Sunday, February 21, 2016

15 February 2016 - 1 month older and wiser!!

Greetings to all -

As of last Saturday I've been on my mission for a month!! Yay!
It is warming up here - been in about the 30s and the snow is starting to melt!  Hurrah!

We have an investigator!  His name is Aiden.  10 years old.  His family is great - two younger sisters and his mom are all interested in the church and sit in on lessons.  We love teaching him and we have some appointments this week to meet people who are also interested in learning more about the good word of God!  

This week our district served at a local food bank.  Outdoor food bank.  A big truck came and dropped of a BUNCH of food and we just made an assembly line, where we put one or two of everything into a box, then gave the boxes to people who came.  However many they needed.  We made hundreds.  I was to busy and happy talking to all the people that I forgot to get hypothermia and freeze.  

I've eaten a LOT this past week.  Members feed us very well.  It's also fun to be eating a roast, then have the dad of the family say "didja see that little cow by the front door out there?  This is her dad you're eating." haha.  Very delicious, tender meat and potatoes that people grow and raise themselves.  What a concept.  We got two dinners on some nights because a lot of the congregations have Valentine dinners and parties, which we obviously aren't gong to miss!  Free food, good people, and opportunities to talk to people about who they know that we could teach.  At one of the dinners, the Young Women's president asked if I could provide some background music for their ward candle-lit dinner, being served in courses by the girls in the ward.  Pretty fancy for this part of town.  I agreed and had fun playing a medly of movie music for people's romantic dinner haha.

On Saturday (day before valentine's day), Sister Stein and I went to go see a woman who lived close by us.  We didn't call ahead, and she was getting ready to leave when we showed up.  She said she was going on a Valentine's date with her husband that night.  Not a big deal, so we just set up a time to come back when she'd be home.  As we were leaving, I said "have fun on your date!" and she replied "you, too!".  It made me laugh/smile/cringe/cry haha.  Not really.  It still cracked me up, though.

On valentine's day, I got to give a talk on the importance of personal testimony in one ward, and teach the 17 year olds' sunday school class about the Plan of Salvation in another!  I love doing stuff like that.  

In my talk, I talked about how the reason it's important to develop and SHARE our testimony is because that's how we defeated Satan (Revelations 12:7-11).  We're told to put on the armor of God in Ephesians 6:11-17, and all of it is defensive EXCEPT the sword of the SPIRIT.  When we bear our testimonies, we bring the spirit.  The spirit is what REPELS Satan.  It's how we are victorious.  I can testify of that because I've seen it in action up here in Idaho.  Have the courage and the bravery to talk about the things you believe in to others.  It's the BEST way to have power over Satan and the BEST way to let Satan have power over us is to say nothing and do nothing.... which, unfortunately, is easier.  Sorry.  Best of luck.  Godspeed!  D&C 84:88.

I'll send pictures later.  Thank you all for your kind words and notes!  I love hearing from you!!

Sister McIntosh


 The weight of the ice made the drain gutter thing on the church collapse.  Crazy.

  This is what our weekly planning sessions look like.

 This is what the view from my window in the mornings looks like.  Yes, those are the Teton mountains.

This is what me and some cows look like.

Friday, February 12, 2016

8 February 2016 - Boonies, Backroads, and Bolo Ties

Hello friends and family!

So, whenever we have dinner with a family in the church or talk to anyone, really, we ask them for referrals.  We ask them with people they know who could use the gospel.  That way, we can find people to teach.  It's a big deal.  This is what 99% of people say when we ask them:
"Well, let's see.  There's one fella who lives on the old Larson Farm.. next to the Siddoway place.  Do you know where that is?  No?  Okay, so you're gonna go south from here, until you see the old green shack with a blue door.  It might be hidden in the snow.  Turn left there, and go until you pass 3 potato cellars.  after that, There'll be a double-wide trailer where the hernandez or torres or something family are living now.  It used to be the Parker's property.  So you turn left there and go till you reach the high school.  Then go east on the caddywompus road off the high school property and go until you go over the railroad tracks.  After that, drive for about 4 minutes and ours is the house next to the one with their christmas decor still up."
Every day.  It's so hard for me to know where these people live and I would be MORE than happy to go share the good word of God with them.  Working on my patience with knowing how to get around up here.  It's all very spread out and... quaint?  

I LOVE the members, though.  They will do ANYTHING to help us, it seems.  Always willing to come to lessons with us, always willing to drive us and feed us and give us leftovers to take home.  There is one woman who went and bought church clothes and shoes for some girls we know who don't come to church because they don't have anything to wear.  They are so sweet.  I love working with them and the bishops and the ward mission leaders.  

Something else:  most of the people we talk to ask us if we've "been to the new Super-Wal*Mart in Rexburg".  There was a regular-sized one there, I suppose, but now there's a super walmart and everyone talks about it and asks us if we've been there.  We hadn't until last week and we went.  It was pretty crowded and about the size of the Walmart on 249.  It made me smile to see half the people there with a literal map of the store.

I've been seeing a lot of people I know!  When I was going to BYU-I, some of my professors and leaders from my singles ward there are ALL in my stake that I cover!  When a member took us to a pizza place in rexburg (home of BYU-I) one night, I saw one of my dear friends from the study abroad I went on and a friend from my stake back home!  So fun!  Also, turns out one of my bishops from Houston, ALL of his family is all over the place up here.  Small world.  Small town.

A couple days ago, I felt like I should start reading from the Book of Mormon in spanish.  random.  That's not something I usually do, but I did.  Only about a chapter.  And since my spanish isn't super developed, I had the english Book of Mormon next to it, to help with the tricky parts.  The next day, I did it again.  The next day, I did it again.  On THAT particular day, Sister Stein and I were visiting some people in the ward that nobody really seemed to have met, just so we could learn their story, learn if they are interested in the gospel etc.. we knocked on the door of this one house, and a woman opens the door.  I introduce myself and my companion as missionaries of The Church of---then she stops me and says "no english.  spanish.  sorry." Then starts to close the door.  Then I'm just like "Espera!" (Wait).  she opens it up, and I introduce us again... in spanish.  She invites us in.  And she and I and her husband talk... in spanish.  I ask about her family and how long they've lived there... in spanish.  I told them that we have a message about Jesus Christ and about God- about how he loves each of us and is our heavenly Father... in spanish.  I told them I don't speak spanish very well, but that if we get their phone number, we could give it to missionaries that speak better spanish than us and they can come and share the message.  They agreed.  They wanted them to come.  They gave me their number, wished us luck, told us goodnight, and we left.  IT WAS SO COOL.  I haven't spoken in spanish to somebody in a while so I was SO happy that God was helping me out.  Because that was not all me.  That was the spirit.  It was cool.

Something I've learned is that God will bless us with miracles when we're faithful and busy working hard.  I've also learned that these miracles and blessings often come when we're at our lowest, when we've been WAITING for a long time for things to get better.  Learning how to stay faithful, positive and diligent during these times is the hard part, but the most rewarding and faith-building part.  I'm glad for the work, and I'm grateful for all that I've learned.    I love hearing from all of you and would like to hear from you.  I've been studying a lot about faith, hope and charity.  To y'all, what is the difference between faith and hope?  How are they complimentary?  How do they go hand in hand yet how are they distinguished?  Send me your thoughts!

Love you all!  

Sister McIntosh

Some of the sisters in our zone.  me, Sister Stein, Naitoko, Tauti, Kolo, and Jarvis.

Me being an ice walrus with a huge bank of snow. 

Me and sis Stein

Icicles scare me.  Frozen knives hanging from buildings 

1 February 2016 - You were all right!

Greetings from up north-

Everyone who found out I was serving in Idaho commented on how cold it would be.  I am glad to tell you all that you were RIGHT!  100% correct.  There is about 2-3 feet of snow all over.  I'm getting a lot of good practice driving in ice/snow.  Having a car is such a blessing.

On Tuesday morning, my MTC companions left at 3am for Boston, then about 15 of us took a teeny tiny plane from SLC to Pocatello and our mission president and his wife (the Hancocks) met us there and took us to the mission office, where we were oriented, and met all sorts of important people.  3 of the elders from my district are going to Pocatello, as well, so it was nice to have them there.  Afterward, we went to the mission home, where they fed us dinner and told us where our first area would be and who our trainer was going to be!! It was like in Harry Potter and the sorcer's stone, when they'd go up to the front, one by one, then get told which house they'd be in. Not kidding.  My first area is....... THE SUGAR CITY AREA!  

Here are some fun facts about my area:
 -I cover 9 wards.  One whole stake. (fyi - that is a lot of wards)
-This stake covers the whole town of sugar city.
-Sugar City population: 1500... slightly more than my high school graduating class
-90% of Sugar City are members of the church
-Half of the other 10% don't speak english

Fun facts about my mission:
-There are over 90 stakes in the Idaho Pocatello mission
-Over 180 missionaries in the mission
-Pretty much every companionship gets a car, especially in winter.
-My mission president and his wife are great

My trainer, Sister Stein, is wonderful! She's only been out about 12 weeks, and we're kind of white-washing the sugar city area, meaning that neither of us have covered this area before, because it's a new area.  That being said, there hasn't been as much teaching as there will be in the future, but a lot of planning, phone calls, meetings, correlations with ward mission leaders etc.. It's been a lot of paperwork so far, but I'm hopeful and anxious about things getting better and better!  I love her!

One thing that's been on my mind lately is something Pres. Utchdorf said: "Salvation cannot be bought by the currency of obedience."  It doesn't matter if one person has sinned more than another, or repented more, or sinned less or whatever.  Through Christ's atonement, EVERYONE is covered.  He has paid the price for EVERYONE'S salvation, because He loves all of us individually, equally, and eternally.  We have to accept his help, his grace, and keep his commandments because we love him, but he did not perform the atonement with respect to one person or another.  Study Alma 7:11-12.  Send me your thoughts.  It's one of my new favorites. 

I love you all!  And I love to hear from you all!

The church is true,

Sister McIntosh

 Me and my companion.

Some girls were just like laying in the snow...  

That's our car and the view from our apartment.  We're staying in a old lady's little apartment thing that has a baby kitchen and bathroom.  She's nice.  And has a piano.  holla 

Feeding dinner to our NEIGHbors.  I love them so much. 

Us and the district leaders shoveling snow for people. I've never shoveled snow in my life before that day. 

25 January 2016 - The Second Week Flies By

People said that about the MTC and it is SO TRUE.  Last week it felt like DAYS between meals, but I feel like Just yesterday it was Sunday.  The Sunday on the 17th, that is.

I don't have a whole lot of time, but I hope you enjoyed the pictures!  In addition to our regular investigators, we taught a couple of less-active members of the church and got to skype a Mormon family in Idaho!  We shared a message, talked with the kids about serving missions, and shared a challenge with them - very fun!

Our investigator Leah has come SO FAR.  Since she has been meeting with missionaries for 3 years and has a lot of emotional problems (PTSD, depression, anxiety etc) we spent a lot of time listening, talking, sharing scriptures, and praying with/for her.  She didn't always say much, and when she did a lot of times it was rambling about her job.  At the end though, she asked if she could share a lesson with US.  We said okay, and she pulled out a bent nail.  She talked about how it's useless in building things and if you hammer on the head it'll only become more useless and bend even more.  Missionaries have done this to her.  She told us about how they come and pound their religion and "homework assignments" into her head and it only hurts her more.  It doesn't help her heal.  She said that if missionaries who teach her were to minister more as Christ would, they'd help her where she's hurting, by patting her on the back (where the bend is), by listening, by suffering with her when she suffers, by praying for her, and by trying to help her instead of teach a lesson.  She thanked us for being Christlike and told us that the way she felt when we shared with her made her WANT to start praying again.  We never asked her to.  She had an increase in faith that led to action, just because people were willing to listen to her, and lend a helping hand.  She said she's been reading the scriptures more.  We never asked her to.  Inviting people to make changes can be important, and encouraging people to come to Christ is important, but I encourage you all to look at people with the Love that Christ would, and see what THEY NEED.  Missionaries, friends, mothers, fathers, co-workers, anyone can do this.  

I'm grateful for all I've learned here and I'm excited to get out into the field tomorrow morning.  I can't wait to help people realize the love that Christ has for them, to help them realize that they can have SO much hope for the future because of Him.  

I hope you all have a wonderful week. 

Sister McIntosh

PS - If you haven't studied Alma 5 in awhile, it's a good one.

Our whole district.  I love them (Elder Woods, Lloyd, Anderson, Hilsinger, Weber, Sister Me, Anderson, and Whitehead)

My comps with our investigator, LEAH! More on her later... 

Our district with one of our teachers, Brother Smith. (first guy on the left) 

Our elders, who are probably in a boy band.  L->R (Elder Lloyd, Anderson, Hilsinger, Weber, and Woods) 

Us with our senior district that went to the field several days after we arrived.  The two sisters next to me were my Sister Training Leaders. (tall=sister marstella and short=sister weibye)

Me and my comps with Elder Hilsinger (sunglasses, going to Pocatello, also) and Elder Lloyd (going to Poky also) during our temple walk