Monday, October 27, 2014

Back to my roots

Dear Family and Friends,

What a wonderful week! I am just loving Oakley and having a blast. This week was amazing! We taught so much and saw tiny miracles in investigators and less actives. This week I have gained a stronger testimony of the Lord's tender mercies and how he answers our prayers. The members here are awesome and they are always giving us new people to teach. I have fallen in love with Oakley and I am so grateful for this great opportunity!

One tender mercy that we saw happened on Sunday. We drove to Oakley and realized that we were low on gas, and couldn't fill up because it was Sunday. Totally our fault for not being prepared. So we went to church and we weren't sure what we were going to do. We had four appointments that night all 15 miles away from each other. We were trying to find rides, but nobody was answering. So we decided to start walking and we prayed that someone would pick us up on the way. And sure enough someone did. So we told her our situation and she said, "Oh we have TONS of extra gas over on our farm that we probably won't use, just follow me to my house and we will fill you up." So we did and she gave us a FULL tank of gas. Oh my goodness. The kindest lady I have ever met. And then, she told us that she had invited her non-member nephew to take the lessons and he was really interested! So we have someone new to teach. We were so grateful and we knew that Heavenly Father was watching out for us. He really is so aware of our needs, and if we are obedient and willing, He will bless us so much! 

We have also seen Him bless us as we have made progress with investigators who were not progressing. We have a few people that have baptismal dates and it is awesome! We also got to speak in the Oakley wards Sacrament meeting! I have a love for speaking in Sacrament meeting now. I love being able to share stories and talk about things that will help these people. It is really a privilege and I don't even get nervous anymore! When I mentioned that I was from Visalia California, like 50 people came up to me after and said that they had family there. I didn't really recognize any of the names but I was only there for a year. We are also teaching a girl that is in Foster Care here that is from Visalia. Small world. Also, EVERYONE knows the Martindale and the Crane name around here. It is awesome, and I love being in the place where my roots are. It has given me a new motivation to do family history work when I return home:)

Also, this week we got to do art with a less- active lady! It was awesome! I have never really liked art, but I have discovered a new love for it! One of my companions Sister Hansen is an artist/musician and I have been so inspired by it! She is really very talented and it has been awesome to learn new things and discover my creative side. I have really learned that there is beauty in imperfection. And we owe all this beauty to our Heavenly Father and I am so grateful for the beauty all around us. 

It has been an amazing week. I love working hard and coming home at night completely exhausted with nothing left to give, and knowing that I gave it my all. I am thankful for this opportunity to serve and to strengthen my testimony and help others come unto Christ. It is the best calling ever. Thank you for all the love and support. Have an amazing week! I love you all! 
Sister Bigelow 

Happy thing of the day: I am so pumped up about the Restoration! When we have companionship study, we get super excited and fired up about the Gospel and it is amazing because then we want to go share it with everyone! I love the Gospel! We are so lucky to be members of Christ's church! Be excited about it! :)

Monday, October 20, 2014

They say it's my birthday!!!

Dear Family and Friends,

This week was wonderful! It was transfer week and I got to my new area on Wednesday. We cover a whole stake so our area includes the East side of Burley, Oakley, and Grouse Creek Utah. It is a HUGE area especially since it is all out in the country and the homes are spread super far apart. And I love it! My companions are Sister Hansen and Sister Gass. They are amazing and we are having the time of our lives. We live in an apartment attached to a members house so it is the best of both worlds! 

The members here are amazing. Now I know why they call this place Zion haha. And we actually have A LOT of work happening. Most of our investigators are in Oakley. We spend different days in each ward so we don't have to drive so much. Our favorite days are spent in Oakley:) It is the best, and I fell in love with it the first day. We got to spend my birthday in Oakley and it was great. I love it here. It is soooooooo different than Twin Falls. Everyone is so kind, even the nonmembers and they will just do anything for you. We drive so much which is also something I am not used to. #bikelife. haha. Since we cover a whole stake we really don't know a whole lot of members so that is something that we are trying to do is get to know more of the members! 

I never imagined a mission could be so fun. We have a blast together and I have laughed more in these last 5 days than in my whole life! We work with the most amazing people. I have a wonderful District. They are ALL Spanish missionaries, so we are trying to learn Spanish so that we can all have conversations in Spanish! Haha. My District Leader is from Monterrey Mexico and he actually played for the Real Salt Lake soccer team before his mission. So cool! It has been a wonderful few days and I am so incredibly happy. I absolutely love being a missionary and I am so grateful for this opportunity that I have to be in a new area and grow and meet new people. I am so excited for this new adventure. I definitely miss my last area and companion, but I know this is exactly where I  need to be:)

Thank you so much for all the birthday wishes and love. I really felt the love and I am so grateful! This has been my favorite birthday because I am doing what I love. I am so grateful and proud for all that I have accomplished in 20 years and I am just so grateful for Heavenly Father's plan and to be where I am now. I miss you all and I love you. You are all in my prayers!
Sister Bigelow

Monday, October 13, 2014

Going to Oakley!!

Dear Friends and Family, 

Transfer time again and I am finally leaving Twin Falls! I will be going to Oakley Idaho and I will join Sister Hansen and Sister Gass in a trio! I am really excited, but so sad at the same time. I have been in this ward for 6 months and have grown so close to the people and the members. I will miss my companion, my area, and my District terribly, but I know that everything is inspired and  that I am needed in Oakley! I am also excited since that is where my family comes from. It will be an exciting new adventure. We cover several wards, so we will stay busy and I am really excited and grateful that I get to have new experiences and meet new people. I am excited to see what the Lord has in store for me:)

So that was the big news of the week! This week we also had an AMAZING zone conference with Elder Golden, a member of the Seventy and head of the Priesthood department. It was so inspiring and I loved the messages that were shared and the spirit that was felt. Sister Golden talked about enduring and how there are 4 types of enduring, enduring temptation, enduring chastening, enduring afflictions, and enduring in the faith. I never thought about how much enduring is a part of our lives. When times get hard, we can't give up, but keep pressing forward with faith in Christ and He will give us help and strength. Elder Golden talked a lot about missionary work and obedience. He taught us that exact obedience is not being exact, but it is going above and beyond what we are expected to do. Something else he talked about was sacrifices. He told the story of Abraham being asked to sacrifice his son. He said that we will ALL have tests as hard as Abraham, otherwise, God would cease to be a just God. We talked about the law of justice and the law of mercy. It was super interesting and I had never thought of it before. He talked about changing your perspective and being happy. It was awesome and I learned so much! He was super funny and easy to relate to. I loved it. We also got to perform our musical number and it was powerful. I am so grateful for opportunities to learn and grow and to be edified. Feeling really blessed!

Other than those 2 awesome things, it was a normal missionary week. We rode our bikes a TON and did lots of service. I started preparing myself and saying goodbye and taking lots of pictures. I have come to love everyone here so much and it is so hard to say goodbye. They have all impacted my life so much and I will remember them forever. It is truly a privilege to get to know these people and to teach them and to help them. Coming on a mission is the best thing I have ever done, and the greatest experience I have ever had. I am grateful for the experiences that I have had so far and I am excited for this new adventure!
I am still happy as ever and loving life! I know I am not perfect, but that is the greatest thing about the Gospel. Heavenly Father doesn't expect us to be perfect, He makes up the difference. He qualifies us in our imperfections and in our weaknesses and He strengthens us. He is always there and He loves us so much, more than we could ever know. I am so grateful for His love and for Christ's sacrifice for each one of us. Thank you for all your love and support. I love you all! Have a wonderful week! :)

Love, Sister Bigelow
Happy thing of today: We got to teach seminary this morning! I loved it! It was all about the Priesthood and it made me so grateful for all the wonderful Priesthood men in my life! They are such examples to me.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Talking to Everyone

Dear Family and Friends, 

What a wonderful week and weekend it has been! So much has happened this week and it has been great. Conference was just the best as always. We have been teaching a lot and helping so many people! Life is great. The week started out with an awesome P-day! Our District went and played Laser Tag and then we went out and got ice cream together. I love being part of a District that gets along and helps each other and can relate and share experiences. We also had exchanges this week and I got to relive the glory days with Sister Ramsey! We had the best exchange in our area and had so much fun! The best part is, we got permission to call our old investigator J! I guess he has been struggling, so we called him and got to talk to him. It was amazing. He did admit that he had struggled and fallen off the path a little bit. We talked him through all of it and re-committed him to read the Book of Mormon and to find the Missionaries so he could get baptized. Ahhh, it was awesome! 

We also had a zone training this week. The Focus for this month is: "Talking to Everyone." And that is something that I struggle with so it was great! It is really quite scary to talk to random strangers on the street especially when they turn their cheek and don't want to listen to what they have to say. But we talked about how our accountability is to the Lord, and that we should fear Him and not man. So true! We have an obligation to share the Gospel and to open our mouths at all times and to all people, not just some! It was really the kick in the pants I needed to get over my fears and selfishness. Also, these past few weeks we have been trying to get back into the swing of things after I have been so sick. And it has been A LOT harder than I thought it would be. It was almost like starting my mission all over again. I have found myself easily discouraged and sometimes not wanting to do anything. But Sister Pohahau and I have really been talking about and discussing ways and making goals of how we can become more consecrated even in the little things. And it has been amazing to see the miracles that happen when we try just that much harder and put just that much more effort into it everyday. Becoming consecrated isn't something that will happen overnight, but it is something that comes as we work on little things each day and just keep trying. Satan's biggest tool is to discourage us, but we won't let him! We are working harder each day and becoming the consecrated missionaries we know we can be. Pride is a huge setback, but when we are truly humble, the windows of Heaven are opened and we can be so much more successful when we have the help of the Lord. :)

We are getting ready for a baptism in 3 weeks! Our investigator L has decided to make the change and be baptized. We have watched as he has quit smoking and changed his life and it has been incredible to witness. We are so excited for him and his girlfriend who is a member is even more happy! We are working with a ton of other people and we are working on trying to help them progress to the point of baptism as well. Another rewarding thing, it to be able to work with less-active members and to watch them come back in to the fold. It is truly a blessing to be a part of these people's lives and to help them come unto Christ. Most rewarding job I have ever had! 

So General Conference was my favorite. We weren't really able to watch it with investigators this time, because most of them are single males, but we did get the opportunity to watch it with and spend time with a lot of our members. We watched it with the Robinson's, the Christiansen's, the Thiriots, and the Dobbins, who are actually a Part-Member family and we are teaching the husband! One of my favorite talks was from Elder Neil A. Anderson about the prophet Joseph Smith and gaining your own testimony of him and defending your beliefs. I loved what he said, because we all need that testimony, and we have heard it our whole lives, that he was a true prophet, but do we really know for ourselves? Do we have a strong conviction that he is the prophet of the Restoration? He said, "If you do not, ask of God." Such simple words, but so powerful. I also loved how the Sunday morning session was so focused on following and sustaining the prophet. He has the right to receive revelation for all of us, and whatever counsel he gives us is really the words of God. "Weather it is by mine own voice, or by the voice of my servants, it is the SAME." Another favorite was Elder Richard G. Scott. He talked about doing the "little things" such as prayer, scripture study, Family home evening, and attending the temple. He talked about the immense peace that will fill our lives when we set our priorities straight and make time for the little things. I think that is Satan's biggest tool is time. We become so busy in our lives, the most important things become unimportant. I love how bold he was and how he said, "Do it!" Also, gotta love Elder Bednar's missionary talk. I loved how he talked about us working together with members and how we are all missionaries. I really loved all of the talks and they were all my favorite, but those are the ones that stood out the most. I now cherish the opportunity we have to hear the words of our prophet twice a year. I know that they are truly inspired and they know what we need to hear:)

Other than that, nothing else is new! Just being a missionary and working hard and getting back into the swing of missionary life. I am so grateful to be here and to be serving God and His children. There really is no greater calling than the work of salvation. Thank you all so much for your love and prayers. I hope you have a wonderful and ponder what you learned this weekend and apply it:) Love you all!
Love, Sister Bigelow