Monday, February 23, 2015

Cabin Fever

(This nice lady in town who loves missionaries gave me a free haircut and ombre. The ombre is back, baby!)

Well, I didn't realize how much I loved missionary work, until this week. I mean, I thought I loved it, but when Tennessee has an ice storm, and all is shut down, closed and dangerous, and your apartment walls are all that you see for days, you come to find out, how much you LOVE missionary work!

Oh my, so Sunday night, the temperature dropped, and the roads were covered with 2 inches of solid ice. No...not just snow, like I thought. Snow is fluffy and soft. This was like walking on an ice skating rink, only it was real life. So, we were told we couldn't drive, but that was okay because our car was frozen under a thick layer of ice. (WE HAD TO CHISEL OUR CAR OUT). And then we couldn't walk on main roads....too bad we don't live in our actual proselyting area, and have to cross two major highways to get we got stuck inside.

Golly, I can't even explain, it was the most mentally trying thing. Thinking of more and more things to do. Trying to stay sane and not get annoyed with your companion. Not because she is annoying, but just because you have been trapped in the same apartment for days on end. And I became so sleepy, all the time, and I wasn't even doing anything. And so hungry, all the time, and I wasn't even burning any energy. It was like walking into the Twilight Zone of mission life. My comp and I compared it to, getting stuck in Spirit Prison, where we know the gospel is true, but we don't have bodies, and can't be baptized for ourselves. We ARE JUST STUCK!!

Our theme song changed from "Let It Go" into "STOP THE SNOW! STOP THE SNOW! The Cold is bothering me right now!" Ha ha. We made too many music videos to church songs, and played Candy Land, and Life, and Jenga. I think I have seen every church movie ever made. I read the scriptures too a lot more, which was a blessing. The scriptures really did keep me sane. 
A couple of the fun adventures:

On the third day, we bundled up and went in 0 degree windchill weather, balancing on icy roads, down to Dollar General and Goodwill to do some store contacting. Although, it wasn't as fruitful as I would have hoped, I learned that outside air is necessary for happiness. It was like my brain started functionally normally when I got outside. Ah, the blessing of that cold cold adventure.

On the fourth day, the roads were decent for members to drive, and so we had them drop off us off in Downtown Franklin and we walked around trying to see some people. It was a whole different icy world. No one was outside, and though we were hoping for pity and people to let us in, everyone looked at us like crazies..."You girls need to get home, it is too cold for anyone to be outside right now!!" But it was an adventure. I learned that I love rocking the crazy Mormon style. We walked along a major road, up a hill, and it was like we were in a museum glass case, and everyone was looking at us, like the newest craziest piece of art. At the beginning of my mission, I wanted to die at these moments. Hide. Duck. Jump under a bush. But now, I relish in them. Hey, we are representing Jesus Christ, and just trying to help people, and if that is weird, than hey, I want to be weird. It was hilarious!!

Finally, on the fifth day, we got to DRIVE and cooked dinner for our cute little single ladies group full of less-actives and recent converts. It was TOTALLY AWESOME!! It is so fun to hear friends laughing, and fellow-shipping and such. I never knew how much fun cooking could be too, and serving others. It made the whole week to get to do something like this. I am so truly grateful for those who love the gospel and love other people. And just getting to be out with REAL PEOPLE!!!

Sunday came and church was cancelled because there were still some bad roads out there, and oh my, I wanted to cry. Before my mission I would have thought, woohooo--DAY OFF!! But when we got the call, it was like my whole heart broke! I thought, how am I going to get the sacrament? How am I going to be renewed? I was so grumpy this week, and now I can't wash that away!! Darn it! But we were able to drive and we got to see lots of awesome folks. In fact, the Senior Sisters even made me Korean Bulgogi without beef, and it was sooo good. With some Chop Chey! I love Korean food.

My spiritual experience of the week was being able to take an hour to pray. I have never prayed for a straight hour, at least on purpose. I have never tried. I was a little nervous, but I thought, I can talk to other people for days, but somehow when I talk to God, my conversations  can  be rushed or short. Why is that? So, I went in the study room and just prayed out loud to my Heavenly Father. It was such a neat experience. I felt like God was my best friend, and I was just telling Him all I was thinking about, and all I was grateful for, and what I felt like my mission has been to me. It was so freeing, and natural, and the hour flew by. I was shocked. I am so grateful for that experience, and I hope that I can take more time to just talk to my Heavenly dad.  

So, I learned extremely important lessons....
1. I love missionary work and I never want to go back to real life. ha ha
2. Sometimes, the Lord throws unexpected stumbling blocks at ya, and you have to deal with them and find happiness in them . . . I kinda failed at that, but learned it at the end of the week.
3. Outside air is the most important thing to have a healthy mind. 
4. Ice is my worst enemy.
5. It is nice to have time to pray. 
Well, folks, I sure hope I will get to work this week. I don't know if I can do that again, but if it be the Lord's will, hey I will sure try to be less grumpy this time!! 

The Tennessee shut down of 2015 . . . its a real thing!!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Instant answers don't produce lasting testimonies

This has been a weird day because it snowed hard -core here in Tennessee--well, a few inches--
but everything is shut down because of it. We are snowed in, and it's been a fun adventure. 

This week has been full of tracting, finding and organizing. And the Lord threw
 a few little miracles in our path here and there!

We were also able to tract into a lady who we had met a week before at a
 fancy service opportunity. Out of all the places in Franklin, we found
 her home, and she was so excited to see us that she let us right in. Divine
 intervention! It was a fun little tender mercy.

 The last couple of weeks we felt prompted to heart attack some of the
 members in our Ward that might be needing some uplifting. Heart
 attack, meaning putting hearts on their doors. So, this one lady,
 I adore her, is one of those spiritual giants, that you just want to be like. 
We felt like we should put some hearts on her door, and this week when
 we went to see her, she told us the coolest thing. So, she had a bad
 night, and was just trying to hold back tears. The next day she
 decided to try and be productive, and cut hedges in front of her
 house. While doing that, she was overcome with sadness, and just
 started crying, and as she rounded the corner to the front of her house, she
 saw hearts all over her door. She said, she couldn't believe it, and
 it once again, solidified to her that God knows her, and He is looking
 out for her. I was so touched when she told us. I never would have
 intended that to be the result, but the Lord had a plan for her. She
 looked at us, and told us to NEVER IGNORE A PROMPTING. I learned in
 that moment that the Lord knows more, and we just need to trust him
 enough to act, which is the hard part. I want to be better at
 following promptings. 


 This week, I also got asked to give a 5 minute talk in church about a
 time, I had to overcome a trial of my faith. I thought, ah, such a
 personal subject, and I think it's hard to admit moments where you
 have struggled or doubted your faith. I prayed and prayed about
 what to talk about, and I kept thinking about gaining my testimony of the
 Book of Mormon. So, since it's been on my mind, I thought I would
 share it with you.

Since I was about 12 years old, I have read the Book of Mormon every day,
hoping to gain a strong testimony of it. Now looking back, I see specific
answers to my prayers, but at the time I didn't. I would always wait until I got 
to the end of the Book of Mormon and read Moroni 10:3-5, then kneel 
down and ask God if the book was true. I was so nervous, anticipating 
a certain feeling or response, that somehow I always missed my answer. 
At least, that's how I felt. 

So, time went by, and I read the Book of Mormon over 10 times. Each time again, 
I would kneel and wait for the moment when I would have a revelatory experience. 
My nerves and my  doubt hindered my faith. But I continued on. I knew that Jesus 
was the Christ, and the Book of Mormon testified of that. I knew I had received 
comfort and blessings in my life from reading it. And as time past, I felt
impressed to serve a mission even. And so I moved forward with that.

 When I got to the MTC, I felt the doubt start to grow in my mind. All the
 times I felt like I hadn't received an answer after reading Moroni's
 promise . . . it started to bug me, like "why didn't I deserve an answer
 to my prayer?" And I remember praying so hard one night, committing to
 fast because I needed a testimony of this book in order to teach the people 
in Tennessee. My heart desired to know sooo badly! Probably
 more, than I had ever desired to know before.

 The next day the lesson in class happened to be the Book of
 Mormon. I remember as the teacher was speaking, thinking,
"Help me! I need to know!" And during our personal study time, the teacher 
came up to me and said, "I felt like I needed to come and study with you
 today." I have never felt so strongly like the Lord was right there
 with me. I told her my concern, and she opened up the Book of Mormon
 to 2 Nephi 33:10-11.

 10: And now, my beloved brethren, and also Jew, and all ye ends of the
 earth, hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye
 believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe
 in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of
 Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that
 they should do good.

 11 And if they are not the words of Christ, judge ye--for Christ will
 show unto you, with power and great glory, that they are his words, at
 the last day; and you and I shall stand face to face before his bar;
 and ye shall know that I have been commanded of him to write these
 things, notwithstanding my weakness.

 The Spirit hit me so strong. I have never felt it like that in my
 life. I couldn't deny the power of the Holy Ghost telling me, that
 yes, this book that I loved, that I had read faithfully, WAS TRUE.
 I've never felt so much peace and joy as I did that day. I was
 skipping around the MTC, just so full of joy, knowing that every
 moment I spent to find out if it was true was all worth it.

 Pondering back on this experience a year later, I realized a couple of
 things. First, that's it's okay to not know, and to have questions, as
 long as we seek God in finding our answers. We cannot say, I never got
 an answer so I'm done . . . then you are right, you will never get an
 answer. We have to continually act on our faith, and when we need the
 answer most, it will come.

 I also realized that it's important to pray to recognize the answers
 to our prayers. I feel like I didn't know, just because I wasn't open
 to knowing in any other way, than with Moroni's promise. I looked over
 the Spirit I felt, as I read it daily. I looked over the person it
 helped me become. Oh, my pride, it surely gets me every time.

 And the last thing, I learned was, my prayers are usually not answered
 as fast as I would like. I think I pray sometimes, like I am typing my
 question into the Google search bar, expecting an instant answer.

Instant answers don't produce lasting testimonies. 

True conversion takes time, and so we need to be patient with ourselves. 
It doesn't mean God is not listening, or we are not worthy, it just means 
we have to have faith, trusting and growing continually.

 Looking back, I wouldn't change my story, even though I was kind of
 embarrassed that it took me so long to receive/recognize my answer. So
 I don't tell it often, but I'm learning that it's more important to
 say what would please God, and not what would please men.

 Wow, that was a lot, but I want to bear my personal witness, that I
 know that the Book of Mormon is true. And it means the world to me.
 Our personal journey to gain our testimonies, is the most important
 journey we can ever embark on in this world. (1 Peter 1:7)

Here are my photos from the week: 

Friday, February 13, 2015


What a wonderful week! A crazy wonderful week. It was filled with ups and downs, and exchanges, and miracles. I'm just going to try to keep it short and sweet this time though!

Most of the week, we were setting things up, for one of my all-time favorite people, NYJOD, to get baptized this Saturday. There was opposition, just like all good things, but she was determined, and her and her son, Warner walked into the church Saturday with big smiles on their faces. Ah, it was such a spiritual day. Usually I feel the Spirit at baptisms, but this time I was filled with the Spirit of JOY!!! All week, I was just excited, and Nyjod and Warner's baptisms were just such a happy event. It truly was. 

They came in and got all dressed in white, the Relief Society room was full of people, and the service went great. We walked Nyjod back into the baptismal font, while all the kids, crowded around the glass. It was so special. She gave me a big hug, and kiss on the cheek, and went down into the water. She suprised me, she went straight back, so gracefully into the water. It looked like she had complete faith and trust in the Lord, and her baptismal covenant. And when she came out, she said, "HALLELUJAH!!!"" With all the Southern in me, I wanted to shout HALLE--FREAKIN--LLUJAH!!!! 

She came out so happy, and filled with JOY!! Literall Joy, I can't explain it. And then we stood next to her, and she watched her son, Warner go down into the water, and when he came out, she yelled, "Hallelujah Warner. I love you" It was so touching. Everyone had tears in their eyes, ah, she just kept saying, "I feel AWESOME!! I could cry I am so happy!"

Such a tender moment, ah, it is just so special when someone fights the opposition, against all odds,and through trials, to come unto Christ. And now, as the Mom of 9 kids, she can lead her family to happiness once again. One of the professional singers, sung "I Stand All Amazed" at her baptism, and the Spirit just flew in even stronger. 

And Sunday morning her family all came in, sat together on a row, and got to watch their Mom and Warner receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. I truly admire this lady's dedication to her family, and love for God. She has taught me so much about the true meaning of life, and what it means to have the gospel in your heart. Thanks Nyjod and Warner for letting me watch such a miracle. That's the coolest thing about missionary work, we just watch the Lord change people, and it strengthens us. 

Sister Dixon

Another miracle of the week: Transfer calls came in and I get to stay, and I get to stay with my companion....both things that NEVER happen to me. I am so grateful and feel so much peace in my heart about it. I still have work to do and things to learn. This week taught me, that the GOSPEL brings JOY. Even in the worst of circumstances, it's what we know in our heart that brings a smile...even if it's a little one. 

Shout out to my cousins.....SEAGLE POWERS!!!!

Love y'all

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Blast from the Past

Elder Jaros, Elder Barton, Elder White, Elder Wright, Sister Talbert, Sister Allred

I would probably call this week a whirlwind of awesomeness, sickness, and what-the-heckedness. It was just such a mixture of normal missionary work, seeing old people from past areas, and people partaking in ORDINANCES for salvation. It was ridiculously awesome. And since there is so much, I am a little bit overwhelmed thinking about how to tell to it y'all. Let's see how it goes:

To start off, I have served in 6 different areas around Tennessee, and somehow this week I managed to see someone from each area....that has never happened...and probably won't ever again. On Monday I was on an exchange with my Spanish soul sister, and I got to eat dinner with my unexpected friend, Courtney who is from Jamestown. 

The wonderful Courtney Delk

I had only met her twice in real life before, but somehow we have just clicked, and she was a tender mercy from the Lord when my grandpa passed, and so it was a sweet experience to get to see her again. We ate at a Southern burger place, and I ate a hamburger, with a burger, plus pork, plus coleslaw, plus baked beans, plus pickles....all in the burger. I thought half of it was going to be sides, but the Tennessee way prevails, and oh do I LOVE IT!!!

And then, Tuesday and Wednesday, we worked hard, but reaped only some successes. But we wore smiles, and hey, that made me a happy camper. And by Thursday morning, I was out on an exchange in the country, which is MY PLACE. It is a town called Hohenwald. Two missionaries were murdered there 130 years ago, and they just had their first baptisms last month in 130 years. The cute sister I went on exchanges with has only been out for five weeks, and boy did she give me the greenie fire. Somehow, by divine intervention, we ended up tracting, get this, Carl Tatum road. 

No joke. Not going to lie, most pumped tracting day of my life. At the end of the night, we were teaching the Restoration to a recent convert again, and I pointed to Sister H, and said, "Now, she is going to tell you Joseph Smiths Story." And there she went on, bearing strong testimony, putting her whole heart into it. It was so sweet, and the Spirit was so powerful. And when we got into the car, at the end of the night, she said, "OH MY GOODNESS, THAT LESSON WAS AWESOME!! I have never taught the Restoration that good in my life, I usually just read it from the pamphlet, but I didn't even look at the pamphlet ONCE! Tonight is a journal writing night!" I wish you could have felt her excitement. It brought back so many memories of learning the lessons myself at the beginning of my mission. I think sometimes, its good for all of us to reflect on and find joy in the little victories throughout the day! The innocence in life is SO GREAT!

Friday one of my sweet Laurels named Holly came out on exchanges with me, all the way from Mt. Juliet, which was my first area. She drove us around, and we went "historical tracting" because the houses are over a million dollars worth, and were built in the 1830's. I felt like I was in a movie. 

 And then we ate dinner with one of my less-active AMAZING friends from Smyrna, my 4th area. It was so weird, like my whole mission life was coming together. I just kept thinking, "Wow, the Lord sure does make it up to you after hard times." All of my former investigators told me of things I had promised them in lessons, that I didn't even remember saying, and they told me that they had been fulfilled. It shocked me. I didn't realize how much the Spirit can accomplish until that moment. It made my heart very grateful for all the areas in which I have served.

But that is not all folks, ah, on Saturday morning, two of the people I taught came down from Clarksville YSA to do baptisms for the dead. There was Aaron. I had knocked on his door, taught him the Restoration for the first time, and there he was, doing baptisms for the dead. And he told me, "You know how you told me, to write down my feelings at my baptism? I have felt so tempted the last few days, and I just felt the Spirit tell me to remember my baptism.  I wouldn't have been able to truly know, if you hadn't told me to write it down." BLEW ME AWAY. We need to write down our Spiritual experiences. The Lord gave them to us for a reason, and sometimes remembering them is where we fall short. 

And then (ah I am OUT OF BREATH, by the way) I have the sniffles, so all these events happened while I was awkwardly sniffing. So, this wonderful lady--I call her Susan, mostly because that's her name--she finally was ready to go through the temple, and it was just a year after her baptism.  She got sick this week, with BRONCHITIS, so she received her first priesthood blessing and went to the temple anyway. Watching her sit in the temple chapel, coughing her guts out, my whole heart went out in prayer, and so did everybody else's. But a couple minutes into the session . . . she STOPPED coughing and didn't cough again until it was over. The Lord is so proud of her, and it was a hard experience for her. She handled it better than me, but not much. It was amazing to see her faith though, and she talked to God, and pondered in the Celestial Room. We got to welcome her in, and give her a big hug, and I said to her, "WELCOME HOME!" Can I just tell you, what a neat experience it was. It will probably only happen once on my mission, but so worth it. As I thought about my grandparents, and my family in there, my testimony was strengthened, that we will all be together again, and will be together forever!

Sister Godfrey, Crawford, Susan and Lamby

Sister Randall at dinner with us to celebrate.

Oh my gosh, so one last miracle. James, from Thompson Station, met up with us later that night to teach some recent converts. It was so cool, he was just baptized a year and a half ago, and he has such a strong testimony. He called me "the Frampicinno or FramptonInn" Too good. And once again, an amazing spiritual experience. My Spirit was getting a work out. I just can't thank the people of Tennessee enough, everyone of them, for making my journey here worth everything to me. I just can't express enough my gratitude! I love them!!

James Ferucci

Sunday rolled around, and at 7:30 sharp, I went to an Episcopal church for the first time. It was, surprisingly enough, the first church I had gone to, not of our faith, on my mission. I have been to others before, but in the South, it was a first. It was the oldest church in Franklin, started in 1830, with stain glass windows, and such. I really enjoyed it. We were invited by this nice old man named Bobby. He showed us the ropes of how to say the prayers, when to stand and kneel, and I was so grateful, and everyone was really nice. I truly have such a respect for those practicing other faiths. And then at 11, Bobby came with us to our ward. Oh my goodness, the coolest experience. So Bobby is Catholic, but feels comfortable more at this other church. Everyone introduced themselves to him, and he was just eating it up. And there was  a baby being blessed, and he asked us what it was, and when we told him, he said, "I just got the chills." It was like testimony meeting was catered to what he needed to hear, and he looked almost teary eyed the whole time. There were so many young kids that bore strong testimony, and he was so impressed. 

You never know who needs your testimony, you really don't.

I learned that no effort is ever wasted. That the people of the South are too kind. And so are all of you who read my letters. I also learned that Jesus makes all the difference, and paid the entire price. Thank the heavens huh? I LOVE YOU ALL!!!! Or in my new language, I LOVE Y'ALL!!!!

Sister Frampton