Monday, July 28, 2014

When Life Throws You Lemons...

First off, what a week!
Like I said last week, Sister Woodbury got here on Monday, not when we were expecting her, so that made it fun. We were either Sister Edwards until the transfer train came on Wednesday. Tripanionships are always fun to be in! On Tuesday, we got a call from our mission president, President Anderson, and it went a little something like this:
President: Hi Sisters, President Anderson here. 
Us: Hi President, How are you?
President: Good, good. Hey, I was talking to Sister Burt yesterday and I hear your apartment is gross. I want you sisters to get out of there are soon as possible, okay? At least by when your lease ends. 
Us: Alright President, we will do that for sure! Thank you!
Yep! We were SOOOO excited! Our apartment is the ghetto. Seriously. We lifted up some of our carpet the other day and found a bit of mold and dead bugs UNDER our carpet. It was unnerving to say the least. The only hiccup with this whole thing is that our lease is up on Thursday! So now we are down to 3 days to find a place. Wooooo.....So a huge chunk of last week was spent apartment hunting. It was a bit frustrating because we live on the West side of Casper, and our apartment is on the West side of Casper, but 95% of apartments are on the East side. So trying to find something on the West side has been difficult. But we will be victorious! We are both SO excited to leave. :) haha. Missionary life never ceases to be an adventure!
So a little information on Sister Woodbury: first off, she is AWESOME! and beautiful and funny and just downright great. She is from Mesa, AZ and has been out for 6 months. She just came from Sturgis, SD and is seriously such a good missionary! She is like exactly 1 month younger than me, did a semester at BYU-Provo before coming out.....yep! Next transfer is going to be the best because it will be my birthday, my year mark (THAT is the VERY BAD PART), and her birthday. It's going to be great! SO yeah. We get along great and I am so excited that I have her as my companion!
Being Sister Training Leader is definitely different. As Sister Training Leader, I make a formal weekly call to the sisters to check up on them and help them through struggles they are having and all that. I conduct companionship exchanges and help train all the missionaries in our zone for Zone Conferences and Zone Training Meetings. This month is Zone Conference, which means that our Mission President and his wife, the assistants to the President as well as the whole zone will be about no pressure! Whoo. It's going to be good. I am actually really excited to start working on that. :)
I have really learned this week the importance of the commandments, especially the Word of Wisdom. The Word of Wisdom is God's law of health given to us, and it tells us to abstain from coffee, tea, alcohol, tobacco and other harmful or addictive substances. But I have learned that more importantly than that, the Word of Wisdom is a law of obedience. People can fight all day long that tea is healthy for you or whatever, but the bottom line is that the Word of Wisdom is a law of obedience given to see how well we will obey the commandment from God, even if we don't fully understand why. That has been really powerful to me this week. Faith is the foundation of the gospel, and it is by faith that we can keep the commandments, even if we don't understand why it was given.
Something else that stood out to me this week was the fact that every priesthood holder in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints can trace their priesthood authority directly back to Jesus Christ Himself. This is not "Mormon Priesthood" or Man's Priesthood, it is God's Priesthood--God's power on the earth given to man so that man can help all of God's children return to Him. I know that to be true. This isn't just another church, this is the exact Church that Christ established onto the earth! I know it, I know that God knows it, and I cannot deny it. I love being a missionary, I wouldn't exchange it for anything. The pure joy and peace that comes from spreading the gospel is something that has strengthened me and helped me become truly converted to the gospel.
I am grateful for this gospel. I am grateful for the knowledge I have and the chance to share this knowledge! It is a message that every single person needs and I am glad to be one that is worthy enough to bring it to others. I love this work, it truly is God's work. I love the people here I have to help, and I am grateful for the things they teach me every day.
I love you all and am so grateful for your thoughts and prayers!
sister leslie.

 Me and my beautiful new companion, Sister Woodbury. :)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Transfer Calls Are IN!

So, we had Transfer calls on Saturday, and Sister Burt and I got one, which we were surprised about (since we have only been together for 6 weeks). Sister Burt just left this morning to go to Sioux Falls (SD). I have been called as the new Sister Training Leader of the Casper Zone, and I will be serving with Sister Woodbury. For those of you who don't know what a Sister Training Leader is, I will explain:  First off, it is the only leadership position a sister missionary can hold. So missions are divided into the following: Districts, which is usually 3-5 companionships that get together weekly and are trained by the District Leader on how we can improve our missionary work. Zones, which are made up of 4-5 districts. They are headed by a companionship of Zone Leaders and the zone is trained together monthly. There are 9 Zones in the mission. Next level is the Mission Headquarters. So me as the Sister Training Leader is the equivalent of a Zone Leader. I am over the sisters specifically, though, and I help them through more emotional needs than anything else. But once a month, I still train the zone with the Zone Leaders, so it's going to be an adventure! Not what I expected at all, but I am excited. Sister Woodbury surprised me by getting here today, we were expecting her on Wednesday! So that was fun. She's super cute and I love her already! She's been out for 6 months, and she's from Mesa, AZ. So I am way excited. So far, all my companions have been from different states! Cool beans! So this next transfer will be a fun one. :)
This week on Monday and Tuesday, Sister Burt went to Rapid City with the Zone Leaders to attend Mission Leadership Council, which is held once a month for all the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders in the mission. I went with Sister Willis and Sister Jackson for those days, and the rest of the week was full of a lot of planning for Zone Training Meeting, which is a meeting the whole zone attends and The Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leader tell us what they learned at Mission Leadership Council earlier in the week. So that was fun. They did a really good job, though at Zone Training Meeting. Next time I attend one, I'll be the one training, so that will be weird! But oddly fun probably. We'll see!
The Kler's continue to be awesome, I love them so much. I feel like I can be myself around them, while still being bold. We were able to teach them about temples yesterday, and it was powerful! There is a sweet video about temples that explains them and lets you see the inside of the temples worldwide, and they thought that was really cool. (Watch it here at They are actually preparing to go to the temple here soon, so that will be AWESOME! They will love it there. There really is no place more holy or special. The Spirit is so strong!! I'm so excited for them!
We got in with Teresa again this week! WOOHOO!! It went well! She is moving, so it's good we got in with her, so she has our number to let us know what her new address will be. So that was really cool that we could see her again. We still need to help her understand the need for baptism by the proper priesthood authority, God's priesthood authority, but we will continue to follow the Spirit to know how to help her.
The Winterton's are doing great! They are so sincere and really want to change, so it is awesome to work with them! They really notice the Spirit when it is there, which helps us out so much! I'm so excited to work with them more!!
Chris is doing really well. She was going to get baptized this weekend, but due to different things, we pushed it back to August 16th (I seriously CANNOT believe that August comes up NEXT WEEK! I have no idea where this year has gone!!). It will be better and less rushed. It was really cool, yesterday she came to Church and she had her prayers answered on some questions she was having, and it really strengthened her testimony that this Church really is true and this is with whom she needs to associate with, it was really powerful.
Sister Smith (see picture) took us this week to visit her neighbor and determine his interest level in learning more about the Church, which was really powerful. She has really been getting out of her comfort zone and trying really hard to do missionary work, which is great! Her neighbor wasn't interested, but it was still a cool experience.
So yeah, this week was awesome and super crazy, and it will be another fun week! I'm excited for the adventure of having a new companion and being Sister training Leader, it's going to be a great transfer!
Love you all!
sister leslie.

Sister Jackson, Sister Willis and I when Sister Burt was in Rapid City

Here is my glorious district: 
From L to R: Sister Edwards, Sister Miller, Me, Sister Burt, Elder Edwards (One of the Zone Leaders), Elder Emmett, Elder Parrish (the other Zone Leader), Elder Lougy, Elder Telford, and Elder Wilkinson (The District Leader). Everyone is staying the same in our district except for the Sisters. 

Sister Burt and I with the Kler family. Brother Kler is a Recent Convert, and we are teaching him 
the lessons again. Sister Kler and Austin are both super legit. This family is rock solid!

Sister Burt and I this morning, Sister Burt showing her OSU (Go Beavs!) Pride!!  

The Casper 4th Ward Missionaries:  Sister Burt, Me, Elder Price, Elder Bell

Monday, July 14, 2014

What A Week!

I really can't come up with anything more creative!! This week was a roller coaster, emotionally, missionary work-ly, and all. But it was fun, never a boring moment, as always!
This week, we did another exchange with the 3rd ward sisters, and I went to 3rd ward's area with Sister Edwards. We got a lot of walking in, and we got to make a hen basket with a returning-to-activity member, and we found Fenway Street! I was really excited about that, but Sister Edwards wasn't as pumped, I don't know why.... Haha but it was a really good exchange. We had the most hilarious dinner appointment with the member that night and it was one of those things I will never forget. It was soo funny. Gotta love those members that spice things up! On exchanges, Sister Miller was with Sister Burt in our area, and they found 4 new investigators!! We had tracted into the dad, Ambrose, the week I got here to Casper, and they were able to get in with him and teach him, his wife, and 2 of their children! It was so awesome to hear about!! We now have a family to work with, which is awesome because the gospel blesses families so much! So we were super pumped about that. That was just the start of the great rest of the week we had! Miracles do happen!!
We had a good meeting with the Watson's again this week, although they were a bit distracted this time again. It's a bit hard to teach them when they're super distracted, but you find ways to get past it and you move forward. They were at Church this week, which was awesome! The 15 year old, Sarah, was at Church, too, and I haven't seen her at Church ever since I've been here. SO that was really awesome.

Thursday morning, Sister Burt and I, and also Elder Telford and Elder Wilkinson, went an volunteered at the Senior Olympics: Mountain Biking section. It wasn't too exciting compared to LOTOJA, considering that the Senior Olympics only had like 12 riders, and LOTOJA has like 2,000, but it's all good. Out of those 12, there was a "Larry" (Dad, you'll know what I mean), which is a very intense awesome cyclist man who is 65 who could beat out all the other 30 year olds if it was a race. He was our favorite to watch, because he was awesome. There was also a man with a prosthetic leg, and that was cool to watch, too. He did great! So overall, it was okay. We just had to wake up at 5:30 as the race thing started at 6:30. An hour earlier makes a difference! Sister Burt and I spent our lunch hour sleeping. haha sometimes eating doesn't matter, it's sad to say.
A member randomly called us up this week and gave us a very solid referral, so this week we contacted her and she became a new investigator!! Her name is Linda, and she is going through a lot right now with a whole bunch of things. It was really cool to talk to her and feel like we could help her. The Gospel will help her immensely right now, and that's the best part about being a missionary, I think: Being able to watch the Gospel help people over the challenges, concerns and trials we all have in life. So we are really excited to start working with her!
We are continuing to work with the Winterton's and they are doing great! Every lesson we have with them in their home is so inspiring to me because they are so open and comfortable with us, which helps us know how we can help them. They are very sincere and they notice the loss of blessings in their life when they are not coming to Church, praying, reading their scriptures and keeping other commandments. it's awesome working with people that want to come back to Church and be active again and understand the blessings they will receive from doing so.
The Kler's are also super cool. I feel like I really connect with them and I can be bold with them because they know I love them and just want what's best for them. We get to teach them every week, going through the new member lessons, and it is really fun. I really enjoy it a lot.
We also found an investigator through tracting this week! Her name is Kenisha, and she has a lot of real intent. But because of her age, we handed her off to the YSA elders, and I think they will work well with her. The moral of the story is that when you work your hardest and do all you can, miracles happen!! So, it just motivated me all that more to go out tracting, because that's also how we found Ambrose and his family. So working hard works! It takes time, but you ALWAYS receive blessings. We found SIX new investigators this week! That has never happened to me before yet on my mission. It seriously just fills me with such joy that nothing can give but the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
So we have a bug problem in our apartment, so on Saturday we bug bombed it with indoor fogger stuff. It was quite intense!! We had to put all of our belongings and everything on top of our beds, desks and chairs and then cover them with a sheet to protect them and then we had to set off the foggers, let it sit for at least 2 hours, and then let it air out for about 4 hours. So most of our Saturday was spent watching our apartment air out. Not very exciting (but we couldn't leave it and let it air out because our apartment is a bit sketchy). But worth it, it killed a lot of the bugs!! YAY! But setting it off was seriously terrifying. We set off 3, and there was 2 of us, and if it gets on your skin or clothes, you have to call the Poison Control Center, so it was a bit nerve-racking, but we made it and it all worked out.
While tracting this week, we got invited into a home with week that had a yurt like thing floating above it (connected to the house only though a spiral staircase in the center of the yurt thing). She wasn't interested in our message, but her yurt thing was pretty cool! It had a gorgeous view!!

Yesterday at dinner, we were served the BIGGEST portion ever and I tried really hard, but I couldn't do it. I only made it about half before I felt like I was going to explode. But all that matters is I tried, right? I tried to channel my inner elder, but apparently my inner elder is a skinny, 10 year old boy. So that wasn't very effective.  Ahh well.
Thanks for the prayers! Keep reading Preach My Gospel! The Gospel is so SO true!!!
sister leslie.

Mini-golfing on Pday!!

Exchanges with Sister Edwards. :)

Bug bombing our apartment....gotta be safe so you don't get poisoned with the fumes!
me on Fenway Street...Go Sox!

Look, they have a floating yurt above their home! 10 points if you know what a yurt is!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Livin' Life on the Edge

Helllooooo again! It seems like a while since I've written to you to tell you of all our adventures. Get prepared: there were some good ones this week!!

Tuesday I felt a bit better, which was nice because in the morning, we went to the Interpretive Historic Trails Center (we cut our P-day short on Monday so we could go to this. Our Mission President really wanted us to go check it out.). The Center is all about the 3 trails that went through Casper, the Oregon Trail, the Mormon Trail (woohooooo!!!), and the California trail. It was pretty cool. It was fun to learn about all those trails. It wasn't like the most exciting thing I've ever seen, but it was cool. Later that afternoon we went on exchanges. I went with Sister Willis, and I stayed in my area. For those of you who don't know what exchanges are, exchanges are when we switch companions with another companionship for a period of 24 hours. This helps us to learn from other sisters and to break up the monotony of life. (Elders have exchanges with elders). Because my companion, Sister Burt, is the Sister Training Leader, Me and her do exchanges with all other companionships of sisters in our zone (which comprises of Casper, Douglas,Glenrock and Lusk), which is 3 other sets. So we do 3 exchanges! So Tuesday was the first of the 3 of these for us. I stayed in my area with Sister Willis and Sister Burt went to the other area with Sister Jackson. I hope that makes sense. It was an okay exchange. Both the appointments we had set up for the exchange fell through, so we did a bunch of tracting. This week, it's been really hot, so it was kinda miserable. But not bad. We didn't find a huge tone of success, but we did find some people, namely a cool potential named Steven. So overall, it went fairly well.

Wednesday, Sister Burt and I were together for like 3 hours before we started another exchange. This time I was with Sister Bentley, again in my area. This exchange was AWESOME!! We had 5 appointments on Thursday, which is the most appointments I've ever had in one day on my whole mission so far. It was so cool!!! We even got like an hour and a half of tracting in as well. It was super sweet. We met with Teresa again, and that was pretty good. We're still trying to determine her interest level, but for now she treats us nicely and likes meeting with us. We also met with the Watsons, and it was the least distracting lesson I've ever had with them! It was awesome! Sister Watson and Sarah were very involved and not distracted at all pretty much, which was great. Sarah was on fire, she had just gone on a girl's camp hike and she had felt the Spirit so much! She was glowing, and that was good to see. She's been struggling lately, so it was awesome to see her so happy. Next we met with Lisa, and it went really well. She was also really happy and laughing a lot. We had an appointment with the Winterton family that night, and we wanted to meet at a member's home. We didn't have the right phone number for the Wintertons, so we couldn't call them about it, so we needed to stop by. We got a ride form a member, and while we were waiting for her to get there, we took a picture in front of the Poplar Church Building (There are 3 here in Casper). AT the Winterton's door, it was quite the adventure because the 4 year old and the 3 year old answered the door, and both parents were sleeping, so we tried to convince the kids to bring us a crayon or something so we could write the parents a note. After about 10 minutes, we wrote the note and left, a bit worried if the appointment was going to go through. We came home, ate dinner, and then went to the Farrer's, the member family. The Winterton's were there!! It was a good lesson, not my best ever, but good. We talked about keeping the Sabbath Day Holy and it went pretty good. But out best appointment was with the Kler's right after. Brother Kler was baptized almost a year ago and he wants to get to the temple, so we are helping him with that. And to all new converts, we have the discussions with them again to help them continuing to build their faith and endure to the end. We taught the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and it was powerful. His wife and her son were very involved, and they bore powerful testimony of The Book of Mormon and how they know it's true. The Spirit was so strong in the lesson and it helped the family, I believe. Thursday was a great day.

Friday was the 4th of July and our Mission President, President Anderson, gave all missionaries permission to watch the fireworks that night! Because of our missionary schedule, we are always in by 9, or if we are in an appointment, 9:30, so getting permission to stay out later than that was weird. We went to the fireworks with Elder Wilkinson and Elder Telford, and it was cool. We took the truck up and backed it into a spot and then all sat there to watch the show. Awesomely and randomly enough, we sat by members. Cool! We watched them from Casper College, so we didn't have to brave the crowds and traffic of the events center. It was really fun! Sister Burt got to a little bit of tracting before the fireworks, and it was quite interesting. It was the first time I have been cussed out on my mission and told by some Born Again Christian lady that Sister Burt needed to"find Jesus and be saved". She didn't like our approach that we must have works with our faith in order to be saved. I always think it's funny when people believe in the Bible and yet don't understand when Christ says, "Faith without works is dead." 

So this week it has been like a MILLION degrees, and it's really weird for me to get used to after such a long, cold, winter. Saturday it was about 95 degrees and Sister Burt and I went tracting for 3 hours. We went in 2 separate hour and a half sections separated by a 45 minute crash session at the Poplar Church Building. I'm pretty sure I got heat exhaustion. Yuck. But we made it and I got a sweet tan! We didn't see as much success as we wanted to, but it felt good to be out working our hardest. Since I was sick last week, we haven't been able to work our hardest because I've been recovering. 

So this week was pretty cool and full of fun adventures!! I hope I successfully communicated all of them to you. Thank you all for your prayers and help! 
sister leslie.

Sister Burt and I outside the Interpretive Historic Trails Center

A Bunch of the group that I came out with that are here in Casper: Elder Wood,  
Elder Eastin, Elder Bench, Elder Beazer, Me, Sister Miller

Exchange #1: Sister Willis and I

Exchange #2: Sister Bentley and I

How we watched fireworks on the 4th, partyin' it up!