Monday, March 31, 2014

Letter 22 -- Great week!!

Hello my familia!

So we got a phone number from some other missionaries we were supposed to call. We called K... and explained who we are. Before too long K.... butt in and said,
   K... - "No thanks. I'm not interested. I already know all about your message and I don't need to learn any more. It's not for me.
   Me - "Awesome where did you previously hear all this from?! So you heard about our message of eternal families, the Book of Mormon, and a prophet on the earth today??"
   K.... - "....*silence*.....Well I haven't heard about that stuff."
   Sister Gillins and me - silent laughter on the other side of the phone
   Sister Gillins - "Well let us tell you a little bit more then!"
Hahaha best thing ever. We told him more about Thomas S. Monson and General Conference coming up over the phone. He took down the address and the times and said he plans to check it out this weekend. Let's hope so! See you there K... :)

S....!! Remember S... who came to church and told us it was boring? We have been trying to get a hold of her lately. We stopped by and she didn't seem too excited for us to visit and we told her we would contact her sometime this week. On Tuesday we sent her a text asking when we could come meet. She answered back saying, "I actually had a dream that you two came and visited me on Saturday. Would that work for you?" WOW!!!!!!! So this past week Sister Gillins and I have really been working on recognizing the spirit more in our teaching, and throughout the day. And we felt strongly that that was what we should talk to S.... about. Our lesson with her was easily one of the most powerful and spiritual lessons of my mission. The Spirit COMPLETELY guided us all through. Somehow we went from the spirit, to reemphasizing the Priesthood being restored, to baptism, and so on. Usually a lesson like that, we would leave thinking "wow that was scattered", but it just all fell perfectly into place. S.... expressed so many things from her heart. We helped her understand the importance of church, prayer, reading the Book of Mormon, and SHE helped herself understand the importance of baptism. She said, "I don't know what it is about you two, but you carry such a strong spirit about you. And I actually enjoyed you coming over hahahahahahahahaha" (she laughs alot haha). There were so many points where S... would say something, and Sister Gillins and I would sit there in silence having no idea what to say. When finally a thought would come, or eventually we would just open our mouths and "it would be filled". We left S...'s house and Sister Gillins and I couldn't even remember what we talked to S... about, but the spirit was just enveloping the both of us. Such an amazing experience. I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!

So G.... wasn't baptized on Saturday. A little set back so we are preparing for April 13th. G... is VERY bitter about it. Long story, but PLEASE just keep him in your prayers. All will be well :)

We have a lady in our ward to watches this sweet girl named K... sometimes. K... is 10 years old. She has grown up in a home with a yelling mother who smokes and spends a lot of time working and playing, a split up family, and she herself has gone from being the one who is bullied to being the bully. Oh my goodness just writing this right now, I am having such a feeling of LOVE for her right now. She is so amazing, and so talented, and so giving. No one like her deserves to EVER EVER EVER think she is something less than a daughter of God. She comes to church sometimes with our ward member. Saturday, and yesterday we got to go over and teach her about the Plan of Salvation and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We developed a strong friendship with her, and most of all focused on helping her know that she is LOVED - by us and by her Heavenly Father. The Spirit was so strong. We get to see her again next week!! So excited :)

Sister P...'s son V.... was baptized yesterday. D... CAME!!!! But the thing that stunk is they were late so she missed the actual baptism part... Afterwards we went up to her and told her we were sad she missed the baptism. She said, "I was too! I'll see it next time. Unless it's me that's being baptized!" Haha you will be D....! She's amazing :) She just needs to allow herself to say yes! She is so ready that the ward members forget she isn't baptized already haha. Sometime SOON. That's for sure.

This mission is not only life-changing, but it is FUN!! I am so happy. But there is always just so much more that I know I can do. SO MUCH MORE. Patience with myself. Patience is becoming my middle name :) haha becoming...... but it's getting easier. The more and more Sister Gillins and I work and strive to fulfill our goals, the funner it gets, the more powerful it gets, the more miracles we see. I KNOW this is Christ's church again restored on the earth today. Tonight we have the privilege to be sharing this message with a Seventh-day Adventist missionary and his family. We are stoked :)

Make it a great week! I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!!!

Sister Bodine

Monday, March 24, 2014

Letter 21 -- Elder Bednar!!!

Hello Family!

That is so fun that Brittany came down! What a fun surprise. Thanks for making it safe Birts! And little Archie is gorgeous!! Hahaha Garrett, Gavin is a little spitting image of you it is the cutest thing in the world! That picture of the two little tykes killed me! Jared is famous? I will have to see that video if it is allowed! Jason and Taryn HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!! That is so fun that you got to go skydiving! I will never do that.....

Sister Gillins and I just got in trouble in the library for proselyting - the man we talked to complained that we were trying to convert him. Hahaha woops. We just love talking to people alright?!?! Funny thing is the conversation was pretty much started by him and his friend. Silly people :)

So this week was pretty darn amazing. Sister Gillins hit standards this week which made us so happy since this is our second week together. Heavenly Father truly is blessing His children.

Greatest thing that happened this week is that on Friday night, Sister Gillins and I drove to Toronto to stay the night at some other sisters' apartment. Saturday morning, we got up, got dressed, drove to the Brampton Stake Center to spend 3 straight hours with Elder Bednar, and a member of the presiding Bishopric, and two members of the seventy (I know it's horrible I totally forgot their names). All I can say is OH MY GOODNESS. I have been diagnosed with a sickness since I've been on my mission called "Spiritual Headache". It usually happens at zone conferences and trainings - when the spirit is so strong and I cry so much that it just drains me. Well it was bad this time. Elder Bednar is the most magnificent teacher I have ever listened to in person (besides my daddy of course hehe). The thing that was so great about it, was it wasn't a three hour lecture of Elder Bednar talking and us sitting there listening. The whole purpose was to teach us how to teach by observing, listening, learning, and knowing. He engaged us the whole time. We were asked to study three of his talks in preparation for the past month, and so he would ask people in the congregation to stand up and say what they learned in their studies. He would then take that comment and focus his comments on that. It was amazing. The only regret I have is at the beginning, he told us to write on our "small plates" not our "large plates" and I took that to heart so much that I barely wrote a thing haha. My eyes hurt at the end of it all because I was just fixed on him and everything he was saying. It was miraculous. The ENTIRE mission was able to come (which is unreal here because of how big our mission is). We had lunch after and reminisced. We got a four generation picture with Sister Gillins, me, Sister Mendenhall, and Sister Raymer. It was great! That will be an experience that I will never forget. And it really opened my eyes to a new way of teaching. Now we just need to APPLY it!!

So G.... is getting baptized this Saturday :) We are SO EXCITED FOR HIM! As of last week, he wasn't doing well at all. He was depressed, unable and unwilling to keep commitments, not coming to church, complaining about things, doubts galore. Sister Gillins and I were working so hard on knowing what to do for him. On Monday night we met with him and based our lesson on some pieces in Elder Bednar's "Converted unto the Lord" talk. It was pretty much a throw down, intervention lesson. We told him straight up what the problem was, what he needed to do, what the outcome would be. There was no fluff in the conversation. The spirit was SO STRONG. Easily one of the most amazing lessons I have experienced on my mission. It really seemed to click in G...'s mind what he needed to do. He hasn't smoked or drank coffee since Tuesday, he has read from the Book of Mormon and prayed every day, and he came to church for the full block. At church he introduced himself and told everyone that he was being baptized on Saturday!! Woohoo!!! Please please please keep him in your prayers. He is doing so amazing right now and we can just SEE the happiness and the change taking place in him. It is amazing.

Sad news. K... lost his job unexpectedly. They layed him off on Tuesday night, he lost his phone because it was supplied by the company. So Wedensday he had to leave for Toronto by noon to go find another job. He bused over to the A...' and the P....' houses to say goodbye and called us to say goodbye, but we were studying and didn't answer it.  He loves this gospel and it has brought him so much happiness in ways he never would have guessed. I know God will continue to be there for him.

We have been teaching K... and P... right now. K... is golden. Let me tell you briefly about P.... From what we know about him, he hasn't had a Christmas outside of jail for 18 years, he has frozen almost to death on the ground in the winter, shot several times, beaten to the point that his heart has stopped beating. Ripped apart by dogs, stabbed multiple times, and mine and Sister Gillins favorite..... he can stare in the sun for five minutes without burning his eyes, and he can snort up pepper without sneezing. We came to know all this while teaching the first three lessons. How? It will always remain a mystery... haha and from what we can tell, it is all true because he has a nasty scar for every story. Why did we ask him to show us his scars? We didn't.. It was completely against our will.. Oh P... :)

Well that's all I have time for but miracles are happening here! I LOVE my companion so much. I LOVE this area. We WILL see miracles here. And we will keep working as hard as we can. Make it a great week and I love you!!!!!

Sister Bodine

Monday, March 17, 2014

Letter 20 - SAY WHAT?!!??!

JARED AND APRIL BODINE ARE FOR REALS ENGAGED!?!?!??!! Hahaha I am sitting here in the library right now, people all around, bawling my eyes out. BOOYAH!!!! WOOPEE!!!! OH MY GOODNESS!!!!! I'm still bawling. Haha I am so excited for you guys. Wow that is so amazing. I have no time so please know that I am so excited for you~!! Thanks for telling me. April thank you for the picture I loved it!!!
So my new companion is Sister Clarissa Gillins from Herriman Utah. And oh my goodness she is amazing. I feel so honored to be able to teach with her. Even after our first week we are working so well together. We are setting goals like crazy. Trying new things. Talking with everyone. Our lessons have been going great.This is going to be such a great transfer. I love being the designated driver but I am so sad to not be in charge of the phone anymore. Haha I LOVE talking to people on the phone. Sister Gillins is a great teacher. She is really shy and talking to people on the street is pretty hard for her - so we are working on that of course :) But the Lord has blessed us with so many amazing experiences this week!

First full night, we went to drop by a less-active's home. We saw an older couple shoveling and we went over to give them a break. R... loves to read and we told her and J... that we have an amazing book we would like to show them ;) hehe. They took the Book of Mormon and we are meeting with them this week. We had about five minutes until we had to leave so we picked another house and knocked. I told Sister Gillins that she would be taking the lead and I would support. She was tongue-tied haha. She tried to explain the Book of Mormon and just was not able to get her thoughts out. However, I felt the most amazing peace as Sister Gillins was talking. The spirit was SO STRONG despite her inability to speak, and finally the woman at the door said "It's okay, it's okay. I will take the Book and read it." Haha Sister Gillins and I looked at each other with a smile handed her the Book of Mormon - taught her a little more about our church and left. It was the perfect example of the Lord working through His two imperfect daughters :)

I finally got to meet Sister Waldron from Clifton, Idaho! We stayed the night at her and her companion's apartment before we went to pick up our new companions. She is wonderful! So cute and full of light. It was fun getting to talk to her.

Haha great experience! So remember the Chinese girl named Z.. we taught several weeks ago? Sister Gillins and I were in the same building that Z.. lived in. We saw a really nice Chinese girl with her boyfriend and my first reaction was to yell, "Z...?!?!" Hahaha this poor Chinese girl was freaked out. She had no idea who I was. She was not the Z... we had taught. But her reaction was "How did you know my American name was Z...?" hahahaha her name is Z... too!! We had to leave so we gave her our card and ran away laughing at the funny coincidence. Later that day we get a text from a random number saying "Hi. I still don't know how you know my American name, but I would love to be friends." we scheduled an appointment and met with her and her boyfriend. We asked her and M... what they hoped to get out of this visit and they answered that they wanted to learn more about God and maybe even join our church?....... WOW!!! Not what we expected, but yest M... and Z..., you are more then welcome to join our church :) They were so amazing and the spirit was so powerful as they prayed for the first time. They were soaking up EVERYTHING we were teaching them.

K... S.... has been FEASTING on the Bible for 20 years now. And when we gave him the Book of Mormon to read, he held out both arms, eyes fixed on the Book as though it were a new born baby. haha as we taught him he kept saying things like, "AH!! If only you knew how awesome it really is that you are giving this Book to me! Just imagine someone coming up to you and saying 'Hey God has another book you can read' and you can read it!" he is so excited. The first time we met with him he didn't want to go to church because he has panic attacks. After reading from the Book of Mormon, he committed to baptism, coming to church EVERY week, reading and praying every day, and I for reals believe he will do it. He is stoked. Sister Gillins and I have been using a different method to teach people about the Book of Mormon and we LOVE it!! It has been working so well to get people excited to read it. AH I JUST LOVE MY LIFE SO MUCH RIGHT NOW!!!!!

I gotta go but I loVe this work! I love you all! Keep your standards and make it a great week! My eyes hurt from crying so much. Thanks a lot April and Jared?!! ;) haha Make it a great week!

Sister Bodine

Monday, March 10, 2014

Letter 19 -- "You have to have faith in the impossible - like me being here!"

Hello Family!

Awesome news here in the London 1st ward area. Sister Mendenhall is going to New Market to serve with Sister Adams, and I am staying in London 1st and training! We are both so excited :) I am stoked. What a humbling experience. My new companion and I are going to go CRAAAAAZY here in London!!

So many great things happened this week. I will try to fit in as much as I can.

First off, do you remember A...? The man I talked to while emailing in the library who was GOLDEN? So he is YSA and this week we brought the YSA sisters to teach him with us and pass him off to them. The sisters got there and Sister DeRuvo yells "B...?! How are you? What are you doing here?" A.... looked shocked and disoriented. Turns out A...'s real name is B..., and he is a less-active in the YSA ward. We are pretty sure he is a little autistic. All the missionaries in our area know him because he calls them or finds them on the street and asks them for a Book of Mormon. We are the first people he has introduced himself as A... to, isn't that crazy? He really liked us and was devastated that we couldn't teach him any more. Haha no wonder he always had the PERFECT answer to EVERY question we asked. So funny :)

Also, do you remember S...? The lady we taught the Restoration to through the door? We have dropped by her house over and over again for the past couple months and can never get a hold of her. We were in her area, and saw a Jamaican lady walking down the street. We yelled hello to her, and as she answered we KNEW it was S.... Hahaha we yelled "S...?? Is that you?!!!? We found you!!!!" hahaha we didn't really think that one through because she looked at us with like terror in her eyes. We introduced ourselves to her and she got so excited. We talked with her on the street for 45 minutes, committed her to baptism, and gave her a Book of Mormon. She couldn't believe herself that she was actually listening to us, and even more she couldn't believe that she accepted out invitation to come to church. She was the only one of our investigators to come this Sunday, but no worries! S... came :) Sad thing is she didn't like it at all. She thought it was boring..... just you wait S... :) Haha we were talking about faith in Relief Society, and the teacher asked what people had faith in. S... blurts out "You have to have faith in the impossible. Like me actually being here!"

While we were talking to S..., a man walked up with his dog. He was really friendly, saw we were from the church and said he would love for us to come and visit some time. We started taking down his information, asked for his name. He asked Sister Mendenhall what her name was, and when he saw she wasn't going to give him her first name, he blew up. He couldn't believe that we would ask people for their first names and we would keep ours confidential. We had no time to explain why we go by Sister - He said "forget it" and walked away laughing his head off in disgust. The three of us stood there in silence for a minute in shock of what just happened. Finally S... said "I told you men were crazy" hahah. A little while later he came back and apologized for being rude. And as we were explaining, he blew up again about it and walked away even more frustrated then the first time. He was just having a bad day :)
      Something else that was awesome about this experience is we were about to go to our car to leave when I heard the sound of a shovel and had the feeling to go and talk to whoever it was behind the fence in their backyard. So we went and talked to A.... for a while. All in all he didn't seem too excited about it all, but it was right after we were leaving that encounter when we came across S...! So if we had not followed that prompting then we most likely would never have ran into S...! I love this work :)   

G... is doing AMAZING!!!! This is his fourth day with no cigarettes. Heavenly Father really blessed him by allowing him to get sick so that cigarettes was out of the question for a little while. He has such a motivation to get baptized that he has been reading the Book of Mormon, no coffee, no cigarettes, he got a new job, and he has been focusing all his time on helping Brother Palladino and his family stay in the Canada. G.... wasn't praying every day, but with this new desire to help Brother Palladino out, he has been praying every day for their family. We committed him to prepare for March 30th, giving him more time to show his commitment to come to church and for reals quit smoking. We're excited! We haven't told him Sister Mendenhall is leaving yet and we are a little nervous to see how he reacts. But he's been doing great so we hope that his increasing testimony in Christ will help him overcome his greater testimony in the missionaries..
     Also, WE GOT TO MEET G....'S PARENTS!!!!!!!! We weren't sure what to expect because G...'s description of them. They are the cutest, sweetest little couple. We loved getting to talk to them and believe it or not, they are new investigators!! We are stoked.

On Wednesday we had some extra time to go where the Lord wanted us to go. For several weeks I felt that we should go to two different places on the map. We prayed about it and both felt that we should go to Grenfell. We drove there, got out of the car, and the first people we met were a complete answer to our prayers. D... has been looking for a church that has a really great kids program for her daughter C.... boy did we have good news for D...!! Not only is our good news that the Primary program in our church is amazing, but we were able to testify that this church is TRUE!!! We're excited to teach them.

If anyone would like to donate a bus to the London 1st ward they are more than welcome to. Haha because every prepared person we meet and teach doesn't have a car and the bus doesn't go near our church on Sunday mornings. The most exciting days are calling up the small number of ward members with cars to see who can pick up who. And I'm serious when I say they are the most exciting days. I absolutely LOVE calling people, and Saturdays are so stressful it is so much fun. Haha Sister Mendenhall thinks I'm ridiculous.

In our first transfer, we met a Cambodian lady who referred us to her son L... , but she gave us the wrong address. On Monday, we were talking with another Cambodian we had just met and he referred us to his friend L... (same person!) with the right address!! So we went and visited him and he LOVED it. After our first lesson, we asked if there was anything we could do for him and his family and he said to "just keep coming!" You got it L... :) Heavenly Father was truly looking out for him by putting all his family members and friends in our path!

K... accepted a baptismal date! He decided his own date, for August 17th - a time when his wife would finally be in Canada and she could attend church with him a couple times before. We know it is a ways away, but he is so excited and we know it is the best thing for him and his family's situation.

So many wonderful experiences. I am so happy. I know this gospel is true. I am so grateful to have served my first three transfers here with Sister Mendenhall. I am SO GRATEFUL for everything she taught me. And I feel honored and excited beyond all reason to get to teach, lead, and guide a new missionary into this new experience. Please pray for me and us!! haha. Please don't waste a single day. This life is too precious and too wonderful to miss any opportunity to be happy. Choose now. Choose today :) I love you all! KEEP YOUR STANDARDS!!!

Sister Bodine

Monday, March 3, 2014

Letter 18 -- Hey everybody!

Hello Family!!
Things are going great here in London. Transfers are next week! We guess that I am going and Sister Mendenhall is staying. We shall see! I would be beyond happy either way :)

Zone Conference was this week and oh my goodness.... that is all I have to say. Heavenly Father knows EXACTLY what we need in our lives. He is mindful of all His children and He knows when and where to answer our prayers at the perfect time. I am so grateful for the things that I learned. I had what I like to call the "spiritual headache" where the spirit is so strong that it just drains you and you have a headache from crying so much haha. The testimony meeting of everyone who was leaving was miraculous.

So the teaching is going great! We had an awesome lesson with G... this week about bearing a simple testimony because he wants to bear his testimony at his baptism and had planned a whole eloquent novel to read for it haha. We invited Brother and Sister P... to come with us. Brother P... is a convert to the church - he has never been able to keep the Word of Wisdom even when he was baptized and he has always been in and out of the church. They both have been called as ward missionaries and Brother P....'s whole perspective of life turned upside down. The first sacrament meeting  of the year he went up and bore his testimony. Ever since he was called, he has come to church every week! We have been working really hard with them both getting them to help out, but Bro P... would never come teaching with us. Finally he came! He did such an amazing job. We invited them both to bear their testimonies as an example, and right as Brother P... began to speak, a spirit filled the room. It was so powerful. I love this mission in that not only are we able to strengthen people who are not a part of the church, but we are able to strengthen those that are within! Brother P.... promised G... that he would stop smoking if G.... stopped smoking so we were happy about that!
     As a missionary it has been killing me because I just feel that there is more that we can do to help G.... But we have been doing so much. Sometimes it seems like too much and it seems like we are babying him with all the help. That won't do him any good because we will be gone sooner or later. We have worked a lot of getting members involved and they have been reaching out, and he is slowly accepting it (he didn't at all at first). We will see. Just keep praying for him.

I have been LOVING asking for referrals lately. I've been trying different ways to ask for them, and most of them haven't worked out hahaha but at least we are coming up with different ideas.
I LOVE YOU ALL!!! I hope you have a great week! This gospel is true! Someday, I will learn to type faster so I can write more in my time slot haha sorry! Keep your standards!!

Sister Bodine