Monday, May 26, 2014

Fortune Cookies, Fasting and Faith

Dear Family and Friends,

It is finally warming up here! Whoooo!!!! I hope summer is here to stay! #californiagirl. This week was rough and I have been humbled so much. We are just struggling with finding new investigators and helping our current investigators progress. It has felt impossible and everyday feels like it will never end. But I know that after the trial of our faith it will come:)

Sister Nieto and I had a really awesome experience. On Saturday, we came home to do progress records and it had just been a hard day. We had been rejected countless times and we were feeling discouraged. We talked about the struggles that we were feeling and it was really emotional. We didn't know what to do and the thought came to me, "get on your knees." So Sister Nieto and I got on our kneews and cried and prayed and hugged. I realized that in times like that, we always need to turn to our Heavenly Father when we have no where else to turn. I felt an overwhelming feeling of peace and comfort after we prayed and it was confirmed to me that everything will get better. Sister Nieto and I fasted yesterday for our area and for our investigators. It was a very humbling experience realizing that I can't do this on my own and that I need Heavenly Father every step of the way.

After our fast, we had a Chinese food dinner and we had fortune cookies. Sister Nieto's fortune said, "You will meet someone this week for your benefit." and mine said, "The people who surround you will become more cooperative than usual." Whaa?? If that isn't an answer to prayer then I don't know what is! Haha. Then we met this guy that we have been trying to contact forever and we gave him a BoM and he asked tons of questions and said we could come back to teach him! #miracles. It is experiences like those that build my faith and my testimony. I KNOW that Heavenly Father is there and he is waiting to bless us, we just have to do our part first. We are determined to find a new investigator this week and we will keep working hard and being diligent and hoping for the best:)

This week we had exchanges! I was with Sister Hansen. She is AWESOME and such an incredible missionary. I went to her area on the other side of Twin and we had a lot of fun. We taught a lot of lessons and contacted lots of people. It was great! It is always fun learning from a new companion and to be able to have new experiences. :)

Also I have been able to share my talents a lot on my mission. I get asked to play the piano constantly. It is awesome though because it only makes me better! The Kezele's have a piano and so I am able to play more which I enjoy! I wish I would have practiced more #momsarealwaysright,:) but I am getting better and getting more confident! This week I played for primary which was kind of fun! I just feel so blessed because the Lord has given me so many opportunities to share my talents and to bless peoples lives and to serve them. It is so amazing and I just love it!

I am so grateful to be here and I am grateful for the experiences I am having. I know they are only to make me stronger and to help me  become the person Heavenly Father knows I can be. It is just incredible to be a part of the Lord's hastening of the work in these last days. We are preparing people for the Saviors second coming, and that is the most important thing I can ever do in this life. I am grateful for this amazing Gospel that has changed my heart and that I have the opportunity to help others do so. I love you all so much! Thank you for your love, prayers, and support. I feel it everyday! Sending much love.

Love, Sister Bigelow

Investigator prayer list (these names could also be put in the temple if you have the chance.:)) Karen Bishop, Kim&Doug Palmer, Babes Kalulu, Hassani Family, Yavruian Family, Sidney Bowers, Vincent Garcia. Thank you!

Monday, May 19, 2014

3 Square Miles

Dear Friends and Family,

What a week it has been! Can you believe transfers are already halfway over? Crazy!! I am finally starting to get to know this area and the people here. Also the weather is finally warming up! The sunshine just makes me happy and I love to be out biking and working:) This week was okay! We didn't have a lot of success, but we are focusing on the good and really trying to come up with new ideas to help the work move forward! It is hard to stay busy and we aren't supposed to tract in this area because it is so small. If we tracted out the whole area, and knocked every door, they would have to close the area, so we are trying to avoid that! Our area is 3 square miles, so it is tiny! But we have been teaching members the lesson of the Restoration to get them excited and to teach them how to be missionaries. Since this ward is so wealthy, it seems that everyone is always "too busy" to be a missionary, So we feel that working through the members and getting them excited is the key to success:)

Church yesterday was the best. A couple from our ward just got back from their mission to Puerto Rico and so they spoke in Sacrament meeting. It was so powerful and I cried like a baby because the Spirit was just so strong. They testified of the hardships of missionary work and sharing the Gospel, but the blessings and miracles that come from it. It was amazing. We also got to teach Gospel Principles for the second week in a row with no notice! #missionprobs The awesome thing about it though is that both times we were asked to teach last minute, I felt super prepared and not nervous at all and I know that is because being a missionary has gotten me out of my comfort zone and really prepared me for things like that. We had a really great lesson about repentance and it didn't even seem like we didn't know what we were doing! #thankstothespirit We also had a powerful lesson about the Book of Mormon in Relief Society. Our investigator Karen was there and it really touched her. She is now reading the Book of Mormon and loves it! 

This week we also had dinner with a lady named Sister Jones who just got back from a trip to Africa. Her son started an orphanage over there, so she went to go help out. She was sharing these incredible stories and how she got to share the Gospel so much over there. When she was talking about it I was like, "All I want to do is go to Africa." Haha. It sounded like an amazing experience to be able to help out over there and share the Gospel in the process. The longer I am here, I have such a strong desire to serve. I love to serve. There is no greater feeling or anything more rewarding than serving Heavenly Fathers children. We got the opportunity to do some service this week and it is my favorite. There truly is nothing better or more important I could be doing. This is an amazing opportunity I have and it is a privilege to be here and I am so grateful for that:)

Even though it is hard and the last few weeks have been rough, I can't help but be so grateful for what we have been blessed with. I am grateful for the wonderful people here. There is a 95 year old lady in our ward who isn't able to go to church because she is confined to her home, but she just LOVES the missionaries. We visit her every week and I love her so much. She found out I could play the piano and every time we go over there, she makes me play for her. Her face just lights up and it makes her so happy. That is a tender mercy from Heavenly Father and it is a great blessing to be able to use my talents to bless someone else's life. :) We made cookies this week for our investigator who just had surgery and it meant the world to him. We were able to help a less active with a bad back do some yardwork and it really meant a lot to her. I am so happy for these little things that allow us to help other people. It makes me so happy to know that I am doing good and helping other people. It is so incredible the blessings and tender mercies I see each day. I am so happy to be here:)

Anyways, we are going to continue to work hard and try to find those whom our Heavenly Father has been preparing! I have faith and I know we will be blessed. I am so grateful to all of you for your love and support. I am grateful to be here and I can't wait to see what is in store! I hope y'all have a great week. Sending my love. :)
xoxoxoxox Sister Bigs 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Daughters of God

Dear Family and Friends!

AHHH it was so so great to Skype with you guys yesterday! It definitely made my day and it was so great to see your cute faces and hear your voices. I loved being able to pray together as a family and to be reassured of your love, support, and prayers for me. I am grateful that we are given that opportunity. Seriously the best ever. I love you all and miss you more than you know. I hope everyone had a great Mothers Day :)

So this week was better! We have been really working hard and trying to come up with new ideas to keep the work going here in this area. We are trying new things to strengthen the members faith and trying to teach them how to be missionaries and that it can be really fun and really easy! As I told you in my last email, we had been praying and fasting and searching for a new investigator and we were finally blessed with one! It was so amazing to look back and see that the Lord placed us in the right place at the right time and we were able to experience such a great miracle after the "trial of our faith." Our new investigator is awesome and is super open to learning! She came to church yesterday and loved it. She is an intern here for 8 weeks for her physical therapy program. I am so grateful for that incredible blessing this week! Even though things are still tough here, I know that Heavenly Father is preparing His children and He will continue to bless us as we press forward and continue trusting in Him:)

This week we also had a Sisters meeting for the whole mission! It was so great to gather as Sisters and feel that bond that unites us as Sister missionaries in the hastening of the Lords work in the last days. It was one of those meetings all about being "daughters of God" and "we are all unique and special." #typical. But it was great! We talked a lot about how to deal with stress and coping mechanisms. Actually a Social Worker came in who deals with mental illness and talked to us about overcoming our challenges and getting through depression and things like that. We also talked about our companionship's and dealing with our issues in healthy ways. We talked about modesty, and exercise, and things like that. I thought it was a great meeting and I learned a lot! There are really amazing Sisters here and I am so happy I get to work with them:)

I seriously LOVE living with the Kezele's. They take such great care of us and it is so nice to feel like part of a family instead of coming home to an empty apartment. Their son got married this weekend and they had a beautiful reception at their house that we got to be a part of and help with. The Idaho wind took over though and they had to move it inside. #nightmare But it was great! We also have sooooo much left over food. #noneedforgroceries #nothelpingtheweightgain #40poundmission #yikes. Their daughters that live at the house with us are the cutest and we hang out with them sometimes. They are future missionaries and I learn so much from them! We also got roped into teaching Gospel principles at the last minute yesterday. Good thing we have studies and weirdly I actually felt prepared! We had a great lesson on faith in Jesus Christ and it was really powerful!

This week I have been reading in 3 Nephi and it is seriously my favorite ever. I love when Christ is teaching the people and He is about to leave and it says, "He beheld they were in tears, and they did look steadfastly upon him as if they would ask  him to tarry a little longer with them." And Christ says, "My bowels are filled with compassion towards you." And then he goes on to say, "Have ye any that are sick? Bring them hither. Have ye any that are lame, or blind, or that are deaf, or leprous, or that are afflicted in any manner? Bring them hither, and I will heal them because of my compassion upon you, my bowels are filled with mercy." And then it continues into the next few chapters and Jesus prays for the people "one by one." Gosh. It touches my heart each and every time I read it. It just makes me so grateful for the Atonement and for the mercy of Jesus Christ. That is why I am here. Without Jesus Christ, we have no message. And I love these scriptures because it shows just how personal our relationship with him can be and just how much he loves us. 

I just feel so blessed to be here and having these experiences I am having. I absolutely love being able to share my testimony each and everyday and I love bearing Christs name. Best calling ever. Thank you all for the love and support. I can feel it and I am so incredible grateful and happy!!! Have a great week everyone! I love you:)

xoxoxxo Sister Bigs

Monday, May 5, 2014

Farmers Tan here I come!

Dear Family and Friends!

Hello all! It's transfer week! I got to my new area on Wednesday and it has been good! Unfortunately, I have had strep throat all week so I was down and out for a good chunk of the week. Doctors orders. I swear I have been sick on my mission more than I ever have in my life! But I am feeling better and we are back to work:) I hope everyone had a great week! 

My new area is sooooo different than my first area. In this area everyone is Doctors and so everyone lives in mansions whereas, my last ward was really low-income. So it feels like I am in a totally different place! But I love it. We live right across the street from the temple and I love riding by it everyday:) We also live right next to the canyon and it is just beautiful:) Idaho just keeps growing on me! The ward is great and everyone is really nice. President Curtis is actually in our ward so we will get to see him more often! 

My new companion is Sister Nieto! She is the best and a really great missionary. We get along and it has been great! We have only had a few lessons so far, but the lessons that we have had have been incredible and I could feel the Spirit guiding us, it was awesome! We teach well together and so it is really nice:) She is a midget though haha. I am literally a GIANT next to her. And everyone points it out too. I guess the name Sister Bigs really fits:) We live with members now and they are awesome. They are the Kezele Family. It is different living with members, but I like it! It forces me to keep things clean. :)

The work here is really slow. It has been a hard adjustment to make compared to my last area. We haven't had really any appointments and nobody ever seems to be home. But we are keeping the faith and really trying to work hard. We have been praying and fasting and working and I know the Lord will bless us here. It is easy to feel discouraged especially during times when you are so tired and so sore from biking all day, but that is what I came here to do! It is hard work to be a missionary, but I love every minute of it. When I accepted my call, I accepted the responsibility to be obedient and to work hard and to do my very best. It is amazing how much the Lord is there for us and how much He helps us each and every day. I feel his presence and His hand guiding us, even though we may not see the fruits of our labors right away. I am really excited to work in this new area. I know that Heavenly Father needs me here to help His children and I am ready for whatever comes my way:) 

The weather this week was beautiful. No tights or jackets! Horray!! I got fried from being out in the sun on my bike all day. Farmers tan here I come! I just feel so blessed to be here. It is beautiful and I love the people so far. I feel that Sister Nieto is a blessing as well. I miss my first area and the people there and Sister Ramsey a lot, but I know that this all happens for a reason and I am grateful for this new adventure and opportunity. :) We had a Zone Meeting this week and it was great! We talked about using the Book of Mormon and why it is so important in conversion. It was awesome. My new Zone and District are great! 

Anyways, like I always say, I am happy here. It has been a good week and I am excited for what is to come. I started the Book of Mormon again this week and I am just loving it. I absolutely LOVE Nephi and his obedience and example he is to us. I love in Chapter 18 of 1 Nephi after Laman and Lemuel have untied him on the boat and he says, "Nevertheless, I did look unto my God, and I did praise him all the day long; and I did not murmur against the Lord because of mine afflictions." It is incredible to me that he had to do so many hard things, but he was just so grateful. Elder Uchtdorf brought that story up in his talk in conference and I just loved it! Anyways, I love all of you and appreciate all the love and support! SKYPE IN 6 DAYS!!!!!!! WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! Can't wait! Y'all have an amazing week! Sending my love:)

Sister Bigelow