Sunday, September 13, 2015

Hawaii Backyard

This is one of our member's backyard!! It is like walking into Hawaii...SO COOL.

Birthday Fun!

One our favorite Elders from our district had a birhday! He is from chile and helps me with my spanish, he rocks. We made him a cake and celebrated at panda express! Elder Grover is his companion and we both are new, he is the best!!

We had dinner at this members house Sister Quiroz, who also speaks spanish with me, and her husband is mexican so when they brought the cake our for Elder Martinez they did the mexican tradition where he has to bite the corner of the cake (and then everyone else pushes his head into it) and we all tried it too (and all got cake pushed in our faces) it was so fun!!

More from the Mountain House

Mountain House

August 31, 2015

Hello family and people I love!
I love and miss you all. I am really thankful for all your prayers. I know there is true power in prayer and I can use all the power I can get. I am so jealous about the Itchiban dinner Dad made for everyone, no one is as good of cook as mom and dad here so I do miss that part of home for sure. I am also so happy for Aunt June's baptism. It is so exciting Ruthe is out at school!! I pray for her and hope she is doing great! Tell her to write me so I can have her address, I miss her! And tell Alex and Darius goodluck at their first game, they will do great! 

I am about half way through my first transfer. My area is called Mountain House. It was a brand new ward, only about a month old. Mountain House is a pretty small area with lots of really nice big homes (much much much different than most other areas in my mission). A lot of commuting families live here. We bike a good amount because it is so small and we only have limited miles with the car we have. We basically only have a car because all shopping, gas, and the church meetings are held about 15 minutes away from Mountain House. It is so hot here in the days. Like in the 100's. At night it cools down some and gets really really windy. I love my companion Sister Tuatonga. She is tongan but she grew up in Hawaii. She has been on her mission for about a year now. She was apart of the Sacramento mission before this mission, the Modest mission, was created. She is so bold, and so loving. We work really hard together and have a lot of fun. She has such a strong spirit about her and I love working with her. 

With the new ward being created we have been really focusing on searching out the less active and inactive families, while talking with everyone we meet along the way. We are teaching two families currently but this week has much hope for more! Michael is a married to a LDS women and has heard all the gospel lessons a million times he said, but would still be okay with us meeting with him. It has been going amazing. I really connect with him, he teaches a class on water systems and fish so we always have fun talking about that. His wife tells us that she feels like something is different this time with Michael as we teach and we hope to keep up this momentum. Their family is so great and nice. We are also teaching a family of five. Marco and Maria and their three kids. We taught them about the restored Gospel here on earth and they just soaked it in. They are looking for something more for their family. Sister Tuatonga recited the Jospeh Smith's first vision by memory to them and the spirit was so powerful, we were all brought to tears. I can not wait to meet with them again this week.
I also had a really amazing experience this past week. We were trying to talk with some families that were on the ward list but no one knew who they were. All afternoon no one was home, door after door. After one of our last doors was once again not answered, I felt like I needed to stop, so I did. When I looked over apparently Sister Tuatonga felt the same impression because she too was stopped. We looked over and at the park on the sidewalk were two ladies and we both new we needed to go talk to them. We met Olga and Chealsea. Olga is from germany and lives here with her husband and kids. Chealsea is her friend who was babysitting. We talked and got to know them. The conversation led to about how Jesus Christ has changed our lives. It was so uplifting. We asked what church they went to and they said they were just Jesus Followers and expressed how at some churches people teach about Jesus but do not follow what he says. We all prayed together after and made another time to meet this week. I am so excited to meet with them again and to start teaching them about the restored gospel. I know that I met them for a reason and that the spirit led us to them. 

I went on exchanges this week, meaning I swaped mission companions with another set of sister missionaries for the day. I was working with Hermana Porter. It was so fun! We ran into some spanish speaking people and I was able to keep with the conversations and even spoke some too. We met in particular this spanish man who said he was atheist because there were too many bad things in the world for God to exist. I was able to bear my simple but true testimony to him in spanish at the end. It was so awesome. 

We had a really big mission conference this week and Elder Hamula, an apostle of Jesus Christ from the seventy, came to meet with us. It was so enlightening. As a new missionary I felt like I was missing something. This conference helped me focus myself to be the best missionary I can. What hit me the most he talked to us about miracles. If I set goals, pray sincerely, then have faith- God will give me miracles. I need to believe that miracles will happen to me here. If I have a goal to find one more person to teach, I need to pray throughout the day and work as hard as I can to find that one person. As I do those things, I can and should expect miracles to happen. I need to have the attitude of "I won't go home until I find that one person" (of course I will once 9 hits so I obey curfew haha) but you get the attitude. As I have faith and trust in God, miracles will happen and I can bring more people to Christ through the restored gospel. 
Also after the conference I got to selected to have a personal interview with Elder Hamula. We talked about the conference and questions I had. It was really really amazing and powerful. I promised him I would write you mom and dad and let you know that you should be proud of the missionary I am becoming and the hard work and faith I am exercising here in the mission. Elder Hamula really inspired me. His council to the mission motivated me to be the best missionary I can and expect miracles to happen. 

After my first six weeks here (my first transfer) I do not know what will happen. Normally as a new missionary I would stay with my companion for another six weeks to complete the new missionary training program but I am not sure if that will be the plan. There are like 10 sister missionaries in the whole mission right now and next transfer (in like 2 weeks) we will be getting 26 new sister missionaries, some spanish sisters and some english. I do not know what next transfer will bring for me but I do know that no matter what I will work hard and continue to prepare as much as I can now so that I will be ready for whatever God needs me to do. 

I miss you all a lot and I love you. I love the letters I have gotten, they brighten my day more than you know. I think and pray about you daily. 

All my love,
Sister Neeley

Happy to Be in Modesto!

August 17th, 2015

Hello everyone! I miss you and love you all! I am so happy to be here in the Modesto Mission serving. 

Let me back track one second and tell a story from my last Sunday in the MTC. I was praying and studying so hard all my last week because I felt like I was not feeling the spirit as much as I could. I felt like I wasn't being guided in what to say during lessons like I should be. I asked so fervently to help me know how the Spirit talks to me so that I can do God's will more fully. For Sunday sacrament meeting at the MTC,  every missionary is supposed to write a talk on the topic of the week and then they choose someone to speak but don't let you know till the moment you are supposed to in sacrament meeting. I was asked to give the closing prayer and so I figured I did not need to write my talk. My district teased me and was like "Sister Neeley you better write it or you will for sure get called on!" I insisted though that there was a ward of 100 missionaries and since I was giving the prayer there was no way they would have me do two jobs. I felt all day like I should write my talk and I always brushed it off with my logic. During the sacrament right before they called up the speakers I felt so strongly to at least pick a scripture just in case I was called on, but again I thought I didn't need to. Brother Liston got up there and said our first speaker will be, "Sister Neeley, looks like you will have double duty today!". I was so horrified. I have never before felt so embarrassed  in my entire life... and to make matters worse the MTC mission president was there sitting in on out sacrament meeting! I had not prepared a single word. All I knew is that the topic was obeying the father's will (how ironic). On my death walk up to the microphone I said a quick humble prayer asking me to be guided and that I was sorry I should have been more humble and listened. I honestly do not remember the first minute of my talk or what I said but I knew I had to relate one scripture to the topic so I opened my scriptures (pretending to look for a carefully planned and prepared scripture) and randomly opened to a page that was highlighted. It was 2Nephi 2:4. I saw the last part of the verse where it said the Lord will consecrate our afflictions and started talking from there about how even when we feel we do the Lord's will that doesnt mean He will take away all our trails and afflictions, but if we keep moving forward and trying to do His will and not our own will He will bless us. I talked for about 5 minutes and closed with my testimony. Everyone told me how they loved my talked and how powerful they felt the spirit during it, and I don't say that to say oh look how awesome I am. I say this because that was the Lord working through me by the spirit. My prayer was answered. If I have faith and take that leap, Heavenly Father will guide me in what to say. And also, I can be sure that all day it was the spirit telling me to write my talk, not just my brain. I know better now, how the spirit works in me and how if I act in faith God really will lead me to say and do His will. It was such a powerful experience for me, and I will never forget it. 

My first week in my mission is hard but amazing. My companion is Sister TuaTonga and she is from Hawaii but is Tongan. She is incredible. She is so intense and she really can bring the spirit into every lesson. We are both new to the area. We are serving in Mountain House. It is a new ward of just 3 weeks. Kind of cool I was the first set of missionaries to be called to the Modesto, CA mission and now the first set of missionaries to be in this new ward. There is a lot of work to be done here. The area is smaller so we bike a lot to save miles which I love. It is a new development so there is a lot of wealthy young families here. We live in a studio apartment off to the side of a house here. It is very tiny but new. I like it a lot. It is a drought here still so it is very very dry. All this week was so hot, in the 90's. At night there is usually a breeze so it cools down fairly nicely. We are teaching a family of 6 about the Gospel right now, their names are Marco and Maria and also a couple Dennis and Nora. Along with that we are helping over 10 less active families come back to church and prepare for the temple. We are busy our first week but we are working hard and the ward is very supportive. I cant't wait to see how this next week goes now that we know who we have to teach and what their needs are.

I miss you all and I am so thankful for the prayers and support from home. I know this is where I need to be and although I feel inadequate most of the time I know that as I rely on God, and use Christ's atonement to give me strength to overcome my trails I will be all the God needs me to. 

All my love,
Sister Neeley

Pictures from Modesto

With the new missionaries, mission president and his wife

My mission president and his wife, I love them so much! 
Sister Palmer reminds me of mom, she is so so so funny!

Last night with my MTC companion Sister Tu'aitanu

We live in the Wicklund village (hence my W gang signs) in Mountian House, CA


August 10, 2015

I love you all!

I am in Modesto California safe! I only have time to write just a quick email to let you all know I love you and I can not wait to start serving in the field. I do not know my area just yet, but my PDay is Monday so next week I will can email more and let you all know how and where I am . I am staying the night at the Mission home tonight and then tomorrow I meet my sister training leader/new companion. My mission president and his wife are so incredible and nice. They are so loving and I feel as much as home as I can being across the country. The landscape here is so pretty, lots and lots of orchards and crops with really dry parts in between. My president let me know that I will be using my bike a lot on my mission so I am so excited for that! Also two elders here that were pulled from the fresno mission know/heard of Steven and were so excited I was Elder Neeley's little sister. They are just about to go home at the end of this transfer but I thought it was nice they loved him and were excited. Also a missionary in my mission is from Jason's stake in Montana, so that was a cool connection as well. I love you all so much and I can't wait to let you all know how I am doing and where my first area is. I will talk to you soon!!

All my love,
Sister Neeley