Monday, July 28, 2014

My trek through Wyoming!

My week was good but long. You never know how needed P-days are until you don't have one and have an all day trek the next day! The trek was last Tuesday. So we had to be at the mission office at 6:30 in the morning and we didn't arrive back at our house until 9:30 at night...making it a very long day! Hahaa. Buses took us to Wyoming (where the trek was) and each district was assigned a handcart. Yes...a handcart. We trekked about 8 miles throughout the course of the day which doesn't seem like much until you realize how hilly Wyoming is!! Hahaha. And we had a womens pull (which helped us imagine what it was like when the men were enlisted to the mormon battalion or when the fathers passed away) which was up a hill and it involved 4 sisters (Sister Unrast and I were in the front and Sister Day and Sister McArter were in the back) and another sister had to SIT IN THE CART as we pulled it up the hill. It was hard and super spiritual. We had a little taste of what the pioneers had to go through except they did it with children and they didn't have good shoes and it wasn't just up ONE hill. It was the entire 1400 miles! The elders were told to stand at the top of the hill and act as if they were on the other side of the veil. They weren't allowed to help us and were told to look at us as if we were their mothers, sisters, wives or daughters. The elders were in tears just as much as the sisters. 

B*** is wonderful! We went by last week and he had read Alma 32 and he asked Sister Unrast, Sister R***** (member), and I what drew us to the gospel and why we lived this way. It was a great opportunity to share that this gospel is not a church to go to on Sunday but a way to live our lives. It is a way to gain a relationship with our Father in Heaven and be a better person.
L**** is so great. We had a great talk with her yesterday about the gospel of Jesus Christ: faith, repentance, baptism, the holy ghost and enduring to the end. I always start crying as I share with them how much God loves them. He does. I can feel it. I can feel his love surging through me. I can feel his desire for them to come back to him. We invited L**** to come to church with us next Sunday and she said yes!
The P****** are our saving grace. We were tracting on Saturday and guess who pulled up behind us? The P******. They asked us to come get hamburgers with them! Hahaa we ended up going to McDonalds (our favorite!) and then they drove us up to "This is the Place" Monument and we walked around and we talked about the pioneers and then they took us on a tour around the University of Utah campus. It is HUGE! They wanted us to become more familiar with Utah! Hahaha they are the cutest. They make our days! Of course their sweet little grandson was along for the ride! We love them.
My days can be long here but the weeks are short. I am already on week 6 in the mission field. Can you believe it? This gospel and its teachings make me a better person every day. I love everyone back home. You are always in my prayers.
"Humility is essential to the acquiring of spiritual knowledge. To be humble is to be teachable" -Richard G. Scott

Elder Wilcox moment of the week: We were driving and Sister Wilcox said "don't hit the dip" (referring to the dip in the road) and Elder Wilcox said "I wasn't going to hit you"! hahahaa.

Sister Unrast smeared whipped cream in Sister Xiong's face after
Sister Xiong said Sister Unrast had frizzy hair. hahahaa

We had exchanges this week and of course they day I was there was the
day we woke up to a flat tire! Just my luck :) So Sister Pahulu and I
took selfies while we waited for the district leaders. 

Thanks Elders! :)

Crazy picture of the week!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Just a few updates this week...

I have a mission-wide trek tomorrow. Tell mom and dad and make sure to have a good laugh about it trekking with handcart...I definitely thought that dream ended the last time I did a trek for youth conference. Sadly, I will yet again experience a woman's pull. Hahaha. But it will be a nice time to bond as a mission...with handcarts...and while sweating. 
B*** is AWESOME! We had a lesson last week about the Restoration and I invited him to be baptized! I DID! Well...the spirit invited him but it was so cool that the spirit worked through me to help me to know what to say. I could feel of God's love for him. He agreed and we will be working to prepare him to enter the waters of baptism in later August. We have a lesson with him tonight so stay tuned to find out what happens next week!!
L**** is so special. We met with her again this week and shared with her the Plan of Salvation. She has a lot of concerns about people getting into heaven that shouldn't be there. She is a lady full of feelings and she has lots of opinions (...she sounds a lot like me with that description!). She called us her sweet girls again. She loves us and Heavenly Father loves her!!...And we love her of course!!
A****** and S**** are the best! We stopped by this week with some cookies and a birthday card for S****! He always jokes that he's catholic so we displayed our amazing artwork and drew a nice catholic cross on his card (sorry if that is sacrilegious!) They always make us feel at home and I cannot wait to see what the Lord has in store for them!
Also this week we had dinner with the S******** family. They are Sister Unrast and I's saving grace on hard days. They have 4 little girls who are all just darling and they are the comic relief that everyone should have. On another note I had my first 2 dinners this week that I have had to choke down. Didn't think that would happen. Cold soup one night and mushy squash salads another night. That was rude and proves to you all that I am in fact still human! Hahaha 
We are taken care of out here. My thoughts and prayers often go out to those back home and family other places. I think of how blessed I am to have this gospel and how it binds families together. I share my beliefs every day and I just hoped I would have been better back at home. The Savior and the Atonement change lives. I see it every day.

All my love, Sister Lauren Ashley Dodd

"I pray that each of us will be a little more kind, a little more thoughtful, a little more courteous. I pray that we will keep our tongues in check and not let anger prompt words which we would later regret. I pray that we may have the strength to turn the other cheek, to walk the extra mile in lifting up the feeble knees of those in distress." -President Gordon B. Hinckley

"Sister Unrast never takes smiley pictures with me! She is a nut just like me. Thank the Lord."

Monday, July 14, 2014

A week of miracles!

As usual, missions are full of miracles. This week WE FOUND OUR FIRST INVESTIGATOR!!!!! His name is B*** and he is great. He is just visiting until April. He's from Colorado and is just doing some work out here. He agreed to have us come over and teach him more about the gospel. L**** is this sweet lady that we've dropped by a few times and finally asked if we could teach her the lessons as practice for me (because I'm new) and so this week we taught her about the Restoration and the spirit was so strong. She told us that the members are what caused her to leave the church. It amazes me how much and how easily I love the people here. M heart hurts when I hear the stories of how they turned away from this wonderful gospel. She called us her "sweet girls" this week. We told her we loved her and she said she loved us back.
A****** and S**** are THE BEST! They're the couple that had us over for the 4th of July. So Sister Unrast and I had to give talks and so Saturday night during planning I had the thought to invite them to hear us speak! So we ran out really quickly (don't fret, it was before 9) and invited them. But they weren't home so we put a sticky note on their door that said, "Hey, we're speaking tomorrow in church and we need people to make funny faces at s while we speak." Well considering how I am not good at building up suspense...THEY CAME TO CHURCH! They had not been to the 2nd ward in (this maybe a rumor but we've heard) 26 years! They came for us. They love us. So we stopped by later that night and shared a message with them on the Atonement and we got to play with their adorable little 15 month old grandson! They sent us on our merry way with pear sauce (like applesauce but with pears, duh!), tamales (Mom, you would be jealous), and lots of Gatorade (because it's supposed to be 100+ and they don't want us getting dehydrated.) They are so funny!
Our sweet little J*** turned 8 this week! So we were able to go to her baptism yesterday. Nothing brings me such instant peace than hearing little kids singing songs. The S********* family are our saving grace. They brought us with to get sno-cones the first week we were here and have been the smiles we need on tough days ever since!
We are so blessed here. I feel my love growing for the people of the Parleys Stake so much. I love feeling God's love for the people here. Also, I HIT MY MONTH MARK LAST FRIDAY (JULY 11TH)! I have been away from home for a month...crazy!!!
Also, because I have been serious this whole time I will give you a little taste of the humor I enjoy daily. I will share my favorite thing Elder Wilcox (the senior missionary in the Parleys Stake) said this week. We were doing 2 truths and a lie at district meeting as our getting to know each other portion and guess what his 2 truths and 1 lie were...
*He was next to the cutest girl at the Storehouse yesterday.
*He is the fastest runner in his ward.
*His passion is fast girls and fancy cars.
HAHAHAAHAHA He cracks me up!
Sister Lauren Dodd
Sister Unrast and I.



We've been building a fence the past 3 Saturday's in the morning/afternoon. So...since I have gotten into the field I've had over 10 blisters. -_-

Monday, July 7, 2014

Hooray for a better week!!

This week was better than last and Sister Unrast and I have decided to see the good in every day. This week we have had lessons with a few inactives, some part member families and some recent converts! It just feels good to teach and let the spirit tell people what they need to hear. Sometimes it is difficult to know when you are teaching and when you are allowing the spirit to teach. I am learning more every day. So...this week was the Fourth of July which is my first big holiday away from our normal family festivities. And I finally experienced 2 dinners in a row! We had a family in one of our wards sign up to feed us at 5 and then we had an inactive family that we had stopped by at the beginning of the week tell us to come by for their family barbeque! The members were nice and we had a typical burgers, watermelon, rice krispy treats, corn on the cob good eatin barbeque. The inactive family is the P----- Family. They are the best! The dad is sarcastic and funny and keeps telling us that he is catholic...then he laughs! He is a hoot! The mom is sweet and caring and she tells us to stop by and kept urging us to come to their 4th of July get together. All their children are grown up and out of the house but on the 4th ALL their family came over! It made me feel like I was back home! There were kids EVERYWHERE! It was loud and there was always someone to talk to! There was a ton and a half of food and lots of good conversation. So for any family that reads this...know that I was well taken care of for my first holiday away. It's easy to love a lot of people here. The Lord is looking out for me. I pray for everyone back home daily and I know that this gospel is the most amazing blessing in my life.
"I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." John 14:18 and 27
"As we obey God, He blesses us. He gives us power to meet life's challenges. He helps us change the desires of our hearts. Through our faith in Jesus Christ, He can heal us, both physically and spiritually." PMG 62.
I love you all. Thank you for the prayers. Missions are hard and when I find myself getting discouraged, I can feel your prayers and that is what pulls me through and reminds me why I am here. 

All my love, Sister Lauren Dodd

If the people in Utah aren't beautiful...the scenery sure is! #thosemountainstho

The 4th of July breakfast bike parade!
Sister Xiong (left) and Sister Case (right) are the other sisters in the Parleys Stake. So Sister Unrast and I cover the 2, 4 and 7 wards and Sister X and C cover the 1,3,5,6 wards. We all live in a duplex together and share the car.