Thursday, July 6, 2017

3 July 2017 - Enduring?

Hello, family and friends~~

What a great week it's been in Idaho Falls!  The sun is shining, the river is flowing, the falls are falling, and miracles are to be found in great abundance all around.

Church yesterday was a great experience.  So many of our investigators were all there, and were meeting each other and having a great time.  Heather even bore her testimony and it was SO great.  Before going up she whispered to me "what if I cuss??" and she was so nervous!  I said "I'm sure it won't be first time it's happened, and it definitely won't be the last. You'll be great!"  And she was.  Her main theme was her thoughts on Enduring to the End.  She said "I don't get it, honestly.  The mormons talk about 'enduring' to the end, but living with the knowledge of the gospel and actingin on that isn't something to be endured for me, it's the greatest thing in my life.  I wake up everyday SO happy, because of what I know.  My life before the gospel was what had to be endured".  So profound.  So great.  Made me get a lil' bit teary-eyed.

I am so happy! We went to a lesson with Donna and Carol (sweet older ladies who went to the open house) and Donna told me RIGHT when we sat down "I've been thinking and praying about it, and I want to get baptized soon.  I want to do it before you leave." YAYYYY.  I wanted to be there for her baptism, as well, and I'm just happy that God is ok with that, too and she was able to recognize Him in her life, helping her along to that step!!

Many other great things happened.  Please enjoy these pictures of me and my comp in the back of our car, and also using snapchat on our ward mission leader's phone to take selfies.

Sister Mc

26 June 2017 - "That's a thing?? We can do that??"

Hello, friends~

We were teaching Thomas this week and he has had a lot of questions recently about temples, and some other such lesser-known latter-day doctrines. Por eso, we ended up teaching him about temples and he talked to us a lot about his experience going through the Idaho Falls Temple open house.  He said that while watching the video beforehand that explained what temples are, he was SO taken aback at the doctrine that families can be sealed together for eternity in temples. He told us that during the video, he turned to his wife and said "Babe, that's a thing?? We can do that??" and ever since then the spirit has been working on him to help him want to learn more and come closer to Christ than he's ever been!  I've loved working with him and his cute family to teach him!

On Thursday, I got a call from the IF temple visitor's center.  The person who was going to do the 4th Sunday musical fireside cancelled last minute, so they asked me if I could fill in... I said yes and immediately started calling missionaries all over IF asking them to help me, and through the grace of God and the willing consecration of so many great missionaries here, I was able to help with and be a part of a great musical fireside about the savior, Jesus Christ!  It was so fun to sing with my companion, play guitar, sing with other missionaries, accompany other missionaries, and  bear testimony of my brother, Jesus Christ.  I'm glad it all came together.

It's getting pretty warm up here.  It's nice to be walking around and getting tan an talking to more people now that there's not sharp icicles dangling everywhere, ice to slip on, or snow to fall in everywhere I turn.  

I love you all. I love this work. Be good.

Sister Mc

19 June 2017 - T.O.A.S.T. = Thriving On Awkward Situations Today

We believe in all the meetings we HAVE attended each Sunday, we believe in all the meetings we do NOW attend every Sunday, and we believe that we will YET attend many many many meetings every Sunday... and we hope to be able to endure ALL meetings.... every Sunday.

It was a busy Sunday, if you couldn't tell.  But a lot of good things happen. Here are some of the important, good things to know about this week:

Someone made us a lasagna that had 4.5 POUNDS OF CHEESE in it

We had a BAPTISM THIS WEEKEND.  His name is Easton.  His parents are coming back to church more, and he is 9 years old and the cutest ever.  I'll send pictures.  But just know that things are wonderful, and baptisms make me happy.  Because everyone is happy at baptisms!  Because a lot of their family/friends are less active or non-members, we took the opportunity to teach an abridged version of the Restoration of the Gospel to everyone while Easton was changing into dry clothes and it was really powerful.  It was good to be there and just soak in the spirit that always comes when someone makes a covenant with God to follow the Savior.

A woman pretended like she only spoke French when we met her... After we overheard her speaking fluent, American English before we approached her.  I wish I could have remembered ANY French that anyone ever taught me, but only spanish phrases came into my brain.

Because I'm technically part of the batch of missionaries that goes home this transfer, I got to go to the temple with the whole group!  It was the first time that the departing missionaries did their temple trip in the Idaho Falls temple in a LONG time and it was really neat!  It's so familiar yet such a change of pace being in the temple for me.  I enjoyed the time I got to spend there.

So, remember Heather?  Our investigator?  Well, she's been helping HER friend, Chris to quit meth for a while and he's been sober for over a month now and coming to church!!  We FINALLY were able to sit down with Chris, Heather, and the ward mission leader and finally start his lessons.  He's been telling us for awhile that he wants to get baptized but between everyone that wanted to be present for the lessons, it was SO HARD to find a time that we could ALL be there.  But we finally made it happen today, and Heather even brought a cake that she got decorated to say "Happy 1st Lesson!".... Seriously you guys, how often do ex-meth addicts/dealers buy cakes with sprinkles to celebrate mormon missionaries teaching them about Jesus? I'm not sure what the answer is to that, but it should totally happen more awesome, because I loved it.


Sister Mc

We went bowling last pday and I did horribly.

Also due to a fun turn of events, I was in the same place as 3 of my past comps/trainees!  I ove them so so much.

Us with Heather and Chris.  They were pumped about his first lesson.

ALSO the last one was us with Easton after his baptism!

12 June 2017 - "Moroni and his girls"

Also, Brad Wilcox (pretty sure some of y'all have heard of him... BYU professor, was a mission president and some other cool things... he has a great talk here that I love and has helped me a lot) came to IF recently, because he did a cool forum where he and an evangelical pastor from a huge church in Boise had "a conversation about grace, God, and faith".  I'm confident that a lot of good will come from it.  It was mostly attended by evangelicals but a good LDS population was there, also... Us missionaries weren't allowed to go (dang it) but Heather and some other people we're teaching went and they said it was awesome and the spirit was SO strong.  It was basically the pastor asking Bro. Wilcox about all the things that people here have issues with regarding the Mormons -- Are we trying to "earn our way to heaven"?  Are we saved by grace?  Do we worship a different Jesus?  Why the 3 heavens?  And of course the mass multitude of issues that people have with modern-day prophets, especially Joseph Smith and Brigham Young.  It was good to hear about it from them.  

He ALSO did a little zone conference with us missionaries in the afternoon before this forum!  I was expecting it to be on the atonement, grace, etc, since his most known talks and the book of his I've read are about those subjects, but it was all centered around our "birthright".  He talked a lot about the gathering of Israel, the millennium, the 12 tribes, patriarchal blessings, ALL of which are things that wanted to know more about.  It was amazing.  

Thomas is progressing wonderfully!  He's into Jacob in the Book of Mormon now and we've set a date for him to be baptized on July 8th!!!  He's so excited, as are we, and his family, and the ward, and it's great.

SO last weekend, one of my favorite ladies in the stake (Sister Meikle) experienced a miracle.  She's a member of the church, and helped out a lot with the IF temple open house, since they were on the committee; they were there 14+ hours per day!  Last weekend, her neighbor came and knocked on her door, saying "What time is church? I'd like to be baptized."  SO AWESOME.  This neighbor has known that Sister Meikle was a member of the church, and had never shown much interest in the church, though Sis. Meikle had always invited her to ward parties, the open house, etc.  BUT, this neighbor of hers, Donna, went to the open house on her own, and the temple was such an amazing spiritual experience for her!  She felt so strongly that it was true.  SO, Sis. Meikle invited her to meet with us missionaries, and Donna agreed.  The day of our appointment, Sis. Meikle invited her OTHER neighbor, who was more than interested to ALSO come to hear the first discussion.  It was so fun talking to those two ladies about their experience at the open house.  They're both so open and willing to learn and had amazing questions.  After the lesson, Donna told us she went home and her husband (who didn't want us in his home) asked "how's moroni and his girls doing?" to which Donna responded "they're lovely, thank you very much." and moved on haha. Cracked me up.

I know that Jesus Christ is in the details of our lives.  I know that He is aware of what we're going through and I know that we can have a personal and real relationship with him.

Be good.

Sister Mc

Exchanges in the Shelley Bilingual area!!! I got to wear my hermana name tag and teach some cool people. In espanol.  With Hermana Reyes who is from HOUSTON also.

5 June 2017

I have many things to tell you all about!  First of all, I'm sorry that I didn't email everyone last week.  Things are so crazy lately and I completely lost track of time.  There are very cool things happening now, so I'm just going to tell you about them as they come into my brain:

I have discovered the absolute BEST way to eat pancakes.  This fun family made pancakes for us and they told us about toppings they put on them that they learned from their grandparents who came to the US from Germany... apparently it's a thing over there - SO, you start with a regular, warm pancake. Load it up with butter (obvi).  THEN, put a layer of brown sugar on, sufficiently covering the top of the pancake.  Lastly, drizzle it with some heavy whipping cream.  It's seriously the most delicious thing.  I thought it would be weird and soggy, but it's actually wonderful and heavenly.  Try it.

So there's this guy.... named Thomas.  Thomas is married to this cool Russian lady who came to the states in her early 20s.  SHE is a member of the church, but Thomas is not.  He went to the LDS church with his mom regularly as a kid, but his dad wasn't LDS and it caused some contention in their home.  Thomas's neighbor (also the Elders Quorum president in the ward) invited him to come to church one day.  Thomas had JUST been praying to God the NIGHT BEFORE about his "spiritual well-being"... Amazing.  Thomas came to church on his own and while there decided to meet with us missionaries.  Our first visit with him was awesome.  He was SO happy and on board with everything. He already seemed to know a lot about the LDS church, but it was good to talk about it and refresh so many things.  He was SO EXCITED YOU GUYS.  Kinda like I am now.  We gave him a book of Mormon, read some of the Introduction of it with him and committed him to start reading it from the very beginning.  4 days later, we had our 2nd appointment with him, and he had read through 2 Nephi 8!!!  For those who know the BofM well, you'll know that that's kind of a huge deal to read that much in 4 days, regardless if you're a member of the church or not!  We were so pumped.  He showed us all of his notes, summarized his favorite parts, etc.  It was so great.  He agreed to be baptized and his wife/kids are on board to support him.  He knows his dad/siblings aren't super happy about it, but he said "it may be a sacrifice, but it's worth it if it's what God is telling me to do."  SO AWESOME.  Thomas is cool.

We also got to go to the Idaho Falls Idaho Youth Cultral Celebration Broadcast, in preparation for the re-dedication of the IF temple.  We watched the broadcast from our stake center with this cute family that we're teaching.  There were about 15,000 youth involved total and it took place in the Holt Arena in Pocatello.  It was pretty much exactly what I expected it to be, and it brought several smiles and laughs to my face.  My favorite number was called "Potatoes Forever and Always" which was sung while the youth tossed burlap sacks of potatoes around and sung about "funeral potatoes" and other such Idaho-y things.

Attending the re-dedication of the temple itself was very cool - hadn't been to one before.  Elder Rasband and several others gave talks.  General authority seventies and a member of the temple presidency and his wife.  It was very cool to watch.  It all took place in the celestial room of the Idaho Falls Temple.

See more about the above 2 paragraphs at this website.

Also, there's this cool event happening in Idaho Falls soon, and Brad Wilcox, renowned author/BYU professor is coming to speak at in Idaho and I was asked to play some prelude music for it!  I'm way pumped about going.  He's also going to be giving a mini zone conference thing to us missionaries here about teaching of Christ and his Atonement.  I'm super pumped.

Ok, so those are most of the cool things.  I love you all and I'm so happy to be here.  

Loves y besos,
Sister McIntosh 

Photoshoot / lesson with Heather by the river, also a pretty one of the temple <3

1. Ran into my bestie named RACH at the open house <3

2. The district

3.  #dedication

4.  heather snapped a pic of the fam at church

22 May 2017 -The Book of LoMaxIntosh, Chapter 1.

Friends and family!

Behold, verily verily I say unto y'all, now is a time of much rejoicing and prosperity in the land west of the great city of Idaho Falls.  And what is the great cause of this much rejoicing?  Behold, that great temple which hath been reconstructed and refurbished for the use of the multitudes in the great SE Idaho valley is completed, yea, even the opening of the temple to the many multitudes is completed. It came to pass that many, even hundreds, yea, thousands and even hundreds of thousands did flock to this great open house.  Covenant people did come, as did those who are not yet covenant people.  And thus we did see because of the outpouring of the spirit in the house of the Lord that many hearts were softened and there was much weeping, yea much rejoicing of others who had desired to turn their heart to that greater portion of the spirit that they were able to experience.

And now, the sisters that had so diligently and faithfully served in the opening of the temple experienced much joy in the service of God.  Yea, they experienced much joy, even to the exhausting of their strength.  But, verily they see that the time hath been well spent and fully spent, and now the focus of their labors must now return to the lands wherefore they have been called to preach with all their strength.

And it came to pass that there were certain sisters of them whose names were McIntosh and Lomax, or rather, LoMaxIntosh, as they were called by certain people there.  And LoMaxIntosh did go forth and did meet many of the great leaders in the valley where they did labor, yea, and these leaders did bring forth food to these servants, as did Amulek in days of old to the great missionary Alma the younger.  And it came to pass that LoMaxintosh, as Alma was, were filled.  Yea, they were filled with the spirit and also with the many spuds and russets that had been set before them by the laborers in the fields of this valley.  

And with the strength that they had received from the church leaders they taught many, yea, they did enter into the homes of many and did open unto them the great words of the prophets from the scriptures regarding the restoration of the gospel.  Behold, in this was their joy full.  In this work of proclaiming was their strength restored, yea the strength that had been exhausted in former days.

And now there was a certain woman among those that received LoMaxIntosh named Phyllis.  Phyllis, being converted and baptized unto the Lord in an earlier season and having heard the words of the Lord's servants before, received LoMaxIntosh with gladness and with much rejoicing.  Yea, and as LoMaxIntosh and Phyllis did rejoice in the new house of the Lord being made available to them in this land at this time for this people, the spirit of the Lord came upon them and inspired LoMaxIntosh to remember remember the words of their great leader, President Nelson.  Yea, President Nelson had imparted unto them news from land south, yea even from that great SLC Church Headquarters, which had told all the servants serving to preach the gospel that they would now be permitted to participate in performing baptisms for ancestors and those who had been deceased.  Yea, this was not the case in years before.  But now, because of the mercy and long suffering of those in the land south in SLC and the revelations from God, LoMaxIntosh and Phyllis, with much rejoicing, hath created a design to go forth after the house of the Lord hath been dedicated and to participate together in the saving of souls who hath passed on, or hath died without a knowledge of the saving ordinances or restored gospel.  

Yea, now I can see that I am weak and that even I cannot understand all the words which I have spoken unto y'all at this time.  Nevertheless and notwithstanding, it is my greatest hope and my sincerest prayer that my loved ones and friends, yea, even my family do continue in the faith wherewith they have felt the love of Christ the Lord, their savior.  Yea, I would that they should continue to love and serve their brethren.  I would that they would know that I do love them and look forward with an eye single to the day that we shall all rejoice together in the gospel of Jesus Christ in the presence of the Lord our God.  

May our God bless y'all forever and ever.  And may we all be more diligent in heeding his words.

Sister McIntosh

​​​​​​​​​​​​Behold, thus y'all can see that great was our anxiety and excitement in holding these chickens.  Yea, and we did hold with all our might, mind and strength, to the point of their eyes popping out from amongst their heads.

Currently typing this through tears!  Look at these wonderful sisters who have completed their service and are going home tomorrow!!!

Far right: Sister Stein, my trainer!!!  She extended her mission for the open house.  I've been so lucky to have my first companion in the mission with me for so long even as I now have less than 2 months left!!
Red Dress:  Sister Naitoko, one of my companions.  She came with me from the MTC and I've known and loved her since day 1.  She was in a trio with me when I served at BYUI and we saw so many miracles.  She's helped me in more ways than I can count and I've learned most of my tongan from her.
Far left: Sister Coutinho from Brazil.  We really didn't become very close until the last 6ish months but we are going to be roommates in the Fall at BYUI together and she told me she'd teach me portuguese.  We're also going to start an intramural women's rugby team at BYUI.  

I love these sisters!!!

15 May 2017 - TAKE FIVE

So, as we all know, this past Sunday was mother's day.  And I know that we all love our moms and think they're the best, but mine is actually the best one.  I loved being able to talk to her yesterday and see her so happy.  I loved hearing the talks about motherhood in church yesterday.  it seems in the LDS faith that for the women, we always talk about how "we're all mothers" and that never made sense to me at all before.  This was the first time that I've ever actually really felt and believed how significant and applicable motherhood is in each woman's life- no matter your family/life situation.  It was actually a really really really big deal for me to realize that.  ALso, if you'd like to cry and cry and cry (but in a good way...), please listen to or read this talk by Elder Holland.

I got to see two of my favorite people baptized this weekend!  The first was Avie Clark, who reminds me of me when I was 9 years old.  Our font guy had some issues getting there, meaning the baptism started an hour late, meaning that we got to have some really good chats with her family members, who aren't members of the church and that was awesome!  The other was Ayden Wilson, who is the cutest boy you ever did see.  He's my favorite and I love his family so much.  Ayden's father is not a member, and his mother is just returning to activity in the church. 

So we attended a few sacrament meetings yesterday, three to be exact and so many cool things happened there!  Our investigator, Heather, got called in to work last minute and wasn't able to come to church, BUT she has this friend named Chris.  Chris saw how awesome Heather's life has been since she quit meth and changed her life around, so Chris has been sober for 14 days now and came to church!  It was awesome.  At a a different ward we attended, a new family showed up to church.  They just moved in, he's a member, but his wife and kids aren't.  The bishop asked them if they wanted to take the discussion with the missionaries (i.e. us) and they were totally on board and are coming to the temple open house!  SO many cool things.  Church is awesome. 

So the open house is going very well.  And busy.  Since this is the last week, it's going to be even more busy.  So far, over 140,000 people have come through the open house... On the busy-ish days, we average at about 1,000 guests per hour.  This week I had a cool conversation with these four people from Israel who came to tour western america for a couple months.  It was awesome to talk to them about the symbolism of the oxen etc.  They talked to me about how they are Jewish, but aren't religious.  We had a good talk about culture, Asher (they thought the "usher" name tags they saw people wear were symbolic for Asher), Joseph Smith, and other cool things.  They were neat guys.

I have a new companion!   Last week President Nelson pulled me aside and asked me if I'd like to train.  I definitely said yes.  This is my fifth and probably final trainee and I'm loving it already.  Her name is Sister Lomax, from Vail, AZ (SE of Tuscon).  She's basically pre-trained, a rockstar, and a hard worker, so I'm pretty happy about everything all-around.  I'll send pics of us later.

Sorry for not sending an email last week!  Things with an open house are kinda crazy.  
I love you all and I'm grateful to know and love my Savior, as well.  
Shout-out to Dan and Kim for tying the knot, as well!  Rock on!

Sister McIntosh

1 - Me and Hermana Htown finally trying Reeds Dairy.

2 - Heather showing us some nice spots on the greenbelt of the snake river.

3 - Me with the sisters that have been staying with us for the open house - Hermana Grosdidier and Hermana Agustin