Monday, April 28, 2014

Lots of Change

This has been a pretty good week, if I do say so myself. We found out a lot of information about quite a number of things, and some of it is shocking! We were also challenged by President Taylor to do a lot of
new things, and I am so excited to execute our plans to accomplish what he has challenged us to do. I want to extend that challenge to you too! President asked all of us to START OVER in the Book of Mormon, and finish it by next transfer, which is June 11. I haven't started yet, because I want to do it in exactly 6 weeks, so I am starting on Wednesday (transfer day) and going from there. :) I challenge all of you to try this too! It seems hard, but it's really not! The Book of Mormon gets easier to read as you read it in bigger chunks, more like a novel. It is so much more interesting that way, and you will understand it so much better, I promise! So there ya have it. President's challenge to us missionaries, and my challenge to all of you. Ready, Set, GO!

We got to talk to Liz this week, and we had a very good conversation. She is still struggling with trying to balance the gospel and her family, but I am confident that over time, she will be able to remember her testimony and the wonderful things this church and this particular ward has brought her. She is great - I know she will be okay in the end.

We had one full day of service this week (I can't remember which day...) and it was great! We went to Patsy's house and helped her clean up, then we went to Sister Debenham's house and weeded her garden and trimmed her bushes while she was out of town. It had just rained, so it was so fun to get our hands dirty! We found some giant slugs! They were huge!!! Haha it was fun. After that we went home and got ready for the day, and Sister Clanton called and said she needed help chopping up candy bars for a youth activity they were doing that night, so we went to her house and helped her chop some deliciousness.It was a wonderful day!

On Saturday, we went on exchanges. Remember last time? I was absolutely DREADING exchanges, and I had to go to the other area this time. So I packed a little bag and went with the other Sister Training Leader (not the one I had last time) to her area. The bed was like a rock, and I forgot a pillow, so I didn't sleep a wink. But Saturday turned out to be a pretty great day. I met some very nice people who appreciated my personal testimony and wanted to stay in contact, some very strange people, and some people who were really struggling with their own testimonies. There was one house in particular that we visited that had a very nice older woman and her son in law there. The woman expressed, after we had visited with her for about 15 minutes, that she would like an extra prayer sent her way to help her believe in the doctrine of the gospel. We stayed and talked to her about her concerns, and I had one of those "the spirit is clearly speaking through me" moments. Thoughts, impressions, and ideas that I had never really had before that moment suddenly came to mind, and when I opened my mouth to voice them, beautiful words and strong testimony came out that I didn't really know I was capable of. We left feeling empowered, and the sweet lady said she felt so much better. It was a very cool experience. I love that we missionaries are LITERALLY just instruments in the Lord's hands, and as we have faith in Him and trust Him, He will really put words into our mouths and share Christ's light with others through us. It was amazing.

For dinner on Saturday, the STL and I went to a family who weren't quite ready for us yet, and asked us to help out. The Sister asked the STL to set the table, and then she turned to me and asked me to cook the meat. ...Cook? Meat? How? Like, in the microwave or...? Anyway, I DID IT!

It was some of the yummiest tasting meat in the whole world. Of course, I had nothing to do with preparing it, all I did was move it around in a pan, but still! I consider it quite the accomplishment! See Mom? I AM learning how to cook!

When we exchanged back to our normal companions at a baptism (which Tony attended and adored), Sister Major told me about her day, which included trying to contact Mia and Erika for like the twelfth time. Apparently, they opened the door and were not very nice. Sister Major had dinner at a house that is in their neighborhood, and when they told the members about trying to contact that house, the members told them that that is a HUGE drug house. That it has been raided several times, and that there is nothing but trouble and illegal business going on there. She was surprised it wasn't on a list of "do not contact" or something. We will write President about it this week and ask what he thinks we should do about it. They took a Book of Mormon a while back, so hopefully things turn out okay. :P

Okay... We got our transfer letters... This was the result:

That picture doesn't show a very good outcome does it? My dearest Sister Major is being transferred to St. Helens 2nd Ward, and I am staying here. Neither of us really know our new companions, but they look nice! We are truly devastated to have to separate though... I love Sister Major! And now that I know she is being transferred, I am suddenly panicking that I don't know how to anything myself. I will be the companion that is driving and that knows the area best now, but what if I don't know it well enough? What if I FORGET about certain people and suddenly stop visiting them?! I'm terrified. But not really. I'm excited, but also sad to be losing such a great companion! I'm sure Sister Rasmussen and I will get along great. :) I'm just gonna miss Sister Major so much! Oh well. This is what happens on a mission, right? I'm just gonna have to get used to it.

To end this post, I have one more challenge for you: Get out with the missionaries! Call them and VOLUNTEER to go out with them! We have been focusing very hard on member present lessons because they are VITAL to someone's true conversion and commitment to the gospel. The more members we have helping the work to progress, the faster it will go and the more effective it will be. I'm begging you. PLEASE go out with the missionaries and help them. You are the key to their success! Don't forget to read the Book of Mormon by June 11 either! I love you, and I'm grateful for the wonderful things that happened this week. I'm excited to see what the new transfer will bring!

Love Always,

Sister Nicole Guilott

P.S. My sweet Grandmother passed away this past Friday, and despite the sadness and the mournful nature of her death, I feel so at peace. I know that she is happy with her husband and that they are both watching over me and helping me to bring the work of The Lord forward here in Vancouver. I know that, because of the Plan of Salvation, I will see them both again and I am so happy that we get to missionaries together. I love my grandparents, and I'm sure they are the most amazing heavenly missionaries up there!

The sun is exceptionally beautiful when it comes out in Washington!
Weasley caught a chipmunk! Don't worry, we rescued it!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Miracles and Tragedies

This week was a little bit of everything. We had Stake Conference this weekend which was GREAT!!! Elder Bussey of the Seventy came and spoke to our Stake, and everything he had to say was brilliant. Two of my favorite things he said were, "God said, 'I will hasten my work in it's time.' Brothers and Sisters, IT'S TIME!!!" And "The Lord doesn't bet on failure. He will see His work through to a successful completion!" I love thinking about the fact that now is the time, God has hastened His work, and I get to be one of the 85,000 missionaries out helping Him hasten it! It's hard work, but it is worth it all. God doesn't bet on failure. He will not send His missionaries out there only for them to fail, just as He won't allow you to feel the Spirit if it is not the right place for you to be. I'm not sure that makes sense... Maybe it will come together more as I finish this email.

We have been encouraged to take more investigators on church tours so that they can understand what we do at church, why it is so big, etc. and this week we did really well! We took 3 investigators on a church
tour! Zach and his girlfriend Marita came with us and Brother Goulding came as a member to be present for the lesson. It went really well! Brother Goulding bore beautiful testimony and helped to explain the different functions of the church. It was great! We also had a tour with Tony. Brother Shoemaker came with us for that one, and when we got to the Relief Society Room where the baptismal font is, we testified of baptism and Tony agreed to be baptized on May 3rd! We are so excited. He still has lots to learn, but having a date set will help him to better prepare and to learn more. It was a good miracle.:) There were a few more good ones, but it am running out of time to write this email... So maybe next time.

On Saturday, we got to go help one of our teenage investigators, Sam, get ready for prom. I did her hair and makeup, and we even got a few spiritual messages in there while we prepped her! We shared the Mormon
Message about the guy who goes on a cruise and because he doesn't want to spend money, doesn't partake of any of the wonderful things that he didn't know we're provided with the purchase of his ticket. It was good. :) I love Mormon Messages, and it was an Uctdorf talk to boot!

The tragedy that happened this week involves our sweet Elizabeth who was baptized a few weeks ago. She decided she is not coming back to the church. We aren't sure exactly what happened, but we know that other people, probably her family, were railing on the church and feeding her false information about the church that she took as truth and decided not to ask us to clarify. We are heart broken... She is such a good woman who had such a strong testimony! We are confused and frustrated. But it's in God's hands now. We will continue to love her and communicate with her, but there is only so much that we can do.

I have thought so much about my Savior this week, and the amazing things He does for me. His resurrection is another beautiful miracle that we all get to experience because of Him. #BecauseofHim.

I am so grateful that He knows how I am feeling at all times and that He suffered what He did so that I could live again with Him, even though I would never wish that on anyone. What a sacrifice he made! I love my Savior! He is there. He is real. He loves me and He loves you. If you have EVER felt His love or the spirit manifest to you that this gospel is true, HOLD ON TO IT. Do not let it go for anything. He will always be with you no matter what decisions you are making, but He will remain CLOSER to you as you choose to accept Him. Please allow Him to love you. Allow Him to teach you. And allow Him to teach others THROUGH you. I know that as you do this, you will feel of His love and will be able to set an example for those who need to recognize Christ. I hope you had an Excellent Easter!


Sister Nicole Guilott

P.S. Another happy thing: I got a letter from Hilary Weeks! She listened to my CD and thanked me for my testimony through music. She is the sweetest!

The lengths I go to try and get some sleep! Haha!
Another one of my favorites of my Savior.


Monday, April 14, 2014

"Made of the Stuff of Eternity"

President Uchtdorf is wonderful, is he not? The title of this post came from his talk in General Conference - it has helped me a lot this past week.

This week was a rough go for me. I still haven't been sleeping, and this week was when it finally started to take a major toll on me. I had headaches, stomach aches, muscle aches, and extreme fatigue all week long. Those things began to prevent me from being able to push the work forward, and that is NOT a happy thing. I started to feel very down on myself - that I am a bad missionary because I'm not able to work my hardest with a migraine, or I'm not cut out for this because I feel exhausted all the time, etc. etc.

I was able to understand these harsh feelings on Sunday. Talking to our Ward Missionaries and the Ward Council, and discussing those we have been teaching, and their progression, and seeing how many people came to church (we had SEVEN investigators there on Sunday), and pondering the events of this week, it was so clear why Satan has been working so hard on us. Because we are having such good success! He
makes us feel like we are not doing good enough because we are doing too much good! I am so happy I realized that. It was a wonderful epiphany and gave me the excitement and motivation to keep going and to work harder.  Sister Major and I talked about how Satan is the ONLY person who we can consistently and consciously be trying to upset. Let's all think of ways we can tick him off! The more we anger him, the better we are doing. :) It was a good thought.

We are made of the stuff of eternity after all, and if we are going to last for eternity, that "stuff" must be pretty powerful! I am so grateful for having been in the slums until yesterday. It is so much better to have had that epiphany about our work than to have kept going without the realization that we are doing wonderful things! I love the way my Heavenly Father lifts me up when I am low. He's amazing.

This week it was wonderfully sunny and beautiful, which helped to find a little easier. We were able to meet four new investigators who are all absolutely AMAZING! Mina, Danielle, Jeremy and Braden. Mina is from India, and we hit it off talking about Bollywood and my dear Sharuk Khan (did I spell that right?). She was so excited that I knew who he was, and we talked about "Kal Ho Na Ho" and "Om Shanti Om" and "Main Hoo Na" for a while. She said she is going to get me some Bollywood CD's because she is so excited I know what it is and love it! Haha we are going to her house tonight for dinner. I'm very excited! Anyway, she is wonderful. Danielle is this cute pregnant woman who is friends with Bonnie Wallace. We met her and her husband Jeremy and their son Braden. All three of them came to church on Sunday too. They are the greatest!

This is what happens when the sun comes out in Washington.
Missionaries soak it up!
We got to do a service project as a zone on Thursday morning up at a lovely little campsite. We were clearing out a building so they could have a water treatment system there. I helped out with pulling nails
out if the walls inside the building, clearing everything out, and removing a lot of wood. We had to wear masks in one room because there were dead, rotting, and supposedly toxic rats in there.  It was lovely.

We also spent a lot of time with the Rodriguez family this week. They are just so fantastic, it's hard for us to stay away. They had us over for dinner one night and cooked some really yummy steaks for us! It was so good. I sure love steak. We helped them finish their Monsters Inc. puzzle too. I love puzzles too! Oh I just love the Rodirguez's!

Me, Daniel, isaac, Jose, Meg and Sister Major.  Too much fun!

We had a lot of really wonderful experiences this week, and once I was able to reflect on the things we accomplished, the love that we shared and received, and the happiness that this work is bringing to Vancouver, my spirits were lifted and I was able to give Satan a nice smack to the face. I love my mission, and though it might encourage Satan to work a little harder to bring me down, it encourages me to work that much harder to bring myself up. I love the person I am turning into, and I know it is because I am serving my God. Some song lyrics from "Brother Bear" fit perfectly with how I feel:

"This has to be the most beautiful - the most peaceful place I've ever been to.
It's nothing like I've ever seen before.
When I think how far I've come I can't believe it, yet I see it.
When I see family, I see the way we used to be."

-"Welcome" from "Brother Bear"

It's true! I have come so far, and this place is gorgeous! The last line isn't referring to you guys back home, it's talking about our spirit brothers and sisters who are out here in Vancouver. When I see the progression they make and the happiness they hold, I am able to understand that I knew them in the preexistence. So really that line is saying "When I see my spiritual family, I see the way we loved and trusted each other before we came to earth." I love this work, and I love the blessings that it brings to God's children. I am excited for this upcoming week, and the chance I have to continue in the Lord's work.

Hurrah for Israel!


Sister Guilott

Some fun animal life from this week!

My favorite kind of dog!

Monday, April 7, 2014

General Conference!

Oh I sure hope everyone had the chance to watch or listen to General Conference! I absolutely LOVED it! Those wonderful people who spoke to us are definitely inspired of God. There are always things that are
said at Conference that are just for me - Sister Nicole Guilott - and I love it! I'm so grateful that Heavenly Father gives us a prophet and apostles to help lead us and guide us through this crazy thing called life. It's funny how much more excited I was for General Conference as a missionary. I have always loved it, but as a missionary it has become that much more exciting. Revelation is amazing! And I love receiving it through hearing our sweet prophet speak. :)

This was a slower week, but never fear! We still got things done! Tuesday, we went over to Patsy's and helped her clean her house, which is where we decided to let her cut our hair. Mine is always frizzy and gross here in Washington, so I let her cut it off.

Doesn't it look good? Haha it was a wig we found for April fools day. We weren't sure if it looked real or not, but one can always hope. ;) Throughout the week, we visited Marjorie periodically, the Rodriguez's often, and a few other people who were always happy to see us. Have I mentioned how much I love the people here? Everyone we meet with is so wonderful! Very nice, very genuine, and very willing to learn.

We had some really great tracting experiences even though we didn't always have time for tracting. We met a wedding dj named Frank, who is a very faithful Christian, but would love to learn about our church and try it out. :) We gave him a Book of Mormon and he took it with excitement! He asked our full names and said he would pray for us to have good health and strength. It was very sweet and a great thing to hear from a perfect stranger. We also met a woman named Mia who we made a return appointment with for Wednesday. She also took a Book of Mormon and said she would begin reading it before we came on
Wednesday. What a sweetheart she is. I'm telling you, these people are amazing!

We contacted a few former investigators this week to meet them for the first time and see if we could teach them or just meet with them frequently. One was Tara, and she said she would love to have us over and get to know us. We are going there tonight at 6 for our first official appointment with her. It will be great! Another former investigator we contacted was Theone. She is an older lady who has a bunch if schnauzers (which reminded me of Coraline - the two actresses that have a bunch of scottie dogs?). She grooms them, breeds them, and shows them, so when we went over to visit her, she gave us some puppies to hold while she worked on grooming a few. It was nice. Smelled pretty awful, but I won't ever turn down the opportunity to hold a puppy. :) She also said we could come back and teach her. We just love increasing our teaching pool!

On Friday, we had the opportunity to have interviews with our Mission President. We get them every other transfer, so this was my second one. He is such an amazing man! I could not have asked for a better Mission President. He is inspired, and he has such strength! I love him, and I am super glad I got to talk to him one on one for a short few minutes. He really is great.

On Saturday, we went to Sister Archer's home to watch the Saturday Sessions of Conference with her family and with our recent convert Elizabeth. It was great! I made sure to French braid my hair and pluck my eyebrows in honor of my aunt Linda Marie before we went over there. :P She always watches Conference with us, and my eyebrows always get plucked and my hair French braided. So yeah. They also had one of those wonderful hot chocolate makers that we bought just before I left on my mission! I had to take a picture because I'm sure Caroline has been using that thing like crazy. Haha!

On Sunday, we went with Elizabeth to Bonnie Wallace's house to watch Conference. She made cinnamon rolls! I was so happy! General Conference wouldn't be the same without cinnamon rolls! It was great because I got to keep all of my Conference traditions this time around. :)

This week was wonderful, and General Conference was the main reason why! I love hearing divine inspiration from those who hold those special keys! I love this Gospel and the fact that we have the Prophet
of God to lead us. I am in love with the people here, and as always, I look forward to this week and the good things it will bring me! I love you all and will write again next week!


Sister Nicole Guilott