Called to Serve in the Washington Spokane Mission

Called to Serve in the Washington Spokane Mission
"Come, Thou fount of every blessing, Tune my heart to sing Thy grace, Streams of mercy, never ceasing, Call for songs of loudest praise. While the hope of endless glory Fills my heart with joy and love, Teach me ever to adore Thee, May I still Thy goodness prove."

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Misplaced Passport, and First Week in Grand Forks

First week in Canada!  On Tuesday, Sister Jackson picked me up here in Spokane to head up to Grand Forks, but first we needed to head to the mission office to pick up my passport.  They are kept there in case we are transferred to Canada.  Well, when we got there, we found Sister Richins looking all over the office for it.  She told me that it might have been lost and if so, that my transfer call might have to be changed because it takes 6 weeks to claim it as lost and to get a new one, and I couldn’t go to Canada without it.  My jaw was on the floor.  Sister Richins called my mom and asked her to look for it there at home, just in case I had accidentally left it home when I went home with health issues.  At this point I was in tears.  Fifteen minutes later my mom called back and told sister Richins that she had found it!  What a blessing!!  That’s when Sister Richins burst into tears.  :)  My parents had to overnight my passport to me, so we got to stay the night in the mission home.  I love staying in the mission home with President and Sister Dymock, the spirit is so strong there!  Sister Jackson and I got to catch up and laugh until we cried.

The next day, my passport was here by about 10am, so we were then able to head up to Canada.  It’s about a 3 hour drive to get up there from Spokane.  We did our grocery shopping in Colville, since there aren’t many stores in Grand Forks.  The only things I can’t take across the border are apples and peaches and pitted fruits, which I can’t have anyway.  We got to the border by the afternoon and then on to Grand Forks.

I love Canada!  If I could dress up as a big maple leaf and walk up and down the streets singing “Oh Canada!”, I probably would.  :)  It is so beautiful here!  Our apartment is being renovated, and is almost done.  It’s nice. It’s right above a barber shop which is nice.  :)  So, we cover a bunch of small towns mostly here on the Canada side, and a few towns across the border into Washington.  There is a small branch in Republic Washington of about 30 or 40 members, and a small “unit” in Grand Forks with about 12 members, and we cover both.  There is a senior missionary couple named the McCullough’s that live right next door to us, and then a set of elders that serve here in Grand Forks that are Russian speaking missionaries.  Apparently there is a Russian community here settled by immigrants from Russia.

I’m having to learn to measure everything using the metric system.  Good thing I learned that in school.  :)  We have a Nissan Rogue to drive, which is good, because there are a fair bit of dirt and gravel roads here.  And everything is spread out.  But, I can now drive about 100 on the roads!  Well, okay, that’s 100 kilometers per hour, which is just over 60 mph.  :)

I’m going to have to send some candy home from here.  They have some different candy here, and it’s awesome.  Some different candy bars and things like that.

Sister Jackson is awesome.  I knew her when I was serving in Green Bluffs, and she and her companion lived in our same apartment.  She’s a hard working missionary, and loves to talk to anyone in sight!  :)  She also makes the work fun which is good.  I’ve been blessed with great companions on my mission, and she is one of them.

As far as the missionary work here, we met this week with a few less actives members, and shared a lesson/message with them.  We also went down to Republic and taught the new member lessons to a couple of recent converts of Sister Jacksons, Jeremy and Austin.  Austin is 16 and wants to serve a mission, and he has such a strong testimony.  After we taught them, Jeremy got talking to this random guy on the street, and asked if missionaries could talk to him, so we visited with him for a bit.  We taught him the restoration.  Turns out the guy is a legit drug dealer, and wasn’t interested in the message.  I think he was more interested in us, so we got out of there quick.

We also visited the D___ family.  They live in a little town near here.  There is S___ the dad, and he has three sons, the oldest of which is J___ who is turning ten.  S___ is a less active member, and J___ has been taking the lessons from the missionaries.  During our last lesson, he committed to being baptized on October 22nd.  The D___ family lives way out of town, and my heart broke when I saw the conditions they live in.  They have no running water, no heat, and no regular electricity.  They occasionally use a bug zapper for a light at night.  They just sleep on the floor, and they only have a few pairs of clothes.  The boys don’t have any toys, so they just play in the dirt.  It makes me feel sick that my life has been so easy and we have so much, when people and little kids are living like this.      :(   S__ would like to baptize J___, but he needs to quit smoking and alcohol first.  We taught him about the word of wisdom, but he wouldn’t give us his weed or beer to throw out.  We’ll keep working with him.

We also visited with Brother Tinsley this week, who is a recent convert.  He let me play his electric acoustic guitar.  I haven’t played the guitar since I was home, and haven’t ever played on an electric acoustic.  It was nice!  :)

It is a bit different for me to only have a few members to church.  In Grand Forks, we meet in an office building next to the fire station.  But we had five investigators to church though, which is great!  In Republic, Washington there is an actual LDS meeting house for the branch, but it’s about a fifth the size of the church buildings at home.

Well, that’s about it.  A great week!  It’s good to be settled up here now, and jumping into the missionary work here with Sister Jackson.  I love the area here!

You all have a great week!

Sister Worthen

One of the rivers on the edge of Grand Forks

Brother Tinsley let me play his guitar

Sister Jackson and I right outside our apartment

We ran across this door with no stairs when we were
tracting.  We knocked on it anyway.
No one answered.  :(

Some of the different candy bars they have here.
Unfortunately, I can't eat them, so we
gave them to some of the kids here in the area.

Sister Jackson and I

Another river here in Grand Forks

Friday, September 16, 2016

Going to Canada!

Note from Mom and Dad:  This post includes the last couple of weeks of emails from Sister Worthen.

September 12:

We got our transfer calls last night.  I will be going to.... Grand Forks, Canada!!!!  :)  Sister Jackson will be my companion, and I'm SO excited!  First time out of the country.  :) 

This week has been different for me than usual.  I knew it was pretty likely that I would be transferred, since I’ve been here in this area for a while.  So, whenever we met with someone this week, I felt like I was telling each person goodbye.  I’m really going to miss the good people here in this area, and the people that we’ve been working with.  I am really going to miss Sister Lott too.  She has been a great companion!

This week we met with a less active lady from the Foothills Ward.  We taught about temples, and she is returning to church and attending temple prep class, so that is exciting!  We had a church tour with a guy from the Foothills area, and that went ok.  He is still super skeptical, but he committed to come to church on Sunday, so that’s great!  We also “heart attacked” Charlene’s door.  She texted us later saying it made her day.  We saw Sister K. and read in the Book of Mormon with her.  We also taught B__ this week, who is a less active member.  We taught about the gospel of Jesus Christ, and that went well.  We had dinner with the Hansen family and they prepared all items that are on my diet, which was a blessing!  Oh, except the dessert, which was cotton candy ice cream.  My second favorite flavor, right behind bubble gum.  I may or may not have had a few bites.  I was like a 5 year old again!  :)

This week we had dinner with the Fullmers and they had Jocelyn over for her new member lessons.  I am going to miss them all!  The Fullmers are wonderful to fellowship the people here, and they have been really great to us missionaries.  I love that family!  We also were at the Fullmers another night for dinner, and to teach Charlene and her two girls.  They came to all three hours of church this week!  We gave Alayna and Macy copies of the Book of Mormon and watched the 20 minute restoration video.  The lesson went well, and I want so much for them to be baptized, and continue to have the blessings of the gospel in their lives!

We also went to the Sowards to say goodbye to Rick and Mary.  They gave me military dog tags with a scripture engraved on it!  :)  They made me promise to call them as often as I could.  I’ll miss them so much!

We are doing a really cool challenge that I wanted to invite all of you to do with us as a mission!  Our mission has been a bit lower on baptisms lately.  President Dymock felt inspired to do a Book of Mormon reading challenge to help the work pick back up. We will be starting tomorrow (September 13th) and reading five pages a day. We will finish the Book of Mormon on December 25th, and it will be our Christmas present to the Savior.  As we read we will be marking any tender mercies we find.  We will be doing it as an entire mission and asking our friends and family to do it back home with us!  That is a ton of people reading the same sections of the Book of Mormon at the same time.  We know it will help the work pick back up and baptisms will follow! :)  So that is my invitation to all of you!  :) 

Love you all! :)
- Sister Worthen 

My new address is:
Sister Worthen
P.O. Box 344
Danville, WA

PS:  So, I guess we pick up our mail on the U.S. side of the border at the post office in Danville.  That’s why we have a U.S. address.

September 6th:

Hey everyone!  This week has been a great week.  We have an “on-date”!  We had a church tour with Charlene and she brought her ten year old daughter Alayna.  Sister Fullmer was there as well with us.  The church tour went great!  :)  We taught the gospel of Jesus Christ and Charlene committed to be baptized on October 8th!  So excited for her!  Charlene was also able to switch to a new job that allows her to come to church, since she doesn’t have to work on Sundays anymore!

We visited Virginia in the Regency Nursing home, and taught her a message.  We shared the Law of Chastity with her and committed her to live it.  She said “Honey, at my age, if I broke the law of chastity, I’d probably have a heart attack and die!”  :)  I couldn’t stop laughing!  I’m going to miss Virginia, and the others here at the Regency.

We had an awesome lesson with N__ on Saturday.  We taught her the Word of Wisdom and she accepted to live it!  She read four chapters in the Book of Mormon and committed to coming to church.  I know that eventually she will get baptized.  There has already been so much progress in her, and Heavenly Father has prepared her so much!

I got a text today from one of my neighbors back home who was on a business trip here, and wanted to take us out for dinner!  Sadly, that’s not allowed in our mission.  I’m not even allowed to visit with him.  But he was able to drop off a package to the Fullmers that parents had sent with him, and I was able to pick it up from them.  That was really kind of him!

That’s about it this week!  Love all you guys!  Have a great week!  :)

Sister Worthen

The Fullmer family and Charlene and her girls

With Sister Lott, Sister Olsen, and candy apples.  A
member owns the shop, and we get the apples for free!

Brittin has been out 1 year now!
With Noel

Missionaries in our zone

Our zone

Our zone

P-day activity

At "Cat tails", the closest thing we have to a zoo in our area.

Random picture with Minnie

The military dog tags that Rick and Mary gave me

The Fullmer girls

We had a "kid activity" p-day, and made
things that little kids would make, and
played kid games.  It was actually fun!

With Sister Olsen

Our district in the Mount Spokane zone

Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Work is Picking Up, and Purple Hair

Note from Mom and Dad:  We haven’t updated Taya’s blog for a little while, so the post below contains info from her emails and letters for the last 4 weeks.

Hello everyone!

So... tons of changes this week! We still have three more weeks left of this transfer, but we had a sister missionary in our zone go home early for medical reasons. I was called to train a mini missionary for a week!  I'm excited but it's kind of stressful. A mini missionary is a laurel or priest within our mission that may have some type of medical issue or something like that.  So they go on a test run mission of sorts with the full time missionaries to see if they can handle missionary work. Usually they have a companionship take a mini missionary but Sister Lott will be going with Sister Olsen, the companion of the missionary that went home early.  My mini missionary's name is Sister Bracken and she is really sweet. It will be interesting and fun and a little stressful all at the same time, but it's only for a week so I can handle it. :)  After that I will join Sister Lott and Sister Olsen and we will be in a trio!  I will be second training Sister Olsen for the rest of the transfer and we will cover two areas - the Greenbluff ward and the Foothills ward.  Phew!  Lots of new changes.  ;)  I'm excited to see how it goes!  I'm guessing by the end of the transfer I will be transferred out of Greenbluff because by the end of this transfer I will have been here for five months.  :)  But we’ll see. 

We’ve been continuing the new member lessons with Rick and Mary, and I just love them.  I can’t wait until they are able to be sealed in the temple!  :)   I look forward to taking my family back up to Washington after my mission, and introducing them to Rick and Mary.

My health has been pretty good lately, I have a day here and there that is more of a challenge, but mostly I’ve been having really good days.  Sister Lott and I have been trying to do more workouts in the morning to try to stay fit, and that has been effective.  :)

As a mission, we have a goal to have each of us read the Book of Mormon in 40 days.  That’s about 13 pages a day, so that means we are reading during our personal study and our lunch break.  Does anyone want to join us?  :)

We’ve had a few good lessons with N___.   It’s been so great to teach her.  She is working on rearranging her work schedule so that she can get work off to come to church.  I just love her so much!  We made some cookies for her Dad in hopes that he won’t dislike us as much.  :)  Noel also went to the Young Single Adult ward family home evening!  She has been reading in the Book of Mormon and loving it.

We’ve still been visiting the people that we have been working with at the Regency Nursing Center ( Diana, Virginia, and Ken).  Ken loves to sing with us, so this last time we sang “Nearer My God To Thee” right before we left.  As we were leaving down the hall, we could still hear him belting out the last few verses.  :)

We’ve had a few of our investigators come to church, Noel and Elijah!  :)  Yeah, investigators finally coming to church!   We were so excited!

We have a new investigator named C___.  It was so good to teach her!  We tracted her out.  She is a single mom with five kids, three that are still home with her.  We taught the restoration lesson to them and it went really well.  She has been through some really hard things.  She was born into a really hard situation and raised in a poor household.  She was homeless for awhile and drove to Spokane with nothing but her car and her kids.  She worked hard and worked her way up and now has a nice clean apartment.  It’s inspiring to see her hard work!  :)  The one problem is that she works on Sunday, so I don’t know if we will be able to get her out to church or not.  But Heavenly Father will provide.

So, I accidentally left my purple toner shampoo in too long and it dyed my hair purple!  :(  That would only happen to me.  :)  So I had to call Sister Dymock and get permission to get it fixed.  Sister Carr does hair so she tried her best to fix it, and she did a great job!  I’m glad since I couldn’t exactly proselyte with purple hair.

We also did some more service for K___.  We’ve been doing some service for her in hopes that she will have some interest in the church.  This week we helped her weed her yard.  She is “softening” up a bit and was asking some questions about the bible and B.O.M.  That’s huge because when we first met, she didn’t want to talk about religion at all.  She also gave us some Hawaiian T-shirts and homemade soup for helping.  I needed a new P-day shirt, so that’s perfect.

There’s a young woman age girl who is a non-member and has been coming too mutual here in the ward, so the Bishop asked us to come too mutual when we could.  The young women held their own Olympics and Sister Lott and I were the judges.  It was a good evening.  When we got home, we walked in and there were flowers on the table from my parents.  They had ordered us flowers and had them delivered with a cute note on them!  Thanks Mom and Dad!  :)

Sister Olsen (who joined our companionship, so we are in a trio) is awesome!  She is from American Fork and also went to USU.  So, I have two great companions now!  :)  On a sadder note, after Sister Bracken (the mini-missionary) was with us for a few days, she got sick.  She came down with a bad case of the flu, and her parents had to come pick her up.  I’m going to miss her!  It was so great having her with us for the few days that she was.  It had a funny way of helping me realize all of the good that is actually going on here in the Green Bluff and Foothill wards!  Covering the two wards has helped keep us really busy.  We are teaching a lot more now and have more investigators and prospects!

President Dymock told me that since I’ve been here in this area for a while now, that’s it’s likely that I’ll be transferred when transfers occur in a few weeks.  If that’s the case, I’m really going to miss Sister Lott, Sister Olsen, and people that we’ve come to know and love, and all the people that we are working with.  But I know that everything is in the Lord’s hands and he will watch out for everyone.

Thanks everyone for the letters and support!!!!  :)

Sister Worthen

At the temple with Sister Lott
P-day, with the missionaries in our zone

Temple day

Painting Virginia's nails

I had to get a cavity filled, and my mouth
was all numb

Flower from my family!

Another flat tire!  :(

P-day water balloon fight

Armed and ready!

Pretty sure we lost.

Awards for our missionary blitz.

When you don't have exercise weights,
just use your companion!

On our missionary blitz day.

A random wedding reception at
the church.

It's been hot.

This guy is huge!

With my "mini-mission missionary" Sister Bracken

Virginia let me take her chair for a spin

With Sister Bracken, Sister Lott, and Sister Olsen

The Green Bluff and Foothills Trio!