Monday, March 30, 2015

I'm serving in Paonia.....AND GUNNISON!!!!

On Thursday my Mission President called us and told us that he wants us to work in the Gunnison branch two days a week! So we go there on Mondays and leave Wednesday nights, and then the rest of the time we will work in the Paonia Ward. It's pretty intense, but I'm really excited about the challenge! I'm including a map of my areas :)

On Tuesday I went to transfer meeting and got my new companion - Sister Pittman! She's from Twin Falls, Idaho and she's great! But she goes home at the end of this transfer. That's right - I'm killing another companion. This makes three in a row now. I'm basically on a murder streak. Fun fact - when she was little, she actually lived like 5 blocks away from me! My mom remembers her family. Such a small world.

My new companion (and a chicken)

On Thursday we went to see J and his girlfriend T. We were able to really teach him for the first time, and it was SO GREAT!!!! We invited him to be baptized on May 16th and he agreed! I'm SO EXCITED!!! He's going to have to quit chewing tobacco, and he and his girlfriend will probably have to get married. But I totally believe he can do it!

This week is general conference and I'm sooo excited. We're inviting everyone! We are also going to start utilizing the Because He Lives video on It's going to be great!

I love you all! Happy Easter!

Monday, March 23, 2015

I'm staying in Paonia!

I'm about to start my 9th transfer! Can you believe it?? I can't. I only have 5 more left.

I get my new companion tomorrow and we're going to kill it in Paonia! I'm pretty stoked about it.
My one year mark is in 17 days, and my 21st birthday is in 18 days!!! Pretty exciting stuff. This transfer is going to be quite an eventful one :)

The Church has put out another amazing video for Easter this year called Because He Lives. It's sooooo good and I love it! It launches on on March 27th I believe, and then it will takeover Youtube on Easter Sunday! All of you should watch it and share it with everyone :)
To go along with the celebration of Easter and Christ's sacrifice for us, the missionaries in my mission are doing a couple sacrifices. First, we're only drinking water for the months of April and May. Second, we're fasting every Saturday from after breakfast until dinner (so no lunch) and working straight through our lunch hour. We're sacrificing those things to build more unity in our mission and to help us reach our goal of having 100 baptisms in the month of May. We're inviting all the members to do it with us, and I'm officially inviting all of you as well! Each weekend we're going to text the members and tell them a miracle that we saw that week, and I promise I'll be better at sharing miracles with all of you as well :)

I love you all and I hope you have a fantastic week!
Sister Koenig

Here are some pictures from the last two weeks so you can get an idea about what life is like in Paonia!

 Sister Nielsen and me showing our excitement

Final picture before Sister Nielsen went home!

This is actually what it looks like here... beautiful, right?

At least all the farm animals like us :)

And you all know I love chickens!

Monday, March 16, 2015

March 16, 2015

This has been one of the weirdest and hardest months of my life. But I've learned and grown so much. I am so grateful for my mission because I understand now that when bad things happen, it's for my benefit and growth. When things get hard, I know that's God's way of telling me that He knows I can grow stronger, and He will help me through it. If he totally lifted every burden from off our backs, we would get really weak and lazy. But He lets the burdens weigh on us just slightly more than we can handle, so that we need His help and with Him we become better and more powerful.

I have felt that growth happening within me this transfer more than ever before. I've really started to understand so much more about the Savior and His life and especially His role in MY life. At the end of last transfer, I prayed and asked Heavenly Father to help me be more diligent and to have more faith. Well, He certainly delivered! He sent me to a really hard area where there wasn't a lot of typical, easy work to be done and where everyone argues against my testimony. Through that, I've really learned how to be diligent despite opposition. I've learned new ways of working, and I've really learned to get over myself and the awkwardness that comes with being a representative of Jesus Christ. Why was I always so afraid of awkward situations?!? I don't know. But I'm pretty much totally over that now. Which is good, because there are some pretty dang awkward things that happen basically every day. It's fantastic.

And as I've been more diligent and yet faced more opposition from people than ever before, my faith has increased drastically. Did you know that when people tell me I'm wrong, it proves to me even more that I'm right? What a strange concept. I KNOW I'm right. I KNOW the gospel is true, and that Jesus Christ DOES live, and that He is our Savior and Redeemer whether or not we accept Him. I don't even care if people tell me I'm wrong or crazy, although it breaks my heart to see how lost my brothers and sisters have become. It kills me a little bit each time someone slams the door in my face or tells me they don't believe in God or Jesus Christ. It breaks my heart when people don't keep the commitments that I KNOW will lead them to eternal life and eternal joy. Why would they not want to accept that?!? I feel almost like Alma when he says “O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!” But also like Alma, I have come to the realization that "I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me." And that is many, many, many things. There have been so many miracles and blessings poured out upon us this transfer. So "why should I desire more than to perform the work to which I have been called?" That doesn't even make sense.

Our most progressing investigator is probably C or J. She is 17 and her mom won't let her get baptized, and she doesn't turn 18 until December, but she's pretty awesome. And then J is living with a less-active member but he's finally starting to let us teach him and he came to church on Sunday as well! He's been three times now, which is pretty exciting.

We had quite a few miracles this week. I hurt my back and my ankle so I stayed at members' hosues while Sister Nielsen was able to go out with a girl who is just about to leave for her mission and they did great work. And I seem to have miraculously healed from both those injuries, which is great because sitting around all day is super boring. I do not recommend it.

This is the last week of the transfer, so next Tuesday I'll be starting my 9th transfer! I'm going to send Sister Nielsen home this Sunday and I'll get a new comp next week. Oh and I will be hitting my year mark in like 3 weeks which is pretty crazayyy.

I know I have been called to Paonia for a purpose. For some reason, I am the one that Heavenly Father wants here right now at this time. Whether that is for myself, or for others, I do not know. But I glory in my calling, and I glory in the miracles God has allowed me to be a part of this transfer. “I say unto you that this is the order after which I am called, yea, to preach unto my beloved brethren, yea, and every one that dwelleth in the land; yea, to preach unto all, both old and young, both bond and free; yea, I say unto you the aged, and also the middle aged, and the rising generation; [and all the hippies and coal miners in Paonia, Hotchkiss and Crawford]; yea, to cry unto them that they must repent and be born again.”

Sister Koenig

Monday, March 9, 2015

Miracles Exist in This Life!

I have so much to be grateful for today. GOD IS SO REAL and He loves me and He knows me and He is just the best.

This transfer has been insane, guys. We have pretty much hit rock bottom over and over and over again repeatedly on the hard rock with our heads impacting and tears flying and awfulness ensuing. It's been rough.

HOWEVER! God has been aware of us this whole time. And His plan is better than my plans ever could be.

On Monday and Tuesday last week I was totally sick. We didn't teach a single lesson. I was basically passed out dead for like 48 hours. I feel so bad for Sister Nielsen - staying in the apartment with a companion sick in bed is pretty lame. Wednesday I still wasn't feeling well at all, but I was so sick of staying at home so we went out and tracted for like 3 hours. We had taught no lessons at that point. But we were so blessed! We only tracted one tiny little street, but it took so long because we literally got into every house we knocked on and taught a lesson. It was pretty remarkable.

On Wednesday night Sister Nielsen and I drove to Delta for Exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders. Typically we meet up in Hotchkiss, one of the towns I serve in, and separate from there. But we had a specialized Zone Meeting and interviews with our mission president on Thursday in Delta, which is like 35 miles from our apartment, so we spent the night in Delta with the STLs instead of driving there in the morning. I was still sick, and went to bed early and got up late. I ate so many popsicles, let me tell ya.

Our meeting on Thursday was EXACTLY what I needed. Before that point, Sister Nielsen and I were feeling pretty bummed about our area. Other than all the lessons we taught on Wednesday, we really haven't had any success at all this transfer. No one ever wants to listen to our message, and if they do listen and set up a return appointment, they have cancelled the return appointment without fail. We have been exactly obedient and we just did not understand why things were so rough. We did have a woman get baptized at the beginning of the transfer, but then she didn't get confirmed, so even that was really awful. Plus everyone else in our Zone is killing it. All the companionships have been having miracle after miracle and putting people on date for baptism left and right, and we were getting doors slammed in our faces left and right. We may have had some slight pity parties...I'll be honest.

But the Zone Meeting helped a ton. The Spirit was really strong, and Heavenly Father taught me a lot of things in those couple of hours. They did some trainings for how to use the skills that we have more effectively, and they taught us a new way to place the Book of Mormon. It's AWESOME. I love it so much. By the end of it, I just felt so rejuvenated and had a renewed energy and desire to do the work in the Paonia Ward. Even though it had been really really hard.

When I had my interview with President, he gave this whole long spiel about how he sent me to Paonia for a reason and it's a good area and how I might be there for a while. I just laughed and said "President, I love Paonia." He looked shocked and said "What?" and I just said "Look, I know I've called you complaining about how hard it is like 3 times, but the hardest places are the best places. And God has called me to serve here for a purpose! And I know that now. And I'm really excited about it." I think he was really surprised. I was kind of surprised, even haha. But I had a great interview with him, and I was so stoked to go out and work.

Exchanges were interesting. Still no one listened to us haha. But we worked hard and we tried! Again on Friday we went out and surveyed for a really long time and met a bunch of....different people :P But no one listened to THE MOST IMPORTANT MESSAGE IN THE WORLD. Seriously, it will change their lives, but they don't even care. It's so sad. Then on Saturday we continued to tract and knock and knock and knock....but no one listened to us still. We were so discouraged! I have never knocked so many doors in my LIFE until this past week. It was pretty insane. Oh and then, 5 of the people we were teaching dropped us on Saturday! They called us and said they don't ever want us to come back. Harsh. We literally only had one other investigator left, and we hadn't even talked to her in over a week. We could have easily given up. But we didn't. We continued to press forward with faith, and do the best that we could do.

On Sunday we fasted for the work to pick up in Paonia. For us to finally understand our purpose in being here. We wanted so badly to teach and to help souls come unto Christ, but that just was not happening.

We went out to Crawford, a little town in the ward boundaries where Sister Nielsen hasn't worked very much at all. She has totally covered the towns of Paonia and Hotchkiss, and they're pretty much completely hardened against us. But Crawford is untouched.

We tracted into a couple more "interesting" people. But then WE FOUND THE MOST INCREDIBLE FAMILY AND PUT THEM ON DATE FOR BAPTISM FOR APRIL 11!!!!! It's a mom and dad and two kids. The mom was busy and couldn't listen right then but she was nice! And the kids and dad loved the message that we shared and are so excited for us to come back and teach them about the Book of Mormon. We were pretty much in total shock when we left.

THEN, we went back to Paonia and tracted there, and found ANOTHER woman who was really interested and wanted to learn more! We are seeing her again in a couple days to bring her a Book of Mormon. She is moving to Boise in a couple months, which is like Mormon central. So great.

Then this morning we had a lesson with a potential investigator named A. We met her last week and asked if we could teach her but she was busy and said we could come back another time. The only time that worked for her was Monday morning, which is our preparation day and we typically do not teach on Monday mornings. But we did, slightly begrudgingly, and IT WAS SO GREAT. She believes that the message of the restoration of the gospel is true, and said "It all just makes sense. Why wouldn't there be a modern-day prophet?" She has also met with missionaries years ago and really liked what they taught, but then she like moved or something and stopped learning. We also put her on date to be baptized on April 11.

MIRACLES HAPPEN GUYS. I am so happy. The work truly is hastening, and the Lord is preparing souls to hear about His gospel. But He is also preparing each of us personally for whatever responsibilities we have ahead of us. Although this has been the hardest transfer ever, I have learned and grown so so so so much more than I ever even thought possible.

He loves you, and me, and all of His children. At church yesterday one of the speakers said "I'm old, I'm ugly, I'm fat, I'm bald....and my Father in Heaven loves me!" Haha He loves you no matter who you are, and no matter what you've done, and the Lord's arms of mercy are continually extended towards you.

Have the best week ever!
Sister Koenig

Monday, March 2, 2015

Short Upate

I'm sick!!! I have the flu. It's not fun.

I was also sick last Wednesday so we didn't do anything that day. On Thursday we had District Meeting all morning, and then we had to set up for the Game Night that we were hosting at the ward that night, so we didn't really teach anyone that day was an interesting week.

Last week our Zone Leaders came up with this idea to help us set goals for talking to people and stuff. They had 4 different things that we had to accomplish:
1) OYM (open your mouth - aka talk to) a runner
2) OYM someone on the street and invite them to be baptized
3) Pull over the car and get out to OYM someone
4) OYM someone at a stoplight.

Well, AWKWARD MOMENT when the area you're serving in doesn't have a single stoplight!!!! We cover 5 towns, and there isn't a stoplight in sight. Tragic! So we called the Zone Leaders and said " we have a problem....." and they just laughed and laughed and said that instead we could OYM someone in their car. It was great.

We've run into a teensy tiny problem here....Sister Nielsen has already talked to everyone. So we don't know what to do because it's so awkward tracting the same houses twice and having them say (over and over again) "You've already talked to us...." But we decided that we just have to get over ourselves and do it anyway. We've come up with a couple new approaches for tracting - the main one is to run from house to house and be so super duper excited and say "HI! WE HAVE THE MOST IMPORTANT MESSAGE EVER AND IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE AND IT'S ALL CENTERED ON JESUS CHRIST AND HIS LOVE FOR YOU AND ME AND EVERYONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!" and then we basically just start teaching. It hasn't worked out too well yet, but we're hopeful!

On Saturday we were driving on the backroads of Crawford and we passed this farm and Sister Nielsen said "THAT COW IS IN LABOR!!!!" so we turned around and sure enough, there were feet sticking out of the momma cow's behind. It was intense.

Nothing else really exciting has happened...but we're just truckin along and taking it one day at a time here!!! Please pray for us haha.

Sister Koenig