Wednesday, March 8, 2017

God does not expect immediate perfection, but He does expect immediate progression

This week was a blur.  We had some really great moments with investigators.  I love when I get to teach.  Lately I've started having thoughts of possibly becoming a seminary or institute teacher as a career.  I already know I love teaching the gospel and like learning more about the doctrines of Christ.  I have a passion for teaching youth and this could be something that would be fun to go into.  Also, why not get a job where it would be beneficial for me, not just in this life, but in the life to come, as I increase my knowledge of the gospel?

Monday for P-day we played Ticket to Ride, one of my favorite board games.  I have only actually played it on my phone back home so it was nice to finally play the board game itself.  As always we play basketball, but this time Sister Randall played with us. We actually play what they call missionary ball.  Part of our rules is that we can only play half court so we split up into three pairs.  The missionaries are only playing one other set of missionaries at a time and only for half court.  The winner crosses to the other side and faces the third team.  It's fun and keeps us active.

Tuesday our dinner fell through so we ate at his place called Odie's.  It is a great sandwich place.  Their half sandwich is the size of a big sandwich.  I noticed they had an eclectic bookshelf in the shape of a tree on the wall that had books in it for people to read freely.  We decided to put a Book of Mormon on it.  Hopefully someone would read it :)

Wednesday we got asked to sing Come Thou Fount (a beloved hymn that is no longer in our current hymnal) for a Relief Society lesson on Sunday.  It is the craziest thing because Sister Randall and I sing that song all the time and were just talking about singing it at church just a couple of days prior to the inquiry.  The member had a copy of an older hymn book that had the song.  We sang a combination of that arrangement and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's version.  We listened to MoTab's song and I transcribed the alto line to sing.  We even included the key change :)  This is why I needed to serve after graduating from college.  We did more family history work and I am starting to get progress with it.  They suggested starting with the relatives closest to me and making sure their information is correct then going further back generations.  I feel pretty good when I am cleaning up people's information and making sure they have sources to match the inputs.  That night we also had a great lesson with Dominic teaching about tithing and fasting.  Sister Randall had some pretty cool experiences with those principles.

Thursday we had another trainer/trainee meeting.  The Kenai elders walk in so excited that this was the last one they had to attend and it was so fun bursting their bubble telling them we have two per transfer.  I really like trainer/trainee meeting when we could meet in person in Anchorage,but it really is hard doing it over PVC (which is just an older version of Skype). Though this time we had very few technical difficulties.  We had a lesson with a less active who is wanting to clear up any misunderstanding about the gospel.  Even though we tried to have the lesson be guided, it was helpful to address concerns she had.  Later that night we attended institute (which we do once a month) and it was really good talking about spiritual rebirth.  The teacher is very thorough and really makes the gospel seem easy to understand; which what is intended by Christ.  D. Todd Christofferson said in a talk, "This is our message, the rock upon which we build, the foundation of everything else in the Church.  Like all that comes from God, this doctrine is pure, it is clear, it is easy to understand-even for a child.  With glad hearts, we invite all to receive it."

Friday we had a great lesson teaching the Plan of Salvation to Megan and Hara.  We had the Kenai elders there so they can get to know them since they are the missionaries in their ward.  Afterwards we did a church tour with them and I think it helped Megan, mainly because she has young children.  It seemed to put her at ease where her daughters would go while her and Hara are in Sunday School.  We also had zone meeting that day.  I don't know what it was, but there was a different spirit to the meeting.  It might be because some contention has left the zone.  It was enjoyable.

Saturday our ward mission leader is in charge of 11-year-old scouts and they had a nerf gun war to which they had to invite a non-member friend.  There were so many kids there and they seemed to have a lot of fun.  Even a few less-actives came :) We made some notes on how we can improve the next activity to be even more missionary minded.  We had another lesson with Dominic and he has some reserves about his baptismal date and feels that maybe it needs to be pushed back a little.  He is making sincere changes in his life to align his life with Christ's teachings and that takes time.  We are still so happy that he is wanting to make these changes and still wants to be baptized.

Sunday we sang for Relief Society and we got a lot of compliments on it.  Singing a hymn can bring in the Spirit quicker than anything else can.  Sunday night we had dinner with a family in the ward and asked if we could teach them a missionary lesson as practice for an upcoming lesson with some of our investigators.  We had them pretend they were non members and have them act like they don't know what we are teachiing them.  They gave some really good advice on how to improve our teaching as they were trying to really get into character how they would feel and react to the lesson if they were not already members.  It was a great success. 

The more we teach, the better we understand this gospel ourselves.  It is not enough for us to go through the motions everyday.  God does not expect immediate perfection, but He does expect immediate progression.  We need to be always increasing our understanding and application of the gospel in our lives.

Sent from ALASKA!
Sister Shelley Willden

Monday, March 6, 2017

Instruments in The Lord's Hands

This week was very productive.  Our progress with Dominic is going well.  Monday we had a FHE (Family Home Evening) lesson with them and taught them how to conduct their own every Monday night.  We taught them about spiritual CPR (Church, Pray, Read).  When your life is hectic or you need spiritual nourishment, make sure you are doing spiritual CPR.  Going back to the basics is the primary answer to help your life be on the path towards our Heavenly Father.  We played the longest round of UNO afterwards and the kids loved it.
We have been working more on family history.  I find it so aggravating but I am starting to see progress.  It is time consuming, and a lot of work.  It is no wonder why they call it Family History Work.  I have printed a name to take to the temple, but first need to find a group of youth going to do my baptism parts before I can do the endowment when I go to the temple next.
Wednesday we had a stake humanitarian service project with members of a local baptist church.  It went well and it was great that they were able to be in our church and see how normal Mormons are.  We received a referral while we were there so we left for a little while to go and contact him but found out the next day that he doesn't actually live there.  Sad moment.
Thursday we were doing our companionship study and the 12 week training at the church.  Happening at the church during that time was a scouting leadership training. After we finished, a member from Homer asked if we wanted to eat lunch with them. Free food?  Don't mind if we do.  The food was really good too.  Later we went to try by a former investigators and ended up trying by a less active.  After talking with her she wants to be retaught the missionary discussions to solidify her understanding of the gospel and hopefully correct any falst doctrine she has heard.  We had the opportunity to do spontaneous service for a ward member who needed help shoveling her car out of the snow.  It was a lot of work, but we did it both in a skirt.  A couple of elders came and helped us as well, which made the work go faster.  The member was very much grateful for our service.
Friday we had our lesson with Hara and Megan again.  We had another set of members there which we met at the Kenai chapel to meet halfway.  We taught the latter half of the Restoration and they both accepted to be baptized when they feel that this is the true church of Jesus Christ.  Later we visited another less active's home.  One of their dogs was not friendly at all towards us but after about a half hour this dog was jumping on me to get petted.  The couple was surprised and said that never happens. I told them it is because she can sens the Spirit we bring :)  For our lesson we had with Danny and Raevin we taught about missionary work.  We were at a dinner with members who kept going on an analogy of missionary work with cake which we found interesting.  So for our lesson we baked a cake and did a little skit to convey our message about everyone being a missionary not just full time missionaries.
Saturday we were out trying by formers again.  We passed the house we needed to try by and because I love my companion so much and don't want to make her "back" (meaning my companion has to get out of the car to help me back up every time we need to put the car in reverse) I thought we would be able to u-turn around just fine so she wouldn't have to.  The roads are misleading though.  What I thought was just road turned out to be a leveled-off, snow-filled ditch.  I tried to get us out but it was useless.  Not even five minutes later a guy came down the road to help us.  The Lord is great at using me as a tool even with all my weaknesses.  We talked to him a bit and found out that he doesn't like organized religion.  As we could tell he didn't want us to preach to him we just found out things about him.  He just had a baby 13 days prior and works for this wire company in Kenai.  This is where The Lord uses me as a tool. Later we went district tracting in our area close to our apartment.  As we were going door to door there was this man outside putting stuff in his truck.  One of the tactics we use to talk to people is finding common ground or at least social things to start off the conversation.  I noticed his truck had the same work logo as the guy's who helped us get out of the ditch.  We started by asking him if he works there and if he knew the guy who helped us get out of the ditch.  We started by asking him if he works there and if he knew the guy who helped us with our car.  He said he did and after chatting said that we should go inside and talk with two women in there.  There was a sign on the door that said come on in.  So we did, but found out that they were having an inside-the-house garage sale because they were in the process of moving.  The two ladies were clearly not wanting to have missionaries talk to them and said the sign was for the garage sale.  What do we do then?  We say we are here for the garage sale. Even though we weren't we looked around and were able to talk to one of the ladies on a personal level.  We found out her grandpa is a Mormon.  Now we wouldn't have been able to find that out, show her how kind Mormons are or how we are normal without that innocent, non-missionary conversation.  this all wouldn't have happened if we didn't get stuck in a ditch.  All in all, The Lord uses us as instruments in His work, even with all our imperfections.  
Sunday we had our ward conference.  The stake presidency came to our ward council and gave great trainings.  After church we helped Danny and Raevin find a name to take to the temple when they go in April.  Because we were having them stay after church we decided to feed us all lunch.  We bought turkey burgers and cool ranch Doritos and put the bag of buns and the chips in a separate bag on top of the church's refrigerator.  We are in a church, no one will steak them.  As we were leaving Relief Society prior to doing family history, I smelled the Doritos.  I walked into the kitchen and saw people having lunch.  I saw the bag still on the fridge that says if food is not labeled then it is free to take.  But why would someone just take my chips from on top of the fridge?  Oh, I was upset.  We had ice cream that wasn't labeled and felt better. We attended a double youth baptism that was packed with people and their "refreshments" basically was another meal.  We just had dinner but we were able to scarf down a whole plate of food plus dessert.  Just want to puke my guts out, but that's okay.  We had another lesson with Dominic and his family, but had two kids from a Samoan family be in on the lesson.  We taught the Laws and Ordinances of the gospel fairly quickly and played a game of jeopardy as a review afterwards which was a lot of fun and we can see how much he is learning.  We are on track for his baptism, which is exciting!  Work is progressing here now which is starting to make it fun again.

Sent from ALASKA!

Sister Shelley Willden 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Spiritually Fed

This week was so fun!  We had the opportunity to get spiritually fed and travel :) Always fun.  Highlights from this week:

Pottery:  Last Monday we got to do pottery at Abby's farm!  Over the past two transfers we have been helping out to clean and some of the elders have been cleaning out her pottery studio.  A friend of hers, a professional ceramicist, came and gave us a little lesson.  Only a few of us got to try on the wheel.  It was so much fun, but I am obviously a beginner.  While not on the wheel we messed around with hand clay and made a moose's head.  I hope it turns out okay after we fire it, glaze it and then re-fire it.

Miracle:  After we did pottery we went to the store and wanted to get little gifts for each of the elders in our district.  One of the elders calls himself the BMW because he is a mix of black, Mexican, and white so we got him a BMW car.  His companion's nickname is Wolverine given him by Jen because he always has a knife on his person. We searched all up and down around Fred Meyers and Walmart and couldn't find anything.  At last we found these little X-Men mystery boxes.  These are collectable action figures, but you don't know which ones you are buying.  Being missionaries we did the logical think to do which was to pray about it.  We separated the 10 boxes into 2 piles and prayed there right in the aisle where so many people were walking down at the time to ask which pile the wolverine figure was in.  We felt impressed it was the right pile.  We prayed about them again and didn't get a distinct answer.  We ended up picking two to buy.  After we bought them we opened them and neither of them was a wolverine.  We were able to return them, thank goodness, and we decided to go back and try again.  Ironically, on the way to buy the first ones I thought to myself that my faith wouldn't be shaken if neither of them were the ones we wanted.  But in Doctrine and Covenants 9:7-8 it says, "Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that Iwould give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me.  But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right."  This time we "studied it out" first.  We were moving the boxes and realized one was a lot heavier than all the other ones.  Looking on the backs we saw all the characters you could collect and saw one that was unquestionable bigger than the others.  We decided to try to guesstimate the weight differences and narrow it down which we got it down to 5.  This time we prayed about them and I didn't feel an answer either way. I said to Sister Randall, "on the count of three point to one nad we'll buy that one." We both pointed to different boxes ... we ended up getting three of them.  I was to buy one and she would buy two.  When we walked up to self check-out, the employee gave us a weird look.  Sure, it is a bit weird for two sister missionaries to be carrying nothing but X-Men boxes.  I had Sister Randall buy hers first, but one at a time so we could open them and see if any were the solverine figure.  Before she could even pay, I was opening up the box.  Inside the boxes are the bobble-head action figures.  Pulled it open and it was a wolverine character!!  Miracle.  The employee expressed his excitement saying he was glad it was the first one and not the last one we bought.

Interviews:  We had Zone Conference this week, but it was combined with 6 other zones because a member of the seventy came.  Because President didn't want the possibility of not arriving back in Anchoragae on time to pick them up from the airport, he FaceTimed us for our interviews.  It was a bit different.

Exchanges:  We drove up to Anchorage on Wednesday.  We got there in perfect time to start our exchange and for Sister Randall and Sister Johnson to go teach a lesson, but that apparently those plans fell through.  The exchange was split up around zone conference.  We got to Anchorage on Wednesday afternoon and zone conference was the next day.  We finished the exchange Friday morning.  It went great and we always have exchange miracles.

Zone Conference:  It is always fun to see old companions and say hi to other missionaries we have served around before.  Elder and Sister Ardern from the Seventy came and spoke to us.  It was a lot of fun and spirtually uplifting.  In the scriptures sometimes it talks about people passing out from spiritual overload.  We all were very tired after the meeting from the spiritual overload and loving rebuke.

Baptism Date:  We had two back-to-back lessons with Dominic and his countenance is changing.  He is paying more attention at church and seems more interested in what we are teaching him.  He accepted to be baptized and we are helping him work towards getting baptized by the end of March !!!!!!  So excited !!!!

Sent from ALASKA !
Sister Shelley Willden

Staying in Soldotna

Last P-Day we had a lot of fun playing Ghost in the Graveyard, it is a version of hide-and-seek tag.  One person who is the zombie hides and everyone tries to find them. But once found, they yell "ghost in the graveyard" and we all run on back to base as quickly as we can before getting tagged by the zombie.  There were even points where we running outside on the ice sidewalks trying not to get tagged.  I am the best at hiding, but not the best when it comes to not getting tagged, so I hid a lot.  I was smart and grabbed the keys and went outside doors and come in different entrances. It threw everyone off.  Eventually we changed things up and played Ring Wraith. This game everyone hides except one who is trying to find the others.  Once they find one they have to tag them.  I cornered an elder in the high council room for the longest time before I was able to tag him.  Then the person who was it gets 15 seconds to run and hide and the person tagged is now it.  The point of the game is that you don't know who is it because everyone, theoretically, is still hiding.  It turned into someone were hiding and others were out in the open avoiding to get tagged and telling everyone who is it which defeats the purpose.  
Some other highlights for the week:
Remodeling:  We helped a lady in our Ward remodel her house.  We worked on flooring and she ended up giving us bamboo pillows which are the best and took us out to eat at Odie's which is a good sandwich restaurant.
Family HIstory:  Family HIstory work gives me a lot of stress.  I don't know where to start, and I, always afraid I am going to put wrong information in or delete important information when merging people.  Also, it is hard to find records of people sometimes.  I have been working on my Mom's side of the family because most of my Dad's side is taken care of with all my relatives who are members of the church who have been working on it for years.  We have received some help from family history consultants who are in our ward who have made the process a little clearer for me, but I know it is just time consuming and a lot of work, but it needs to be done.
Farm:  We had done apparently too much planting that Abby didn't have any more room for trays of planted seeds, so we went down to the basement to clean and I screamed because of a dead mouse.  Because of the way I reacted, some of the elders were trying to get that reaction out of me again, but I didn't let them.
Common Enemy:  We have bonded with a set of elders over a common enemy which is another elder in our district.  We are just having some drama going on but we have decided to go the route of killing with kindness.  We'll see what happens with it but all we can do is just make sure we are acting how Christ would act.
Thursday:  we had three lessons that day.  We had a lesson with Hana and her daughter Megan who live in the Kenai area but they badly want to be taught by sisters.  They requested missionaries so they are elect and are prepared by The Lord at this time to receive our message.  Because they live so far away, it took some time to drive back and then we had to drive to Funny River, which is another 20-minute drive.  We had a good lesson with one of our less-actives.  Later that night we had our lesson with the two boys who are technically investigators but they can't get baptized yet until they are adopted by their parents because their birth dad won't let them.
This week was a good week for Sister Randall and I to bond.  We had some good, deep communications about some nights had pillow talk.  I am glad I have another transfer to serve with this girl.  Transfer calls are this week but we know we will be staying :)

Sent from ALASKA !
Sister Shelley Willden

There's not too much to report this week as Sister Randall has been sick with the flu all week long so we've been stuck inside the apartment.
For P-Day last week, we went ice fishing, which was pretty cool.  With all that has been going on we forgot about fishing licenses but I'm glad I didn't waste $30 on that for one day where I got bored really quickly waiting for fish.  A few of us got in this ice fishing tent to make it easier to see the fish, but if anything, it kept us a little bit warmer.
We went back to the church afterwards to have ice cream cake to celebrate Sister Randall's birthday the day prior and that is when Sister Randall was feeling ill and with a fever.  I didn't think this would last all day, let alone all week, so the next day we went to help out this lady in our ward make cookie pops for a Young Woman event. Soon after that we had district lunch and she couldn't even eat the chicken soup I made for her so we went home for her to rest.
Later on in the week we had one of the elders give her a blessing and another day Jen, one of our potentials, brought over her essential oils and all kinds of foods that were to help.  She asked us if we have ever heard of the BRAT diet.  She said once you can start eating a bit the first thing you eat is Banana, then Rice (but it must be bland rice), then Apples (so she brought apple sauce), and then Toast.  It took almost the entire week for Sister Randall to start eating foods.  We were lucky to have the ward members bring us dinner the nights they scheduled us to have us over for dinner.
While we have been inside all week, I took advantage and tried to be as productive as possible.  Some of the things I got done:  caught up in my journal writing; painted my nails; exercised a lot; cleaned the kitchen; sent off our mileage report to our vehicle coordinator; and did a lot of studying.  I have been reading the Old Testament like a dramatic novel and reading the student manual along with it for better understanding. It is evident to me how much "plain and precious truths" have been taken out of the Bible.  I really don't understand how any religion can be based on just the Bible alone, for this book has been through so many hands who wanted to deceive and corrupt.  I was reading an enrichment section on the importance of symbolism and similitude and this study out to me:  "Couching great truths in symbolic language helped preserve them from those who sought to take away the plain and precious parts of the scriptures.  Unquestionably, many plain and precious things have been taken from the Bible (see 1 Nephi .....).  The Prophet Joseph Smith said:  "I believe the Bible as it read when it came from the pen of the original writers.  Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors." (Teachings, p. 327).
The Prophet suggested deliberate mutilation of the text.  But those truths couched in symbolic imagery that require the "spirit of prophecy," or the "testimony of Jesus," to interpret (Alma 25:16; Revelation 19:10) were not understood by these "designing and corrupt priests" and thus were left basically intact."
I know we need modern revelation to piece back together truth that has deliberately been taken out of the Bible.  I also know the important of then having the Book of Mormon to be a second witness to the Bible.  In it it explains a lot of misunderstandings in the Bible and even helps to explain Isaiah, which we all know is so difficult to understand because of the symbolic language and imagery.  The Lord talks to all of his children in all lands they may be in and is still communicating to us through his living prophets.  "If you have never read the Book of Mormon, read it", to quote President Thomas S. Monson, our living prophet today.  You can only know the truth we missionaries testify of by reading and praying about it yourself.
We were able to attend an institute class which the topic, ironically, was on the Book of Mormon.  This class strengthened my testimony of needing both books in our religion .  This week I even had the opportunity to read the Book of Mormon over the phone with one of our investigators and bare testimony to him of the importance of reading it everyday.  This book has brought a lot of peace to my life and gives me the hope to carry on through trials because I know they are to strengthen us.  My mother emailed me a pretty cool quote that goes along with this:  "The only way God can show us He is in control is to put us in situations we can't control."  ~ Steven Furtick

Sent from ALASKA!
Sister Shelley Willden

Happy Birthday Sister Randall

This week went pretty well.  For P-day fun we tried Saran wrapping the Elder's car buy they came out of the church for no apparent reason and caught us in the process of it. Oh well.  Here are some highlights of the week:
Tracting:  We have given out two Book of Mormons this week for a total of three since Sister Randall has been my trainee.  It is very bizarre these interactions, but The Lord blesses those who are showing The Lord they are willing to work.
Sick:  I woke up one morning with a sore throat and it all went down hill from there.  I got medicine and am now on the tail end of it with mainly just a cough.
Farm Life:  We started planting!  Sister Randall and I basically played in the dirt it seemed like because we got more dirty then than any other service we've done.
Dominic:  We asked if we could start teaching him and he said yes, so we've had three lessons with him this week and they are all going great.  He is putting his electronic's away and paying attention.  He is still forgetting to read the Book of Mormon even though we follow up, so we decided we are going to have a lesson on how to study the Book of Mormon, or any scripture for that matter, and to make reading it fun because it is fun to me now.
Caroline:  We taught her at the church and followed with a church tour but later found out she lives in the K-Beach area :(  We even got a referral from Danny but she also lives in their area as well.  We're all on the same team but it would be great if we were given people to teach.  We did have a district tract in our area where some elders found a couple of potentials we are planning on trying by, but the miracle is that another set of elders gave us a referral and we have an appointment set up with him next Saturday!
Funeral:  A member in the ward passed away and we were asked to sing Amazing Grace.  With the week practicing Sister Randall and I were able to perform that.  Many people came up to us afterwards to thank us for singing.
Sister Randall's Birthday:  This week I have been in contact with the elders to help buy gifts and plan things for Sister Randall's birthday.  I had to do some sneaking around and keep things from her which she didn't appreciate but as my mother would say around Christmas time, "you can't ask questions".  She woke up Sunday morning opening up her gifts which she loved.  The elders even bought her a Doctor Who monopoly game.  One of the members found out it was her birthday from the elders who were shopping for decorations at Fred Meyers.  I left the apartment door unlocked so they could decorate the house, but I also knew they wouldn't pass up the opportunity to prank us while they were there.  Sister Randall was smart enough to find it before damage could have occurred.  They tied a rubber band around the faucet sprayer so theoretically when we turned on the faucet we would get sprayed with water.  Our joker card we have been doing is putting a ninja somewhere where they would find it but they are giving them back to us which is lame.  We found both of them in our house.  For dinner the same member who found out it was her birthday told the members feeding us and the wife made a cake from scratch in the few hours after church.  Sister Randall said it was one of the best birthday's she has had.  Even the Bishop's wife came and brought a cake and a present that evening.  The fun part is that we are celebrating as a district today by going ice fishing and getting more cake. We are going to overload on cake. :)  But I hear this one is going to be ice cream cake! We are seeing the miracles come in by being obedient and know The Lord really does bless us when we show Him our desire to work.

Sent from ALASKA!
Sister Shelley Willden

Service Pranks

This week was crazy fun.  For P-day we went souvenir shopping and I got a a cream, fleece jacket that says Soldotna and Alaska on it with Forget-Me-Not flowers.  We played a bit of basketball and rushed out of there to get to dinner on time.
Tuesday we had a miracle happen.  Before I talk about that let me first say this.  After district meeting we were practicing our song to sing for a gospel doctrine class.  While practicing the Sterling Elders came back from doing a service to change their clothes. One of them had bought a go-pro and the other one took it to film him scaring us.  He walked back in and we didn't hear him so he came up behind us and screamed really loud.  The worst part is this was all on film.  There is no way we get pranked by the Elders and we don't prank them back.  Afterwards we went to help cut roses for service and we talked about what we could do back to them.  Later we went tracting for the first time since we weren't able to do so on Saturday and the first door we knocked on let us in.  We first started talking about the gospel and about the Book of Mormon and the miracle was that the wife accepted a copy to read!  Later this week we rant into her while we were having lunch and talked to her for a bit.  She hasn't read it yet because she is busy with nursing school so hopefully she can have a spare moment to read it.
Wednesday was so COLD!  We got in the car to drive to service and our car said it was -17 degrees.  We were so close to service when we were told service was cancelled because of the cold.  We had to get gas after that and my hands felt like they were going to freeze off.  But that is not the worst of it.  We were told that Thursday in some areas in Soldotna that the low was -30 degrees.  If Fairbanks is like this and worst, I don't think I ever want to serve there in the winter.  So Wednesday we tried to spend most of our time in doors so we tabbed Book of Mormons and called and texted people for future appointments.  That night we went to the church and the Sterling Elder's car was there.  The wards were having mutual activities there as well so as a quick prank back we put sticky notes all over their and hid our car amongst the other cars there that night.  When we left, I felt something was off and we looked and found the sticky notes all crumbled together tucked in our windshield wipers.
Thursday we had trainer/trainee meetings over PVC which is like Skype, but supposedly better, but we still had issues with it.  There would be times where we could see and hear but mostly we could only hear what was being said.
During the week, we got two calls to do service for people on Saturday.  Normally we don't do service on Saturday's because it is a good time to proselyte to people who are home on the weekends.  We got permission to help out with a kid's carnival on Saturday, but one lady asked us to help her clean her house while she is in the process of moving.  We worked things out so that we could clean her house Friday evening instead of Saturday.  We realized this lady was moving into our area so we were excited for that.  She was very grateful for the help the Elders and us did for her.
Saturday was the best day ever.  So we found out the Elders we are pranking back and forth were going down to Homer for the day (a city three hours away) so we thought we could do something to them while they were gone.  We have had dinner with the members they live with on Christmas when our dinner fell through so I figured we could have them let us into their apartment to decorate it.  (It is our random acts of service since we are trying to do nice pranks back to them).  We thought it would be funny to deck out their place with birthday decorations.  While we were in the process of decorating, we looked up to see when either of their birthdays were and, I don't think it is just coincidence, we found out that one of the Elder's birthday was that day !!!  He didn't tell anyone.  The prank then, is that it is all in pink:  pink balloons, pink streamers, and a Frozen birthday banner.  Because we are so nice and after we found out that it was his birthday, we did their dishes and made their beds. It really was the nicest prank someone could ever do.  We are still beside ourselves about it all.  The members texted us that night saying the Elders were having a tough time figuring out who got into their apartment.
Sunday we woke up at 6:30am and received a text the night before saying that the family giving talks that day were not able to make it so they were asking if we'd be able to give 10 minute talks each and if we could do a musical number as well. Church starts at 9am and it takes longer than an hour to come up with a topic and plan a talk out.  We were able to do it but when we arrived at church our ward mission leader, who was also asked to prepare a talk, told us the family showed up and that we were off the hook.  I was glad we didn't have to speak, but because we already prepared our talks, it sucks that we didn't get the chance to give them.  It worked out for the best because we had to sing our song anyway for a gospel doctrine class.  Members said we sounded great.  Later that day one of our potential investigators offered to help us bake cookies that we are going to use for another prank but also to give to investigators and less actives.  A miracle that happened is that Dominic is going to allow us to teach him the lessons!  Normally we teach him on the side when we are teaching his sister Raevin, the new member lessons.  Hopefully all that goes well.  We have plans to teach another potential investigator this week while at the church and hopefully we can give her a church tour while we are there as well.
Training Sister Randall is a lot of fun and she has a lot of greenie fire to go and do the Lord's work.  We are on the cusp of something great happening here in Soldotna and I am excited to see what's in store.

Sent from ALASKA!
Sister Shelley Willden