Monday, December 30, 2013

Trust in the Lord

It's unreal to me that I actually talked to you just 6 days ago... it's just not real.

Christmas was good! Kardo came to the dinner and it was so yummy! We had fun laughing with our Young Single Adults and the Elders and just living up Christmas! President Andersen had a real fire going inside and it was decorated all cute. Christmas was fast and... fast. Like a blink of an eye. I didn't like that part. It's still weird to me that it happened. I miss all of you so much.
                                  Half of the table at the Andersen's for Christmas dinner

Cha is still on for the 4th! Some number texted her and gave her scriptures about the Lamanites mark of dark skin. The text said "seriously, you should know" and we don't know who it is!! And we looked in our 583 contacts in our phone and we don't have the number. WHO IS IT? But the good thing is that Cha's testimony isn't shaken by that. She knows we're not racist and she loves coming to church. THANK GOODNESS! I honestly think Satan got a cell phone though.... Blasted Satan.

This week has been hard, I'm not going to lie. Adjusting to the new companionship has been hard and also finding out who I really am and what I am doing out here. It's been a long process and I'm still not done. I've done a lot of deep study and praying and pondering this week. My theme seems to be "trust in the Lord". That keeps coming up and so that's what I'm focusing on.

We've had to walk a lot this week because of miles and walking is not my favorite thing. My legs hurt, my knees, my back, it was cold, my nose was running, my fingers were numb, no blood in my toes.... You get the point. One night I had such a sour attitude. It really bothered me, yet I had little desire and motivation to change it. That also bothered me. I wanted to be happy and be ok with doing hard work... because so far I've been spoiled on my mission, but I also wanted to be sad and sulk and just kinda be miserable. The following night, we were out walking a ton in the rain again, but I promised myself to only have a good attitude. Hardest thing ever.. especially for me. All of a sudden my backpack wasn't heavy anymore, my legs and feet didn't hurt, it wasn't cold, and I was happy. It was such a wake up call to me. Well, it was more like a slap in the face. Attitude plays a huge part in everything! Trusting that the Lord will help too makes a big difference. As a result we met 2 wonderful neighbors and talked to each of them for 45 minutes! Mind blowing! I know that the Lord was just waiting to bless us as a companionship, but it couldn't happen until I put all my effort in.

Yesterday we were with a member on our way to visit another member, and Sister Jarvis mentioned how she's noticed that every single missionary in this mission has fought to be here and has done everything in their power to work hard. I felt like that did not describe me at all. If you remember, I fought the answer to go on a mission, I did not want to leave, I did not want to work hard. I still have a hard time telling myself that I want to only work hard. So I'm going to incorporate that into my New Years goals somehow. I kinda determined last night to be a hard working missionary: to be up on time, study hard, be happy and excited to work no matter what the plans are.

We talked to K. a bit last night over text and it just got me down again. I was on the verge of tears all morning. I read a good talk though.. It was the one from conference by Edward Dube. I need to look ahead and believe. Tomorrow night we have to be in early, and we're are supposed to pray about goals and I plan to stick to my goals all year. I'm not giving up a month or two in. This is the time to perfect myself with the Lord! I'm going to be the best team mate with the Lord. THIS IS IT!!

When you're in a "high" moment, you think "I'm never coming down! I'll never have a bad moment again!" Well... that's not true. And then when you're down you think "I'm not good enough. I will never be happy again" and you forget what the wonderful moments feel like. It's hard to push through them and trust in the Lord and that everything will work out. Patience is the hardest test I have had to learn out here. But I know that I am becoming better and stronger. Alma went through the same things I'm going through. I read about that today in Alma 29. Verses 1, 3-4, 6-7, 9,10, and 13-14 were the ones that stuck out to me and applied to me. I'm just in the stage of pressing forward right now. And that's that. I'm in a trial of my faith and I can't give up.

I love you so much and I couldn't do this without you. I miss you more than you can imagine! Talk to you next week. I LOVE YOU!

~Sister Rokovitz~

My missionary Christmas stocking

Christmas morning with our Christmas gifts...and the tiny tree in the middle - Sister Jarvis and Sister Mickelsen

Christmas tradition - Cinnamon rolls

Now I can do some workouts

Sister Rokovitz

My gift to myself with Christmas money from Grandma and Grandpa

Christmas reindeer

Monday, December 23, 2013

A Trio is the Best

Oh man... the trio is the best!!!! Sister Jarvis is a theater major and she just makes us laugh so much!! She has given me abs from laughing so much! Last night it was hard to drive because we were all just wheezing!! She's truly amazing! She also realizes how important it is to take a break when we're stressed. We've just laid on the floor before for 5 minutes and she tells us "Breath in, breath out. Wiggle your toes and your fingers and feel life coming back into your body" She's awesome! Sister Mickelsen is amazing too! She’s an easy going kind of girl and is just sweet! She's great at listening and makes us laugh a ton too! We work really well together. It's cozy in our closet... I mean apartment. We also had Green Hills Sisters over for 2 nights again because their apartment got broken into by the ex-husband of who they live with and so we had 5 sisters in our apartment!!!! It was so tight!! We got a bed and a desk for Sister Mickelsen and so we just have a lot of stuff. We started buying our food together and they honestly feed me so well. I have no food ideas. Sister Jarvis will just come up with an idea and she'll just go for it! I write everything down for future food ideas - Haha. We all teach well together and it's just fantastic! They are so outgoing and happy and it just helps me to be happy too. The first few days I kept thinking "I'm super stressed right now... I should be crying... but I'm not!" They are just the best! I can't complain, the trio is awesome!

 I've been spiritually stuck for a little bit and I've just studied so much in the conference Ensign and the Christlike attribute section of Preach My Gospel. All the answers I keep getting is trust in the Lord. Trust in Christ. Trust in the Holy Ghost. So, I'm trying to. I don't know exactly how I can best do that, but it's worth a shot. I'm really trying to imagine Christ walking with me in the work. I have a picture above my desk of Him walking so determined and with a peaceful look on His face. I imagine Him walking with us as we work. Sitting by me and listening with the Father as I pray. It's cool. I'm trying to be able to picture that too when I pray out loud with my companions. Also something that I found in a hymn ( I don't know which one) Is that angels watch over us. I know that angels are really watching over me. What a blessing!!

So Wanna hear about Cha this week?? I just can't hold it in..... CHA IS GETTING BAPTIZED ON JANUARY 4TH!!!! BEST DAY EVER!!! She's totally ready! She is reading the book of Mormon more often and praying and coming to institute and church and wow I can't even put all this in separate sentences! So basically this is what happened. We went to visit her on Wednesday. We had our lesson and at the right time when we all felt the spirit we asked if she wanted to be baptized. She said yes and that she was ready. We said when? She said... JANUARY 4TH! There is something so different about Cha. She has a light in her and a real testimony! She came to institute and took notes and had her Book of Mormon open the whole time. She also went salsa dancing with some members after! And she went on her own and actually danced and had so much fun! She came to church... in a dress! And she took notes and loved talking to people! She also cried in Relief Society. The lesson was totally for her! The lesson was about those who have so little and others help them. She cried to us about how she has so little and she wants her siblings to have a good Christmas. We told her that this gospel will help her be an example to her mom and her siblings and it will help her raise her future children in a totally different way. Not alone, but with a husband who is sealed to her  in the temple. Cha is amazing!! I hope you get to meet her one day. I love her so much and I am so excited for her. January 4th is going to be the best day there ever was known to man.

Kardo came to a music concert last night and met President and Sister Andersen. He's coming to their house for dinner on Christmas day. He loved the concert and I really hope he puts some more thought into wanting a religion. We just can't quite figure out what he needs. We're really focusing on feeling the spirit during the lessons but there's just something he needs that we can't pinpoint yet.

This week we had a crazy storm. Oh man it was nuts! It was so warm outside and a cold front was coming in so that was just bad. We were outside on Dad's birthday without coats or anything! We had the AC on!! Yeah! We blasted the AC on December 21st! Then, that evening as soon as we got in it started to rain and the tornado warnings went off. First time I've ever heard them. I was freaking out so much! Oh and that day we were infested with cockroaches. Great combinations RIGHT?! WRONG! Anyways... by the time we were done planning.. 25 minutes.. the outside of our apartment was flooded. I believe in flash floods now. The moat was flooded. Our neighbor was sticking her head out and she said she had about 2 inches till she would start to flood. We ran around and put everything up and the sirens were still going off. We wrote in our journals in the closet for an hour! They went off and the rain stopped. and we went to bed finally! Then yesterday we fumigated our apartment to kill the bugs... that didn't really do much. They just multiplied!! They are everywhere! There was one on my desk this morning and we found 6 at dinner and they’re just everywhere! We think the fumes are killing them though because normally they run wicked fast but... they don't. So that was just a fun 2 days!!

On Saturday I woke up and just thought "Happy Birthday Dad" I love you so much. I cannot wait to Skype you!! I know I'm going to be a crying mess... good thing I'm going to the mission home after that for dinner. Sister Andersen will comfort me - Haha

Other than that.. it's just been a stressful week, yet full of laughs! I love my companions and we are just having a blast! I can't wait to see you on Skype in 2 DAYS!! I love you so much! Have a merry Christmas eve!

~Sister Rokovitz~

                        The new trio - Sister Jarvis, Sister Mickelsen and Sister Rokovitz                                                    

Monday, December 16, 2013

Transfers and a Trio

We got transfer calls on Saturday.... Normally the call comes at night, unless you're training. Well we were in line at Chipotle for lunch with a member and President Andersen called and talked to Sister Giles. She's leaving. She's opening a new area and training and being a sister training leader!!! I'm glad that she doesn't get stressed easily.. because that would kill me. I'm staying and getting 2 companions. A trio. This is 100% NOT what I wanted. It was a long rest of the day. I prayed about it and peace came over me. And I was calm. I told Heavenly Father I would trust in Him. I also decided to be happy like you would expect any sister missionary to be about everything. It changed my attitude. I know one of my companions, Sister Jarvis. She came out with me and she is HILARIOUS!!! We're also getting Sister Michelsen who is a visa waiter. I know I can do it and I'm going to have the best attitude about transfers tomorrow!! I'm actually excited now.

We went singing to the mission office on Saturday. We wanted to sing to President Andersen because we knew he'd be stressed with transfers. He was the only one at the mission office and we snuck in and waited quietly till he hung up the phone. Then we started singing. He came out of the office with the biggest smile on his face!! He called Sister Andersen to hear us and then filmed us. He said he had just talked to Sister Andersen and said he was having a freak out moment. We showed up at just the right time! He loved it so much that he came up to us and laughed and said “I'm going to break the rules and gave you all a hug!” Haha best moment ever! We later went to the mission home, hoping Sister Andersen would be home. She wasn't. We prayed in the mission home driveway before singing to the neighbors, who Green Hills sisters are teaching, and then when we said amen, Sister Andersen was in the driveway. She had a car loaded with food for transfers and we helped her carry it in. When we told her that president hugged us she said "Oh no!!.... Was it like a father’s hug?" We all said yes. And she said "well then merry Christmas" haha it was so sweet.

Cha shocked us this week. We were teaching her lesson 3 and she stopped us and said "I forgot, I have something to tell you. I'm ready to stop smoking and drinking." WHAAAA???????? MIRACLE!!! She had the light back in her! She also came to the Messiah ( a professional multi faith music program held at the church by the temple) and she wanted a picture in front of the temple. She looks so happy! She's progressing so much!

Kardo is amazing. He hasn't read the Book of Mormon yet but wants to!! He's coming to Family Home Evening tonight and will get some good fellowship there.

We haven't seen Linda yet. We went back last Thursday but she said it wasn't a good time. It was a good night for us though to run around in the rain and get soaking wet. I kept protecting my bag rather than me because I didn't want my scriptures ruined. I think I'm going to keep a Walmart bag in the car though so if it rains I can put my scriptures and hymn book and camera in it inside by bag.

I have found that I just love praying!! One day I went to pray and afterwards Sister Giles just kind of looked at me funny. It was a random time of the day to pray. I looked at her and said "What? I just wanted to talk to my Father in Heaven. Its been a while!" Haha We've also prayed out loud the past 2 nights. It was awkward at first but it has gotten comfortable. In one of my friend’s letters they said that Heavenly Father wants to hear our voices. That stood out to me. I think it helps me focus and makes my prayers more meaningful.

This week has been so good. Lots of trying not to stress. As I've trusted in the Lord I've been happier and less stressed. This week study wise was amazing. Lately my focus has been on discovering my Father in Heaven and Christ and their love for me. I switched though because I felt like I had found their love. I am now focusing on a couple things. (1.) Trusting in Heavenly Father. When I was on an exchange... last week I think, Sister Johnson was telling me what I could improve on. She said I need to trust in the Lord more. Interesting. Like trust that He will put someone in our path or people will be home or they will feel the spirit. So I've been working on that. (2.) Learning about Christ. I've been learning about His life and who He is and what He did and His love. It's amazing!!! The third one ties into it (3.) Emulate Charity. I'm learning about how much charity Christ had and so I'm trying to do the same. Me and Sister Giles both focused on that on Wednesday and our day was incredible!! Only smiles! Every single one of our plans fell through... but we thought "What would Christ do?" "What would He say to our investigators?" Oh my goodness it made the biggest difference ever!! So that's some things I've been learning and working on.

Well... I think that’s all. I've really learned a lot this week! I'm excited for this new week ahead and I'll let you know how it goes. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!  I'm so excited to talk to you on Christmas!! I can't wait!

I love you!!

~Sister Rokovitz~

Sister Rokovitz with Sister Tenny caroling through the neighborhood (Sister Hulme and Sister Giles in the background) 

More Christmas presents than the Christmas tree can handle

Keeping dry on a mail run

It's, really, it is.

Music Monday. Do I look like I know what I'm doing? Ha, I've never touched one of these in my life.

Late for studies....T-shirt and skirt.

Mr. O'Mally, world's best tracting cat....he follows us around.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Amazing and Difficult

This week has been crazy. Crazy.

We started something fun this week. It was the Assistants idea. We were all sitting in Branch counsel and they told us they just called people in their phones who they didn't know. They didn't know if they were members or less actives or investigators.. they just called! They would say "Hey buddy what's up it's the missionaries! We want to come see you!" They got 6 appointments out of it. So we tried it. It's hilarious!!! We found a less active that we're hopefully going to meet with soon. We have had some really good laughs out of this finding idea!                            

We're being patient with Cha. We had a very cool lesson with her this week. We had her come to the church where we had hot cocoa and a TV with Christmas lights around it. We watched Finding Faith in Christ (which I LOVE) And we talked about how much her Heavenly Father loves her and how to show respect in prayers. It was very special. We talked about Jan 5th as a baptism date. She's going to work towards that goal but she didn't promise anything. I'm also working on trying to see the vision for her. Meaning I'm trying to see her as a Relief Society president, a Primary teacher, a faithful visiting teacher. Her next major step to gain a strong testimony is just to read the Book of Mormon. But she hasn't. We even got her a picture book to make it easier. We're going to start just reading with her soon.

I saw Sister White yesterday at the Christmas devotional. She loved seeing me! We talked for a long time and she thanked both of us for the sweet letter. Her son Michael found a new home and she made a copy of the letter and gave it to his caretaker! She is so sweet! She is doing so much better too. She asked me to come see her soon and since we're going caroling with the sisters next week I told her we'd stop by. I love her so much!! She totally made my night!

We got a new investigator this week! Kardo!! He was born in California in 89 and lived there till 2000. He went back to his country Iraq (where his parents are from) and went to school. 9/11 happened and he couldn't get out of the country. (To go to school he had to forfeit his US citizenship) He couldn't get out and so he tried to join the US army. He did and fought for 4 years. Then he came back here and now is going to criminal justice school. He's so cool! We gave him a Book of Mormon and we met with him on Friday at the church with a member, Chelsea. He said he looks at the book everyday and wants to read it, but he just doesn't have time. We encouraged him to read it and he said he would try to for at least an hour each day!! He also told us how hard it is to see his friends die and wonder where they are, and he fears dying. We knew right then that we're teaching him Plan of Salvation next time. We invited him to the Christmas Devotional last night and he came! We could only go if we had investigators coming. He originally told us he could, then couldn't because he had to show his house, and then he finished and could! So we all made it in time for the last talk.. PERFECT FOR HIM!! Elder Nelson talked about military people finding peace in the gospel and that missionaries have that message. So perfect!! Me and Sister Giles were sitting there both silently praying that something would apply to him. That totally did!! Then during the last song I prayed to see Layne in the choir, a piece of home. I didn't see him but the last shot was of the First Presidency.... a piece of home. I started to tear up. Heavenly Father knew what I needed to have a little bit of peace in my heart. I needed to see my prophet. A piece of home. That was such a good evening. That is one thing that I have learned this week is that the Lord does hear and answer my prayers.

You should have seen the place where we had stake conference. THE MUSIC CITY CENTER IN THE GRAND BALLROOM. It was so cool!! That building is beautiful and I could see the city.. or most of it through the fog.. from the top.

 And the stake is so musically talented! They had a children's choir do the prelude and one little girl looked exactly and sang just like my little Haley Parker. And another girl looked and sang exactly like my little Mia! They were precious and I miss my little buddy so much!!

Something very terrible happened this week. K... left the church. K... is 23 and was baptized about 2 years ago. He has the strongest testimony ever!! When he testified about Joseph Smith to one of our investigators, my own testimony of Joseph Smith grew. He studied doctrine and the scriptures regularly. He read lots of books. Bruce R McConkie was his hero and he quoted him all the time. I cried. I cried so hard!! As we left the library, spiritually smooshed, I decided right then and there that I wasn't going to let it affect the work. I went on trying to be as happy as I could. It was hard. SO HARD. But because of my decision, we had a miracle!! We met a lady named Linda. We passed a lady walking her dog who smiled and waved. I thought "What a nice lady. That's the kind of person missionaries pull up to, teach a whole lesson and they're baptized. That never happens." Well we prayed and got out and the dog was practically in Sister Giles lap! We talked to Linda and found out she had lost her husband and mom and that she is Catholic. Sister Giles was looking for a scripture at the same time as trying to explain Joseph Smith. She was struggling and I saw that as my opportunity. I taught Linda the restoration. After, Sister Giles commented and said that when I spoke, she couldn't see any doubt in what I was saying, and she knew that I didn't doubt Linda would listen. I was confident she'd be interested and I just spoke. The spirit truly worked through me for that and it was an awesome experience. Back to the sad story of K... The Assistants texted us and asked if we could go visit him. We gladly accepted. We texted Juliet (an RM in our ward who is K's close friend) and asked her to come. It was almost 8 pm and we knew it would take her at least an hour. Miracle though! Juliet was at the church for choir practice! We picked her up and went - 30 minute drive and K... wasn't home. Juliet texted him and asked to come see him. no response. We headed home. We got off the exit to go back to the church and K... TEXTED!!! He said we could come! We turned around, called president to tell him we'd be late getting home (he knew all about the situation) and we went back. We pulled in the same time as K... He walked up to us very happy and invited us into his apartment. He sat down with a big smile and said "Ok go!" I looked at him very sternly and said "You go" He asked what we wanted to know and Sister Giles asked why. K... put together a bunch of little things. There's a bigger problem but he just wont tell us. Sister Giles bore a powerful testimony about the Book of Mormon. I then looked at him very sternly and bore my testimony with the most boldness and the most love I have ever done. I told him that I had doubts when I came out, and about my struggle to know, and about the work it took. Growing up in the church means nothing. It helped me immensely but that is not how I gained my full testimony. It's been through trial. I told him that the Book of Mormon was absolutely true. He knew it. I knew it. And when I was finished, he quietly whispered "I have nothing else to say on that subject." We asked if we could leave with a kneeling prayer. He asked me to say it. I was freaking out. I held back tears, and prayed. I prayed for his family, for him and........ I had a very strong prompting. I thought of Mom's story, where her mission president blessed her to put aside her selfish desires. I felt very prompted to pray for him to do the same thing. I didn't want to say that because I was scared. But the prompting was so strong. I said it. We left, and I bawled the whole way home. We called President when we got home and told him everything. President was calm. He said "I've heard his testimony.  He'll be okay." He will be. It's amazing how calm I felt.

I have never understood what it meant to love the members until then. I love them so much and to see them go astray hurts me. Then I thought... that's how Heavenly Father and Christ feel. They RUN to us when we go astray and they work their hardest on us! They never forget about us and all they want to do is help. I know this church is true. I know it. I know. I woke up Wednesday morning and felt that my testimony is solid and unshakable because of K... Amazing and difficult experience. My testimony will still grow, but as for now, it cannot be shaken or dimmed. The spirit is real. It tells me exactly what to do. It guides me and comforts me and mourns with me. I am so thankful that I have been extremely blessed to grow up in the church. I can't imagine how much faith a convert must have to remain faithful.

It was a hard week, but as I have relied on the Lord and kept my focus, it's worked out. I'm doing great. And I realized something this week... I've been out for 3 months! Actually I looked at it from the opposite end. I don't have 18 or 17 months left anymore. I only have 15. It's hard to soak up every minute.. but I try and I thank Heavenly Father so much for sending me out here. Thank you for your love and support.

Well.. That's about it. Only 2 more weeks until I get to call home for Christmas. It's going to be the best Christmas ever!! I love you all and I couldn't do it without you. Thank you for the huge amount of support. I hope you all enjoy Christmas... and the snow... I love you!!!

~Sister Rokovitz~

Got my flu shot this hurt!!

My decorated Christmas desk.

It rained for 37 hours straight last week.

Monday, December 2, 2013

I Know I Can, I Know I Can ~ And Thanksgiving

Mom and Dad,

Oh boy.. it's been quite a week! I made a life motto for myself. Drum roll please dududududududududududu: I KNOW I CAN! That's my motto! I know I can! Just like the story of The Little Engine That Could. I love that story. And someone said in a meeting that when I doubt myself, I doubt the Lord. So I just don't doubt myself, because I know I can! I made a cool sign of it with cool typography (all hand done ) and put it on my wall above my desk. I know I can.

It has felt very cold a few days here. It's only been down to 30 but the humidity makes it so cold!! It's like Rexburg but without the snow and harsh wind! And it snowed Monday!!... and turned into slush. It's just slightly condensed rain and it just sounds a little heavier than rain and it builds up and freezes... it's awful! But the past few days have been warm so I haven't used a jacket at all! Yesterday my body was just cold though. I was freezing all through church! I had my coat on and Sister Giles' coat over my legs and during studies I put on 3 pairs of socks and my sock monkey slippers and a blanket and a hoodie and then when we went out to work I just put on my boots with my 3 pairs of socks. I was FREEZING!!!

Want to hear something funny? We passed a bowling center Saturday and we were both saying how much we love bowling. Sister Giles mentioned that we can go on P-day and I was like "well how come we haven't gone yet?!" It's expensive.. that's why. I forget that I don't have free coupons for bowling for life.  But then yesterday in church guess what they announced the Family Home Evening activity is tonight... BOWLING!! WHOO HOO! I'm super stoked!! And Cha is coming. When they announced it, Sister Giles looked at me like "what did you finagle?" haha I swear I didn't tell them to go bowling! It just happened.

Mom and Dad, I'm doing great. This week we taught... 5 lessons. That's it. We got really sick Wednesday.. but still tried to push through, and we were miraculously healed for Thanksgiving.. (I'm not kidding.. It was a true miracle!!) And then... we were sick on Friday and stayed in. I didn't want to admit that I needed to stay in because I thought it was frowned upon... But Friday we were trying to do weekly planning  and I just couldn't do it. We decided we needed to stay in and rest. Much needed!

This week I really grew to love the scriptures. Right now I'm reading the Book of Mormon just for my studies. We went over Mosiah in  institute a few weeks ago and the teacher mapped out the book for us! It's so easy to understand!! I drew the map and I've referred to it several times each day  in studies. I love the book of Mosiah so much! It's so much easier to read and get caught up in it like a regular book when I understand it. And I love Gideon!! He's like this chill, laid back guy who just goes and suggests marvelous ideas to the king like it's no big deal! Haha he's hilarious! I've never had a love for the scriptures like this before!! It's incredible and I just can't wait to finish the Book of Mormon and start over with the study manual!

The things that have been sticking out to me in my studies this week is the love of God. How much he is always there and He does what He promises He'll do. It's incredible. That's what I've needed to learn right now and that's what Heavenly Father is teaching me. He's there! In fact, in Mosiah today I read about how the Lord was slow to answer the people's prayer's because of their iniquities, but he still heard them. I'm not just talking in my mind. Heavenly Father hears me! And I'll improve by degrees like the people in Mosiah did. Cool Huh? I'm learning SO much!! I just love studying the scriptures!

Monday was a good day. We went and saw the Howes in the hospital. Little Hyrum is 3 and he is just in and out of there. He had surgery and his mom was there. We talked to her for about an hour! Sister Howes was telling us about how Hyrum loves to be pushed around in his special needs wheelchair by his cousins and how he laughs and how she is learning to play the Ukulele and she puts him on her lap and he holds her thumb while she strums. So sweet!!

After that, we went to Sweet Cece's  for frozen yogurt and said to each other that we had to contact people there before we left. So..... I got brave. BRAVE!! I normally don't do this.. but I went up to the workers who were chilling and asked how old they were (all Young Single Adult) and I told them we play volleyball and we'd love to have them come! They all were super pumped and I gave all three of them a card with our number on it :) WHOO HOO!! I was brave! This week I've tried to be the brave, fearless, all knowing missionary that I pictured myself being. That's what I always saw in other missionaries at home so I'm trying to be brave.

Tuesday... is a day where I had the most terrifying experience of my life. Don't freak out. I'm fine. We were going to talk to Titi who we haven't seen in a while. We were on an exchange with a member named Rosemary and she knew Titi. We were pretty much just going to leave the ball in her court... telling her that when she wanted to have a scripture study, to call us. We got there and she was just heading out to the hair store down the street and asked if we wanted to go. We said yes and took about 14 steps on our cold journey and then a cop across the street started yelling and booking it down the street. I froze. I was just waiting to hear gun shots. Two cop cars came around the corner and they were driving around the block while the other cop ran in between homes and stuff. Titi thought nothing of it, and neither did all the elementary kids heading home... Rosemary offered to take Titi to the store in her car and we all got in. I still don't know what was going on but that was a reality check. I was kinda fearless in those areas because I've never seen what could happen and I knew I needed to be careful but I feel like it was a gentle warning from Heavenly Father saying "hey... these areas are dangerous. You  need to be REALLY careful!" Oh man... yeah I was shaking. It's just sad though that it's what those people are used to. It's their life....... I love the Utah bubble.

I really missed Thanksgiving at home.. but we stayed busy so that helped. My sweet potatoes were golden! They were fantastic (and still are - Yay for leftovers!)

Sister Giles cutting up the sweet potatoes

Waiting for those sweet potatoes to boil

Mashing up the Creamy Sweet Potatoes - a Rokovitz traditional dish

We went to dinner #1 at Shantel's. She's not Young Single Adult but she invites all 'homeless' YSA over for a dinner. We invited Cha and she came and enjoyed talking to everyone! The food was traditional... except.. a very southern thing I am finding out is that nobody makes rolls. They love store bought rolls. There is one brand they love and they just buy that and put them in a bowl. Crazy..

Thanksgiving dinner #1 at Shantel's home.

When we went around the table to say what we're thankful for at dinner, I said I'm thankful for my family. I've been praying for Chad like crazy and fasting and his name is in the Nashville temple... I don't think I've ever felt so much love for him before.  As I've been out here and have missed you all, I've realized how grateful I am for eternal families. I also said I was thankful for my trials.. surprise surprise.. Yep. I am thankful for my trials. The hardest trials in my life in the past 2 1/2 months have made me stronger than I could have ever imagined!!!!! The Lord knows I'll be OK. After we ate, we made popcorn balls.  Everyone was telling me to help, so I did! The first one I tried to put in a bag fell on my skirt... So I moved to the twisty tie crew.
Making popcorn balls after Thanksgiving dinner

Transferring myself to the twisty-tie crew.

Sister Giles, Cha and Sister Rokovitz

 *Side story... Saturday.. I spilled fruit juice and corn juice on me. I changed my skirt 3 times that day! So that's 4 total skirts I made a mess of this week! I will never give up my title of the messiest eater in the world! And the fruit and corn juice... were full-on spills. Both times I was tipping my cup to get the last bits and all the juice... I mean ALL the juice came flooding out and soaked through every layer on me.. Gross* OK, resume. We stayed too long so we had to rush home to get our food (and to change my skirt) and then we went to dinner #2 at Zoe's house. Her brother moved in with her and her boyfriend was visiting. For all 5 of us it was our first Thanksgiving away from home. It was cool. They did so good cooking the turkey and everything!  Zoe also got the cutest dog this week! His name is Colt and he is the first dog EVER that I have loved!
Thanksgiving dinner #2 at Zoe's house (she was the one taking the picture)

Me and Sister Giles with Zoe, her brother and boyfriend and Colt-the-dog, of course.

Surprisingly I wasn't too full after those two dinners. Zoe sent us off with pie and we rushed to our member visits that we set up. We had to cancel 3 other visits because we were so rushed and busy!! We never thought we'd be too busy! It was a good Thanksgiving.

Well.. that's about all. It's just been another great week of personal growth. I feel like so far my mission is just for me. To grow and become strong. It's cool how I've grown. I will never be the same again! I was once scared of that but now I embrace it. I love you and I am so thankful for all your support and advice. I'm grateful for your knowledge that lifts me up and strengthens my testimony. I love you.

~Sister Freaking Fantastic Rokovitz~

A couple extra pictures:

Biscuits that didn't quite look like much, other than blobs.

The great city of Nashville Tennessee!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Burying Weapons of War

Dear Family,

On Tuesday we buried our weapons of war with Cha. You would be proud of me because I put on my Vans with my skirt.. and I dug a hole. I dug a hole! Whoo hoo!! My daddy taught me how to do that! It was a special experience. Cha really didn't want to do it.. but she did. And she wanted to help dig the hole too. And while she dug she handed me her stuff to hold... I (not thinking about it) held it for her. Yeah.. I held marijuana. Where's the first time I ever held marijuana? On my mission!!! I was freaking out inside like "AH AH AH What am I doing?! Someone take it?!" Haha Oh the memories...
Then Cha didn't come to institute and it was just hard to get a hold of her and she didn't come to church.. it was a rough week teaching wise. We're really going to focus on bringing members with us to teach her because she said she feels uncomfortable at church because she doesn't know anyone and she misses her old church. It's just so hard to get Young Single Adults to come with us and Cha doesn't do set appointments.. it's always call about 30 minutes before and see if she's home. We've tried calling her a few hours in advanced but she never knows where she'll be.. it's tough. I've been doing a lot of praying for her this week.

Other than that.. this week we have been organizing our area book. It's been tough. A lot of info is missing. We are trying to map out our former and potential investigators so we can go visit them because tracting this week with Thanksgiving isn't a good idea. And that's pretty much all we had planned after dinner Thursday so instead we're using 70 miles to do member visits!! Whoo! It's been a hard week for Sister Giles because we have such low numbers relating to lessons. We both had to accept the fact that we were still working hard, just in a different form.

Saturday night we went to a Thanksgiving dinner with the Young Single Adults at the Tolk's home.
Sister Rokovitz, Juliet and Kyle

The Tolks are in the Green Hills ward and they're a sweet old couple who have the most beautiful home I've ever been in! It was massive!! And such a privilege to eat there. They had a black grand piano and multiple large Christmas trees. And as we all sat after dinner and sang Christmas carols... I thought.. I know the church is true. It was peaceful to be surrounded by so many members who know it's true and who love the Lord. I had to stop singing and just look around and be thankful for where I was at. This week was awesome spiritually... we taught hardly any lessons but I grew a ton!

Saturday as I started Personal study I wrote several spiritual questions in my notebook and asked myself what I was going to do about them. -Keep FULL FAITH! My Heavenly Father is there! He hears me and loves me and wants to cheer me along! The Book of Mormon is my greatest possession and it will guide me as I search and study it. SATAN CANNOT MAKE ME THINK OTHERWISE! I read D&C 6 over again.. which I have titled my revelation chapter. It was a good study! And as I closed it with a prayer I covenanted with the Lord to faithfully and diligently carry out the work of the Lord... nothing wavering. And to never doubt. Also, Saturday I had a very very special moment that added to the day. We were in the library for Sister Giles to do Facebook teaching and I was just pondering.. and I thought "I'm going to write down everything I am thinking right now" So I did. I had several questions and thoughts going through my head. I knew I needed to ask Heavenly Father to help me find the answers and to have the mysteries unfolded unto me. I must ask. So I prayed. In the library. I completely zoned everything out and just prayed. I wrote down my answers after I prayed. This experience was incredible. Un-describable. I literally felt the presence of God with me. I came to know my Lord that day.

Dad... thank you. For telling me I can. I know I can. My testimony still has a ton of room to grow.. but at least now I'm fine. I would have a very hard time understanding my Heavenly Father's love for me if I didn't have all the love from you. I wouldn't be able to understand. I always think of you when I try to imagine my Heavenly Father's love. That's a whole lot of love. Thank you.

That's about it for the week. It was just a good week spiritually. I learned a lot. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I love you a whole lot. And I am really grateful for you especially as I read about the missionaries in the Philippines and the storm that was destructive to many and could have been us. I am so thankful for a lot right now. And I'm very blessed. Thank you.

Have a fantastic week... without me... And I'll have fun with the Tennessee ways of Thanksgiving.

~Sister Rokovitz~

Digging the hole to bury our "weapons of war" my Van tennis shoes and skirt.

Jumping on the shovel, just like my Dad taught me.

Holding "you know what" while Cha digs the hole. 
(Weapons of War are things that cause us to distance ourselves from God, or things that we know are destructive to ourselves or others. Things we may over-indulge in or that we are trying to cut back on.)

Monday, November 18, 2013

I Sang My First Solo

Missions are annoying. That sounds negative huh.. but it's not. It’s just that when you don't like it and you want to leave and regret everything... it drags on forever. But then when you start loving it and working hard and never want to leave... guess what? It hops on the fastest jet in the world and takes off!!! It's not fair! This week has been amazing! It has been spiritually awesome!

So.. Monday we had Nancy come to Family Home Evening! I can't remember if I told you about her. She is awesome! And she brought her friend Paige too! But later in the week.. she told us her parents said she couldn't take the lessons. She does want to have us over for dinner though and still come to activities so that's good!

Tuesday was awesome!! I'm super proud of myself!! I SANG MY FIRST SOLO!! And I rocked it! Our little singing group is like mission famous now! Didn't crack or anything. Elder Pino was the General Authority and he greeted each one of us! He had us line up and shake his hand and he talked to each of us for a minute. So then the super awesome spiritual learning happened. I'm not kidding, the spirit was exploding for me! I felt like the meeting was just for me and everyone else was there for fun. We all got a little booklet called adjusting to missionary life that talks about dealing with stress and pain and homesickness and eating healthy and relaxing etc. IT'S PURE AWESOMENESS! I love it!! Sister Pino talked and she talked about obedience and putting all my trust and glory in my Heavenly Father. She also reminded me to be humble and ask Him for help. Lastly she spoke on spiritual power. One of my favorite subjects recently. Being in tune with the spirit and teaching with it. Then Elder Pino talked. He talked about the vision for our mission. Being obedient. He said to try new things and not to get stuck in our ways. He also talked about how even though our call letters are the same as everyone else's, they're unique. Next he talked about raising the bar and being at the level the Lord has asked us to be at. That's one thing that I continue to work on daily. It's hard. But he said to never get tired of obeying. That was cool. He talked for 1 hour and 45 minutes! and I tried to soak it all up!

Also Tuesday.. I stole an idea from Emily, about burying Word of Wisdom things. We read Cha the story of the people of Ammon and told her we wanted her to pick a day to bury them and we would give up something too. We're giving up milk...................... I know............ I know............. Milk. We're going to bury it in the ground. Milk. Oh man.. I also decided on my own to bury my chocolate.... For Cha. She knows that I love chocolate way more than milk. I'm hoping that by having less sugar I will get rid of my permanent headaches. (Yes permanent. I've had only 4 days so far out here headache free. Otherwise I'm battling a severe migraine. I'm drinking tons of water now though so don't worry) Cha picked Friday but it fell through. She forgot to get her things. So we're going for Tuesday. She's doing awesome and we're going to discuss that she can be ready for baptism soon! Hopefully Dec. 14th.

Wednesday we did a lot of tracting with a member named Kevyn who is planning to go on her mission within a year. She's so funny and cute! She even gave out a Book of Mormon!! We also set a goal as a district to pass out 500 Book of Mormons by the end of the transfer. It's going to happen!!

Thursday, we went tracting again and met this super weird lady haha She was nuts!! She had dread locks and really puffy bangs and huge sunglasses and 2 shaved dogs in sweaters. She started talking to us outside in the parking lot and she was just... crazy. She talked about her ex-millionaire husband that she sued and he paid for her house and kid’s college and she was a news anchor and she kept doing this really loud laugh that was just one HA!. No matter what we tried we couldn't walk away. Sister Giles eventually had to cut her off kinda and we escaped. That was by far my weirdest contact ever! Also.. Carre.... We took Kyle with us to teach her and she asked him all the same questions she's asked us. He gave the same and some better answers. Then she started to talk about Joseph Smith. Kyle’s hero. He LOVES Joseph Smith. She called Joseph a criminal, a liar, a convict, and laughed when Kyle told her that an angry mob killed him. She said "probably by people like me". That HURT. Sister Giles just sat there, I tried not to cry, and Kyle just testified with his whole soul. So we have decided to drop her until she reads the Book of Mormon. Otherwise we just can't meet with her. It was cool though because all her bashing made me think "No. You're lying. I know the truth. Joseph Smith IS a prophet. The Book of Mormon IS true." She can't shake my testimony in a million years. So it was a cool testimony builder for me.

Friday was interviews! President is the best! He remembered things he said to me in my first interview in the airport! Crazy! He made me remember that I can do it. The first thing I did was cry (which I tried SO HARD not to!!) and said "A mission is hard!" He kinda laughed and said "yeah it is." He told me about remembering to rely on the Lord. Will do President!

Saturday we went and visited Emad at Romas. The elders asked us to stop by and invite him to church because they were busy. We stopped by right before dinner time - Free pizza!! WHOO! He's just a good funny guy! He loves the similarities in our churches but he thought we still believed in polygamy. Haha that was the one thing he thought was different. We fixed that belief though.

I learned yesterday about needing to have a few moments in Gethsemane. I cannot expect to represent Christ without feeling at least a tiny bit of the pain that he felt. I even found it saying that in Jacob 1 today. Yesterday was amazing! Miracle Mania! I had a huge headache before studies and so I started studies with a prayer and asked for help because I couldn't focus. I started to study with a bad attitude of "I can't do anything if I don't feel great. I can't do it. I might as well give up until my headache is gone." Well... once I started studying and reading the Book of Mormon and sharing things during companion study.. boom. Headache gone. The second miracle was that evening. We were praying to go tracting and I had the word “Hospital” pop into my mind. We occasionally go there to visit members. After the prayer... I didn't even plan to say this. The words kinda fell out of my mouth "Sister, we should go to the hospital. I don't know why, but we should" So we went. We were going to visit a member on the 9th floor, got to the room and the bed was all made up. So we left to go see another member. When we got to the elevators, a couple walked out and the lady said "oh you must be looking for us." We were really confused. Well, they were members! Less actives. They were married and got baptized 3 years ago and they loved their missionaries!!! They were talking about divorce actually just 2 days ago. They had been in a fight but she felt like she needed to be at the hospital with her husband. They have a strong marriage, they just don't know it. They have been struggling with inactivity and have been separated but they are starting to work things out and they really want to go back to church!! They wanted to go to the temple a while ago but had no clue how to. Tracey got scared because she thought that weekend that her husband was going to die and she was so scared that they hadn't been sealed as a family to their two kids. So sad! I told her it's never too late, whether in this life or in the next. We contacted the missionaries in their ward after we left and they are going to help them get to the temple!! It's amazing! And it was super convenient because we skipped out on the hour and a half crazy storm with tornado warnings that was going on. It was a scary loud storm though..So.. great week!

Well. That's about it. I am doing great. Still some struggles here and there but I'm getting through them. My mission is wonderful!! And.. I realized today.. that I am going to hate it when transfers happen and me and Sister Giles possible won’t be together anymore. I can't imagine the stress of a new companion or a new area.. I just don't want to do it!! AH! I still got 4 weeks though. Ok that's all. I love you!!

~Sister Rokovitz~

On the way to Zone Conference - Sister Giles, Sister Tenny, Sister Rokovitz

Sister Rokovitz and Sister West (one of Amber's MTC roommates) 

Sister Johnson and Sister Rokovitz

Taking one last swig of milk until Cha gets baptized. Milk is Amber's "drink of choice." She could probably go through a gallon in a day or two.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Happy Two Months to Meee

Wow so much to say! Happy two months to mee!!!! It literally goes by SO fast! I can't comprehend it.. I'll be starting a day and then it will be dinner and then I'll be in bed and then I'll be up... and on and on and on... It FLIES! I'm really trying to enjoy my time here. Sister Vandenberg told us before she left to really cherish it because it goes by faster than anything else. It really does.

So, Sister Vandenberg is back in Utah.. being a civilian. I miss her so much!! We went out to dinner at Cracker Barrel and sang to her a cool song and she cried!! I really am blessed to have known her before she went home. I can't wait till we can just sit and talk forever!

The Philippines story is so sad. I didn't hear about it actually. Haha Mom... I'm a missionary. We don't even hear about what the weather is going to be like the next day. We literally hear nothing. Nothing. In fact when we went out to dinner one time with 2 members they mentioned that there had been several shootings on Vanderbilt, right near our home. But I really hope no missionaries are hurt. I feel so bad for the families who don't know yet.

I'm so glad Mia got her letter. That melts my heart that she was so happy!! I love my little buddy and miss her so much!

Want to know something way cool?? Drum roll please....dudududududuududududududuudududuu
I GET TO SING TO A GENERAL AUTHORITY ON TUESDAY!!! The General Authority who is over our mission is coming to visit and president loves our musical talent and he's been wanting us to sing his favorite hymn for quite a while now. So Sister Tenny (Sister Hulme's new companion) is playing the piano, and me and Sister Giles and Sister Hulme are singing Brightly Beams our Fathers Mercy. And I have a solo!!!  I've wanted a solo since 7th grade. That’s 7 years ago!!! AND NOW I FINALLY GET ONE!!! I am beyond stoked for this!! It's going to be one of the greatest experiences on my mission. I can't wait!! I also can't wait to see how singing with my heart beating out of my throat will go... should be interesting.

Also.. the Country Music Awards happened here in Nashville this week, but... that doesn't mean anything to us as missionaries. Just thought my country music loving papa would want to know. And also I don't know if you know who Alex Boye is... but he was in our ward on Sunday! WHAAA??! Cool right?  I didn't get to talk to him though because our ward was busy flocking to him.

So about this week...
Monday: We had to have our last hurrah with Sister Vandenberg... Dinner at Cracker Barrel. It was so... not as yummy as I planned. A $10 meal... blecky. But the other memories were good! We sang and gave her letters and laughed. I sure miss her.

Tuesday:  Sister Vandenberg went home. Saddest day of my life!! We had Elder Horner "finagle" a way for us to sing at the transfer meeting so we could go. I got such a good hug from her when we left! We walked down the hall a little ways, stopped, turned around waved, and repeated that process all the way down the church hall. I cried. She is one of the greatest friends I have now!! And she's gone!!

Also later that night we got a text from a less active named Devin. He wanted us to come over and talk. So we took a ward member and went over. He told us he is ready to come back to church. He struggles with drinking, and is just sick of being miserable. He knows he can turn his life around or stay in misery. He has had a rough life. He is incredible and has an amazing testimony!! He really has a true desire to come back. We gave him a chapter to read and then we were on our way. The meeting was awesome because the spirit was so strong there!

Wednesday: Devin texted us in the morning and asked if we had anything else for him to read. WHA?! So we gave him another chapter and some specific things to look for. He is so cool!! We invited him to Institute but he said he had to work till 8:00.. but... lo and behold, who shows up to Institute about halfway through? DEVIN!!  He made it!  We also met with Cha (Shay - I've been spelling it wrong!! Haha) She is so awesome. She is struggling with her goals still but she has a desire. We invited her to Institute and she came!! And she sat with a member and she laughed and payed attention!! WHOO!! She also asked us after if we could teach her how to study the scriptures!! My heart just swells with so much joy! I cannot get over how great she is! (P.S. Before institute... we were tracting in the rain and we got soaked even with our umbrellas! Haha good memories! Especially when I stepped on what I thought was a curb... it was a skinny deep mud puddle.  Oh missionary work!)

Thursday: So.. during Sister Giles FaceBook teaching time, we saw a picture that Cha posted. A ton of drinks with the caption: I may or may not drink all of these. BROKE MY HEART! Seriously. When we went to teach her that day I hardly spoke. And she seemed a little tipsy and not all the way there. My heart hurt so bad. She slipped. I just want to make her not drink and repent and get baptized!! But I can’t.. and it hurts. Hold on. I just received inspiration: That's how the Savior feels for me!! He loves me so much and rejoices when I succeed! When I slip it hurts his heart so bad! He still loves me and still helps me push forward but he is so sad. REVELATION!! I want to try harder to make my Savior proud. Anyways.. We also met with Nancy that night. Nancy is a referral from the Green Hills elders! She's amazing. So we all went and taught her together. She is solid! The spirit was definitely there. And she said she would get baptized if she found these things to be true!! WHOO!! I love people! And the gospel!

Friday: We met with Cha and watched Finding Faith in Christ with her. I told her to pay attention to the spirit as she watched it. And she watched intently. It was awesome. The spirit was totally there helping her realize what's important. She re-wrote some goals and I told her that now is the best time to start. It will only get harder the longer she puts it off. Hopefully it helps.

Saturday: We met with Cha and helped her clean her apartment. It was fun. At one point she turned on her music really loud and me and Sister Giles looked at each other like "Crap! What do we do!" And I kinda looked at Sister Giles like "I'm the Jr. companion, I don't know what to do, you take care of it - haha it was funny. She was fine with turning it off and instead we learned a hymn with her. She really likes doing that! We also met with Latasha and Dorothy. We found both while tracting in the same complex, but we didn't know they were related! So we got to teach both of them together! Dorothy keeps calling it the Book of "Norman" Hahahaha kills me every time! Latasha seems to understand it more and same with Dorothy. Hopefully we can bring the spirit more the next time we visit.

Sunday: Oh boy did I have a migraine!! It was terrible!! I kept thinking of excuses to go home instead of be at church but then I knew that was wrong. So I powered through it. We had lunch at Chrissy's house (the girl who got baptized the weekend I got here). She's awesome.  When we got home for studies I prayed so hard to be able to push through it and do the work even though what I really wanted to do was just lay in bed. I was quite dizzy while studying but I kept going and I REALLY trusted in the Lord. I ate a good dinner and then got in a 15 minute nap. And I was fine. Amazing what prayer, faith and endurance does for a person. I am learning so much about my Savior and strengthening the relationship that I have with Him while I am out here.

Last night we were going to an appointment with Kyle ( a member ) but the appointment wasn't home. So instead we got to talk to Kyle a bit. He is a convert of one year. He was a really strong Catholic and well versed in the Bible. He was even dropped from the missionaries twice!! Eventually he had to beg the elders to baptize him! And he's been strong ever since then! He really strengthened my testimony. He said one line that is either from Bruce R McConkie or Jeffrey R Holland that I just loved: "We worship the Father, in the name of the Son, by the power of the Holy Ghost." I loved that.

Mom... I can't tell you how much I am grateful to be out here on a mission. You were right. I was meant to come. Dad was right, I can do it. I was doubtful... and now I am here. Doing it. Growing SO much each day. It's incredible. I love the work. I love this gospel. I know that my faith and testimony is enough for now. It grows each day and then it is enough for the day. I love it. Thank you for believing in me and not giving up on me. This is where I am meant to be.

Have a great week! I love you so much!!

Love Sister Rokovitz

Monday, November 4, 2013

This Week Has Been Awesome - Full of Smiles

Mom.... THIS WEEK WAS FREAKING FANTASTIC!!!!!! I learned the secret to having a good, successful week:
1. Be humble
2. Be patient
3. Sing
4. Just be perfect!! Perfect mornings, perfect nights, perfect studies, perfect prayers
5. Trust the Lord
I have just had the greatest week. I had 6 perfect mornings!!!!!! The seventh one... we don't know what happened. The alarm went off and then suddenly it was 6:34 am. Haha it was funny though.

We have just seen so many miracles and happiness this week. I have really learned a ton!! Highlights of what I learned:
1. I learned to pray sincerely. Sometimes I worry about rushing my prayers because I'm tired or I think Sister Giles is waiting for me... but God is #1. So I take my time!
2. I have learned to truly love Sister Giles! I think it was... Monday night I was a little sad because I was worried about having enough time to mark my scriptures and catch up in my journal. Well... she took the time to help me see my gifts before we went to work. We studied our Patriarchal blessings and wrote down as many things as we could find that we are endowed with and then we shared them. It was awesome! Sister Giles is so selfless and caring and all around amazing! We've just been happy!!

This week was seriously fantastic. Each night when I got in bed I was exhausted but I knew it was from working hard all day. I had my first exchange on Tuesday!! It was with Sister Johnson in our district. I just love her to death! And Sister Andersen (Mission President's wife) came out with us for part of the day. I was so nervous!! It made me the "Senior companion" in the area and Sister Andersen was there!! We went to a member visit first with Taylor. She is awesome!! She's 18 and out here in Nashville trying to get her music started. How cool is that??! The lesson went so good. Then we had an appointment that fell through... so we just tracted! Haha Sister Andersen loved it! We met Eric, who seems interested, Latasha (not Young Single Adult) and Leon (not Young Single Adult). They're all awesome people! We then went to contact a former investigator but she was in a really sketchy area... Sister Andersen was freaking out! She's like "Don't ever come over here at night and don't tract and be careful!" I told her we never got out if we saw lots of cops (which that day we did) and we never tracted there. While we were looking for the apartment, Sister Andersen turned up a one way street going the wrong way. When she turned off the street she got pulled over!! The cop was super nice and just told us to be careful. We ended up running out of time so we left and went to dinner at a members house named Jaclyn. Later that night we taught Shay.... Oh Shay!  It was awesome! We had a lesson plan but before we started I asked her if she had prayed about a baptismal date. She said she felt like some things were holding her back. We found out she has some word of wisdom problems but she set some really amazing goals to overcome them! She really opened up and it was just so cool! Great exchange.

Other than that I'll just update you on certain people:
Shay: After the Word Of Wisdom meeting we met with her again and she said she had been praying and she really feels like she can be ready for baptism soon!! We taught her some things that can help her through her struggles like pray and scripture study and we taught her the blessings of obedience. In the middle of the lesson Sister Giles felt inspired to ask if she wanted a priesthood blessing. We explained it to her and she said she wanted one. So we called the elders and they came right over! It was awesome! Before her blessing she kinda whispered to me "Are these only if I'm sick?" I told her about how they can be for anything and how I had gotten one because I was really homesick and I needed comfort. She liked hearing that. And..... SHE CAME TO CHURCH YESTERDAY!!!!! WHOOOOOOOOOOOOO! She even took notes in Gospel Principles (the lesson was on the law of chastity which we felt inspired to teach her tonight!) Shay is just making so many improvements and changes and we can see it in her countenance. And lots of people talked to her at church too!

Carre: She never brought up the challenge!! And we studied hard for that! It's like she forgot about it! We taught her instead about the rest of the restoration and priesthood. And..... I had been praying so long that we would be able to really testify to her and that she would feel the spirit. And we did just that. Sister Giles testified so powerfully. I followed her and I only remember saying "the Book of Mormon is true. There is absolutely no way it is wrong. It's impossible for it to be wrong" And she felt the spirit. It's so awesome that I could tell that she felt it. Sad thing is though... she steered away from it. She began to ask random questions that didn't relate to anything we had talked about and she said she didn't really know where she was going with it. Also... she said that every time she prays she gets so angry that someone would make up a lie to deceive so many people and that she knew the Book of Mormon was wrong. That hurt. It hurt bad. But that can't change my testimony. The Book of Mormon is true!! I don't care what anybody else tells me. It is. And that's all that matters.

Derrika and Amanda... They weren't home for our appointment yesterday..

Elise and Allison: Sister Giles met Elise while on her exchange with Sister Hulme. She's Young Single Adult and we went back with Kyle from our ward yesterday to teach her. Her friend Allison was over. Allison told us that she wasn't religious at all and that she didn't really believe in Jesus Christ. During the lesson both girls mentioned how it is probably easy for members who are born into the church to find peace and gain a testimony. Kyle was literally jumping out of his seat waiting to tell them how he was a convert. They were surprised that he was and that he was still close with his family. Both girls said they would read from the Book of Mormon and pray about it and we get to meet with both of them next week too!! WHOOO!!

We haven't met with Savannah. Me and Sister Johnson stopped by but she was surprised and didn't let us in. So we just invited her to institute.

I have really seen the difference it makes in the work to do it with a willing heart. I kept saying over and over in my prayers how much I love being here and how much I love the work and the people. It's amazing! I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.

Transfer calls happened on Saturday. Me and Sister Giles predicted that we were staying... AND WE ARE WHOO HOO!!

-P-day goes like this:
6:30 am put in laundry
6:30-7:00 am clean/switch laundry
7:00-8:00 am get ready
8:00-10:00 am is studies
10:00-6:00 is P-day. We have to email (about 2-2 1/2 hours) and grocery shop and wash our car. But with picking up the other sisters to do P-day too slows us down. They need a full time car. We're slowly learning how to master P-day.

This week has been awesome. Full of smiles! I love you Mom!! You are the best! Have a great week !I love you more than words will EVER be able to describe. Dad.... Never ever ever ever ever ever stop being as amazing as you are. Your emails to me give me so much strength. I love it! I love you dad. You are the best father I could have ever asked for! Have a fantastic week!

~Sister Rokovitz~

On Halloween there was a tornado watch

My desk/wall

Monday, October 28, 2013

This Is Why You're Here

Want to hear the story of my week? Monday we went to Family Home Evening and SHAY CAME!!! She brought her mom and 2 sisters and they all enjoyed roasting s’mores and hot dogs and we all sang to Shay for her birthday. We also had Emed come. (He's from Egypt!! The sister's met his friend Morad at the Parthenon, and we went to Roma's where they both work to sing to Morad, and we met Emed and he is a Young Single Adult and he feeds us for free every time we go to Romas!!) Emed got his first taste of a s’more. He's been in America for 5 years but never had one! He looked at the marshmallow and poked it and said, "what is it?" So we were looking at the ingredients and I told him basically it's a sugar ball. He asked if you could eat it raw, so I handed him one and he took a bite and yelled "WOW!!!!" Hahahahaha and then he loved the s’more too!!! He was so funny! I kept joking that once he ate a s’more he would be a true American.

Tuesday night we met a man named Bob. He was outside playing with his dog (He's an older man) and he started to talk to us. He found out we were Mormons and told us about how his friend was Mormon. So we gave him a Book of Mormon and he said it was the greatest gift we could have ever given him! We were supposed to see him on Sunday evening but he wasn't in town. He loved our note that we left on his door though. He texted us and told us we had planted a seed!  So we're planning on seeing him tomorrow evening.

About Carre... We absolutely love her! She is the type of girl I would hang out with and we always laugh and enjoy ourselves. But she isn't reading from the Book of Mormon and focusing on the content of it. Her questions are dealing with the logical side of things. I had a cool experience with her though. I felt very strongly that I needed to challenge her to pray about it again. I told her she couldn't have any doubts in her heart or any desire to prove it wrong. Just a sincere desire to know if it was true or not. In Moroni 10:4 it says that you can pray and ask if it's not true... so I told her to do that because I know that the spirit will do it's job and she won't be able to doubt it. She gave us a challenge though... To prove the Book of Mormon using only Bible verses. We took the challenge. So we've got a few ideas but nothing is set. I wish I could have your suggestions... but since I can't because we're teaching her on Thursday... just pray for us and wish us good luck!!

We met with Vicki again and committed her to baptism on the 22nd. She said she would like to be but she wanted to pray and be sure about it. We also met a girl named Derrika while we were tracting. We gave her a Book of Mormon and prayed with her and she cried! We were able to see her again last night. It was Derrika and her friend Amanda who had a little girl named Ca'maya. Amanda said she wasn't religious and I felt she had the attitude of "I'm stuck here so I have to listen." They were both listening and we talked about the priesthood and repentance and prophets and baptism and it was so awesome!! Then we reached the end of the lesson and Sister Giles whispers "do you want to... " and she laughed and smiled indicating INVITE THEM TO BE BAPTIZED! I was so nervous and I got scared and thought "maybe if I pause long enough she'll just do it" But she didn't and so I asked if they would both be baptized by the priesthood authority... well I asked right as Ca'maya was making a fuss. They didn't hear me!! But Derrika looked like she was thinking so I just sat there.. And it was very awkward and they both just looked at us confused... so Sister Giles said "will you....... be baptized?" Derrika shook her head no. She said she wasn't ready and she wanted to pray. Amanda said yes! She really wanted to be!! It was so awesome! We set 3 baptismal dates this week!!!! Too bad none of them are Young Single Adult. But it was so cool! And then once we left, we went to pick up the sisters and they were talking to 3 Young Single Adults on a porch who were all very interested! I think Heavenly Father must have been saying "Sister Rokovitz, I'm here. We've got this. See. This is why you're here! Keep going!" It was insane!!! God is the best!

During the week we were trying to contact a former investigator and we met a girl named Savannah and she let us in to talk about the Book of Mormon. All she knew was what South Park taught her.. bad idea. So we started to teach the restoration and she had a lot of good questions. It was awesome... but then we got to the actual restoration and she stopped us and said she had to go and literally pushed us out the door. It was weird. Hopefully we'll be able to meet with her again.

My testimony has definitely gotten strong this week. I haven't had any doubts and I just keep getting stronger. I can do this! I have really learned what it means to humble myself and to rely on the Lord! It's amazing!!! I'm trying to do better. I have found that I am just loving to study more and more!! I am really getting into the Bible and the Book of Mormon. I'm going to read every word in the scriptures. I also bought a dictionary so I look up words I don't know and highlight them as they relate to the gospel and then I write them down to study and review later. It's really helped!

I am excited for more miracles, not excited for the transfers to be over because that means Sister Vandenberg will be going home. I love you all so much. I couldn't do it without you. Then again... I wouldn't be homesick at all if I didn't have you. Hahaha but homesickness just means I have the best family ever. Keep it up! Wish us good luck with Shay. We asked her last week to pray about a baptismal date and we didn't get to see her this week. So hopefully she got an answer. Oh and also we get to go in at 6 pm on Halloween and just study forever!! YAY!!!
Have a great week I LOVE YOU!!
Love Sister Rokovitz

Monday, October 21, 2013

Teaching, Learning and Staying Positive

Dear Family,

Things I've noticed about Tennessee: (1) There are SO many churches here!!! And I don't think I've seen a single one with the same name. (2) Nashville traffic is the worst traffic I've seen in my life. We can be 4 miles away from our house but have to leave 30-45 minutes before dinner to get home in time. (3) There are a lot of people making a living off of selling newspapers here... there's practically one on every corner. (4) The YMCA is big here.

My backpack straps are already starting to rip. So I had to sew those. I'm pretty handy with a needle and thread :P  Ok so Tuesday was actually pretty good. We visited a girl named Tiffany that we met at the bus stop one day but she's a referral for the other sisters. She's only 27 and has 4 kids! But she seems pretty solid. Also, we got a referral for someone named Fady. We thought it would be a YSA girl but, it was a married Egyptian man who had requested a bible online. He didn't really understand what was going on, but he let us in and we taught him and his brother and sister-in-law. Cool fact: He speaks and reads Arabic. We also had a lesson with Shay that day. She isn't getting baptized this Saturday because we felt like we were kind of pushing her into baptism a little too fast. She wants to get baptized but we want her to pray about a date and figure out when she'll be ready. She liked that idea.

Wednesday was quite the emotional roller coaster. Dad... How do you know?? How do you know that God is God and that Jesus is the Christ and everything else in the gospel. I believe, but how do you know? Also, what does it mean in 1 Nephi 12 heading when it says the disciples of Christ AND the apostles? And how would you describe what the gifts in D&C mean that say:
Vs. 15 And again, to some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know the differences of administration, as it will be pleasing unto the same Lord, according as the Lord will, suiting his mercies according to the conditions of the children of men.
Vs. 16 And again, it is given by the Holy Ghost to some to know the diversities of operations, whether they be of God, that the manifestations of the Spirit may be given to every man to profit withal.
And what does it mean for "the Lord to make bare his arm?" I've seen that come up a couple times.

Thursday we taught Carre that day. That was fun.. and difficult! She is amazing! Carre works for her church, so she said she couldn't miss hers to come to ours or she would get fired. She has a lot of knowledge and faith. She read almost all of 1st Nephi which was amazing! But I don't feel like she read to know if it was true. She had a lot of questions about Joseph Smith and she read on the internet and asked her priests questions when she should be asking us. She has questions about the plan of salvation too, but I love her so much!!!

I think that's the night I got a package from aunt Lisa :) She filled it with popcorn, mini brownie cakes, chocolate, Halloween candy :D Just as a surprise!! It made my night! I also got a letter from Allana. She said to remember to pray during my hard times :)

Thursday night we went to the hospital to visit members, and on our way to the children’s hospital we said Hi to a man and asked how he was. He stopped to talk and told us his name was Randy and he was visiting his friend Pat. We asked if we could come say a prayer and he said she would love a prayer! So we went up and met Pat who was in the critical care tower. We talked to them for a long time and they were just funny!! We ended with a prayer and Pat cried. She just loves christian people! She's a great lady with a strong testimony. We also went back the next night with the sisters and sang to her. She loved it and cried and asked us to sing a second song.

Saturday.. was a very very cold day. Very cold. Sunday.. During church I was studying my hymn book and underlining things and the song on page 45 stuck out to me. It's exactly my cry to my Father in Heaven. Read it. I'm going to do the things it says in my prayers each morning and sing it too while Sister Giles is in the shower. I'm also going to start each prayer by thanking Him for everything I can think of. It changed my mood that day. It was awesome. We enjoyed tracting that night in the perfect weather (and in my red coat.) One of my favorite actresses is a less-active in our area and our Relief Society president is practically famous and had her phone number so we got it and we're going to contact her!!! :D Don't know if anything will happen though.

A mission is hard. Thee hardest thing I have ever done and ever experienced. I've cried a lot and felt lonely... good thing I have Cuddles with me! My one piece of home that I can snuggle up with at night and he still wipes my tears off just as he did when I was little. Those poor paws are probably filled with my tears! So yeah. Hard week. I have high hopes for this next week though! I'm going to stay positive. I love you all and I miss you terribly but time is flying, so I need to enjoy it!!

Love Sister Rokovitz!

Lunch at Roma's

Singing in the rain and loving the use of my polka dot umbrella

Trying new ways to put my outfits together

Getting my hair braided by Makaya, Kevyaundra and LeiLei....THE MOST PAINFUL EXPERIENCE OF MY LIFE