Monday, April 27, 2015

"I punched a llama today."

Happy Monday everyone!

This was another interesting week. Again I stayed inside in Uncompahgre with Sister Patera for the week. Let me tell ya, there are only so many church movies to watch. But we're making it work. A member hooked us up with all the Living Scripture Prophet movies yesterday so at least we have something new to watch now.

On Tuesday and Wednesday and Friday we went to the GOOD physical therapist who is a member. He helped a bunch. She's still in a lot of pain, but while she's there she at least feels some relief! And Sister Patera is getting an MRI on Wednesday so that we know what the real problem is. And we'll be seeing the PT like 4 times this week as well.

This man, B, got baptized on Saturday! It was a great baptism. When the person baptizing him started to put him under the water, his instincts kicked in and he freaked out and grabbed the sides of the font. It was hilarious. But the person baptizing him persisted and basically shoved him under the water and held him there for like 25 seconds and had to grab him arm and push it under the water to make sure the baptism was valid. It was probably one of my favorite baptisms I've been to haha. And I got to play the piano, which was interesting. I can play a handful of hymns, but not that many, which ended up being a slight problem.... The baptism was supposed to start at 11 and B was told to come at 10:30. I started playing some prelude music at about 10:50, and at that point he still hadn't showed. I kept playing and playing and started to struggle through some songs that I don't know as well because I ran out of options because HE WASN'T SHOWING UP. No one could reach him, and people were starting to freak out. And I just kept playing haha. FINALLY he showed up at about 11:20 with his wife and daughter (who are both members), and no explanation as to why they were late. Then everyone could breathe again, and the baptism went on. Hooray! He'll get confirmed on May 3rd because yesterday was Stake Conference.

Last Tuesday we saw B to teach him the final couple of things in preparation for the baptism. When we got there, he told us that he punched his llama that day, and punched it so hard that they had to kill it! They were trying to move their llamas to a pen and B had never moved the llamas before. The one he had started to freak out and get upset and was waving it's neck around. Apparently they're VERY STRONG and can cause a lot of damage with those thing! So B's wife, who is a pro with llamas, told him to "Hit it hard!" She meant for him to smack it because that kind of shocks them, but he full on PUNCHED IT IN THE FACE. And he was a Marine, so he's a tough cookie. He punched the llama so hard that he broke it's septum and it couldn't breathe right, and they had to shoot it. Now they're going to eat it. Apparently llama is a delicacy, and the meat sells for like $35/pound. We told him to invite us over when he eats it haha. Gross.

There is another part-member family who we started to teach yesterday. Sister Y's mom passed away last week and I think it kind of woke them up and gave them a desire to start living the gospel more fully. Brother Y, the nonmember, is in a wheelchair - he was in an accident 13 years ago and was left paralyzed. He's so cool and has wanted to come to church for about a month now, but no one could figure out how to get him there. His family doesn't have a car and the bus doesn't run on Sundays. Finally the Ward Mission Leader, who is fantastic, made a ramp that would go up into the back of a truck. They pick him up out of his chair and put him in the truck, and then someone drives the wheelchair up into the back. Yesterday was the first time he was able to go to church using that method, and it was so great!!! He was so happy to be there, and his wife and son came as well. He also told Brother C that he wants to be baptized, and wants to do the work for his deceased ancestors as well in the temple. Sister Patera and I asked him yesterday if we could come over later and teach him and he said yes! But then Sister Patera was really hurting last night so I went with a girl in the ward. Brother C was there as well, and the three of us taught him the Plan of Salvation and invited him to be baptized on May 23rd -- and he said YES!!! He has to quit smoking, but he has a desire to and he only smokes like 3 cigarettes a day right now so it shouldn't be too difficult. He's so awesome.
Then this morning we sent a text out to a bunch of members telling them of that miracle that he was going to be baptized on the 23rd, and a member texted back and said "Sisters this is so fabulous!!! We need to pray for another date that will work also because we scheduled the building a few months ago for Friday and Saturday 22nd and 23rd for set up and our sons reception. We are covering all the walls with fabric so you wouldn't even be able to access the font. So, I will pray for both a new date and for him to quit smoking!! :) Yes miracles happen!!! Thanks for sharing my sweet sisters!" So we're not exactly sure how it's all going to work out, but I know it will!!

This is the last week of the transfer so on Saturday we'll find out transfer news, and on the 5th we'll have transfer meeting. I have NO IDEA what's going to happen. I spent half this transfer in Uncompahgre, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything. Maybe I'll stay in Paonia (but not Gunnison too - I know that much), maybe I'll officially serve in Uncompahgre, or maybe I'll serve somewhere else entirely. It's pretty exciting but a little nerve-wracking!

On Friday we had Zone Conference and I sang my solo and it went alright. They also had some great trainings about how to be a more consecrated missionary, something I'm always working on. It was great. At lunch we got awards - I got a Rice Krispy Treat for having a clean car, M&Ms for making my bed that morning, a Subway giftcard for having a clean apartment, and a Kit Kat because I had a birthday! How fancy, right?? I felt pretty special.

This next week I'll probably mostly be staying inside with Sister Patera again, but I'll also get to teach B a couple more times. We also are meeting a member from the Paonia Ward at his friend's house in Uncompahgre to start teaching him. That's a solid referral right there! I'm excited to see what happens with that. He lives in Peach Valley but don't worry! He's not in the super super sketchy part.

I hope you all have a great week!

Sister Koenig

Monday, April 20, 2015

"I cut up deer and humans." ~Creepy Doctor

This was the weirdest week of my mission!

On Monday Sister Pittman and I went with the Uncompahgre Sisters, Sister Patera and Thompson, to get pedicures and have a Girl's Day. It was really fun! The next day we had our Sister's Conference in Delta, and we combined all the Sisters in the Montrose Stake and in the Grand Junction Stake. The theme was about Christ and developing Christ-like attributes. Like I said last week, Sister Pittman and I had to do an interpretive dance on knowledge. IT WAS RIDICULOUS. Oh man I don't think I've ever done anything so weird my entire mission haha. But I guess it wasn't tooooo horrible....maybe :P All the other Sisters did something on a different Christ-like attribute, like one Sister rapped about virtue and one Sister told a story to demonstrate patience. We definitely got the short end of the stick with an interpretive dance.

After Sister's Conference Sister Pittman took Sister Thompson to Gunnison. Sister Patera hurt her back a month ago and it hasn't gotten any better. She has to rest it, but her companion (Sister Thompson) is brand new to the mission, and hanging out inside all day would be really bad for her. President was worried that she would get super homesick, so he asked Sister Pittman and I to go on an extended Exchange with them. So since Tuesday afternoon I have hung out with Sister Patera inside her apartment all day haha. It's been great.

She also had two physical therapy appointments this week, but the PT is INSANE. It was really uncomfortable. Sister Patera was very thankful that I was in the room with her because he was so nuts - and I'm glad I was there too because it was kind of funny.... :P

Here are some great quotes by him:
"Do you have a gym membership?" "No." "Hmm...well that would probably be good for the both of you." "Leg muscles are tough. I had no idea until I cut up deer and humans." (I THINK he was talking about cadavers....I hope?!?!)

Thankfully there is a member in Montrose who is a PT, so we cancelled her next appt with the first guy and she's seeing the member tomorrow. Hopefully he actually helps her!

So I'm still with Sister Patera and we're still chilling at home watching church movies basically back-to-back. It's thrilling. I've learned a lot about church history this week. Oh and I've also caught up in my journal (I was wayyyy behind) and I've almost finished the Book of Mormon, so that's good!

I'll be home 6 months from tomorrow and it's so crazy to me that it's coming up so fast! I'm 2/3 of the way done with my mission and I feel like I'm just starting.

On Friday we have Zone Conference and I'm singing a solo. I should probably practice. I'm singing I Know That My Redeemer Lives. I can't think of anything else that's happening this week, soo I guess I'll end here.

I love you all! Have a great week!
Sister Koenig

Monday, April 13, 2015

"They set off the fire alarm! HAHAHA"

Goooooood morning! It's a beautiful day in Hotchkiss, CO and all is well. I've officially been on my mission for a year! AND I'm officially 21 years old - I feel ancient. Thank you all for the sweet birthday wishes! It means a lot :)

Thanks for the birthday and Easter treats!

This week has been eventful, for sure. On Monday we drove over to Gunni, and on the way there we saw a bunch of cop cars on the side of this narrow, sketchy highway that we have to take to get there from Paonia. To the side, falling off a little cliff/hill thing, was an upside-down car. We found out later that someone had rolled and they died like 30 minutes before we passed....eek! Needless to say, we drove really safely for the rest of the way to Gunnison.

On Tuesday we had a busy day. We saw B, one of our investigators. He is kind of old and he has MS so he has a really hard time doing stuff. He loves the church and comes every week, but his memory isn't the best and he can't always remember that he has a testimony of the Restoration of the Gospel. That's not good. If we spend an hour with him and talk about it and resolve all of his concerns, he can tell you that he knows Joseph Smith was a prophet and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and he wants to be baptized, but then the next time we see him he totally forgets all of that and has all sorts of concerns that we have to resolve again. It's a little bit frustrating. But he's doing well, and we talked about the Savior and watched Because He Lives.

Later we went tracting and we were also trying some potentials. We were looking back on the potentials forms for the area, which date back to like 2009, and found a man named RS. He was a Headquarters referral from 2010, but we had no information except his name and address. We don't know if he sent in the referral, or someone else, or if missionaries ever contacted him - nothing. We felt like we should see him, but he was almost 30 minutes from where we were at the time. We considered not going, but then we had another little nudge from the Spirit and we went out there. He lived on this windy backroad, next to NOTHING. Kind of in the middle of nowhere. But we knocked and this cute old man answered and said "COME IN!" We were like "Uhhh.....ok!" and we did. We were able to teach him about the Restoration and mentioned the Book of Mormon. He is really interested and wants to learn more, and wants to read the Book of Mormon! So we're meeting him at the church on Wednesday for a church tour and a lesson. The whole time he was talking about the Second Coming and how it's getting closer and closer and that we need to prepare for it. We were able to bear powerful testimony that the Book of Mormon and modern-day prophets and the Priesthood can help him to prepare for when the Savior comes. It was a great lesson and I'm really excited to see him again.

We also saw L, this crotchety old man (I'm saying that lovingly) who got baptized last year. He is adorable and I just love him. He also has MS, and he is in a wheelchair because of it. We taught him outside on his porch (bad idea - I got a sunburn on my whole right side. So attractive.) and talked about conference. Somehow we got on the topic of names and Sister Pittman told him my first name. Then I told him that my middle name is Rose, and he said "Rose....that's a good name for a hooker." Then he told us the difference between strippers, hookers, and call girls. Hahaha thank you L! You're darling. He also showed us his gun last time we saw him and waved it around a bit. This time he asked us how many Young Single Adults go to the activities that the ward has for them, and we said not very many. Then he said "What you gotta do is go around to their places with a gun. That'll get 'em there." and we said "But L, you can't force people to come to church. They have to WANT to come." and then he said "Yeah, but if they have a gun pointed at their heads, they'll REALLY want to come to church!" He has a valid point! :P

Later, we went to a birthday lunch at this amazing Mexican restaurant in town. Mmmmm it was good. Then we went to the Gunnysack and Sister Pittman bought me a Pizzookie! It's a huge cookie that looks like a pizza and it had peanut butter ice cream on top. SO GOOD. Man, Paonia is seriously lacking in the restaurant department, but Gunnison has got it figured out. We were so stuffed, I thought they were going to have to roll us out of the place.

We also saw our investigator L that night. She's like 14 and in Middle School, and she's really cool. We taught her about the Plan of Salvation and she really liked it! We're going to invite her to be baptized this week which we're really excited about.

Right after that we drove back to Paonia. It started to snow on our way out of Gunni, and we were a little worried that it would get bad because Gunnison is like the second coldest city in the United States, but it was mostly just wet and didn't cause any problems. It was beautiful to look at though! We got back just in time (ok, maybe a little bit late) for our Missionary Coordination Meeting. I think the Bishop and Ward Mission Leader in Paonia are a little worried that we're stretching ourselves thin working in two areas. They were very concerned about us driving all that way, and working too hard, and they kept asking what they could do to help us with our missionary efforts. It was so sweet! Honestly, I'm having a blast working in both areas! Yeah, it is a little challenging, but who doesn't love a good challenge? It's the best.

It really is beautiful here!

In my Zone, the Elders and Sisters are having a "friendly" competition revolving around Because He Lives. Every time we share it, we get a certain number of points, and every time we hand out a Because He Lives pass-along card we get points, and every time we find a new investigator from showing them the video we get points. The losers have to buy the winners lunch. So us Sisters are rallying together because we absolutely refuse to buy lunch for the Elders - and you would too if you saw how much they can eat!!! So all day Thursday we shared the video with EVERYONE that we could. It was fun. I have the whole thing memorized at this point, music and all. And I still love it and learn something new each time I watch it!

Thursday night we saw J and T. We asked J how he is doing with living the Word of Wisdom, and he's doing great! He told us that he has been drinking hot chocolate in the mornings at work instead of coffee, and he didn't have his can of chew in his back pocket like he usually does. That was really exciting.

On Friday, I turned 21! And we did our weekly planning all morning. Alannah sent me a box of lemon bars and we made them and then had a mini celebration - just me and Sister Pittman :) We lit all 21 candles, and Sister Pittman sang, and I blew out all of the candles in one breath, and then....the fire alarm went off. Hehe whoops! Our neighbors downstairs must have heard Sister Pittman singing, and also must have heard the alarm because we heard them say "They set off the fire alarm! HAHAHA" and then they laughed for like 5 minutes. Embarrassing! Fun fact - their son turned one the same day I turned 21. So I think they were just jealous of our rockin party, tbh.

 Birthday party time!
Having so much fun together!

Friday night we met up with the Uncompahgre Sisters and went on Exchanges! I went to their area with Sister Patera, and Sister Thompson (the greenie) came to Paonia with Sister Pittman. Sister Patera and I basically tracted all day Saturday. We didn't really have any big miracles, but we were able to teach quite a few people so that was fun. Uncompahgre is a strange place.

 Yup... I'm holding another chicken!
More friends we met along the way!

Meanwhile, in Paonia, Sister Pittman and Sister Thompson saw J and T and taught them the Law of Chastity and invited them to get MARRIED on May 2nd!!!!!! J is kind of opposed to marriage, but apparently the lesson went slightly better than expected. He didn't say yes yet, but they are going to fast and pray about it together. Please pray for them!!!!! We want him to be happy and I know that living the commandments and becoming a member of Christ's Church truly brings more happiness than anything else can! But it can be soo hard sometimes to start living the commandments and to change. I know he can do it, though! J didn't make it to church on Sunday because he was still processing everything, but T was there. She is so fantastic and she's ready for marriage, and I think he is too, he just needs to take a leap of faith. But once he does, the blessings are going to POUR out of Heaven like a monsoon. So hopefully soon I'll be hosting my first wedding on my mission! Pretty exciting :)

Church was great yesterday. The talks were on Praying with Faith - something I'm always working on. It's not easy sometimes; it actually takes effort and work! But it is so worth it in the end.

After church we saw C. She is 17 and her dad is a member but her mom is not (they're divorced). When she's staying with her dad every other weekend she comes to church and we get to come by and teach her. She's so neat and is really just a good kid. I think she'll get baptized within a year or two, but it's hard because her mom is really opposed to the church right now. It always absolutely amazes me when people, especially young people, are able to have such strong testimonies and knowledge despite having so much opposition in life. It gives me hope for the future.

Today Sister Pittman and I are going to go to Montrose with the Uncompahgre Sisters for a Girl's Day! We're getting our toes done, getting lunch, and hanging out. I'm really excited to feel like a lady again :P Then we'll be staying with them because tomorrow we have a Sister's Conference in Delta. Sister Pittman and I were asked to do an interpretive dance on Knowledge....uhh, how?!?! We don't know. We're kind of freaking out about it a little bit. Any ideas?? HELP US.

I hope you all have a fantastic week and that you see amazing miracles each day! Remember how much God loves you!!!!

Sister Koenig

Monday, April 6, 2015

(Loud whispers) "Are they Jehovah's Witnesses?" "I don't think so.."

Wowza, did you just LOVE General Conference??? I DID. If you didn't get a chance to watch it, today is your lucky day, because you can go back and watch it here! WOOHOO GO WATCH IT 100 TIMES!!!

I really loved how much it talked about the importance of families and how everything is connected to the Atonement.

I loved Linda K. Burton's talk about men and husbands, and the tips she gave for how to make your home a holy place.

I loved when L. Tom Perry talked about the Muslim leader quoting "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" at the Vatican. So cool!

I loved Dale G. Renlund's talk about saints and conversion. A couple quotes that I loved:
"A saint is a sinner who keeps on trying."
"Twas I, but 'tis not I" (in reference to change and conversion)

I loved Brent H. Nielsen's talk about the prodigal son and the lost sheep. We should always be willing to leave the ninety and nine to find the one precious soul who has gone astray. The other day we were parked by a field full of cows. It's calving season, so all the momma cows have their little baby calves by them all the time. They are SO CUTE. That day I was watching this little calf wander around and get distracted by something. Suddenly, it looked around, as if looking for its mom, and realized that he couldn't see her anymore. He FREAKED OUT and mooed and then started frantically running until he found his way back to her. Sometimes people get distracted by things in life. We wander and get totally sidetracked without even realizing that we're getting ourselves lost. After a time, we look around and realize that we no longer know where our safety is. We no longer know where our Savior is. We realize that we are totally and completely lost. But there is always hope! The Savior is always closer to us than we think, and if we just reach out and look, we will always find Him. I love at the end of his talk that he said that we are all the Prodigal Son - All of us are lost and need to be found. So profound.

I loved Elder Holland's talk about the fall and the atonement. "He grabbed me, he held me, and he refused to let me fall."

I just loved everything!!!! This gospel is so true, and we belong to a LIVING church. Isn't that incredible?? The Lord is revealing things to His apostles and prophets each day, who then share that with us. When we listen to the Prophet and Apostles, we are listening to the very things the Savior would share with us if He were here today.

We did have some funny things happen this week though! On Wednesday we went tracting in Gunnison at these apartments where a lot of college students live. We knocked on this one door and a man opened it and he was sooooo high.... Immediately upon opening his door we got a lovely whiff of something that can only be described as burnt dog poop. Mixed with pot and other scents. It was horrific. I thought Sister Pittman was going to gag next to me. We introduced ourselves to the man that was totally out of it and asked him the questions on our survey. As we were talking, his friend came over and went inside the apartment (we were just standing outside). Then the friend (who was also totally high on something strong) leans over to the man who was answering our survey questions and loudly whispers "Are they Jehovah's Witnesses??" after which his friend turned to him and loudly whispered back "I don't think so...." and then they started laughing. So if anyone is familiar with drugs, can you possibly tell me what would smell like burning dog poop? Please and thank you!

I love you all so much. I am so grateful for the opportunity that I've had for this past YEAR(!!!!) to be a missionary, serving the Lord full-time with all my heart, might, mind, and strength. I love my Savior with all my heart and I am so very excited for the day I will get to see Him in person and give Him a big huge hug and a giant THANK YOU for all the things He has done for me. I hope that you can all feel His love each day in your individual lives, and that you share that love with all those around you.

Sister Koenig