Friday, April 22, 2016

18 April 2016 - Straightway

It happened!  Vanessa got baptized!  It was wonderful to be there with her and to feel the spirit.  Many of her friends came to support her, as did a lot of others.  She was SO happy and I can't wait to teach her more.  She has a lot of potential. 

We are starting to work a lot more with a lot of other individuals who are ready to progress toward baptism!  A conversation that I have frequently with members of the church is:
Person: So, where are you from?
Me: Houston!
Person: Wow... I've lived in Idaho my whole life.  What's it like growing up in the mission field?

"The mission field" is a term that I've learned people use to describe any place besides Utah or Idaho.  My companion and I are trying to introduce people who do this to a newperspective.  Yes, there are many members of the church here.  But.  I was called to serve my mission here.  So are many, many others.  It IS the mission field.  Everywhere is the mission field. We had a baptism this past weekend, for crying out loud.  Sugar City, Idaho IS a mission field.  It's the mission field for me and Sister Stein and for those who live there!  There is work to do, there are people to teach, there is service to do, and I want to do it!  I want to help others do it!  I want introduce the gospel to people who do not yet enjoy it.  Pretty much everyone here has heard it, but that does not mean that they enjoy or understand it.  That does not mean that they are baptized and appreciate the joy that can come from living the way Christ did.

The night before Vanessa was baptized, we read Matthew 3:13-17 with her.  It's when Christ was baptized.  As He was baptized, it says He came "straightway" or immediately out of the water.  Of course in a literal sense we should all come straightway out of being immersed in water or else we would drown.  But did not Christ and his followers do all things righteous in a "straightway" or immediate manner?  How often are we slow to do the things God wants us to do?  How often are we slow to say what he wants us to say, or go where he wants us to go?  I've been studying a lot about diligence, and I've learned that doing the right things straightway is a big part of that.  Being diligent and Christlike means not waiting or procrastinating.  It's something we all need to work on, myself included.  

Thank you all for your support, love and prayers.

Sister McIntosh

 Rainbows in Idaho seem to be about as common as potato cellars.  Aka there are many.
 It was one of our investigators' birthday!  She is... 9.  

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

11 April 2016 - "Loud, breeding, Greek eaters"


We had zone training this week, which is always a joy!! I love seeing and learning from the other missionaries in the Rexburg area.  Sister Stein and I did a musical, which I got to play guitar for.  That's always fun.  Afterwards, all of the elders came to our place and helped us move!!  Yes, we moved!  We now live in the terribly tiny, tiny town of Teton.  #alliteration 
We live in the basement of a member.  It's is much more spacious and much more frigid.  It is sunny and beautiful and in the 50s outside, but probably in the -20s inside.  It's fine, though.  Keeps me awake and alert :)  Transfers aren't until the 27th, but one of our Bishops found and got a place ready for us and wanted us closer to the work!  It'll help with mile conservation, that's for sure.

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT to those who have written me a letter/mailed a package in the past 2(ish) weeks:
Firstly, you're a champ, and thank you.  Secondly, I probably did not receive it.  All of the mail we get is mailed to the mission office in Pocatello, which then forwards it to our house.  Since we moved, however, the mission office had to change the address in their system of where we live.  But they changed it to the wrong address, and they changed it before we even moved.  SO anything that we would have received was sent to an incorrect address, and therefore will be sent back to the sender.  SO, if you got your letter to be back, my sincerest apologies.  I called the office and sorted everything out, and all is well.  Try, try again, ya know?

We had dinner with a woman from Russia that moved to Sugar City like 15 years ago.  Heavy accent.  Very polite lady.  She prayed in Russian at the end!!!  So neat.

I also met a woman whose mother was 100% Scottish (we talked for awhile about Scotland #clanmackintosh) and whose father was 100% Greek.  She was raised Greek Orthodox and converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when she was about 25.  She had a neat story, spoke some Greek for me, and asked about my Scottish heritage.  It was amazing.

We're also got a new investigator this week!  He's Jehovah's Witness.  We have some really good talks about his faith and ours and he loves learning.  He also speaks spanish.

As you can see, it's been a very multicultural week.  We spent a lot of time preparing for the move, so we didn't do as much proselyting as we would like to have, but it was still a great week. 

Vanessa is getting baptized THIS SATURDAY!!!  It's been so fun and amazing to see her grow and progress.  She is so ready and so excited.  As is everyone in the area.
That's what this time on earth is all about.  Progress.  Growth.  Learning.  Experience.   Essentially, we are just in an embryotic state, preparatory to evolving and improving until we get to become like and live with God--our Heavenly Father, who loves us and is mindful of every tiny step and stumble we may take along the way of our progression.  But. Because of Christ, everything we need help with, everything we are bad at, everything we love, cherish, worry about, suffer through, enjoy... ALL OF IT can be done with Christ's help.  Because he's been through it all.  Alma 7:11-12.  Something to ponder.

What have you been pondering this week?  What have you learned?  What scriptures have you read that brought you hope?  What experiences have you had that brought you perspective?  I'd love to hear how Christ is helping you grow.

Sister McIntosh  

Me with our house mom.  We are living in her basement and she is an EMT and drives an ambulance!!!!!  She gave us a tour.  I thought about laying on the gurney and creating a very mean, yet impressive late april (lapril) fool's joke... but decided against it. To my mom's appreciation, I'm sure.

Missionaries do all sorts of rescuing!  

Us with Vanessa getting her ready for her baptism on SATURDAY!!!

4 April 2016 - The snow is almost gone

And SINCE the snow is almost gone, that means that there is more green appearing, more sunshine, and less instances of me leaving our little house with 278+ layers.  I actually have traces of a watch tan line!!  Miracles do happen, my friends.

We went to dinner at a Bishop's house this week, and as we start eating, he casually told us that we have a baptism this month.  UM, WHAT??  Apparantly there's a kid named Kevin that everyone and their cow knows in Sugar City, who isn't a member.  All of his friends have tried to convert him for his whole life.  He goes to Utah State in Logan and, long story short, had some very powerful experiences that made him realize that now is the time for him to get baptized.  But he lives in Logan.  BUT, he insisted that he get baptized in Sugar City, since that's where his family/friends/childhood is and he didn't want to make everyone travel down there. (Everyone seriously would.  He's so popular/loved.)  So basically I have a baptism in my area this month.  And I've never met the kid.  So that's exciting!

Remember Yenise?  The incredibly prepared woman who's been through so much and wants to make changes?  She's also getting baptized this month.  And she asked if we could get her tickets for General Conference.  So we did everything we could.  And we got her three for the Sunday afternoon session.  And she went.  And she's wonderful.  And getting baptized.

Also.  Vanessa is HOPEFULLY getting baptized.  If her family lets her.  Lots of praying has been happening.  

There was a pinewood derby activity this week.  Not just for scouts, but for everyone, and it was totally fun.  A family made some cars for us.  Pictures to come.
At said derby, I met this old, old woman who served a mission in Berlin forever ago.  We chatted for awhile and she told me stories about going on the other side of the wall to the Communist side and having to collect tithing/fast offerings and hide them in her big coat from the guards and soldiers.  So intense.

I hope you all got a chance to watch general conference.  If not, I conveniently included a link in this email.  You're welcome.
It was interesting to see familiar faces and hear familiar tunes as the choir that I was in at BYU-I sang during the Saturday PM session.  Good times.
It was interesting to watch conference as a missionary.  Because I wasn't just watching for myself and what I need, but for MANY others that I teach and work with.  So if you ask me which talk was my favorite, it'll depend on who is on my mind and heart at that moment.  One of my favorite quotes, however, was by Dallin H. Oaks.  He said that "some things can only be learned by faith."  Of course we'll learn things through experience and through study. But some things won't be as apparent.  Ever.  That's why we need faith to help us with what we DO know, and not be "blown about by every wind of doctrine" or trial that we don't understand.  Be grounded by what you know, have hope in what you believe, and have faith in what you can learn.

Eyring's talk at the beginning and Renlund's talk at the end of that same session in particular spoke to my soul in a very real way.  They're both a good study.  What are some things that YOU learned from conference?  What are some things that stood out to you?

I love you all.  

Sister McIntosh

Us with the family that made us a derby car.  Mine (not pictured) has plastic apples glued onto it.  #mcintoshapples

Us with Macie (pink shirt) and her family at the Derby.  Macie is a recent convert and her family is starting to come to church!!

Our marvelous district

We might be moving to a new house this week in the small city of Teton, Idaho, so I got some quality pictures with my NEIGHbor.

Friday, April 1, 2016

28 March 2016 - Tender mercies left n' right

Vanessa is progressing well!  She came to church, she talks to us, she reads and prays, but her family is not very supportive.  At all.  She's just 14 years old, but has gone through so much and still wants to get baptized.  

There's a woman named Maren that helps us out by giving us rides to lessons and bringing us food all the time.  Maren also has cows.  I love cows.  We helped her feed her cows, clean out her barn, and do some other good down n' dirty work.  It was nice to wear some jeans, move some hay around a bit, and smell like manure.  Ironically refreshing

So, the zone leaders gave us a referral for a "very prepared" woman named Yenise.  We had our first lesson with her this morning, actually.  She. Is. Amazing.  She is in her late 20s, has had 7 miscarriages, 8 open-heart surgeries, and while she was pregnant with her now-2 yr old, her husband was shot 4 times and killed.  She has a Catholic background, and asked to meet with us.  She says she wants a better life for her and her daughter.  She wants to teach her daughter things about Christ while she's young.  She said she wants to stop partying, and start going to church, and be "more involved in church and not just feel it once a week on Sunday" like she does with the Catholic church.  She literally said she wants to feel the spirit "all the time".  She wants to get married again someday, but wants to meet a man who wants to do more than just go to church on Sunday, but wants to LIVE it all the time.  She doesn't want to be involved with drinking and drugs anymore.  She wants to go to general conference next weekend.  What the heck.  It was an INCREDIBLE lesson.  She was crying, we were crying, everyone was SO happy to be there.  Meeting Yenise and introducing her to the gospel has been one of the most tender mercies I've witnessed since being here.

Another tender mercy was being able to watch the General Women's session, preparatory to General Conference.  We got to go to the church with all the other women in the stake and watch it with them.  Also refreshing.  

There was a lot about charity, a lot about loving and serving others as Christ would.  I don't have a whole lot of time left, but I recommend you all to watch some of it!  It's amazing.

I love this work.  I love the gospel.  I love my Savior.

Sister McIntosh
Teaching a lesson to some cows.
 Allison, the sister of an investigator.  They all drew pictures of Lehi's dream (1 Ne 8) while we taught it. she is precious.

I still love  cows.

Cow selife
 Our investigator (Tate) and his mom (Falina) invited us over for a lesson and for some egg-dying!  I had been DYING to color some eggs.  

Cow selfie plus Sister Stein and Maren