Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Week 5 Update Everett, Washington

 Week 5 Update from Everett
Whidbey Island, John's Baptism, Speaking in Sacrament

So Monday we'd planned to go to Mukilteo and take the ferry over to Whidbey Island. We didn't really know what was over there, but we heard it was fun so we were excited to go. We had one of the young moms in our ward go with us, and she has 2 super cute twin girls. We were all excited to make a mom friend and have so much fun on the island. Not so. It was so awkward. We can't hold kids so she was trying to deal with 2 little toddlers and there was nothing we could do to help. And Sis Wikstrom and I party when it's just us, but for some reason, we get real awkward everywhere else. It's a problem. And there's not much on the island so it was kind of disappointing. Oh well. It was definitely an adventure!

We made a companionship goal to ask everyone for referrals so we prayed about it and were really determined to ask everyone. And they have been coming in like crazy! It's so cool how the Lord blesses you when you ask for help and set your mind to it!

Then Saturday was John's baptism! He was so excited and we got this super awesome text from him Friday night. "I've been reading all kinds of scriptures today. All day! And I can definitely say the things I'm exploring are "deep" and "profound." God really is wondrous. And merciful too. And I'm more grateful than ever that God brought me into this world and taught me goodness and filled me with light, that burns away the darkness of sin and sorrow. And tomorrow I'll be sealed as one of His own. What great love He has shown me. I'm in awe of Him. And I know that my every heart beat in this life is dedicated to obedience. And my eternal soul will always love Him; for His mercy, love, patience, wisdom, guidance, knowledge, glory, holiness, truthfulness, and long-suffering. I am at the same time full of shame at the way I've lived to this point. And full of hope for the future. Because I know now without a doubt, He has retrieved me from the darkest places a body and soul can be. I am grateful beyond words. And thank you sisters for being part of the story of my salvation. Take care. God bless your mission. And I guess I'll see you tomorrow." We love John so much and are so happy to see true conversion! This is what missionary work is all about!
 At the baptism, the two elders that taught him in Darrington before, got permission to come, so they spoke, and our ward mission leader baptized him. It was a good program, and afterward, John said how happy he was and how he felt like he was on top of the world.

Then the next day, I spoke in Sacrament! I was asked Monday night, so I've been working on it all week. The topic was "Blessings available to families through living the gospel of Jesus Christ." It was really neat getting to study the topic, especially when I'm so far away from my family. That's one thing my testimony has been strengthened in for sure. How much the gospel truly does bless families. You don't see a lot of solid families here and it's really sad. I am so thankful for my family and that I can be sealed to them forever.

John was also confirmed and given the gift of the Holy Ghost! What a great day!

Sis Wik and I are still getting along great! We're seriously so much alike. Except she's 5 feet tall and a dancer and I'm not. She's been such a blessing and I love having her as my trainer/companion/example/friend.

There's so much work to be done in Everett and I'm so thankful that I get to be a part of it! They always say that there is one person who needs to hear the gospel from your mouth. I don't know if that's true. The Lord will provide a way for those who are really ready to receive it, whether it's from me or not. It's the opportunity that I've been given to play even a small role in these peoples' conversions that is what's so special. It's truly a blessing to be a missionary and have all these experiences.

I know this gospel is true and I'm so thankful for the blessing it's been in my life.

Sister Tennant
A View of Whidbey Island

On the ferry over

This is as close to water as I will ever get

Pizza for Lunch

In the Jungle

John's Baptism

Blackberries Everywhere

A view of the Mainland from the Island

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Mission Update Week #4

Week #4 Update

This week I hit my 1 month mark! I've been on my mission for 1 whole month and I'm loving it! Everett is seriously so beautiful and the people are great! It's crazy how fast time is flying. I'm one month in, and only have 17 more to go. I'll be home before I know it! It’s so sad though because never again in my life will I be able to devote 100% of my time and energy to spreading the gospel.

So last Monday, our P day, Sis Wikstrom and I were just lounging around the apartment, but we had dinner at 5:30, so we put ourselves back together and went. Well, when we got there, the lady asked what my name is, since I'm still new and hardly anyone knows who I am. So out of habit, I reached for my nametag, and I didn't have it! I forgot my nametag! Sis Wikstrom was telling me how it was okay an happens to everyone, and it's totally fine. Then I realized that she didn't have hers either!    We both forgot our nametags!! Oh it was bad. We had to meet with the mission president right after dinner because our investigator, John, needed a baptismal interview with him. So we went and covered our shoulders with our hair and hoped he wouldn’t notice!
 He and John went to interview, and while we waited, literally everyone who saw us asked if we were missionaries and where our nametags were. Terrible. If president Bonham did notice, he didn't say anything! Needless to say, we will not be forgetting our nametags again.

So John is being baptized on  August 23rd, Patricia is almost there, we're just giving her a little time before we invite her again. Although, she even brought up baptism herself the last time we met with her. I think she just wants to be settled an find a place to live before she commits to anything. and another investigator, Lee, is 14, and accepted baptism yesterday! He'll be baptized Sep 20th and we're super excited for him!

The work is moving forward here and I love that I get to be a part of it. It's truly a blessing in my life to get to have a part in these people's conversion.

Love, Sister Tennant

A little about our investigator John:

We met John one of my first days here. WE got a call from the Elders in Darrington (sp?), saying they had this GOLDEN investigator who was moving to our area and loved the book of Mormon and was set for baptism August 30th. So we were all excited and went and met him the next day. The elders taught him most of the lessons, we really only needed to teach him about the word of wisdom, the law of chastity, tithing, etc. So we've gone to his house the last couple weeks and teach him a little, but mostly answer questions and talk about what he's learned. He read the Book of Mormon in like 2 weeks and totally understands it and takes it all in.

 John comes to church every week and really wanted a white shirt since he wants to look like everyone else and cover up the tattoos he has on his arms. The only problem is that he's a 5XL and we couldn't find a shirt at goodwill, so we've asked the ward to help look for one. We finally found him a shirt that he was able to wear yesterday. 

We've thought about moving up is baptism since we really don't have anything else to teach him, but we weren’t sure because he smoked and we don't know how long you have to be off it before you can be baptized. So it was just something we were thinking about. But then yesterday at church, our ward mission leader said the same thing to us about moving it up, and since John hasn't smoked in 2 weeks and doesn’t even have the desire to anymore, Bro Kenison, the ward mission leader thinks he's good to go! He's already been interviewed and everything, so the baptism has been moved to this Saturday instead of next. We’re all so excited and we hope the elders will be able to get permission to come to his baptism since they’re the ones that found and taught him most. John is awesome.

I don't know if I ever really talked about my companions. 

At the MTC, I was with sister Covington from Missouri, and sis Winterton from Heber, UT.
 Sis. Covington is in Everett and Sis. Winterton went to Houston

Here in Everett, I’m in downtown Everett,  in the Port Gardner ward. Its right on the coast and the USS Nimitz is right outside our window (almost). My trainer/companion is Sister Wikstrom from Sandy, UT and she’s the youngest of 7 kids. She’s hit her 9 month mark last week and is freaking out about going home already. We get along great and have vey similar personalities and so much in common its crazy. She's a great example to me and a fantastic missionary. I'm so glad we get to be together for 3 months (2 transfers) and I will be sad to see her go. We're not thinking about that yet though. We're focusing on the work here and now 

First real rain so we had to go out and play in it!

We planned on having a picnic but it started raining, so we had to picnic in the car. We should've seen this coming being in Washington and all...

Take a book, leave a book stand. There are these all over town, so we always put a Book of Mormon in them!

Got my flags and some pictures up!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Week 3 - Mission Update Everett, WA

 Week #3

This week has been great!

On Monday we went to the library and I got a library card so we could get on and have our time where we get to look around and be familiar with what we tell investigators to look at. It was cool! I read profiles of people I know!

I also got to invite Patricia to be baptized! I was so nervous, but when the time was right, I just went for it! She'd been having a really awful day, and was crying through a lot of the lesson, so she said she wasn't ready to make a big decision like that. We're glad she understands the importance of baptism and how it is a huge step in a person's life. We know she'll come around though. She comes to church and LOVES it! She always talks about how she loves the spirit that's there and how nice the people are. She's had a tough life lately and so we're glad she's been enjoying church and we know it'll bring her happiness.

I also got to go tracting for the first time! We have so many people to teach, usually there's no time for tracting, but we had a few minutes before our next appointment, so we went for it! We only got to knock on 2 doors though and only 1 answered. We didn't have any more cards so we didn't have anything to hand to them. It was still fun though! I am glad we don't rely on tracting, and that we're busy with our current investigators!

It's been sunny every day I've been in Washington. I'm not entirely convinced it does rain here! It sprinkled for 15 minutes a few days ago, but that’s it!

My companion shared this quote with me that I love. "When obedience ceases to be an irritant and becomes a quest, in that moment God endows us with power" I know that as we strive to always be exactly obedient so Heavenly Father can bless us beyond anything we can even imagine!

The Spirit is so strong here as a missionary, and I love getting to spread the gospel with those who are ready to hear it. We have a baptism scheduled for the end of the month and I can't wait!

Love, Sister Tennant

The Drive to Church---So Beautiful!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Week 2 Mission Updates - Everett, WA

Week 2
On one of the last days at the MTC, they showed a big map of the world, starting in 1830, and one at a time, a light would come on representing a new temple. It would go through each year and new temples and stakes started showing up. It was amazing watching the church grow and spread over time. I especially loved it when it hit 1984 and I could see the Dallas temple light up!
We also watched the Because of Him video that came out around Easter, and I love it. If there's one thing I want people to remember about me is that I have a testimony of Jesus Christ. He lived and died for all of us so that we can repent and return to live with Him. I know that this is His true Church and it brings me such happiness knowing that I get to share this happiness with others out here.
On Sunday at the MTC, Sheri Dew came and spoke to us! It was so powerful. She's is not afraid to tell it to you straight! I don't know if they record those talks and post them anywhere, but i encourage everyone to go find it! It was about the Priesthood and how we as women also have the power to call down miracles from Heaven. It was probably one of the highlights of the MTC for me.
Every week at the MTC, we're given topics and everyone has to write a talk for sacrament and no one knows who is giving their until right then. I had to give my talk. Bah. Oh well. It was okay. All about the Holy Ghost!

So we don't get to go to the temple here in Washington at all, but we got to go to the Provo one! Our P day was Thursday the 24th, but that's pioneer day so like everything in Utah was closed. So we got up super early Monday morning to go. We woke up at 4:30 and went to the 5:40 session. We were all fighting sleep so hard but it was so nice. I love the temple. The prayer was super cool cuz he blessed all the missionaries, specifically the ones in the session. He was talking about me! I felt it too. It was so powerful
So the first day in Washington. We woke up at 3 am and got ourselves ready and all our stuff together,cleaned the room, and headed out. Sister Covington (my MTC companion) said goodbye to Sister Winterton, our third companion who is going to Houston and got put with us when her companion went home. We went to the travel office, turned in our key and stuff  and loaded the buses. then we rolled out and headed for the airport.I got stopped by security (of course) because I forgot to empty my water bottle so I had to go all the way back through again. What a pain. I got to call home and talk to my family though so that was great! I miss them of course, but I'm not ready to see them yet. I've got work to do! When we got to the Seattle airport, President and Sister Bonham were there to meet us! We took a picture with the Bonhams and all the new missionaries and went to the mission office in Mill creek. They fed us and talked to us for a little bit. It was about 1 by the time it ended and it was so hard to keep my eyes open. 3 am felt so long ago. Then they gave us blankets and pillows and let us sleep for 3 and a half hours in the Relief Society room! It was so glorious. 

When we woke up, all the missionaries being transferred were there and after eating again and talking to them, we were assigned our companions and areas! I'm with Sister Wikstrom in Everett! I said goodbye to Sister Covington and we came to Everett. It was a long day.
So on Thursday night while we were planning, some elders called and said they had an investigator moving to our area so we needed to go meet him. They'd been teaching him and he had a baptismal date for August 30th. His name is John and we went to see him on Friday. He was almost done with the Book of Mormon and is so excited to be baptized and get the priesthood. He just needs to stop smoking. He's seriously a GOLDEN investigator.
Then we got a message about another investigator named Patricia. We gave her the 1st lesson and invited her to church.
On Saturday night, we got to go to a wedding of an investigator. That was pretty cool

So on Sunday, John and Patricia were both there and they both loved church! I loved going to the Port Gardner ward and getting to meet everyone. I'm not gonna remember everyone's name, but it was still fun. I had to say the closing prayer in Sacrament, which is not so fun, but it was okay. Since it was fast Sunday, it was a testimony meeting so the spirit was strong. John even bore his testimony on prophets and the Book of Mormon!
Sister Wikstrom and i went home and ate because we were hungry :) Then we went to this lady in our ward's house for dinner and she'd invited Patricia to come too so we ate again and taught about the Book of Mormon. A little about Patricia. She was moving here from Alaska, so she retired and came down and while she was waiting for all her stuff to get here, the movers took off with everything. All her stuff is gone. She literally just has a few changes of clothes and her dog. For some reason, she gave access to the movers to all of her money so she has nothing left. She'd been staying at the Motel Express, and as of today would be homeless. So the lady we had dinner with invited her to stay with her until she found somewhere to go. And Patricia certainly isn't going to take advantage of her, so it's amazing how generous she is. We haven't invited her to be baptized yet, but we're pretty sure it's coming. She feels the spirit so strong and already has a testimony of Christ and the Book of Mormon. She's a sweet lady

I've only been in Everett for 6 days, but I love the people here already. I'm in downtown Everett, so everyone is poor. But being so, they are all so humble and willing to listen. One of the biggest struggles people have is smoking of course. Everyone smokes. There's a good chance I'll come home with lung cancer from second hand smoke. But the people are nice and holy moly it's beautiful!
It's so good being a missionary!
Love, Sister Tennant


Week 1 Mission Updates - MTC

Week #1
Goodbyes are the worst.  Saying by to my family at DFW was probably the saddest and hardest thing I’ve ever done.  At the airport, my Mom asked if I needed to go sit down for a minute before the final goodbye.  I said no, I just needed to keep putting one foot in front of the other.  And that I did!  And now I’m at the MTC!  I’m a Missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ….. I get to wear a name tag with Christ’s name on it every day because I am a representative of Him. 

On my first night here, all 570 of the new missionaries sang Armies of Helamen, and the line that says “we will be the Lord’s missionaries to bring the world His truth,”  was changed to say “we are now the Lord’s missionaries”,  and what an honor that is.

When we put on our name tags, we are LITERALLY taking Christ’s name upon us.  I am a minister of Christ and have been called to bring His children back to the fold. 

On Thursday, we met our Branch President, and he’s really been emphasizing that we must be exceptional missionaries.  It’s not okay to be average missionaries.  We must be exceptional.  He mentioned that Christ was not average, He was exceptional and pointed out that you could probably hear a pin drop in Heaven as we all watched Jesus perform The Atonement.  We were all hoping and praying that He brought His “A” game and was willing at that point to be exceptional.  Average is not good enough.  That put things into perspective for me.  We have to work hard and be exactly obedient,  even to the rules we don’t fully understand.

I already feel the blessings of serving a mission.  At the MTC, we have a mind numbing amount of classes and we sit for hours on end,  but I’ve learned so much.  The new missionaries came yesterday, and seeing that I was there just a week ago and where I am now is huge.  Truly a blessing!  My Branch President also pointed out that if my parents could see me today, even though I’ve only been a missionary for a couple of days, they would be so proud.  I sure hope so.  I hope I’ve lived my life and worked in a way that would make my parents and especially my Heavenly Father proud of me.

There’s a joke at BYU that the Testing Center is the holiest place in Provo because so many prayers are said there.  I think they’re wrong.  The MTC has more prayers said than anywhere else.  I’ve said more prayers in the last 7 days than ever before.  We joke about it, but I love it.  The Spirit is always so strong here because everyone here loves the Lord and are so willing to serve Him.

Each day we go around and everyone in my district says what their highlight of the day was.  The first day we did it, everyone’s highlight was gospel related.  This gospel brings so much happiness to our lives, and my life specifically, we are all so anxious to share it with people!

On Sunday, we got to walk up to the Provo Temple with our zone.  That was a great experience.  Even though we didn’t go in, it was still so wonderful to walk around it and be on Temple grounds.

I can’t sing to save my life, but I decided to go to choir practice anyway (with almost everyone else at the MTC).   We sang Lead Kindly Light and the choir director told us about the man who wrote it, John Newmen.  He also talked about Jacob 5 and how we’ve been called to labor in the Lord’s Vineyard.  This helped me realize that I’m not going to serve in Everett, Washington, I’m going to serve the Lord’s children.

I am so thankful to be here at the MTC and I can’t wait to get out into the field!

Since today is Pioneer Day and everything is closed, so is the Temple.  So we don’t get to go even though it is our P- Day.  I’m super sad about it but I look forward to hopefully getting to go to the Seattle Temple!

Love, Sister Shelby Tennant

Provo MTC - July 16, 2014

Called to Serve! Everett, Washington
Sister Covington - MTC companion

Shelby's district