Tuesday, November 17, 2015

My Final Week

Visiting the Burlington District
I cannot believe I just lived the last week of my mission. Time flew by throughout each transfer but wow that went fast! Sister Harper and I only had so much time together, so we decided to work hard and make the best of it.

On Monday we just took time to organize things together so that we could have an efficient and productive week. Then Tuesday we contacted every person we are currently teaching so that Sister Harper could get to know them and who they are. After she began getting the hang of things we started finding people, both members and non-members who may be interested in being taught the lessons.

A funny mission story from this week: One time when we were contacting someone in North Montpelier, we walked into the front porch to knock on their door and as soon as we stepped in we saw a million huge spiders spread out throughout a spider web that engulfed the entire porch leaving only enough room for a person as tall as us to walk to the door. I didn't dare look up to see what was above my head. But we still stayed long enough to knock on the door twice just in case someone needed the gospel. (And as soon as we left I checked my hair to make sure no spiders decided to fall on me.)

Saying goodbye to Sister Tetreault
(Sister Tyler describes her as “amazing”)

Another funny story: A couple of days later we were going to have lunch with some members in Waterbury and we put their address on my GPS and set it on shortest distance because Waterbury is kind of far out there. As we followed the roads it wanted us to take though, we quickly realized we were on a road that is probably only used during the summer by big trucks and four-wheelers. We kept moving forward hoping it would open back up, but the trees got closer to our car, the mud puddles got bigger, and the rocks got taller and more frequent. We decided it would be best to turn around and just go on the highway. So I helped guide Sister Harper (who was driving that day) backwards about a quarter of a mile until we found a spot big enough to do a seventeen point turn around to be able to drive out of the middle of no where. It was quite the adventure, and the members just laughed when we called to tell them why we would be late for lunch haha.

Overall, I feel content with how my mission has gone. I know I worked my hardest and I have no regrets for anything I did or didn't do. I know that God has blessed me each day in my efforts. And now I get to start a whole new journey. I'm excited for all the future has to offer.

Sincerely, Sister Tyler 

**There's a curious mission tradition here: When a missionary is completing their mission, they are classified as “dying.” They'll pose in a scene for a picture acting out how they “die.” For Sister Tyler they did a time-lapse video where her district members wrote the names of all her companions on the white board. But her last companion (Sis. Harper) apparently is the one who “finished her off.” ;) [here's a few screen shots] =D =D

{The “end” of Sister Tyler}

{The “end” for Elder Bagley}

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

I am 16 going on 17 companions....wait what?

Surprise new/final companion for a week!
Sister Tyler and Sister Harper

Yep, I decided 16 companions wasn't enough for one mission, so this past Saturday I got Sister Harper as my companion for the last week of my mission. President Stoker gave Sister Petersen and me a call on Thursday night this past week informing us that he needed Sister Petersen to fulfill a special calling this upcoming transfer that would take her away from the Montpelier area. Since I am also going home this transfer, he wanted to avoid shotgunning us out (taking both missionaries in an area out at the same time), so he asked if Sister Petersen would be willing to be transferred to a new area before receiving her new assignment so that Sister Harper could come here and learn the area to best help transition things. What a shock all of this was to us, but we both accepted everything and now I am here updating Sister Harper on  everything that happens in our area.

Christmas Lights
at the Joseph Smith Memorial
Besides the new companion, I had a fairly calm week. I got to go on exchange with Sister Lescarbeau in Lyndon, which was really fun. And I got to go to a big zone conference with about half of our mission in attendance. We had Elder Nielson (the head of the Missionary Department of the church) come to speak at our mission. It was so amazing to receive all the guidance and counsel him and his wife offered to us. One of the main things that stood out to me during all of it was how much I need to continually rely on the Lord. Not just in turning things in my life over to him, but asking God for help with everything I experience. I realized that I can do all things with God's help, but I can't receive His strength completely until I ask Him to help me. I had my testimony of a loving Father in Heaven confirmed again and again this past week as I saw Him guiding me to know what I needed to do to best feel like I was doing what I needed to do in my life right now. I'm so grateful for that.

I look forward to making this week and amazing week. My mission isn't over yet. So I plan on loving every minute I have.

Sister Tyler
A nice member texted us this pic last week
—we are SO grateful for these kind acts! 

*just sayin'…. =D

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Learning to Rely on the Lord

District P-day last week
(l-r) Back: Elders Williams, Andrew and Miller
Middle: me, Sister Petersen, and Elder Rappleye
Front: Sister DeWidt and Sister Banda
(who was my MTC companion)
This past week has been an amazing but difficult one. I have had some fun experiences, but I've also struggled a lot with depression. From recent reflection I have found that I need to understand how to fulfill my purpose each day as a missionary in order to best combat depression. So I've decided to pray a lot and ask Heavenly Father what He would have me do to fulfill my purpose every day. It may be a different way every time I ask, or I may need to do a lot of things constantly. Whatever answer I get when I pray in the morning, during my studies, throughout the day, and at night before going to bed, I do my best to find a way to act on the answer I receive. It isn't the easiest thing to have to rely so much on someone else besides me, but I know if I rely on God, He will strengthen me. I've simply gained a strong testimony that the scripture Luke 1:37, "For with God nothing shall be impossible" is very true.

Besides my own personal journey through depression and understanding my purpose, we have had a fulfilling week. We got to do service at Norwich University at an event called, "Clothing Drop 'N Swap." It was fun to be able to help out on a college campus and to also get to know so many people (and Sister Petersen got some new cute clothes, I avoiding getting clothes that would just add weight to my suitcase, but I did get a couple of small things haha). We basically helped collect donations of hundreds of different articles of clothing and lay them out on table for anyone to browse through. There was a dollar admission fee, but then you could take as much as you wanted. It was amazing to see how many people came and got so much, and even then we were able to donate at least two dozen big bags of clothing to the Salvation Army. I love how people in the community find so many ways to help serve others. I feel it brings such a special spirit of both unity and charity.

I think I've discovered recently how vital it is to rely on God for so many things. Not just spiritually and emotionally, but also physically and mentally. In the Book of Mormon, the prophet Moroni explains, " if men come unto me [Jesus Christ] I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." I know that through Christ's atoning sacrifice we can all become stronger, every day of our lives we have the ability to become stronger in so many ways. That is what I'm focusing on this week, and maybe I can help someone else do something similar in their lives.

Sincerely, Sister Tyler

(Sis. Tyler's mom here)
I'm just sayin'. . . .
(You can tell it's
on OUR minds) ;)

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

I am loving serving the Lord

[Sister Tyler's mom here: She's sorry for the short blog post! Unfortunately, much of our emailing time was spent on some POST-mission stuff––>her BYU winter semester classes need to be registered for this week!]
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Sis. Tyler at the
Montpelier Ward Trunk or Treat
I can't believe time continues to go so quickly!

We got to stack wood for a ton of people again this week and this time we saw tons of people who hadn't interacted with missionaries before, so it was a great opportunity to soften hearts.

We also had a Ward Trunk or Treat activity (I went as Link from the Legend of Zelda) and we had a few less active families come to it. Including a family we contacted earlier that day!

Hopefully we will continue to see success and I know we will always see little miracles each day. I love this work, I know that God is in it.

Sincerely, Sister Tyler

Visiting the South Royalton District meeting

A nice ward member posted
this on the mission Facebook page. :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Peeling Apples and Surprise Snow

Sister Tyler and Sister Peterson
Sometimes I wonder how the weeks go by so quickly. This has truly been the fastest transfer of my mission and I cannot believe I have less than a month left before I go home now.

While we were going through our days this past week, we had the opportunity to do some service for the local senior center. They are preparing for a fundraiser where they are selling pie slices during
the holidays, and they needed help peeling a huge amount of apples for the apple pies. So we got to peel a ton of apples (we never kept count sadly, but we should have!) with a sweet older woman who we got to talk about family history with. We told her about how we have helped a couple of people find some relatives for their family tree and she was impressed. She said she hadn't done much but if she ever started getting into it she'd ask us! It was just a little thing, but it helped us build a relationship with her. And while we were peeling apples for a couple of hours we had a ton of people thanking us for helping. It was a great way to get to know some people in the community.

We have really just done a lot of service this week because we also got to stack some wood for a woman who knows a member of our church. Her husband isn't in a position where he could help stack wood anymore, so we helped her out this year. We got two whole chords done and it was fun to get to know her.

Besides the service, we just got a surprise snow storm Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. Luckily we got to church on time and safely and we learned that when the highway gets covered in black ice, everyone drives with their hazards on to warn the people driving behind them. It was cool to see everyone just moving through the surprise ice/snow storm like it was no big deal haha.

I love New England and I hope to have more opportunities to serve others this week.

Sincerely, Sister Tyler

Vermont Autumn
Vermont Autumn snow

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Moved to Vermont!

The view she had while emailing!
I'm back in this amazing state of Vermont! I'm so happy to be here, especially in this beautiful time of year! And I'm hoping to get my hands on some real maple syrup before I leave here, too.

It has been such an interesting week. I got to Montpelier on Tuesday and we immediately started making plans for a competition to help motivate all the missionaries in the stake to finish rescuing the 200 people we need in the state of Vermont to help our mission accomplish the goal of 1000 people rescued in the year 2015. It is a big goal, but I know we can do it. Once we broke it all up, we found each unit only had to help save a few more people, so we decided to make it a competition to help motivate everyone to work at a more efficient pace in their wards/branches.

A wonderful member in the
Montpelier Vermont Stake
got this picture of
Sister Tyler and her
new companion Sister Petersen!
So, we (the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders in the stake) prayed to know what we all needed to change to accomplish this goal, and we came up with the “Daily Three.” [see 1st of three pictures below] These include many things, but the one I'm most excited for is the “Ballard Points.” The inspiration for these came from a quote from Elder M. Russell Ballard that is famous in our mission [see 2nd picture below].

A little back story: Earlier in my mission his words also helped create the ITL (Invite To Learn) approach which was used for quite some time to track how many people we talked to and invited to learn about the gospel. I myself had noticed that it's not as effective and there is much less of an impact when missionaries (just for the sake of inviting) would immediately “Invite To Learn” by asking a person if they want to learn about Christ. Also...people tend to think we are Jehovah's Witnesses. :) Since then the mission has chosen to focus on another approach.

So as we were coming up with our plan to train our missionaries how to find people to teach, we didn't want to just start up the ITL approach again. However, as I listened to the video with the quote, I realized that we weren't doing that, so I showed Sister Petersen and explained that what we wanted to call a “Ballard Point” was different than an ITL. A “Ballard Point” encourages missionaries to have a quality conversation with someone in which they somehow share a doctrine or principle in a casual way that encourages that person to make it a part of their life [3rd picture below].

I love this approach because I get to introduce what I feel missionary work is all about. Helping people see that Mormons, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, have an amazing spirit behind the doctrine that we know and love, and that it is possible for everyone to learn about it. And even more, it isn't as scary as it seems to learn about it.

I know that by introducing this system of having quality conversations, we will find those who are sincerely interested in the gospel because they've heard a gospel principle and how it has application. I know the Lord is on our side when all we want to do is share the joy we feel in proclaiming the gospel to all the world.

The church is true, and I'm so excited to introduce this plan we created for our stake to all the leaders in the mission tomorrow at MLC (Mission Leadership Council). We get to do this because President Stoker thought it was a really good plan, so he wanted us to work with the office staff and compile information for each of the stakes in the mission so as to get this plan going in each area in the mission, not just the Montpelier stake. :)

It is all such a great opportunity, and I am so excited for it!

Sincerely, Sister Tyler

The “Daily Three”

The quote from
Elder M. Russell Ballard
that inspired their approach.


The “Ballard Point”
An approach to help
find people to teach.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Transferred??!! Trusting the Lord

The Sanford Ward missionaries!
I wasn't expecting it, but I got a transfer call this past weekend. I am being transferred to serve as a Sister Training Leader somewhere for my last transfer and Sister Monjar will stay and receive a follow up trainer. It is crazy, but I guess the Lord needs me somewhere for my last transfer. This past week was also crazy with a last minute service opportunity arising (that I'm sad I can't be a part of since I'm getting transferred) and an amazing weekend of conference!

While doing service at a senior center this week, we talked to the activities director there and she said if we had some interest we should get in contact with someone who works with horses a lot. I jumped on this opportunity after remembering my amazing experience at helping at UpReach Therapeutic Riding (in Bedford, NH). We called and got in contact with the woman who runs Blixx Horses and found out we could meet her and the horses the morning before General Conference on Saturday. I was so excited and it was so fun to be with the horses. I am amazed at how comfortable and confident I feel around these huge animals (verses my absolute terror around dogs). The lady we talked to was impressed with everything I told her I had learned from my last horse experience and how we can be of help to her even though we don't ride horses on our missions. It is just so fun to leave a positive influence in so many different places with all the opportunities we have.

Her last District Meeting
Then, conference was amazing as always. I took a ton of notes and I loved being able to follow the picture quotes that were being posted after every talk on lds.org. My two favorite talks would have the be President Uchtdorf's talk about trying to "simplify" things, because I love simple, basic doctrine (I just can't understand deep doctrine), and President Nelson's talk on the women in the gospel. I am so amazed at how much the Lord, and the men in the church, care about the women both of the church and of the world. This morning I asked to get a priesthood blessing from the elders because I have been feeling sick recently and wanted to get better so I could be ready for this upcoming transfer. I was so grateful the elders in my ward were ready and prepared to bless me with the priesthood they held.
I found this picture recently from
the new missionary training.
Sis. Tyler is sad to not being
able to finish up training Sis. Monjar.

I am so grateful for the worthy priesthood holders in my life and how we are all blessed by them. I know we each have our own individuals roles in God's Plan of Happiness, and I am so grateful I get to understand more each day about what my individual role is.

This gospel is so great!

Sincerely, Sister Tyler

A chalk drawing she drew about the Plan of Salvation**

**Mom note here: I looked closer at this picture and played a little “I Spy”--it was so fun to find sweet little bits of my daughter and her life as a missionary in the background: First, of course, this drawing highlights her creativity...then I noticed: a small hymnbook, a light green pencil (her favorite color), a vitamin bottle, a scripture memorization plan for September, a white rose, and a cheesecake recipe. Love this girl!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Surprise referral

A wonderful member
sent me this pic
of Sis. Tyler
doing some service.
I have renewed my testimony this week that our Heavenly Father is still a God of miracles.

While going about our regular Thursday schedule, we were driving home to grab something when we noticed a text from a senior couple that is serving in Northern Maine. They said they have a referral for us and wanted us to call them for further information. Once we connected they informed us that someone they used to teach had moved down to Kennebunk and was wanting to investigate again and be baptized! They told us he wanted to meet us as soon as possible, so we called him and set up a time to see him that night!

We were able to take a member with us because we were with her when we got in touch with the referral, Pat, which was great because it helped us know that we will fellowship him with ward members as much as possible. Then, while meeting with him, we quickly found he had a strong desire to do everything that he could for Jesus Christ. He had a strong testimony of everything we talked about, from the Book of Mormon to missionary work to temple baptisms! We really think he is committed to this and we just have to teach and check for understanding and he will be ready to be baptized! We will have some trouble getting him to church because we need certain transportation and he lives fairly far away from most of the members of the ward. But, I know that the Lord will provide a way.

Former companions reunited!
Sis. Tyler on exchanges with Sis. Olsen
Since he has moved to Kennebunk, we have seen him every day at his request. He keeps telling us that he just wants to learn as much as he can to prepare for this covenant he is making with God and so that he can be prepared to be a member of the church. He understands it all so well and he is so enthusiastic about it all. He strengthens my testimony every time we meet with him.

One other fun thing about this past week, specifically about Pat, is that he wasn't able to attend church in person since we needed time to find him a ride. So, to make up for it, we had him Skype in to the Gospel Principles class and he joined our ward mission leader for High Priests Group (since the Elder's quorum meets in the chapel and we can't have video/recording devices going in the chapel). It was so great to start introducing him to everyone even though he couldn't be there in person.

I hope I can give all of my efforts for the Lord this week so that we may continue to receive these amazing blessings.

Sincerely, Sister Tyler

Autumn sunset in Kennebunk, Maine

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Oh, What Songs of the Heart

Sis. Tyler and Monjar spent the morning
on their preparation day at the beach
down the street from her apartment.
This week we had the opportunity to use a lot of music in our day to day lives. We sang more songs to people during lessons than I have in a while. And we even sang, "I Need Thee Every Hour" in Sacrament meeting for the ward on Sunday. Everyone said we sounded like angels, but I think it was probably the angels standing behind Sister Monjar and I at the podium that sounded like angels haha.

She's so blessed to live only
3 miles from the Maine Coast!
We also had a really fun Zone Conference centered on the Book of Mormon and how we can use it in our lives and teaching. It was so great to learn about ways we can use the most correct book on earth to further the work. To help us bring the Book of Mormon to life, we even got to put together short Book of Mormon skits by districts. We decided to use Elder Luu as our Lamanite and he can rap so we had him rap as if he were performing his sermon for the Nephites (you could say its a modernized version).

Then, later in the week, we met with a less active member we haven't met with in a really long time, but the last time she met with missionaries she requested a hymn book. So we took one over and got to know her better, to which we found she loves hearing hymns so we sang for her. The Spirit was so strong as we sang and testified that families can be forever, and now she has a strong desire to go to the temple. We are working with her to come to church and meet the bishop so that we can get that process started!

It has been a good week. Even with tiredness, the work will not cease and I know that our Savior is there to guide this wonderful work.

Sincerely, Sister Tyler
Sister Tyler sharing quiet messages on the beach
Beautiful Maine sunset

Another pic of her district at the Beach

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Trying to Obey the Spirit

**Sister Tyler shared some great videos with us this week, but no pictures! —Luckily I found some of her in photos from the Mission's facebook page! Some of these are from the last few months.

It has been interesting to have another week where we have had to really listen to the Spirit as we go out and work.

Her District visited
Cape Neddick Maine last week.
While trying to be obedient to the Spirit this week we were driving to the church on our way to coordination meeting when we noticed a guy walking up the street near our church. I couldn't help but do a double take when I saw him because I could have sworn that I knew him. When we got to the church Sister Monjar suggested we go talk to him. I was nervous but agreed and we walked over to the street where we last saw him. While we were walking I said a prayer in my heart that if we were supposed to talk to him that he would be close enough where we could catch up to him or that God would provide a way. Just as I finished that prayer we turned the corner and there he was, sitting on the stone wall just down the street! It was so cool to have such an immediate answer to prayers. So, we went over to talk to him and while getting to know him we found out he was studying to be a minister and has always been interested in Christ and his teachings. We found he had heard of the Book of Mormon from an old Mormon friend he had and asked if we had a copy of it. We did and we gladly handed it to him with our phone number in it, expressing to him our testimonies of how God loves us and speaks to his children today. We are continuing to pray for him that he may reach out to us or missionaries in the future as he reads from the Book of Mormon.
Working with one of the mission's
Family History Specialists
at that summer festival.

A little later in the week, I was reading in PMG [Preach My Gospel] chapter 9 where it talks about Finding People to Teach and focusing on the section that talks about family history work in my personal study because I hadn't studied it in a while. Later that day we were tracting and we invited someone to learn about their family history. She was a bit confused and asked us why we were talking about genealogy when we were clearly there to talk about religion. Because I had studied that section earlier, in addition to studying the Restoration lesson in PMG (which talks about how the Gospel blesses families), I was able to explain to her why we talk about family history work and how we believe that the family and Jesus Christ is central to everything we teach. Although she wasn't interested at that time, I feel we were able to still leave a lasting impression with her.

I am so grateful to the little experiences we have to strengthen our testimonies that the Holy Spirit speaks to all of us in different ways. I know that God prepares each of us to accomplish all the things He may need us for. I hope that everyone has an opportunity to either continue to feel the Spirit uplift them in their lives, or that they may begin to recognize the role that the Spirit can play in their lives.

Sincerely, Sister Tyler

l-r: Sister Upton (3rd companion),
Sister Tyler, Sister Boyce (MTC district)
and Sister Olsen (11th companion)
l-r: Sisters Danner, Harman, Tyler, Olsen, Halling
l-r: President and Sister Stoker,
Sisters Blume, Kimball, Olsen and Tyler