Monday, October 26, 2015

PA just keeps getting more and more beautiful.  Everywhere we drive looks straight out of a painting.....

"Livin' the dream...The church is true"


First, PA just keeps getting more and more beautiful. Everywhere we
drive looks straight out of a painting.

We started teaching two new awesome investigators this week. Kirsten
and Cory. They were a referral from a member in the ward- Bryce. Let
me just tell you about Bryce. He returned from his mission a year ago
and is still all about missionary work, it's awesome. He's always
giving us referrals and going out with us. His girlfriend comes out
with us too, she's the best. One week on his way to our ward
correlation meeting he got in a car accident so he just punched his
car door out and walked to the meeting. Haha that's dedication. So
Cory is a work friend of Bryce's. Cory and Kirsten just got married on
Saturday and he gave them a Book of Mormon for their wedding present.
So Thursday we taught them their first lesson. The restoration. Never
have I seen someone so prepared. Kirsten's brother recently passed
away and she's been searching for answers where he is. The two of them
have been together for a long time, but out of the blue decided to
seal the deal and get married. Coincidence? Nah. Cory really took to
the priesthood. When I explained that the authority Bryce holds could
be traced directly back to Jesus Christ in an unbroken line he was
blown away, and even more so when we told him that he could hold that
too. Nothing like teaching with a fresh returned missionary👍🏻
Sunday we taught the Plan of Salvation with them again. They're going places.

We also met and began teaching the sweetest lady named Deb this week.
She lives in our apartment complex. She was a referral from her
brother in law. She was divorced, so the Catholic Church told her she
had to stop taking the sacrament. She knew that wasn't right and when
we told her she could take the sacrament at our church, she just
cried. She was so excited to read the Book of Mormon, she just held it
close to her and cried and kept thanking us. She's got a lot going on.
As we were teaching her she told us that "it was like the the Lord was
here with us, like His love just came upon us."

Please keep Faye in your prayers. She is our investigator I told you
about- the makeup artist. She just came out of remission and started
chemo on Friday. She wants to be baptized so bad, but can't come to
church because of her situation. The more prayers the better!

Tuesday- Wednesday we went on exchanges with the Greencastle sisters.
I got to be with Sister Thompson who I came into the mission with, I
hadn't seen her since because she's been on the east side all along,
so we had a lot of fun. We taught our investigator Kayla and her
stepmom together. It turned out to be more focused on her mom Jeanine.
We challenged her to be Kayla's example.
Late Tuesday night sister Thompson and I had a few minutes left after
ward correlation meeting before curfew, so we went to try and visit
someone, couldn't find their house, so just decided to knock on their
neighbor's door. We met Frank. We left him and his wife a Book of
Mormon, which he was so excited about. When we returned the next day
there was an ambulance outside their home. So we went back the
following day. His wife Marianne had fallen, she has pretty bad health
problems. He has to keep up on the house and everything on his own. We
offered to come and help him just do laundry and clean, and they were
both so happy. They said they had been praying just the night before
that help would come and then we had knocked on their door. They are
just convinced we are Angels, haha. They were really interested in
learning about the church anyway, so it will be service and teaching.
Even if nothing comes of it, it feels good to be able to be able to

This area has presented some of the most special service
opportunities. Twice a week we go to do physical therapy with a member
in the ward- Brother Reid. Ever since a car accident five years ago he
is paraplegic. He is so inspiring. He has always remained active in
the church through it all, he is currently actively serving in
primary, and is faithful in his home teaching despite his serious
limitations. He is such a good man.
Once a week we've started spending time with a woman named June so her
husband can go to the store and get errands done. June has dementia to
the point she cannot do anything on her own. It is all up to her
husband to do everything for her. So when we go over we paint her
nails, or brush her hair, feed her. She doesn't talk but she smiles
when we are there. We go over every Tuesday and then he takes us to
dinner every week. He is not active, but his loyalty to his wife is
also so inspiring.
Lastly, once a week we go over and spend time with a man who also just
became paralyzed from the neck down three months ago due to an
autoimmune disease. Unlike Brother Reid, he is expected to fully
recover. At this point he has just regained the ability to lift a
drink or food to his mouth, but that's it. He just returned from the
hospital a few weeks ago, but now we do physical therapy with him as
well, or just spend time with him. He is such a kind person, so sweet.
And always happy despite it all.

I'm growing to love this place, and I am so unbelievably thankful for
the service opportunities we have been able to be a part of here. I
get to meet everyday real life heroes.

Livin the dream. The church is true!
Hermana Sears💜

220 north fifth street apt 38
Mcsherrystown PA 17344

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Chuggin' Along in Hanover...

Hi again

     Hey hey, today's my pday. We're going to the DC temple today. I
am emailing today since its pday but I will have a few minutes Monday
to send my regular old weekly email, but I'll answer a few questions
One of the members my comp taught in a precious area got sealed so I
got to go along for the ride. This woman's husband joined the church a
year ago, and now they're finally sealed. This woman has been waiting
43 years for this, it was a very special day.

My new area is going well. We're chuggin along contacting all the
people in our area book, since there wasn't a lot of work going on
here when I got here. It's actually going really well, we've met some
amazing people. We have spent most of our time with the less actives
in the area. There are not as many in this ward as butler (900
members, 150 active,) but there are so many. We've also gone to meet
some part member families.
     I met the coolest family this week in the ward- the Willoughby's.
They had us for dinner. They just moved here from West Jordan.
(Graduated from Taylorsville high school.😉) They were some of the
kindest people I've ever met. They have a goal of being sealed in the
temple and were very open to help. I just have so much love for this
family already.
     The coolest blessing that came out of our efforts was Hannah.
Hannah is a young woman in the ward, she is 14 years old. She comes
every Sunday, she leads young women's every week, she attends girls
camp and youth conference, and every church activity, she recently
passed a temple recommend interview- and she is not a member. And
nobody knew it, the bishop passed the interview. We had to tell him
"bishop, she's not a member." We figured it out as we were going over
our lists. Her dad is an inactive member. Turns out nobody in the ward
knew she wasn't a member. So we immediately went to find her house.
And with some adventuring into some places that brought me back to my
Butler days, we found their house. We were able to talk to Hannah for
a while, she accepted to our invitation to take the lessons and to
begin reading the Book of Mormon. Her eight year old sister, 15 year
old brother, and mom are not members either, but we haven't been able
to make contact with them yet. We're so excited about Hannah!
     It has been such a change of who I am teaching. We're teaching a
14 year old, and 12 year old, and a 10 year old now, all from
contacting part member families. Not quite like the people we were
teaching in Butler, huh? It's taken a lot of adjustment. They say you
don't really know something until you can teach it to a child, and
it's so true!

     I went on my first exchange as an stl this week with the Carlisle
sisters. I spent the couple days there with sister Hartman, she's my
favorite. She's adorable! Fun fact about her- she waited for her
boyfriend for two years, and three months before he got home .Then she told
him she was going on a mission, so three months after he got home, she
left, and now he is waiting for her. #threeyearclub. Anyway, we had
fun. It was fun experiencing another new area. It's a little college
town, Dickinson college. Not gonna lie, made me a little trunky. Such
a cute campus, felt like Hogwarts. It's also so different being around
people your age. Much more intimidating than being shot down by old
people, hahah. We also got to teach one of their special
investigators. This was quite the family. Four kids, ten months,
thirteen months, three and four years old. It turned out to be quite a
heartbreaking home situation to say the least. But amidst the chaos, I
remember having the distinct feeling that one day there will be a
priesthood holder in that home. Their sweet kids need that.

     I'm learning we really will never spend much time in our own
area. With district meeting every week in Gettysburg, ZLC- zone
leadership council every week in Chambersburg, an exchange every week
in either Carlisle, Greencastle, shippensburg, Fairview, or New
Bloomfield, and MLC- missionary leadership council every month in
Altoona or Pittsburgh, we spend little time in our own area. We drive
all over he place. Sooo much time in the car. I don't mind it. But it
is harder to keep up on our area when we're always in others. Wish me
     This new zone is a really close knit group of missionaries. We
play ultimate frisbee every week together. This week we also went on a
beautiful hike. Ah, fall is amazing here. There's actually a state
park in Hanover I'll be exploring some pday- codorous state park.
     By the way, (I'm pretty sure these emails go out to the whole
fam,) I did a training yesterday on working with ward members for ZLC,
and I used the story Josh wrote as my example. As I was reading it
this week, it kind of clicked that I really would not be here without
the ones who introduced the family to the church- the Morgan's. Thanks
for sharing Josh!

Anyway, we're almost to the temple now. Thinking of my family today.💜
Hermana Sears

Monday, October 12, 2015

Welcome to Hanover, PA....

Hey fam.

     I've arrived in my new home of Hanover PA! Sooo all of the
prayers from all of you have been answered- Hanover is the cutest
(safest) little town ever. I'm pretty sure this is the town you see in
every lifetime/ hallmark movie ever filmed. It is seriously such a
change coming from a place like Butler. I don't even need the mace
anymore on my keychain, haha. The houses here are so so cute- so
Pennsylvania, with their little porches decorated for Halloween. This
area of PA was settled by German immigrants so the towns are modeled
after different towns in Germany- that's where the names and all the
architecture comes from. I love it! I feel so homey here. Fall in PA
is also the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. The leaves have just
barely started the change and it's already so pretty. You think you've
got trees in Utah? Hah no. It is funny though, everyone calls their
hills here mountains. (PA ain't got nothing on our Utah mountains.) I
included a pic of their "mountains."
And our apartment is an upgrade to say the least. It's small- but we
have Windows, air conditions, and it's not full of bugs! And the best
part- a treadmill. Which makes me a very happy girl. (Prayer=answered)
     I got to meet the ward on Sunday, this ward is another super-
supportive/ missionary- oriented ward. Everyone offers to come out
with us or feed us. The ward mission leader is already incredibly
helpful. The Bishop here- Bishop Bushy actually lives in New York, he
got called by the stake presidency to be bishop as he was visiting the
ward one week! So he makes the trip down every Sunday.
     So mom- you can sleep now. I made it out of Butler. But I miss
that place like crazy. So homesick for the places and the people. I
took for granted how busy we were there- literally running appt to
appt. The work was great.
      Transfer week was crazy. It was a two hour drive from Butler to
Greentree in Pitt, then four hours to Chambersburg, then another hour
to Where we spent the night. I didn't actually get to Hanover/ sleep
in a bed until Friday. So I spent the week on the floor of
missionary's apartments. The life as an stl begins. I went to my first
MLC on Friday in Altoona. (Another four hours of driving) Sooo ,I'm
exhausted ,haha. And now we begin with exchanges every week, more
MLC's, (district meetings,) ZLC's, etc. I'll be spending a lot of time
in the car.
     I got to meet our investigators here this week. Jeremy was first.
He is 12 years old and has asburgers, and is the smartest, sweetest
kid in the saddest environment. Anyway, Jeremy is great.
 He asks super deep questions all
the time.
     I also met Faye. She's awesome. And so prepared. So- fun fact
about Faye, she worked in Hollywood as a makeup artist. She did the
makeup for Pirates! She and Johnny Depp are still good friends. She
also did the makeup for the exorcist, hahah. Funny story she told us-
so Faye had a stroke a while back, and since then has been
experiencing seizures. Each time these would occur she would walk
strange after. So that she didn't lose her job while she was working
for Pirates she didn't tell anyone what was happening- except Johnny
Depp. One day he noticed her walking different and asked if she had
had another seizure. Then asked if he could "use her walk." So in the
movie, his "drunk walk" is Faye! We also just started teaching her 28
year old nephew and caretaker who has never taken the lessons before!
     There is so much potential in this area! Sister Smith has only
been here for a month so we are more or less doubling in together-
neither of us really know this area. So I made a list of every former
investigator and potential investigator from the area book and we made
a plan to see every one of them in the coming weeks, along with a list
we got from the bishop of all the part member families in the ward.
We're gonna set this place on fire🔥

     So this week I spoke in MLC about some conference thoughts. I
guess I'll throw my talk in here.
     Really what I took away from conference was how increasingly
important it is to let the spirit teach you. Here are just some of the
questions asked in conference:
How can I allow the spirit to change me through the Atonement?
What would God have me do?
What lack I yet?
What area of my life do I want to strengthen?
What will you become of the Atonement?
How can we have this mighty change of heart?
What is keeping me from progressing?
Do we love Him more than our own will?
What can be done?
Was that all that was required?
How can His will become my will?
How can I more fully submit to it?
How can I learn to recognize the voice of the spirit?
     So I heard them loud and clear. If we learn to recognize, listen,
and follow the still small voice of the spirit we will become the
person we came here to become- the person Heavenly Father wants us to
become. When I think about my own potential, I always think about
wanting to become the person I read about in my patriarchal blessing,
and even the person I was before this life. That is our goal. And they
are telling us how we can achieve that.
     What each of them illustrated is how simple it is. Sometimes even
the thought of what we are supposed to become can seem impossible or
out of reach. But if we listen to the spirit, we will be told "line
upon line, precept upon precept" what to do.
     Progression towards becoming perfect is simple, I don't think
elder Lawrence was saying that "cleaning your room everyday will make
you perfect, or like God," but that if we consistently follow the
small and simple promptings we receive, we can become like Him one
day, one prompting at a time. Baby steps. We have faith that "He can
make much more out of us than we can make out of ourselves." He can
shape us into that person we are trying to become on our own.

     So some exciting news- I'll be in DC this weekend. A couple that
Sister Smith taught in a previous area is getting sealed in the DC
temple Saturday, and we got invited. This woman has been waiting 43
years for her husband to join the church, and they are finally being

That's all. The church is true.
I'll be sending pics of Hanover later! (Please forward them out mom)
Hermana Sears

Ps here's my new address (since I know you're all going to write me)
220 north fifth street apt 38
Mcsherrystown PA 17344

Monday, October 5, 2015

Bye Bye Butler...

Hey fam,

I'm gonna keep it short this week, for lack of time. K but first of all I got transfer calls Saturday night..... Bye Butler! So then I got another call from pres Sunday morning.... I'm becoming an STL! Sister training leader. I'm still a baby! Youngest to be in MLC in the mission. Ah! I guess I'm doing something right. Strengthens my testimony that the He doesn't call the qualified, he qualifies who He calls! 
So an STL means I'll be going on exchanges with all the sister missionaries and I'll be at all the leadership meetings and all that. Which I don't know how I feel about yet ,but  know  I'll learn a lot.  So I will be going to one of two areas, Lock Haven or Hannover, they're both out east, but they're the only STL areas. But they both happen to be Spanish areas. I'll email tomorrow and send my new address after transfer meeting. Looks like I'll be heading into Amish country! 
This week I went on exchanges with our STL, Sister Sibleys. It was a great week .Actually, we got to build an old lady's house- literally, haha, and had a lesson with one of their recent converts and her daughter. Probably the craziest lesson I've ever been in. Long story short- her mom dropped it on her daughter that she was in kidney failure and was begging for her daughters kidney and they were both sobbing. They are very interesting people... But by the end of the lesson her daughter committed to live the law of chastity and she said she's ready to change. Woo! So much more happened that probably wouldn't be appropriate over email but there's the  long story short haha.
Interesting though, the stl's apartment is in the backyard of a crematorium.. And at night they owner pulls his mini van up to the back and unloads the bodies ....They live on "drug alley."Pennsylvania...

So conference was amazing. One of the most powerful conferences yet, and not because I stayed awake during all the sessions. It really hit home, especially the overall tone of "it will all work out." I also heard loud and clear how important it is to be taught by the spirit. That's one thing I've been working on all my six, almost seven months. How do I recognize the spirit and distinguish it from my own thoughts? I will be using the "what can I change?" a lot in my coming transfers as stl. In my own minute way I feel  much like the overwhelmed new apostles, hahaha only obviously on a much smaller scale. 

Anyways, we got two referrals in prison this week from a member that just got out of prison, and one of our others just went to prison. I'll miss butler... Haha. 

Many goodbyes have been said this week- members, investigators, etc. It is so hard leaving my new found family in Butler. I have been so touched by the people that have reached out to me since I am leaving, many of whom will be writing me. I now have support closer to home. I've got a little box of things people gave me that  I'll be sending home. Remind me to share some of the letters the Hoy family wrote me next week. Mom, I haven't sent Lamont's letter to you yet, I will! 

We had our last lesson with Cynda last night . Best one yet. She watched all of conference with us. We were at the members house again, and again she shared how some people just need one missionary and just like I was that for her someone else needed me elsewhere. She always jokes that I'll be the next apostle, hahah. I don't know what it is, but whenever we teach her I always feel so connected with the spirit. I've always been able to with her. It has confirmed to me so many times that one day she will join the church. I know she will. It was pretty cool, she shared that after we left her house last week, she decided to pray to find the Book of Mormon she had received five years ago and never touched. Her house is in the middle of a remodel, and everything is just everywhere. She said she found it in less than five minutes, and recognized that as an answer and a miracle. 
Before we left, on the spot, the member asked me to bear my testimony in Spanish for Cynda. I agreed, knowing no one spoke spanish there anyway. Knowing that, I spoke very freely. I said that I knew she would accept our message and join the church, that it didn't matter when, among other things. When I finished, she was in tears. I asked her why... She said 
"I do not speak Spanish, but I understood you." 

I don't know how this little miracle happened, but it was amazing. 

Anyway, that's probably all for today. The church is true! 

Ps I'm taking the "ponderize" challenge, my scripture this week is 

D&C 97:8- 8 Verily I say unto you, all among them who know their hearts are honest, and are broken, and their spirits contrite, and are willing to observe their covenants by sacrifice--yea, every sacrifice which I, the Lord, shall command--they are accepted of me. 

Los corazones de los hombres están desfalleciendo