Thursday, August 27, 2015

Welcome to the Mesa, Arizona Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!

HELLO FAMILY, (if you could read this out loud to the family that would be great)
So I have been keeping a journal of all the things that I need to tell you.

Elder Carlsen , Sister Child's & Sister Zimmerman
We're going to get started!

We had to wake up at 2:30 am to catch our plane on August 11th... it was a little crazy in the airport but we made it! I am sorry that I never reached you on the phone that day! I tried to call all the numbers but it's okay! I was a little sad but I gave the lady whose phone I used a pass along card!

So when we got off the plan we were all exhausted... and we got everything set, met our Mission President and went outside with our luggage. It was only 106 so it was no big deal!
Strangely enough when we got there there was a big wind, rain and dust storm called a haboob! They don't happen too often but they are so cool and pretty scary! We had a big meeting at the visitors center at the Temple and then went into the first waiting room in the Mesa, AZ temple. It was great!  Then we took our things back and took some pictures and then THEY LET US TAKE A NAP!!!! Crazy right! We slept in the beds they have at the mission home which was amazing! It felt so good to sleep! My head was hurting from the lack of sleep and the heat! We got all our things (luggage and such) and then I spotted the package that everyone knew about but me! It was a sight for sore eyes! It brought me so much JOY!!!  Finally we interviewed with the Mission President and then got our stuff and went to overnight exchanges and my comp for the overnight thing was Sister Child's... the one who mentored me on skype the month before I entered the MTC! We had dinner at the Hansen's and shared a message and went to see some investigators and less actives! It was crazy but it was a great night!

The next morning we had transfer meeting! I found out that my companion was Sister Child's... the one who Facebook trained me, did my overnight exchange and is an amazing missionary! I am so blessed! 

Tender Mercies for the Week!
1. Grandma and Grandpa Zimmerman's care package!!!- oh my goodness it was such a blessing to have that care package! I LOVED it and I felt the love from the ENTIRE Zimmerman family as I read the note cards and notes that every family wrote to me and put in the box. Thank you so much Grandma and Grandpa!  Aunt Julie, your homemade strawberry jam was my all time favorite !!!  I love strawberries!!!
Thank you so much!
2. The lovely package from my family, I loved the stationary and the star wars Yoda bubbles... every missionary needs those.  Thanks for the homemade cookies!! My favorite. Thanks Anna for your drawings and thank you Mom for your lovely note.

3. When we went shopping this week We walked into a store and I heard "The longest time" by Billy Joel, which was the first 50's song that I had ever heard. Dad showed it to me back in the day and since then I have always loved 50's music! God is great!!! He knows me and loves me!

4. Thank you so much Elyssie for your sweet notes... I keep finding them everywhere... and I mean everywhere! It's wonderful! I feel a little love every time I find one and all I can say is thanks boo!

5.  Elder Alex Nye serving in California also sent me some letters which helped me the first few days!!! Thanks Elder Nye!  You are the best.

Just so you know... my mission home address will be my address for packages and letters for the rest of my mission... you heard it folks, send one, send all, send every package to
Sister Hailey Ellen Zimmerman
2525 North 32nd st
Mesa, AZ 85213

Sister Child's & Sister Zimmerman
Sister Child's will be my trainer for 2 transfers (12 weeks) if all goes as planned! So.... she has many interesting talents including her New Jersey accent and the fact that she can hacky sack so well! She is going to teach me. I brought the hacky sack that Dad bought me a few years ago! That's one of my goals... to be able to hacky sack by the end of my mission!

So 118... yep it has been 118 degrees for a few days and let's just say that it's HOT!!!
I'm alive and that's all I have to say about it!

Sister Jenkins, the Mission President's wife told us to drink a gallon of water a day!
The sister's have a car so it's not too bad!
I love CACTI! As hot and dry this wasteland of a place is... the DESERT IS BEAUTIFUL!

D&C 18:2-4 (about not giving up the ground you have already won! ;)

As for the people here,
They are so nice! I love the members, they are more than welcoming and generous! I love it!
They tell us to come by any time if we ever have a cancellation on a dinner appointment (we ALWAYS have dinner appointments every night...that's a fact) and they will feed us!

We are visiting some investigators in an assisted living home and they are amazing! One of them is reading The Book of Mormon and had such a strong testimony.  We just come by and answer all of her questions and she asks us to sing with her!  

The second investigator has the cutest accent and kisses us on the cheek... she is from England and she loves The Book of Mormon. She was just using the copy that was out in the lobby when she would read and we gave her one of her own. She teared up and said that she would treasure it! She is amazing and heaven wouldn't be heaven if she weren't there with her cute accent giving me a kiss on the cheek and telling my companion and I how beautiful our voices are.
-We are also teaching some less actives!
I LOVE working with less actives! It is awesome because they have all the gospel background so I don't need to worry about explaining things wrong.... but it is also very hard because they have one or many problems, concerns that are keeping them from being active in the church. That is where my listening and counseling skills come in! I love hearing their problems and using my testimony to strengthen them!

One of the less actives meets with us at the church to read The Book of Mormon once a week. He is awesome. He's in his early 30's and has a strong testimony of the church.

*Sidenote* .... when you meet with less actives you listen to them and figure out from what they tell you or from the spirit what their concerns are and then you use the gospel of Christ to help them. Everyone has concerns,problems,and trials... even church members. I have all three! True story! But the most beautiful thing of all is that no matter the concern, struggle, trial, problem, or situation, the gospel of Christ will help. It is the only thing that can solve any problem and improve anyone's life situation and bring so much joy! I KNOW that this is true and that's is why I have such a passion for working with less actives... I just need to remember to listen, help, and promise them blessings! My purpose as a missionary is to invite ALL to come unto Christ and help them! I love to help!

This less active mentioned above has the problem of making choices that are not so good for him. He is addicted to some substance and keeps letting them take control of his life and put him in bad situations. Our first lesson he talked mostly with my companion because he knew her better than me. As he told us of his problems I totally felt for him. I wanted to help him with all of my heart. So, as he was expressing these things I said "I can feel your faith and your desire to do what's right" and I testified that he was already doing so many good things by having so much faith which is hard for so many people and told him that as he uses his faith to act he can change his life. He can be in control and feel happy again and take the sacrament again and be clean!  He stopped me right there and started to tear up and said "Sister, you don't know how much that means to me. I really appreciate you! I can tell that you have the spirit with you and that you know how I can change, I really appreciate that"  I knew that it wasn't me that had thought of those things to say. The spirit was there and everyone could feel it.  This was an amazing experience which brought me hope and happiness! I have been praying for him all the time.  He has all the tools to change his life, be happy and successful right in front of him but he won't do anything about it... he feels the spirit as he reads but he still let's addictions and bad choices control his life and bring him sorrow!
Another less active we met this week is struggling with some serious addictions to substances as well. She has a daughter from a man that she is no longer with and was never married to and she is in a rut. She, like the other less active , has many tools in front of her to change her life but she won't even do the simplest of steps to say prayers at night or read The Book of Mormon at all throughout the week until we see her next.  She has experienced a "one thing leads to another" downward spiral. She expresses to us that her troubles come from many things that she can't necessarily control such as her family and her addictive nature (family members are drug addicts) but from what she can control she knows what brings her down but won't let it go. She has gotten into some bad groups of people and has allowed herself to become addicted to heroine, pain killers, and other things in the past and she says it all starts with bad music or things she will see on Facebook! Now she has gotten herself into some trouble and feels like the Nephites before the Savior comes (3 Nephi 9-11) when the darkness is so thick she cannot even see her hand in front of her face. I feel for her! I pray for her! But despite of all my prayers, the choice is hers!
If there is one lesson that I have learned this week it is that Satan will never stop. He knows what it takes to take us out and will start small. WE CANNOT GIVE IN, even on the small things! Small things lead to big things and I know that for a fact! Don't risk it even for something that you may think is worth it... it's not. if there is anything in your life that you want to get rid of, that is hindering your spiritual progression or keeping you from feeling the spirit or going to the temple---get rid of it now! That is what the atonement is for... not only is it for forgiveness of sins and freedom from guilt... but it is for CHANGE of any kind! Changing your habits, changing your desires, changing your thoughts and anything else... do it NOW! The Savior suffered for you, let him help you :)

So this week was a little tough as the days went on... the root of the problem is this -I still don't feel like a sister missionary. I don't feel like I have become the person behind the name badge. It is so hard to feel like I am a missionary when I am so new. I don't know all of the rules, I don't think like a missionary (think about the gospel and my investigators all the time), I don't know how to do missionary things, I don't feel like a sister missionary.
So I have been struggling a bit! 
My companion and I talked as bit and came to this conclusion:
1. This is normal, I am new and not expected to automatically think like and act like a missionary... there is a learning curve!
When I first learned to play the guitar I learned 3 chords and I came home and said "Mom I can play the guitar, I am a professional" I thought I could play anything but I only knew the basics... that was like my MTC experience... I got really good at the basics and thought I had it all down but I knew so little. Then as I progressed I learned that there were many different types of guitars and types of playing and thousands of chords and variations and hammer on's and pull offs and transpositions and bar chords and basically a whole new world!  That was what it was like when I got to the field and tried to use my MTC skills  (3 chords) to play an 18 month long concert tour at Madison Square Gardens.  Basically I have so much to learn and have only begun but now I have the understanding that I am not expected to be amazing my first try! I am just going to go for it an learn as much as I can!

The other thing I have learned this week- I decided to go on a mission so that I could let the Lord refine me and help me become more like Christ... and that means that I didn't come out here to learn how to be like anyone else other than CHRIST... not the Mission President or the darling ward members or my mission companion! (I sent some letters by mail out today to my family... when you read them, especially dad, you will understand this more)

-I got to see this wonderful performance called "Lamb of God" which made me think about what it sounds like in heaven when the angels sing and when Christ will come.
-just so you know we're not supposed to use slang but my companions call me "SWAGY Z" ha ha ha
-we exercise every morning at the gym by our apartment complex or run in the morning... you got that right folks... I even run!!!
- Our apartment is really nice so no complaints
- I don't get my Ipad for 2 weeks so then I can see your e-mails right when you send them all day every day
-it only gets down to the mid 90's each night... soooo hott

I received these photos from Hailey's ward mission leader.  It was such a tender mercy from God.  I am so thankful for inspired and caring ward mission leaders like Brother John Eagleston.

Whenever Hailey opens a new jar of peanut butter she must draw a face in it first!  It is just a must! :)

I went to this famous place called backyard tacos and I love this picture of Christ!



I love this quote!

This ones for you Mom!


So True!

I love you all so much!
God Be With You!
With all my love,
Sister Hailey Ellen Zimmerman

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