Sunday, September 21, 2014

Emails galore!

Hi All! This is Kortni. I have been terrible at posting-- I am so sorry! Below are Becca's most recent emails. We are so proud of her and her accomplishments :)

September 15:

This week has been exhausting. I feel like we never stopped. It was helpful that Sister Webb didn't have to do any exchanges this week so we didn't have to schedule around that.

We did a split this week with two of the young women, Maddie Gaunt and Andrea Castillo. They both did very well. Maddie came with me and we went and showed Joseph Smith Prophet of the Restoration video that I have at the single sisters FHE. We're trying to sneak teach Connie Johnson and that was the best way that we could think of to teach her about the restoration. The thing with Connie is that she knows this is true she's just comfortable in the way she already lives. Whenever someone tells me that it reminds me of Sister Whitford and how she told me that a bishop’s job is to comfort the conflicted but that a missionary’s job is to conflict the comfortable. Sister Webb and I talked about it after we sent the girls home, but we both felt that we had to testify of missionary work the whole time we were with Maddie and Andrea.

We were finally able to meet with Sharon and Rickey this week. Rickey is a less active member and Sharon is his live in girlfriend. Man they drained me. It makes me really sad that they seem like they want to be sad. I have to admit that I understand that feeling somewhat, but man these people are full grown adults that don't want let themselves be happy.

We keep trying to talk to Salina, about anything, but it’s not working out so much. We're having good lessons with the kids and Salina reads too, but she doesn't seem to be there all the way. They did get a car so it’s making it easier for her to get around and she brought all the kids to church last week, but she didn't stay the whole time and she didn't even come this week. And for some reason Don canceled our Friday appointment with the family. I'm a little stumped as to what to do to help Salina.

We had a good lesson with Cindy this week. We talked about how she doesn't need to inhale things she can take her time to learn things. We pushed her baptismal date back so that she doesn't feel like she's not ready. After our lesson with her, we went down to Morongo and were finally able to talk to Brother and Sister Freeland. We asked Sister Freeland if she would come to some of our lessons with Cindy. Sister Webb said that she finally understood why I kept suggesting the Freeland’s in the first place.

We met with Judy Holt a couple times this week. I think we've finally found the pattern with her. She has to cancel at least once before she can do it. So that what we're taking her not coming to church yesterday as. But she said this week that she felt like she had heard about the restoration before she just didn't know where. So that's a good sign.

I feel like this transfer is just flying by. That makes me worried that Sister Webb and I only have this transfer together. I feel like that's the way it goes. You have a companion that you really get along with and you get a lot done and then you only get them for six weeks.

Hope you all are having a wonderful day.
Sister Becca Litster

September 8:

Well, well. What an interesting week. Sister Webb and I both feel like we're pulling our hair out just a little.  Let’s see what are some of our highlights are...We got a referral from the Elders for this lady named Norma. So we went and talked with her. She's from the Philippians so we thought that some of her misunderstandings were language bases. We went back on Saturday and I think she might not be all there. But she is rather old so she might have just been over tired. Anyway we're going to try her again and if anything comes of it I'll let y'all know.

Sister Webb had to go to MLC this Thursday so I got to spend it with Hna Granado. That was when we taught Cindy this week and man I truly get why they talk about stating things simply. Sister Van Cott has this thing about comparing the gospel to a cheesecake. Nobody wants a whole cheesecake shoved in their face. They want it just a bit at a time. Now I'm not trying to say that I was the most simple person in the world in that lesson, but . . . simple was not there. But from that lesson we know that Cindy understands that she needs to be baptized. Though it appears that she doesn't understand that that baptism needs to be done by priesthood authority. It does give a good place to start for this next week’s lesson. Sadly it looks like her baptism will need to be pushed back a little till she really understands. In spite of the crazy lesson with Cindy I was glad to be with Hna Granado that day. I'm known her for quite some time now, we keep moving within the same circles. Like she was in Fontana when I was in Fontana, she was in Rialto when I was there, and now we're out in the desert together. Though she’s the Palm Desert and I'm the High Desert. I learned a lot form the few hours we were together.

We also are starting to take to the Young Women out with us too lessons. This week we took Madison, and Mckenzie Curtiss to a lesson with Connie Johnson. It was really great. The girls bore there testimonies about the Book of Mormon. And (I know that this is going to sound like 1 +1 = a bag of bananas) Connie said that she was starting to see a point to the Old Testament! Slowly but surely we have progress. Tough Connie doesn't want to meet at Sister May's house anymore. She really doesn't like Sister May's granddaughter.

Speaking of the Curtiss though, Sister Webb and I got a good talking to by Brother Curtiss. Just so you know Brother Curtiss is an NCIS agent. So got to hear all about how this part of the desert is very dangerous and that the people who move out here are hiding for the law, and there was a little thrown in there about Ted Bundy. We saw him talking to President Van Cott yesterday too so we're worried we might get a safety talk from President sometime here soon too.

Yeah so interesting week. I'm really liking being with Sister Webb. We're so different but much like how my trainer and I were; we make it work and still have a good time.

Sister Becca Litster

September 2:

Well let’s see what's happened this week.

I had my first exchange of the transfer :P thankfully it was with our roommates so it just meant that I got to work with Sister Jones for the day. I enjoyed being able to talk to her and get to know her better. Before the exchange Sister Webb keep reminding me about keeping the lessons short. That's a big push from President that we take up as little of peoples time as possible. I will admit that that's something I struggle with. I understand that President doesn't want us to be a burden on people, but I get flustered when I'm given a time limit, kind of like when I'm given a page limit. I'm very much I'll say it in as little or as much time as it takes. But I did try to make Sister Webb happy to be more aware of the time. I feel like we were still over on everything that day, but I don't regret showing people that the Lord loves them.

We had our second lesson with Cindy, the lady President Madsen is helping us with, and it went really great. She's really prepared. Her questions always lead into the next point or into a point not too far down the road. She amazing. We put her on the earliest date for baptism that we could which will be September 20th. She still on track for that because she came to church on Sunday. Though she kept making jokes about not sitting too close to her just encase God was going to strike her with lighting. She's a funny lady, and I'm so glad that we're working with her. Keep me and her in your prayers this week. Our next lesson with her is on Thursday and I'll be on exchanges that day because Sister Webb will be at MLC. We're going to try and cover a couple lessons all at the same time because she's so close to baptism and she can only meet with us once a week.

Connie Johnson keeps going back and forth on us about taking the lessons. Sometimes she thinks it wouldn't be a bad idea and other times she says she just doesn't believe what we do. I feel like we're almost at a standstill with her. Bishop asked about her during ward counsel and when we updated him he said that he would talk to her. Maybe that will help. Her meeting President Van Cott did wonders so maybe Bishop can get things going.

We meet with an investigator that I had not really met with before this week. Her name is Tina Bergimin, she 92, and she's from Holland. She doesn't understand why she would need to be baptized again if she's already been baptized in another church so Sister Webb and I are really stressing priesthood authority, and why we need that permission from God to do ordinances, like baptism, in his name.

Oh so crazy story. Sister Webb and I were just trying to find some people down in Morongo that we hadn't met yet and we stopped by to see the Brindals, who are a less active couple who live way back on some of the dirt roads there. They are definitely some of the most interesting people I have ever met. We're encouraging the elders to go see them just so they can have the experience. I'm really not sure what we could say to them to encourage them to come back to church but I'm still thinking about it.

Also cool Sister Webb's mom is awesome and sent her some new CDs. We've are loving The Lower Lights. I think our favorites are Ye Elders of Israel, and Israel, Israel God is calling. I love it.

As usual this letter is far longer then I meant it to be so I will let you all go.

Love ya,
Sister Becca Litster

August 25:

Well it’s been an interesting week. Sister McCoy, who I can now officially call Allison, left Monday for Redlands and Tuesday for Atlanta. I had Sister Dowd as my companion for the rest of Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday morning. I love Sister Dowd I totally want to be her companion again. We were joking that in a couple transfers, her last transfer, we should request from President for us to serve together in the mountains. Though of course that's all up to the Lord so maybe I'll take it up with him. Wednesday morning we went down to DHS and pick up Sister Webb and Sister Dowd's new companion, that for some reason I can't remember her name.

Sister Webb is amazing! We are both supper aware that we are nothing alike but that doesn't matter too much. I'm very grateful that she really knows how to organize an area. I've always wanted to get things in order just not always known how. Totally awesome she has a GPS so even though we still don't have a map of our area we can gimp along on the GPS.

Let’s see what other really big news do I have for y'all? Elder Weeks, my old district leader, leaves for Brazil tomorrow. So that means that Elder Bush, my zone leader, is now my district leader too. The new Elder for our ward is Elder Nelson from South Carolina, and unlike Sister McCoy he still has his awesome accent.

Connie Johnson is going to let us teach her the lessons!?! So we're going to start doing them at Sister May's house. Please everyone keep Connie in your prayers. I know that she'll accept if she just keeps an open heart. The single sisters FHE group has been so great for her. It’s given her a place where she feels accepted.

I can't remember if I've talked about her already or not, but Sister Webb and I taught our first lesson to Judy Holt. We were planning on doing Message of the Restoration, but we ended up teaching Plan of Salvation. I was super cool because Sister Webb and I hadn't taught together yet and it went really well. We committed her to baptism and she accepted. Now we have to set a date on when that will happen.

Two days after Sister Webb got here we got a call from President Maddsen, one of the counselors in the mission presidency. He wanted us to come teach his secretary. We went over to his house on Sunday and had lunch/dinner with him, his wife, and his secretary, Cindy. It ended up being a two hour How to begin teaching, but she does want to take the lessons and is interested in getting baptized. President Maddsen said that she most likely won’t be as long winded in future lessons she just wanted to be heard out.

Well this has turned into a really long letter, but one more thing before I shut up and let you all go. We finally met Kristi Diloff this week. Kristi Diloff is the mother of a sister missionary in Ohio I think named Sister Fox. Kind of long story short on how we found out about her is Sister Fox told her mission president, her mission president call our bishop and Bishop Jueschke gave her to us to go meet. Sister McCoy and I have been trying to meet with her for a couple of weeks now. But when I was down in Morango with Sister Dowd on Tuesday we met her and I set up a time for Sister Webb and I to come back. She doesn't want to take the lessons but we're doing a bible study with her with some institute manuals that Sister Fox sent her mother. Kristi is a super sweet lady and she's always so interested in how the missionaries interact with each other, and how transfers work.

Well I've ranted long enough. Hope y'all are having a wonderful day. Love you
Sister Becca Litster

August 19:

Hey Everyone,

Sorry I'm a day late. Yesterday was crazy with Sister McCoy leaving for the mission home. This whole week has been that way. It’s just been an emotional roller coaster. I'm kind of glad I'm off it that one now. Really this last week has been me watching McCoy rip her heart out over and over again, and then me trying to put her back together. I really like that I can be there for her but I'm not a fan of seeing her am so upset. I'm missing her terribly already. I haven't had a fat kid joke in a whole 24 hours.

I'm with Sister Dowd for today and a little bit of tomorrow. She was Sister Mucke companion, so we became companions when McCoy and Mucke left for Redlands, until we get our new companions tomorrow. My new companion will be Sister Webb. I don't really know a whole lot about her other then she came out with me. But she was in the other MTC district so . . . yeah I got nothing. She is a Sister Training leader, which means I'm most likely going have to go on a bunch of exchanges this transfer. 'Cause that's my favorite thing in the world to do :l (forgive my sarcasm and my emoticon. That was very un-missionary of me).

But there’s a lot to do here in the desert. We've got 3 new investigators that all seem really promising. Though we are putting a lot of miles on the truck. Which I've been driving. That's been weird. I feel like I've almost forgot how to drive. I'm excited to write next week and tell y'all about Sister Webb.

Sister Becca Litster

August 11:

So last P-day we went bowling in 29 with the Millers and the Zunigas. It was way fun. Liz, Chrystal, McCoy and I got one lane. They put their husbands and Chrystal's older son John on another and then put the 5 other kids on a lane. We were all a little goofy and McCoy kept referring to Danial Zuniga as "Hatfield". Good thing he's never stolen her pig right?

Liz is supper insistent that I learn sign better. She says that she has two families that want the lessons and that it would be way more powerful coming from me then from her. The whole thing reminds me of when I was in Fontana and Sister Ornelas said that she knows Spanish not church Spanish. I can sign I don't know church sign. But I'm practicing. The church has all of the pamphlets and lessons online in ASL so I'm using those to help me, and I'll be practicing with Liz Zuniga. Which sounds a little terrifying but she'll make me a better teacher.

It was Sister May's birthday on Wednesday. She's now like 75. It ended up being a celebration for Sister McCoy too, because it was her official 18 month mark too. Which meant that after we went to Sonic and got dirty Dr. Peppers.

Brother Edwards, our ward mission leader, was finally able to make it to a lesson with Gonzales family. Which was perfect. Selina tooth got really bad and Brother Edwards was able to give her a blessing. It was interesting because he didn't have any oil so we had to raid their kitchen and find some olive oil so that he could consecrate it. The kids were super awesome the whole time. Amadayha and Nicholas just went and held their mom and Edward sat a took care of the baby so that Selina didn't have to. After the blessing Brother Edwards called Sister Powell and asked her if Selina could get some samples of essential oils for the pain and stuff. The Powells were so nice as to not only get a bunch of oils for Selina but they gave Sister McCoy and me a whole bunch too because McCoy's wrist was hurting her.

The longer I'm here the more I recognize the love of this ward. They care so much for each other and the love me and Sister McCoy so much. They take such good care of us. I was so scared when I first got here that I would never live up to what Sister Harper, Sister McCoy's last companion, did here. And that's true. Sister Harper will never be forgotten by this ward. But they care so much about McCoy and me and I know that they'll continue to care for my new companion when she gets here.

Sister Becca Litster

August 4:

So this week. . . We finally made it to the single sisters FHE group. Which was really good because Connie was there too. We were worried that some of the ladies would go off on deep doctrine, but enough of them knew that we needed to keep the talk simple so that Sister May and Connie wouldn't get lost. All went well and I think that it really helped Connie in several ways, because she got the support of people her own age, and because those women, who she has a good opinion of as having life experience, all turned to us about the doctrinal questions they had. It was cool how they helped us to state our authority to her. When we went and saw Connie last night she basically told us that she is interested, but that she's an old dog that's got to learn her new tricks slowly. That's one of the things I love about being in the desert everything moves at just a little bit of slower pace.

We had our usual lessons with the Gonzales family this week. Thankfully we were able to take Bro. Rigby, the elders quorum president with, and he was really helpful in explaining the priesthood offices and duties. It was good to have the male/female tag team on that one because Bro. Rigby was able to explain to the boys what they need to be preparing for and we were able to explain to Selina and Amadyha why it so important for girls to keep the boys on track.

Another "fun" part of the week was exchanges. Sis. McCoy went down to the lower desert and was with Han. Martinez in the Spanish ward for the day, which just made that little bit of Sis. McCoy Mexican accent come out. I was able to have Sis. Mucke come up and work in our ward. It was a stressful day. I like Sis. Mucke, but I was glad to have Sis. McCoy back at the end of the day. I always feel off when I have to do an exchange. Though they always prove to me that Heavenly Father has put me with my companion for a reason.

We also had a lovely drive down to Fontana this week. I was able to get a couple of pictures that I hadn't gotten a chance too before I left the area 6 months ago. Sister McCoy was very impressed and said that if she was moving back to so Cal she would move to Fontana. I'll have to point out Alder ward boundaries for her if she ever really does. I think she would get along with the people there.

Let’s see what else has been interesting? We've had a couple of really cool rain bursts. Sister McCoy and I have been keeping umbrella's with us because it keeps looking like it’s going to do it again. This rain storm is nowhere near what we had down in San B, but because the desert is so dry the water doesn't go into the ground and we get some pretty amazing puddles.

Well I'm out of things to rant about. Hope you all had a good week too. Love you.
Sister Becca Litster

July 28:

K, so I guess I'm going to try this because apparently I'm the only sister missionary in the history of sister missionaries to not send out a week email to. So I'm going to see if this is my thing or not, 'cause I can't knock it till I've tried it.

So we are officially entering week 4 of the transfer, which means that Sister McCoy only has 3 weeks left of her mission. She's having a bit of a hard time with that but in true southern woman style she's just pushing through it. I was so proud of her that she started packing today, and that she's sending out the invitations to her departing devotional instead of just pretending that she's going to be staying on her mission for the rest of her life. I am going to miss her when she leaves though. She's really become one of my best friends and I know that she'll always be looking out for me. I asked her the other day if she would kill me before I got sent to a care center like the one where one of our investigators lives. She said that if it came down to that she would just have me live with her till I got better.

We had a couple really cool opportunities this last week. One was that the 23rd was national hot dog day, so Sonic was having $1 hot dogs. We asked the Yucca Mesa sister if they wanted to come get lunch with us. When we were ordering we help a man named Bob figure out how to order. We then spent 45 minutes of so talking to him about the Book of Mormon and inviting him to come hear us speak in church (oh yeah we spoke in church this week too). He was a really nice and knew the stake president already. Who sadly we forgot to talk to about Bob when we had dinner with him and his sister on Saturday.

The Second one was when we were doing one of visits with Sister May, a 70 something year old recent convert who's as quick as a whip. Sister May had one of her friends over helping her with her taxes when we can came by to read the scriptures with her. After we were done reading her friend started to try and bash with us. He successfully insulted the south and coal miners all in the same sentence which is right around the time were we just let him rant. At the first opportunity that came up Sister McCoy very respectfully excused herself by say that she wasn't going to sit and listen to him tell lies about the gospel and accuse our leaders of priest craft. We gave Sister May hugs, told her that we would see her at church, and then left. On our way out I gave this man a Message of the Restoration pamphlet and told him that he could take it or leave it. Sister May called us the next day to say that he had taken the pamphlet and that he had had a lot of respectful questions about if for her. I hope that his heart is softening, and he'll be ready soon.

The Gonzales family is doing well. For those of you that don't know the Gonzales family is a part member family. Selina and Don are working on getting married, which is what's holding Don up from getting the priesthood and Selina from getting baptized. But three of their kids Amadyha, Edward, and Nicholas where the baptism we had three weeks ago. We're doing the recent convert lessons with them now by having the boys teach either Selina, Don, or Amadyha. They all have such a great understanding. The other day Selina bore her testimony to the kids without us even prompting her too. This week with them though we started lesson 5 which got Amadyha all excited to do family history work and go to the temple with the3 youth in a couple of weeks. We really couldn't have planned it better to have Amadyha get baptized go to girls camp and then get confirmed the day after she got home.

We're working with Sister Knudsen, our organist, to help us actually teach the lessons to Connie Johnson. Who won’t listen to us because of our age though she loves missionaries, sometimes comes to church and will read anything you put in front of her. We'll have to see how that works out.

Well I've ranted more then I meant to. Maybe I do like this group email thing. Love you all.

Sister Becca Litster

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