Monday, November 24, 2014

Gratitude for Grace

Unfortunately, I have close to absolutely zero time to write my email today because we went to the Ape Caves and it took a lot longer than anticipated. But that is okay! I will do my best to sum up my week Thanksgiving style. :) 

I am first and foremost grateful for the temple. The feeling of peace that I have each time I attend is perfect and serene, but this time was exceptional. We went through the temple with Brother Wilson, the recently returned member of the church, for his first time, and I felt so much love it was pouring out of my eyes in the form of water! The love God has for His children is unimaginable, yet there are times when we are able to get a teensy tiny taste of how He feels for us, and this temple trip was one of those times. I know Brother Wilson is so so loved by his Heavenly Father, and I know that I am as well. I am so grateful for the temple and the overpowering feelings of love I am able to feel for others as well as what God feels for me. 
"He ran off before we could take a picture with him."

I am grateful for Bible Study and for the miracles it has brought us in our teachings. We were able to teach two of the attendees outside of our Bible Study class, and miracles happened. One woman testified of the truthfulness of what we were teaching to the other woman when she doubted or questioned things. It was amazing!!! I have never had that happen before, especially on the first lesson! 

I'm grateful for the influence of other missionaries. We had a wonderful zone meeting this week that taught us both quite a bit! The testimonies of fellow missionaries are so powerful and I always learn something knew when I hear them testify. 

I'm grateful for Sister Borchardt. We did NOT get our transfer letters, which means we are both staying here until January. :) I am very happy about that, and ultra grateful! 

I am grateful for investigators with motivation. We brought up baptism to Erica again, and suggested December, but her response was, "I have been thinking a lot about this, and I feel really good about January 24th." So that is that! She felt inspired, and I am grateful to see God touching the hearts of the people we teach. 

I'm grateful for chickens. :P We rescued one this week! I'm very glad we were able to save one of the 7 from a terrible death. 

I am grateful for family. I miss you all very much, particularly this holiday season. I am grateful to know that because we were sealed in the temple, we will be family for eternity. :) I love you. 

Sorry this is short, but I gotta get out there and get working! Everyone remember to be grateful and gives thanks to God for the blessing He gives you. I know I will be doing my best to focus on those things this week, especially Thursday as I feast! ;) Talk to you next week!

Love Always,

Sister Guilott

The full chicken story:

The past couple of days, Brother Roniger has been finding feathers and chicken carcasses either in the coop or out in the garden, and several chickens have gone missing. He started out with 7, and by last night he only had 2 left... He kept asking us if we had heard the chickens screaming ever, but we are hardly ever home, so our answer was no. However, Saturday morning, I woke up because chickens were screaming in my dream and I realized it wasn't a dream! I woke up at about 5:30 and said, "Sister! The chickens!" We sat there listening to the last of the screams and it went quiet... We thought for sure they were both gone and it was too late... But alas, 10 minutes later there were more screams and we knew whoever the murderer was, they were back to finish the last of the chickens! So we grabbed our flashlight and went out to the backyard. Sister Borchardt was scared, so I took the flashlight and stood on the pool deck, pointing the flashlight into the coop and yelling, "Hey! Get out of there! Leave them alone!" When I shined the light and yelled at the murderer, 3 sets of yellow eyes looked right at my light and glowed in the dark. I yelled again, and they ran away from the last chicken, out of the coop, and into the trees. They were 3 HUGE raccoons! Evil little things with their beady bloodthirsty eyes! They left, and by that time, Sister Borchardt had gotten Brother Roniger, who came out with a brighter light and checked the coop. They were gone by then, but he couldn't find the other chicken... So he took the remaining chicken and put her in the greenhouse until he could get up and fix the coop. Later in the morning he found the remains of the other chicken. Those raccoons were very thorough! All that was left was the legs and backbone and some feathers. Poor chickens... Anyway, that was my heroic story for the week. :P The chicken will be finding a new home so Brother Roniger can make the coop more coon-proof and buy new chicks in the Spring. 

Also, here are some Ape Cave pictures from today:

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

I am in Awe

I feel like my introduction to all of these emails is always the same. "This week was amazing!" But that is because it's true! So many wonderful things keep happening, and I am simply awe-struck at how merciful the Lord is when it comes to His missionaries and His work. We aren't always the best at doing His work with all our heart, might, mind and strength, but He knows what our best is, and He rewards us for doing our best. This week was a definite testimony to that! 

First of all, IT SNOWED!!!! 

I am so so happy that it snowed! It was only a couple flakes, but it was enough to get all us Utah missionaries excited, and also enough to make Vancouver FREAK OUT. They made sure school started 2 hours late so that they could safely drive or walk to school. It was funny. I found this cartoon on Facebook about it, and it's perfect. :)

I laughed pretty hard at that one. But really! The snow made me so so happy. Every morning now when we get in our car, I have to scrape the ice off the windows. It hasn't snow snowed really, but we definitely get visited by Jack Frost every night while we are sleeping. 

The week started wonderfully, because we played indoor soccer as a zone! It was the first time I had played indoor soccer since I was 15 or 16, and it felt OH so good! It made me miss my favorite sports: Soccer, Swim, and Softball. I will definitely be playing more of those sports when I get back. Sister Borchardt and I both played really hard on Monday, and though it felt good in the moment, we suffered for the rest of the week... I had blisters all over my feet, and we were SO sore!!! 
"Clearly, the other missionaries were tired after a while too!"
"We were very tired by the end of it all."
So yeah, sports are still wonderful, and they still tucker me out. :) On Tuesday or Wednesday, a family took us to a Greek restaurant in downtown Vancouver called "A Touch of Athens." They bought us each a lamb shank! It was yummy. Sister Borchardt and I kept quoting My Big Fat Greek Wedding the whole time. The music was Greek, the food was Greek, the waiter was Greek, and it was all just beautiful. Then on Wednesday we were able to meet up with an investigator of mine from Lacamas Creek for lunch! She is so sweet. :)

Now for the good stuff. Saturday was AMAZING. It started at 9 in the morning with what we all called the "Snow Conference." It wasn't really a zone conference because half the mission was there, but it wasn't a mission conference because only half the mission was there. :P So we called it the Snow Conference because Elder Steven E. Snow from the 1st Quorum of the 70 came and spoke to us. It was marvelous! Before the conference really got going, he wanted to meet each of us individually, so he had us all go up to him and shake his hand and introduce ourselves. It was cool. The conference was mostly about teaching us how to be better public speakers... He had each of us write a five minute talk on faith this week, and then he called up 4 missionaries randomly and had them give their talk on faith. After each one spoke, we critiqued them. It was a very unique conference to say the least, but we all learned a lot! 

After lunch, the second half of the conference we heard from his wife a little bit, and then more from him. We talked about the Holy Ghost and the role that He plays in our missionary work. We also talked a lot about our personal testimonies. He said that NOW is the time to learn about the Holy Ghost and gain a testimony of him. So that is what I have been studying during my personal study since Saturday: learning more about the Holy Ghost. There was one other profound thing he said that I thought I'd share, he was talking about Jesus Christ and the work He performed in this earth, including the Atonement. He said, "Christ's ministry could be performed by any good prophet, but only He could accomplish His mission." Each of us took those words personally as we realized that anyone who has the desire can go on a mission and serve God, but only I can accomplish MY mission. My burden is not nearly as heavy as Christ's was, and to even make such a comparison would be blasphemous. But I was called to the Washington Vancouver Mission and put in these areas with these companions at this EXACT moment in time because only I can accomplish MY mission. 

All in all, the conference was wonderful. I learned a lot about missionary work and what is expected and required, and I also learned a lot about myself as a missionary. After the conference, which ended at two, we headed to central Vancouver, the Evergreen Ward for the baptism of Alexis Wilt!!! Oh my goodness, it was phenomenal. So many people showed up, people had to stand because there wasn't enough room for everybody. Bishop Sears baptized her, and it was just precious. The spirit was so so strong in that room! And it was great to see everybody from Evergreen!
"We wrapped a little something for her birthday and baptism gift."

Baptisms are definitely the best part of a mission, especially when you get to be the missionary who teaches them from the very beginning, and then gets to see them baptized. I can't even imagine what it will be like to see these wonderful people who have been baptized make it to the temple. That will be amazing... I can't even think of words enough to describe how that will feel! I am so happy for Alexis. She is definitely ready to make and keep covenants with God. 

After her baptism, we drove down to Gresham, Oregon to the baptism of Terri, an investigator of Sister Borchardt's. We ate dinner with Erica, Guddi and Riya in Gresham, and then went to the baptism with them. I think they really liked it! It was so cool that they wanted to drive all the way to Gresham to see a baptism. :) I love them. Erica told me and Sister Borchardt that she wants the two of us to speak at her baptism. :):):) That made us both very very happy. I am so happy to see the progression of the people we are teaching, not just Erica. A recent convert just received the Aaronic Priesthood on Tuesday night, and this week we get to go to the Temple with Gary who just got the Melchezeoik Priesthood last Sunday. So many wonderful things are happening! And to top it off, we sang "If the Savior Stood Beside Me" together in church on Sunday. Erica and Riya came, and there were 7 less active members there that day! So I think it was a great day to sing in church. I am still so so happy, and I can't wait to tell you all about this upcoming week! I love you!

Love Always, 

Sister Nicole Guilott

This is for you Mommy: An attendee of our Bible Study class talked about Delilah this week. She said, "she's this radio woman who has a night show from like 7 to midnight, and she just has this really soothing, calm and peaceful voice." I died.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Overwhelming Happiness :)‏


My oh my, what a wonderful week we had! It was full of happiness, miracles, and the beauty of God's creations! Sister Borchardt and I have been praying extra hard that we will see some great success, and those prayers are DEFINITELY being answered! Miracles are happening all over the place! First of all, we hung out with this couple on Monday night who are part member. The husband, Ahron, is 19 and a less active member, and the wife, Mikalii, is 20 and not a member. And they have a 4 year old son named Malachi. They are the coolest cats around! We taught them, and by the end they were inviting us to go rock climbing with them for "next" Pday (today). We said we'd love to! We planned on it until we looked it up in the white handbook and it specifically says NO ROCK CLIMBING. We were sad. But it's okay because we might go to the Ape Caves with them next week anyway. We are gonna play indoor soccer for Pday today with the zone, so that should be fun. :) Anyway, that family is super cool and I love that we are able to teach them and be their friends! Life is good!
On Tuesday night, we had our Bible Study class that we teach. We taught Mark chapter 3 this time, and after class, one of the women came up to us and said she had some more questions for us and wanted to know more about our church. !!!!! Sister Borchardt said they have been teaching this Bible Study class for like 9 months now, and no one has ever asked if they could learn more about our church until now. It was super exciting for the both of us. 
On Wednesday, we had exchanges. I stayed in our area with Sister Fitt, and Sister Borchardt went to Salmon Creek with Sister Schmoekel (who was in the MTC with me and is now an STL). We had a pretty busy day, but the highlight was probably when we did service for a newer investigator named Barbara. She is 69 years old, living in downtown Vancouver who has books upon books upon BOOKS of genealogy. She just wants to get it all computerized and nicely put together! She is SO excited to learn more about our church and why family history seems to be such a big deal to us. We got her all excited to come to a family history meeting in a few weeks, and she even asked for a Book of Mormon to read about the genealogy in there. We told her about Lehi and the plates that they needed because it was all their family history, and the trials they went through to obtain them. She was very impressed, and is excited to read it! We are seeing her again tonight, so I am very anxious to see if she read any of it.
Thursday night, we had a miracle lesson with Erica and her girls. Erica's Mormon ex-boyfriend was there, and the lesson was amazing because of his presence. The girls are too comfortable with us I guess, because every time we tried to teach, they were loud and crazy and not taking the lesson seriously, but whenever Jared spoke, he commanded their attention, and they obeyed. All in a very loving and filled with the spirit sort of way. It was amazing! All three of them were definitely touched by the spirit, even Guddi! It was seriously so cool. I love the power of the priesthood!
Friday, we had dinner with the Steinegal's. I adore them. Ya know how as missionaries we aren't allowed to hold babies? Well, there is no rule about not holding baby animals! They have a new puppy that is just the sweetest thing! Look at her! Her name is Bobette. :) It reminded me of Mishae and Beauty and the Beast. Haha

Saturday was the best day of the week, I think. Well, Saturday and Sunday together were pretty spectacular. We taught a grand total of 8 lessons on Saturday, and they were all AMAZING. It was Sister Borchardt's half birthday, and the day after her 15 months, so she wanted to celebrate somehow. However, she had been pretty down, so I thought that day would be a good day to go enjoy some of nature's beauty! We drove down to the Columbia River, which is the border of our area, and took a bunch of pictures, talked to a ton of people, and enjoyed the one day of the sun that we had all week! Here are the pictures from that day:

Aren't those fun? The park was BEAUTIFUL and the river was glowing that day! Oh man, I just loved everything about it! We didn't have a dinner appointment that night though, and we only had like 20 minutes to eat, so we were forced to go to McDonalds... Yummy... :P But hey, the rest of the day rocked, so it was all good. 

Sunday was amazing too! Gary, the member who recently returned to activity, received the Melchizedek Priesthood on Sunday, and we got to be there to witness it. It was beautiful. Both Sister Borchardt and I cried a little bit. Knowing where Gary was before all of this, and where he is now, I just have gained such a strong testimony of true conversion! There is nothing we can't do! God wants us to be with Him, to follow Him, and to sacrifice worldly things to do so, and it is ALWAYS possible! Not only is it possible, but it makes you so much happier. I've been able to see that in Gary as he prepares to go to the temple. I am so excited for him!
I forgot to tell you about the Vagabonds! For the past couple of weeks, there has been this big RV that comes to the church and parks in the parking lot, looking to cause trouble. They've been asked to leave on multiple occasions, but they just keep coming back! We haven't run into any trouble with them yet, but we are nervous to be at the church alone! They egged the church, and now some of the little entryways stink like rotten eggs! No good. No good at all.
That was the only not so good thing that happened this week, everything else was grand!!!! We taught 31 lessons this week, which is crazy because this area hasn't seen more than like 19 since before I got here, and a previous investigator of Sister Borchardt's from Gresham messaged her and told her she is getting baptized on Saturday! Saturday is going to be SUPER busy because we are having President Snow from the 1st Quorum of the 70 come to the mission and he is speaking to us until about 2, then we have Alexis' baptism in Evergreen at 4, then Sister Borchardt's investigator's baptism at 7 in Gresham. CRAZY! I am so excited. More and more blessings! 

In a nutshell, the changes that are happening here on my mission are all amazing and wonderful. This area is changing from difficult to progressing, my favorite holidays are here, people are having changes of heart and coming to the Gospel, and the leaves are pretty!

"I saw a bird, and Sister Borchardt caught my reaction . . . I hate birds!"
I love my mission so much you guys. I don't think I have ever been this happy for a consistent amount of time in my entire life. My outlook on everything has changed, and I am just floating on cloud 9 all the time! I hope you are all as happy as I am, or at least somewhere close because this is magnificent! I love you all! 
Don't forget to pray!

Love Always,

Sister Guilott
"A puzzle of New Orleans!  Love you Daddy!"

Monday, November 3, 2014

Happy Halloween!!!

What a wonderful way to spend a spooky holiday! You know how much I love Halloween. Going to Haunted Houses is probably one of my favorite things EVER, so for a minute I was sad I would be missing out on all the fun things we always do around Halloween time (Hocus Pocus included), but I got over it real fast because this Halloween was one of the best I've ever had! But I'll get there. Let's start with the beginning of the week. :)

On Monday night, we went with our investigator, Erica, to a Single Adult FHE in prep for Halloween. It was supposed to be a rockin' party, but when we got there it was all the OLD Single Adults, and they were carving pumpkins that we didn't know we were supposed to bring. The Apple Cider wasn't great, and nobody really talked to each other, so we went back to Erica's house instead. That night, we had a really great talk with her about her desires. She told us that she wanted to be baptized before we even had the chance to ask. :) It was amazing! God knew that party needed to be bad so we could go to her house and talk about baptism. She has such a strong desire to learn more, get to know more people in the ward, and be baptized on December 6th. Her 9 year old, Riya, wants to be baptized too! But she doesn't really understand what that means yet, so we are working with both of them. We spend a lot of time with them, but that is because they are progressing and they are wonderful! They always have good questions, and they love us. We love them so so much too! 

Tuesday was eventful. We started by going to Gary's house (a recently activated member) with Sister Worthy. Gary had an interview with Bishop and the Stake President recently, and he is getting the Melchizedek Priesthood on Sunday so that he can go through the temple in the next couple weeks!!! AGH! We are so excited for him. He is the sweetest man ever, and he has such a strong desire to do the Lord's work in His temples! I love that man. Our lesson went very well, and we answered as many questions as we could, but halfway through the lesson, Sister Worthy suddenly said she needed to go. We were confused, but we looked at her and she was sweating SO bad! She said she had a headache that had been there for a couple of days, and it was suddenly unbearable. So we left, and because we were worried about her driving all the way home, we followed her. When we got to her house she told us her blood pressure medication had run out, and that was the only thing she could think of causing her to feel this way. So we called it in, and went and picked up her prescription for her. The next day she was alright, but we were preparing to take her to the hospital just in case. It was scary! She is okay now, so that is good!

That night we went to our weekly Bible Study class with our rehab after rehab friends! It was a good study. We read Mark 2, and talked about all the goodness in the chapter! After class, a sweet man that looks like Santa Clause, living in the facility (who used to attend our class but apparently was offended by the "not smart enough" classmates) came up to us and informed us that Jesus is coming next year. He was CERTAIN! He has been studying the moon patterns, and the movements of the ocean waves, and he knows for sure that Jesus is coming. Exactly a year from now. According to Pete, Christ is coming! Better prepare! ;) So now Sister Borchardt and I have this joke, "According to Pete..." fill in the blank. Haha he's the greatest. 

Wednesday night, we went to the mission office to talk to President about some things, and when we left, Sister Taylor asked us if we had a dinner appointment. The members here don't actually feed us very often, so as it happened, we were free that night! Sister Taylor is the sweetest, and she took us to Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner. Haha! Neither of us had ever been there, but it was sure fun! The world series was happening that night, so all 100 of the TV's in the place were showing the world series and the Blazer's opening game, so everyone there was all hyped up! It was fun. :) I felt kinda like a nun coming out of her convent for the first time because we were trying so hard to avert our eyes from the TV's. Haha!

Friday was Halloween!!! We had weekly planning for most of the day, and then the party got started! In the afternoon, we went over to Erica's house to put together a costume for Riya. They didn't have anything, so Erica was just gonna pin a bunch of socks to Riya's shirt and call her "Static Cling." ...Nice idea, but Riya wanted to feel pretty. So I did her makeup and we made her a fairy! She was SO happy! They got dressed up and ready, and then we all headed to the Ward Harvest Party. There was chili and corn bread (felt almost like home!), music, games, and then a Trunk-or-Treat which was actually inside because it was pouring rain out. Sister Borchardt and I decorated a room and handed out candy to all the cute chillin's around! It was super fun! I had a piano in the back of the dark room and played "scary" music like Phantom of the Opera while Guddi and Sister Borchardt handed the candy out. It was wonderful! By the way, can you tell what we dressed up as? Hahaha...

That's right, we were Maleficent and Sleeping Beauty! It was so fun! I had my Disney horns from Mike that he sent me from Disneyland, and Sister Borchardt had the beige skirt, so I wrapped my black scarf around her torso, curled her hair, bought a headband, and POOF! We were a Dynamic Disney Duo! It was so great. We were both all full of smiles all day long. Aurora is her favorite princess, and Maleficent is my favorite person ever, so it worked out wonderfully! After the party, we went to the mission office where they were holding a Halloween party for our zone. :) It's SOOOO nice being so close to the mission office. We get our mail like 3 times faster than normal because sometimes they just text us and tell us it's there! It's awesome. The party was fun, and we thought we'd spice up our costumes with some extra evil...

We thought it was appropriate to be vampires on Halloween in Washington. I'm sure Edward would appreciate it. ;) So yes, Halloween was definitely a success, and it brought so much excitement for the two of us! I was super grateful for how it turned out. :) Here are the rest of the pictures from that day.

The day after Halloween, we had a super cool Companion Study at the Mission Office with President Taylor. We talked a lot about how to teach to people's needs, and how to better perfect our own personal teaching skills as missionaries. Obedience was a huge thing President talked about. He also told us that when it comes to the Vancouver West Stake, he has recently become selfish because it is the Stake that he lives in, and lately it hasn't seen a ton of success. He told us that he purposefully placed his most trusted missionaries in this stake this transfer, and he tells everyone that we are the best of the best. It was a lot of pressure, but it was good to know how much he really does trust us. He definitely motivated all of us to work twice as hard and with twice as much love. He really is an amazing man. 

That night, we had the adult session of Stake Conference. It. Was. AMAZING! Elder Christensen, a member of the 70, came and spoke to us. I have never scrambled so hard to take such detailed notes in my life. Every word of his talk was phenomenal, and applied so perfectly to everyone in that room. He was excited, fun, and super upbeat, so everyone felt comfortable there and we all listened intently to what he had to say because he was so enthusiastic! It was seriously awesome. (Side note: Sister Taylor gave a talk too and she mentioned me by name twice! I was busy writing notes from the previous talk when she mentioned me so I wasn't really paying attention until I heard my name. And then I panicked because I thought she was calling me out! But she wasn't. It was fine. Haha)

Erica and Riya came to the Sunday session of Stake Conference, and they loved it! They got to meet President and Sister Taylor, and they also met Elder Christensen who was so warm and welcoming and made them feel right at home. I'm telling you, this week was perfect. We got to celebrate a super fun holiday my favorite way (the Disney way with friends!), we helped people in need, and had two days full of spiritual upliftment! I couldn't have asked for a better Halloween. I hope yours was as good as mine! I love you all and I can't wait to talk to you next Monday! :)

Love Always,

Sister Guilott

"The last picture Sisters Cone, Kearl, and I took before I flew home. Also, a picture of President and me at the airport when I flew home.  He said he wouldn't hug me because he knew I'd be coming back.  He'll only hug me when I'm REALLY going home. :)"    (These are pictures Sister Taylor sent to me at dinner this week)