Monday, January 20, 2014

I don't remember the "other world" and my mission life has become my "real life"

I love you more than….
Drinking "Sprite-lemonade mix" on road trips together :)

Did you know that I have had my mission call for 1 year and 4 days? Indonesia has been on my mind (our minds) for everyday since a year and 4 days!

People are getting ready for Chinese New Year! Took this
picture on the way home
Last week was incredible and it's true we have seen a total turn-around in our district here (well at least I feel that way) and so I feel like I am actually in a real mission these days! I seriously respect State-side missions sooooooo much. You guys work so hard. Seriously. But we have had three let downs with a baptismal date getting postponed, someone returning a Book of Mormon and our "golden" investigator avoiding/ignoring us and becoming unreachable. Oooo it kills me that he doesn't even know what he is missing out on. BUT! We started teaching the little sisters of a new member and they both want to be baptized next month! I'm so excited and they are so stinkin’ cute and smart and wonderful! With all of these experiences, I'm seeing Heavenly Fathers plan. If He wanted the whole world to be baptized then they would already, but He wants those whom he has prepared and wants us to work to find them.

Haha I love that I've gotten to the point where I don't know/remember the "other world" and my mission life has become my "real life". How great is that!? Even in my dreams, I always have a nametag on, a companion and mission rules.
Me and Sis. Manurung at Kraton Surakarta (Solo Palace)
So for the weekly update... Monday we went to the Kraton in Solo (the palace) and I love old things! And doors! And taking a million pictures of everything! (Hmmm who does that sound like? Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree eh?) Then that night we went to one of the bishop's house for a get-together and then to the stake president's house to help him practice his english.
Just one door picture (out of many) at Kraton
On Tuesday it was a Muslim holiday so we tried proselyting (which is a great way to contact people... if you want to contact all Muslim people haha) then we biked back and forth going from one appointment to the other. But funny story! We were at a less-active's house and shared a message, got ready to go then they start storytelling... 50 minutes later! We are trying to interrupt every chance we can get, but long story short we ended biking our tails off to get home and still got home like 10 minutes late. I say that's a funny story because it happened 3 times this week! Even with members who know mission rules! Ya ampun! (My goodness!) I think my calves alone have gone up 5 sizes this week!
Which one is not like the others?
Wednesday we went to visit an investigator that the elders used to visit and ended up teaching english. But since she is so far we rode the bus. That is one of my favorite things to do in Indo! Riding a bus and just seeing everything. OH! guess what- my favorite primary song is in the hymn book! "Sing Your Way Home" Cool ya? funny story! I was singing it in the house the other day and when I finished, we just hear this voice shout "AMEN!" Bahaha our neighbors live really close but I didn't realize it was that close! So later that day is when we went to go teach a new member but ended up just talking with her 2 little sisters and teaching them the restoration. That night I had the worst thing happen- I got asked to start teaching piano for the ward. I can't even begin to imagine how much time that will take and since I got to Indonesia I have been avoiding "kelas - piano" like the plague but bishop just announced that I was going to start it soooo ya, guess we'll see about that!

Thursday: my 1-year mission call date! We had a good day at service because we met a lot of people. Then we went back to the new member's house to teach her little sisters again. I found this Plan of Salvation outline and turned it into a coloring page for them and it was so cute how excited they were. And they had such awesome questions and basically they are so prepared to get baptized! They were asking us about it! SO we set a date in Februari! Then that night we had the let down when the "golden investigator" was a no show and another investigator gave back the Book of Mormon and said they already have a church. Then I had another let down when this parkir (parker) outside of the place we had dinner, moved my bike into the pouring rain and destroyed my Indonesian scriptures. That has always been my biggest fear, my whole life, that my scriptures would get ruined. So that was another bummer. That day alone could've been terrible if I didn't see the miracles with the two sisters who want to be baptized :) they made my week!
Zone Futsal Tradition
Friday I made lemon poppyseed muffins for district meeting! One of our investigators who wants to be baptized, had been feeling so confused lately and said it was hard to think straight (who blames him, he is 81) but we threw out our lesson plans and just started talking with him and he really opened up to us. Sister Manurung shared 1 Nephi 3:7. I seriously underestimate the power of that scripture. How often did I sing about it or quote it in Primary, but here it was helping an 81 y.o. man make the decision to be brave and get baptized!
My last time with Sister Manalu before she goes home, but she made me a shirt with our picture!
Saturday: I got some mail which was awesome and then we went off to visit some less actives. The only problem with serving in 4 wards is that we visited 2 people who said that the elders had already been to their house that day... haha whoops! Great minds think alike? But we went to go teach an investigator that the elders gave to us because she is an 18 year old, really pretty and quite lonely girl, but I really am starting to see her potential. She actually used to have the sisters over to teach back in the day too and I think she will be a great member someday. Another highlight was when this lil’ 10 year old member asked if she could be our fellowshipper to visit her neighbors who were just baptized a few months ago (they are 25, 50 and 55). She got on her rain coat and gets our her Book of Mormon and is telling us to be careful with the cars in the road. Ahhh kids are so dang cute. How come we have to get old and boring?
McDonalds and local Rambutan, Gotta love it!
Sunday we had a great day because we always get to go to sacrament 2x. The lessons made me Temple Trunky but I plan on going to the temple 1,000x at least, once I get home. Want a good doctrinal question that I was thinking about that day? One of the members gave their opinion about praying to Heavenly Father vs praying to Christ and then later we were reading from Mosiah 5:7 when it says we become as Christ's children when we are baptized.... So how does that work exactly with praying is what the member was trying to explain. I had never really thought of those two things in one context before, so anyways!
The sisters of Jawa Tengah with Sister Donald and some great photo bombers!
Today we played starwars monopoly, liars dice, I watched some of Emma Smith that I just ordered with Indonesian Subtitles (that will make any sister missionary trunky haha) and then we went out to run a few errands.

I loved your email! I love that story about Marlene. Don't apologize for not writing! I've been the worst with letters lately! It's one of my goals this week. Jacob and Samuel, I want to see your pinewood derby cars when you get done! Joshua you are going to be the best missionary ever someday! I think you would love BACH and SET at Ogden High. How did grades go? Andrew: been there, done that. I'm sorry that it always comes down to either going crazy or nothing getting done as an officer. One thing I wish I would’ve been better at is just relaxing. Honestly no one really cares what happens as long as it is entertaining. If it is going to be elaborate, take 40 hrs and only make 5 people laugh, ditch it and just go simple. But also remember that there are a million people who want this to go well, so grab a few friends and make them paint with you or whatnot.
Mom: I love your scripture stump! I haven't really thought about it that way before. We study the most basic things on the mission but it is like you can never learn enough. I'll be thinking of that this week!
Give Nate a big wrestle hug for me at his farewell! I am going to miss that kid! But I am so excited for him :)
PS mom you should text Mere and tell her congrats from me ok?
PSS I LOVE YOU GUYS! Hope you have a grand week!
PSSS how is our dog Lucy doing? still not walking?

x 1,000 + 1

~Sis Sheff

Monday, January 13, 2014

Taking care of the Lord's garden

I love you more than….

snow! and snowy mountains and cold noses and hot chocolate!

This week was AMAZING! What a great mission I have! These past few weeks have been a real turnaround for me. We have been making a lot of goals as a mission, zone, district, companionship and our family and me personally that are quite intense. We also had a zone meeting last week and "PLD" this week (which is zone meeting but with President and the AP's too). Here is the run down of that marvelous meeting:
President showed us the statistics for the missions in the Asia area and it was a shocker. Like pouring ice water on my head. Indonesia mission is unique but that doesn't mean these people aren't children of God too! We were the lowest baptizing in Asia even though another mission have less missionaries than us. But President is basically the most inspirational person I know and he talked all about faith to bring miracles. We have to be willing to do whatever it takes to find the people who are ready and prepared to accept us! We have to have the faith to find them, teach them and baptize them. We must make covenants. If there is no covenant, there is no ordinance. If we don't hold true to our covenants, the ordinance is lost until we repent. Covenants require sacrifices. President asked me, "What are you willing to do Sister Sheffield?" And my automatic answer was, "What ever it takes." Make promises to the Lord in sincere prayer. We have to be united with our companion and pray fervently together, support each other's inspiration. Teach our investigators the difference between right and wrong, because people truly want to do what is right. President always shares his awesome conversion story with us; in fact he used to smoke before he was converted! He met the missionaries and 10 days later was baptized, one year later on a mission and this spring will have been a STRONG member for 36 years. Help our investigators see the need to change and testify so that the spirit can remind them of the truth. 

WHEW! We also always have a personal interview with President (which is my favorite part of PLD.) He said two things that really touched me: 1. He said I was "a breath of fresh air". Isn't that the best compliment ever? 2. In response to my acknowledgement that I have been given a lot of ability, which I should be better at using, he said, it is great you recognize you have been given many talents and not to use them would be a sin. 

On top of all of that, President had us watch the movie “Ephraim's Rescue” together. Haha everything on the mission feels like it is on steroids... what a great movie! President kept telling us (and me) that those stories were true and we should be just as confident in our obedience, to be able to call down miracles and angels in this missionary work. The key part is in the last scene when he sums up their experiences. "One man used his talents to lift others and I chose the right paths and was ready and worthy when the Lord called." 
I have felt like this district is really pressuring each other to work harder because we can see each other doing so much. The elders are on fire which made me feel a little insecure at first. Then it made me freak out about statistics. THEN I remembered this talk someone was sharing the other day about caring for the Lord's garden. The Lord asked a man to take care of this small piece of land far in the back of the property and the person thought, "but it is so small and no one will see my work!" Then the Lord asked, "Are you serving to be seen by others or is your service for me?" I am excited to focus so much on the indicators of our progress but I also am happy to be taking care of the Lord's garden here, no matter how big or small it might be.

STORY TIME! I saved the best for last... We found a golden investigator! Last week we were doing our weekly service, cleaning the park and Sis Manurung started talking with some guys sitting on a bench. One was a 7th Day Adventist and the other was a Muslim who used to be Christian but switched to respect his parents. Thought nothing of it, until just a few days ago when it came time for service again I remembered one of them and thought we should just text him and see if he can meet today. Well he said he was at the park again so we went off to clean with the plan to try and give him a Book of Mormon. When we got there and started to talk to him, he opened up to us about how he doesn't really feel peace in being Muslim. He feels fine, but this last little while he has felt "less". Then he also explained that he used to be like a preacher when he was younger (he is only like 27 now so I don’t know how much younger is young" but that he wanted to call us last week about a question from the Alkitab (Bible) in the book of Revelation. It was about if the Bible really had things added and removed, what does it mean that the gospel will be perfected and how come it talks about having prophets again? Also, what is written in the Book of Mormon that we had with us last week?” Ok bring on the tears!!! So we explained to him the whole restoration and Book of Mormon. It was one of those picture perfect mission moments. Us sitting at this pretty little park with our Kitab Mormon's out and the restoration pamphlet and he is asking the most perfect questions and the spirit was strong and all is well. We asked him what he thought and he said that he really liked our answer to his question because it is a different answer than he has heard before. So we made an appt with him for the next day before English class. BUT later remembered that we were playing futsol as a zone for PLD so there was no english- so we texted him and asked if he wanted to meet earlier then come along to futsol, which he agreed to! So that was Thursday; Friday we had futsol. He came to the church but forgot to bring his Bible to ask his question so we took him on a church tour instead. Really neat because even though we have barely taught anything about the church (only met twice before this) but the spirit was present when we were in the sacrament room especially. So then we go off to futsol with all the missionaries. Well president stopped by and we were all sitting around and president turns to this "Mas" (young man) and says, "when are you getting baptized?" WHAT?! Bahahaha! Turn up the intensity or what?! Then Mas W. says “he isn't sure, he wants to let this sink in more before he decides”. (gave me some hope that he already was thinking about it. because we haven't even asked him to be baptized yet!" and then president tells him, "don't wait! I learned with the missionaries for only 10 days before I was baptized" then bares his testimony. I love President. And the other missionaries, and some members that came, were so great to befriend him. Sunday he didn't come to church, but he thanked us so much for letting him join with us and said he hopes to continue joining with us.... This WHOLE thing was the most humbling experience for me. I should have started by saying that Thursday morning I was saying this silent prayer in the shower before we went to service, pleading to Heavenly Father to just let us find the people who want this gospel! How come no one wants to learn? Isn't there someone who needs this right now? Just help us find those people who are "ready to accept us". That prayer was answered so directly that I want to testify, the Lord has a plan. He knows ALL of His children and their needs. I cannot be so selfish as to think this is my problem but rather my privelege to find and teach His children here in Solo, Indonesia. I testify that there are people waiting for this gospel and they are all around us. If we don't get moving then we will miss our chance to get involved in this work and it will move on right past us.

To respond to your email: Good luck with SIS (especially you dad haha). I'll be praying for you! Congratulations Kay Day! I have 4 friends in that mission and hopefully they will meet! I loved your tender mercy Dad, and by the way can I be your companion speaker for next winter? OK deal! Congrats on starting piano Jacob, and Samuel-wait for the 7th year and then you will LOVE it ;) Andrew you looked so sharp with your leather jacket and swept back hair. Joshua, keep nagging your teachers until they put your grades in! I used to tell my teachers that I wanted to go to BYU and I needed them to help me out, for reals - keep pushing them until you get it! Andrew have fun with early morning seminary! You'll love it! I love you so much mom! I made sugar cookies for PLD and it reminded me of you :) I love the way you connected the theme COME for the ward trek. And after watching Ephraim's Rescue I'm loving the pioneers again. And I am SOOOO grateful and impressed with the Priesthood! It is soooo cool!
 Give Hailey my love and pray for that exchange student! Tell everyone in the ward hi for me!
Love your crazy, but favorite daughter,
Sister Sheff

I have no time or means to send pictures (my card reader is broken...)
SO i'll send some next week!

be good! Brush your teeth!

Monday, January 6, 2014

My Birthday Week

I love you more than….

I honestly don't remember any of the verses yet somehow still sing that over and over and over. 
Thanks for the birthday wishes! I JUST got my birthday package last night! And Christmas letters/cards!

So remember how I said I lost 7 kilos from Thanksgiving to Christmas from being so sick? Well since Christmas (and the doctor visit) I have gained 3.5 kilos... and this birthday package makes me think that I'll just keep going up from here ;) But I was so ecstatic to get the package with so many possibilities! MKASIH! (thanks!)

I LOVED hearing about your family missionary experience. It is amazing how much I can relate! That is the life of a missionary! Like the other day when we got lost but ended up finding a Christian family?! We try the same tricks! "hey do you know any... good bike mechanics?" haha really though! I am proud with what you have been doing. That is awesomeeeeeeeeeeeee! Sad to hear of the 2 funerals, but what amazing comfort that we know where they are now and what they are doing. Sidenote: isn't it amazing how the Muslim religion has become so interesting to us now because of knowing about Indonesia? I really hope to get the chance to talk to that neighbor when I get home too! Please give all the families (especially the Heilesons) my love as well. And I love what they said about her. Don't we all need a little more Blackfoot, Idaho in us?

The photo booth sounds so fun! I think I would use it more than rent it haha. Loved all the pictures too.
I am so excited for our family theme for 2014! 
[editor's note: LOOK is our 2014 family theme: LOOK for others in need, LOOK daily for the blessings given to us from Heavenly Father and Doctrine and Covenants 6:38 “LOOK unto in me every thought; doubt not fear not”] 
I am going to have to research it too so I can apply it to my mission! It makes me think of the talk from last conference by Elder Edward Dube about Look Ahead... Look at how much we have to do, but not do be discouraged, instead to be inspired and excited for all that will come.
PS with the youth manual... kesabaran :) santai aja!

So for my week. Last Monday we had dinner at a family's house which just reminded me of how cute and funny Indonesians are. They litterally scoop food onto your plate while you are still eating and I always try to picture what that would be like if I tried it with the missionaries at home. haha. But the members in Solo are AWESOME at getting involved. Out of the 10 baptisms last year, 9 were referrals from members and I think that has made them excited. 

Tuesday (New Years Eve) we had an English class at a college nearby and played Scategories. Then when my bike tire went flat in the pouring rain, the students just picked up my bike and got on their motorcycle and drove away! Normally that should scare someone but here in Indonesia, not at all-- people are way too nice! They brought back my bike all fixed and wouldn't even let me pay for it! Then we had a party with all the wards but we could only go to a part since we still have mission curfew. But I learned how to bunkus nasi (make the little rice cartons) and then I taught Sister Manurung how to play “speed” with rook cards. And...tried dog again... but anyways!

Wednesday we went to the hospital to try and visit a non-active member only to learn after 2 hours of searching that she had already been home for a week. Funniest thing! I watched this old ancient lady get helped out of her wheelchair onto the back of a motorcycle... Indonesia :) We had another member leave for his mission! His sister left just before Christmas- one to Phillipines and one to Australia! 

Thursday we were having a great day of contacting new people between service (picking up trash at a park) and we planned "olah raga" for all members/investigators to attend but ended up just meeting new friends.
Im going to eat dove
Weird food of the week? DOVE! Haha sounds so classy but here I was eating this lil’ fried bird, on the side of the street, with my hands... oh and then we found that one inactive member that we have been looking for, for the last 2 weeks! 
January 3rd Birthday Brownies for Zone training Meeting
FRIDAY WAS MY BDAY! Guess what? Elder Haws ALSO turned 20 on January 3rd so we are officially twins. I made brownies because it also happened to be a meeting with the whole zone that day. It was great to celebrate because I got to see all the Jogja district again AND got a few letters/presents. Sister Manurung bought me a musical jewlery box, can you believe it?!
My cute music box from "my child" Sister Manurung
In Indonesia, the birthday person is the one who pays for everyone else to go out and eat, Elder Haws picked Pizza Hut and let's just say that it is one of the more expensive restraunts in town haha. The best/worst part? Our family song “LITTLE WONDERS" CAME ON THE RADIO! I started to cry because it was like a brick wall hit me- such an obvious sign of your love being sent off to Indonesia through Heavenly Father's little miracles. So it was a great birthday full of chocolate, letters, bday phone calls (it was so good to talk to Sis Jibson!!!) and seeing the whole zone! 
Birthday night with some members from the Banjarasari ward and the Jebres ward

Saya trakir (I treated) Sis. Manurung for my (post) birthday lunch
Saturday I kept my bday going with crepes for breakfast then I took Sis Manurung to an Italian place for lunch. Needless to say we still stopped at a little place on the side of the road so she could eat some rice before fasting hahahahha. Then we met with two potential investigators, an inactive who is sick, and had just a good solid work day! Funniest moment was when I almost slipped into the sewer next to a public toilet... haha ya just imagine that for a moment. 

Yesterday we had Siswanta come to church and hope he will get baptized before the month ends! It was good to see him fit in so well here. And then we visited a couple of new/inactive members before having a little ward get together. Then two meetings with ward mission leaders and then I opened my birthday package from you! It was really cool to meet the dad of one of our 15 year old new members, because he was SOOO receptive and nice to us. I hope that his heart is softened enough to start investigating the church (and stop smoking). 

But through all of this we have been thinking/talking a lot about the ward/stake/mission goals for 2014. They are pretty high but we just found out that the First Presidency might build a temple here if there is just 1 more stake! FINGERS CROSSED! I really have just decided that my mission is going to focus on building the church here and preparing it for a temple! 
I tried to pick my most intense Ultimate Frisbee picture
Today I made PB cookies and we played Ultimate frisbee for Pday. SO FUN! This district is getting so good at ultimate frisbee :) The sister trainers are coming today to do exchanges so it will be a party (very squished party) at the house later with both Sister Manalu and Sister Situmorang at the house.

I love you all and wish you the best for this next week! Especially going back to school, work, reality :)
<3 Sister Sheff

PS No one floured/egged me on my birthday (not gonna lie kinda disappointed)
but we are definately starting that when I get home.... beware!

PSS I got the letters/goodies from Heber and Trudy and from Grandma and Grandpa Sheffield and from a lot of the family. Tell them all thank you!