November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!


This is not the first time I will be not with my loved ones for Thanksgiving. Thinking back on Thanksgiving of all Thanksgivings...there was Disneyland one year where we ate weird French food, remembering 2 years ago I was in India and boy, would I never give that one up, ate some curry & some more curry stuff and NOW, I'm here, NY, food can only be more appetizing than those.. probably will eat some amazing feast because The Darger's and Lanier's are just those kinds of families. They'll have all the good stuff, minus grandma's heavenly rolls.

Okay... The week began with the opportunity to go to an innerfaith Thanksgiving breakfast with around 300 people where we sat around a table and got to know each other. Jumpstart on the Thanksgiving festivities! There are far more similarities than there are differences! As we listened to the different speakers, I thought it was cool to hear Palmyra pop up out of the many different places that may be important to each of us. He then said you can ask someone at your table about these places.. Palmyra, New York. We have the opportunity every day, especially living in New York, to share the facts about Joseph Smith and The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It's a wonderful thing that I know the spirit can confirm to each of us who earnestly prays to know. That was really neat to see so many people come together, especially with everything going on around us.

We had met this man after tracting this whole neighborhood and no one was home. This one man said we could come back another time so we said okay, Thursday! Well Thursday came and mid weekly planning, I did not think we should drop everything and drive all the way to Valhala...not super close and it was pouring outside. Sister Hislop said we probably should since we said we would come back even if he did not seem so interested. We made our way back to Valhala through the rain to Robert's home. Robert opened and talked to us for about 45 minutes just about everything. Kindest man in all of Valhala. I've met maaaany. People call him Bobby Z. He told us about his lack of interest in the religion he's been raised in and a little about his life. His wife passed away and he has raised his 2 kids and mom for a long time. He is single and a selfless man. He asked us all sorts of questions... Even if we have events for single men like him :) yes we do Bobby :) And temples :) he wants us to come back after the holidays to discuss and feed us!  I felt so humbled that this man, I didn't think much of, is soooo prepared and I almost let him fly by us. Heavenly Father taught me of integrity also that every person we meet could be that one he has been working with because they are turning to Him. We don't know who our Heavenly Father's trying to communicate with. This day, Robert was that one. This man is a saint and absolutely needs the Gospel in his life. 

A small thing that was big for me that also happened was a specific prayer to find just one person to talk to. Just one! When we went to look someone up there was a group of people in the elevator. I opened my mouth and we were able to go into this ladies home to share with her a message and set a time to come back. Simple things like that are the big things here. This work never happens though if we don't open our mouths. Open your mouth= miracles. Heavenly Father will always answer a specific and sincere prayer if we do our part afterwards.  
Then, on the way down. I asked this man if he'd had a good day and if he's staying warm or something (it's getting supa cold) and he said, "no!" he works outside. I said, "do you do construction? Do you know Jeff Lanier?" He said yes!! He's grown up with him!! Nice guy. We gave him our card. Open your mouth!! You never know. 

Well, I am really thankful for each of you. I know that as I have been here the times I have had to dig out happiness I have tried to take a step back and look at the many things Heavenly Father has done for me. He blesses each of us so much. The secret is, the happiest people are the most grateful people so I want to be one with an attitude of GRATITUDE. 

Thank you for everything you all do for me! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and show some gratitude to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. This is something I feel grateful for, especially now, is the closeness I am able to have with my Savior through the holidays away from home. 

Love, Sister Vassau 

November 18, 2015

Temple Day!

Here I am again!!! Writing to you from the subway. I love the state of New York. I feel like it had my heart even before I'd been here.

20 years old! 

Happy Birthday to ME! 

I am so blessed and I have been overwhelmed with love on my Birthday. You made me feel so so loved!!!!! Heavenly Father looked out for me. There is no place I'd rather be. I always love the week I get to celebrate with super special people. Kyle and grandma, I hope you were shown love all week!!! Next is big D. My birthday started off with 15+ emails from my mom.. Hahaha I got sung happy Birthday to that many times. My companion and I were LOVING THEM. Hahahaha I think my favorite was Brandon's. Actually, I can't decide they were all so good. I think it just showed her what a unique and fun bunch I have back home. You all are great. I woke up to my companion who decorated our place, made me breakfast, and then opened my packages of love. Loved everything!! I had an interesting lunch and got sang to by Sita sham (greatest lady), did so much finding, and then at the end of the night we got cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory because it's right next to us. SUCCESS!  Also the Lanier family bought me a NY Jets shirt because they loooove the Jets and are Treaver Reilly fans. That was so nice of them! Haha They love that we know him!  Every letter I read reminds me how much my family is sent here just for me. You all are special. Thank you, thank you!!

Another great thing was our Primary Program this past week. Westchester 1st Ward kids testimonies are so amazing of their Savior. Children just get it! We had ward council with our new bishopric before and I'm amazed at the leadership in this ward. Truly amazing. It's a really neat thing being able to be in on it all at this time in my life and see how each leader is so involved in this work. Bishop Mortensen does everything with such care & understands how it's the small little things in the church that are pleasing to God. Their consecrated examples have made an impact on me. His life and family is consecrated on the Lord. There are definitely a lot of things we have to give up to live the law of consecration in our lives!! 

Quote I love: 

"Christlike conduct flows from the deepest wellsprings of the human heart and soul"

The people we are teaching are great! We saw the Garcia's this week and taught them about the Plan of Happiness. We taught a lesson to the Lanier's and Cotton about the "Tree of Life" and they loved it because we talked about how the temple is on this straight and narrow path, but it's not the end, we have to endure. They are excited to get there because they understand that they can be an eternal family as they make it to the temple! Cotton is leaving for North Carolina for a month so that's sad, it will take time and patience to see him into the gates of baptism!! Aaaand Meava Meava is so great. Ahh, haha this is the woman from Ireland, who told us last night she wants to come to church and who knows maybe she'll really enjoy it. She has so many questions when we go over there. Only, she asked us to pick her up coffee this week. Uhh 

We had dinner with a member last night who has served his life in various callings. He was a mission President in Africa. Fun fact. He quizzed us on PMG. There are 126 chapters/verse references in PMG that he challenged his missionaries to memorize. They are all the doctrine and many of them did it and knew the doctrine so well. That is the basis of what he had them study on their missions and I thought that was cool. He showed us his marked up scriptures of the pure doctrine. After I finish the Book Of Mormon I would like to do that. He said they could dig into the scriptures as they did this. 

I'm going to the temple right now :) :) 

Have an awesome week.

Love you, Sister Vassau 

November 11, 2015

Spiritual Feast

I feel as if our area just exploded, there are so many families and people interested in the Gospel and we are just trying to keep up and plan well for them, because their Salvation is in our hands... No big deal. I'm serious. The blessings are pouring out to us. So we have the Gracia's who I will share more about, Karla Martinez and her family, Cotton, Lia, and a few more awesome people we have tracted and found. I literally have felt that this week we had so many experiences, meetings and trainings, that the spirit was so high we literally felt our bodies were exhausted. It's crazy how that happens because our spirits are even stronger than our physical bodies... Although my body is not so strong, anyways. This reminds me. I will start with funny because there are always funny times here, too.. This is New York City! We knocked about 2 doors later at night until this Biiiig man, I mean huge belly with no shirt on in his pj's yells at us on his porch, "Who are you? Go away! Leave!!" We didn't really even get to explain who we are, I don't think he would have cared anyway because it was dark and we were across the street, but the visual just made us laugh after the fact. The humor is sooo good sometimes. 

The Garcia's are a special family. They are the family who showed up at church, however they have been unable to come since. Coming into their home is one of my favorite things. It is humble. The walls with holes and drawings from the kids, small 2 bedroom home that they all six live in. One couch, so we sit on their baby chairs and the kids all just listen so intently. Annalie is the six year old, she's so beautiful. Coming into their home I just feel there doesn't need to be much to make a home of love and closeness. They each love each other. They showed us their pictures they have of Jesus Christ, but don't know much about Him. We were able to ask Priscilla what her relationship is with Christ and when she feels the closest to Him. We discovered that Priscilla not only went to church as a young woman, but was baptized. Her husband works now In New Jersey so is only here on the weekends. She is doing everything alone. She is sincere and wants to come to church, pray with her family, and read but it's so hard because she has to do it alone while her husband is away. Her son now has a baptismal date for December and is excited. We are still figuring out how we can teach the whole family. Keep them in your prayers

Sister Hislop and I were able to be at a training by President & Sister Smith with Elder Donaldson who was a mission President for the district. We sang for the elderly for Sister Friehofner, had stake conference and then zone conference yesterday. We have the most amazing leaders in this mission. We were even told by Elder Donaldson while he was here that he's been to many missions and the leaders in this mission are special, which was really cool. I was able to be taught many things multiple times, which is always how we should teach, in repetition because, boy, do I need it. A few things out of so many I wish I could share. Our mission is seriously going to double in numbers. We have a new standard of Excellence and it's amazing and motivating. We were able to see miracles just this week because of it and I can only imagine what it will be like in a few months!! 

The doctrine of Christ is what I hope will become written on my heart from here on out. 
It's what Christ taught and it must be lived!! It's so simple but it is everything. Everything!! 
(1 NEPHI 8) 

President talked about the iron rod, about his son William and how if William ever becomes tired of holding it...if he switches hands like he asked his dad he could do.. He will put his hand over Williams.... He will hold on to him... Wrap his arms around him and make sure he does not fall from it.... With tears in his eyes and a room FILLED with the spirit I thought of our Savior... When we fall and are barely holding on... Our Savior wraps us in his love.. He saves us... He will not let us fall if we but try to hold on.. I just felt President's overwhelming love for his son and thought of it in my life for those I love, who I will do anything for them not to fall, but most important our Savior's love for each of us, for the Atonement. We also were able to watch the new Christmas initiative we will be sharing with all of NY. It was actually my favorite one, you'll have to see why. I can't wait to share it with people! 

So much of our meetings were about Planning!! As a missionary you plan for everything and when we plan it should be a revelatory experience.  
Some of the things we here again and again are...IT'S NOT ABOUT US!!

"When we deal in specifics we rarely have failure,  when we deal in generality we rarely have success." Thomas S. Monson 

Today we are doing an apple theme Pday at the church with our Zone. Who knows what that means. It's the Big apple-- so apple cider, pie, apples to apples and more. 
I'll be 20 in 2 days.... I'm scared! 
20 year old advice for a girl on a mission anyone? 

I love you family, friends, anyone else who gets my emails. Love love love,
Sister McKell Vassau
Me and Sister Hisplop

November 4, 2015

Gratitude, Ideas, eh?


Sister Hislop and I are focusing in everything on relying on the Lord. It is so wonderful feeling just that and seeing the Lord literally take you places and then put prepared people in your path. This happened to us this week. This one day we were able to tract a lot. In the morning, we got out of our car didn't know which street to knock so we pulled somewhere and said a prayer to know WHERE. About 5 houses that no one answered and then turning a corner I saw a boy run in his house. I thought in my mind maybe not and then walked right up to the door to find this kind boy so open to here us and told us he loves to read, he has a lot of extra time right now, and thanks so much for sharing the message. We were able to find a good amount of people this day, but it was so long. Haha seriously the longest day, I don't know why. At more towards the end of the night. Once again, said a prayer asking WHERE we should go. Praying about an area is so great. I remember saying, "I'm so tired, but we're going to keep going." Well if we wouldn't have gone to this one specific area we would have not met the most incredible woman I have met on my mission who I just adore. She is a true disciple of Jesus Christ. Light seriously just shines from her. She is so happy & so filled with love. She shares the gospel with everyone.
Those were a few experiences... where we saw prayer & relying on the lord unfold. 

In my studies this week I am reading in Alma. I read about when Alma told of his conversion story to his sons just father to son, it's really cool. I noticed in verses 18-21 that Alma told about how much pain he experienced because of his sins. When he cried out, turning to Christ, he remembered his pains and sins no more. I love these verses: 20. And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!  21. Yea, I say unto you, my son, that there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy.
I have been thinking about this a lot. The more deeply we feel pain, sorrow, sadness at times, the more fully we feel joy in our lives or "The greater our sorrow is the greater our capacity to feel joy!" There is a reason for trial, for opposition. All things work together for our good to help us in Gods' plan of happiness, believe it or not! 

I really feel I am being strengthened and helped every day here as I rely on the Lord. There are just so many wonderful people that I am able to meet every week and bring closer to Christ, but I couldn't do it alone. I am grateful for my Savior, His love, & for His help. I'm grateful for His spirit. The Spirit is what matters the most!!! I'm grateful for the times I feel the Spirit teaching and testifying because they are the most precious times here. I am also grateful that this month we can reflect on all we are grateful for. NOVEMBER!! Make it a month of gratitude. 

Here are a few things I am grateful for right now off my head:

-My family- best bunch in the world!!!
-love from home
-sister Hislop
-warm showers. Ours broke a couple times this week
-funny times that keep my spirits up, like when we went on a run & my companion completely fell face to the floor and we died laughing. 
-trader joes
-the opportunity to serve in Scarsdale NY
-The Gospel of Jesus Christ
See.. Already happier!!! Just like that. 

Ideas: gratitude door or wall, gratitude prayer each Sunday, rake leaves, pumpkin cookies, write someone new each week and tell them why you are grateful for them, show Heavenly Father you are grateful by serving someone TODAY.

Have an awesome week everyone. I'm so happy to have heard Lexi Lu had a fun birthday and that everyone is enjoying fall festivities. People thought we were trick or treaters this week. Haha we went in early and watched the Restoration. Yep one for the books.
Love you, Sister Vassau