October 28, 2015

Goodbye Sister Eastman and Hello Sister Hislop!

Let's see. The highlight of this week was our Ward Halloween party. We helped the YW set up and this Ward knows how to throw an awesome party. Decorations were so cute. This was so great because the Garcia family came! Also, a couple other friends of members were there and we were able to get their numbers. One was being taught by sisters in another area and moved to this area. 

We found a woman living in Scarsdale interested in the Book of Mormon this week. That was a little miracle because knocking doors in Scarsdale is hard. Not many are interested. Sometimes I laugh remembering before I got my mission call wanting to go somewhere poor & humble (maybe like India where I love) then I'm walking down streets with the most expensive real estate eva and I think how Heavenly Father really has a reason for where he sends us & a good sense of humor i think. I guess there are both ends of the spectrum here! 

We had a media referral who we called and gave the Book of Mormon to and he had some questions for us. Does God have a plan? Is it a perfect plan? He is from France so that was so cool!! 

Sunday we helped knit and we sat with the Primary kids on the stage while they practiced for their primary program. This is silly, but that was such a highlight for me!! As the kids were wiggly and wouldn't stay still, some screaming the songs, I felt the spirit so much!! I LOVE PRIMARY SONGS. They are so simple and they are so true. Why did I never listen when I sung them once upon a time. Children are so pure and just hearing them sing "This is my testimony that HE LIVES- Jesus Christ, and He loves us," made my testimony grow. We've been singing it all week. Haha 

On my fridge was a quote for a long time that my mom had up. I read it again this week and feel that is exactly how I feel about the abundance of blessings that come from the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We shared it with a few members. "Men and women who turn their lives over to God will discover that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, raise up friends, and pour out peace. Whoever will lose his life in the service of God will find eternal life" so I'm going to relate my life or missionary service to this reeeeal quick... As I have served people here in New York I HAVE felt a deep joy for what I am sharing- The Gospel! It comes when I study it (read the Book or MORMON) then GO out and share it on door steps. My perspective on many things/ my vision for my life is changing/ has changed already! I know more of who I want to be & who my Heavenly Father wants me to be. This one is a good one... Because I feel like I'm suuuper slow at times.... Haha like my memory is HORRIBLE, but I'm asking Heavenly Father to help me remember things so I can teach better and I have seen he does help.. Missionary service is hard WORK. Waking up early and going all day is tiring but I have felt extra energy to do what I need here. My spirits have been lifted and I have been comforted as I've focused on my Savior, blessings do come each day (although, sometimes it's easier to see the challenges in each day.) I feel like the people here are my friends. I feel that the opportunity I have to meet such kind and loving people is a privilege and I know everyone can benefit from the blessings of giving ourselves more to God everyday and asking "what more can I do?" The blessings are Ours, He asks us that we only do our part and Keep the Commandments. 

Now I know you might be wondering who is coming to Scarsdale? I will be getting Sister Hislop who came out from the MTC with me, she is so sweet. She has been in Manhattan so I'm excited for her to come here, because this is the best place you could be right now! I think it will be really awesome because we are both at the same point on this mission journey. Well really, I feel like I just got here.. It will be so good. I always get anxious, but this scripture has really brought me peace. --- Alma 26: 7 But behold, they(I am) are in the hands of the Lord of the harvest, and they are his; and he will raise them up at the last day. My companion reminded me that This is the Lord's work & he can do this work on his own. He knows His children and who Sister Vassau and Sister Hislop need to meet. All he asks is we have a willing heart and are His hands to do His work. I love her, my heart is a little broken but all is well! 

What else? We got our flu shots this week and then we both got sick/ ache... One day we went to the office building and President told us to "come on!!" He was taking us to lunch! Ha ha "Are you sure President?" He talked to us about how he started his career and to get things done in life! 
 Another thing I feel like writing because boy are my letters random.  Prayer is so good. Make sure to take 5 minutes every morning to communicate with Heavenly Father. Sit for a while and collect your thoughts and feelings and then check in with Him. How deeply involved in your prayers are you? I have found that I have had some really amazing prayers this week by putting in more effort. Prayer is a work! That's my invitation :) 

Okay I love you guys, 

Sister McKell Vassau

October 21, 2015

Happy Fall Days!

Dear family and friends, 

I would love to tell you everything about this week, but I really can't remember. This is where journaling comes in, but I'm not the best at that either. I try and then just think of Parker who wrote in his journal every single day on his mission and I feel horrible.. That's okay. I do try to write down one thing every day that I learned or that I saw God's hand in. God is so good and is ever so present in every little thing in our lives.

However, one skill I never thought I'd pick up on my mission, KNITTING!!
Sister Louis calls us and asks us if we will help her in her class knit with the kids because they want to do it so bad but they get so frustrated that they can't. So if 20 year olds can slowly learn how to knit, 7 year old can too... Right?? Still unsure about that. But hey ,we go knit with sister Louis and she teaches us. I love knitting!!!! In my mind I'm thinking why have I never done this before? Love it! She has a cat named Joe Joe. The thing about NY is everyone has cats. They love them!?!? There was one street this week I counted 7 cats. I started sneezing badly in her house, but consoled her that I'm only a little allergic.. .False!

This might be the fastest 6 weeks that ever hit us. Sister Eastman and I have laughed too much and loved serving together here in Scarsdale. Serving along with her has been a joy. She is an outstanding person and is going to do great things. We're going to start a business or something. Haha I don't know how I'm going to let her leave my side!!!!!! FAMILY- please take time to meet her and be friends with her.. I'll hold you all to it!! Our families have so much in common. We have some exciting things this week happening, like the ward chili cook-off. We are dressing up as twins with our matching dresses that I'm pretty sure all sister missionaries have. We will take some good pictures for ya. The Elders and us made it a goal to split up the whole ward directory and call every person and try to schedule a time to bring them a short message and invite them to bring a friend to the Halloween party. Well, we did this and on our list we were able to visit two families... Yep two.. That's OKAY!!! We have an awesome Ward, they are just busy people. 

We met with the Garcia family twice who showed up to church. They were unable to come this week because of the flu... That was a little bit of a bummer. We love them!!!! Their kids are the best, sooooo cute. We might be handing them off to the Yonker sisters so we are still figuring that one out, but they love when we come. 

Another really cool that happened is a girl that the elders met at WestChester Community College has a baptism date.  Miracles do happen from planting seeds at colleges. 

Today I am in the city, because the departing missionaries are going to the temple so I am with Sister Atkinson! Also, we will receive transfer calls this week so that should be fun. 

I love you guys! I love God! 
I love your emails, letters, and love. Thank you!! 
I appreciate every single one of them. 

Love, Sister McKell Vassau 

October 18, 2015

I Love Babies!

Hi family and friends!! 

I can't believe it's already p-day! Here is my week. Elder Arnold came to our mission and told us all to repent. Haha Ya...the day was filled with trainings that were so amazing. It would take forever to explain what he said and how he is going to change our mission. A huge one was members being apart of this work and how sacrifice cultivates dedication. I loved when he talked about planning, there is so much time spent on planning in missionary work. He called it a revelatory experience. No one, not one of the people we see from day to day sees how much time is spent planning, praying, and thinking about THEM. It's all for them. That is why this is selfless work. He had us make specific plans for each of our investigators and it makes all the difference. It's really not about us -it's about the Lord and his work

There was a throw down in the projects this week and we got a front row seat in our car!! Ah hahahaha We were going to go look up some people and then we definitely decided not to because girls were running around everywhere yelling at each other and a woman had a bat. We were like, "No, thank you!" Some major contention happenin!!!! 

I can't wait to tell you a couple really amazing things that happened this week. Big tender mercies from the Lord.  Having Sister Eastman here has been so awesome because, 1.  She is my best friend. 2. she has people come to mind that she used to visit. One of those being, the Martinez family. This is so good!! So we go see the Martinez family and find them on a perfect night. Karla and her sweet daughter Monica have us sit down and we just talk and catch up with them. She is from Sao Paola, Brazil and her husband is from Mexico. They have two kids, who each are so sweet. They tell us to come back so we go back this week after our day long conference and applied everything we learned from Elder Arnold to help the Martinez family. It was incredible. Please pray for this sweet family! We feel so good about them. We are having two members bring them dinner this week because Karla just had surgery. 

We recently got a new bishopric in the Westchester 1st Ward. Each incredible men. The new Bishop read a scripture that hasn't left my mind since. It is 3 Nephi 5:13 and it says:

13.  Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among His people, that they might have everlasting life.
I am a disciple of Christ. Lord, what would you have me do? When we love our Savior, when we know him, when we are truly His disciple, we will do whatever it is he wants us to do and we may have to give up some things, like our pride or fears. Give it all to Him! Sometimes it's to open my mouth and sometimes it's to go where I feel not where I want. I want to be a disciple of Him to the end so there may be a lot of things Sister Vassau may have to give up. 

After the wonderful Sacrament on Sunday we pointed out a family that didn't look like everyone because of their street clothes. This family had 5 kids under the age of 10. The husband spoke Spanish and the mom English. As we sat down by them and talked with them, we quickly found out that they are not from our ward and not members. They do live in the area. She said that they drove past and felt like they should come to this church so they came. They came in the middle of the meeting. She hasn't been to church in a long time. With tears in her eyes she said I just love how happy I feel here. Sister Eastman and I are just dying inside. Who just shows up to church randomly and wants to meet with missionaries??? No one does!! That's a sweet tender mercy. 

This is the scripture we read at Conference! 

"Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart."
This Gospel is so good. It's so true. I feel it as I share it. I know as we get it from our minds to our hearts it will become apart of who we are. I hope my family knows how I love this gospel and I love the promises of being with them for forever. That means everything to me and I am realizing more and more that is what matters most. Having that goal in my life has made all the difference to keep me on the path. Have a good week everyone and CTR! 

Love, Sister Vassau

October 7, 2015

Keep Shining that Bright Light Around!

Wow. What an incredible weekend filled with so many inspired topics. I loved this general conference! It was one I will never forget!! My first conference on my mission. My first conference watching it in a chapel with my cute companion. And my first time my eyes were glued to the screen. Oh and the first time I watched half the session on an iPad.. Haha I wish you could have seen us all (elders and sisters and a few others) all sitting with our eyes on the iPad. Thank goodness for iPads and thank goodness we got it figured out the second day. 

I am so grateful that God calls men in these days to do his work. WEAK and SIMPLE men. I loved hearing from the three new apostles, I loved their testimonies!!! How powerful was that!! I remember shaking Elder Rasband's hand this summer as I was leaving from the Yankees game. Loved the NYNYN shout out. (Side note, We are actually having Mervin B. Arnold come tomorrow for the day and we will all meet and hear from him and have some trainings.) Something I love about Thomas S Monson is he speaks with such a peace and calmness. Of course, because this is how the Holy Ghost works. It comes from within him. You know he is good and what comes from him is what God wants us to know. His simple topics of keeping the commandments and being a light to others through our example are what have made the biggest impression on me from conference. I just know he will keep pressing on, like we all should, even when he is getting of age and getting tired. There is no time to slow down because the Lord is hastening His work!! I'm serious. I turned to Sister Eastman the first day and told her that all my questions were answered by things said and feelings I had. That is how the Lord works. As we prayerfully and sincerely go to our Heavenly Father with our hearts and most inner questions and desires, he will answer us through the promptings of the spirit and through those he has called. I try my best to be an answer to someone's prayer each day.  There are days you do feel like you are and then times you feel your not because no one will talk to you, but you just got to keep going. I know that I could have a huge impact on someone's day if I follow the spirit. "The spirit is what matters most!"

We were told to GIRD OUR LOINS. 
Hurricane Walken was heading our way!! We pulled out the tights and the boots and everything I love. We were given two bright green coats this winter to keep us warm. Elsie and Linda's basement is filled with fancy vintage clothing, they wouldn't let us leave without them. They're amazing!

Anyways, the hurricane never came, but more beautiful Fall weather did!!

PUMPKIN IN THE AIR. What more could you ask for?

This week we had some interesting things happen and some really great things as well!

I'll start with the interesting. We got yelled at while tracting. Wish we could have talked to her! 
We say a prayer before going into our appointment with Shwazia  and we prayed for safety.. Not quiet sure why? I'm stoked for this lesson! But, we quickly found out. Her dad and cousin answered the door, which was great! They let us in and it was interesting from there on. One of the first times on my mission that I have experienced people trying to prove everything about our religion wrong with the bible and bizarre things.  It was not the best feeling just sitting there. These are times I can learn a lot from. So they had us write down the list of questions and they want us to come back Sunday. We feel good about Shwazia, so we will have to prayerfully decide what to do and maybe go back a few times before teaching her. I know the The Book of Mormon is so good and true. 

Sadly, Hillary dropped us. Oooouch it hurt

Some of the great things!! There was a baptism for a little Barlow girl in our ward, where I met the grandparents who were in our ward in Carlsbad. Sweet people. 

Well Cotton ended up coming and we sat down with him this week and talked to him about it and he said being baptized is something he wants to prepare for. It's great:)

We have been encouraged to be ward builders and start with the Youth! We have decided to do youth lessons in our ward, so meet with the young woman individually, teach them, kind of like they are an investigator and help build their testimonies of the things they know. It also helps them know what missionary work is all about. I'm looking forward to it! We did our first lesson with Victoria and their nanny Sarah and it went well! She played her beautiful harp for us, as well. 

I took us to the wrong address. I put in the GPS Edgewood instead of Edgepark. Well of course you did Kell, because we needed to go here!!! We found the most perfect mom who just had a baby for the Hermana's. Heavenly Father's helpin' a girl out, even when I mess up, which is often.

We sat down with thee lovely Meava in the rehab center again before she leaves. She has been there for a couple weeks now recovering from her surgery and we have visited her often. We have built such a good friendship with her and she really loves when we come see her. Member referrals!! They are good. We have had some really great lessons with her. 

Heavenly Father helped us see so many great people this week, people I know we were suppose to see. One of them was this great man who as we left yelled out;

"Keep shining that bright light around" -Edwin from White Plains 

It really stuck with me. I know people notice our light from within, the Light of Christ cannot be hid from our faces. It's what draws others to us!! 

So family & friends, who I love so much. Keep shining that bright light around!!!!
You ALL have it. Don't hide it or let it dim. I love the words to center our lives in Christ, I know that is the most important thing to focus on day in and day out. I know our Savior loves us. 
He knows how to succor and help us as we turn to Him. 

I pray for you all
Love, Sister McKell Vassau

October 5, 2015

Who is ready for CONFERENCE?

Hi family!!

How is everyone?

Happy October tomorrow!
A BIG & special happy Birthday to Ethan, E-dawg. Eth- thanks for making all of our lives better and happier & for your loving and fun spirit. You are going to kill it in football this year!
Also, to my sweet Grandpa who has the biggest heart and amazing wisdom. Thanks for showing our family how to love unconditionally & for raising kids who love the Gospel. 

We had a miracle happen. We hope it becomes an even bigger miracle! We have been cleaning out the area book, which has been awesome because we found a girl named Shawzia and looked her up! We have met with her twice and she is so great because she has so many good questions about life and the Book of Mormon vs the Bible. When people have questions it's so good, because they have a desire to know. 

We are still seeing Cotton often and he loves loves church!! It has become the highlight of his week, because he is by himself most the time. He especially loves the members that come up to him at church. He told us that he has seen a big difference in the Lanier Family since they have met with missionaries and been baptized. He says, "They just can't get enough of me!" haha!

These younger girls here in White Plains & their families neeeeed the Gospel. Just tryin' to show them the way. Learning to love to listen to people. Learning that listening is loving and loving is listening. Sometimes it's hard when you are distracted or when thoughts of your own slip in, but these people are so precious in God's eyes and why would I not completely listen to what they are saying because it is so important. They are so important!!  One of our AP's said to listen to those you teach like you are teaching your family.  Obviously my thoughts and love for my family might be a lot different, but to treat them this way.  It goes back to something said in Womens Conference... to love someone before you even know them. I felt this as we went and taught Hillary this week. Hillary is the younger girl who lives in the projects. I know and wish she could see now how much her life can change through the Atonement and how the Gospel will bring her life lasting happiness. Hillary tells us often about everything she goes through and the bad addictions she has developed. We had a powerful lesson on the Restoration with her and she started talking without us getting in a word to sitting back and listening to us as the Spirit helped us know exactly what Hillary needs. What is amazing about the Spirit is we can talk all we want and not get down to the point, however, when we LISTEN to them and try to discern their needs, the Spirit will tell us the very doctrine that they need to hear.  Hillary is so smart, I know she felt something and will continue to feel more of God in her life as she prays and reads. The hard thing is keeping these sweet girls to keep their commitments, because we can't make anyone do anything unless they have that desire in the first place. Hillary said the closing prayer and it was awesome! 

Saturday was Women's Conference, which was awesome because we went to the Smith's with all the girls!! It was their daughters and a couple of their friends, Sister Dunford & Taylor came, and then we invited two younger girls in our ward to come. We had dinner and then we went over to the church to watch it. A few of my favorite things said were:

-Always stay close to Heavenly Father. Study your scriptures. Keep your covenants and you will always be able to get through challenges. 
-God didn't design us to be sad. He created us to be happy! To have JOY! So if we trust him he will lead us along. 
-Fill your life with MEANINGFUL things 
-You not only need Him, he needs YOU!!

"The one thing that matters most is the heart of his Gospel. It is love, the pure love of Christ"
Give love freely!!

Most our dinner appointments this week we have asked people "If you could go back to your 20 year old self, what would you tell yourself?? Hahaha It's so interesting and I love all the good wisdom. So.. Here are some of them. I thought I'd share. Live in the moment. Push your body harder than you think you can (motivation for our morning runs). Do & study what you love. Surround yourself with sincere & good people. Go to the temple.
There's some Westchester 1st wisdom for ya 

The wonderful Bonnie Lassen and her husband, Gary were able to come stop by in Scarsdale and see me!!! 
Gary and Bonnie took us to a cute diner in the village right by the metro.

Our APF at WestChester Community College was so successful!! 
The awesome elder in our District, Elder Kuo actually was found on a college campus so it was all his idea. 
We were able to talk to so many people and got so many numbers of people for our whole Zone. It's different for me having so many people to talk to and trying to strike up a fast conversation... Sister Eastman is very good at that, but it's really fun because people don't care and if they do care then that will be the best thing ever! Something I think I will work on my whole mission. There were a few who seemed super interested.  One that stuck out to me was these two cute girls that we gave pamplets to. They were sitting down for a while, read them, watched us and then came and asked if they could have the Book of Mormon. They said the girl by them was talking badly about it, which really sparked their interest.  The one really wanted to read it. It's the small things that are the big things. That is something I try to remember in missionary work.  I thought it was such a good way to plant seeds and invite people to watch general conference. 

Here is a quote I like
President James E. Faust- “Does God love us less than those led by the ancient prophets? Do we need his guidance and instruction less? Reason suggests that this cannot be. Does he not care? Has he lost his voice? Has he gone on a permanent vacation? Does he sleep? The unreasonableness of each of these proposals is self-evident”

I know that there is a living prophet on this earth today, sweet Thomas S. Monson:) I know he is the mouth piece for God. We can all receive our own answers as we listen to him and the apostles. I invite you all to think about questions you may be wondering about or certain challenges you have and write them down. I haven't always been the best at listening and finding answers to my specific questions so I look forward to testing it out. I am so grateful that we are in good hands, the Lords hands, and He is the one who always answers our prayers.

SO MUCH LOVE, Sister Vassau