Monday, November 24, 2014

Living it up in 16th ward!

Dear Family and Friends, 

Holy cow. It was like the best week ever!!! Living it up in 16th ward! It has been so much fun to see everyone that I used to teach/work with. It is amazing to see the progress of the area! Like 3 people I taught got baptized within this last year and it just made me so happy to know that my work here wasn't for nothing. And Sister McCallum is the BEST. Her and I have become best friends in this last week. We basically know everything about each others lives and have had a blast together. She is also going back to BYU-I so we are totally going to be roommates. I love having so many friends that I have made on the mission. It is a different kind of friendship and a different kind of bond that you have when you are companions, or have worked together as missionaries. It is awesome. It's like a spiritual bond that can never be broken. Can't wait for mission reunions! :)

This week we had a baptism! Her name is Sandy and she is amazing.  I was really nervous about coming in and being the "new missionary." I knew that there was going to be a baptism and I didn't want her to be mad that the other missionary wasn't there and I didn't want it to be awkward. But Heavenly Father blessed us so much because it wasn't at all! Even though I only knew her for a week, she has become like family. The first time I met her, I literally felt like we had known each other before and it was an instant connection for both of us. Sandy is a single mom of 4 boys, one of them having sever autism. She is going through a divorce right now, and she is just in remission for breast cancer. If that doesn't tell you how strong she is, I don't know what does. I have learned so much from her over this past week. Satan was really working on her before her baptism, and there were times, where she just wanted to give up, but I am so grateful for the strength that Heavenly Father gave us to be able to help her and give her strength. As a 20 year-old girl, I have NO idea how to handle these real life problems that people have because I have never been through it. But I have been able to feel Heavenly Father working through me by the Spirit to help these people,  and all I know is that the Gospel is always the answer. Sandy and her boys have become like family to me. Her baptism was incredible. You could instantly see that change in her and the peace that filled her life as she covenanted to follow Jesus Christ. I am so grateful to have met her, and I know there was a reason I did. I was able to touch her family's life and they were able to touch mine. That is what missions are all about! 

                                                                    So the bad/good news is that I am getting transferred again! I will be joining Sister James in Rupert, Idaho(where the heck is that? haha) as a Sister Training Leader! I am really excited, but really nervous at the same time. "Sister Training Leaders" are a new calling for Sister missionaries within this last year. Because there are so many Sisters now, the missionary department decided that they needed some Sisters as leaders that could go on exchanges with the Sisters and deal with issues or problems that Sisters are having. It is basically like being a Zone Leader, but you are only over the Sisters.  It is a lot of responsibility, but I am excited that I get an even greater opportunity to serve and reach out and get to know some more Sisters. It will be a great learning experience and a new adventure. I feel humbled to know that Heavenly Father and President Curtis trust me with this sacred responsibility. I can't wait to get to know more of the Sisters and to serve!

That was the big news of the week! I am pretty sure I have gotten moved more times on my mission than any other missionary in the mission haha. But that is okay! I am grateful for all the great experiences I have had in different areas with different companions. Thank you so much for all your love and support! I hope y'all have a wonderful Thanksgiving week and remember to count your blessings. There is so much to be grateful for! I love you all. God bless! 

Sister Bigelow

From a note to mom:
I am still drinking lots of water and feeling really great. I had one really bad headache this week, and I took a nap and slept it off and I was good. The bad news is, I got bit by a cat bad on my finger. And as a missionary, if you are bit by a cat, you have to call the doctor within the hour and be put on an antibiotic ASAP because I guess cats have some weird organism in their mouth and if they bite you, it can get transferred to you. So that was fun! But I have been on the antibiotic, so it was nothing serious. #missionlife. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

#sad #moresad

Dear Family and Friends, 

Seriously a crazy week! I have decided that missions are absolutely crazy and unexpected and awesome and hard. Haha. I am no longer serving in Oakly #sad #heartbroken #moresad. I was transferred back to Twin Falls to take the place of a Sister who had to return home for health reasons. My time in Oakley was short, but I loved every minute of it. I met the greatest people, and had some amazing spiritual experiences. We worked so hard and had so much fun. But I know that the Lord needed me in other places and I am grateful for His plan. I will miss Oakley dearly, but I am moving forward with and open mind and a willing heart, and with my trust in the Lord:)

The good news is, is that I am back in my first area, the 16th ward! WHooooo!!!!! So happy about that. My companion is Sister McCallum and she is amazing. We were actually in the MTC together, but in different Districts. We have already had so much fun together this past 24 hours. So I will be serving here for a week and a half, and then next week at transfers, I will get a completely new assignment. A lot of craziness, but I am ready for the journey! I seriously feel like I am having flashbacks, and it feels so weird to be back in the same area. The Sisters were working with like everyone I ever worked with and so I will get to see them all this week and I can't wait! I loved this ward and the people here so much! Your first area always seems to hold a special place in your heart. Sister McCallum said that everyone here still talks about Sister Ramsey and I the "dynamic duo" Haha. I am happy to know I was loved here and I am happy to be back.

I will definitely miss my companions too. It seems that we were just getting to know each other really well and having a lot of fun. But hey, "There is no growth in the comfort zone, and no comfort in the growth zone." So true. I feel like my faith has been tested a lot on my mission in many different ways, but I am just so grateful for those tests. That truly is what helps us to grow and it is awesome! Without tests and trials, we wouldn't learn anything and that is what life is all about! We are here to learn, grow, and progress so that we can return back to our Heavenly Father. In these situations instead of asking "why me?" we should ask, "Lord, how can I do this?" I keep thinking about the song, "I'll go where you want me to go dear Lord, over mountain or plain, or sea. I'll say what you want me to say dear Lord! I'll be what you want me to be." I have truly learned humility and to trust in the Lord's plan. Sometimes it is hard because we don't always understand, but Heavenly Father does and He will lead us to where we need to go, and we need to be willing to submit to His divine will. 

So that was the big news of the week! I am so excited about life and missionary work! Who knew that being a missionary could make me this happy! Haha. Also this week was stinkin' cold. It was below 20 degrees everyday and it snowed ALL week. I decided that I am a California girl, and I love Idaho, but I absolutely hate the cold. Grateful for a nice warm car this week!  Thank you all so much for your love and support. I am grateful for all of you. Have a great week everyone! God bless....
Sister Bigelow

P.S. I realized that you accumulate so much crap on your mission. Everytime I move, I can never seem to fit my stuff in my suitcases haha. And they weigh like 125 pounds when I do get them zipped haha. Love it!

Happy thing: Being back in my old area in my old apartment:) It almost feels like a dream, but it is awesome! I love Twin Falls! And my mission! And my nice apartment! :)

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Three Amigos/Powder-puff girls

Dear Family and Friends, 

I know I say it every week, but this week was amazing!!! So much happened and we have been able to witness miracles. The best part of the week was out baptism! Our investigator has been meeting with missionaries for 4 years, but due to outside forces and addictions, she wasn't able to be baptized until now. It was such an amazing baptism. Even for the 4 weeks that I have been in this area, I have witnessed a change in her countenance and there is a glow about her now. She is happy because she is following Christ! It hit me this week that it really is so simple. When we are keeping the commandments and following Christ, we are so much happier! And the best part is, is that her husband was able to baptize her because he recently came back into the church. It is so amazing! So, that is what creates this amazing change in people. When they finally give up the things of the world and are ready to sacrifice and become a true disciple of Jesus Christ, that is when the blessings and happiness come. Her confirmation was amazing as well. I am so grateful to be a part of her life and of this new journey she is on. I love being a missionary! 

It was also a crazy busy week! We had a jam-packed schedule and we were able to teach a lot and do a ton of service. One of our investigators Ryan, was able to receive a confirmation that the Book of Mormon is true! So his baptism will be next:) The sad news is that some of our investigator's, the Garza family moved this weekend:( We were able to help them pack and say goodbye. It was horrible and we all cried. It is amazing how close you get to these people and how much you love them. We will miss them, and we will definitely make sure their new missionaries find them:)

We also learned how to make and can apples/apple juice! I feel like I am learning all sorts of awesome skills on my mission that will help me in my future family! I have learned how to garden, can all types of food, build a fence, bake all sorts of cool things...and the list goes on and on. I am grateful for those skills I have learned. Not only will I gain so much spiritual knowledge and a stronger testimony, but I am also learning temporal things! It is awesome! Missions are just the best. Have I said that enough times?:)

Favorite quote of the week: "As we give, we find that sacrifices bring forth the blessings of heaven, and in the end, we learn it was no sacrifice at all." I have definitely seen that on my mission. At the beginning, it was remembering all the things I "gave up" to be here. But now, I don't even think about those things, and it doesn't seem like a sacrifice at all for the blessings and happiness that I have recieved. I love this work so much. I have a testimony that Heavenly Father is truly hastening it in these last days. And that is why we need to share the Gospel with everyone. We are here to prepare the world for the Second Coming of our Savior! The Gospel is true and I am so happy. Thank you so much for your love and support. I feel it everyday. Have a great week:)
Sister Bigelow 

Happy thing: We were discussing how cool it was to be in a threesome or a trio. And we were comparing ourselves to famous threesome. We said we could be the Three Amigos, the Powder-puff Girls, Sons of Provo etc... and Sister Hansen goes, "We are like the three Nephites....with less immortality."" Hahahaha #dying. I love my companions so much! They are the best! 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Maybe it really is Zion

Dear Family and Friends,

So this week was pretty much awesome. It was a week filled with Halloween fun, lots of teaching, and miracles!

 On Monday for P-day, one of the members who owns a straw-maze let our whole zone come and do the maze and all the other activities for free. So much fun. We got lost in there for like 2 hours so we made a video with our last words since we were pretty sure we weren't going to make it out haha. On Wednesday, we got to carve pumpkins with the Garza's, one of my favorite families! We are also teaching the daughters who aren't members and they are the best. We went to 3 trunk-or-treat parties and it was fun to see all the costumes. We dressed up as each other. I was Sister Hansen, Sister Gass was me, and Sister Hansen was Sister Gass. We wore each others clothes and acted like each other all day. It was pretty hilarious! We had a District Halloween party as well! On Halloween we have to be in by 6 for safety reasons. So we got to watch "17 Miracles" and "Mobsters and Mormons" and play lots of games, and eat lots of candy. It was pretty fun! And our District is awesome! They are all Spanish speaking missionaries, so we are trying to learn Spanish so we know what they are saying. It was a great Halloween weekend and I hope everyone had a good one! 

So, big news! We have a baptism coming up on Saturday!!! WHOOO!!!! Her name is Selina and she is amazing. She grew up in New York and has had a really rough life. But she found the Gospel and she changed and quit her bad habits and is finally able to be baptized! She is married to a member who is going to be able to baptize her, which is even better! So exciting! I already love their family so so much. They have 7 brand new puppies and we have fun with them:) I love being able to see the change in people's lives that come from living the Gospel. I love seeing the Atonement work in myself and in others and that happiness and renewal it brings. AHhh! I just love it. We also have some other solid investigators that are super close to baptism. Oakley is golden! I didn't think there would be that much work here since it is such a small town, and most people are members, but the people here are so prepared! Maybe it really is Zion:)

We also got to have a Zone Training this week. The focus of the month is, "Trusting in the Lord." It was such a great training and I learned a lot. Trusting in the Lord is so important as a missionary. You have to trust and have faith that He will lead you and guide you and put words in your mouth. You have to trust that he is really preparing people and that He will help you find them. Without that trust and faith, there is no hope, and life would be miserable. There is a quote from Sister Hinckley that I love, "First obey, then understand." We have to trust in God that he will help us and lead us on the right path, even if we don't always understand right now. There is a talk that I love called, "Believing Christ; a practical approach to the Atonement." by Stephen E. Robinson. If you haven't read it, you need to because it is amazing! Something he says in the talk that I loves is, "We often ask ourselves these questions, am I good enough? Am I going to make it? Why is so-and-so better than I am? When we ask ourselves these questions, we become so terrified, and so paranoid that we can not make any progress. So it is at these times when the Savior grabs us and throws His arms abound us and says, "I've got you. I love you. I am not going to let you get hurt. Now relax and trust me." That is powerful. He loves us so much and I have truly gained a testimony of that. Isaiah 12:2 "Behold, God is my Salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid:for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation." 

We got to go to church in Grouse Creek Utah this Sunday! It is about an hour and a half drive from Oakley, which is a 30 minute drive from where we live. It was snowing like crazy! Grouse Creek is the tiniest town I have ever seen. I thought Oakley was small! Haha. But Grouse Creek has a population of about 100 people. They have a tiny gas station and a school with 10 kids enrolled. Can you imagine? That is all. The branch there only has about 30 members, so it was so different from anything I have ever experienced in my life. We don't do a whole lot of work there since it is so far and so small, but we would like to, so we are going to try to make it over there more often! It was fun and definitely a new adventure:) 

I am so grateful to be a missionary. I am grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who reaches out in times of need. I love this Gospel with all my heart and I know it is true with all my heart. I know our Savior lives and there is a reason he is called our Savior. I have a testimony of Christ's love and Atonement for each of us. He is our advocate with the Father. If we will come unto Him and come to know Him, I know that he will bless us so much and show us His love and answer our prayers. I love all of you and am grateful for your example and support. I hope you all have a great week! I love you!

Love, Sister Bigelow 

Happy thing of today: So our washer flooded and caught on fire this morning. Haha. Our entire apartment was flooded and there was smoke everywhere. Luckily, it didn't ruin anything and we were able to air out the carpet and the washer is getting fixed as we speak. But it just made me grateful for modern appliances. Because we had to wash our clothes by hand in the bathtub. It almost felt like I was serving in a 3rd world country haha! I am grateful to be in America and for the conveniences that we have:)

Also, the members that we live with have a ping-pong table and an art wall downstairs in their basement. So at lunch time, we get to work on our ping-pong skills and paint on the walls. It is awesome and I am just discovering more and more my love for art! It makes me happy!