Monday, December 29, 2014

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas

Dear Family and Friends, 

It has been a great Christmas week! I loved getting to talk to you and see your cute faces. Favorite part of Christmas! And it hit me that it has been almost a year since I have seen you all, because you all looked so grown up! Time is flying. This week was an incredible one with lots of Christmas miracles! Feeling very blessed. 
Monday: P-day! We had a white Elephant gift exchange with our zone. Funniest thing ever. I got a bowling ball and my companion got a chain. #elders. It was a good time with some awesome missionaries! After p-day ended we went to the Day's house (investigators), and had Family Home evening with them. We made gingerbread houses and shared the Christmas story. It was awesome.

Tuesday: District meeting. So on Halloween, the mission was challenged by the mission President to read the 5 Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, 3 Nephi) by Christmas. It was one of the best experiences I have had. I loved being able to read about the Savior and His life and to focus on it. I learned so much and grew so much closer to Him. At District meeting, we discussed what we learned, and it was awesome to be able to hear everyone's insights. The thing that stood out most to me was Christ's love and compassion for each of us. In 3 Nephi ch. 17, the Savior has just finished teaching the people and He tells them to go ponder what He taught. As He looks at the people, they all have tears in their eyes, and they "want Him to tarry with them longer." So He does. And He doesn't just hang out with them, He heals the sick, and teaches them more. I LOVE the way that He responded. He truly is the Gift, and I am so grateful for Him! We also had exchanges and I was with Sister Weiler. She is awesome! She is from New York and totally has the accent. We had a fun day with lots of appointments in Rupert and getting lost in the dark! #missionlife.
Wednesday: Christmas Eve! We did some service in the morning and helped some older members cut wood. It felt good to be serving and doing as Christ did. The rest of the day was spent planning for the week, since we had the holidays and exchanges. We spent the evening at the Bishops house with his family. We had an awesome dinner, complete with a nativity play and spiritual message, and gift opening. It was super sweet, they got us both really nice scarfs and we had a great time with them. It was nice to feel like part of the family! 
Thursday: "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas....." And we got one! We were like little kids again. My first white Christmas ever #caligirl. It snowed like 8 inches! We had breakfast at a members house, and then did the normal routine. We decided to study before we opened gifts because we knew we would be all distracted. We just stayed in our room and opened packages. It was super funny because it was just the two of us going, "no you go next, no you go next." Haha. It was different, but we had fun! We spent the rest of the day visiting members and investigators and sharing Christmas messages. And of course I got to Skype which was awesome! It was a great Christmas being able to focus on Christ. Missed you all!

Friday: I had exchanges with Sister Hansen in Rupert. It was super fun to be together again. Awesome experience: We were making programs for the baptism we had the next day. Heather(the one getting baptized), texted us and told us how her week was awful and how she really felt the adversary and she was ready to give up and call it quits. I was freaking out, because I just wanted so badly for her to feel okay and to be happy. I wasn't sure what to do. We were going to go visit her, but realized she was at work. I had the thought to pray, so I told Sister Hansen and she suggested we go to the church and pray in the chapel, so we did. We knelt down in the chapel and offered probably the most heartfelt prayer I have ever given. After the prayer, we sang "A Child's Prayer" together, and I had the most overwhelming feeling that Heavenly Father heard my prayer and that He was aware of Heather and that He was going to take care of her. It was amazing. So grateful for that experience. 
Saturday: This morning, we went over to Heather's house. We showed up in pants because she had been working all week, and with 4 kids under the age of 5, we knew that it would be chaos at her house. We helped her clean and get the kids ready for the baptism. It was a really neat experience to be there for her. She said that the night before when she was ready to give up, she decided to read her scriptures even though she got home at midnight from work. She said she turned to the chapter in Luke when Christ is performing the Atonement. She said that reading that gave her so much comfort and she knew that He knew how she felt. Heavenly Father hears and answers prayer, I know that with all my heart. He loves us so much and I am so grateful that He knows Heather and her struggles. Her baptism was amazing. The spirit was so strong, and afterward, she told us that it was all worth it. I am so excited for her family and this new journey. They are now working on going to the temple to be sealed as an eternal family!!! I love being a missionary. The Day family is amazing. Even in the short month that I have been here, I have become really close with them. They are one of my favorite families and I am so grateful for their example. Heather's sister joined the church not too long ago, so she introduced Heather, and now her other sister is investigating! Coolest thing ever. #miracles. 
Sunday: Church is always the best. Heather got confirmed and her blessing was amazing. She said,"He said everything I needed to hear!" So amazing. On Sunday nights, we have lessons with a member family. They have 4 teenage girls, and they just wanted us to come teach them to have the spirit more in their home. 2 of the girls are adopted and they are African American and they are hilarious. They asked us what we got for Christmas and we told them the usual, clothes, deodorant and things like that. The one girl goes, "Why did you get deodorant? You smell heavenly, you smell like berries, and Jesus." Haha. #dying. 

It was a wonderful week, and I thank you all for your love, support, and prayers. I hope you all have a Happy new year! I encourage you to think of a gift that you can give back to Christ in this new year. I love you all!

Love, Sister Bigelow

Monday, December 22, 2014

Spiritual High

Dear Family and Friends,

This week was AWESOME! I don't really think life could get any better. So excited for Christmas and to see all your faces! 
Monday:P-day! The normal. We played sports with our Zone, which was really fun. That night we had a Family Home evening with our investigator family, the Day's. We shared the Christmas story and had the kids act it out, it was awesome! Reminded me of our Christmas Eve traditions:)

We love our stockings!  Thanks mom!
Tuesday: We had an awesome District meeting.We talked about different ways that we can help our investigators resolve their concerns. I always love it when I am the one being taught and being spiritually nourished. It helps build my faith and my testimony and become a better missionary. I love it. Also, SO many miracles happened today. 
Unfortunately, I have been having really bad headaches this past week. So after District meeting, I asked the Elders for a blessing. I had been really scared to call the Doctor because I was afraid that if I was having this problem again, they would just send me home. Normally, just a companionship of Elders gives the blessing, but all 3 sets wanted to do it together and all stand in the circle. It was SO powerful. In the blessing, I was promised that I would be able to serve a full 18-month honorable mission, and that this sickness wouldn't hold me back. I was told that I have this illness so that in my current calling as a Sister Training Leader, I would be able to help and relate to all the Sisters. It was everything I needed to hear and I was so grateful for the worthy Priesthood holders that were so willing to help. Miracle #2: Our mission President and his wife, Sister Curtis, just happened to be in Rupert that day. So I was able to tell Sister Curtis what was going on. She told me to take my medicine and take the day off. So I did. I was able to sleep and rest, and by the end of the day I felt 150% better. I couldn't even express my gratitude to Heavenly Father for being there and strengthening me. It definitely strengthened my testimony. 

Wednesday: Exchanges with Sister Muir in Burley! I love exchanges! The Sisters in this mission are seriously awesome and I have so enjoyed being with them in their areas and getting to know them. We had a fun day with lots of walking and teaching. Sister Muir is like the most happy/positive person I have ever met. She is one of those people who never talk about themselves, but are always interested in your life. I learned a lot from her! 

Sister Muir Mac and Cheese selfie

Thursday: Weekly planning day. It was just a normal day. We had one of our ward Christmas parties and we had a ton investigators and less-actives show up! It was awesome! Also, since it is Christmas, everyone feels the need to make us Christmas goodies. I am pretty sure I have never eaten so much junk in my life. So grateful, but so tired of sugar. haha. #idahoprobs

Friday: Exchanges with Sister Patterson in Burley! Sister Patterson is a brand new missionary who has been out for 3 weeks. It was fun to get to know her, and realize just how much I have grown and changed since those first few weeks. She is awesome and so diligent, and a scriptorian, holy cow! I learned so much from her! I am so enjoying the things I am learning and the friendships I am creating. We didn't really have any appointments so we walked around all day in the pouring rain just talking to people. It was fun. And I am praying that I don't get sick! #knockonwood. 

Saturday: Isabelle's baptism! Isabelle is the niece of the Day family who we are teaching. She lives with the Day family because her mom passed away. Isabelle was able to be baptized with her 2 best friends. It was an awesome baptism! She is 15 and is just on fire about the Gospel. I have been able to create a great friendship with her and to see her make this step was the best feeling ever. I love baptisms! Her aunt Heather will be baptized this next weekend by her husband. I love being a missionary! 

Sunday: Church! We got to go to all 3 wards and see their Christmas programs. I LOVE the Christmas season, and I love the spirit that it brings. The music and talks made me ball like a baby, and I am still on such a spiritual high. I have really come to realize why we celebrate Christmas and because of that I have grown so close to my Savior and I am so much more grateful for Him and the Atonement. I am also grateful for Mary and Joseph and the qualities they possessed that we can learn from. Basically I feel so incredibly blessed that I have a knowledge of my Savior and this Gospel. 

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope your week is filled with joy and happiness! I will be thinking of you all! Can't wait to skype! I love you!
Sister Bigelow

Monday, December 15, 2014


Dear Family and Friends,

This week was absolutely crazy! But it was awesome. Is anyone else getting excited for Christmas??
Monday: We moved! We literally spent ALL morning packing up the Mama van. (Oh yeah, did I tell you that we drive a mini-van? I am sold. Those things can fit anything and everything.) We live with Sister Wayment who is a widow, so it is nice to be with her. It is a really nice house and I feel really blessed to have lived with such great members! Okay and then we spent 3 hours in Walmart. 3 hours. We wanted to make Christmas cards to send out and so we used the instant print machine at Walmart. And the machine broke so we had to wander around Walmart until they fixed the machine haha. Never again. That night we went over to our investigator Lori's house. She has a baptismal date for December 29th. But when we went over there, she told us that she couldn't wait any longer and that she was ready so she asked if she could be baptized the next day on Tuesday!!!!! So happy!!!! #missionarydream #2ndsurprisebaptism #miracles

Tuesday:We spent the whole day getting ready for Lori's baptism! We made programs and calls and everything in between. Her baptism was AMAZING. SHe is amazing. She has has a really hard life, and has been investigating the church for 2 years and was finally able to make the step. She has the biggest heart of anyone I know and she embraced the Gospel with all her heart. Her baptism was a small and simple occasion, but it was incredible. The spirit that filled the room and the smile on her face was all that was needed. Have I mentioned that I love being a missionary? She is also another hilarious one like Kellie. She is from D.C. She goes, "Is the pool guy here yet?" (referring to the font-filler. haha).

Wednesday: District Temple day! The temple is my favorite place on earth and I feel like I appreciate it a lot more now that we don't get to go very often. We had a less-active lady who recently got her temple recommend come with us and it was awesome! The temple is like no other place. I am grateful for the spirit and peace that is there and for the revelation we receive as we go with an open mind and heart. 2 Nephi 14:5-6 :)

Thursday: Mission Christmas Conference/party! So much fun. It started out with a conference filled with inspirational talks, videos, and messages. Then we had a mission talent show! My companion is awesome and knows sign language because she has a deaf brother, so I have been making her teach me. So for the talent show, Sister James and I signed while some other Sisters sang to "Hark the Herald Angels Sing." It was awesome! And there are some really talented missionaries here, holy cow! The night ended with a devotional from our area 70, Elder Allan. It was an amazing day filled with great spiritual enlightenment and the Christmas Spirit. It was so fun to see everyone. I just love our mission!

Friday: Exchanges! I got to be back in my old area in Twin with Sister Taguba. She is a new missionary and is from the Philippines.It was so fun. I got to see a lot of my ole investigators and converts. We got to help at a Christmas thing that an anti-Mormon church was putting on. They were doing a big dinner for all the refugees here in Twin and it was amazing to be able to see everyone come together to serve these people! It was so fun being able to learn from another Sister and be able to be in a position where I can help and serve. I am so grateful!

Saturday: The normal paperwork/meetings day! 

Sunday: Church! WE had 4 investigators come to sacrament meeting and it was Lori's confirmation! The best. We spent most of the day in meetings as well. Our stake put on a Christmas concert with beautiful music and talks. It was pretty awesome and we had some investigators come to that as well! Things are so good! #success

It was an awesome week and I really feel like I am understanding even more the true reason for Christmas as I share it with other people. I am so grateful for this Gospel and for the joy and peace it brings into my life. Don't forget to serve and love others even more this Christmas season. I love you all so much! Have a wonderful week:) God bless! 
Sister Bigelow

Monday, December 8, 2014

Old people, bingo, play-dough, hooligans and Poopert

Dear Family and Friends, 

Hello!!! This week was a little crazy and a little awesome. Things are going so well and I am loving Rupert! (Or as everyone calls it; Poopert. hehe). I decided to do my emails a little different. I will go day by day and give you an update of each day so that I don't leave anything out! :)

Monday: P-day. They are always crazy and we are always running around like chickens with our heads cut off. Haha. We had a District activity and played board games and things of that sort. When P-day was over, we didn't have any appointments, so we attempted to contact and nobody was home. #missionprobs. 

Tuesday: We had a District meeting today! And it was AWESOME. The theme for this month is "The Power and Authority of your calling." We talked about ways that we can become more powerful. For example: putting everything on the altar of sacrifice, obedience, understanding our missionary purpose, becoming true disciples of Jesus Christ. It was really powerful and it again motivated me to be better and work on myself! Something that I have been really trying to focus on is the Christlike attributes and improving them in myself. It is amazing the Spirit that comes into your life when you make a conscious effort to be more like Christ. So amazing. We also had an awesome lesson with a less-active lady about the Atonement. I always love teaching about the Atonement because that is the whole reason I am here and it is the single most important thing in the Gospel. I have loved being able to study, apply, and teach that over and over again. I feel like my relationship with Christ is strengthened every time I do. We also go to help in Young Women's today! I love being with the youth. They have an incredible spirit and enthusiasm about them!

That's us pretending we are in Hawaii instead of the Frozen Tundra 

Wednesday: So, we found out that we had to move because the person we are living with sold her house, so we began the long process of packing and cleaning. And then Sister James and I both got sick.#theworst. It was a good thing we didn't really have a lot going on because we were able to rest and start feeling better. We had plans of going out and contacting all the part-member families and handing out Ward Christmas part invites, but I guess the Lord works in mysterious ways! Nothing exciting today!

Thursday: Weekly Planning session. The longest days of them all. haha. Just kidding. But really, planning for every person we work with and trying to get the wards involved and things like that is a long process. But it is very much needed, so I am grateful that we have the time set aside to weekly plan! At the end of the day, we had an amazing lesson with our investigator family(The Day Family)  who is getting baptized at the end of this month. It is always amazing to me to know that Heavenly Father is always preparing people! This family is so awesome and I already love them so much. I love missionary work!!!

Friday:Every Friday we get to go help all the old people play Bingo at an Assisted Living facility.(I always think of you dad:). It is so much fun. Old people just make me laugh. We also taught a lesson to a less-active/part-member family with lots of kids, where we gave them play-doh and had them make play-doh temples while we taught about temples. Best idea ever. Until they fight over the play-doh and mess each others temples up and then it becomes dangerous haha. Gotta love those hooligans! 

Saturday: We helped some elderly folks saw wood today! That was pretty cool. Learning new skills everyday. We did progress records and correlated with all of our ward mission leaders, and the Stake High Counselor. Saturdays are mostly "get things done" days where we have to do a lot of paperwork and things like that. 

Sunday: Church! I always love Sundays. And the good news is that we had all of our investigators that have baptismal dates came to church #yesssssss. And I have no sympathy anymore for people who complain that church is long. Haha. We spend like 10 hours there every Sunday! But I love it. We also got to go help at mission prep today. I totally wish I would have known about a mission prep class because it is the coolest thing ever! Also the First Presidency Christmas Devotional was amazing. I love hearing from our inspired leaders.   

I wish there were more exciting things to report! Since we got sick and had to move, things have been kind of crazy. I am really looking forward to this week! We get to go to Twin Falls 3 times;temple trip, Mission Christmas Party, and Exchanges. Can't wait! Things are great and life is Dandy. Living it up in Christmas City! I love you all so much! Have a wonderful week! 
Sister Bigelow

Monday, December 1, 2014

Christmas City USA

Dear Family and Friends, 

So this week was awesome! I got to my new area on Wednesday and I am loving it so far! Rupert is pretty tiny. Not as tiny as Oakley though! So apparently I am living in "Christmas City USA!" Who knew? I guess Rupert has been officially named Christmas City. Every year, the day after Thanksgiving, they light up the ENTIRE town with Christmas lights and they shoot off fireworks for like 20 minutes. Seriously insane! I guess it is a good thing I will be spending Christmas here! :) They say if you address a letter to "Christmas City USA" that it will come to Rupert Idaho. Of all places? Maybe you should try it out? haha I love my mission! 

My new companion is Sister James and she is awesome! She is from New Mexico, and she likes to ride motorcycles. Pretty dang awesome. She is a wonderful missionary and I have learned so much from her already! She is also the oldest of 6 children. And whenever people find out that we are both the oldest, they always say, "Do you guys boss each other around?" Haha. #oldestchildsyndrome. 

Rupert is pretty cool. There is a lot of really great work going on right now! We cover 3 wards, so we stay pretty busy! We have 3 baptisms coming up this month which is awesome. There are definitely a lot of prepared people here. We live with a members and I love it! This week we start exchanges with the Sisters, so I am pretty excited about that! It will be awesome to get to know all the Sisters better and get to spend one-on-one time with them. I am pretty sure this is going to be the most awesome transfer ever! We have a great District, Zone, and Sisters, so I am pretty stoked! 

Thanksgiving was pretty good. I missed all you guys though! It wasn't the same not being with the family, but we had an amazing dinner and lots of pie:) We visited a lot of people and shared messages about being grateful, and we played card games with some members! It was a good day, and I definitely have a lot to be grateful for. 

Also if you have already heard, the church is doing a huge Christmas initiative called "He is the Gift." It is a 5 minute video about how Christ was the first gift of Christmas, and how this year we need to DISCOVER the gift, EMBRACE the gift, and SHARE the gift. So as missionaries, we have pass-along cards that advertise the video and we have been challenged to hand out at least 10 a day. We have to keep track of how many referrals and new investigators that we get from this initiative and report it to church headquarters each week. The church bought out YouTube advertising for the entire day on December 7th so the "He is the Gift" video will be the only thing advertised on that day. The church also rented a jumbo tron in Times Square that they will be advertising the video all of December. They are going all out! Also in the December Ensign there are 9 pass-along cards for you to hand out. You are also encouraged to share it on social media with the hashtag #SharetheGift. It is so awesome and Sister James and I are pumped about it! So if you haven't already, go look up the video, and share it with everyone! That is my challenge to all of you:) 

I seriously can't believe that it is already December and that Christmas is approaching us. I am so grateful for the gift of Jesus Christ and His atonement that changes our hearts and our lives. I encourage you all to remember and ponder the true meaning of Christmas and what Christ means to you! You all are awesome! I love you. Have a great week! God bless:) 
D&C 68:5-6
Love, Sister Bigelow
Happy thing: So yesterday, we were asked to speak in Sacrament meeting about missionary work in one of our wards that is struggling with missionary work. Sister James and I both spoke, and there was a missionary homecoming as well. It was just an awesome missionary Sacrament meeting! And after we were done, the Stake President got up and said, "You all need to buck up and help these missionaries out." Haha. They totally got chastised and it was awesome. After the meeting like 10 people came up to us and asked us what they could do to help. Best thing ever.