E-mail Sis. Chapman

You can now e-mail Sis. Rachel Chapman at: Rachel.chapman@myldsmail.net

She'd love to hear from you.

Her physical address is: 1810 Winston Dr., St. Marys, OH 45885

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Pics of Rachel. Love seeing her beautiful face.






12/9/13

It sounds like you guys will have a fun day! I hope everything goes well! I'll be praying for you!
 
It has been a fantastic week here in Ohio. Monday night we went with the Jensons and drove to the Mission Home. (Kirtland is 4 hours away from here, so they didn't want us driving there and back all in one day so they had us drive up the night before.) We got there around 5:45 and the sisters in that area picked us up and we went to some of their appointments. There were 3 of them so then with the 2 of us we were a little intimidating during lessons, but they saw a lot of members, so it wasn't too bad. It was funny though! We went back to the mission home and got to spend some time with Pres. and Sis. Vellinga. That was wonderful. I love them! Then the other 12 elders who were staying at the mission home got there. A few of them had served in St. Marys before so we were able to get some help from them and lists of people to try and visit. It was so helpful.
 
Tuesday was a day I will NEVER forget as long as I live. We had our mission conference in the Kirtland Temple. Around 9 everyone started showing up and we all met outside in front of the Temple. It was so great to see all the sisters and elders I have missed seeing so much! Got some good pics and got to just visit. At about 9:30 they started having us all file into the temple. As we walked in we could see Pres and Sis. Vellinga up front standing waiting for us with the assistants. It was silent in the temple and the spirit continued to get stronger and stronger as we continued to fill the building. There was a member of the 70 that came and some of the Stake Presidents from our mission and the Kirtland Patriarch, who is a Kirtland historian. I got to conduct the music for the day, which made it even more special for me. I was able to conduct a choir of 250 missionaries in the first temple of this dispensation. All of the presidents spoke and Pres. and sis. Vellinga. It was so great. Everyone commented on what a historic event it was. There has never been that many called, set apart, full-time missionaries gathered in that temple in all the history of the church. A lot of them spoke about how that moment had been fore-ordained before the world was, that we had all been reserved to come to the earth at this time, to this mission, to that temple, with Pres and Sis Velling specifically. it was just incredible. We sang "The Spirit of God" which was written for the dedication of the Temple and our mission song - which is SO GREAT - and the spirit was just so strong. It was awesome. then we went to the stake center down the road for lunch and to watch a picture slide show of all the companionships and baptisms that have happened over the past year. It was so neat to see all of us participating in this work together and witnessing miracles. After lunch we went to the historic sites and went on a tour. Right now Kirtland is having a Nativity display where they have hundreds of nativities from all around the world. It was so cool! Then we went back to the stake center for the concluding session of the conference. President was the only speaker. He talked about how the Lord had inspired his comments for that night. He talked about the need to rededicate our apartments and ourselves to the Lord's work. I knew they were things I needed to hear. the past 9 months of my mission have been great and I have loved it. But there are a lot of things I would have changed. So that's the goal of my next 9 months - to rededicate myself to the work and to have no regrets. I am so grateful for his challenge to us all, I know it's something that is going to help this mission see even more incredible miracles than we have already seen. Then we all departed. We got home at 10:30 Tuesday night and went right to bed. We were so tired!!! It was righteous fatigue, the strength of the spirit of the day just wore us out! ha!
 
Wednesday and Thursday were good. not much happened. We found out that our sister training leaders wanted to move our exchange up to Friday, so we were scrambling to get things figured out for that. We saw a less-active sister, Tammy Longsworth. She was so sweet! I loved getting to know her and spending time with her. She reminds me A LOT of Tammy Martin. Which is why I think I instantly loved her, she's just so easy to love. She made me miss her. How are the Martins doing?  Tell them hi for me!!!
 
Friday we went and did some service at the food pantry in town with the Jensons and then met up with the sisters for our exchange. Sis. Frampton, who was in the MTC with me, came to St. Marys with me and then Sis. lemmon went with the other sister to her area - a BIKING area. I felt so bad for her, it was FREEZING! poor thing...
 
Sis. Frampton had done what I am doing right now a few months ago, she was training in a new area she had never been before. So it was a total answer to my prayers that she came. She was a huge help! Seriously, I have been praying hard that I'll figure out what I'm doing here and that we will have some direction. Having that exchange strengthened my testimony that the Lord knows me and is completely aware of me and my needs. It was wonderful. Definitely a spiritual experience I won't forget.
 
Church yesterday was great! I love the branch! I am a little worried though that they think that now because they have the 4 of us that that means there is less for them to do. Actually that means there is MORE for them to do to keep US busy. haha! But that's something that the 4 of us have been talking a lot about and I think that's going to be our goal, is helping the Branch see that that's their job. Hopefully we can accomplish that... We'll see.
 
The Davis family had us over for dinner last night. I love them!!! They have 5 kids. The oldest, Sam, is 13 and the youngest, Violet, is free years old. It was a ton of fun! And then we stayed and got to watch the Christmas Devotional with them. It was so good! I loved being in someone's home, not an apartment or the chapel, wrapped up in a blanket on their comfy couch sitting with them watching their TV. It was so weird to be watching TV!!!! haha! that's going to be a weird adjustment....
Last night was the night that president wanted us to rededicate our apartments. that was cool. I had never done that before. neat experience; spiritual.
 
Today we are deep cleaning the apartment. Transfers are next week (so I won't email until Tuesday) so they have everyone deep clean the week before, whether you're being transferred or not. And I won't so, don't worry.
 
Things here are great though! Definitely getting better.
 
I hope you guys are all doing well! I miss you all so much!
 
Love you!!!!   Rachel

12/2/13

Hey momma!
Things in St. Marys are a little better. Still slow, but we're getting there. We had a great week though!
Monday we got home from our errands and there was a big package waiting for me! Thank you so much! It was so fun to see things from the family and everyone. I loved it! It made Thanksgiving so much better!
 
Monday night we went and saw this less active family that we are starting to work with. I love them! They are the Beoughers (Bookers) and they are sweet. Michelle is the mom. She's adorable. She has this really high pitched (but not annoying) sweet voice and I can't see her hurting a fly. She has 2 boys. Nate is 21 and he just got his associates degree in graphic design. He's struggling to find a job, but he's cool. And then she has another son, Joey, who is 17. He has some disabilities. But he's funny. It was too cute, they don't get company very often it seems because when we were there both of them brought out all of their stuff and had like show and tell time. haha! Nate showed us all of his projects and his degree and some of his football stuff from high school. Joey did the same thing. It was fun. Michelle's husband isn't very friendly toward the church and he plays a lot of head games from what she has said. She doesn't really know the doctrine of the church and so he uses that against her. But hopefully if we can teach her and help her understand the doctrine she'll be able to combat that and also gain her own testimony and be motivated to come back and stay. They're great! I love them.
 
Tuesday I don't remember what happened... We had district meeting. Those are fun. I like our district a lot. Our zone leaders were on exchanges and one of the elders from my MTC district came to our district meeting. So that was fun getting to see Elder Maxwell. He's awesome!
 
Wednesday nothing too exciting happened. We met some less actives that the branch has been looking for for a while. so that was great! We dropped off an invitation to the Beoughers for the branch xmas party and she told us that we were really getting through to Nate. That made me so happy to hear! She had always said that she only wanted to have lessons when her husband wasn't home but she told us wed. night that she didn't care anymore, she was going to do it! That was awesome to hear. She really wants to make a change.
 
Thanksgiving was good. We were invited over by a family, the Kiefers. They're great! They joined the church about 5 years ago and are so solid and awesome. Dinner was a little akward. Her nonmember family was there and they didn't really know what to do with a bunch of missionaries. so they didn't really talk to us. We sat by ourselves at the bar in the kitchen to eat. But then after dinner they started playing games and we played a fun game with Sis. Kiefer and her mom. It was good!
 
Thursday we made plans with the senior couple to go to a funeral on Friday. The situation is a little complicated so I will try to explain it correctly. Sis. Jill Shepherd is a less active. She joined about 4 years ago. Her parents and family joined the church when she was 18, she's in her 50s now, and were SUPER active when they were alive. She never joined, was a little rebellious. But she joined and got active, but then moved back in with her ex-husband who wouldn't let her go to church. So she fell away and got back to her old habits. But last week on Saturday we went by and saw her. She had taken her sleeping pills early (at 3) and so when we were there she was COMPLETELY out of it. She doesn't even remember us being there, she thought she had dreamed that there were sister missionaries in the branch! ha! But her ex husband, Dave, had just gotten home from some intense surgery a few days before. He was down stairs sleeping when we were there, but Jill went down to check on him and he was dead. It was awful! We later found out that when we were there he was already dead. That really creeped me out.... but anyway she told the Jensons (the senior missionaries) that the funeral would be on Friday. So we made plans to go to that. When we got to the church that Dave went to there was no one there, the church was locked. So we called Jill and they had moved it to Tuesday.... So we talked to her about coming over and helping her go through stuff and clean the house and she said yes. She was a little embarrassed about it but needed a lot of help. So Saturday the Jensons picked us up and we went over to start. HER HOUSE IS DISGUSTING. It was pretty bad. She suffers from severe depression and has a lot of other health issues, so she completely let go and didn't do anything around her house. But we got to work and made a pretty good dent in things. She was really good about throwing things away and just getting a ton of crap out of the house. (literally, she has 2 dogs and 2 cats inside the house). But she was really appreciative and it made me so happy to see someone who really needed help saying thank you and meaning it. She was SO excited to have sisters in the branch! She wouldn't stop saying how happy she was. It was cute. I like her a lot. She doesn't remember much about the doctrine either. She had a few overdoses a few years ago and has lost a lot of memory. So we offered to start teaching her the lessons and she said yes. I'm really excited to start working with her! She's great. I love Jill.
 
Yesterday was awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!! Jill came back to church and bore her testimony. She has NEVER done that even when she was active. It was huge. I love this gospel. It is a gospel of change!!!!!!!!!!! It helps people overcome their weaknesses and become the people the Lord knows they can be. Change is possible through the atonement of Jesus Christ. I am just so grateful for what this gospel has done for me. I look back at who I was when I first got out here and it's neat to see how much I have already changed. there is a lot left to change though! Don't get me wrong. But it's cool to see a little bit of progress. I just think its so awesome how this is really possible. It's true that when you lose your life for the Savior's sake, you find your life. You become something better than you ever had thought for yourself.  THE GOSPEL IS TRUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
Today we are going up to the mission home with the Jensons and then tomorrow we are having our Christmas Mission Conference INSIDE the Kirtland Temple!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I  AM SO STOKED!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's going to be so legit. I can't wait. The entire mission, every single missionary, is going to be inside the first temple built in these latter days. HOW COOL IS THAT??????
 
I almost forgot to tell you about this scary thing that happened to us! We had only been here a few days and we were driving home from a tiny town in our area. We turned the corner and I saw some guys crawling on the ground and some running around this house. I did a double take and they were holding these HUGE GUNS!!!! IT WAS A FLIPPING SWAT TEAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They didn't block off the road or stop us or anything! We just kept driving by. It was scary! I thought I had left East St. Louis!!!! reminded me of being home! haha!
 
How was your Thanksgiving? Did you guys get home safe? How are the kids? How is Rex doing at home? How is Sarah feeling? How were Gma's rolls? How is that great woman doing?
Ah! I miss you all so much! I can't wait to talk to you all on Christmas! I don't know where or when we'll be skyping, but I'll let you guys know when we figure it out.
I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, November 18, 2013

11/18/13

OH MY GOSH HAS IT BEEN A CRAZY WEEK!!!!
 
Saying goodbye was super hard. I was actually pretty proud of myself though, I kept it together for most of it. Packing was pretty easy, I had known for a while that it was coming so I had been packing for a few days already. We had to pick up some other sisters in Tallmadge and then went up to Kirtland for transfers. I had heard people talking about an elders area where both elders had gotten their visas to Argentina and they hadn't had missionaries there for about a month and then people started saying that's where they thought I was going to be put with my new companion. I decided I wasn't going to assume anything, you never know what Pres is going to do. So we go into the room where all of the trainers wait to meet their new companions. There were 8 new greenies who walked in and sat in front of us and then President told them to "go find your trainer" and sweet Sis. Lemmon walked up to me. She is adorable. She is 19 from Tooele Utah. VERY young. She went to Snow College for a year before coming out here. She is the youngest of 4. We got to know each other a little bit and then I asked her where her paper said we were going. And she said St. Marys! That is the elders area where they hadn't had missionaries for a month. It is the largest area in the mission. It is the farthest south west corner of the mission. I'm right on the Indiana/Ohio border. There is a tiny branch here, about 40 people come every Sunday on a good day. It reminds me a lot of the East St. Louis branch, super small, same building set up and everything. The people here are really nice, very friendly. The towns are very small and really spread out. In Massillon we had 1050 miles for the  month, here we have 1500 and the area is A LOT bigger than Massillon. Our house is really nice! Mom, our closet is bigger than yours!!!! It's quite exciting! We have a 2012 Malibu - its super swanky! I like it a lot! I'm not used to driving such a big car though, my last one was a tiny Subura Impreza, this thing is huge compared to that! but it's been fun.
 
The area is a hard one. everyone has been making sure we understand that! Most people out here are Catholic and aren't interested in changing. It's been hard to talk to investigators that the previous elders were meeting with, no one returns phone calls. But we are trying. Things are just going to be really slow for the next couple weeks I think, which sucks but oh well. The branch president here is great! He's a lawyer and has a great family! We had dinner at their house last night with the senior couple that is serving here. (they are the Jensons. WE LOVE THEM! They are the best!) While we were there we were under a Tornado Warning so we had to go down to the basement and wait till things calmed down. Quite an adventure for my companion who didn't really know what a tornado was... haha!
 
Well I hope things for Sarah get better and that Rex's visa gets figured out. Sis. Trussel was telling me that one of the elders she knows, his mom went and did the visa process herself and was able to get it before everyone else. She also said that because people were doing that it made it harder for everyone else too! haha! But if the lady from the church said you could do it THEN GO FOR IT!!! Let me know when you're going, I want to fast with you guys. I hope he's getting excited and is preparing! He hasn't emailed me in a while, so I don't know how he's doing. I loved the pics of Haleigh and Cory and Steph! They look so happy! I miss you guys all so much! I am happy though that I'm out of the super homesick phase, Sis. Lemmon is having a really hard time with it. She breaks down at random parts of the day and needs a hug... I feel bad for her. Hopefully things start picking up here soon and we get busy and she won't have time to think about it.
 
Well I love and miss you all! I hope everyone has a great week!
 
Rachel
 
P.S. I'm sending a couple pics. my new comp, a buddy of mine that was in my first district, some families that I said goodbye to in Massillon and some other stuff...

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

11/12/13

WOWOWOWOW!!!! That is some crazy news about the family... Did not expect that...
Well I Hope Gma is having a good time down in OK with everyone! I miss them all so much! I hope you guys have a good time with the fam in Utah! I miss them so much too!!!!! I am so jealous you guys are getting to see them all! Tell them all hi for me!
 
Things here are good! It snowed pretty good last night and this morning, we have a few inches. But I think the sun's going to melt it all before the day's over.
 
I got a call on Tuesday morning last week from President. I'm training again. I seriously couldn't believe it. There are only 3 sisters coming in this transfer, so I thought for sure I would be off the hook. nope, lucky me. And He told me that I would be transferred from Massillon. So I'll be training in a new area where I know nothing about the ward, the members, the investigators, or my companion who knows nothing. It's going to be interesting. But I am excited. It should be fun!
 
Friday I had to go to the Trainer's meeting in Cleveland up at the mission home. That was fun to get to see Pres. and Sis. Vellinga for a little bit. They're so great!
 
Saturday night was the adult session of stake conference. SO GOOD! I was so excited about the topic that the first presidency chose - the work of salvation! It's a pretty great topic. Pres. Vellinga spoke and then he and Sis. Vellinga spoke Sunday too. It was great! Our stake president is really awesome, Pres. Talley. He is a very spiritual man and made some prophecies about the stake. It's a long story, but if you look back at church history this area, the Akron Stake, was very rich in church history. there were a lot of apostles that lived here and the prophet visited here often. And when the Lord scourged Kirtland, this area was cursed as well. Well Pres. Benson came and lifted the scourge a while ago and in the D&C it talks about how the wasteplaces of Zion would be built up. So Pres. Talley said that our stake was one of the wasteplaces of Zion and prophesied that our stake would see many new wards and branches be built in the next year. And he also talked about another Kirtland Temple being built. Elder Ballard was in Kirtland for their stake conference and talked with the priesthood leadership about that possibility! HOW EXCITING IS THAT?!?!?!!?!?!? We could be getting a new Temple in the future in Kirtland! Where the first temple in this latter-day dispensation was built! I am so flipping excited! I can't wait for you guys to come out and see Kirtland. It's awesome.
 
Then the closing hymn for conference was "God Be With You Till We Meet Again". I completely lost it. It was pretty bad. Pres. saw me and asked me about it after. I am having a really hard time leaving Massillon. It's become my home and family and I love the people here so much. And I have no idea where I'm going or what to expect. I'm super scared and anxious and nervous and alkdfjhieufhnejnflskfh. This has been a hard week. Saying goodbye sucks. BIG TIME. But I told them I would be back in July with you and dad, so that was good.
 
OH! Sis. O'D had a doctor's appointment here yesterday so she just SHOWED UP at our apartment!!! It was so good to see her! Especially since I don't know if I will get to see her tomorrow at transfers.  She's doing well and is liking her new area. That made me so happy to hear. I have missed her so much!  I can't remember anything else too exciting that has happened here lately....
Mom, you have to add Margie Colman Morrison on my facebook. She is seriously going to shoot me if you don't do it soon! She said she has been waiting for you to accept her friend request for months now. C'mon mom - got to get on this! haha! just joking - I love you! but seriously, add her. She has pictures of me that she wants to post for you. and there was a lady at stake conference that took a pic of the sisters, she had never seen them before, and wanted to send it to our moms, so she probably sent that to you yesterday. Don't know if you got it or not, I think I remembered your phone number... haha!
 
I don't really need anything right now. You can always send stuff to the mission office and they will send it to where I get transferred - 2070 west 117th street cleveland OH 44111. Just make sure you address it to Sister Rachel Chapman. But I will send you something when I get to my new area so you have the address. There is an elder chapman here and I would hate it if he got my awesome packages! haha! I'll have to send you a pic of he and I. We look NOTHING alike. He's a ginger... but he's awesome. he's one of the assistants.
 
But anyway... things are good!!
 
I love you and miss you all so much! Please tell everyone hi for me!
 
you're the best momma!

11/4/13

I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!!! It sounds like it has been a good week! I'm so glad to hear that.
This week was a good one for us here too! We had Zone Conference one Thursday. It was really good. I love being around President. He always says something I need to hear or that I the Lord wanted me to know. We found out WE'RE GETTING IPAD MINNIES!!!! It's going to start in 2014, not sure which month though... But still, EVERY MISSIONARY WILL HAVE THEIR OWN IPAD!!! I'm pretty stoked. It's going to make missionary work so much easier! I can't wait.
When Elder Bowen from the 70 came for mission conference he talked a lot about believeing in miracles. President Vellinga elaborated on that this week and talked about how if the Lord is hastening His work, we need to hasten ours. If we expect to have miracles we have to be even more obedient. He asked us to raise the bar on obedience. I'm a pretty obedient missionary, but I know that there are things I need to work on, so I was grateful for his comments.
 
Saturday was Rachael Bennett's baptism. It was incredible! After all the stress and worry, it went perfectly. I was so happy for her. She even bore her testimony and it was awesome!!! The spirit was so strong. there were a few investigators there that got to see it too! And she comes from a part member family and her extended family aren't members, so that was great for them to feel the spirit and see her make this decision for her life! It was a great weekend!
 
mom to answere your  question, Sis. Trussel was supposed to go to the Brazil MTC but because she didn't have her visa they sent her to the Provo one instead. So if Rex doesn't get his he will go there for 6 weeks and if he still doesn't have it after that they'll reassign him temporarily to a stateside mission. He will have to do 4 hours of study for his first 12 weeks! haha! I do not envy him in that area, it is hard to be at a desk for 4 hours. I'm glad Sis. Trussel's extra hour of study won't be necessary after next week! It's been a little difficult lately...
 
No new investigators yet, but we have a few potentials we're going to be working with.
Not much else has been happening... Just staying busy and working with the members. So what kind of meetings are the ward mission leaders having? I want to know what they're doing so maybe we can impliment something like that here! We could definitely use it!
 
Well I don't know what else to tell you...
 
I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!
 
P.S. With transfers being next week I won't email till Tuesday

10/28/13

Rachel Chapman (rachel.chapman@myldsmail.net) This sender is in your contact list.
Mon 10/28/13 3:13 PM
Darlene Chapman (darchapman@hotmail.com)
YOU ARE THE BEST MOTHER IN THE ENTIRE WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I got all the packages and they were the best thing EVERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you thank you thank you thank you!!!! I love it!
 
It has been a good week! We were able to get Rachael in for a baptismal interview and SHE PASSED!!! So I will be having another baptism this weekend! I'm so excited! Especially for Rachael. She has been an eternal investigator that no one ever thought would get baptized. She had had 3 sets of missionaries before I got to the area and I had taught her and dropped her twice. This last time we started teaching her things were different. She was ready this time to make the commitment. She is awesome! I can't wait for this weekend. Her less active dad also started coming back to church! It's a really good situation.
The Padilla's have moved out of our area once again. So we don't really know what's going to happen with them. They aren't ready yet. They're not willing to commit.
I think that's a problem a lot of people have. Being a member of this church is such a huge commitment, a life long one. and I think for people who haven't tried it are really intimidated by that. But when they actually make the commitment and start working toward that goal they realize it's not a sacrifice and they are richly blessed for the step that they made into the dark. I wish more people would just take a chance on it, they have nothing to lose. They may think they do, but they don't! Only more to gain.  Linda has gone crazy and we have pretty much dropped her. Bonnie we are still trying to get into contact with. We have an appointment with her tomorrow and I really hope she remembers. She could be a really great mormon!
 
I get so invested in these people that I am trying to help and be a vessel for the spirit to help them and I'm able to teach them the tools they need to help themselves. They take them and use them and see the blessings and get baptized and are the happiest people in the world and then they start to use these tools less and less and forget about the things we taught them. And then before you know it they don't come to church all month and their lives are falling a part. I HATE PEOPLE'S AGENCY! Sometimes I just want to take it away, but that's Satan's plan. And the Lord meant for us all to have agency and choose for ourselves. Even if it hurts the people around us. This is something I have been thinking a lot about. How our agency is a precious gift that the Lord has given us and we have to respect it and cherish it and use it for what the Lord intended us to use it for. CHOOSING THE RIGHT! Sometimes that's easier said than done, I will be the first to admit I don't use my agency to choose the right all the time. anyway.... I'll get off that soap box.
 
We have this incredible couple out here, the Hildebrands, who I love so much. I can't wait for you guys to meet them when you come out and get me! Are you guys planning on doing that? Well I'm planning on it... They fed us last night. We have the best time with them. They do so much for all the missionaries. They are an answer to our prayers and yours. they make sure we're getting fed and that we have enough coats and pots and pans and shoes and anything. I'm so grateful for them. Pam has been huge emotional support too! Totally been our moms while we're out here. She keeps me going!
Things are going really well here though. We are trying to get some new investigators, we really need some. We have a few solid potentials that we can hopefully start teaching this week. I'm excited for it.
 
The fall here is beautiful! It reminds me a lot of our drives through Alton. Grandma Grimes would love it.
 
Sis. Trussel still doesn't know a lot about her visa. They are saying by January she should be in Brazil. She also said that the consulate in Oklahoma is one of the faster ones, so hopefully Rex gets his in soon! How is he doing? I hope he's surviving down there! haha! I bet it's good mission prep being with Chris and Katie and Sam.
 
Is Sarah doing better? How is her mouth and the kidney infection? I hope she can get a break from pain soon!
 
I love you guys and miss you all so much!  Rachel

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Pictures for Oct. 2013




10/21/14

I hope Sarah is doing better! Poor thing! I will be keeping her and you guys in my prayers, well you all always are anyway, but I'll be saying extra ones. I hope the kids all had a great birthday at the Martins! So fun!!!! Please tell me you took pictures and that they are on their way to me!!! Have Grandma tell Grandma Reida happy birthday for me!!! She is incredible, still going!
 
Things here this week have been good! Another fast week!
 
The Rohrers are doing good. Today would have been Rick and Erma's 22nd anniversary so it's been a tough weekend. Erma's brother sent Rick a really awful "happy anniversary" card and was really mean and things didn't end very well. I feel so bad for them. I can't even imagine what they must be going through. But we had dinner with them Saturday night and it was so fun! I love just getting to hang out with them for a little bit. They always make me feel better about everything! I hope they really do go out and visit you guys, I'm not sure what's holding them up and why they won't just go...
 
Yesterday the Bishop had us do a missionary Sunday. It went really well! 3 of the speakers spoke on their conversion stories. Bro. Shadle, he's in the bishopric and is Hanna and Bethany's (my roommates) uncle! But he spoke about how he was in the air force and met this guy who was a member and long story short this guy had talked to 150 people about the church and all of them said no or weren't interested, then he talked to Bro. Shadle and he was the first to say yes. So it just goes to show that no matter how many times we have already tried to share the gospel we never know what's going to happen the next time. The last speaker, our new ward mission leader, spoke on the restoration. It went really well!!! I am really excited about our new ward mission leader. He is in his late 20's, so he has returned from a mission recently and so has our assistant ward mission leader! I am really excited to see how this goes! Then in 3rd hour we had a combined priesthood/RS lesson on missionary work and the 3 sets of us taught it! It went great! We taught them all how to use the great resources that the church has online like lds.org, mormon.org, and mormonchannel.org! They are so incredible! We told them all to make  a mormon.org profile and then to post videos and mormon messages on their facebook. and then we explained how you can refer a friend on mormon.org. We talked to a member in the ward today and they said that people have actually been posting stuff!!! I was really excited to hear that. So it went well.
 
Our investigators are doing okay. Rachael is on track for her baptism lesson wise, but hasn't stayed for all 3 hours for church yet or been to mutual. and she doesn't have solid fellowship in the ward yet. and her baptism is the 2nd, NEXT WEEKEND!!! So we're a little concerned. We've been praying really hard to know what to do. We don't want to move her date back because she has had it moved back so many times in the past 4 years and I don't want her to get discouraged. but I am nervous to baptize her and then have her not stay active afterward like her dad and brother. They both did that! BUT!!!! Her dad came to church with her yesterday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THAT WAS HUGE! I was so excited to see him there!
 
Linda is a mess. Her husband cheated on her, she is cheating on him, the man she is cheating on him with is cheating on her. Her husband put on job applications that he was in the military but he's not and so now there is an investigation going on and he is probable going to jail and IT IS LIKE A STINKING RED NECK SOAP OPERA OUT HERE! So she probably won't make her baptismal date for this weekend...
 
The Padilla's aren't doing too great. They are working at a chocolate factory to try and get money for a house so they can move out of the member's house they are living in. So that is their focus right now and we decided to hold off on teaching them till things calm down and they can focus. And hopefully they notice a difference in their lives without us there.
 
The weather here is getting cold! I feel so bad for my companion, she packed for Brazil and so she doesn't have warm clothes. She sent her mom a frantic letter to send warm clothes, hopefully she gets them soon! haha! She's funny. I love Sis. Trussel. She keeps me laughing, all the time. She has these blonde moments that are just spectacular. WE were at a member's house for dinner and they have 3 little kids that are so much fun! Sis. Trussel was helping one of them put carmel on his icecream cone and had a major malfunction with it and had to have the mom help her and it was just great! You kind of had to be there..
 
Yesterday I hit my 8 month mark! Crazy! It seems like last month I got here and yet at the same time feels like 2 years. But I love being here in the Massillon ward, they are making jokes that they're going to be moving my records in and give me a calling. haha! no thanks... But transfers are coming up in a bout a month (Nov. 13) and we are pretty certain I am going to be getting transferred. I'm excited and really sad at the same time. I am ready for change and a different setting, but I am really going to miss Massillon. I have gotten so close to the people here and it's going to be hard to leave right before the holidays. But "I'll go where you want me to go dear Lord".
 
These past few weeks I have been studying the Old Testemant. It has been interesting, boring, disturbing, all of the above. But I am starting to understand how the Lord feels about us when we make the same mistake over and over again and murmer when we have received blessing after blessing. I feel so bad for Him, I bet He can't wait to come and make us all perfect and be done dealing with the natural men. I have really enjoyed my personal studies lately though!
 
MOM! I was reading in Exodus 29:40 when they used "deal" to talk about a measurement and it made me think of you! Whenever you say to get a deal of sour cream or a deal of butter! Made me laugh.
 
Things here are good though. Staying busy and trying to smile no matter what. Not always easy, but I'm trying.
 
I love and miss you all so much!!!
 
hope you all have a good week!
-Rachel

10/14/13

It has been a super short week! Staying busy!
 
We have been working a lot this week with less actives and seeing an excommunicated member. It has been a lot of fun! I love these people! They often don't have specific reasons for being less actives, life is just hard. The people are still great. I just want to hang out with them all the time!
Our investigator Linda is going through some hard things. She has told her husband she wants a divorce. apparently he cheated on her about 3 years ago and she can't let go of it. However, she's having camp outs in her back yard in a tent with some man... So we're not quite sure what's going on there... We are praying that she can get things figured out and continue working towards baptism.
Rachael was doing really great and then didn't come to church yesterday. So that was a little disappointing. It was REALLY disappointing because it was the Primary Program!!!! My favorite Sunday of the whole year! One that she as a 17 year old might have actually enjoyed! We have a lesson with her tomorrow and are hoping that we can figure out what's going on and where she's at.
It's hard being upset with investigators when they don't keep commitments. Because I remember what it was like to be a 17 year old sitting in Sacrament meeting. and reading the scriptures and going to YW every wed and doing all the things that we are expected to do. It's hard and I didn't want to do it then either. So it's hard to try and tell her these are things she has to do to gain a testimony. It's true, without those things I wouldn't have gained a testimony and neither will she. I hope she can see why she needs to do these things and that once she gains a testimony of them she will begin to enjoy them!
 
Padillas are still going good. We had a good lesson with them last night about what we do as missionaries and why we extend commitments and expect them to do certain things. They are having a hard time finding time to read the scriptures and come to church because they are trying to get money to pay for a house, they are living with a member family right now. So they don't understand that if they put God first everything else will work out, that they will be blessed for that sacrifice. I think they got it. We committed them to read 2 Nephi 9, which talks about what Christ expects of us. I hope they understand how much the Savior loves them and wants them to come unto Him!
I am starting to realize that this is going to be my last transfer in Massillon. It's going to be really hard to leave. I will have been here for 9 months at the end of this transfer. and they will be transferring me right before Thanksgiving and Christmas! That is what is going to be hard! I'm not going to worry about it too much until it gets closer, there is still 5 weeks...
 
The Morrisons, one of my favorite families here, the ones who were the first members to feed me, they had a Golden Retreiver, Toby Lou, pass away a bout a month before TJ did. So they were really sweet when TJ died. This week we went over to their house to help out with some service. Margie told me they had a new addition to the family and pointed down beside her and there was their new Golden Retriever, Ruby Lou! I picked her up and just started balling! IT was so embarresing. She looks so much like TJ did when he was a puppy! It was so bittersweet. She's adorable and so cute! We had fun playing.
 
The other sisters did some service for a sister in the ward who was getting ready for a garage sale and I am attaching some photos of some little treasures they brought home from their visit. Mom, I know you will really enjoy them.
 
Other than all of that there isn't much going on here... just really trying to find some new investigators and stay busy!
 
I love and miss you all so much!!!!
Rachel

10/07/13

YOU GUYS ARE THE BEST!!!!! I BET THE MISSIONARIES THERE LOVE YOU!!!! I'm so proud of you guys, having lessons taught in your home and inviting neighbors to meet the missionaries! You guys are doing everything they talked about in Saturday's sessions of Conference! I know that as you continue you will see the great blessings that come from doing missionary work and you will fall in love with being part of that work. LOVE IT!
 
This week was so good! I feel like no matter what you are going through in life, conference always makes it better. There is always something talked about in conference that is specific for everyone's situation, whatever that situation is. Such a testimony to me that our Father in Heaven is aware of each of us individually. I love hearing from special witnesses of Christ and His restored gospel. It always gives me the extra nudge to push forward and continue.
 
It has been a good week of missionary work! The Padilla family has been looking like we were going to have to drop them. But my stubborn companion who doesn't like accepting reality didn't want to drop them so we decided to give them another week. And I am so grateful she is stubborn! We had a fantastic lesson with them last night. We had a member in the ward, Bro. Rice, who is fluent in spanish, RM, and assistant ward mission leader come with us. It was fantastic! The Padillas have never been that involved in our lessons before! I think it was really great for Lazero and Eric to have a male there to relate to them. Lazero is 25 and Eric is 30. They don't want to hear about chastity and the word of wisdom and stuff from a 21 and 19 year old. So it was great to have Bro. Rice there who is their age explain things to them and to be an example. It went really well! We aren't giving up on the Padillas!!!
 
Rachael is doing good! We're not sure if she was able to watch conference or not, but we really hope she did! We know there were things in it that she and her family needed to hear!
 
Linda is doing alright... There are some more serious problems going on than we thought and some of it she is causing. So we're not sure how things are going to pan out or what's going to happen, but we are praying things get figured out and she can apply the things we are teaching her.
 
This week has been really special for me. I have felt the Lord sustaining me. I have felt Him carrying me through this week. He has reassured me that this is where I am supposed to be and that I can do this. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is real. It's not just for forgiving sins, its for strengthening us. There was such a great talk about this this weekend! The Atonement brings personal strength and I have most definitely gained a testimony of that.
 
I miss you so much. Thank you for all of your encouragement and help through all of this. It really has made things better for me. I love you!
 
Rachel

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

9/16/13

It has been a good week though! The Padillas, the cuban family that the other sisters were working with before, just moved into MY area so I get to teach them! I'm excited about that, I love them! And my companion, sis. trussel, can use her portugeause! the languages are so similar. We got a new investigator this week, Bonnie! She seems great. I'm really excited to start working with her.
The Rohrers took us out to dinner this week. It's so hard not getting to see them as often as we used to. But they are doing good. Rick finally bought some dress pants and a white shirt and tie! He looked great on Sunday! Brandon and Sam are good - I want them to try going to Singles Ward! I think they would like it a lot more than the family ward, they would relate more to the lessons taught there.
 
I don't think I have told you guys about the Shannon family here... CRAZY! So the kids are all middle-aged and have grown kids and they are all members. So Brother Shannon, the one that is in our area is insane. His sister is in prison for killing her husband  - burned the house down with him in it. The whole family has anger issues. So we were over there the other day and his 17 year old daughter and him were telling us about the time some 16 year old girl backed up into his car. Apparently she didn't leave a mark or anything but Bro. Shannon got out and started calling her foul names and then told us what he called her... he thinks everyone is white trash, I think he has some pseudo-racism going on. He also told us about the time he saw his daughter watching a movie with a guy friend in the dark and called her a prostitute. He also told Sis. Trussel that if she called him white trash he would kill her (we knew he wasn't serious, don't worry, my companion is completely safe!). He told us about how there was a kid in high school that called him that and he goes,"did I kill him? no. did I beat the crap out of him? yes." He says the craziest things. the other night he told Lazero, one of the cubans, that because they had to take all of the tests to become citizens, "you are more smarter than us." and he was being completely serious when he said it, he wasn't trying to be funny... Ah, the Shannon family. Seriously, there is a magnet underneath Massillon that attracts all of the crazy people.
 
We also had a general authority come and speak to us on Tuesday. Elder Bowen from the 70. It was really good! He talked a lot about the Abrahamic Covenant and the House of Israel and who we really are and how when we know that we act differently. I really enjoyed it. at the begining we all walked by him and got to shake his hand and Pres. and Sis. Vellinga's. It was definitley a spiritual experience. Pres. adn Sis. Vellinga cried the whole time. I love them. They are both incredible and have helped me in so many ways. Elder Bowen talked about how they were pre-ordained to be our mission president before the foundation of the earth. SO COOL! I know they were supposed to be here for me.
 
We are trying to get busy and meet every less active member that will let us. It's something we're working on with the ward missionaries. We are also trying to start a Preach My gospel class on Wed. nights so people can learn more about how to do member missionary work. I'm really excited. Yesterday in church we helped teach the RS lesson on that! It was awesome. there was such a strong spirit already there. I really hope the sisters took it home and start applying it!
 
This week I have felt so much gratitude for my family and everyone that is supporting me. I feel your prayers, and they are what keep me going. this is the hardest thing I have ever done, but I know that with all of you behind me I can go forward with faith.
 
I love all of you!
Sis. Chapman

9/9/13

It has been one great week! The week started out a little slow, not much was happening. We were trying to visit a ton of less actives and see where we could get with any of them - not much success, they didn't really want to talk to us. Then on Friday we went over to a member's house, Brenda Baxter, who has a neighbor that she has been talking with about the church. So we went over and talked with Sis. Baxter for a while, and then her neighbor's son dropped by and Baxter told him to tell his mom to come over. So we got to meet Linda and talked to her for a while. She asked us what seperated us from everyone else. WHAT A GREAT QUESTION! We talked to her about priesthood authority and how it is only found in our church and about our prophet and latter day revelation. She asked why she needed to be baptized again and we talked about priesthood again and pretty much told her that her baptism was invalid, of course in a nice way!, and then invited her to be baptized in our church by someone holding that proper priesthood authority. SHE SAID YES!!!!!!!!!!! She came to church yesterday and had a great time. She is really excited to start learning more about the church. it's great.
 
We also started talking to an investigator that we were working with some this summer, Rachael Bennett. She decided to come to church yesterday, which was HUGE! she hasn't been at all in the past year and has met with 5 different sets of missionaries. hopefully something is different this time!
We also went contacting downtown and my awesome companion thought we should go back and talk to some people we passed who were waiting for the bus. We got 2 of their phone numbers and they said they were looking for a new church to go to! We have an appointment set up with one of them, Johnnetta, this week! So exciting!
 
We also started meeting with this family, kindof, they are looking for a church. they are great people and I really hope to get to work with them a lot. I really like them!
So it has been an exciting week!
 
Leilani is doing a lot better with the Young Women - thank goodness! Her dad is still in the hospital. He should be getting out today. I really hope that he starts getting better or atleast can hang on till January when they can all be sealed together.
 
On Tuesday after I found out about TJ we went over to the Hildebrand's. They have a really sweet dog and I just sat with her for a long time. I miss him. He was the best dog. I hope everyone back home is doing okay.
 
Sarah Kay, you need some serious help it sounds like. I am so sorry to hear about all the pain you have been in! You'll be in my prayers babe!
 
I'm excited for you guys having Cory and Steph and the kids at the house! That's going to be so fun! I'm so jealous. There are all these little kids at church that are so stinkin' cute and I can't pick them up or play with them or anything. It's so sad.
 
I love you guys a ton and miss you all so much!
Sis. Chapman

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

9/3/13

It has been  a long, but great week! Tuesday I was still sick, but we were able to go out for a little bit. Frank Cain is in the hospital again, he has heart failure. So we went with the elders to give him a blessing. It was a great experience for everyone. The spirit was so strong! Wednesday we had a lesson with Leilani. She is doing so well! I am starting to understand the change that has taken place as she has accepted the gospel, but sometimes it's still hard to believe! I love her so much! Thursday we had a relief society activity that we went to and got to know a lot of the sisters in the ward a lot better! There were a few less actives that we got to meet and we hope to see them more! Friday we went to A LOT of less active's homes to try and meet a lot of people that no one knows. We got to meet a few, but most of them weren't home or didn't want to see us. We also helped the Padilla's (the Cuban family who are investigating the church) move. Leticia's ex-husband stopped paying the rent so they had to be out that day. It was really sad, but I'm glad we were able to help them out! THey are so fun! My companion was able to talk to them because she speaks Portuguese, which is really close to spanish. It was fun for them! I love hearing her speak and helping her with her language study. Saturday we did some emergency service for a family that is moving into the ward that are going to become investigators for the other sisters. It was fun! All week we have been doing a ton of tracting and stopping by former and potential investigators just trying to find some new people to teach! We haven't found any yet, but I know that there are people here who need us and are looking for the gospel! There was a great elder that said once, "treat every area like someone prayed you there, and then move mountains to find them." That's what we're trying to do! Sunday was fast Sunday and Rick Rohrer got up to bear his testimony! It was so awesome! I love that family so much! They are incredible! They say they are going to be coming out to St. Louis before the holidays, hopefully that works out and everyone back home gets to meet them! They need some fellowship and lots of encouragement! Rick got called as one of the cub scouts leaders - dad you gotta help him out! And Brandon got called as the YM's Secretary! It's fun. I don't know if they've done anything in their callings yet but I think they're excited about it. Monday was labor day and there was a big county fair going on. the Senior couple in our area got a booth and set up some stuff for the church. So we worked there from 10-3! It was crazy! I have never done contacting like that on my mission and I don't really like it. I felt like a salesman the whole time. That's not the way I want to represent the church. But overall it was a good experience. Rick was there with Sam! She has been helping us out a lot with getting Leilani some fellowship! THey had Leilani spend the night over there this weekend and all went to the fair together. It made me really happy to see Sam being so sweet and helpful to us and to Lei. Love that girl! Last night we had a really great lesson with Leilani's parents Frank is still in the hospital so we went up and sat with them for a while. We read that scriptures in proverbs "lean not unto thine own understanding" and just talked about how we don't know why these things are happening, but the Lord does and He has a plan. Then Frank started baring his testimony about it. It was awesome! The spirit was incredible! He told us about one of the first times he felt the spirit. He was in the navy and was an alcoholic. He had just gotten sober and his buddies wanted to take him to one the shows they were having for the navymen. So Frank went, but they were all trying to get him to drink the whole night and so he wasn't having a good time. One of his friends came up and asked him what was wrong and he told her. the rest of the night she asked him to dance and helped him out  and took his mind off of it. He lost contact with her later on and then found out that a year after that she had died from cancer and then he found out that she had had a husband who had died from alcoholism. So she had made a huge impact on Frank. Then years later when Frank was working as a counselor for AA he met this kid, Troy, who he was helping out and trying to get him sober. He came to find out that Troy was this women's son. He said he felt the spirit confirm that this was not a coincidence. That was the first time in the 6+ months that I have been here that I saw Frank cry. He continued to bear testimony about the Lord's plan for each of us and how He knows us better than we think He does. It was awesome! I love them. They teach me so much everytime I am with them.
Other than that not much has been happening. Just really trying to find people to teach.
We are also trying to get members more excited about sharing the gospel, but aren't coming up with very good ideas of how to do that so if anyone has suggestions or things that worked in their missions send them my way!!!!
love you all!!!
Sis. Rachel Chapman

Monday, August 26, 2013

8/26/13

It has been a crazy week. But it sounds like you guys have had a pretty good one too! I'm so excited for Rex! That is so awesome! Please tell me you guys took some pics!!!!!!!!!!!!
So Wednesday was transfers. I got my new Trainee! She is great! Sis. Trussel is 19 from the Seattle area. She is super sweet. Such a hard worker. She couldn't wait to get out and start tracting and finding new investigators to teach. I love it! It's what I need right now. So they have taken my district and split it into 3, so it's been really different. Instead of having 7 companionships in my district there are now 3. SO WEIRD! but it's exciting! The ward is really excited to have elders!
Leilani's baptism was this weekend. it was insane! So Leilani picked out a few mormon messages to show while she was changing and everyone was just chilling in the chapel. We mistakenly told the zone leaders about this and they told us they didn't want us to, that we needed to share a message about the restoration. DUH! one of the mormon messages is on the restoration... I really get frustrated when elders think that because I am a sister I haven't thought things through, that I don't have a clue what I am talking about... So I was all stressed out about that, we ended up doing it anyway because that's what the spirit told me would be better. and it turned out that a nonmember wanted to know where we got them because she wanted to use them in her sunday school class at her church! ha! So that was the first thing. then we get there and start setting up and the bishop wanted to have the meeting in the relief society room instead of the chapel because he didn't think that there would be enough people to fill it. wrong. we had everyone squeezing into the relief society room and then had to move everyone down the hall to the chapel anyway because there were so many people there. then Bro. Hildebrand starts setting up the projector to show the videos and finds out that he didn't bring them from home. so we had to quicky (as the service was going on) download the videos and get them ready to show. Then one of the speakers didn't show up until right before and she needed some props and it was just crazy. She had pictures up in chapel that definitely should not have been shown in the chapel representing "the world". The actually ordinance went great! Leilani did so good! The spirit was definitely there. The videos went well. then it was her turn to get up and say a few words. which she actually surprised me. She bore her simple testimony and thanked everyone for coming. it was awesome! THen yesterday at the confirmation things got crazy again! Bro. Hildebrand didn't quite understand what he needed to do to confirm her. he messed up and had to do it again and the blessing he gave her was very strange. A lot of things mentioned about the devil.... But at the end of the day she had been baptized and confirmed!
BUt that's not all folks! I get home and carol, her mom, calls me screaming and crying saying Leilani doens't want to come back anymore and that people need to practice what they preach. Apparently kids in Sunday school were making fun of her about something and it was just terrible. I had no idea what to do. So i just explained that the church is perfect, the people in it aren't. I think that helped, and she seemed to calm down. I talked to Leilani and she was doing better. I talked to their home teacher who is the former bishop and is now on the high counsel about it. He talked to carol and I think things are a lot better now. WHY CAN'T WE ALL JUST BE NICE AND GET A LONG?!?!?!!?!?!?!? I think everything is fine now though.
I called our mission doctor, because I am still sick and running a fever. He thinks I have bronchitis. great.
So things here have been a hot mess.
but the church is still true! and I have really enjoyed getting to work! I have been taking a lot of naps, being sick is making me so exhausted. But I have loved getting to work with Sis. Trussel. There are 2 new sisters in our apartment. Sis. Gardner and Greenwood are great! They are so wonderful and hard working and I'm really excited to be working with them.
Love you guys! thanks for all the support! you're the best!
 
I'm sending a few pics. One is of the baptism. then there is a pic of Sis. O'D's and I's favorite elders - so fun! Then there is a pic of my MTC district minus one sister


Monday, August 5, 2013

8/5/13

WOW! craziness back home sounds like! I'm glad to hear you're all doing well though! I'm so happy for Katie! I hope you took some pictures or send me some from Facebook when they get put up!
This week has been a little ridiculous... Sis. Astle's migraines have been getting worse. She looked at her planner and did the math. In the last month she has been able to work a complete day 6 times. 6 days out of the  month we have gotten up at 6:30 and worked until 9:30. I didn't realize it was that few. I have been going on exchanges with sis. O'D while her companion has been sick too. So I have been working and didn't realize it had been that bad. We had interviews with President on Wednesday. I love him. He always makes me feel better. We talked about sis. Astle and how things have been going. I really love her. She is such a great companion. I feel so awful that she is suffering the way she is. President talked to me about the missionary schedule and how if she can't keep it she can't be a missionary. It made me so sad to hear that. She wants to be here, she is a great missionary! But her health isn't allowing it. So Thursday night she got a really bad migraine and we went to see the Chiropractor Friday morning - that did nothing. He is pulling at strings now trying not to lose a patient. He told her that he thinks it's a gluten intollerance. No. So we called her doctor, which the chiropractor advised us not to do (idiot), and they were able to get her in. They prescribed her some new meds and told her that if that doesn't work that they will send her to a nuerologist. So we got home and she went to bed and I called sis. Vellinga to let her know how everything went. (she is the health coordinator/nurse of the mission) She told me that if they do say she needs to go to a nuerologist they will send her home to do that. great....
Also on Friday - craziness with Sis. Benson. She has been sick for 3 weeks now tomorrow. The doctor thinks it that bug that has only hit a few states that hits the stomach really bad. So they prescribed her the only thing that they know of that will kill it. turns out she is allergic to that medicine... So Friday afternoon she took a trip to the ER. They put her on more medication and it was just making things worse. She just kept pressing on though! We tried to go to Sacrament meeting yesterday, but she had to leave right after it was passed because she was about to pass out. Then we found out that her dad has really bad reactions to the steroid they gave her and she started having the same thing and it got really bad last night. SO sis. Vellinga told us to take another trip to the ER. (I forgot to tell you about sis. O'D first - you need this info first. She has been put on medication for sleeping/anti-anxiety for her breathing problems - the doc thinks it is related to stress. So while all of this is happening last night we realize that she had already taken this medicine which knocks her out and leaves her pretty much drunk. so she couldn't take sis. Benson to the ER) So I got to go the ER last night around 12:00. I really did not like this doctor, and I'm pretty sure he knew it (thanks mom). He told her that she was worrying herself sick and was making her symptoms occur - false. She had just gotten a blessing right before and wasn't freaking out at all. AH! It was so frustrating. anyway... we got home around 2 and she was hungry so i popped in some cinnamon rolls and we hung out for a little bit while she kind of calmed down. 3 AM rolled around and I was finally in bed.
Sis. Astle also talked to her parents and president last night and they have decided that if at the end of this transfer she is not doing better they are going to send her home. I am so sad.
But other than that not much has been happening. Leilani is still on track for baptism though!!! so that's great!
Being a missionary was hard this week, but I still love this calling! I love seeing the Lord's tender mercies every day and getting to enjoy this gospel in this way.
love you all!!!
Hope you have a great week!
Rachel

Monday, July 29, 2013

7/29/13

It has been an okay week. Sis. Astle went to a Chiropractor last week and today to try and fix the headaches. I really like this chiropractor! He is way cool and definitely knows what he is doing. They keep trying to get me to become a patient - they are better salesmen than we are I think! haha! But they are really nice. It's always fun trying to explain to people what we do when they have never heard of Mormons before! Lots of different reactions...
 
Sis. Benson is still sick. It's been about 12 days now. She has been to a doctor and he thinks it's a virus but is still waiting on blood work. She is miserable. I feel so bad for her. We are trying to go on exchanges when we can so that they keep their area going. It's been crazy...
 
We did experience a miracle of sorts this week though! So Leilani Cain is the daughter of recent converts, the one I don't really have the patience for but Sis. Astle and her have really hit it off. Well things have been kind of progressing with her and she is warming up to us more and more. She has some sweet moments, which makes me start to like her more and more. But we were texting her on Thursday and out of no where she tells us she wants to get baptized. WHAT?!?!!?!? It was crazy! We were like, "really? that's awesome!" and she was like yah, for real, and I want to do it before you both leave. (there is a good chance I will be leaving on the 21st). so we told her that and she said I still want to do it. So Leilani Cain, the girl I always had a hard time with who I never thought was going to go anywhere anytime soon wants to get baptized on August 17th!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! As soon as Leilani texted us that we got our knees and said a prayer of gratitude. I was humbled. Leilani has been making a lot of progress. I just keep thinking about the day when her parents get sealed next year in February and now Leilani can be part of that day. SO AWESOME!!!! I'm so happy for their family. We are also trying to creatively teach her. She doesn't like school and doesn't like being taught so we are trying to figure out the best way to help her progress. Leilani is OBSESSED with rollercoasters and goes to Ceder Point all the time. She can talk about roller coasters for HOURS!!! So we are at the point where we teach the Plan of Salvation lesson. We made a plan of salvation roller coaster out of q-tips and toothpicks!!! It is SO LEGIT!  When we get done with it tonight I will send pics. It is pretty incredible. I am very proud of our roller coaster making abilities. I can't wait for her to see it tonight!
 
We had kind of a bold/serious lesson with Tome at the begining of last week. We told him that we had a purpose and expectations. We told him that he needs to stop "trying" and starting doing. We told him we need to see a little bit more commitment from him. We were also loving though. But we haven't been able to get a hold of him since... We are going to try stopping by tonight and see what's going on.
 
James Jackson is funny. The ward had a Pioneer Day barbeque and he came to it. He met lots of members and had a good time but then didn't show up to church on Sunday. WHAT?! I don't know what is going on with him... We might need to have a come to Jesus meeting with him too...
But we are trying to find some new people still. We are also trying to visit more less-actives and part member families and see what kinds of referrals we can get there a long with bringing them back to activity.
 
The weather here has been incredible!!! 70's for the past week or so! I AM LOVING IT!!!! We've even had to put on jackets a few nights! And a lot people have been telling me that the heat doesn't get close to St. Louis, so that made me happy too! I should be able to handle this no problem!
 
So transfers are coming up in about 3 weeks - the 21st. I am excited and at the same time not really. I am nervous to leave my first area. This is all I know and I don't want to leave the people here who I have come to love! It's going to be so hard leaving  Massillon. I am also so sad to leave Sis. Astle. I have really come to love her and I am going to miss her SO much. I am finally back in a companionship where I really enjoy my companion. I don't want to leave yet!!!! But I know the Lord needs me other places so I just have to trust in that.
 
I love being a missionary. There are some times when I think "why in the world did I choose to do this?" but most of the time I am so grateful I chose to do this. I love being a part of people's lives in a way that I would never have been able to. I love being a student in the gospel. I love LEARNING! I never thought I would say that. i love studies. I love being able to feel Heavenly Father's love for His children. I love being able to see myself change as I apply His gospel to my own life. I love that I love reading the Book of Mormon - also something I never thought I would say. I never thought it was something that I would be able to do and actually understand. I love being a representative of Christ. He represented me while He was suffering and now I have a chance to represent Him.
 
I love you all and miss you all so much!!!!!
Rachel

Monday, July 1, 2013

7/1/13

Sounds like you guys have been busy and are only going to be getting busier! sounds like its all fun though!
Things here have been a little crazy! Monday night Sis. O'Driscoll still wasn't better and so we took her to an urgent care and they told us we needed to go to the ER. So we got the ER around 7:00 and around 10:00 they finally took us back to see a doctor and then sent us back out to the waiting room until a room opened up. We had all 4 of us so we had a member come up around 9:30 and take our trainees home so they could get some sleep. I stayed with Sis. O'D. We finally got back to do some tests around 12. They had her do some chest xrays and made her hold her breath and she blacked out... So that wasn't good. Then we finally got back to a room and they couldn't figure out what was going on so at 2 in the morning they sent us home with an inhaler... We got home around 2:30 and our zone leaders came over and gave her a blessing. I love our zone leaders! THey are awesome! They stayed up all night talking to us and making sure that we were okay and didn't need anything. Then we had district meeting in the morning and they got up at 6:30 and had a regular day! I couldn't believe that they were working on less than 4 hours of sleep! They are incredible! Sis O'D and I slept in till 9 - probably never going to happen again! But it was nice. Sis. O'D is stilll having some trouble, but she is getting better. Her mom set up some doctor's appointments and is meetin with a specialist this week, so hopefully we figure out what's going on soon!
So that kind of through off the begining of our week. But we have had some great things happen! We met with James and he is doing great! Still reading the BOM! He would have been at church yesterday but went out of town for the weekend, hopefully he comes this next Sunday! We also had a great lesson with Rachael! Her dad was there, he is inactive, and 2 of her friends were there too - Cat and Brittany! Brittany said she wants to be Mormon! They all left Sunday morning for a trip and will be back next Sunday night, so we gave them all Books of Mormon. They said that all they do on family vacations is read so we thought that would be a great thing for them all to read together! We are really excited to see how it goes. Rachael's dad - bro. Bennett, said, "yah, if I get my act together, I could even baptize Rachael!" It was so awesome! He realizes he needs to do some work but he is willing to do it! I think this is going to be great! I can't wait for them to get back so we can keep teaching them.
Yesterday was probably the 2nd best day of my mission so far! (the first is the Rohrer's baptism of course!) Yesterday was the Mission President's Fireside for the Akron Stake. Let me just preface this whole thing by explaining to you how difficult it is teach our investigator Tom Townsend. Sometimes I feel like I am teaching nursery. His attention span is about 10 seconds - no exageration. We were teaching him the plan of salvation and he couldn't get past pre-earth life. We explained to him about 5 times that in pre-earth life we lived with Heavenly Father and that we chose to come to the Earth. He was so lost. We got to Adam and Eve and then just gave up. I have never taught so simply on my mission and he still wasn't getting it. He's really funny about it, after our lessons I tend to just laugh because I go away not knowing if understood anything we talked about. Anyway, we have been trying to get Tom to come to church for about a month now and we haven't gotten anywhere. He says church reminds him of funerals. But then we found out he LOVES church music and we told him about the Fireside and that we were going to be singing at it. He sounded more interested in that but I didn't know if he would actually come or not. But we called a member that he has met before and they got a long really well and we asked if he would pick Tom up, of course he said yes, so we were just waiting for Tom to say yes. So last night we called the member and he said that, after a little coaxing, Tom said that he was coming! I ALMOST CRIED I WAS SO HAPPY!  We have been working SO HARD to try and get Tom to the church or to progress in any way! And we were so close, we just had to make sure that he showed up! AND HE DID!!!! The Fireside was phenomenal! It was perfect! Pres. Vellinga and Pres Talley (the stake president) both spoke. Pres. Vellinga spoke about the Restoration and about Kirtland and how Jesus Christ has been here in Oho and how this is all in our back yards! It was great! Tom loved it! He can't wait to go to Kirtland! And then Pres. Talley spoke about the book of Mormon and how it needs to be a part of our lives. He talked about how Christ asked the Pharisees and Sudjucees and all of them "What think ye of Christ?" I love this question. Becase it makes me think about what I really think of Christ. and then Pres. Talley said the question he wished to pose to us was "what think ye of the Book of Mormon?" Before my mission I would have said not much, I knew it was true and I knew what it was about, but I didn't know the Book of Mormon or thought what I think about it now. I love that Book and I don't live a day without reading it. It is a road map of how to live my life so that I can be with my Heavenly Father forever, and why wouldn't we want to read that? Why wouldn't we want all the answers? It was great! THen they had recent converts bare their testimony and Brandon Rohrer was aksed to bear his. As he was bearing his testimony I just cried, the whole time. I was so grateful that I had been blessed to be a part of his story and to have been able to get to know them. It just made me so happy to hear his testimony and know that I had been a successful missionary, that I had been a tool in our Lord's hand. I know that none of what the Rohrers have accomplished is because of me. It has all happened because they chose to let the Savior's love into their lives and to choose Him. The spirit was their teacher and He is the one that converted them, I was just a long for the ride. It was an awesome moment to see Brandon up there! I love that kid! 
The music that night was PERFECT! There was a member in the Akron ward that sang this gorgeous medley of Lead Kind Light and I Need Thee Every Hour. Then I sang with Sis. Benson (sis. O'D's comp) and our old zone leaders before they split our zone. We sang Be Still My Soul. The arrangement was beautiful and the accompaniment was insane! It turned out really well! I wish you guys could have heard it! Then as the closing hymn they had all of the missionaries and the youth come up and sing I Know THat My Redeemer Lives. I'm crying right now thinking back on that moment. The spirit was incredible. Like POWER HOUSE levels of the spirit. It felt like a taste of Heaven - seriously. I want to feel like that all the time! After it was over we asked Tom what he thought. He LOVED it! He understood what was happening, he was paying attention, he loved the music, and HE WANTS MORE! I can't wait for him to come to church on Sunday! He got to meet Pres. Vellinga and our bishop and our ward mission leader and a bunch of members. Pres. Vellinga knows exactly what to say. It was perfect, simply perfect. We are teaching Tom tonight and I can't wait to go see him and find out more of what he thought about last night! I can't wait to let you know how it goes!
I love this gospel! I know it is true! It is a message of hope, peace, and change! I LOVE CHANGE! Change is the coolest thing in the world!
I love you guys all so much and I am so grateful for all of your support and love! It keeps me going out here!
Take another trip out to the lake for me!!!!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

6/24/13

Last night was crazy!!!!! I am so excited about these changes that will be happening soon! It was really funny, last week at ward council we were trying to think of ways that the members could get more excited about missionary work and sharing the gospel with their friends and neighbors and then last happened! BOOM! That got taken care of! How could you watch last night's broadcast and not want to share the gospel?!?!? IT'S SO EASY!!! Just be a follower of Christ! It was awesome!
I enjoyed the update on the family! I am so jealous you got to spend all that time with the kiddos! I miss them so much! Keep sending pics! I love them!
The work here is going well! We have been teaching a lot of less actives and members this week. BUt we also set 2 baptismal dates! One with our new investigator James Jackson. He is this happy adorable black older man! We love him! He's pretty laid back and doesn't seem totally comitted, but we're going to change that! And then our other one is with a former investigator, Rachael Bennett. Her dad is inactive and so is her brother. The rest of the family aren't members. Rachael has met with 4 different sets of missionaries, but never sisters. So we are so excited to start teaching her again! She knows the gospel is true, she's just never been very dilligent with it. We're going to change that too!!! We haven't had too much success with our investigator Tom. He's SUPER insecure and doesn't like change at all. He smokes and drinks coffee, things that we will also be changing. He's such a great man and we know this is exactly what he needs right now, we are having a hard time getting him to understand that though. But we know in time he will get it. I think that's the hardest thing for people when they begin investigating the gospel - change! THat's what it's all about! Even though it is hard it is SO WORTH IT!!! I love change!
THings with my companion are going good. Sis. Astle is a hard worker! She's great. She has a lot of "19 year old" moments, but they usually make me laugh or I just ignore them... :)
So sis. O'Driscoll has had some breathing problems while on her mission. She had a bad attack in the MTC and they almost didn't let her come out. And then she had a REALLY bad one the night we got here. She started having one Saturday night again. It was kind of scary so we called Sis. Vellinga (she is in charge of all of the health stuff). She put President on the phone and we finally got her breathing calmed down. Then President gave a blessing OVER THE PHONE! it was so awesome!!!!!!!!!! THen he was kind of bearing his testimony to us. He told us that he knows that we are not alone in that apartment. It was great. The spirit was really strong.
I know that the Lord's hand is in this work. I know that this is His gospel. I feel His love for the people around us every day. It's incredible to be an instrument in His hands and experience the feelings of love that we do. It's one of my favorite parts of being a missionary. It's also one of the most frustrating things because people break your heart so much easier now! haha! But I love this work!
So I LOVED your package!!!!!!!!! The cookies are almost all gone! Thank you thank you thank you thank you!!! Just what we needed! I loved the cd! lol! That was great! Do you know what cd you sent me? You'll have to look at the pics to find out! lol! We were all laughing so hard! It was great.
THank you all so much! I love you guys and miss you all a TON!!!!
Rachel

Monday, June 17, 2013

6/17/13

I love getting the updates about the family! I hope Haleigh is doing alright! I was laughing out loud as I was reading this. The people in the library here are looking at me weird... but I thought that was hilarious! I'm glad to hear you guys are having some missionary opportunities! That's awesome!!!

This week has been great! I feel like I am finally adjusted and I'm really starting to love this! The Lord is blessing me in so many ways! Training is going well. Sis. Astle is great! We have had some opportunities this week to really bond. Nothing huge, I have just come to be very grateful for her this week. I really love her, she's awesome. I sent a pic of us - it's a bad pic, but it's a pic.

We have 2 new investigators this week! We met Diamond and her bf/husband? while we were out tracting last week. Diamond seems pretty interested! We are excited to start teaching her. We will go see her again on Wednesday. and then we met James! He is this old, adorable, tiny, black man who is the happiest person I have met in a long time! He requested a Bible back in 2008 and hasn't seen the missionaries since then, so we stopped by and he wants to come to church and learn more! We are excited. We are seeing him again tonight. We are also working with Tom Townsend. We met him a few months ago and started acutally teaching him a few weeks ago. He is awesoeme! He's an older guy in his 70's, he is really lonely. All of his sibbings and parents have died within the last 6 years and most of his buddies are gone too. So going to church reminds him of death and funerals - the church building, dressing up, and the organ. So we're trying to figure out a way to help him. He doesn't understand his purpose and why we are here. It's so sad and it makes me so grateful for the knowledge that we have as members of the church! People that don't know about the Plan of Salvation are so lost and confused and it's so sad!

We had a training meeting in Kirtland on Friday! I love Kirtland! It is such a sacred place and the spirit is ALWAYS there. I can't wait for you guys to see it and to be here. It's incredible. I never knew much about Kirltand or thought much of it, but it is such an important part of the church's history. This area is so important to the Lord. There was a general authority that came to the mission a while back and told the missionaries that Joseph Smith himself had a hand in picking the missionaries that would serve in this mission. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to serve in the Ohio Cleveland Mission. So many amazing things have happened here! This is where the Savior appeared several times! I love it!

This month we are having a Mission President's Fireside at our building! I can't wait! Pres. Vellinga and Pres. Talley (our stake pres.) are both going to be speaking! I can't wait for the stake and for all of our investigators to get to meet these amazing men! I love them both! and then 2 elders, another sister and I will be doing a musical number. I am excited for it - we are singing a beautiful arrangement of Be Still My Soul. It should be great!

Overall things here are great! I am loving being a missionary! I think one of my favorite parts is being able to feel the love that Lord has for His children every time we teach. It's incredible.
Well I love you guys and miss you all so much!

Rachel

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

6/3/13

SOOO much has happened in the last week! Wednesday was transfers. We got there early and I was able to see Sis. Dahle again!!! That made me so happy! I have missed her so much! Then all of the trainers (there were 23 of us) went into the nursery room in the Kirtland Stake Center and waited. and waited and waited. Then President walked in and told us all of our new companions had just arrived from the Kirtland sites and were about to walk in. I started hyperventalating! It was awful, I thought I might pass out. But then all 23 new missionaries walked in and stood at the front of the room. They all had pictures of their companions, so they knew who they were with and where they would be going. So President told them to go find their trainers and Sis. Astle came to me! Sis. Mayson Astle is from Provo Ut, is blonde, and is 19 years old. She is adorable! She makes me laugh - a lot. She is very smart, very sweet, and very genuine. She has a talent of connecting with people that I don't have the patience to connect with. She's great! She is very young, though. It's been interesting.
Also at transfers - they split my zone! It was crazy! They completely re-arranged who is in our district and our zone! It will be interesting to hang out with the elders later today and get to know the new ones!
It's been a long week - trying to get Sis. Astle acclamated. I can't tell yet if she likes me or not, which is difficult for me because I don't know if there's something that I need to change. But I realized that I just need to focus on the work. If I focus on the work I won't need to worry about anything else. I am not here to make friends - that is just an added bonus. I am here to bring His children unto Christ. And hopefully I can do that for Sis. Astle as well.
Yesterday was an awesome Sunday! Sis Bell is the sister that I replaced when I came to Massillon. She is still EVERYONE'S favorite missionary. And for good reason - she is an incredible missionary! I love her so much! But this was her last transfer and she is going home, so she came to the Massillon ward with her family to say goodbye to everyone. Because it was fast and testimony meeting, everyone got up and bore their testimonies about missionary work. The spirit was so strong! It was really exciting to see the ward's reaction to missionary work. Sis. Tribett - the relief society president - asked Sis. Astle and I to give the lesson in RS about fellowship and how important it is for members and nonmembers. It was a great lesson to prepare for and one that I feel this ward has needed for a while. The RS had a really great discussion about it and I hope to see them apply it! That's something that I have learned - becoming more like the Savior and truly becoming His is all in the application. That's how the change occurs!
It's been fun to hear Sis. Astle tell me about what she is going through right now because it helps me remember how far I've come. It's difficult to love this work right off the bat, it's hard to stay awake, it's hard to feel like you're here for a reason. I remember thinking the exact same things and wondering if I was ever going to make it home - a year and a half felt like an eternity! I don't know how to explain it, but one day I woke up and everything was different. I love this work. I can wake up at 6:30 and be excited about it! I know why I am here. I am so grateful that the Lord has answered my prayers and has helped me to get to this point. I would rather be here right now than anywhere else. Granted - there are bad times. I'm not saying everyday is rainbows and sunshine. This is still REALLY hard. But now I know that there will always be good days too.
Well I hope you guys are doing well! I hope the family is great and that you guys are enjoying summer! I hope the folk dance project went well and it turned out great! I can't wait to see some video!
Love you guys so so so much!
Rachel

Monday, May 20, 2013

5/20/13

I love you guys so much!  I am so sad I'm not going to be there for the Folk Dance team! So Rex has been taking Heidi Shepherd to Wild Country? Mom, I think you ment to say Amber. When I read that I started cracking up visualizing it. I bet Heidi would have a blast! lol!
This week has been good. We have been meeting with a lot of less actives in the ward. We met sassy Sis. Sawyer on Thursday. She is a firecracker! She told us not to call her a member, but said we can come back for visits. She lives on a huge farm with this massive red barn out front. Ohio is so beautiful when you get out of the city. I really love it! Then we met Sis. Barstow. I had an interesting experience as we walked into her house and I don't really know how to explain it or even why it happened. As we walked in it just felt like something was off, something wasn't right. She was in her pajamas, wet hair, and super blood shot eyes. She invited us to sit down at her kitchen table. It had cigerette ash all over it and there was a bag of cheap tabacoo, it looked like they rolled their own cigerettes - which is pretty common here, people can't afford regular cigerettes. But we sat down and I had this overwhelming feeling that things were not right and we needed to be very careful. I almost stood up and walked out, it was so strange. her husband was gone, she didn't know where he went, he had been gone for a couple of hours apparently. which added to the strangeness. I was praying so hard in my heart. As we started talking to her the spirit started leading the conversation. She has a lot of really hard things going on in her life. She also has a few illnesses, mental and physical. She just has a really hard life. But I think whatever made me feel terrified to be there went away once we began reading scriptures and talking about Jesus Christ. Powerful things happen when you are His representative.
We had a missionary musical fireside Friday night. It went so well! There were some non-members there and we are praying that they become interested in the gospel! The theme was "Prophets testify of Jesus Christ'. So we had lots of quotes from OT prophets and BOM Prophets. The primary, youth, and other talented members were all involved. The spirit was so strong! We ended with the story of Joseph Smith and then with the Mormon Message where Elder Packer, Pres. Uchtdorf, Eyring, and Monson testify of Jesus Christ. It was so crazy awesome! THen we had a member's daughter who is less active sing Savior, Redeemer. It was beautiful. She is an opera singer and did fantastic. She even got a little choked up at the beginning! Pres. Stacey, one of the counselors in our mission presidency was there. He loved it! After the fireside I felt like I should ask him for a blessing. Things have been really hard lately and we have been really discouraged. And with the prospect of possibly training I felt that I might need some council. (and sisters aren't allowed to get blessing of comfort and council from the elders) so I asked Pres. Stacey and he and my bishop gave me such a beautiful blessing. It was exactly what I needed. IT brought me a lot of comfort and peace about everything. I love the priesthood, it is such an amazing gift and blessing in our lives!
Saturday we had a lesson with Chucky at the church and we scheduled it for the same time that his baptism was supposed to be - on purpose. We asked him what he thought led him to not being able to get baptized right now. We pretty much had to have a DTR (Define the Relationship) talk. HE needed to understand our purpose and understand that we can not waste the Lord's time if he is not willing to do comitt to this. I definitely had some Darlene Chapman coming out. Chucky was playing games and was trying to blame everyone else except himself. He kept trying to get us to feel sorry for him and tell him that the little work that he has done is good enough. It made me think a lot about what the Lord expects from us and why. The Lord expects everything. He expects it all. But why? I came to the realization that if we only gave Him part of us, how can He help us change and become better? How can He help us become what He wants us to be. We are like little children who's parents are trying to wipe off our faces or get us dressed or something like that. He is trying to help us! and if we would just sit still and do what it is He asking us to do we would be so much better off! We would be clean and dressed instead of dirty and naked! He needs us to be submissive and meek. It was an interesting lesson for me to see this week. The Lord asks a lot of us, but He blesses us even more for it. I was reading in Mosiah 23 today. The Lord is talking to Alma and His people. They are a righteous people who are keeping their covenants. Yet in verse 21 it says, "the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people, yea he trieth their patience and their faith". The Lord chastens even His righteous people. And the people of Alma suffered in humility and CHEERFULNESS!  They were cheerful about their trials! I thought back about the trials that I have recently been going through and I was not cheerful! But we can be, if we want to be. The scriptures really do have all of the answers in them! I love the BOM!!!!
 
Things here are going great and I am loving Ohio! I love being a missionary!
Tell Stephanie Happy Be-lated Birthday for me!! I am so sorry I forgot! I love you!
And Happy Birthday to you mom!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I hope you guys have a fun time down in OK this weekend! Tell everyone hi for me!
 
love and miss you all!
Rachel