Monday, March 28, 2016

Episode 26: The One Where I Have Officially Been a Missionary for 6 Months

Hello! As you can see, I have been away from you for 6 months now. It is kinda weird to think about, because in some ways it seems like I've only been gone a few weeks, but in other ways, I feel like I have been on my mission forever! But it is all good. I love being out here and working in the WA-TAC (Washington Tacoma Mission). Life is so good!

This week was actually pretty hard. We hit a lot of stumbling blocks. But it was also good, because we are not giving up, and I have learned a lot this week about relying on the Lord.

First, there is Katherine and Arthur. The have been scheduled for baptism a few times in the past few months, and something always gets in the way. They are supposed to get baptized this Sunday, but they are still not able to get married for some legal reason I do not fully understand. Also, Katherine went out of town for a week to visit her son, and it is the first time Katherine and Arthur have been apart for more than 12 hours in the past 10+ years. This stressed Arthur out really bad, which drove him to regress in his effort to quit smoking. Like, a lot. He rolls his own cigarettes, and he went from 1-2 per day to about a million (I am not very familiar with weights of tobacco). It is so sad, because they are such an amazing couple, and they are so committed to reading the Book of Mormon and prayer, and they really want to get married and baptized, and it breaks my heart. But, do not worry. We are going to push their baptism back to April 10th, visit them every day for support, and pray like none other that whatever their it is that is stopping them from getting married gets resolved. So, be watching for a baptism April 10th, because I have the faith that it is going to happen.

Then, there was Patty. We actually dropped Patty a few weeks ago because she was not progressing, and we felt like she met with us just because we are nice people and she is lonely, not because she is actually interested in learning about the gospel. But, we felt inspired that we really needed to go visit Patty again yesterday, and so we did. Well, her live in boyfriend (cohabitating is rampant here) was there, and he is a piece of work, to put it kindly. We were just trying to share an Easter message and Invite patty to church, when Carey (they boyfriend) freaked out. Let me draw you a picture here. Carey is probably about 60 years old and has no teeth. He was sitting in an easy chair in sweatpants and rainbow suspenders and a too-small t-shirt. He wasn't saying anything, in fact, I didn't think he even registered that we were there, until all of a sudden he exploded, dropping F-bombs and yelling about the only word of God is the 10 commandments, and the 10 commandments are all you need in life, and all other religion is just what people want to make you do. Patty then got mad at him for yelling at us, and pointed out that he does not follow all of the 10 commandments (hence he is the live-in boyfriend). They argued back and forth until Patty said she had a headache and couldn't take it anymore, and Carey said he doesn't get headaches because he lives the 10 commandments. At that point, we just decided to leave because the Spirit was totally gone. As we were leaving, Patty hugged us and said "Thanks for visiting me. I was feeling like no one cared about me today, and then you showed up". Long story short, if I have go through a toothless guy swearing at me to be in instrument in God's hands and show one of His children His love for them, that's okay with me.

There was something really cool that happened this week though. We met a guy named Alden while we were street contacting. We asked him if he had ever heard of the Book of Mormon before, and it turns out he has read about 1/4 of it, but he didn't even know what it was. He basically just found one and it peaked his interest, but he moved before he could finish reading it. We taught him the first lesson in a park (which was once an insane asylum, but now has the most beautiful view of a hidden little lake), and he loved it. He said he felt really at peace while we were teaching him, and he wants to get baptized. It was a real miracle for us.

Also, this week was Easter, so honestly nothing could be that bad. That sounds like wishful thinking, but it is actually my testimony of the Atonement. Christ went through everything we go through, and he can take away our griefs, heartaches, pains, sicknesses, guilt, and anything else that isn't right in our lives. With His love and help, things may be bad, but they are never permanently bad, and we never have to go through anything alone, because He knows us perfectly, and lived, died, and lives again for us. I would like to summarize my feelings with two scriptures:

Alma 7: 11-13
11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
12 And he will take upon him death , that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their...
13 Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me.

Romans 8: 35 and 37
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation , or distress, or persecution , or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

I love you all, but more importantly, you Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ love you.

Have a great week!


Sister Lemon

Monday, March 21, 2016

Episode 25: The One with the HUGE Service Project

Hello everyone! It has been a great week here in American Lake. Lots of great things happening.

On Friday we went on exchanges with our sister Training leaders, which was fun because one of them is Sister Ireland's previous companion and my fellow Cambodian sister, Sister Johansen. We went with them to a service project that morning. Here is the story:

So, there is a family in some close by area who is moving to Wyoming. They apparently at some point before they knew they were moving chopped down about a million trees and chopped into usable firewood pieces. As you can imagine, they put a considerable amount of work into all that chopping. well, now that they are moving, they don't want to waste all their hard work by leaving the wood behind, so they rented a semi truck to haul it all to Wyoming. They then realized that the semi would not fit down at the bottom of their yard where the wood was, so the process to move the wood into the semi includes the following:

1. Move the wood out of the storage tents into a pick up truck.
2. Drive the truck up the hill backwards, so that the tailgates of the pickup and the semi touch.
3. Take the wood out of the pick up and into the mouth of the semi trailer.
4. Move the wood to the back of the semi and stack it neatly about 8 feet high.

Let's just say we had been asked to help for about an hour, but 3 hours times 12 missionaries later, we were about half way through the copious amounts of wood, when we politely excused ourselves to go take care of our appointments. But it was sunny and warm (It's getting to be Summer here!), so I actually quite enjoyed it.

Also, we had a baptism yesterday!

This is KC. He was taught the gospel when he was in basic training in Georgia, and long story short, we called him and he basically asked when he could get baptized. He's really awesome. The day before his baptism, he woke up at 5 in the morning to do PT, went to work at 9, and had staff duty (which is a 24 hour shift! awake the whole time!), got off at 9 the next morning, and then came to his baptism at 10. So this is KC on about 30 hours of no sleep. But he said baptism was just that important to him.

Another cool thing that happened this weekend was the Lamb of God performance. It is a musical for choir, orchestra and soloists that tells the story of the last days of Christ's life, His death, and His resurrection. It was live at our stake center, and was amazing! The composer felt that no vocalist could ever feel comfortable or sufficient enough to play Christ, so His lines and solos are actually played by a solo cello, with narration when needed. It was beautiful, and the lyrics are so touching. Here is an example.

After the death of Christ, while still on Calvary, but before anyone has seen Him resurrected, Mary (as in His mother) sings a solo with these words:

“Here despair cries boldly, claiming this its victory. Sweeter peace enfolds me: Hope did not die here, but here was given. Here is Hope.”

And then later, after having seen Christ resurrected, Mary Magdalene sings:

“Morning has dawned and will stretch forth her wing. No more the night holds thee his captive, Jesus is risen, my Savior and King. I’ll sing Gloria, glory to the Lord! Gloria, glory for the life he doth give! Gloria for my Savior lives!”

And I don't think those lyrics can get any clearer or more beautiful through my explanations, so I will just say that I feel the same way.

I love you all, and I will talk to you next week!


Sister Lemon

Monday, March 14, 2016

Episode 24: The One with the Blackout

Hello friends! It has been a crazy week. Either all of our plans and our back up plans fell through, and we had to scramble to find something worth while to do, or we had 3 different things that all needed taken care of simultaneously. At one point, Sister Ireland was on the phone with 2 people at the same time. Crazy!

Speaking of crazy, here's my day yesterday. We got up, studied, went to church for meetings, then church started. No lunch, but that's not a big deal. Sacrament meeting was really good. The speakers were a couple that we had dinner with last week, and they are super nice. He served his mission in India and she majored in microbiology. They spoke on the Atonement, and both talks were awesome. Then, as the second speaker finished his talk with "amen", the lights went out in the whole building. Apparently the winds had picked up to 70 mph, and tree branches had knocked out a bunch of power lines. Our apartment was also out of power, so we stayed the night at another companionship's apartment so we would not freeze.

Also, because the power was out, the hot water was also not hot, which was a problem because another set of sisters was having a baptism, and it is no fun to get baptized in the dark in ice cold water. So, they started filling the font with cold water, and then started praying for a miracle (literally). When the font was about half full (and felt like the Arctic ocean), the power came on, but only in the font room and the kitchen, so they were able to fill the font the rest of the way with hot water and add some hot water from the kitchen as well to warm it up. There were lights on for the baptism, but only in the room with the font. Even the hall lights right outside would not turn off. What a miracle!

We have been talking a lot about miracles lately. One of our zone leaders showed us a formula where faith+hard work=miracles, and it is so true. If we only have faith but do not act, we will never be where miracles can happen. If we work hard but don't have faith, we will only accomplish what we ourselves are capable of doing, which is never a miracle. The Bible Dictionary says "Miracles are a part of the gospel of Jesus Christ. If miracles cease it is because faith has ceased". But faith has not ceased, at least not here in the WA-TAC. We see miracles every week, and it is really amazing to be serving here.

Also, the new Easter video came out, and I highly recommend it. You can watch it at or

Well, that's all for this week. I love you all and I will talk to you later!


Sister Lemon

Monday, March 7, 2016

Episode 23: The One with an Army Base

Hello everyone! Happy Monday!

So, I'm sure you are all dying to know about my new area. Well, it is great! The first thing we had to do after switching companions was have my new zone leaders change our tire because it had a nail in it. Then we went to Les Schwab and got it actually fixed. And then I went and got a month long visitors clearance pass to get on base. And let me just tell you, I love going on base! I'm like a little kid, because I love to watch the Apache helicopters take off and land in the airfield. And I feel really official when we go through the gate and they scan my drivers licence. It's the little things.

This ward is also really awesome. The majority of the ward members are young married couples because they live on base. We do have some single soldiers who live in the barracks, and some civilians as well. When we go to dinners, it is kid of like just going to hang out with your friends, because most of the members that feed us are only 2-8 years older than us. There are a lot of kids under the age of ten as well.

We have a baptism scheduled for this Sunday as well. His name is KC, and he actually took all of the lessons when he was in basic training in Georgia, but then moved out here before he was able to get baptized. He is way awesome, and he told us that he doesn't know how the Church could possibly not be true. That's what every missionary wants to hear! The only problem will be if he gets a 24 hour duty shift on the day of his baptism, in which case, we will reschedule it.

We had an awesome day yesterday. It was testimony meeting, which means that anyone who feels inspired to can share briefly their convictions about the gospel. There were lots of amazing stories and witnesses. We had an investigator there, Sarah, who was so touched by some of the testimonies that she was in tears by the end of the meeting. She also told us that she wants to come to church for a very long time, and she is trying to get her boyfriend to come as well.

In crazy stories, we were walking down the 2 blocks of main road in our area (our civilian area is pretty tiny) trying too talk to people and offer to help them with groceries or moving or stuff like that. We talked to this homeless guy, who told us that he read the whole Bible in prison, and now he knows everything there is to know about God, and then proceeded to sing us a song, which was partially about God, and partially about wanting to marry us. He was bragging about his singing voice, which was pretty good, but he has smoked a lot of cigarettes in his life, so he sounded a little bit like a goat. He then burped, gave us a "group hug", and walked away singing another song. We just kind of stood there for a minute, and then busted up laughing.

I want to close with a thought from President Monson. It says "In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are all teachers and we are all learners. To all comes this gentle invitation from our Lord: 'Learn of me … and ye shall find rest unto your souls.'" As missionaries, we do a lot of teaching, but we do a lot of learning to. Sometimes I think I get more revelation out of teaching lessons the the people I'm teaching. But that's the way it is supposed to be. The more we share with others, the more we will receive, which will in turn make us want to go out and share more. How cool is that!

Well, that's all for this week. Have a great week!


Sister Lemon

This is transfer day. It was dumping rain, so everyone is really wet, but that never stops us!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Episode 22: The One Where You Should Never Make Assumptions

Hello friends! It has been a crazy week. I feel like I always start out by saying that, but this week is extra true.

So, today is transfer day, which means the day people get moved around and swap companions, and stuff like that. Sister Rydalch and I had assumed we were both just staying where we are because it made a lot of logical sense and because we have only been companions for 6 weeks. But no!

Here is what happening. Sister Rydalch is staying in the Cambodian area, but she is getting an English speaking missionary right out of the MTC, and training her in our area. Which means I am leaving.

Yes, I am being transferred. I am going to an area called American Lake, which is in the city of Lakewood, which is just outside of Tacoma. I am going to be follow up training, meaning my companion has been out for 6 weeks and is still in the 12 week training program. This is all pretty crazy for a few reasons, namely the fact that (1) I just finished my first 12 weeks (Sister Rydalch was my follow up trainer), and (2) because Cambodian sisters usually don't leave the Cambodian area for at least 6 months, sometimes more, and I have only been here for 3. But I am super excited! American Lake is half civilian and half an army base. We aren't allowed to proselyte on the base, but we can teach people if they are referred by their friends or by the Church's military relations. We are also going to be the family history sisters, which means we work in the family history center hand help new members do their genealogy work so that they can take their family names to the temple.

Anyway, life has been all over the place because of that. I had to pack up all my stuff so that I can move into American Lake, and we cleaned our apartment for Sister Rydalch's greenie to move in. Plus, we were tying to teach Serian (from last week) all the lessons this week because he wanted to be baptized on Sunday. We got so close, but Sundaymorning he texted us and said he had gone out of town and would not be able to come to church that day, much less get baptized, so then we had to cancel all the preparations we had made for his baptism. But not to worry, he is getting baptized this week or next week, and I might be able to get permission to come back for the baptism. We shall see!

Also, our recent convert had her baby. Her name is Chalita and she is adorable.

That's all for this week! I love you all, and I will write you again next week (on Monday!) from American Lake!


Sister Lemon