Wednesday, December 31, 2014

*Stomp, Stomp, Crunch, Crunch*

That's the sound we make when we walk through all the snow we have!! We have over a foot of snow that all cam on Christmas and then yesterday. Sister Woodbury got her first white Christmas!! It was awesome!! We had a lot of fun and got a lot of work done!! Bawm! SO let's get started!

So let's start with Christmas Eve--we had our regular meetings, district meeting and area visits with the sisters and all that jazz which took up a big portion of our day. Afterwards, 3rd ward sisters then went with us to go caroling at an old folks home, and it was fun!! We sang to the residents as they were eating, and they loved it!! Some of them were singing along and getting pretty into it. :) Before we left, we gave them a candy cane and a He is the Gift card just for good measure! I've decided I'm going to go caroling every Christmas Eve to an old folks home because I've done that 2 years in a row now and I love it!! It helps brings the Spirit into someone's Christmas, which is awesome! We ate with the Mabey's, a great family in the ward who will soon be in a different ward than we will (sad face), so it was fun to get some more time with them. We had a nice dinner with ham and all (which is awesome, just different than I'm used to because we always keep Christmas Eve and Christmas day pretty chill when it comes to making big dinners),so that was delicious. We shared a Christmas message with them and just had a fun time. :) We finished Christmas Eve by going over to the Nicholls. They did great and had a non member in their home as well as Brother Nicholls' brother and family. They played some fun games (don't worry, we're obedient so we didn't play with them, we were the designated cheerleaders) which was hilarious to watch before eating dessert and sharing a message with all of them. About a month ago, maybe 3 weeks, we ate with the Nicholls and we committed them to have us and a non-member in their home on Christmas Eve or Christmas day. They accepted and have been working on finding one to have over. It was Tuesday night, and they hadn't found one yet, so they were nervous. We told them to just keep praying and doing everything they could and they would find someone. When Tuesday night rolled round, we didn't have anything to do on Christmas Eve night and we were worried, so we told the Nicholls that and they invited us over. We responded with, "Will there be a less-active of a non-member there too?" they replied a few minutes later with, "Yes! We found a non-member to come!!" So we were able to go over Christmas EVe and share a Christmas message with their non-member friend, which was AWESOME! It was definitely a miracle!! Missionary work is moving forward here in Casper! :)

Christmas Day was even more busy than last year--I didn't think it was possible!! We woke up at 5:30 to open our presents, which was REALLY early btw. I won't ever do THAT again! haha but we got all glammed up to talk to our families and then went to our first appointment (so we didn't get our studies) with the Klers. We shared a Christmas message with them and it was a great way to start off the day! When we woke up at 5:30, it was just starting to snow, and it snowed for like 36 or so hours, so we got a LOT of it! We then went back to the Nicholls and ate breakfast with them and had the best breakfast I have ever had on my mission, hands down! We had paleo waffles (so healthy!) with raspberries, whipped cream and coconut syrup!! Oh man, I'm not a fan of coconut, but that syrup was so dang good! We also had eggs, bacon, egg nog and SImply Apple juice! It was a great pre-skyping meal!! I then got to skype with my awesome family, and I almost died when I heard Tyler speak and saw how tall he is!! I still am freaking out!! Skyping this time was fun, but so WEIRD!! My siblings kept asking when I come home, and I just kept shutting them down, haha. Poor kids. But I'm still in denial that I don't have long left! As far as I'm concerned, next time I see them will be skyping on Mother's Day, haha! (juuust kidding family! But not really). SO that was fun!! We met with Brooklyn and her family before going to the Winn's to eat Christmas Dinner and it was fantastic!! It was great!! :) We also got to meet with a new-to-us less active couple, the LUdeman's. They are so old and so cute!! We enjoyed it a lot! Our other 2 appointments fell through, but we got in with another less active before calling it a night. We were pooped by the end of the night!! It was a crazy busy day!

And, Casper stinks at plowing their roads! I need to get a picture of how they do it:they push the snow ito the MIDDLE of the road so if you have to turn left into someone's driveway, you either have to mound the 4 foot snow pile or go flip a u turn somewhere--it's ridiculous! There were a lot of people who were late to church on Sunday because they couldn't get out of their driveways! And the awful wind here doesn't help! Some members had 5 foot drifts--yeesh. 

Pete is doing great!! We had a fantastic lesson with him this week, well 2 actually. The first went okay, Pete was really stressed out, so he got a priesthood blessing and he seemed indifferent to it, but the next time we met with him was very different. Pete walked in with a huge grin and on his face and told us after we started the lesson that the priesthood blessing had helped him immensely and his shoulder, which had been hurting before, hadn't hurt in 3 days since our last lesson. Amazing!! He kept saying how much he felt the Spirit and he looked so happy. He was convinced that day was the best day of his life!!! SO that was really neat. He's doing awesome. 

That's probably the most exciting news of the week! Enjoy the pictures! I love you all!
sister leslie.


Talking with Sister Leslie (she wouldn't let us call her Kirsten) 
via Skype on Christmas morning

Christmas Eve with the Mabeys

Our matching Christmas jammies! 

Christmas Snow!

Christmas with the Nicholls. :)

Us and our awesome investigator, Pete!! :)

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Lord Is Hastening His Work!!!

Hooooly cow!! What a crazy end to the week!!!! We had a surprise stake meeting yesterday and they changed the ward boundaries and added TWO NEW WARDS into Casper!!! It was shocking!!! They absolutely murdered our beloved Casper 4th ward as we know it. It's now in 4 wards: 9th, 1st, 4th and 7th. So Sister Woodbury and I now live in 7th ward and all our investigators are in 7th ward so we are hoping and praying that we get placed in 7th ward!! Pray for us!! President Smathers, our stake president, gave us a nice little talk at the beginning about how change is good and how we need to embrace change. And adding 2 new wards to Casper is a GREAT thing because it means the Lord's work is hastening enough that we need 2 more wards!! So it's awesome!! No new chapels have been announced though, so for the moment we are going to have 4 wards in the Stake Center, 4 wards at the Poplar building, and 3 wards at the 7th and Missouri building. So that is crazy!! Our ward is pretty shocked about it and rightly so--they're just wanting to share the Casper 4th ward with everyone else because we are awesome!! haha. So we are still a bit in shock. To see what the new boundaries look like and everything, go to the online map at and see our most beautiful Casper now with NINE wards!!! On this online map, it tells you what the ward is, where it meets and what time it meets. So here's all the details. How awesome is that! So we are so excited, but also heart broken because a lot of our beloved members are going into other wards. Luckily, the changes don't happen untilJanuary 1st so we still have one last Sunday in our great ward. :) Sister Woodbury and I are hoping to sing in it to thank the ward, but we will see! 

Last Tuesday, we got to do some awesome service helping River of Life Ministries with a toy drive for needy first graders in Casper. The high school ROTC helped us and it was really fun! We each got a little kid to take around and help. Mine was named Hadley and she was SO cute!! All she wanted for Christmas was for her Dad to be there (he works in the oil fields it sounds like), and that just broke my heart. Every child should have their Dad there for Christmas!! But she was so cute. She told me I was one of her best friends. What a cutie! It's the simple things in life that really matter! 

It was so sad, Sister Woodbury was sick for 2 days this week, so we just stayed inside for those 2 days except for the appointments we had. She's feeling a lot better, which is awesome because being a missionary stuck inside (whether you're sick or not) is really not exciting. There's only so many movies you can watch and things to do! Ha,ha. But we made it! And for the first time in a while, I got caught up in my journal! woohoo! That's always an exciting day. :)

We now have 4 investigators on date and we are pretty excited about it!!  We put Danette and her daughter, Cheyenne, on for February. Pete's still on and Brooklyn is on for February. It feels great to be helping people come closer to Jesus Christ by helping them get to the gate of baptism.  Tracy is SO close!!! She is doing really good. She was at church yesterday and she is doing great! Her husband is in town right now so it's fun to work with him too for the moment. :) Our investigators are AWESOME and all in 7th ward so we need to be in that ward!! We are going to fight for it!!!! Haha. 

We handed out about 90 He is the Gift cards this week, we were so excited to be able to share it with that many people!! We do this awesome lunch project on Saturday mornings to help make lunches for homeless people, and we gave out a card in every lunch!! That was awesome! As long as it makes a difference to someone it's worth it!! Yep!! So it has been awesome week with that!!

I just love the members here in Casper so much!! They are really starting to love us back, too, just before we get split from some of them. :( Yesterday, we went to talk to a ward member about the new boundaries and a man in the ward hugged me (which isn;t allowed as a missionary, so...) it was a bit awkward but he's like an uncle or something. But still....We're going to miss the members SO much!! We're going to make the most of this next week and half.!! Oh yeah!!!

This morning, Sister Woodbury and I went to Eggington's, a breakfast place in downtown to get some Eggs Benedict since we won't be having a Christmas Eve breakfast. It was awesome!! We have now been companions for 5 months. That's pretty fun! I love serving the Lord with Sister Woodbury. :) 

Merry Christmas, everyone! Remember the reason for the season!! He is the Gift!!
sister leslie.

p.s. talk to you soon, family!!!!

Cleaning up wrapping paper!

Me and Hadley

All the missionaries who helped at River of Life with Santa Claus!

Nativity with the Wintertons!

Us and the Babcocks. :)

This morning at Eggingtons right after eating Eggs Benedict!!! :) (Sorry for the ratchet-ness 
of this picture--Sister Woodbury can't take selfies, haha) 

Some cute cookies we made at a member's house. :)
I made her and she made me! :) 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Walkin' In A Winter Wonderland!!

Well, good morning!! I hope all of you are just fantastic and that you have snow, too! We just had this storm that started yesterday morning very early and it has just snowed consistently since then, so it is still snowing a bit! "By small and simple things are great things brought to pass"! (name that scripture!! I'll tell you at the end.)

This week was awesome! We had a lot of really awesome experiences. We had exchanges this week with 6th ward sisters and they were miracle exchanges! Sister Sutton and I worked in my area, 4th ward, and we had 5 appointments that day! FIVE! And we got to go tracting!! And we did service. So it was a super busy day and we had a lot of fun! It's been a long time since that has happened all in a day.We got to teach Tracy and it was awesome because she started making connections in her head that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is literally Christ's church! She started asking us about why "our" church feels different than any other church she's been to. We got to boldly testify that is because this is Jesus Christ's church, and it was a powerful moment. So she is doing great!! We love her so much!

Pete also continues to do well, he was really stressed this week so we lost contact with him for a few days, which is always really scary and nerve wracking with your investigators, but! he still came to church on Sunday! And he was there for all 3 hours! So that was a HUGE miracle! :) So we still love working with him and he is doing great. :)

We got 2 new investigators this week!!! It was a huge blessing!! The first was Brooklyn, and her mom and 2 siblings just got baptized in February, so we are PUMPED to be working with her! She is 13 and it's so fun to work with people that age! It reminds me of working with Ashley McKinney in Minot and I loved that SO much!! She is really cool! They were at church last sunday, but not yesterday, so that was a bummer. But we'll keep working on getting them there! The other new investigator we got is Danette. her boyfriend is a less-active member, which is how she came to meet us. They came in contact with Bishop Geddes, our bishop, and then he called us and gave us their information. So that was a HUGE blessing and it has also helped strengthen our relationship with the bishop, which is awesome and it helps out so much!! We met with her and her boyfriend and her kids on Saturday at this sketchy hotel they are living at right now, but it was great because we met outside (without coats, I might add!), so we didn't have to actually enter the sketchy motel! Tender mercy! Don't worry parents, we are kept safe from all that stuff!! :) So we were truly blessed with these awesome new people to teach!! Hard work DOES pay off, just not when you want it to necessarily!

Not to brag or anything, but this week Sister Woodbury and I got 6 member present lessons (which means that we had 6 lessons with investigators with a member there with us also)!!!! That is a first for me on my mission and it was AWESOME to feel like we were helping so many people!  "Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever." (Alma 26:12) I know that is true and it is exactly how I feel! Sister Woodbury and I have tried so hard to help this area grow and progress, and it is finally starting to pay off! We have a lot of room for improvement, of course, but we are on our way to a great area! Our ward is starting to connect with us and really love us, which is so awesome. That's the part about being in an area for a looooong time, is that you really get to know the members and their families on a deeper level than just "Hi how are you? Good? Great!", and that is awesome! I love that aspect of it! Transfers are coming up in 3 weeks and our ward keeps joking that they're going to call President Anderson and ask for us to stay together another transfer. haha so it's always good to know you're loved, and we are very well loved and cared for here in Casper. :) 

We had a really powerful lesson with the Kler's this week about covenants (a 2 way promise between us and Heavenly Father), focusing on baptism and the sacrament, and it was awesome! The Spirit was tangible in the room. I love those lessons! They strengthen my faith and testimony just as much or more so than the people we teach, I think. So I love the Spirit and I am grateful for what He does for us! 

We had our ward Christmas party this week and it was a night in Jerusalem thing and Sister Woodbury and I were pumped for it, but it was not too exciting. We did dress up in Jerusalem-ite attire, but I don't have a picture of that yet. We sat with a couple where she is active and he's not a member, and Tracy was there, so that was good. But other than that, it was super chill. Sister Woodbury and I even asked if we could sing a duet during their Christmas song part of it, and they said no. How sad is that! But that's okay, another couple in the ward let us sing for them, so they just got a private showing.

Funny moment of the week: we were going to eat with a member we had never eaten with before, and she was going to pick us up from the church building on Poplar, and so she pulled up and we walked over there, and I try the door to get in, but it was locked. Sister Woodbury then walks behind the car to get to the other side and comments, "this car has South Carolina plates...I don't think this is her!!" so we quickly ran/waled away in embarrassment and waited for our actual ride to come!! Luckily, the first lady was looking at a map of some kind, so I don't think she knew we were there. haha but what an experience for sure!

My favorite quote of the week: "Feasting on the word of God each day is more important than sleep, school, work, television shows, video games, or social media. You may need to reorganize your priorities to provide time for the study of the word of God. If so, do it!" This is a quote from Elder Scott's last conference address, "Make the Exercise of Faith Your First Priority" and I read it this morning in personal study. This hit me really hard--scripture study is MORE IMPORTANT than sleep, work and school! If that doesn't show us how important scripture study is, nothing will! I invite you to ponder how you can make time to read your scriptures daily. It will strengthen your testimony and lead you closer to Jesus Christ!

We're starting to see a lot of miracles in this area and we know they will continue!
love, sister leslie. (Alma 37:6-7)

Sister Woodbury and I sharing how we will #ShareTheGift this Christmas season! If you haven't done so already, print off one of these on and write down how you will share the gift! Then post to your facebook, instagram or other social media. :) (mine says "by fulfilling my purpose as a missionary!" and Sister Woodbury's says "by inviting others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel!"

Our Christmas tree

Our cute Christmas lights!


More snow!

On exchanges with Sister Sutton! ...sorry it's a gross picture. It was a busy day 
and I didn't have time to fix my hair!! ha,ha

Monday, December 8, 2014

Does Winter Exist in Casper? Not That I've Seen!

I was reading my journal entries from a year ago, and last December 7th it was -40 in Minot and we had to stay inside all day! THIS December 7th, it was 45 in the positive!! What?? It's only snowed like 3 times and everyone was warning us of the "bad Wyoming winters" HA!! I'll believe it when I see it, but so far this is April weather!! 

This week, as you know, we had a lot of planning and such. Zone Training Meeting went as well as could be expected in our zone, although there was a bit of contention. But when you get 30 20-year-olds in a room, what do you expect? So ZTM was really good! The training that I gave was on the dignity of our calling as missionaries, and I think it went pretty well. It was a really bold training about getting out of "high school mode" (flirting, casual language, sarcasm, and inappropriately casual clothing and hairstyle), and it was nice to be able to relay that information straight from Sister Anderson so we could set up clear standards about what is okay and what is NOT okay for missionaries to be participating in. So all's well that ends well!! 

Sister Woodbury and I have been getting into He is the Gift!! It is powerful!! Remember, it is NOT enough for you to just share the video with your friends and help them feel good inside! NOPE! It is here to give you a segway in inviting them to have the missionaries in their home for Christmas to share the Christmas story and then segway into an invitation to learn about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ! So get on it!! Family, you especially!! Sister Woodbury and I have been passing out cards to everyone!! On Friday, we went through the Wendy's drive thru to get some Frosty's and we gave a He Is The Gift pass along card to the lady we gave our money to! Bawm!! Every time you talk to ANYONE, it is an opportunity to share a card with them! So again, get on it! And of course, I say that in the nicest, happiest way possible! I'm not asking you to do anything I'm not doing myself, remember that! :)

Pete is SO awesome!! We have now set up the expectation with him to meet with him 3 times a week, so that is awesome! He is doing so well and every time we meet with him and ask him about his Book of Mormon reading, (keep in mind there's like one day in between our lessons) he;s so modest and is like "I didn't read as much as I should have....I only read 10 pages!!" Haha he is so cool! He was at church this week and stayed for all 3 hours! He is progressing so well towards January 3 as his baptismal date!! bawm!

Tracy was also at church yesterday as well as the First Presidency's Christmas Devotional. There were like 10 people who watched it at the Stake Center: lame!! I bet in Utah and Arizona, there was a whole BUNCH of people watching it at the church. Everyone in Casper apparently "watched it from home on byuTV". Hmm. Well, the bottom line is, it was really good! I was really hoping President Monson would speak, so was Tracy, but that's alright! All the speakers did a great job! 

We started meeting with this other less active, Brother Byrd this week also and he is super cool! He has a really strong testimony and served a mission and everything. We really clicked with him, so much so that he came to church this week, which was his first time in over 6 months! The ward kept coming up to us and thanking us, when in reality we didn't do anything except for invite. So that was really really cool!!! 

Sorry this email is short and boring, but we Christmas presents to buy and cheer to spread!

Love you!
sister leslie.

we didn't take any this week......lame, I know. Sorry!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Short But Sweet

Hey everyone!  I don't have a lot of time to write today, but I will do my very bestest!! 

First off, Thanksgiving. We had THREE dinners!!! It was crazy! So what happened was, transfers were last week and there was a HUGE storm so the new missionaries couldn't get to the mission, they were stuck in Denver!! So we had Sister Curley an extra day because transfers were delayed. So that was fun! So we had our 2 dinners and she had her 1, so we had three! And man, it was so hard!! The first one was normal, the second was hard because it was less than an hour later and the third one was just torture. I will NEVER do that again, haha! And over the course of the week, I have had 3 more Thanksgiving dinners! We had one on Saturday with the Abrahamson's (becuase Bro. Abrahamson was working on Thursday so they invited us over on Saturday), our dinner appointment on Sunday was Thanksgiving food, and at MLC (mission leadership council) on Monday, that's what we had. So I am good on Thanksgiving food for at least a year. Except I still miss Grandma Tolman's jello. Haha. So yeah, needless to say when we got home on Thursday we put our sweats on and curled up into a ball. I didn't eat the next day, Friday, until like 3pm because I just couldn't bring myself to do it! So yeah, that was crazy!!

We have our Christmas decorations up but I forgot to take a picture of them so I will send that on Monday. Sorry about that.

Oh yeah, and Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, we got to help Salvation Army serve their Thanksgiving dinner to the community, and that was cool. Haha at first, we were handing out drinks to people, and we had cranberry juice, coffee (i know, we had to ask people if they wanted coffee!! Yikes!) and water. Sister Woodbury went up and asked a specific man what we wanted to drink and he replied, "I just want to drink in your beauty." BAHAHA! Sister Woodbury laughed awkwardly and replied, "well all we have is juice, coffee or water." Haha it was so funny. People in Casper are crazy. And then on Saturday when we were helping out at the Sandwich Ministry, he came in and gave us hugs! HUGS!! eew! Sister Woodbury was REALLY freaked out, and rightly so. It's a terrifying experience to get hugged by a creepy old man when you're not used to getting hugs from anyone else besides small sister missionaries, haha. 

Pete is doing so good!! He has read up through 1 Nephi 14 and is on date still and he is going strong!! We love working with him! Tracy also is doing great and they will BOTH be there on Sunday, which is awesome!! I missed both of their last lessons as I was at MLC, but they are doing great and I am so happy to be able to work with them!! 

MLC was AMAZING, as always!! I got to stay at the mission home Monday night, which was so fun and nostalgic of my first night there. It's weird to think about how long ago that was! Haha when all the new missionaries ask me how long Ive been out, they just get this big eye-d expression like they can't imagine ever getting to transfer 11 of their mission. Haha, and I understand because I've been there! Oh yes I have. But I like being able to help out all the missionaries though, and especially being a Sister Training Leader, being able to help the sisters know that it will all work out and they WILL make it! I love being able to do that. At MLC, we talked a lot about He is the Gift, which is a video that was put out by the Church last week for Christmas. If you haven't watched it, you MUST go watch it now!! Here's the link:

Okay good! The church is doing all sorts of things to get this video out there to help people! So, in this month's Ensign, there is a pamphlet containing 9 He is the Gift pass along cards. So, family, you have no excuse not to missionary work with this great tool!! Your Christmas present to me will be to give out all 9 of those cards by Christmas, all to non-members! You know 9 people, I have no doubt. With ONE of those people (and pray about this person), I want you to invite them into your home to watch it with you and have the missionaries over. This initiative is powerful and it can bring SO many people to Christ and His restored gospel. So get workin' on that!! NOTHING done out of love will EVER be offensive!! I'll be following up with you! And if it's not done by Christmas day when we skype, then you better have your friend over right then and I'll teach them. Haha just kidding. But seriously!! You know 1 person/family you could have over to share He is the Gift with!! You have the missionaries' number, so call 'em up!! Search out! There are so many good tools and ways to help your friends come closer to Christ. So take a second and search it out!! I love you family and I KNOW you can do this!! (Okay, and this goes for EVERYONE, not just my family!! So get on it!! But family, seriously I'm excited for you to do this!!!!!) 

And that's most of it!! I love you all and want you to have fun sharing He is the Gift!!!!!

Go share it! NOW!
sister leslie.

First snow picture of the season!

Thanksgiving Dinner #1: the Taylor Family (our ward)

Dinner # 2: the Purnell Family (Sister Curley's Ward)

Me, Sister Woodbury and Sister Curley in our cute trio....
(with Elder Abarca and Elder Ramkissoon photo bombing)

Dinner #3: The Brown Family.( our ward), holding our Gosner milk (from Logan, UT)
that their son gave us! GO AGGIES! :)

Cristy Robinson and I 
(my Dad was in college and worked at the same company with her.  She now lives in Rapid City)

Casper Zone Leadership with President and Sister Anderson! 
(Elder Johnson and then Elder Noble, then me)