole bunch of them that we hadn´t had a chance to speak to yet and that went really well. The same night 3 of our investigadores in this family went to the youth dance that the  district had. They got the kids to dance by giving everyone a paper and the people they danced with had to sign it and whoever had the most signatures won a prize. Well, our investigator won, haha! He teaches dance and does events but I guess he had a blast because he´s in like half the pictures on the facebook page and everything. 

So yeah...we brought fruit the other day so I´ve been drinking shakes made up of bananas, peanut butter, milk, and chocolate powder, which is pretty much the best thing ever. Also I had to buy Mangos because those things are so darn good. Also there´s fruit here called Tuna and it´s pretty good but today I found out that it comes from a cactus plant, which is interesting, But, hey, they literally eat cactus here. It´s not bad. They cut all the thorns off, cook it, and serve it with eggs or meat or onions. Not my favorite thing, but it´s better than chicken feet. 

Oh, so in my Book of Mormon reading I´m in Alma, when he´s having a serious talk with his disobedient son and he starts explaining the Plan of Salvation to him and mentions the whole Adam and Eve story. What I found super interesting is that he mentions the other tree, the tree of life, apart from the tree of knowledge. he explains that once they partook of the fruit and got cast out, God sent angels to guard the tree of life because should they have partaken of this fruit afterwards, they would have lived forever in their sins. I think it´s interesting because in a lot of cultures, there exist stories that mention adventures that people went on to find something that would make them immortal. And I think it would be interesting to find the origin of these stories because technically at one point there did exist a tree that had fruit that would make you immortal. The other part I found fascinating was when Alma is talking about where spirits go in between death and resureccion because at this point Christ had not come and died and risen. But anyways, so he mentions that there is a paradise and hell, or infierno. Here a lot of people (Catholics) believe in heaven or hell and nothing else. And I was thinking about the things that had been lost during the great apostasy because  we believe in this separation too, but it´s not forever. Afterwards comes the resurreccion and then judgement and then the degrees of glory, but I feel like some churches just ended up with this midway point, paradise or hell. It´s interesting no?

Okay, well I´ll send you pictures now. LOVE YOU ALL!

This is part of the huge family we´re teaching. I love these kids, they´re so much fun.
 A really really pretty flower I found.

This is Abish, she´s the branch president´s daughter. She´s so funny and cute and I love her name. We´re basically best friends.She reminds me a heck of a lot of my sister. The other day we were setting up chairs for an activity and she was bossing her dad around, haha. Oh and also she calls her dad, Pa, and I think it´s adorable. 

Skulls

A cool statue thing with another skull. Apparently this culture was super into decapitation and self sacrifice and all that jazz. 

This is an altar of sacrifice (I promise I have more pictures than just skulls)

PYRAMIDS!

Me, Hna Hemming, and Hna Mounts

So pretty.

More prettiness

Another pyramid

My cute little district. Elder Navas, Yo, Hna Hemming, Hna Herrera, Hna Mounts, and Elder Hernandez