Returning Home!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Welcome to Owensboro!

What city is the fast food capital of the nation? What city is the home of Johnny Depp and his family? In which city is the Kentucky Motor Speedway located?

Welcome to Owensboro yall!

Leaving my beloved Hikes was so rough. Hermana Carnahan and I stayed up talking about our transfer together and about everything we learned. I miss that girl! She and I will be friends forever! I learned so much from her, and we had sooo much fun together! I hope she's doing well. I hope Hikes is doing well! 

Now I'm in Owensboro, Kentucky! I'm an hour behind Louisville's time, which is weird. Owensboro is in eastern Kentucky, by Evansville. I'm in the "Forgotten Evansville Zone." It's sooooo different from my other zones.... Not in a good way. We have a history of apostate missionaries here, which is rough. Luckily the elders we have here right now are all hardworking and obedient. Some of the stuff I heard about the past elders though makes me sick. BE OBEDIENT! It's not hard!! Anyway, we're called the "Forgotten Evansville Zone" because we're soooo far away from Louisville, and we're the last to hear about anything. We're not very united as a zone either, which is a huge bummer. No pride! My first District Leader, Elder Edwards, is now my Zone Leader. Also, fun fact! My trainer opened up this area that I'm in now! So I get to continue doing the work she started. :) 

Owensboro Spanish is interesting. We don't have any Cubans out here, which is a bummer. Lots of Mexicans and some Guatemalans. Doesn't really vary from that though. We have one bap date at the moment and working on another, but we really need to find some more people. My companion is going home this next transfer. She's in the big group of 11 hermanas going home, including my trainer, Hermana Lawrence. We get along just fine and laugh a lot. Really nice :) She's from Heber City, UT. 

When I got the call to leave Hikes last week, I was pretty devastated and upset. I couldn't understand why I was only allowed to stay there a transfer, and although I still don't understand it, I definitely feel like I am meant to be here in Owensboro. I'm still trying to figure everything out, but I know the Lord needed me here for a specific purpose. I don't know what it is yet, but I'm finding something new everyday that I want to change in this area. I'm going to work hard these next few transfers here!! 

One of my purposes here I think is to improve member missionary work. I am serving in a small English branch here, and me and my companion translate the meetings into Spanish. I was freaked out about doing that at first, but I actually love it! My Spanish is so much better than I thought it was! I love it! :) But anyway, we do a lot of work with the English members, which is very different than my last two areas. We have two other sets of Elders in our branch with us. One companionship lives right next door to us, so they're always knocking on our door to borrow stuff. Kind of bugging me, but they're cool. I'm just glad they're not apostate. 

Annnyway, our members here are great, but they're a little....lackluster when it comes to missionary work. We are going to start a new 8 week class called the M&MTC (Member Missionary Training Center) to help them better understand how to do missionary work. Elder Dahle, one of the new elders, said it worked wonders in his last branch he was serving in. We definitely think this is the key to getting the members more involved in the work! They are really pushing to turn into a ward, but it's not going to happen unless we get the members involved in the work! It's going to take a LOT of work, but we just had a new branch president put in, and he's very enthusiastic about it. Pray for us here in the Owensboro branch! 

I'm going to end this before it gets too long! But just know that I'm safe and happy here in Owensboro. I can't believe the time is flying so quickly. I'm going to make the best use of my time here and do what the Lord wants me to do. Pray for me! I love you all! 

Hermana Porter

P.S. I was blow drying my hair yesterday and all of the sudden my blow dryer started spitting fire balls at my hair....needless to say, I don't have a blow dryer anymore. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Adios Louisville :(

I'm getting transferred. :( I feel like my heart has been shattered into a million pieces!! I don't want to leave! We didn't think anything was going to change, and if anything Hermana Carnahan would've been the one getting transferred since she's been here for three transfers now.... but we were at a dinner after a baptism on Saturday, and Elder Skousen, my district leader, sat down looking all depressed and said, "I just got the call." And my heart dropped because I thought, "Oh no, Hermana Carnahan is leaving." And when I said that, he said, "No, you are." I thought he was lying, so I texted the Zone Leaders....and sure enough, I'm leaving Hikes. :( :( :( I can't believe it! I've only been here a transfer.... and now I'm going? I've just been switching back between being confused, upset and sad.... I thought I'd be here for a long time. I LOVE Hikes so much...
I've just been reminded several times these last few days that, since being in an area only one transfer and then leaving is really weird/rare, God needs me somewhere else this next transfer. That's blatant. I'm excited to see where I go and why He needs me there, but at the same time it's made me wonder if I fulfilled my purpose here in Hikes these last 6 weeks. I feel like I haven't even made a dent in what I wanted to do here. But I guess God thinks I have. I'm hoping he'll send me back here later in my mission....but I'm running out of time. We'll see what happens.
Even though I don't really understand why I have to go or why I was here, but I've been thinking a lot about what I learned here. 1. I met my amazing companion, and now we're best friends for life! I love her to death! I'm really sad to leave her, but I know we'll be glued to the hip after the mission. Needless to say, I'll be going to Idaho a lot after I go back to Provo. :D 2. I learned how to speak Cuban Spanish! 3. I learned how to teach the lessons inside and out now. I can hold my own! And my Spanish has gotten better!
I learned a ton of other things.... but I'm going to have to ponder on my time here a bit longer, because I'm still trying to figure it all out.
In other news, I'm missing Jose's baptism next Sunday. :( That's a huge bummer. He's definitely ready and excited. This last week was an uneventful week until Saturday, when we got transfer calls. I've also been sick all week and lost my voice for 3 days. I sounded like a little boy. Ugh.
I don't really know what more to mention. The work shall move forward! I shall keep you updated about where I'm going. I'm really going to miss Hikes, A LOT.... But I'm trying to keep in mind that the Lord needs me somewhere else right now. Plus, I'm training in August. There are 11 hermanas leaving the mission and 9 coming in August 5th, so I'll be a trainer then. I need to learn my new area pretty quickly. .... Keep me in your prayers!!!
Hermana Porter
P.S. Send mail to 1325 Eastern Parkway, Louisville, KY 40204 until I get my new address.  

Monday, June 16, 2014

Of Allergies, Bikes and Cubans

Hola todos!! :)
This last week was amazing! We saw so many miracles! First off, we were challenged to start  the Book of Mormon over from the beginning as a mission last week, so we've been doing that.... and it's AMAZING!! I just want to read it all day! I have a hard time sticking to the schedule they gave us because I just want to read it all the time! I've never read the Book of Mormon and applied it to missionary work so much. It's eye-opening! I know what it means to apply the scriptures now! Ahhh I have just developed a love for this book all over again. :) It's amazing! Everyone should read it!
With that, we've invited an investigator and two of our less-actives to do the challenge with us! It's been great so far. They were all so excited about it. We stop by the less-actives' houses during the week to read with them and see what they've learned. We're convinced that if everyone reads the Book of Mormon, especially members who haven't read it completely, they will gain a testimony of its truthfulness. It's a promise in the Introduction of the Book of Mormon. Any person who reads, meditates and prays about the Book of Mormon will come to know that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, that Joseph was a prophet, and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord's kingdom on the earth. Those are all pretty important questions that we all need answers to right? You can find them by reading the Book of Mormon! We're so pumped about this! I don't know why I never thought of it before! Well, I did, I just didn't realize how key it is to conversion. That's why we're here!
This week we started teaching this great family of 6. So far we've only been able to teach the mom since her husband is always working and her kids are never home, but she has a bap date now and is so excited to learn more! The kids will be there in our next lesson. :) We're teaching a total of 3 great families right now. :) Also, Jose is getting baptized in less than two weeks now!! WOO! And our investigator, Dario, has almost read the entire Book of Mormon -- in just 3 weeks! He is a sweet old man! We are so blessed here in Hikes. I LOVE THIS PLACE. I never want to leave!! I feel like the Lord is opening the windows of heaven right now and raining Hispanics on us. It's a Spanish-speaking missionary's dream. haha.
I have a miracle story to share! Ok, once upon a time there was a Steak 'n' Shake right down the street from the Hikes Hermanas' apartment. Then one night there was a hungry hermana named Hermana Porter, and as she and her companion were driving home for dinner one night she saw Steak 'n' Shake gleaming in the horizon. She convinced her companion to go there, so they went in to eat....and guess.what. The waiter was this super cute CUBAN girl!! She was 24, SUPER sweet, had a little bit of an accent. The hermanas asked where she was from, she said Cuba, and they went all Spanish on her! And guess what! The waitress asked what Church we were from (I'm done talking in third person haha) and we told her, and she said, "Oh cool! When I lived in Vegas I used to take the lessons from the missionaries and go to that Church!" WHAAAAAT! She lived in VEGAS?! I told her I knew Vegas pretty well, and she said she lived on South Maryland Parkway -- right by the mission home! -- and she got all excited! We were able to get her information and asked her if she'd be willing to take the discussions again, and she accepted! What a miracle! Unfortunately she's not in her areas, BUT she's in my trainer's area here in Louisville! :D Moral of the story: listen to your stomach because sometimes it's really the Spirit telling you to do something. It was such a miracle that she was our waitress at Steak 'n' Shake of all places! And how fortunate that we speak Cuban!
We also ran into Nadaj again this week as we were riding bikes. We saw her across the street and called her over to see how she was doing. She told us what had happened after Safe Place came and got her, and she said she hasn't been drinking since then! But she has smoked. -.- We talked to her for a bit about making good choices, etc. and told her to say hi to us if she ever sees us. I was just so happy to see the normal Nadaj. :) She's a sweet girl. Definitely looked/acted her age this time! Just hope she turns her life around... I don't think we were meant to run into her by accident.
Also, can I just say how much I love my companion?! She is GREAT!! I've learned so much about her this last week! We get along great as it is, but now I know her even more! She's awesome! I know a lot about her family too haha. :) Sometimes we talk wayyy too much and have to stop ourselves, but I just love how much more success we have as we get to know each other and get on the same page. Dream team for sure!!
Overall I feel so blessed to be out here, especially in this area. This is like the promised land of the Spanish world here in Kentucky. So many hispanics everywhere! I've learned so much these last 5 weeks (5 weeks already?! President and Sister Woodbury go home next week! :( Time flies...). I've learned a ton about myself, about listening, about using the Book of Mormon, about teaching, about caring.... You name it! I love love love my life right now. I don't ever want to leave! The mission is the best thing I've ever chosen to do, aside from going to BYU. (Go Cougs!!) My companion talk about it almost every night, what a blessing the mission has been. I've said it before and I'll say it a million times more: I know how to be a member of the Church now that I'm a missionary. My eyes have been opened! I love this Church! I love this Gospel! I LOVE MISSIONARY WORK!!!
And that is my life yall :) I love hearing from everyone! I hope this week goes well for yall, especially for Alecia & Jayden!! Happy wedding day!!! :D 
The Church is true and the Book is blue!
Hermana Porter

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Fourth Missionary

I love my mission with all of my heart. I love serving in the Great Kentucky Louisville Mission! I love my area. I love my companion. I love this time God has given me to learn, grow, and most of all, to change. A year ago, I was just finding out I'd be spending the next year and a half here. It's so unreal to think that I haven't been here forever!
My companion gave me a talk to read this last week and it changed my whole mission, my whole life. It's called "The Fourth Missionary" by Lawrence E. Corbridge. I believe he's an Area Seventy now. It's a long talk about four different kinds of missionaries. The first is disobedient and goes home early, either by his own choice or because he's sent home. The second is disobedient but stays his entire mission, and it benefits him nothing. The third and fourth missionaries are very similar. But the only difference is that the third does everything the fourth one does, except he doesn't give his heart or his mind to the Lord during his service. The fourth gives up everything--heart, might, mind and soul. The third missionary can work with all his soul and might, but without his head or heart in the work, it benefits him nothing.
I can't get over this talk and how much it has changed things for me. Being here in Hikes has been a refreshing new start for me. I'm excited to set goals, to change, to become better at things I've been lacking. This talk has really helped me see how I can do that. The only intelligent way to serve a mission (or to live life) is to give it everything: not only your might and soul, but your heart and mind. The Lord gives you everything: breath of life, food, shelter, families, talents, challenges, gifts, your body (might) and your soul. What can you give back that he hasn't already given you? The answer: your heart and mind. He can't take away your agency or ability to choose. You can go through the mission (or life in general) working with all your might and soul, but what does it benefit you if you don't put your mind and heart into it? Why do it at all? It's not intelligent. There's no point. You may do a lot of good, but for what?
I could go on and on, but I'm telling you, this talk has changed my whole mission! My whole life! I want to be the fourth missionary! That's my theme now! I'm going to be the fourth missionary, and when I go home, I'm still going to be the "fourth missionary" in everything I do: school, work, family, marriage, everything. (I tried to find the article online, but it isn't online anywhere. Must be just a mission-exclusive article.)
Alright, with that in mind, we had a really good week. I love my companion so much! She's the best! We get along great, we laugh a lot, we work well together, we trust each other, good communication. I could say a million great things about her! And we are learning so much from each other. I love it!
This week we saw some pretty great things happen and some not-so-great things as well. We got to go to the temple on Wednesday, which was amazing. I love the temple so much. Then we had an amazing lesson Friday night with our investigator Jose, who's getting baptized in a few weeks. We brought a member with us, and they hit it off right away. It was so fun to watch them just jabber on and on! We left after the lesson, and an hour later we saw them still talking in the parking lot! The member called us later SO excited that he was getting baptized. He was saying how he'd never met a friend like Jose before and that he was so excited to see him get baptized. :') Oh these people! Unfortunately we didn't have anybody in Church even though three said they would definitely be there. But there's always this week! :)
Also, a Puerto Rican lady told me I had an Italian accent last night.... That's not really the accent I was going for, but it'll do!
I have a million more things I could share, but that'll do for this week. :) I feel like I have changed so much from being out here in the mission. It's something my companion and I talk about all the time: change. Change is a good thing! I hope I come home a completely different person from the one you knew before. Be ready!
I love you all! Read your scriptures!!!
Hermana Porter
P.S. Did you all see the "Because of Him" video they released around Easter? If not, watch it! It's AMAZING! Gives me chills every time!