Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas Time :D

This past week was absolutely wonderful with another new investigator, Christmas, and awesome service.

For Christmas Eve we got to have a zone meeting where we learned about how to improve on extending commitments and how to best help those we work with in their progression, then we watched It's a Wonderful Life (because it is a tradition of the Stoker's to watch that every Christmas Eve :) ).

Skyping with family :)
Then we got to have dinner with the Relief Society President and her family. It was so much fun getting to know them,. especially her daughters because one is deciding to serve a mission and another is in the communications department at BYU. It was great to start our Christmas off with some families in the ward.

Sisters Danner, Tyler and Cannell
Then, on Christmas day, we got to have brunch with the Bishop and his family and there I met his son who served in the DC South Mission (Spanish speaking) his name is Elder Earnshaw, and he remembers our ward a bit while he served in the Little River ward as well as some people in the McLean Stake (i.e. Alvarez, Ogden, etc.). He also remembers the youth conference dance celebration we were preparing for when he was finishing up his mission. Which is really cool. After all of that, I would have to say my favorite part of the day was Skyping home to my family. I definitely miss my family, and was nervous that Skyping would make me trunky (homesick) but in the end it gave me some extra energy and motivation to continue strong in the work :).

Christmas Eve sleepover
I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and enjoyed discovering the gift that God has given us all. I love Christmas, and will always remember the one Christmas I spent away from home on my mission. I love serving the Lord, and having this time to serve Him during His birth time has made everything so much more special and significant. I know the Lord loves each of us, and because of His willingness to come to earth and sacrifice so much for us, we have the possibility of experiencing joy forever with our loved ones someday.
Supplies to help her "creative" side :)

I hope everyone gets a chance to consider the true meaning of Christmas each year, and also to look at themselves and think about how God would want them to be as we strive to set new goals this upcoming year.

Love, Sister Tyler



 
Opening one Christmas Eve gift

Sister Tyler with her future niece!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Five Sisters Proselyting

This week was definitely a unique one. On Tuesday Sister Danner and I got our new companion, Sister Cannell. She just left Burlington, VT (having replaced me) and was trained by Sister Burton. It is so fun to get to know her while she updates me on people I miss from my first area! haha :)

After getting our new companion, we also got a new investigator! We've stopped by her house a few times now to invite her to learn more, and each time she would say to stop by in about a week. But this time she let us in and we began teaching her. She is such a sweet person and she likes the idea of a loving Heavenly Father, so we hope to continue to build on that idea.

Sisters Danner, Cannell and Tyler
Then, on Friday, there was a big leadership missionary meeting, which meant that we got to have two sisters who are companions with a Sister Training Leader (but a regular sister like ourselves) join us for a few hours. So, Sister Gilles and Sister Danner went together to one members house for service while Sister Cannell, Sister Pankratz, and I went to help another member. While Sister Danner and Sister Gilles were helping the member they were with, Sister Danner passed out (which she has done before in her life, but this is the first time she has fainted on her mission). So, they called us and we immediately drove over to pick them up and get Sister Danner home to rest. I wish I was better at describing the situation, but it turned out to be really funny with all the different events that put it together :). Now, she is doing much better and the five of us had a wonderful day getting to know each other and doing the Lord's work.

BEDFORD DISTRICT
Back: Elders Quinn, Erekson, Hansen, Butters
Middle: Elders Chisholm, Lynn, Porter, Pace
Front: Sisters Harper, Craig, Danner, Cannell, Tyler
Something else that made this week awesome was that we taught Seminary this morning! The Bedford Ward youth who go to Bedford High school have Seminary (youth scripture study class) each morning before school, so we drove over there at 6am and taught a short Christmas lesson :). It was a lot of fun because we got to know the youth a bit more and talk about all the gifts that God and Christ have given us.

Well, I am very excited for Christmas and getting to Facetime home to see my family :) I hope everyone enjoys the special day to celebrate Christ's birth with their families.

Sincerely, Sister Tyler



**Shelli here: Katy quickly wrote this on a Christmas package before she mailed it out--
the same day she learned who was going to be their new companion.
It was such a fun surprise to find out before we normally would have.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Caroling with the Spirit

BEDFORD DISTRICT
Standing: Elders Lund, Harrington, Harper, Erekson, Vaughn, Hannig and Pace
In front (l-r): Sisters Tyler, Danner, Smedley and Craig
This was an amazing week and I can't wait to see what this next transfer has in store :).

After getting our weekly planning done and setting new goals for this upcoming transfer, we got to go and visit a less active sister that we found a couple months ago. She is so sweet and usually she gets nervous when talking about the gospel, but this time we shared with her Alma 32:28 and we showed her a mustard seed and explained how our faith in Christ is just like that seed, and once we nourish it and allow it to grow within us, it will become a huge tree. This is how you develop a testimony after all. Once you're given the seed (the Gospel) you have to nourish it (scripture study, church attendance, and prayer) and allow it to grow (acting on your faith in order to receive a witness of its truth) then it can become a big tree (a strong testimony of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ). It truly is amazing to me how the Lord doesn't expect us to have a tree as soon as we are given a seed. The Lord allows us to take our time and carefully tend to it in order to develop the faith we need to stand strong in the Gospel.

SURVIVED TRANSFERS!
Sister Tyler and Sister Danner get to spend
Christmas together!
We also had a great opportunity this week to go caroling with our ward mission leader, the elders, and our ward missionaries. It was such a spiritual experience because we got to stop by and surprise a bunch of our investigators/less-active members. Everyone we sang to said they were just overjoyed by this surprise and that we made their day so much brighter. It was amazing to have the spirit so strongly with us when all we were doing from the world's perspective is singing songs to people we know. But, I know that we had angels with us and that the spirit was able to testify to the people we sang to that Jesus Christ can be in their lives if they allow him in. I pray that everyone who heard those songs (including the neighbors of those we stopped by) were able to come just a bit closer to Christ through that experience.

The Christmas season truly is a great one :)

Sincerely, Sister Tyler

Santa meets the sister missionaries! ;)

 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Tons of Mini Miracles

Sister Tyler got to help put Christmas packages
together for the missionaries in the mission.
This week was awesome :). We got to start our week with a fun dinner at a member's home. We had a burrito night and it was just really fun to get to know the members better and to create a better trust and bond with them. It truly is so vital to be close to the members in each of our wards because it gives us a better opportunity to help them grow, help ourselves grow, and even help this area grow because of the amazing strength of member missionary work.

Then, later in the week, we got to see a woman in our area who said she may be interested in learning about the gospel again (because she had been taught in the past and even has an active sister and a niece serving a mission!). So, we stopped by her house and she invited us right in. She was so sweet and sincere, and even more she was receptive to the spirit! She immediately recognized the peaceful feeling she got when we were talking about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She recognized that she really wanted this in her life. It was then that we committed her to be baptized if she learned for herself that these things were true, and she said yes. :) She is truly such a sweet spirit and we can't wait to see her again this week.

One last miracle that we saw this week was when we had our car broken into overnight. Luckily, all they took was a GPS and a few LDS CDs (we are hoping they listen to the CDs and become converted someday haha). But, from this experience I've gained such a strong testimony of the Lord's ability to comfort us through prayers and priesthood blessings. I am so grateful for these opportunities I have to learn and grow. :)

Sincerely, Sister Tyler

She also was able to help
decorate the Mission Home Christmas tree!  :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Thanksgiving at the Mission Home

This week was so fun but we barely followed any of our original plans haha.

Thanksgiving Snowstorm!
It all started when we got a call from President Stoker early in the week and he asked us if we would be willing to take in an extra sister missionary for a week, we said we would so we went and picked her up the next day. Her name is Sister Frame and she is so fun! We seriously just had a blast from the first minute we were all together. The first thing we did as a trio was go to district meeting, but right when we got there is started to snow really hard! By the time district meeting was over there were already a few inches on the ground, so we went and had fun taking pictures and throwing snowballs ^_^. Once we got home from district meeting though, we found out that our cars were grounded (which means we can't drive them because the roads are too dangerous), so we picked up three shovels and went out to serve. It was so fun because we got to meet a ton of people and just help everyone around us. Later in the day we thought it'd be a good idea to stop by one of our old investigators and see if she needed help shoveling her long driveway. When we got there we saw it completely covered by half a foot of snow, so we went straight to work. The Elders called and asked if they could join us wherever we were, so we invited them over. But, once they got there, we were heading inside to share a message with our investigator, so the Elders said they had something they wanted to do. Once we were leaving we found the elders outside putting their finishing touches on a ten foot tall snowman! It was amazing and really impressive haha.

The next day was Thanksgiving, but since half of Bedford lost power, our original meal appointment for Thanksgiving had to cancel because they couldn't cook anything without power :/. So, we called around to check on others in the area to make sure they were all doing alright without power. We were kind of sad because we weren't going to have a Thanksgiving, but then we had the idea to call the Stokers! As soon as they found out we had our Thanksgiving cancel, they invited us over and were so sweet! It was such a fun experience to have Thanksgiving in the Mission Home with the office missionaries, some other missionaries in the area, and a convert couple from a nearby ward. It was such a spiritually uplifting and fun dinner, definitely a Thanksgiving I'll always remember.

I look forward to another great week, especially with the start of the Christmas season. What better time is there to talk about Christ and the joy that He brings. :)

Love, Sister Tyler

Another temporary trio! Sisters Danner, Frame, Tyler

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Awesome Birthday Present

This past week has been really amazing. It started with a fun P-day where we got to go to the church and have a Nerf war with some of the kids in the community/church and some other missionaries. It was tons of fun to set up some crazy forts and play capture the flag with Nerf stuff :).

Then, we had my birthday. It was really good because we got a new investigator! She used to work with the elders a little while ago, but now she is working with us and it is really nice. Both because she really does want to find the truth, and because we now have someone to teach about the restored Gospel. I am just so grateful the Lord has blessed us this week to begin making some new progress in this area :).

Another fun experience on my birthday was when Sister Danner and I came in to do our nightly planning session and as soon as we put down our bags we heard a knock at the door. We were a bit confused since we don't usually have people knocking on our door (it's ironic cause that is something we missionaries do a lot haha). But, we opened it, and to our surprise we found our district standing there holding a cake out to us while singing happy birthday! It was so fun to get surprised like that and so sweet of them to do that!

Later in the week we had another fun experience helping a less active member in our ward decorate cookies for a fall fair bake-sale. It was fun to get to know her and help her out with decorating pumpkin cookies. We get to go back this next week and help her decorate trees, too! This really is a great ward.

I hope everyone's week went well.

Love, Sister Tyler

Sister Tyler and Sister Danner

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Temporary Trio

Sometimes in mission life it feels like it should be later than it actually is, but then we you look back just a small amount you then feel like you should have a ton more time! This week Sister Danner and I kept thinking we had been companions for a lot longer than just two weeks, but we really have only had two weeks together, it has been so fun!

On Monday night last week we got another sister missionary from Maine to come down and join us for a day because her companion was a sister training leader who had a meeting to attend all day. So, Sister Gillies joined us for a day and it was really fun because she got to join us for our service activities. We first had the regular service with UpReach where we guided horses out and cleaned the stalls. Then we got to go over to the mission office and help them put together and send out the monthly newsletter. I love helping out at the office because it is just so fun to get to know the office couples more and spend time with them.

We also had a really cool experience later on with one of our members. We had an appointment set up one night and we were finishing up a busy day with it. To preface, we usually check our phone before appointments because we are either prompted to or we check to make sure the sound is turned off. But, for some reason neither of us remembered to check the phone before going in to visit with this member. When we got there we found out she had tried to cancel just a few minutes before but ended up letting us in anyways. Because of that, we were able to share a very inspired message that she said she really needed to hear. I am truly so grateful that the Lord will send the Spirit to help us remember things, but then he will sometimes make it so we don't remember things. The Lord really is in this work and He truly does care about all of his children.

I hope everyone has a great week :)

~Sister Tyler
No, this wasn't her "temporary trio" ;)
This was sent from a wonderful member family
that Sister Tyler had dinner with :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

6 Month Celebration!

Sister Danner and Sister Tyler
were in the same MTC district!
First off, I still can't believe I have hit six months already on my mission! I feel like it is still May and I am fresh out of the MTC. Which I guess is really easy to feel when my new companion is Sister Danner (one of the sisters that came out of the MTC with me). It has been so fun to be her companion and celebrate 6 months out together! So, that night we duct taped a broke chair to fix it so we can use it, and we decided to let all the future missionaries know who fixed the chair and made it look awesome ;). We also went out to eat at the finest restaurant we could find (Wendy's) and we just had a blast :). [see pictures below]

Something else awesome about this week is that Sister Danner and I agree that we have never felt more in tune with the spirit than we do now. So, we are acting on all of the promptings that come and we are cleaning up this area to get it going again :). We have gone through the area book and made a list of people in there that we need to contact and we went through the ward list with our ward mission leader and others to know who we need to focus on and who we can best help. I can't wait to get this week started :).

One extra thing that was fun this week was that we got to teach Primary for a sister in the ward who was gone for the weekend (fun story, Sister Danner knew this sister we substituted for, they met at BYU-I and now Sister Danner is serving in her ward!). It was just fun to teach the kids about worshiping at church because they really understood that coming to church is truly all about showing Jesus Christ that we love him and worship him. It was a testimony builder for me that even the little children can know that Christ is their Savior and He loves when we pray, listen to our church leaders, take the sacrament, and sing songs to worship Him.

I hope all is going well with everyone.

Love Sister Tyler

 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Trunk-or-Treat!

"Sister Minionaries!"
This past week just flew by. It was especially fun on Wednesday when we had our ward's annual Trunk-or-Treat, but this year we had the two congregations in our building combine for the activity and we were just amazed at how many people came! It was also fun because Sister Upton and I decided to dress up as “Sister Minionaries” (minions from Despicable Me + combined with missionaries). A lot of the kids recognized who we were, which was really fun. It was also really cool because we had some nonmembers show up to the party who none of the missionaries from either ward knew! Which means some awesome members were inviting their friends to join in the fun! :)

Sis. Upton and Sis. Tyler sharing a gospel message.
We thank the members for sharing
these "action" shots with us!! :)
Then, later in the week we got our transfer calls to find out what our new callings will be for this upcoming transfer. So, President Stoker called us and first told Sister Upton that she will be transferred to a new area and be training a new missionary (we call it shot-gun training). So she gets to figure out a new area and be training someone about how to be a missionary! Then, President Stoker told me I'd be remaining in Bedford and I will be serving as a “CO-Senior” companion with another sister. So, we are both excited for our new callings :).

I love you all!

Sincerely, Sister Tyler



BEDFORD DISTRICT
back (left to right): Elders Pemberton, Plyler, Pace, Harrington, Vaughn, Jensen, and Hannig
front (left to right): Sisters Smedley, Craig, Tyler, Upton
 

Autumn afternoon in Manchester, NH

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Service! Service!

This week has been a really random and different week compared to last week. I was so excited to go to Zone Conference and feel uplifted after finishing the Book of Mormon and praying to confirm it's truth again. It really is amazing to me that the Lord will always confirm it's truthfulness to us, no matter how many times we ask. I'm so grateful we can do that.

And then getting to watch Meet the Mormons was such a treat I can't even begin to express how happy it made me! I loved how uplifting and inspiring the movie was to me and I look forward to continuing in the work and helping people understand who we are and what we believe.

Then, later on in the week we got to do some last-minute service for an investigator that moved here from Salt Lake City, Utah! It was really cool to get a text from the elders that morning telling us about this guy that needs some help moving in and how he has been investigating the church for a bit and his wife is now getting interested! We quickly got over there and helped him move with the elders and our bishop. It took us a few hours, and his apartment was very full when we left. But, he was so grateful and we really connected well with them. So, we are hoping to get to know them more soon and maybe even teach them.

Getting to help him with the move and then getting to an extra day of service at the horse therapy center was so fun. It is actually really cool that we got to do two days of service with the horses because the second day, Sister Upton decided to buy these custom necklaces that they sell there. They are really special because they are made with a hair from your favorite horse! They look so cool and I'll probably invest in one next week :).

So, I love service and can't wait to continue doing as much as I can this next week. :)

Love, Sister Tyler
We received a wonderful picture of Sister Tyler and her companion 
as they shared a message with a family in the ward. :) Thank you!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Pray and Pick

This past week, Sister Upton and I decided to take a new approach to finding people. We have contacted nearly every potential investigator and former investigator we know of, so we decided to start praying and picking roads to tract. From this experience we have met so many people, and we invited 84 people this week alone to learn about the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ! That's more than I've ever done before in my mission! During this experience of tracting each day, we have one solid potential investigator.
Sister Tyler and Sister Upton

After a long day of talking to everyone we meet, we decided to start driving back home. We realized once we got in the car that we had about twenty minutes left of the day. So, we could either contact a less active member, work on some things for our records, or we could tract one more small street. We didn't know exactly what to do, so we said a quick prayer and I knew we had to tract one more street, but didn't know where. Luckily, Sister Upton knew of a small street that would take about 20min. So, we drove there and started knocking doors. We were having no luck until we got to the end of the street and met a man who said he would be interested in taking lessons that we promised would bring him closer to Jesus Christ. He also said he knew his wife would be interested! So, we will go back in a couple of weeks to see them.

I have really learned that tracting isn't as scary as I thought it was. All it is is inviting people to learn about Jesus Christ. I love getting to invite people to learn every day :).

Another small note is that we had our ward's Primary program last Sunday. It was so fun and adorable! Even more fun we got to help some of the kids memorize their parts during the practice on Saturday. It was definitely a great opportunity for us to get to know some of the kids and their parents better :). I know that Primary programs can really change lives. After all, it was a Primary program that helped me find and memorize my favorite scripture (D&C 84:45). I can't wait for the Primary program next year :D.

Sincerely, Sister Tyler

Friday, October 17, 2014

Tracting to Street Contacting

[Mom Shelli here: Due to the Columbus Day holiday last Monday (and the public libraries being closed), Katy had to send us a LETTER with her blog post. We finally got it today—oh, we're so spoiled to be able to email...] :)

This week was definitely a regular missionary week when it came to our plans. But, the miracles we see are unique to each day.

Earlier in the week we got to do a lot of street contacting. We had originally planned out our day to be all tracting & contacting less-active members we don't know or potential investigators. But, once we were outside walking we felt prompted to go against our original plan and street contact in a different part of our area. So, we started walking that way and we ran into 2-3 people that were so nice and interested in understanding what it is we were doing and sharing. No one has continued investigating from those interactions, but I know that if we keep following those promptings we can be led to find those searching for the truth.

Another cool thing that happened this week is that at District Meeting (when all the missionaries in a few close areas get together to practice teaching and find ways to help their areas and improve themselves) we had President Stoker join us. It was definitely a unique experience because he doesn't usually attend a district meeting anywhere in the mission unless he needed to to talk to a missionary afterwards. But, when our meeting was over, he said he had to run home for lunch. So, it was cool to just have him join us for a couple of hours.

"Comfort food really is comfort food."
"I love meal appointments with members."
One last fun moment of the week was when we had a meal appointment with a family in the ward. When we got there the mom said she totally forgot we were coming for some reason. Luckily she had asked her husband to pick up some pizza on the way home. She asked if that was okay and we said YES!  haha  It was nice to just have some regular pizza and lemonade after a long day. Comfort food really is comfort food. She kept apologizing for forgetting and just giving us pizza, but it was really nice to have that and plenty of time to get to know them and their family. I love meal appointments with members.

It really was a good week full of fun experiences and memories. I look forward to having more adventures this upcoming week. :)

Sincerely, Sister Tyler

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

General Conference: Superbowl weekend for missionaries

We found a cool lake by where we were out walking. :)
This has been an awesome week, with an even better weekend!

Something fun we got to do this week is we helped out at the mission office in forwarding all the letters to the missionaries that came to the office. It is cool to be able to send out those letters all across New England :).

This weekend was definitely the highlight of the week. We got to go to the chapel and watch all the sessions of general conference there and have lunch with all the other missionaries (and sometimes members) who went to that chapel to watch a session or two. General Conference is seriously one of the best weekends in missionary life because we get the opportunity to just soak in the spirit for 8 hours in one weekend. It is so much fun :)! It was really cool to hear that there are more than 88 thousand missionaries serving right now, and one of them is me! (haha) I am just so grateful to be serving.

I especially loved Elder Bednar's talk. It was funny how he said that we didn't receive bonus points as members or missionaries for inviting people to learn about the gospel because it is true. The reason we share the gospel with people isn't because we have to get in a certain number of hours or because we want extra points to help us get to heaven. I want to share the gospel so that everyone can experience the joy that comes from living a Christ-like life. I don't know where I would be without the gospel, and it doesn't really matter, because I know that I am blessed to have the gospel in my life since I was born and raised in such a wonderful and nurturing home. I know that I have been given the opportunity to learn these things since I was born so I could have the courage to go out and share what I know to be true even though it is really hard for me sometimes to simply open my mouth and talk.

I am so grateful that we can be baptized and have the Holy Spirit in our lives to help confirm to us that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is God's church restored again on the earth. Without this, we couldn't return to live with Him, our Heavenly Father, someday. I hope everyone will want to find this truth for themselves and once found they'll share it with as many people as they possibly can. You can experience your own joy of living the gospel, but sharing it is another joy in and of itself.

I can't wait for what this next week has in store.

Sincerely, Sister Tyler

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Bedford, New Hampshire!

Here I am in a new area with a new companion! I got transferred to the Bedford Ward here in Manchester, NH! (I'm still learning to say I'm in NH and not VT haha) So far I have absolutely loved this place. I can tell this is going to be a great transfer with my new companion Sister Upton. :)

Sister Upton and Sister Tyler

Elder and Sister Pettingill (Mission office couple) are going home in 5 days! 
We got to say goodbye to them today :)

We started the week by volunteering at a horse ranch. It is kind of cool because this horse place is a place that people use for physical therapy and stuff like that. So, what we do to help is just help clean the building, guide horses back to their stalls, and other stuff like that :) It is definitely a new experience.

Then, later in the week we got to go to the General Women's broadcast! Holy cow it was amazing haha. I especially loved it because I love temples and everything about them. I think hearing everything the speakers said just helped remind me why the temple has always been so important to me in my life.

Oh and a quick miracle we saw this week was when we were confirming plans for our day yesterday, Sister Upton said we should definitely stop by to see someone (a potential investigator) who we hadn't originally planned for. When we stopped by she said it was the perfect time because she had her son's friend die a few days ago and she had just gotten back from his funeral. She was very intent on wanting to learn about what we believe when it comes to life after death and we told her about prayer as well and she really liked how we could just talk to God instead of reciting a prayer. So, she said to stop by again soon to check on her, and we are very excited to do that :).

I definitely miss Burlington, but I am so excited to serve here in Bedford.

Sincerely, Sister Tyler
Covered Bridge in Shelburne, VT 
[Shelli here: Just found this picture Katy sent 2 weeks ago
(before she left Vermont) that I didn't post]

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

JSM again and transfers!

First off, I'm getting transferred! I'll be leaving my first area and finding a new home somewhere in New England, but I won't find out until tomorrow at transfer meeting exactly where I'm going! And the best part about all of this is that Sister Burton is getting a brand new missionary to train! So, Burlington is just really good at training new missionaries I guess ;) haha :).

Smoothie #2 in the “Will it blend??” challenge = 
Brownies, buffalo cheese, mac and cheese, 
pickle juice, and a few other things! 
haha :P
Back to the regular schedule of things, for p-day, we decided to do a challenge with our district called "will it blend??" A bunch of us had some left overs in our fridge that we'd never really eat, so we decided to bring them all together to blend random foods together and challenge one another to drink it... not our brightest idea haha. I didn't participate due to the fact I still had my mouth healing from surgery :P but Sister Burton totally won by the fourth smoothie of quiche, brownies, pickle juice, and a few other random stuff :P So Gross!!! but it was super funny.

Then on Wednesday we got to go down to the Joseph Smith Memorial again for Zone Conference, and a member of the seventy, Elder Wilson, came to teach us all about the Book of Mormon and how to use it in teaching. It was so amazing. And it came at the perfect time because we recently challenged one of our investigators to read through the Book of Mormon to know for herself the truth it holds. She committed to doing so and now she is interested in reading it with us. She started last week and she is already in 2 Nephi! I am so excited to hear more from her someday.

I just have to say that I know the Book of Mormon is true. The quickest way to gain a testimony of it (really the only way to build a strong foundation of a testimony of it) is to read it and pray about it. I have never loved the Book of Mormon more than I do now.

I hope everything is going well with everyone else!

Sincerely, Sister Tyler

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Visiting the JSM and a great challenge!

We had some pretty fun experiences this week, especially being able to attend the Joseph Smith Memorial with one of our investigators and a less-active member we recently met! It was so uplifting to be around the spirit so strongly that day. It was especially fun because we got to go through and explain things simply through the spirit with our investigator. It is amazing how just visiting Joseph Smith's birthplace can bring the spirit so strongly and reaffirm my personal testimony that he is a prophet of God. I am so grateful to be serving in the state of Vermont!

We also got to contact nearly half of the ward members that we didn't know this week. Since I haven't met very many people, we decided to go and contact as many less active members as we could. A couple of highlights came from it. When we went to visit one sister we found she wasn't home, but her mother was. While getting to know her she joked around with us and she said she really liked her name (Mary) because she can only remember names that have 3 letters or less. haha She was just super funny and we are hoping to get back to see her again soon. We also got to stop by someone's last night and when they met us they noticed Sister Burton's name, and the husband of that less active family works for Burton Snowboards! So, he asked if she wanted any free stuff and she just said "yeah!" haha. So, she got a cool Burton hat and some stickers. Now we just need to find a cool company with the name Tyler ;).

Oh! and the best part of this past week we had a challenge come from our mission president. He told every missionary in our mission to stop where we are in the Book of Mormon and start over! And he told us to read 12 pages a day so we will finish as a mission before our next zone conference meeting in October! It isn't too often when we get to do things like this as a mission. So far we are in 2 Nephi and it has been so spiritually inspiring that I can't wait to continue!

I hope things are going well with everyone else!

Sincerely, Sister Tyler
Her current district (everyone doing the "squat" pose to fit in the picture) ;) (l-r: Elder Crockett, Sis. Burton, Sis. Tyler, Elders Porter, Jardine, Walker, Flake and Keller) 

Some elders in her district re-enacting the George Washington "Crossing the Delaware" painting. =D


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Investigator in Sacrament meeting!

For the first time on my mission, I had an investigator come to Sacrament Meeting this past Sunday! It was so exciting but it was so hard cause I had no idea what to do or say! haha. Luckily, she got there as soon as we were walking out to the car to drop something off so we were able to meet her right outside and walk in with her. She told me she was really nervous and everything, but we were able to reassure her and we sat in the back and didn't make a huge deal out of it. It was great that she came on this Sunday, too, because it was fast and testimony meeting, so we had some amazing members go up and share how they came into the church and how they've built their testimonies. It was absolutely wonderful.

Another major part of the week was my minor dental surgery :P (I found I had a receding gum-line about two months ago and it wasn't healing on it's own). So, on Friday I went under for an hour and a half to get that fixed and now I have chipmunk cheeks again (like when I got my wisdom teeth out :P so fun haha). I was kind of stuck at our apartment for a couple of days before going to church and getting back in the swing of things on Sunday. I am just so grateful for getting a priesthood blessing to help me with that because it has helped me recover so much quicker :). I've just really found that I am just so grateful for the Priesthood in general.

New England is cooling off, too, so hopefully we will just keep some nice cool weather and skip the snow for a bit haha ;D.

Sincerely, Sister Tyler

Malletts Bay in Colchester, VT

September full moon in Vermont

Shelli (Mom) here: I had to add this special picture gift that we received from a kind member from Utah who--when she travels--will take pictures of missionaries and send the surprise pic to their family. This was such a blessing for us to see Katy looking great after her surgery just 2 days earlier. Our Heavenly Father blesses us in so many ways. :)  

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Backup Plans are Life Savers


New companion Sister Burton with Sister Tyler
This was an interesting week. Almost all of our investigators and less active members we regularly teach were out of town on vacation. So, when we had some plans set to teach people, they would last minute change on us and we had everything fall through nearly each day. This meant that we ended up doing a lot of finding and tracting this week.

We started by looking for less active members that we haven't met yet in our area. After meeting with one, we decided to go to the next neighborhood over and tract until we talked to nearly everyone! Before we were about to finish, we passed by a man sitting outside of his house with his dog. We introduced ourselves and he said he knew the Mormons because he went to Salt Lake City for the Genealogy center. He was fascinated with how much of an emphasis our religion put on families. So, he invited us back to teach his family in a week. We are excited to teach him in a couple of days :).

Then, something similar happened later when we were going to meet with a less active member but then she canceled so we went with our back up plans to go and contact some former investigators in the area. When we talked with one he said he would be interested and his wife would probably be interested, too. So he invited us to come back when she would be there. Hopefully we will start teaching them again soon.

Good things are going to happen!

Sincerely, Sister Tyler

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

I believe in miracles

This past week was really uplifting and inspirational. It started with an exchange on Tuesday where Sister Burton went to Montpelier and I stayed here and our new sister training leader (who trained one of my MTC sisters [Sister Boyce]) came to spend the day with me! It was so good to talk to her and learn how one of the sisters I came out with is doing :).

Richmond Vermont (on our way to Bolton VT, it was too beautiful to not take a pic)
We had a regular Tuesday until the day was about to close and we had set aside time to go and find some people in Bolton (a town in our area that doesn't have any members, investigators, or even potentials!). We decided to simply stop at the first house we thought someone would be home at (because there were very few houses and they were spread apart). We knocked on the first house we saw and we talked to a sweet guy who told us a story about how he got stranded on the side of the road in Maine while he was on vacation once and these two elders came by to help him! Then he said he would listen to our message! So, I quickly relayed the first vision and my testimony of the truth of the gospel and he said we could come back anytime! So, we don't get to go to Bolton often since it is so far away, but we definitely plan to visit him again :).

Then, on Thursday, we were surprised by a call from one of our investigators. She hasn't ever come to church before, but she said she would try to go this past week and she didn't make it. So, when she called us, she said she was so sorry for not going and she committed herself to going to church in a couple of weeks after her vacation! She hasn't ever committed to church before, so this is a huge miracle for us! We are so excited to have her come to church for the first time!

Then we ended the week with an awesome dinner with a less active family in the ward. It was so fun getting to spend time with them because the son loves Minecraft and the daughter loves My Little Pony haha. So, we had a wonderful dinner with everyone and we got to share a quick message with the mom afterwards. She expressed to us a few of her concerns about each of her children and we did our best to reassure her that the Lord can help with everything and that attending church can help strengthen anyone's family. She said she could see that as Sister Burton and I continually bore our testimonies of how the gospel has helped us in our lives. It was such an uplifting experience, and now we know how to better help that family :).

Things are going really well here in Vermont, and I can't wait for another week here in Burlington!

Sincerely, Sister Tyler

Brother Carpenter (he is like our ward dad) He claims he is Porter Rockwell (Joseph Smith's bodyguard and childhood friend) so he won't cut his hair and he has some cool swords he wanted to show us haha :)



Tuesday, August 19, 2014

New Transfer, New companion

Things are awesome! My new companion is Sister Burton and she is a riot haha. She loves fun and laughing and it really makes things different and exciting. I think the best part though is that we really get along and we both have a strong drive to make a difference in this area, even more than ever before.

Starting with the week on Tuesday we had transfer day. We had to run out the door at 5:30am to get to Lamoille, VT to meet a couple of sisters where we would do a mini trade off. My past companion, Sister Vanderhoef, would go with Sister Blume's (Lamoille, VT area's sister) companion to go down to transfer meeting, where they would both go to a new area (confusing I know haha). So, I stayed in Lamoille for a few hours with Sister Blume just waiting to find out who our new companions would be. While there we went about the day like a normal mission day :). We went and did service at a thrift shop, ate lunch, and did street contacting. I think the best part about spending a day with Sister Blume was that I knew her from Zone Conference and I felt like I could really connect to her. So, we were able to grow a lot in one day and it really taught me that it's possible to connect with someone in a really short amount of time. It was almost hard to leave her when I got my real new companion haha! But, I was really excited after starting to get to know Sister Burton, my new companion!

Since Tuesday we have been keeping ourselves busy! We have been contacting a bunch of less active members, doing lightning (quick) visits with members, and trying to find new investigators. So far, Sister Burton says she really loves this area and the ward. I couldn't agree more :).

I think recently I've just really gained a testimony of how the spirit really is surrounding us when we don't even know it. I am seeing more and more how the spirit works when we are in lessons with investigators because we are finding ourselves saying things we don't think to say, but then it somehow really helps the person we are talking to. It is the little things like that that make missionary work so amazing. Being able to see the spirit in every activity of your day truly is a spectacular thing!

I hope all is going well with everyone else!

Sincerely, Sister Tyler

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

I'm done being trained!

It's crazy, I've been out for 3 months! Two transfers down and I am done being trained as a missionary. I'm now a regular junior companion :).

Even more crazy, I'm getting a new companion tomorrow! My Trainer is moving on to become a Sister Training Leader and I am staying here in Burlington and receiving a new companion tomorrow as my senior companion. I will miss Sister Vanderhoef so much! But I'm glad she can spend her last transfer on her mission as a sister training leader :).

This past week has been a great last week with her, too! We were able to spend a lot of time with members since we had 5 meal appointments with either a member, less-active member, or investigator. It was fun spending time with everyone during meals because it is so much easier to get to know people when you're just sitting down for dinner.

Lesson-wise we were able to focus a lot on the needs of those we teach as we taught the Restoration to one of our investigators and she said it answered a ton of her questions. Then, we committed her to go visit the JSM (Joseph Smith Memorial) with us in September and she accepted! So, we get to drive down with her and a member next month and visit the JSM! :D We are really excited to be able to do that. We were also able to teach about the Plan of Salvation to another investigator, which was nice because we were able to hear a lot of her concerns and help her understand how the gospel can help her through these things. She really opened up and said she wants to come to church with us! So we will be bringing her not this Sunday (she is out of town) but next Sunday, and we are so excited!

To wrap up the week we had an amazing day at church! When we told everyone that Sister Vanderhoef was getting transferred they started gushing over us and telling us how much they'll miss her and how grateful they are for the work we do and everything! It was amazing because it helped reassure us that the ward really does want to help us in every way they can and they care so much about us. We are so grateful to be in such a wonderful ward!

The work is definitely a marvelous one! (D&C 4:1)

Sincerely, Sister Tyler
Her District after a pizza buffet lunch. They won 2nd place in the mission competition for ITLs! (see July 15, 2014 post)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A miracle that I never thought would happen

Sister Tyler and Sister Vanderhoef at the Joseph Smith Memorial.
Alright, I have to start with the silly miracle I experienced this week then talk about actual missionary work haha. So, as many people who know me know I am not the craziest about watermelon (I call it the “devil fruit” a lot because I despise it haha), I can't even eat it because my body simply rejects it and won't let me. But, on Saturday, we had lunch with the sweetest member of the ward and she brought out a few small slices of watermelon to have with lunch. I just felt so strongly that I shouldn't reject it but that I should try my best to force it down. So, I prayed, I knew the Lord would make anything possible, and I ate it. I ate the entire slice of watermelon!!! It was truly a miracle! I didn't dare try it again though with another slice haha. I am so grateful the Lord helps me with even my simplest and silliest concerns :).
Her dreaded "devil fruit!"  ;)

Onto the rest of the week. We had Zone Conference this past week, which means a few of the missionary zones (about a dozen or more missionaries to a zone) got together for a day-long meeting. The cool part though was that we had our meeting at the Joseph Smith Memorial in Sharon, VT (where our Prophet Joseph Smith was born). :D Before and after the meeting we got to walk around and just feel the uplifting spirit that comes with the memorial.

The small plot outline of Joseph Smith's home.
Then, on the way home from Zone Meeting, we got a voice-mail from a member in Missouri who said she has a non-LDS friend in Burlington that wants to learn more about the church after seeing the Hill Cumorah Pageant with her! So, we called the referral and set up an appointment. After meeting with her we could already tell she was really wanting to find the truth and that she would commit to anything that she found for herself was true. So, now she is a new investigator and she is excited to meet with us again and talk about her experience at church this past Sunday.

We wrapped up the week with seeing some members and we are excited to continue to work closely with the members as we continue in the work. :)

Sincerely, Sister Tyler

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Change of plans to make things awesome

This week was a little slow in the number of lessons, but we still had some amazing things happen with our time. This week we have been trying to contact as many “formers” (those who have previously met with the missionaries and taken some of the lessons but for various reasons stopped before finishing all the lessons/baptism) as we could in an attempt to find some new investigators. When we were doing this on Saturday we found one mom who was interested but said she was really busy right now with summer and watching the kids. So, she invited us to come back in about a month to check up on her because she really appreciated us thinking of her :).

Then on Sunday we had a last minute change of plans because we had originally planned on having dinner with an investigator and a member family, but at the last minute we were able to set up a dinner appointment with a less active member that we haven't been able to get in touch with in forever. So, we changed our plans to have a lesson with our investigator then have dinner with the less active family and things worked out even better than we could have hoped for. Especially with our investigator getting more interested in the gospel and starting to read the Book of Mormon and the less active family having family night each Monday now! It is so great to see people acting on their faith.

One more random note is something I've discovered during the week. I've taken a new interest in studying hymns and I've found that you can read the hymn book like you can the scriptures. So, I've started with the introduction and I am going through different hymns, making notes, highlighting lines, and making cross references. Just different things you can do with your scriptures, but with a hymn book :). I've really been enjoying it and I look forward to finding new favorites.

I hope all is going well with everyone!

Sincerely, Sister Tyler