OK so this week has been fantastic!!!!!!!!! LIKE AMAZING!!!!! So many Miracles, so much exciting news!!!! But first I feel I should probably give you an update on last week seeing as you didn't get one.
So first things first, no, we are not apostate rule breakers, but yes we did drive to Utah, which is about 45 miles outside of our mission boundaries...that part of Utah at least. It was a little nerve racking to say the least when we all looked up and saw the Utah sign, but being girls all of us were like, LETS TAKE A PICTURE!!!!!! So we did, oh the memories! Now I know what you are thinking, how the heck did you end up in Utah? Before you make any jokes about my sense of direction know I was not the one driving, that falls on Sister Kolbo's shoulders... But it's funny because none of us were trying to drive to Utah but it just happened. Ultimately our biggest problem was not lack of knowledge, two of the sisters in car had driven that path multiple times, and trust me it's a straight line, we shouldn't have gotten lost. But our biggest problem was lack of focus. None of us were paying attention as we should have been. I was updating our phone, Sisters Hunt and Wooten were sick in the back, and Sister Kolbo was in her own world pondering on feelings and impressions she had received earlier in the day. None of us were thinking about when we needed to exit until Sister Hunt looks up and sees Malad, she causally asks "Have we passed the McAmmon exit?" since none of us were looking none of us knew, but we figured nah we haven't missed it yet...But in the back of my mind I was thinking Malad isn't in our mission...Next thing we knew we were in Utah...
The more I have thought about this experience the more I have thought about how it applies to life. As I said earlier our biggest problem wasn't lack of knowledge, but lack of focus. Being born and raised a member of the church I, and many of you who read this have always had the knowledge of this great and true restored Gospel. It's never been a question as to whether Jesus is the Christ, or God truly is our loving Heavenly Father. We've always known. Yet I look around, especially serving in heavily Mormon populated areas, and see so many who have the knowledge, but have fallen off the path. How can this be? How can you know the truth, and yet be so lost? Agency of course plays a huge role, some simply choose to go astray, to live their life in ways contrary to what our Heavenly Father has planned for them. But more often--I have found at least--it's not that people choose to do wrong, it's not that they purposely choose the wrong path and begin to go down it. But rather they learn the Gospel truths, and get complacent, just as we did, they lose their focus, and all of a sudden they end up somewhere where they don't want to be, they end up going down a path they would never have chosen to take. I feel that sometimes we truly get in a rut, we get to the point where we attend church every week, we live God's commandments, we go to the temple, and we pray before meals, or maybe just before dinner (guilty, don't worry I've gotten WAY better). We do what we are supposed to, but do we truly allow those things to touch our hearts? Or change us for the better? Do we fall into the routine of doing it because we have to or we feel obligated to, or do we continue to do it because it's truly what we want to do? As I said earlier we did not want to drive to Utah, but we got into a routine, and we didn't realize that even though we were trying to do what was right our with our decisions, our lack of focus was leading us down the complete and wrong path. When we realized where we were, it was seemingly to late. We were truly where we didn't want to be. I have seen this same principle happen so many times, we get going, and because we are seemingly doing whats right we think we are safe from the adversary, but in reality we are not, and when we finally realize it, we are down a path we never intended to take. We are in Utah. I truly believe that lack of progression is one of the greatest mistakes we can ever make, because when we stop progressing we lose focus, and when we lose focus, eventually we will lose our way. But thankfully, just as we were able to turn around and drive back, eventually getting us back to where we needed to go, we to in our lives can turn around, and get back to the path we originally intended to take. We can apply the greatest gift ever given to us, we can apply the Atonement. It's not easy, and just as we had an extra hour and a half added to our drive, it will take you time to get back on the straight and narrow, it's not an instant fix, but it's more than worth the time and effort to get back. The path isn't always easy, and it's much easier to get lost then to find your way, and along the way you will run into road blocks. For instance, we almost ran out of gas...we didn't plan to go an extra 90 miles, and in between the Utah Boarder and Malad our car started to struggle, the light was on, and we were praying to make it to Malad, and thankfully we did. But it was another set back we had to face on our journey home. We have been promised numerous times in the scriptures that the path will not always be easy, but it will always be worth it. We made it back on the right path, and so can all those who have been lost, whether it be by choice, or by lack of focus. I think that's the greatest thing about this Gospel, you are never to far gone, you are never to lost to be saved. There's a quote by Elder Holland that says "It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ's Atonement shines" I am not sure there has ever been a truer principle than that. We all get lost at some point, but we can all get back. But we first have to realize we are lost. We have to truly look and evaluate what path we are taking, and correct based off our evaluation. So I guess what I am getting at is a question, it's one I had to ask myself, even as I am serving a mission. But the question is when was the last time you looked up to truly see what path you are taking? Are you still progressing? Or have you fallen victim to the adversary because you are in a rut? If your answers to these questions are not ones you like then don't fear. For the Atonement is there, begin to apply it, and once again begin progressing down the true straight and narrow path, the one that will lead you to the greatest happiness possible, the one that will lead you home to your Father in Heaven, your Savior Jesus Christ, and your family. Ok sorry, enough preaching from me. But think about it!!! Maybe it was just me, but my mind was BLOWN!!!!!
OK so funny story, I may have instead of driving out of my mission, driven in...confused? Well more on that later, but I may be finding myself in Utah more often...AHHHH
Ok, so we also went to Jackson Hole last week which was great!!!!!!! But SO SCARY!!!!!! I am in so much trouble to go home and drive in a city, I was struggling in Jackson, TO MANY PEOPLE!!!!!!! Seriously I am to the point where Star Valley seems big, how am I supposed to go home?! Alright it's decided I wont!!!! Are you cool with that?! But it was so beautiful to go an hike the Tetons!!!!! They are magnificent!!!! But it was killing me to see all that water and not being able to go swim in it!!!! Torture I say, TORTURE!!!!!! But it was worth it, so beautiful, and it just gave me a greater appreciation for God's creations, and how he truly loves us enough to give us this, how truly great he is!!!!!!
We also got to witness an amazing baptism!!!!!! Her name is Gina, and the sisters were teaching her, until they took one set of missionaries out of the valley, and we got put in the Elders area, but it was a team teach pretty much, because we were at Gina's once a week teaching her son, who's our investigator because he's a YSA. This family is so amazing!!!! They have definitely faced some trials in this life, but they have been able to overcome them, and together as a family they found the straight and narrow. Dan her husband was able to receive the priesthood after years of inactivity, and he was able to baptism and confirm her! Truly it was amazing!!!!!
Ok so now we are to this week!!!!!! Well let me tell you! Star Valley has tons of success. LIKE TONS. Together Sister Kolbo and have in just 2 months of serving together have been able to see 5 (it'll be 6 next week) people come unto Christ. 5! That's more than I had the whole first 7 months of my mission!!!!! But I a problem we had been finding is all the people we had been working with are baptized, and we didn't have to many new investigators. it's hard to bring people unto Christ with no one to teach...But thanks to the miracles of this week things are really looking up!!!!
Miracle after miracle, after miracle, just kept happening, and I can only thank the Lord for his greatness, because I truly know without him none of this week would have been possible!!!! The crazier thing is most of these miracles all occurred in one day!!!!!!
So on Wednesday we went to help some people move, which was torture!!!! They were moving from a basement apartment to the second floor, and I am blaming it on the elevation but by the time we were done I never wanted to look at another set of stairs again!!!!! HORRIBLE!!!! Don't get me wrong I was so glad to help, but it was a struggle!!!!! After we moved we went down to the temple welcome center where a sweet senior couple named the Helser's (from Mesa Az) work, they recently had a family come in and ask for missionaries, so we were getting the information from them. Miracle number 1, people were asking for us!!!!!! While we were in the Welcome Center though a youth from one of our wards texted us and said he had a friend who wanted to learn about the Gospel and that they would get in touch with us soon. Miracle number 2, members finding us people to teach!!!!! And right after that we saw miracle number 3, which was......the friend actually calling us!!!!!! Usually we have to hunt them down, but this time they came to us!!!!! As we talked to her we realized just how much she wanted the Gospel!!!! Which brings us to miracle number 4, she actually met with us, she desperately wanted to meet us, but we had appointments for the rest of the day, so we said we want to meet you today, but it's now or never (ok not really never, but we get the principle) and she choose now!!!! BOOM new investigator!!!! Hannah!!! She is so awesome, and so prepared for the Gospel!!!! What's so different about her though is that she doesn't have any foundation in Christ, we are literally teaching everything from the very beginning, it's such an eye opener for me to see that even people here in America don't know of their Savior still, such a great testimony builder to me, of what I have been so blessed to know about my whole life!!!!!! Even cooler with Hannah is she has a notebook of questions she has always wanted answered, and every single question in there is something that can very simply be answered because this gospel holds ALL the answers! She is so amazing and I am so excited to get to keep teaching her!!!! After her lesson we had dinner, not as exciting but they family was hilarious!!!!! then we went out and things slowed for awhile, until....WE SAW MORE MIRACLES!!!! So we were driving around in Smoot which is TINY!!!! Population 145, so small!!! But we were trying to contact some referrals when out of no where one of our investigators who has a baptism date, but has kind of dropped of the face of the planet comes out of nowhere!!!!!! BOOM miracle number 5, we were able to talk and reset his date!!!!! He's great!!!!!! Then we started to talk to this random guy next door, and turns out...we had been looking for his house the whole time!!!! He has a granddaughter who lives there and inst a member, and neither is his wife!!!!! Originally he wasn't going to let us in, but then we offered service, and it started pouring down rain, common courtesy, he let us in his house!!!!! Miracle number 6!!!!!! Even cooler part of the miracle as we talked with his wife about doing service (they needed a horse pen cleaned out, and a bunch of heavy stuff moved, and they are elderly and couldn't do it alone) she told us, that she had been praying for help, and we showed up at the exact right time!!!! They had to have it done by the weekend, and had no means to be able to do it, but we did!!!! And we knew tons of people to help, and we had it done in a few hours on Saturday! Miracle number 7 comes because they both became new investigators!!!!! By this time we had to go home for curfew, but as I drove one of our ward mission leaders called, and he provided miracle number 8 of the day (although this miracle was a little delayed, the bulk o fit happened Friday) he had met a new move in earlier in the day, and turns out this new move in had been taking the missionary lessons in Colorado right before he moved to Wyoming, and he wanted to have the missionaries again! So he gave us his name, number, and address, and told us to go meet him as soon as possible. I went to bed so exhausted, but so overwhelmed with just how great the day was!!!!! Then Thursday we cleaned our house. Lame, but we had just moved in, and had to settle things. Friday we drove to Soda Springs and had Zone Training, which we were running late to, and the AP's decided to show up, dang!!!! Oh well they understood it was hard to be on time when we live 2 hours away! Zone training was great, but it kept us from being able to proselyte most the day, we did get to take some pictures though!!!! Welcome to Wyoming!!!!
That evening we got to go out though, and here's the rest of the miracle!!!! That man who had moved from Colorado, well his name is Dennis, and never before have I met anyone as prepared for this Gospel then Dennis. HE IS AMAZING!!!! He has been doing everything he needs to do without knowing why he's doing it. He was taught in Colorado but it was hard because he felt he had to many distractions, but now he's so prepared. We knocked on his door, and we didn't have to say a word, the door opened, and we were welcomed in, no introduction nothing, just a warm, come in! As we sat down and began to talk we realized how read he is, and amazingly, he stopped and began to cry (if you saw Dennis you would understand how crazy this looked, he's huge with tattoos, and piercings, and he's the last person you would expect to cry) (Side note, have you ever seen the district? If you have imagine a Jackie, and German situation combined, that's how his lesson went) he then proceeded to ask us when he could get baptized, he said he wanted to do it as soon as possible, so because he had one last Word of Wisdom thing to overcome, we set the date for 2 weeks away, which if he lives the Word of Wisdom for the whole time is the first date he qualifies for baptism. CRAZY!!!!!! Even more amazing, he will not only be getting baptized in 2 weeks, but married as well!!!!!! That's right I am throwing a wedding!!!!!!! I am so amazed at how prepared he truly is, and the intense desires of his heart to do good!!!! He is truly a miracle from God, and I feel so incredibly blessed to get to be here to witness it!!!!!
So this week was amazing!!!!!!! So many miracles!!!! To many to count! I feel so blessed to be here!!!! But I do have some news that I may have eluded to earlier....now I have no idea what is actually going on, and this is probably all just rumors and in case you haven't noticed the church likes to gossip, and there is a bunch going around the Valley right now. So come July 1st the church is creating the Utah Logan mission, I have no idea why, but they are. We know for sure they are splitting the Ogden mission in half, but we have also been told that areas from surrounding missions will be pulled into the new mission boundaries...Pocatello happens to be a bordering mission. My zone which goes from Grace/Soda Springs up to Jackson Hole (but Jackson isn't included in this) once upon a time was in the Utah Ogden mission, it wasn't until about a year ago it got pulled into the Pocatello mission, and seems that it we are once again up for a move. Now this is of course hearsay, but the more we think about it the more it makes sense to move us. We're closer to Logan than Pocatello, and if they only put Logan in the mission it'll be tiny, plus, we've heard the mission next to ours is being dissolved meaning some major changes are headed our way! The way it's sounding is that they will take Montpelier and down and put it in Logan, but there is a real possibility they could come up and take Star Valley, so if I find myself here next transfer (which starts next Wednesday) I could ind myself in a whole new mission come July 1st. They wont release maps until then, and our mission president says he doesn't know anything, but we know he had a meeting in Salt Lake Tuesday that he wasn't not permitted to miss, he even had to miss the departing temple trip for it!!!!! It was his last trip, and the only one he missed!!!! So either he is getting a calling in the church, or our mission boundaries are changing, but who really knows at this point?! But that's where my title comes from, it seems I will be on the edge of the mission, but whether I'm on Pocatello's edge, or Logan's I don't know yet!!!!! It's a bit stressful to say the least!!!!!!!
Well this week was great!!! I'll end with one last thing! Siser Kolbo played the worst prank on me this week, she made a your mom joke so I was like "Oh yeah?! text my mom!) and I started spiting out moms number...well a couple minutes later asked, who are you texted? She replied "Your mom" no joke this time though! When I look at the phone I see a message sen to moms number and I started freaking out!!!! SHE CANT TEXT MY MOM!!!!!!! That's so not OK!!!!!! but she was just like I thought you weren't allowed to text her...the rule says nothing about me! I was so anxious!!! She tested my mom!!!! I was so close to calling the zone leaders because I seriously had no idea what to do!!!! But then when I looked at it closer I realized she changed the district leaders contact to moms number, and she really had texted him, not her!!!! PHEW!!!!! I was so nervous for a minute!!!!!! I was pretty mad at the time, but now I just think it was hilarious!!!!! Well thanks for always writing! Have an awesome week!!!! and always remember to smile!!!!!
Sister Kaycie Sondrup