Monday, August 25, 2014

Designated Driver

Dear Family and Friends,

I have decided that missions are never boring and they really make life interesting! So this week Sister Bly had to go down to Salt Lake to the burn unit at University of Utah. So we teamed up with her companion Sister Owsley for the next few weeks. Now we are in a trio and we cover 3 wards! But the good news is, is that they gave us a car since we have so much area to cover! And I am the designated driver! #whatup. Also the car is a brand new Jeep Compass with 200 miles on it. It is the nicest car I have ever driven in my life and probably ever will drive.  It has been so much fun with the three of us and we are just having a ball. We really wish Sister Bly could be here and that she didn't have to go through all this, but I know that everything happens for a reason. And Sister Bly is doing so well! Her burns are healing up really nicely and they don't think they will need to do skin grafts! #miracles. Sister Owsley has been awesome! I think we have laughed more in this last week than I have on my whole mission. It was also Sister Owsley's birthday this week which was super fun to celebrate. Sister Pohahau and I got up in the middle of the night so we could be sneaky and make her a birthday cake and decorate downstairs. It was so much fun and I am grateful for both of my companions and all I have learned from them. :)

This week was mostly a catch up week of things that didn't get done last week when we were all back and forth from the hospital and all the craziness! We didn't get to really teach anyone this week, but this next upcoming week we are booked with appointments! Whooo!!! Our 40-day fast has been going really well and our wards are FINALLY catching the vision. We got asked to speak in both wards in sacrament meeting about it and about missionary work and how we need the members. Truly, working through the members is the ONLY way to do missionary work. We have seen miracles happen. Someone invited a friend to take the missionary lessons and the friend said yes and wanted to learn more! We have gotten so many referrals and the members want to be more involved with us. Sister Curtis taught an amazing Relief Society lesson on missionary work and President Curtis told her that she needs to call everyone to repentance and she did a really great job haha. The title of the lesson was. "So wake up and do something more!" I love that woman. We are teaching the 5th Sunday lesson next week all about missionary work and we really feel like Heavenly Father is blessing us so much to be able to work more with the ward members. 

I have been reflecting a lot and looking back on my mission. I have been thinking about the fact that next transfer I will be halfway done and reality is starting to hit me. I have been thinking about if I really have changed that much and how I am a better person because of my mission. My mission has been the hardest thing I have ever done. I was looking back in my journal and there were days when all I wrote in my journal was, "I am so over this!" or "missionary=therapist" or, "I wish I would just get hit by a bus so I could go home." (must have been a really bad day haha.) There have been times where I have gotten down on my knees with no energy left and said, "Heavenly Father, I have been talking to you all day, just give me the strength to keep moving forward." There have been disagreements, homesickness, frustrations, and everything else in between. But it has been so incredible and it is all so worth it because this is the Lord's work and He is truly hastening it in these last days. I have met the most amazing people, had the best spiritual experiences, my testimony has been tried and strengthened everyday. I am just so grateful to be here right now and I know that I am supposed to be here and I am so happy :)

We aren't really teaching anyone right now, but that is our goal for this week, to contact and find! Thank you for all the love and support! I hope you all have a great week. I love you! 
Love, Sister Bigelow

Monday, August 18, 2014

40-day fast

Dear Family and Friends, 

Wow, what a crazy week, but such an amazing one! I hope you all are doing well and are ready for the new school year! We sure are. That means more people will be home! Whoo!! #missionaryprobs. Haha. So this week we have really made a big push with both our wards to get more involved in missionary work. We decided to do a 40-day fast with both our wards. I remember we did it in our ward in Modesto a while back and I thought it was such a neat idea. So we made sign up sheets and got them going, we made announcements and flyers and have really been working hard to get people involved. So our 40-day fast has started this week and we have seen MIRACLES. Holy cow. We got 2 new investigators in the 15th ward which has been a huge struggle and they are both awesome and so prepared. The people that have had the opportunity to fast have had really great experiences with it and are starting to catch the vision and have been wanting to help out more. We have also gotten a lot of referrals this week from people that have done the fast and it has just been amazing. We also decided that we were going to make cookies and drop them off each night to the families who fasted that day. It has been a lot of work, but it shows our appreciation and love and they want to help out even more. When the Lord sees that we are willing, and that we will sacrifice, He will give us His sheep to watch over, but until we earn that trust, success just won't be there. As missionaries we can do everything that we can, but we NEED the members. They are the key to our success and we are so grateful for the miracles that we have seen happen. I know that this is the Lord's work and there is no way that I could do it without Him. I feel so humbled and blessed and I know Heavenly Father is looking out for us.

Other than that, our week has been a normal work hard missionary week! Everyone in our District had baptisms this weekend which was so exciting! We were able to be there to support all of it and it was amazing. When I got to this zone 4 months ago, baptisms were at an all time low and everyone was struggling. As a zone, we made a huge focus on not just finding the investigators, but helping them progress and miracles have happened. Just this year, our stake has had 20 baptisms and we have had so much success as a zone. I love being involved in the work. The Lord is truly hastening His work and we all need to be "anxiously engaged" in that good cause. I was talking to Brother Kezele about Christ's second coming and how I feel that us and missionaries and you as members are truly preparing the world for His glorious return. He told me that he has good friends serving a mission in Independence and they recently told him that the apostles gather often in Independence and that they are literally pleading for the Savior to return because the world is so bad. It has really hit me that we need to be prepared because it won't be pretty. Being on a mission, I am shielded from most of what goes on in the world , which is awesome, but we still hear what is going on in the news from members and what not. It is terrible, but what a blessing it is to have the Gospel in our lives and to know that we don't have to fear what is to come. It brings me so much peace and comfort and I am so grateful. 

Here's your assignment: If you haven't already, go onto, and type in "Abide with Me Mormon Message." It is such a simple, but such a powerful message about how we can find peace in this crazy world. :)
This week, a Sister that I am really close to was injured and was burned really badly, so please keep Sister Bly in your prayers that she will heal and that she will be able to be comforted through this hard time. We have gotten to be with her a lot through everything and it has been nice. She has just been such an example to me. She has been so positive through this whole thing and has taught me so much about trusting in the Lord's plan and that everything happens for a reason. She is like, " I can either be angry about what happened and make the whole situation worse, or I can choose to be happy and positive and thank Heavenly Father for giving me this trial." Wow, she is incredible and I am so grateful for her in my life. I am so thankful that I get to be a part of the Lord's army and that I get to be around these amazing missionaries everyday and that I am able to work with them. I know I am not perfect, and I have my weaknesses that I continue to work on, but I know that Heavenly Father is aware of us and He knows that we are trying. I may have already shared this with you, but I read a talk that said, "The Lord does not expect perfection, He only wants to see progress." I love that. As Brother Kezele says, "We get up each day, and just keep packing our handcarts and pulling them up the mountain." Even though we all have trials and hard things in our life, I know that if we rely on the Lord, we can get through anything. Ahhhh, the Gospel is amazing! 

I love you all and am so grateful for your support. "Persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent. Till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, Till the purposes of God shall be accomplished and the Great Jehovah shall say, the work is done." The work keeps on rolling forward and it is truly amazing! Have a great week. I love you all!
Love, Sister Bigs


Monday, August 11, 2014

The texture of toothpaste

Dear Family and Friends,

This week was good! Lots of ups and lots of downs, so many spiritual experiences, and everything else in between! Missions are so hard, but they are so amazing and I have been so blessed! The work is really having a hard time right now. We have had to go through and drop a ton of our investigators because they just didn't care, and weren't sincere about learning. It is sad when you have to do that, and you don't want to "give up" on them, but sometimes they are just wasting our time. We are here as missionaries to find "those elect" and to teach "those that will receive you." The good news is that we met so many people that we haven't been able to catch home this week so it was amazing! That is also one of our goals for this transfer is to put names to faces so we felt really blessed to meet all those people. We didn't teach a single lesson and nobody came to church again, but we succeeded in different ways. I have learned that it really isn't all about the numbers and that isn't what measures success. I feel like I am a successful missionary when I am obedient, and when I am trying my best and doing all I can to bring others to Christ. Sometimes we don't always see the fruits of our efforts, but Heavenly Father promises us that it will come with diligence, patience, and faith. So we will keep trying! :)

So this week we got slammed by an anti-mormon guy. I think it was one of the hardest things I have ever experienced in my whole life. It was so hard to watch my most cherished and precious beliefs ripped to shreds right in front of me. But I learned so much from this experience. Remember my bike experience that I had? It was kinda that same sort of lesson. I had to stand up and defend my faith even when everyone else was against me. It was so hard and I just wanted to slap him, laugh, and cry all at the same time haha. But I prayed for strength to respond in a Christ-like way, and I simply bore my testimony of Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon, and even though he tried to tear that down, I knew that he couldn't take my testimony away from me. And how blessed I am to have such a strong testimony that I am able to stand up for my beliefs and be confident. I know Heavenly Father was proud of me and that is all He asks us to do. There are so many scriptures that brought me comfort about "being persecuted for my name's sake" I know that I am so blessed when I stand up for my beliefs even if I am standing alone. Hey, at least I didn't get mashed potatoes spit at my face right? :)

Also this week was crazy weather wise! The whole town of Twin Falls flooded!! It rained really hard for 2 days and nights straight. Everyone's basements were flooding really bad and there were parts of town that were under 5 feet of water. There were tons of mudslides in the canyon and so many people were effected by it. On Wednesday all we did was help people with their flooded basements and it was crazy. Since Idaho is a desert, they are not prepared for that much water and so a lot of damage was done. We got to ride our bikes in the rain and through the feet of water and I have to say it was actually pretty fun! At least Sister Pohahau and I had a blast. We wore our service clothes all day since we were helping people and we were just soaked and covered from head to toe in mud all day long. It was a nice change from the heat! I am grateful that we got to help people! That is one of my favorite parts about being a missionary, is helping other people and serving them. It always does so much more for me than for the other person and I am so grateful!

Some AWESOME things that happened this week: We got to help out at EFY for a day! It was so awesome and made me miss those days so much! It was a missionary themed day, so they invited all the missionaries from Twin Falls to come and help out. We got to sing some missionary songs with them, and help them do role plays to practice sharing the Gospel with their friends. It was amazing, and to feel the Spirit and enthusiasm that the youth had was just incredible! And guess who I ran into while I was there? My EFY counselor Megan from EFY 2011!!! It was so awesome to see her!! I walked in and she yelled "CORINNE" and I turned around and she came and tackled me and said, "Sorry I don't know your last name! Haha" She was being a counselor for EFY in Twin Falls and I got to see her. It was my whole day. We talked and reminisced on the old days and had so much fun catching up. That was definitely my favorite year of EFY so it was wonderful. Such a small world! I loved getting to help out and it was a privilege.

We also got to help out at a wedding reception. Someone in our ward that we are really close to had a sister that was getting married. They came to our ward one day to visit and her fiance came up to Sister Pohahau and said "are you from Tonga?" And she said yes, and it turns out that he served in her village in Tonga and in her ward as a missionary a few years back! So he invited us to come help at their reception because they were having a big Tongan celebration where they roasted a pig and everything! So we got permission and we went to help. And it was AWESOME! I love seeing other cultures and all their traditions. I seriously want to go live in Tonga. The people are so amazing and we had such a great time being with the Tongan people. Also, I have never experienced a pig roasting and it was interesting! The Tongan people all made me (dared me) eat the pig's brain and the pig's tongue. #sick. Surprisingly the tongue was actually pretty good! But the brain not so much. Haha. It had the texture of toothpaste and tasted like bland tofu. But hey at least I could say I tried it! #youonlyliveonce It was almost like I was serving in Tonga! And I loved every minute of it! So amazing. 

So this week was pretty good! We are working on finding new investigators this week, so keep us in your prayers! This week I have really been gaining such a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon. I had read it all the way through before, but realized I had never got down on my knees and asked if it was true. So I decided to do that, and gain my own personal witness. I didn't have an amazing experience where it hit me like a ton of bricks, but subtlety over the week I have been receiving my answer in little ways and it has been so cool. I know that Heavenly Fathers answers prayers and is always listening. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and I am so grateful to have another testament of Jesus Christ to build my faith. I am so grateful to be a missionary and to be serving my Heavenly Father and His children. It has been the best thing I have ever done and I am so happy. Thank you for all your love and support. Have a great week! I love you all! Always remember, Heavenly Father cares if you are having a bad hair day:) He is so aware of us! What a blessing! 
Love, Sister Bigelow

Monday, August 4, 2014

Awesome things

Dear Family and Friends, 

So many awesome things and some not so awesome things happened this week! Haha. The best part of our week was the baptism that we had on Saturday! Our investigator Ashlee got baptized and her husband Ryon was able to baptize her. It was the most beautiful baptism I have ever been to and the Spirit was so incredibly strong. The people who gave talks did a great job and everyone was so emotional. Ryon's family is all members and they were all there to support her. Ashlee has been investigating the church for quite a few years now, and for some reason, now was the right time for her. She has waited a long time to get to this point, and you could see the happiness and joy radiating from her and her family and everyone that was there. It just reminded me of the beautiful simplicity of the Gospel, and the beautiful message that families are forever. I can't really even explain the feelings that overwhelmed me as I witnessed this beautiful family come together in the Gospel and as she bore her testimony. I feel so honored to be a part of this work and to have experiences like that. To help others and to see the joy that the Gospel brings to their lives is absolutely amazing. We just love their family and are so happy for this step that they made. Something that Ashlee said in her testimony was that "they were missing a really important part in their marriage; Jesus Christ." And it is so true. He is the most important part and it is only through Him that we are able to be sealed as families forever and with Him as the center of our homes, we will be strengthened and we will be able to overcome any trial that comes our way. He is our Savior and Redeemer and I love Him with all my heart and that is why I am out here serving Him. Through Jesus Christ, our broken hearts are healed, our weaknesses overcome, and our burdens lifted, and I have truly felt that, and have gained such a testimony of His Atonement and sacrifice for each and every one of us.  It reminds me of one of my favorite songs "Come to Christ," and it says, "Come unto Christ, come unto Him, and through His grace be made Holy again. He's calling your name. He's waiting for you, with arms open wide. Come unto Christ" So beautiful :)

In other great news, we got to go to GIRL'S CAMP for a day this week! It was so exciting. I really miss young women's and I was so grateful that we had the opportunity to go up there and be with the girls. We were able to get permission as long as we made it back by 9:30:) Camp was 3 hours away in the beautiful Idaho mountains. It was also really exciting because I have never left Twin Falls since I have been here so to be able to go and see different parts of the mission was so cool! We crossed over the Twin Falls bridge, and I was like, "I have never left, this is so exciting" and I was freaking out and everyone was laughing at me haha. #missionprobs. So we went up on Wednesday and it was so much fun. The other Sisters in our Stake also got to go too and we are super close with them which made it even better. We got to do some crafts with our girls, and then we played volleyball with them during free time. Then the other Sisters and us went on a little hike up the mountain to go see the lake. And holy cow, we are so out of shape, we sounded like dying animals the whole way up the mountain. haha. So embarrassing, but so much fun. And it really just hit me that this Earth that Heavenly Father created is just so beautiful and I really don't appreciate it enough. Also, it was freezing cold and rainy up in the mountains, which was a nice change. I told the other Sisters, "I kind of feel like we are in Twilight right now, say it! Say it! You're a vampire!" Haha #sistermissionariesareweird.  Then we had dinner with both our wards, and then we did a little devotional for our wards which was so cool. I just remember being a teenager and always looking up to the Sister missionaries and wanting to be like them, and to think that I am in that spot now, that I can be that great example for these young women is so humbling and I am so grateful for that opportunity. And I just love the young women in our wards and it was so fun to spend time with them, and have some fun, and to share our testimonies and experiences with them. So amazing! It is an experience I will never forget. :)

The rest of our week was a little tough, a lot of our appointments cancelled, or didn't show up to our appointments and it was a little bit discouraging. Nobody has been home this week and we haven't been able to help our investigators progress. At church we have been trying all these new things to get our members involved and it is hard when we don't see the fruits of our efforts and when everyone seems "too busy" to help or support us in our efforts. To be honest it is really frustrating sometimes! We work so hard, and sometimes don't see the blessings right away. At church, I was feeling really down and discouraged by the whole week and by the lack of effort from the wards. And so I prayed that I would be able to be more humble and to let go of the contention and frustration I was feeling. In Relief Society we sang "I am a Child of God." And during the song for the first time ever, I wasn't just singing it, it actually meant something. I truly felt God's love and His arms around me. That simple primary song that I have been singing for 18 years touched me so deeply and spoke peace to my soul and really helped me through my moment of discouragement. We have heard it our whole lives, but we are truly sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father who just loves us so much! It is such a simple message, but it means everything to me now, and I am grateful for the tender mercies I am giving when times get hard. We are going to continue working diligently and even harder because we know the blessings will come. But I have realized that we need the trials to make us stronger and there is always a reason. Heavenly Father is always trying to teach us something. Sister Pohahau and I are still loving life and aren't sick of each other yet! Haha. I am really so grateful for her and her example to me. We have so much love for each other and we really have a great time together. How grateful I am for amazing companions that make my mission so fun, enjoyable, and endurable. :)

Thank you all for your love and support. I truly feel it everyday. I love this Gospel and I love all of you. Keep praying and keep on pushing! I love you!

Love, Sister Bigelow