Friday, May 31, 2013

Coffeyville, Kansas!!

Holy cow, I'm sorry I never have time to write! All of the public places were closed yesterday, so we get just a little bit of time today to email all of you. But hello! Virtual hugs and double pump handshakes all around!
So, quick update--I got here last Wednesday, and we stayed in the mission home for a day, where President Shumway gave us our assignments. I'm in Kansas! Coffeyville is a teeny tiny little town right on the border between OK and KS. Sister Cook (my new companion) and I were sent here with the instructions to "open Coffeyville" and literally, that was it. So off we went! There's not a ward in Coffeyville, so we're joining the Independance ward where there's a pair of Elders who are an enormous blessing in helping us to get our feet on the ground. It's kind of funny sharing a ward with other missionaries! But boy oh boy, did they need more missionaries--to get from one boundary line to the opposite end, it takes a two hour drive. Crazy! And we of the ward formerly known as Parkway thought we had it bad! I think there's around 800 people listed in the records for our ward, but only 20% of them are considered active. So while we're stationed in Coffeyville, we cover the entire area with the Elders. We think. Like I said, no direction, and that's what the ward mission leader wants us to do!
We have been BUSY. We have one progressing investigator that we actually got from the Elders, and while that's AWESOME (and she has a baptism date!!!!) we're hoping we'll add more this week! We've been contacting as many less active families as we can, and just spending a lot of time getting and contacting referrals. It's been so neat to already see how we're guided to specific places or people, and just be so aware of how close we're living to the Spirit. In some ways, I don't think I've ever been happier! I had my first "Prosiga ate ter feito tudo o que pode, mesmo que esteja cansada" moments! President Brough would be proud! He had us memorize the section on Diligence in PMG--the 7 Habits of an Effective Missionary. So that's "continue until you've done all you can do, even when you're tired"...but it doesn't sound as cool in English. Also, sorry if I spelled it wrong! Anyway, I had suggested we stay out the extra 10 minutes and just tract where we were since we didn't have enough time to go anywhere else, and while we were walking over to the next neighborhood, the person who we had wanted to contact pulled into their driveway! We ended up having a GREAT lesson with them, and it was such a tender mercy. The other one was when we were walking up the front walk of a house and a girl came running out saying "This is EXACTLY what I needed today! Thank you so much!!" She hasn't come to church in over four years, but had been having a really rough day, and had decided to pray...and then guess who showed up!! Ah! I just love being a missionary!
Well, I am officially out of time. Mas eu amo voces, MUITO MUTIO MUTIO!!! Ate logo!
Sister Fuller

Saturday, May 25, 2013


My dear family and friends!

Hello!!! It was SO good to be able to talk to Mom and Dad for a little bit last night! For those of you that don't know, my visa has not come yet. So I can't leave quite just yet to go to Brazil, so I am temporarily assigned to serve in Tulsa Oklahoma! I met a ton of Elders in the laundry room this morning that are going there at the same time as us, and they say that there's about 30 of us reporting on Wednesday, and that there'll be over 300 of us in the mission. Wow! Apparently, it covers parts of Oklahoma (duh...haha), Arkansas, Kansas, and wait for it...Missouri! Say whaaaat?! But I am SO EXCITED! Anyone that wants to pepper me with random facts (or lyrics) about Oklahoma, it would be cheerfully welcomed. I'll leave at 3:00 a.m. this coming Wednesday! WOOHOO!!
In other exciting news, Elder Nelson spoke at last Tuesday's devotional! It was so exciting, I can't believe I was blessed enough to hear from two members of the quorum of the twelve while I was here! He and his wife both spoke about the power of this work, and its importance in the salvation of all of God's children. So inspiring! It was great to feel his power, and know that he has been called of God. Sister Nelson spoke about the angels that minister to us, and about their part in this work. She said that it is no small thing to continually be told that we have angels to assist us. We have the privilege of praying to receive their help, specifically by their names, or by attributes. He talked about how the ancestors of people we will meet are praying for us to find them, and will gladly assist us. Mom, could you send me more stories about our ancestors? I'd really like to get to know them better. Also, no blog, I want you to know how special it has already been to know I have angels to assist me, especially Grandma Dud (spelling?) and Grandpa Bunnell. I have felt their presence, to strengthen and encourage me. I can't remember if I told you about it, but during the first week here, there was one day I was sitting outside during personal study and looking around the MTC, thinking about what I'd heard of the blessing Elder Holland gave when he rededicated some of the buildings. This is dedicated, holy ground, and I feel so privileged to be here. Apparently, he called down the powers of heaven and its angels to protect the missionaries from Satan's forces, and from the evil of the world. And suddenly, when I was thinking about that, I just knew how literal that was. I felt the presence of angels all around me, and knew that the MTC is always watched over. I know that the Lord loves the missionaries, and I know He's keeping us safe. I also know how much Satan wants us to fail, and I am ever grateful for the strength I have access to so that I can always overcome whatever he throws at me!
At Relief Society on Sunday, Janice Kapp Perry spoke! I'm so grateful for all of her talents, and that she's been able to bless my life so much with her music. The new Sisters told me that it's been all over Facebook, so you may already know, but she was asked to write a new version of "As Sisters in Zion" for the Sister Missionaries--called, "The Sisters of Zion". AMAZING. I'm pretty sure no one was singing by the time we got to the last verse, because we were all crying! It is amazing to know I get to witness the miracle that is taking place right now, all over the world. I feel so blessed to be a part of this great work, and to know with all of my heart that the Lord wants me here, right now. And to stand with over 1200 of my Sisters, singing the debut of this song with lyrics written for us? It was a special moment for all of us. I'll never forget it!
One of the things I keep hearing this week, and that I'm really trying to internalize, is that the key to missionary work is love. Love for the Lord, love for His children! I've decided that this is something I can use in order to be the missionary God needs me to be, and as I continue to work on loving unconditionally it'll become a strength in my life. So that's what I'm working for! Actually, it's probably going to make my mission kind of hard. I already feel so much love for all of the missionaries I know here, and am so sad to leave them. I mean, of course I'm excited to go, too! I've just learned to love my district, and the Sisters in my branch, and my Branch Presidency and their wives. I've been so blessed, especially with the opportunity to be a Sister Training Leader--I get to have five times as many people to know and love, and receive their love right back! We got a whole new district this week, so it's been fun to train them and help them get their bearings. And now I have to leave them. Ah! All of this leaving in missions is SAD! But the going is just as exciting, so we're good. I have to remind myself all day long that there'll be people to love wherever I go...and the Lord is always with me!
So I really am doing great! I love you all, and am so grateful for the examples you are in my life! Devin, Sterling, I am so proud of you. It means everything to me to hear from you, and hear how much you're growing and how great you're doing. Dev, what a great goal with the Book of Mormon! Follow through on it, and I promise it'll bless your life and so many others. I love you so much!

Sister Fuller
Oh, p.s--totally spent an hour vacuuming the outside mat/rug thing Elder Nelson walked on during my service time on Tuesday morning! (It was very large and had lots of grooves) Sooo I vacuumed a mat for an apostle! Haha

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Focus on Christ

I can't remember what week I'm supposed to be talking about, so I give up on that. Whoops :)
What an incredible week! On Sunday, we had Mission Conference! All of the MTC Presidency spoke to us, and it was so great. One of my favorite things that was said was the idea that what I sincerely believe about Christ will determine the kind of person I will be. I really believe that, and I want to make sure that they way I act reflects the love I feel for my Savior. So I'm working hard at being better at that, and being the kind of missionary that people can feel God's love for them by the way I act! I want so very badly to share what I have with those I meet. The other exciting part of Mission Conference was that our District got a shout out! President Hacking started his talk by mentioning that he sat down with two of our Elders at lunch one day (it was P-day, so we weren't with them. Usually we all sit together) and started talking to them. He found out that they were waiting on their permission from the land of Brazil to come and stay in their country (we don't say that other word), and was asking them how learning the language was going. They told him it was great! When he asked what they were doing to study, they told him about President Brough's promise to us that if we read the entire Book of Mormon while we were in the MTC, we would learn Portuguese. At first, he thought they must have been studying it in their mission language, but nope! We read it in English in order to learn Portuguese. It makes about as much sense as tithing :) They talked about how we as a district made it a goal to learn the language of the Spirit and how as we've focused on that, the language comes when we need it. We get into lessons and know the Lord is guiding us and helping us, putting words into our mouths. And that's what he based his talk off of--learning the language of the Spirit! I was so proud of our Elders! I have such a great district!!
The Tuesday devotional was equally amazing! Eduardo Gavarrett from the 70 spoke, but my very favorite part was his wife's message! They're from Uruguay, which is close enough to Brazil to be super exciting! They usually give the wife about 5 minutes to start out. This sweet woman's name was Norma, and when she started speaking Sister Garner and I just looked eachother and got all teary eyed...because we cry a lot. Haha. But she had such a strong, special Spirit, and one of the first things she did was apologize for speaking in such heavily accented English, and then shared shared her amazing conversion story and heartfelt testimony! And THEN she started speaking in Portuguese! It was the BEST THING EVER! And because she was speaking Missionary Portuguese (bearing her testimony, etc) I actually understood everything she was saying!! It was so wonderful, and it just felt so right. Yaaaaay Portuguese! And then she bore it in Spanish, and I only caught every few words. So as depressing as it is that I've lost that, it's so cool that after only 4 weeks in the MTC, I could understand everything she said! The gift of tongues is real! Then in Brother Gavarrett's talk, he was equally awesome. He said, using Mosiah 28:3, that our desire would determine our success. And then he gave advice for when we were worried. He said...
Focus on Learning.
Focus on Working.
Focus on Paying the Price to become a missionary.
Focus on Being Happy and Enjoying this time!
And Focus on Christ.
IT WAS SO AWESOME!! And then we had our District Devotional Review, and I doubled my notes. I learn so much from my district, I'm so grateful for them! Sometimes it's a little bit like Groundhog's day here, where you wake up and just live the same day over again. But better! We follow the same basic schedule of studying, class time, practice teaching with our teachers or eachother acting as our "progressing investigators", language study, companionship study, TRC where we practice teaching volunteers, and more studying. It's wonderful, and there's always something to do. But we spend a lot of time in our classroom together, so we've gotten pretty close.
I've decided to introduce you to them a little bit :)
Sister Garner is the greatest companion ever! She's so funny and so supportive. She's my rock :) She definitely keeps me sane, which is very much appreciated. Love her!
Sister Davis is going to the Salvador South mission. She has an identical twin that reported the same day and lives in the room next door, going to Vitoria Brazil, which gets a little confusing sometimes! They keep accidently wearing the same outfits, which is kind of hilarious. But she's so sweet, and ridiculously good at explaining things in simple, clear ways. She's such a great example!
Sister Vaughn is going to SAO PAULO NORTH!! (Woohoo!) She's Sister Davis's companion, and is one of the funniest people I've ever met. Mostly because she'll completely lose it and crack up any time anyone says anything remotely funny. Hahahaha she's hilarious! She's the optimistic "we can do it!" Sister, which adds a lot to our District.
Sister Stevens is also pretty hilarious, and is going to Salvador South. (Her latest funny phrase was "You've cats to be kitten me right meow!") She's really good at thinking of questions, both to get to know eachother and to use as awesome conversation starter tools with our investigators. She's an amazing teacher aaaaand she's super adorable. We all just love her so much!
Sister Brimley is her companion, also going to Salvador South! She is the most random and energetic person I've ever met, and it's the most wondeful thing. She's kind of like a mix between Giselle from Enchanted and...someone loveably crazy. Haha sorry, I don't know! She's the one that looks after all of us when we're sick (because literally, someone is always sick) and is so great at making people feel loved. I've never met anyone who's more genuinely excited to get to know everyone she meets!
Elder Pollard was our first Distrcit Leader, going to the Salvador Mission (no South). We've all been so impressed with what a great leader he's been, but he's also completely ridiculous. How do you explain Elder Pollard's sense of humor? Ummm...oh, here's one of his.
Q: Why do missionaries have such big bladders?
A: Because they only have one P-day
...Yeah. Like I said, all but one of our Elders are 18!
Elder Price is Elder Pollard's companion, going to Goianna. They both actually just been assigned as Zone Leaders, and they'll be so great at it. They were the one's that talked to President Hacking. We realized last night that if we get new missionaries this week, it'll be us three training them (Sister Travis is leaving for Portugal), and we thought that was pretty hilarious. Hahaha...
Elder Kelley is going to SAO PAULO NORTH!! He's ridiculously good at Portuguese, which is good for me. We kind of have a friendly competition for who can finish memorizing all the things President Brough asked us to first, but it usually just ends up with us working together on it. It's good, it makes me work harder to push myself!
Elder Lillywhite is also going to the best mission!! (Until next week when I get reassigned temporarily. Then it'll tie) Woohoo! He is so fun, and super smart. We have him give us random facts of the day at lunch, and he always has something. It's awesome.
Elder West is going to Salvador South! He's the oldest of our bunch (24), but he is such a good example to all of us. It kind of reminds me of how Grandpa must have been. He's also pretty hilarious--but most of our Elders are, actually.

Elder Peters is our brand new district learder, going to Goianna! He's fantastic. He was kind of quieter at first, but he's one of the funniest people EVER once you get him going. He's a great example of staying focused and always trying to act according to his calling as a representative of Chirst.
Ok, so that's my MTC family! I've also been super lucky with this new assignment, because I've gotten to know all of the lovely Sisters in our Branch, and love them too! That's so much fun. The pictures I'm sending this week are of one of the new districts--they wanted a picture in the laundry room, so that's why we look so lovely. Mmmhmm. But I love all of my Sisters, and I'm so blessed to feel so much love in return!
I have about five minutes to share this, but I think it's worth it to try! A couple weeks before I left, I was studying the mercy of the Atonement for the talk I gave on Easter. One of the questions I wrote down while I was studying in Alma 34 was "what does it mean that we would be lost without the atonement? What would it mean to perish?" I decided what it meant for me, but never found a clear scriptural answer. Then the other day I was reading in 2 Nephi...9? I'm sorry, I don't have my scriptures to check. But I think the section that stuck out was 2 Nephi 9:7-10.The message was that without the Atonement, our bodies would never rise again and our spirits would be sent to dwell with Satan, forever in a state of misery. When I read verse 9, it so vividly painted a picture of how miserable and lost I would be, forever cast out from the presence of my Heavenly Father, that it brought tears to my eyes. (Again, I cry all the time!) I can not immagine anything sadder or more miserable than the way it described our condition without the Atonement. But because my Heavenly Father loves us all so much, he provided a way for us to be saved from that condition, and come to Him. I love my Savior, and I am forever indebted to Him! Because of Him, I can have hope in the Atonement! Which made me think of Moroni 7, where it talks about having hope, and hoping in the Atonement. Knowing that all things in my life will work together for my good, to lead me home to Him.
I want you to know that I have a testimony that this is the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know with all of my heart that my Savior lives, and loves me! I love being a missionary, and learning to follow the guidance of the Spirit in all I do. I have so much to learn, but I know where I've already been. I'm so grateful for all of you, and the examples you are to me! I love you so much!
Sister Fuller


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Week 3

I have no idea how long I've been here. I seriously just had to think a little too long on that one...
Ok! So Week 3! Week 3 was a week of lots of little miracles--tender mercies :)
The biggest change since last time I got the chance to write you is that I have a new assignment! I am now a Sister Training Leader, which is a new calling that was made with this big influx of Sisters. (They said there were over 1200 of us in Relief Society on Sunday!) Basically, me and one other Sister (her name's Sister Travis) are over all of the girls in our zone, and we just visit them every night and help out where needed. It's mostly just being there when a Sister needs someone to talk to and helping with random questions, but we also are in charge of orientations and tours for all of the new Sisters in our zone that come to the MTC, and getting them all moved in and situated. It's kind of daunting, but it's such a great opportunity to serve, and I love it already. I mentioned in a letter a while back that we got to see a talk Elder Bednar gave at the MTC called "Character of Christ". It was so incredible, and the main message of it was that the character of Christ is that whenever the natural man would turn in, He would turn out in service toward others. My favorite example was in Matthew chapter 4, after Jesus fasted for 40 days. He talked about Satan tempting him, and that the real temptation was to yield to the desires of the natural man. He talked about how physically exhausted he would have been at the end, and emotionally as well. Then he shared verse 11. It says, "Then the devil leaveth him, and behold, angels came and ministered unto him." My first thought was of how wonderful it was that He could find relief from the ministering of angels. But then Elder Bednar went on to read from the Joseph Smith translation. It says, "and now Jesus knew that John was cast into prison, and he sent angels, and behold they came and ministered unto him." And I was filled with awe at this example of complete love! Surely, Christ felt weak. But he heard about John's needs, and in the moment of His own trials, sent angels to serve him instead. And so at that moment, I decided that was what I wanted to work on the most. I don't want to only be thinking about myself, I want to follow the example of my Savior by looking to serve others first, and always. So although sometimes it's hard, I'm grateful for the opportunity to learn to serve others more freely.
A huge tender mercy from this week was getting to run into Sister Larson on Sunday! We hadn't had the chance to say goodbye yet, but our schedules didn't really overlap at all before she would leave. So we had both (I found out later) been praying for the opportunity to run into eachother! I had been pretty sick over the weekend with a stomach bug, and had barely been moving at all, but I decided to go on a temple walk with my companion anyway....and sure enough, she was there! That was pretty fun for both of us. She's such a great friend, and it's been so nice to be at the MTC together.
So on Sunday, Bonnie Oscarson (the new General Young Women's President) spoke at Relief Society and it was SO GOOD! It was all about having faith in the Lord. All He asks of us is to have faith and do our best, and He will make up the difference. And as we read in the Bible, "Is anything impossible for the Lord?" I know that the Lord wants me to be on a mission right now. That is shown to me in so many ways each day! She promised that the Lord will lead, guide, and comfort us. He will magnify and qualify us for the work He has called us to do. She talked a lot about the alegory in Jacob 5 and our part in it. She said that the Lord will labor with us, and as we are worthy we will be able to go forth armed with His power! (D&C 109). Afterwards, you can go stand in line and shake their hands really quick if you want to, so we did. Sister McConkie (spelling? can you check?) asked where I was from, and when I said St. Louis she got excited and passed me onto Sister Marriott who was SO EXCITED! It was so fun! She called over to Sister Oscarson, "Bonnie! This is Shirlene Bunnell's granddaughter!" Sister Oscarson looked up and got excited too and it was soooo fun to see people that knew my family! So we got hugs all around, and it was so nice. They both said to say hello to Mom and Grandma!
The other weird family moment was at the Tuesday Night Devotional! It was about family history in relation to missionary work, and at the end he said he was going to show a short video about someone's conversion story. And up on the big screen pops up Uncle Glenn's face! I guess he was Bishop when she was baptized? Her name was Georgia, but all I got out of it was "Wait! No that is him! What's going on, I don't get it! What?! That's my uncle! Wait, there's my Aunt with her too! What?! AAH He's talking again!!" It was embarrassing. My mind just couldn't process what was happening...I was really tired. Haha.
Other cool spiritual moments--I've been singing Primary songs or hymns in some of our lessons with our "investigators" in Portuguese, and it's the neatest thing ever. I get so excited about it, and the Spirit just comes right away, and then the lesson rocks! I love it! Also, it's been so neat to be in class and practice testifying of the Book of Mormon or explainging the Atonement, and feeling the Spirit burning in your heart saying yes, this is true. I love being a missionary, even if I still haven't quite figured out what I'm doing! I also finished the Book of Mormon again this week (our Branch President asked us to start over) and I love it more than ever! My favorite quote from Preach My Gospel about the Book of Mormon says, "The prophets in the Book of Mormon knew about the mission of the Savior and taught His gospel." And it's as simple as that! I just love it!
A district from our zone got all of the reassignments this week, and two of them are going to Rochester, New York! And since Palmyra's in that mission, they said they might get to do part of it at a Church History site!!!! So yes, my district is fully exposed to what a Church Histroy nerd I am now. I get antsy even thinking about it now...I'm just so excited that's an actual possibility!!
Ok, so funny moments! Missionary humor is so funny, because we all think we're hilarious, and I'm sure none of it actually is!
Someone wrote "eternal" over the label on the life cereal, and when I came back to the table and told everyone about it Sister Garner looked at my bowl and said, "You chose Raisen Bran over Eternal Life?" HAHAHAHAHA
There are fire hoses in the walls in the Residence Halls, and they're labeled "hose". Someone put an accent on the e and wrote Smith, so it said Hose (with accent) Smith!!
On of the Elders was trying to convince Sister Brimley to drink some nasty concotion he made at lunch (this may be a good time to mention almost all the Elders are 18) and used the question, "Do you want to live forever?" to which she automatically replied, "In my SINS?!"
This one can probably stand alone. "Shaving: isn't it about....time?"
Two Elders were talking about where they were in the BOM. One was in 3 Nephi, and the other was in 2nd. "Well see, I'm only one Nephi behind you!" (for those that don't know, there are 8 other books between 2 and 3 Nephi)
So yeah, we think we're funny. It's a good time.
I was fully intending on talking a little about my district, but I'm out of time! I love you all so much, and love hearing from you! It means so much that you stay in touch! Oh, also shout out to Tyra--LOVED your letter, but I don't have an address to write you back! You're the best!
Bye for now! Have a great week!
Sister Fuller

P.S. Tell Grandma thank you SOOOOO SOOO MUCH for the package!!! It was the BEST thing ever! My whole district (and all the girls I visit, actually!) very much appreciated it as well. We're still working on the fudge!