Week 2 in Ellsworth!

Hello again!

Man. The weeks surely do fly by when you’re a missionary! The weeks are like days and the days are like weeks. It’s so weird.ย 

Anyway, this week was interesting! It’s really different from Canterbury where we taught at least two or three lessons a day. Now we might get that many in a week! But it’s been good. We do more service here – we help at a roman catholic church in Bar Harbor on Thursdays for the community meal and sometimes we help out at a clothes closet in Ellsworth on Saturdays. It’s actually tons of fun to do service! I love it! The people at the community meal are super nice, the food is delicious (pot roast, chicken, pork, different soups and desserts) and the work is fun!ย 

We’re trying to figure out a way to get to more parts of our area because at the moment, we really only work in Ellsworth and Bucksport (where we live). Everything else is SO far away! There are a few islands that you need to take a boat to and when… actually IF we ever go there, we would probably need to get permission to travel, stay overnight at a member’s home and then go to the island the next day. It’s crazy how big our area is! It doesn’t help that the members are so few and far between. There are probably 30-40 people that come each week to church. Huge difference from a ward. BUT! We love it! The branch president is super nice and generous. The leaders are, for the most part, wonderful and even if they seem a little… difficult… at first, they’re pretty awesome once you get to know them a little better.

Besides trying to get around more, we’ve been focused on finding new investigators – we found TWO this week! One is an 8 year old who’s mother hasn’t been to church in years, but both of them want her to be baptized. It’s so fun to go teach Izzy! The other is a woman who used to be a member, but had her name taken off the record, which means she’d need to be baptized again, if she chose to do that. So we’re teaching both of them now and we’re hoping to get another one, maybe two, in the next couple of days. It’s going to be FABULOUS! ๐Ÿ™‚ย 

Sister Bickel was sick again on Friday. Sooo I studied from the Conference Ensign. Man oh man are those articles/talks AMAZING! I got so much out of them. There are highlights and notes all over the place! It’s great. I love studying. ๐Ÿ˜€ One thing I came across was in the talk by David A. Bednar, a member of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles, called “The Windows of Heaven”. It’s focused on tithing, but the principles he talks about are really amazing. He talks a lot about significant but subtle blessings that come from paying tithing. One of those blessings is gratitude. When we’re grateful, it’s a lot easier to see the small blessings that sometimes you might not ever realize were there. Sometimes, a blessing that comes is the greater capacity to act and change our own circumstances rather than expecting our circumstances to be changed by someone or something else. We’re not going to learn anything if a solution to our problem was always given to us so we didn’t have to figure it out on our own. And that’s the point of life – to learn and grow and progress. Therefore, the Lord gives us the tools we need to get through rather than giving us the solution right off the bat. Sometimes we may ask God for success, and He gives us physical and mental stamina. In the Book of Mormon, the stripling warriors were in need of help to fight in the war that was going on. Elder Bednar says:
ย “They prayed earnestly that God would strengthen and deliver them out of the hands of their enemies. Interestingly, the answers to these prayers did not produce additional weapons or an increased number of troops. Instead, God granted these faithful warriors assurance that He would deliver them, peace to their souls, and great faith and hope for their deliverance in Him (Alma 53; 56-58)… Assurance, peace, faith, and hope initially might not seem like the blessings warriors in battle might want, but they were precisely the blessings these valiant young men needed to press forward and prevail physically and spiritually.”

I could definitely not say it any better. That was a really cool realization and I loved what came next. It’s a scripture in Isaiah 55:8-9 (which brought to mind another scripture, Mosiah 4:9) that says “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Sometimes, if we’re praying to Heavenly Father for an answer, we can be pretty narrow-minded in what we want. We can’t counsel the Lord or ask Him for specifics because He knows us WAY better than we know ourselves. So when things don’t go exactly your way, that’s okay. The Lord knows what He’s doing. Trust in Him. 1 Samuel 16:7 is similar, as is Matthew 7 (3 Nephi 14). Those are some of my favorite passages in the Bible to study because they’re what I call some of the “pride-check” scriptures. It makes me think about what I’m doing and saying, what I’m praying for, how I’m treating others, etc. As I said earlier, this life is for us to learn and progress. No one is perfect, and therefore, there is ALWAYS something we can each be working on. As you study and ponder those verses and chapters, think of one way that you can improve on, whether it be automatically judging someone when you first see them because of how they’re dressed, or whether it’s that you second-guess what the Lord is telling you to do, and wonder if that’s really the answer or if it’s just your own thoughts. That’s one thing I’ve been working on – really focusing and listening to what the Spirit is telling me. It’s helped SO much in every aspect of life. It’s helped me be more understanding, more patient, happier and to have more charity towards those around me. I know that as you find something you’d like to work on, your life will be blessed as well, and you WILL be able to see the difference it makes as you strive to be better than you were yesterday.

I hope you all have a wonderful week and I hope to hear from at least some of you again soon! ๐Ÿ™‚ May the Spirit be with you throughout each day to guide your thoughts and your actions to help you become better and better, and closer and closer to Christ! ๐Ÿ™‚
Love,
Sister Mayle

Week 1: Ellsworth, Maine

Well hello there everyone!

First off: I added some people from the Canterbury Ward because you’re awesome. Hopefully you like getting my emails, because you’re on my list now. ๐Ÿ˜€
Second: I am now in Ellsworth, Maine! It’s up near Bangor (we actually go to the Bangor building sometimes for meetings). We live in Bucksport, right across the river from Fort Knox! I absolutely love the area and so far the ward seems pretty great. It’ll take some getting used to after seven months in Canterbury though. ๐Ÿ™‚ My new companion is Sister Bickle, who served in Laconia for a few transfers, meaning we went on exchange a few times! So I already knew her at least a little bit. We get along fabulously and we’re both really excited for this transfer. ๐Ÿ™‚
Something else that’s awesome about Maine: They name their streets kind of odd names. Like Flockamoosen Way. Yes. There is a real street named that. Also, Hida Way. Pictures to come.
So, amidst all the transfer excitement, life was crazy this week. Tuesday was spent mostly in the car – it was a five hour drive from Manchester. While that was exciting, especially with all the fog, I’d like to stay up here for a while so I don’t have to make that drive again any time soon. Wednesday, we met with a few people (I’m pretty happy with how many names I’ve remembered) and had some miracles happen. For example: There is one woman in the ward here, who is not so fond of missionary work. Interestingly enough, when we called to see if we could stop by, she said yes and talked with us about a few less-actives she’d like us to visit. Then on Sunday, she came to Gospel Principles with us to help fellowship a recent convert who was baptized last week (they have three recent converts in the ward, which means they were baptized within the last year). Apparently that was huge! So already, we’re seeing miracles in the area! YAY!
I think one thing I’m happy about with my new area, is that I’m comfortable teaching. Since I spent the last seven months in one area and it was my training area, I was a little worried that I’d be quiet and let my new companion do all the teaching since she knows the people. Well, that worry is mostly gone. I can teach pretty well. The hard part is conversing normally with people. I have a hard time thinking of questions to ask when I first meet people until I get to know them. How do you get to know someone without asking questions? No idea… I think that’s what companions are for? ๐Ÿ˜› Haha just kidding. I’m going to be such an awkward return missionary. Ah well. Such is life. ๐Ÿ™‚
Okay so there are a couple of things I wanted to talk about this week. Sister Bickle was sick all day yesterday, so I got a lot of study time. I studied the talk “Meek and Lowly in Heart” from the Conference Ensign. Whoo buddy! That is a FABULOUS talk! I’ll touch on a couple of points really quick. Also, I’d like for you to look up the scriptures that I reference. Please. ๐Ÿ™‚ Meekness is a wonderful Christ-like attribute and something that we all should be striving to become.There are a few steps to becoming meek. First: Improve day by day. While it is a commandment to become perfect (as it says in Matthew 5:48), it’s not something that’s going to happen in this life. It will happen, but it’s going to take a lifetime of work. It is our duty to TRY to perfect in this life and that requires us to do our best to do things better than we did them yesterday. One song I’ve had stuck in my head since studying this talk is “If the Savior Stood Beside Me” by Sally DeFord (look it up on her website, it’s probably there). I absolutely love that song and I’ve made it my theme for this transfer. If the Savior stood beside me, would I do the things I do? Would I say the things I say? As you think of that, remember that, it’s not just when the Savior stands beside us that we should be striving to be like Him. We are to stand as witnesses of Him at all times, in all things, in all places (1 Timothy 4:12).
Step two to becoming meek: Learn how to control your temper. When I first read that, I was like “Umm, okay, that’s interesting.” But as I thought more about it, it made more sense. When we fail to control our temper, we’re giving in to the adversary (3 Nephi 11:29, 2 Timothy 2:23-24). President Henry B. Eyring said “When we with faith control our tempers and subdue our pride, the Holy Ghost gives His approval and sacred promises and covenants become sure.” I love that quote. Think on it for a minute and figure out what that might mean to you. I love it, but I’m still trying to figure it out.ย 
Step three to becoming meek: Become Humble. Only those who are humble are able to acknowledge and understand the Lord’s answers to their prayers. They are teachable, they are meek and they have the ability to influence others to be the same. Christ was the supreme example of meekness. In Luke 23:34, He said “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” He asked the Father to forgive those who had persecuted Him, tortured Him, and crucified Him. I’d say that is quite the example of meekness. And one we ought to follow. Christ suffered so that we can have the opportunity to change our character. Let’s take that opportunity and make the best of it. Become more like the Savior. This week, as you go about each day, think about if the Savior stood beside you, would you do the things you’re doing or say the things you’re saying? What would you do differently? Take the time, make the effort to change and become better. It’s hard, but it’s completely worth it. And the blessings that come as you strive to become more like the Savior are endless: Happiness and joy, love, the ability to want to serve others, and so much more.ย 
For those of you who study the Book of Mormon (even those who don’t), I studied Alma 36. It’s about repentance and is a very wonderful chapter, which I love so much. Most likely, there aren’t many of you who qualify to be called the vilest of sinners, but I encourage you to, as you study, apply the verses to yourself. How can your understanding of Christ’s Atonement, His love and His life, be applied to you personally? Think of questions to ask yourself like: Have I ever felt like this? How have I experienced a change of heart, even if it’s not quite so dramatic? What would this kind of experience be like, if it happened to me?
I know as you each take the time to study from the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the conference talks, etc, your lives will be blessed – your understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ will increase and so will your happiness and your willingness to love and serve the Lord. Life is so much better when you accept His will and just do it! ๐Ÿ™‚ I also know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints truly is Christ’s church once again restored upon the earth today. I know that there are a few of you who aren’t so sure about that, whether you’re members or not and that’s okay. Everyone needs to find out the truth for themselves. The way that you can do that is by going straight to the source – asking representatives of the church or even just your friends who are members. If you don’t know anyone, or are afraid to ask, go toย mormon.org. You can just read on your own, watch videos or even chat with missionaries! But the number one source is your Father in Heaven. He is waiting for you to ask, waiting for you to open up to Him. So, as James directs in his epistle, James 1:5-6, ask God with faith and because He is your loving Heavenly Father, He will answer you if you’re sincere. I know it, because I’ve done it. And I have felt His love each time I pray with sincerity. It’s an amazing feeling and I hope that each of you, member or not, strong faith or not, takes the time to find the truth, even if you’ve done it before.
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Have a fabulous week! Stay close to the Lord. Ask Him questions when you need to know something. ๐Ÿ™‚ I love you all!
Love,
Sister Mayle

Last week in Canterbury

Well hello!

So yes. You read the subject line correctly. I’m getting transferred, staying junior companion. This last week was my last in the Canterbury, New Hampshire ward. And boy oh boy were the last 7 months WONDERFUL! I grew and learned so much and I sure hope that wherever I’m transferred, I’ll continue to learn and progress at the same rate, or even more! It’s definitely bittersweet to leave because I’ve been here so long, I love this ward and the people we’re teaching, but also, I’ve been here so long… It will be nice to have a change of scenery and to be pushed even more to do better. So I’ll be transferred tomorrow. And Sister Smith will be staying here.ย 
Alright. So Cheryl. Wowzers! She is doing FABULOUS! I can’t believe how much she’s progressed since we met her a few months ago! She’s to the point where I think she knows she needs to be baptized, but she’s a little nervous and feels a little guilty for whatever reason. She’s on the right track, though because she is studying SO much! She’s started studying faith and uses the index in the back of the Book of Mormon, Our Heritage, the Gospel Principles book and whatever other materials we might give her. She is so excited and happy to learn and learn and learn some more! And I’m excited for her! I wish I was staying here, just for her. I know I’ve said this many times before, but my favorite part about missionary work is seeing the change in people and seeing more happiness come into their lives and light up their countenances. It’s really wonderful!
The Sansoucie family. Now THAT is a FUN family! We had dinner and FHE with them last night and it was… Well, let’s just say we laughed to the point of tears and the beginnings of a six pack. We had a great message about missionary work and how to be a good missionary in Alma 17. And then…. THEN we played Spaz Uno. Hahaha! Oh they LOVED that game! It’s one of my favorites. ย If you don’t know how to play, I’ll teach you in 11 months. Because it is a WICKED sweet game.
Something exciting this week: We experienced some freezing rain! And I discovered how much fun it is to walk around town in rainboots when the sidewalks are pure ice. YEAH! We’ll just say it took us twice as long to get anywhere and I did not fall. It was close, though. ๐Ÿ˜€ย 
So the last seven days of scriptures to memorize are here:
Tuesday January 7: Mosiah 3:19
Wednesday: D&C 84:85
Thursday: 2 Timothy 4:3-4
Friday: Joseph Smith History 1:15-17
Saturday: D&C 20:77
Sunday: D&C 20:79
Today: Amos 3:7
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So my thought today is pretty short. Yesterday, I read Alma 28 and 29 (page 278-280). I want you all to read them while keeping in mind what the Lord wants/needs you to do. Even those of you who have never read the Book of Mormon, or are not members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (which is why I included the page numbers). I really love these chapters because of what they talk about. I know what the Lord has commanded me to do. Do you?ย 
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Stay close to the Lord. Keep studying the scriptures. Don’t be afraid to share even one sentence of what you’ve learned in your studies. Be open with your family and friends because that’s how you can draw closer to them and to the Savior. Spend time with your family. It’s important.ย 
Enjoy the week! Stay strong in the faith! Love you all!
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Love,
Sister Mayle

Week 26: NEW YEAR!

January 6, 2014

Well, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

I can’t believe it’s 2014 already and I can now say I’m going home this year… WHAT?!?! Time goes by WAY too fast as a missionary. Oh well. As long as I make the most of it, that’s alright. ๐Ÿ™‚ย 

So we got some big news this week on Thursday while we were trekking through the 6-8 inches of snow with our shovels. Our mission president called us, I promptly handed the phone to the senior companion, wondering what the heck he was calling us for. She talked to him for a few minutes, got off and told me that as of this coming transfer, there would only be sisters in the ward. The lease for the elder’s apartment isn’t up yet, so we’ll be moving to their apartment in Concord (the capital city of New Hampshire. At least it’s only about the size of Fort Collins). So this week will be spent packing and cleaning our current apartment so we’ll be able to move next week. However, I’ve been in the same area for my entire mission (seven or so months) and so I most likely will be being transferred out next week. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I love this area, and my companion, so I’d prefer NOT to leave… Ah well. Whatever the Lord needs me to do, that’s just fine with me. And I can always come back to visit!ย 

OH! Before I forget: I said I would tell you all what gifts I wanted to give the Savior. I still haven’t heard from any of you what yours were! So send them to me. Now! ๐Ÿ™‚ Mine are pretty cheesy, but hey. I like them. My mission president liked them. And I’m pretty sure the Savior would like them. ๐Ÿ™‚ Also, I want to say, I thought about these because you can’t really give the Savior anything He can hold, or touch, or whatever because everything is already His. So here are my three gifts that I’m working on.

1: A huge orchard of trees that bear good fruit (metaphor! Read Alma 32)

2: The smiles from the people that I serve everyday.

3: Music. I want to write the most glorious, angelic, majestic song I can come up with. I won’t be able to do that till I get home, but for now, I can at least play and bring the Spirit to those who listen. ๐Ÿ™‚ย 

Anyway, we’ve been doing a lot of cleaning out our teaching pool because a lot of the people we teach don’t seem to be too interested or they are just not following through with commitments. At first, I was a little bit sad about this (well, I still am), but then, after getting that call this week, I realized that it’s probably better because we won’t have time or miles to spend like we have been once we move and are over the whole ward (which the farthest distance one end to the other is 30 miles). We’ll find other people in other areas and we’ll be back up to being crazy busy again.ย ย 

So Ray has a baptismal date for February 1 (I’m pretty sure I mentioned that) and boy oh boy does Satan know it and is trying his best to keep it from happening. We had three appointments with him and every time, something happened to where we weren’t able to teach him! He also went to the emergency room this week because of bleeding in his lungs, which prevented him from coming to church AND to the baptism that the elders in our ward had on Saturday. Ah, Satan. He’s super smart and knows what to do to deter us from progressing so he can drag us down. But he won’t prevail! Ray will still be baptized and it will be a glorious day! ๐Ÿ™‚ย 

One more change this week: We’ve switched to 9:00 church and I LOVE IT! We don’t have time to do personal or companion study before we go, but it’s nice because then I can come back and actually be awake and focused on my studying after being at church all morning. Plus, I do love mornings when we get out rather than sitting inside until 10 like we usually do. It’s great. Yesterday, while I was reading from the Book of Mormon, I read Alma 17, which talks about Ammon and his brothers going to teach the Lamanites the Gospel. This morning, I read chapter 18. Both chapters are amazing missionary chapters and what I would like you to do, is read/study them and look for qualities or things Ammon and his brothers did to become great missionaries. There are at least nine or ten things. Once you figure out at least a few of them, I’d like you to apply them in your own lives, whether for missionary work or not. See what happens. You’ll witness miracles, and experience many blessings as you strive to do what Ammon did. Like I said, it doesn’t have to be in relation to missionary work. The qualities and actions are things that apply to life in general, or even other specific things like family, school, work, etc etc. It’s pretty awesome what the scriptures can do to help guide and direct your life.ย 

Alright. I lied. I’m sorry! There’s another change our mission president gave to the whole mission. We have to memorize one scripture every day for the entire year. Meaning: We’ll have 365 scriptures memorized by the end of the year. If you’d like to follow along with us and take on this challenge, too, here are the scriptures so far:

January 1: James 1:5

January 2: D&C 50:13-14

January 3: Moses 1:39

January 4: 2 Nephi 2:6-7

January 5: 1 Samuel 15:22-23 (first sentence)

January 6: 1 Nephi 3:7ย 

If I forget to send them next week, just remind me and I’ll do it the week after! ๐Ÿ™‚ย 

So for the new year, our mission president asked us to make three goals: one physical, one emotional and one spiritual. I made about four or five spiritual ones. I plan on memorizing the scriptures every day, memorizing one hymn every week, writing down when I recognize promptings from the Spirit, and a couple others I can’t remember at the moment (don’t worry, I wrote them down!). It’s going to be a WONDERFUL year if I can continue to work at all that and be able to improve. I’m really excited! I know some people don’t like to make goals/new year’s resolutions, but I got an email from a good friend last week who LOVES to set goals for himself. He told me that: “my motto [is] ‘shoot for the moon, because even if you miss you’ll land among the stars.’ ย Why go for anything less? ย at least if you set the goal, there’s a chance you can get it, and you have something to work towards! Preach my gospel says that your goals are a reflection on your desires. ย so if you have no goals, what does that say about your desires?”

All I can say about that is that I have a pretty brilliant friend. And he is most definitely right! The more I think of it, the more I realize: Goals are wonderful! So, even though it’s a few days into January, it’s not too late to set goals/resolutions! My advice though, is to set big goals, but also goals that lead up to achieving that higher goal. In other words: Baby steps. It’s difficult to achieve something when you become overwhelmed and realize just how big the goal actually is, but when you break it down into smaller goals, it’s easier to handle and you’ll be more likely to reach it.ย ย 

Alrighty, well. I think that’s about it for this week. Stay tuned to find out if I’ll be spending another transfer, and therefore HALF of my mission in one area! (Probably not)

I love you all and thank you for your love and support! ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s fun to hear from you guys, so keep it coming!!!ย 

Have a fabulous week and stay close to the Lord! ๐Ÿ™‚ย 

Love,

Sister Mayle