Tuesday, March 22, 2016

21 March 2015 - "St. Patrick's Day Greenie!!"

Greetings -

Things that people said to me on St. Patrick's day:
"Sister McIntosh, you're Irish, so you must love St. Patrick's day!!"
"Sister McIntosh, why aren't you wearing any green??"
My response:
"I'm Scottish, and I'm still a greenie, so everything about me is green!"

Vanessa is getting baptized on April 9th!  I'm going to send some pictures of her, because she is awesome and loves learning about the gospel!  Her family is Catholic, and they gave her permission to get baptized, but I hope that they truly support her in this decision.  

The zone leaders in our area had a baptism this weekend and asked Sister Stein and I to do a musical number for it, and let me borrow their guitar!  We sang "Nearer My God, to Thee" and it was fun to get to play guitar again.  I was rusty and it hurt my fingers a lot, but it was a good hurt.  There is a lot of "good" hurting while serving a mission. Many emotional/spiritual growing pains.  I love it.

There was a man we had a lesson with who told me that humans evolved from dinosaurs.  He said I came from the "long-neck" dinosaur.  Aka the brontosaurus.  That was an interesting lesson.

We've been working with this girl named Macie, who got baptized a few years ago when she was 11.  Her learning capabilities and understanding of the gospel are limited, and her family used to never come to church.  But we've been meeting with them every week and helping her understand a lot of her questions, and her whole family comes to church every week now!  And she said she wants to go to the temple!! It's awesome.  They're neat.

"Harvest" is coming up.  Where I'm from, in Houston, a lot of people work in the oil industry, or with software/computers, at HP, for example.  Where I'm serving, in Idaho, 95% of the people work as farmers (potatoes and beets, mainly) or work "driving truck".  Because of that, the kids get 2 weeks off of school called "harvest" literally so that they can work harvesting potatoes.  I thought it was all a stereotype.  Then I learned that it was all real.  The potato is real.  
People have been busy, since the snow is ALMOST all melted.  They're all working on their farms.  It's quite a sight.  

We had zone conference this past weekend and it was incredible.  President Hancock and his wife are so inspired and loving.  They talked about Matthew 4.  It's when Christ called his apostles.  His disciples.  It says that when he called them, they "straightway left their nets".  Straightway.  Immediately.  Without hesitation.  Without looking back.  They left their livelihood, their work, their friends, their families.  Everything.  That's something that's been on my mind lately.  What are my nets?  If I want to be a 100% committed, full-time, heart-might-mind-and-strength missionary, what are some nets that I need to leave behind in order to stay focused?  It's a hard thing to think about.  Because I like my nets.  But I'm here to work.  My hand is at the plough (Luke 9:57-62).

That's my challenge to you.  What are some nets in your life that you need to forsake so that you can follow Christ more fully?  It's different for me, as a full-time missionary, because I have more nets to give up.  Some good nets I need to put down for awhile.  But, we all have bad habits, jank priorities (pardon the slang), we all have SOMETHING that's keeping us from following Christ in the way that we know we should be.  
Think about that this week.  What are some things that we need to give up for something better, for something more Christlike?

Pictures to come.  I love you all.  I pray for you.

Sister McIntosh

This is Vanessa, our investigator getting baptized next month!  She's fun.

Paws for a moment and look at how happy these cats made me.

14 March 2016 - "This is the Sugar City sister missionaries!"

The subject line is a sentence I've had to say several times before on the phone.  It's terribly tricky to say, sometimes.  Anyhow.

It's warming up quite nicely here!  It's been in the 40s and 50s, and it's also been very windy, which is always interesting in a skirt. Keeps me on my toes, ya know?  The snow is mostly melted, thank goodness.  I'm excited for sunshine and flowers and GREEN!
The work has been rolling forth excellently!  We got a new investigator this week named Vanessa, who was raised Catholic but has been coming to church/activities with her friends for awhile and asked her mom if she could get baptized before even meeting with us!! We are planning on a baptism for her on April 9th!  She is fabulous, loves learning and loves getting her questions answered.  Very neat girl.

Another one is Yelipza - I may have mentioned her last week.  She is 22, has 3 kids, and is fascinated with Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.  She, too, has a Catholic background, but said that she wants to get baptized once she reads more and learns that it's true!  

We went and worked at the food bank in St Anthony this week, which is always fun, because they let us take a box of food home for ourselves and for anyone else that we are teaching or who we think could use food!  That's always a fun day, delivering boxes LOADED with all sorts of food to people.  Good times.  

There is a scripture that I've been pondering on a lot lately: Romans 8:1-2  There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.  For the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

I came across this and thought it was so neat!  SO comforting.  No condemnation.  If we walk after the spirit, the way Christ has instructed us to, there will be no condemnation.  It's really easy for us to get caught up in walking after the flesh, aka living our life in the way that is easy, that feels good, that is popular and fun... but walking after Christ, aka living our life how Christ did, is the way to BE FREE from sin and from death.  Free.  

I love you all.  I love this work.  I love Heavenly Father and I love that he loves all of us.  Individually.  He wants to help each of us.  Individually.  Let Him help you.  Let Him help you be free.

Sister McIntosh

Sack dinner in the church, because we didn't have dinner scheduled with a member.  They usually spoil us with dinner, rides, food, etc. 

Monday, March 14, 2016

7 March 2016 - "Build her a cake or something.."

Greetings to all--

First thing: Did you know that there are stars in the sky?  I THOUGHT I did.  But then, out here, as I'm walking into my house at the end of the day, I'll glance up and almost FALL over because I'm so in AWE at the amount of stars in the sky!  They're all SO BRIGHT and at different depths!  And beautiful.  It's my favorite thing.

I learned how to make children love me.  I introduce myself as "Sister Mac-n-cheese" and my companion as "Sister FrankenSTEIN" and then they love us and think we're hilarious.  I felt victorious when I discovered this.  I won't WRITE much this email, but I will probably send many pictures, so stay tuned.  

Yes, it was my birthday and it was awesome.  You will see in the pictures.  

Transfers are happening this week, but Sister Stein and I are staying in the Sugar City stake, which covers the towns of Newdale, Teton, and Sugar City.  Look them up on google earth or something, and you'll probably just see farms with like 30 houses.  It's fun.  

I got to use my spanish again this week!  Our new investigator, Yelipza, speaks English fluently, but her family doesn't and I talk to them a lot.  Yelpiza is 22, has four kids (wowza), is Catholic (for now), and is the sweetest.  We have good talks.  And she has cute hijos (kids).  

One of the reasons my birthday was great was because I got to bear my testimony in church with many other faithful members and I got to talk to many people about what I believe and love.  When people go up to bear their testimony in church, many of them say that they had a "strong feeling" that they just had to bear their testimony, like something was prompting to, aka the Spirit.  It made me think... being a full-time missionary is like having that feeling with EVERYONE you talk to.  It's kind of scary, but it's really really rewarding and I've learned a lot from it.  Ether 12:27 is a favorite scripture of mine, but it's been on my mind a lot lately.  ANYTHING that is a weakness can be a strength.  ANYTHING that is hard can become a blessing.  ANYTHING that is sad can be turned into joy.  THAT'S why Christ is central to our growth because it's  only through him that that happens.  I have many weaknesses and I'm grateful for his help in overcoming them.  

I love you all.  Thank you for the birthday wishes!!

Sister McIntosh

MY ZONE BUILT ME A CAKE!!  With the Rexburg Temple on it!!  They made fondant!  I felt so loved.  We devoured it at our zone training because it was delicious.  
On my bday, I had dinner at the Howard's home!  I knew them during my time in Europe and it's been so fun to see them!  <3

We went to a Relief Society dinner themed "Scatter sunshine" and there was yellow decor EVERYWHERE.  And they had a photobooth with absurd props, so obviously my companion and I took some hilarious missionary-esque pictures.  Enjoy.

Also, me eating part of the cake.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

29 February 2016 - Why does everyone here have a dog?


I have learned many things on my mission, even though I've only been out for about a month and a half.  Let me share some of them with you.

**Idahoans love starches.  Every meal usually has 3 or more. 
**Starting your day with a grapefruit makes in exponentially better.
**The word "finagle" - I'd never heard or used it before
**The average weight gain for sisters in this mission is 40 lbs.  
**I am now a pro at driving in ice/snow.
**I am incredibly good at appearing as though I love everyone's dogs
**A common meal in Idaho: thick chicken noodle soup over mashed potatoes with rolls
**A lot of older people say "I'll give ya a jingle" instead of "I'll call you."  Never heard this before.  It amuses me greatly.
**People are very eager and willing to go into graphic and unnecessary detail about their health problems.  Or their neighbor's health problems.  Or their dog's/cow's/goat's health problems.
**People like to greet missionaries by saying "I'm already Mormon".
**It's very surprising for people to hear "yes/no ma'am" and "yes/no sir" 
**Snow in late February can get really ugly and dirty
**Tender mercies happen all the time. 
**Tender mercies appear in the form of free homemade salsa sometimes
**God rewards and recognizes bravery
**Things almost never go as terribly as you imagine they will

Other matters of interest:

On tuesday, we had exchanges.  This means that the four companionships of sisters in my zone all sort of switched around for a day.  I spent that day ON CAMPUS IN REXBURG with Sister Kolo, a sweet Tongan sister who's been on her mission for a little over a year.  It was so much fun.  On tuesday, we didn't really go on campus much, but spent a lot of time visiting people in the surrounding areas.  Met a lot of really neat people, and I learned SO MUCH from sister Kolo.  She told me that I need to stop knocking on doors "like a policewoman".  Oops. 

The next day on wednesday, I switched with a companionship again and was on campus in the MC working a booth where students can come and give us referrals for people to teach.  It was fun, but weird.  A kind guy bought us pizza.  I saw many people that I knew.  Many kinds of people that I knew.  It was emotionally draining in  good and bad ways, and almost caused an identity crisis.  I'm kind of kidding.  It was a good thing, but I was glad when it was time to switch back and I got to be in the very un-distracting Sugar City stake.

My companion, Sister Stein, was sick this week.  Pray for her to get better and pray that I'll not breath in her sick air germs or anything, please.

We have a few investigators!!  Emmett, Darlene, Aiden, and Brittany!! Brittany isn't actually in our area, but she told the Elders that she wanted to be taught by sisters... and we happily accepted.  They're all great.  Emmett and Aiden are both 10.  Emmett's mom wants him baptized.  Aiden's does not.  Darlene's husband is a member of the church, and she's taken some classes from BYUI about the Book of Mormon, but is still kind of hesitant.  All good people.  All fun to talk to and good to teach.

Some thoughts:

In the accounts of the creation of the earth in Moses it is said that the "Lord God created all things spiritually before they werenaturally upon the face of the earth."  
This makes me think of praying in the morning.  I didn't do much of that very much before I came on my mission, but I take it very seriously now, because praying in the morning is kind of our way of creating our day spiritually before it physically happens.  We pray about things we want to do, pray for people, pray for things we may want to learn, and ask God what HE would have us do, before the day really begins.  When I think about it that way, it's very easy for me to stay focused, right when I wake up, which hasn't always been the case.  God wants to help us have a day full of learning opportunities, missionary opportunities, and blessings!  Spiritually create your day with Him so that you are both on the same page, so that you are both on HIS page, I should say.

Sorry for the long email! I love you all!  I love hearing from you!

Sister McIntosh

Me on exchanges with Sister Kolo, teaching some awesome kids while roasting marshmallows overlooking the rexburg "skyline" - so fun to be in a bigger city for a day!

 There was a yard with a bunch of cow legs lying around... So we took an aesthetic pic. (Heidi, this is instagram worthy, no?)  We COWnd't resist.

 My zone

Me and my fun tongan companion for the day, Sister Kolo.

 A yellow hummer, a horse, and me.  (someone should write a country song with that as a title.)

Me being on campus at BYUI!  it's Me, Sister Poulson, Sister Sondrup (One of my STLs) and my companion, Sister Stein

22 February 2016 - Hello!!

I don't have much time!  So I will tell you all of the highlights:

On Saturday we went to the 99th annual American Dog Derby in Ashton, ID.  It's where a bunch of people around come and race their sled dogs.  We volunterred to help with the Mutt Races/snowshoe races for the kids.  It was interesting, because I hate dogs haha.  But they were all very well-trained  and we weren't allowed to pet them, so I loved it.  They had the missionaries do a snow-shoe race and I came in second!  YAY!

We started teaching this awesome kid named Gabe.  He has a lot of good friends that are members, and he wanted to learn more.  We taught him about Joseph Smith and the book of mormon and believes it and wants to be baptized, but then we found out the next day that he IS baptized, just wanted to see if he could get baptized again.  He lives far away, so nobody knew his family or anything.  That was fun.

Tomorrow I go on exchanges, which means, I get to spend the day with a different companion, and I'll actually be on campus, working in south Rexburg!  Crazy.  I'll probably run in to people I know there.

Thank you all for emailing me!  Love you,

Sister McIntosh

And that is some of my district!

These are some of the kids I teach!  The boy in the scout uniform is our investigator, Aiden.  Cute kids.