Monday, September 30, 2013

I'd Live Here!

I'm thrilled to hear from you! I have so much to tell you! President Andersen is fantastic!! He is funny and so is his wife and they are sweet and caring and it just makes me happy to see them! I'm so glad that they are here! I think I would have liked the Mckees but I just love the Andersens!! We miraculously fit everyone in the mission home! It's pretty big! They put the 10 elders upstairs and the 23 sisters downstairs. Six Sisters got beds and the rest used mats. By the time I was ready to put my stuff on a bed everything was taken!! So the elders gave us their mattresses and put them on the floor in the basement! So I got a mattress and the elders slept on the floor. How sweet right? :)

 I did get a picture with Pres. and his wife but not on my camera. They had someone take it and they are going to mail it to you soon.

(This picture came in the mail the same day Amber sent her email)

So my companion is Sister Giles. She is amazing!! She has been here for almost 8 months and I am her first trainee. We have a blast together :) I really love her! She is almost 22 and she is from Pleasant Grove Utah. And... she is exactly obedient. Our alarm clock goes off at 6:29 every morning... and I still don't get up for a bit. We are always in on time, we stick to the exact schedule and obey perfectly. It has helped me learn to be a good missionary and I've seen blessings from it.

Sister Giles and Sister Rokovitz

The huge group that went to Tennessee with Amber. Look at all those Sister missionaries! Look out Elders. Amber is in the front row, 4th from the left.

I am currently in Nashville :D I am actually pretty close to the mission home which is so nice! I am in the Green Hills YSA (Young Single Adult)  area. So we only teach anyone ages 18-31. It's so much fun!!! The Assistants to the President are also in our branch and there are 3 of them. Then there is a set of Sisters for the regular Green Hills ward. Sister Vandenberg who is on her last transfer :( and Sister Hulme. I love both of them! We've eaten lunch together twice and we've spent P-day together and we just see them a lot and it is fantastic!

Sister Rokovitz, Sister Hulme, Sister Vandenberg and Sister Giles

Sister Hulme and Sister Rokovitz with their matching skirts.

 So our branch covers 3 stakes... which is pretty crazy. Oh and most of our investigators are in areas where we can't go after 6 pm. because it's really sketchy. So we don't really know what to do in the evenings. So my area is..... green. I didn't know there could be so much green in the world! Me and Elder Snow were freaking out on the plane when we saw all the trees!! I feel like I'm in Jamaica or something. Most of the roads are windy so it reminds me of the river bottoms and not a normal neighborhood. There are no sidewalks anywhere except by stores and stuff which makes it really hard for biking missionaries (which... is not me :) ) It's beautiful here! Some areas have the cutest houses and they are so cute inside too!! I'd live here!

 My apartment... is not bad. I forgot to take pictures of it... It has green walls but the lighting is so bad that you can't notice that. We both have a desk to study at, a tiny kitchen and tiny kitchen table, and our room is huge! Our closet is huge too! I keep all my bathroom stuff in a dresser drawer because the closet in our bathroom wreaks!!! And it's easier to get ready in front of the mirror on the floor rather than trying to work around bathroom times. And I don't keep my towels in there because the rod to hang them on is above the toilet and hang down behind the toilet... that's gross. So I hang them on a hanger in my closet. It works quite nicely actually. Oh and our water... tastes like bleach and smells like hot tub chemicals. So we don't drink it. It tastes so bad to brush our teeth. That's the one bad thing. Oh and our AC doesn't work. But it's cool enough here and we have 2 fans. The first few nights were hot to me though.

The accents aren't that bad out here. I like them :) and only the people who have been here for a long time have them. People say ya'll a lot which bugs me.... but that's ok. Food places are pretty normal out here.. nothing crazy weird yet. And the scenery.. as far as houses changes a lot. The mission home is in the 4th wealthiest county in the country, and I've seen apartments where mostly black people live and they just sit outside while kids play and they barbecue and they hang their clothes to dry. They don't have very much. Which is sad :( But we've met some of the nicest people in those apartments. And some nice cops too who tell us to be careful :p

 My first day........ Was brutal. Physically. One of the Elders was running throughout the mission home saying "Anything is possible through the atonement! You can stay awake!"

Very, very, very early in the morning on the day we left for Tennessee

We didn't get to bed till midnight at the mission home and we woke up at 5:30 and did lots of training. And then after training, we met our trainers. They do it in a cool way! It's like opening your mission call! They gave all the newbies a letter, we went up to the microphone and read where we were going and who our companion was. Then our companion came running up and we hugged and a photographer took a picture :) So after that, we loaded my luggage into our very nice Ford Fusion :D yeah. They take care of us :) and the rest of the day was just long and never ending. We got right to work. I was so tired that I just felt like crap. I still remember the way I felt and I never want to be that physically exhausted ever again!! There would be times where I woke up enough to smile and laugh and then there were times where there was no possible way I could ever keep my head up and my eyes open. I thought I was going to die. I kept falling asleep when we were driving. That's when I knew that I wanted the day to end! Cool story though: we were taking my luggage into the apt. and 2 electrical men started talking to us and we gave them each a Book of Mormon and got their contact info :) We had to refer one of them to the elders because he wasn't YSA and I think we might refer the other one too.... I'm not sure. But I had my first missionary moment right away!! We also taught a girl named Chrissy. On our way over there I was reviewing the lesson and I felt so sick. Like I knew I was going to throw up and that never happens to me. I almost rolled down the window and leaned out. But I didn't want S. Giles to know so I just gulped down as much water as I possibly could and I prayed my little heart out!! After the lesson I was fine and I've never felt like that since then when going into a lesson. Anyways, Chrissy got baptized Saturday. Well Chrissy just happened to be at the members house where  S. Giles and S. Masoe  had dinner one night. So they taught her and she wanted to be baptized! So 2 weeks later, BOOM. Baptized. How awesome is that!! I really don't remember the rest of my first day because I just was so dead. But anything really is possible through the atonement. Because that's how I was able to stay awake and continue onward. The atonement.

How was my week? Great!! It's just gotten better and better! God is letting me learn. I obviously started off dead and exhausted and not knowing how in the world I was going to survive! I recovered from sleep deprivation after a few days and then the trials started. I had kinda of a depressed mood towards everything. Like I didn't want to teach or tract or meet random people in the park. I didn't want to feel that way. I prayed and told Heavenly Father that I didn't want to feel that way. I wanted to be happy and excited to do his work!! Well... it took until yesterday to feel that way. Yesterday we had an appointment with a referral named Jenna. This would be our first meeting. She wasn't home... So we went and parked somewhere and thought about where God wanted us to go. We thought for quite a while, not really feeling anything specific. We went and talked to a lady on her porch and 2 young girls on their porch swing. Still we felt in the wrong place. So we went to try Jenna again. Still not home. So... we decided to do a little more tracting. We knocked on a door and asked if we could pray with the girl who answered and she was so weirded out!! She thought we were crazy!! It was hilarious! And then we kept going..... after a few doors and no success we saw a young lady and a little girl on their porch. We went to talk to the lady and turns out... She's YSA, she's met with missionaries before, she wants to know more, she took a Book of Mormon, and we invited her to General Conference!!! MIRACLES DO HAPPEN!!! So that night in my prayers... I realized that I needed to figure out again why I was out here. Why I wanted to be here, and how to be happy. God was just letting me take my time to find the answers to my prayers because He believes in me :) Great story right?

Church is great! It's cool to be in a YSA ward! I feel it is really helping me learn how to teach. We also get to go to Institute class every Wednesday and FHE (Family Home Evening) every Monday. Church isn't very far for us. Maybe a mile or a mile and a half. I guess we just got lucky! And that's the same building Pres. and his wife go to so we get to see them each week!

I haven't noticed too much humidity yet. I'm scared for the summer though....

Sometimes I think about you guys and I just cry because I miss you. But I can tell my mission is going to go by so fast so I better cherish it while I have it. The days seem super long while I'm in it, but then at the end it's like "whoa. Did that whole day just happen?" Which makes me glad.

I really liked the broadcast on Saturday! It was cool to show Chrissy who the Prophet was and tell her about the tabernacle and she asked who the angel was on top of every temple so I explained that :) I can't wait till conference!! Except... I'm not so thrilled to be watching all 4 sessions while seated on a church bench... because since we're in YSA we don't do a lot of things at members homes. Besides they all live within 3 stakes so they're so far away. So we don't really get dinner appointments either.

So really quickly. Our investigators:
Shay: She is a referal. Her aunt is getting baptized and she felt she was ready but now she's not sure. So we taught her one time and will continue to teach her. She came to the broadcast and hopefully she'll go to her aunt's baptism so she can see it.
Titi: She is a super funny girl!! She always says "Girrrll!" haha it's so hilarious!! I've taught her once but the other sisters have taught her a lot and extended the baptism commitment. She doesn't understand why she needs to be baptized again and why women can't have the priesthood. So... we're working on it.
Jenna: She is the one we tried to visit and she wasn't home.......
Calvin: We met him Saturday at a bus stop. I felt inspired to go talk to the people there. So we did. He's 18 and finishing high school. He seems interested and no opposition to us meeting with him. So he took a Book of Mormon and we are meeting with him tomorrow!! :D
Ronald: I haven't actually met him, but we were going to teach him lesson 3 last week and I was going to ask him to be baptized and he wasn't home. So hopefully we'll see him this week.

We're doing good in our work :) I love Tennessee and I love that I can see myself growing every single day. I love studying the scriptures. I'm improving so much spiritually!! I love all of you so much!!! I miss you but I'm doing great :) BYE!

Love Sister Rokovitz

The famous "Map" picture from the MTC.

Everyone tries to point to their mission

MTC zone at the Provo Temple. Amber is on the far right in the blue skirt.

Friday, September 20, 2013

MTC - letter #2


Alrighty!!! Where do I begin? I have so much to tell you! My MTC experience is almost over!! I loved it so much and I don't want to leave!

You're right about all the eternal friendships I will make. I've already gotten the emails of all my district and zone friends and me and 3 other sisters are already planning on living together up at BYU-I when we get back! These people are amazing. We're family and we just love each other so much!!! In fact... last night we did something pretty special. It was my idea :) Sweet Sister Leavens in our district/room is the only one in our room not from Utah. She hasn't received any letters from her family or friends at all and it kinda depressed her when all the other sisters kept getting letters and packages. So I asked all the sisters to write her a letter. (Elders can't write Sisters in their area so the Elders practiced exact obedience and didn't write her. But we told her they loved her in our letter.) We all put them in envelopes and addressed them to her and gave them to our district leader who is responsible for getting the mail and passing it out. When we were all leaving the room, Elder Snow reached in his bag and said "Hey Sister Leavens I forgot, you got a few letters today." She was shocked. She said she was so happy and she started crying. It made me so happy to see that we did something good for her. She couldn't stop smiling and crying! It was fantastic. 

I took your challenge of looking up my gifts in D&C 46. I studied this long and hard. My teacher pulled me out of class for an interview one day and she told me that I have a gift to listen to the spirit and teach from that. She said I really focus on the needs of others and I listen to them. Pretty cool right?! So I've been trying to develop those gifts over the past few days. I've prayed sincerely and really asked for help finding the truth to these answers. 

So you asked if the teaching rooms are actual living rooms. The rooms we use for Progressing Investigator are just classrooms. But TRC is different. There's a hall with TRC rooms and they have a comfy chair, two regular chairs and a little coffee table. The TRC investigator (who is a volunteer either a member or not) sets up some stuff to make it seem more home like. That's where we teach :) I took pictures that I can send to you. 

Wasn't it kinda cool that I got to see Pres, Mills?! He pulled me out of class because he heard I was there and he wanted to say hi! It made my day! And I'm glad you got the picture :) 

Amber with her MTC companion, Sister Evans

MTC roommates: Sister Rokovitz, Sister Evans, Sister Leavens, and Sister West

With my MTC roommates at the temple

Happy, jumping missionaries at the Provo temple

Thank you so much for the treats!!!!!!!! We have care package bonfire's with food :P Two nights ago was chips and nacho cheese dip with Sister Hadley and Sister Kurtz. (They are right next door to us and they are in our Zone!) And last night we had them and the new sisters in our zone over for chocolate!!! We all just prop our doors open with our door stops and we all just walk in whenever we want. It's pretty convenient!

So I kept a little notebook with me this week and wrote down everything I want to include in my journal or write you about. And I'm frantically typing because we're past our hour and I have so much to tell you!!! I'll just pick highlights!! So our Investigator, David. (Played by our teacher Brother Winters) He....... COMMITTED TO BEING BAPTIZED DURING OUR 3RD LESSON!!!!! We are doing so good with him! He went to church with his wife and daughter and he is reading and praying. He seems so much happier. On Monday we were planning on what to teach him. We knew we wanted to teach him lesson 3: The gospel of Jesus Christ, but we also wanted to include either Chastity or Word of Wisdom. Sister Evans was teaching that and she couldn't decide which one. I told her to listen to the spirit during the lesson and decide which one fit better. Well, David had a question. He read in 3 Nephi that no unclean thing can enter into the kingdom. He expressed how he went drinking with his friends a lot (at that point Sis. Evans pulled out the Word Of Wisdom pamphlet haha) and he didn't feel he could be forgiven for that. We taught him the Word Of Wisdom and asked if he would want to try to stop. He said he did but he didn't know if he could. So I challenged him to see how no drinking would go for 3 days till we could visit him again. He said he'd do it. After the prayer, Brother Winters broke role play and told us how good that lesson was. The spirit taught it. He told us we were the best teachers in the class and asked if we would re-enact the lesson for the class. It was amazing!! So it's possible to even get excited about fake investigators.
One day during class we were talking about prayer with Sister Ure. We were talking about personal prayers and how they can be like a conversation. Then she said, "Sometimes I'll tell God a joke." Hahahahahah She then said "I'll finish praying and come out of my room laughing and my mom will ask what's so funny. I just say 'He thinks I'm funny'" Hahaha We love our teachers! I've seen Elder Hiskey, Elder KJ Hall, and Elder Lamont. :) 

So I got the amazing chance to participate in the MTC Choir on Tuesday. I didn't get to go to practice on Sunday but I was still able to sing on Tuesday because they practiced before. We did splits because only one companion from each pair wanted to sing. So me and Sister West sang :) We sung the prettiest version of Joseph Smiths first prayer!! The director told us to sing it like we were telling the story with emotion. It gave me chills!! Choir is definitely an MTC experience every single person needs. 

There are definitely some hard times. Me and Sister Evans have been working on being right on time or early to our classes and other things but it never works. And one day Sister Ure kinda pointed that out and I got a little hurt. So me and Sister Evans kinda were silent for a while. But then we were able to talk it out and cry and laugh and grow. :D 

Well... this is about it. I have so much more to say so maybe I'll write a letter and send it home. I've been on the computer too long and dinner is soon. I'm going to miss the food here :( Tell cory to write me!!!! And tell him good luck in his games! I miss him so much!!! I can't wait to call you on Monday!!! I love you so much Mom and Dad. Pictures still don't work so those will have to wait till I'm in the field which is killing me!!! I hope you guys have a great week! Talk to you soon!!

Super Woman Sister Rokovitz! 

P.S. tell Michael I hope he feels better! 
P.P.S. I also saw Mrs. Menlove here!!!!!!!! She's a Branch President's wife :D

Friday, September 13, 2013

First letter from the MTC!!!


Surprise! It's P-day already. I know it's only been 2 1/2 days for you, but it's been forever for me. The MTC is amazing! I love it here!!! You know how I was before I left... kind of depressed, sad, scared, nervous, not wanting to go... well. That is no more. In fact my branch president asked me yesterday in my interview if I had any questions or concerns and I responded "If you would have asked me that on Monday, or Tuesday or Wednesday I could have talked for an hour. But not anymore. I'm doing fantastic!! The spirit here truly is amazing. I have so many friends to say hi to as I'm walking to class or lunch or to my room.

Alright. From day 1. My host took me to check in and I got my name tag (FINALLY) and my room key and my access card. Then I was taken to my room. We just set my luggage inside, got my scriptures and notepad (which I didn't have... ) and we went to the bookstore to get my supplies. I walk around the corner and Miller jumps in the doorway and yells "Rokovitz!!!!" I yelled "Miller!!!" and he gave me a big hug! It was so good to see him! I got my supplies which was a Preach my Gospel, an MTC experience manual, a personalized schedule for my entire stay, and some study pamphlets. My host then took me to my classroom and basically dropped me off :P I met my companion who is Sister Evans. Funny thing is we met on FB before we got here!!! It was so cool! So our district is 4 elders and 4 sisters: me and my comp, Sister Leavens & Sister West, Brother Cottam & Brother Snow (District Leader), and Brother Wilkinson and Brother Godfrey. Our district is amazing :) We eat all meals together and laugh and have really deep discussions and we are just family! Our teachers, Sister Ure and Brother Winters are so great! They really plan their lessons for us and engage us and discuss with us and we really are getting the absolute most out of our classroom experience!

Next we went to a new missionary orientation. Over 600 new missionaries entered the MTC that day. It looked like about half were from Utah when the MTC president had us stand up. How cool is that?! There are missionaries from singapore, and malaysia, and china, and africa, and everywhere!!! Next was dinner. I saw Sister Lisie Dixon, Elder Kimball Crocket, Elder Chet Oxborow, Elder Andrew Poulter, Sister Katelyn Neilsen, and Sister Adelheid Hulme. I have so many friends here!!! Oh and the Cafeteria is amazing! It is huge and has so many options and there is always cereal and always milk and tons of juices!

After dinner was a teaching experience. It was truly amazing. We went into 3 different rooms as a large group where there were "living rooms" set up. A set of missionaries did a door approach and started the lesson. Then we had to finish the lesson with questions and answers. The spirit really was there. We prayed for the investigators and shared scriptures with them and we even found out that they were real investigators.

Last we met our zone, or at least the other new missionaries in our zone. We are amazing! We have fun as well. I love seeing the other Elders and Sisters on campus and saying Hi all the time. Oh, one thing we are not allowed to do here is refer to each other as "guys." It's always Elders or Sisters. So we can't say to our district, "See you guys at lunch." We have to say "See you Elders and Sisters at lunch!" It's the hardest thing in the world, but it's cool because we're avoiding "worldly slang"

So my first night was a nightmare!! I tossed and turned till 1:30 a.m. I had so much noise going on inside my head! So many conversations and songs and plans all at the same time!!! So finally I got up, dug for my oils and lathered Lavender all over my feet. I finally fell asleep and stayed asleep.

I got up at 5:45 to shower because apparently at 6:00-ish the showers start filling up. They're really nice because they have a hook and shelf area for your towels and robe and shower things. Anyways we went to breakfast and then to a workshop. The workshop was so hard to stay awake through so I didn't get much out of it.

So next me and Sister Evans hit up the gym. We walked in... and my face went red because it was just all Elders playing basketball or volleyball. I felt so lost. Then the administrator said "Are you sisters here for the first time?" ... He showed us around and so we went upstairs and did the elypticals. I sweated buckets. Ok that's not all that spiritual.

During class we had a very in depth conversation about planning. It's importance, the effectiveness of it, etc. Then at the end we learned about 2 investigators that we will be teaching. Lang and David. They are real people that our teachers taught on their missions, but they are acting as them. We got to go in to individual rooms as companions and pray for revelation on which investigator to teach. Coolest thing ever!! I said the prayer and when I said David's name I just felt... something. We talked about it and both agreed on David.

So that's pretty much it for the first real day. We went to bed a little after 10:30 and I slept so much better. I love it here!!

Commercial break. (That's what Sister Ure says in class haha) There is a tree on campus that smells like cream soda. No lie. It is the weirdest and coolest thing!! You always see people sniffing it.

Today was truly amazing. Well... breakfast wasn't because me and Sister Evans were late so we had 5 minutes... but after, we went to class. Today Brother Winters taught. We had the chance (after planning and preparing yesterday) to teach David for the first time. We went to a different room, (his house) and did a door approach and taught him an inspired lessons that we had prepared just for him. It was amazing. The spirit definitely guided me as we taught. We had him read a scripture and he looked like he was touched by our message. We go back to teach him tomorrow night :) The rest of class was about the Doctrine of Christ and how it relates to our purpose as missionaries. We studied very carefully 2 Nephi .... 5 or 31... I can't remember but I think it's 31. It was amazing!!!!!! There is a scripture in that chapter that talks about how Christ was baptized and he was perfect, so us as unperfect people definitely need to be baptized. I used that in my other investigator teaching practice today. We also studied the introduction to the Book of Mormon. That is a neat page. I am definitely going to be using that a LOT.

After class we had lunch, ONION RINGS BABY!! and dessert was good. Then we did laundry, checked email, wrote in our journals, visited Miller again.... and now I am writing you. We had to try so many computers to get them to work! It was so frustrating!! And my time is up... We need to go study. So I am doing so well... and no offense, I don't miss you guys yet :) I took a lot of pictures but the computers are retarted. We're going to try computers in another building so look for those... if not... next week. I love all of you so much!!! I am so glad I'm here and I absolutely love what I am doing!!! I can't wait to here back from you!! Oh and I got your letters from Dear Elder... but I'm not allowed to open my mail till tonight! I peeked though to see who it was from :) I love you!!

Love, Sister Rokovitz

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Wednesday, September 11th was a much anticipated day for our family. It was the day Amber entered the Missionary Training Center. The final week had been quite busy as we finished up last minute things and helped Amber get her suitcases packed. Two suitcases and one carry on was the limit....and we packed those bags almost to their size limit and weight limit. Everything Amber would use for the next 18 months was packed into those bags.

Here's Amber, in front of our house, just before her bags were packed into the car. The day started out with light sprinkles and we hoped and prayed that we wouldn't have a rainy MTC day.

Amber made one stop before getting into the car and that was a stop at her own car. A good-bye hug to her sweet little orange Mazda. Don't worry Amber, we'll take good care of your car.

The first item on the agenda was lunch at Brick Oven. Our long time friend, Andy, had a son of his own going into the MTC that day. They flew in all the way from Georgia so we all planned a lunch together before Amber and Michael went into the MTC. Michael is headed to Nevada on his mission.

After lunch, the famous missionary pictures in front of the temple were next up. This is a favorite picture that we took of Amber before she went into the MTC. Hurray for the Tennessee Nashville mission.

We brought Amber's friend, Lindsie, along with us. Our purpose was for Lindsie to help with photography but I think the best thing Lindsie did was help to bring happiness and humor to calm Amber's nerves. Lindsie will have her MTC day in 4 weeks - going to Portland, Oregon.

One last family picture - missing big brother, Chad, of course. Families were all over the place taking pictures with their missionaries. Amber was amazed at how many missionaries were going in the same day as she was. The day cleared up into a beautiful, sunny, warm day. We're so glad it didn't rain. We never would have gotten all of these pictures.

Kisses from Mom and Dad. We're going to miss those soft cheeks.

Hugging Dad

Practicing giving the young men handshakes.....

.......Just kidding - brothers get good-bye hugs too.

Mommy hugs! I'm going to miss giving them and Amber will miss getting them.

These two best friends are going to sure miss each other but they will have so much fun writing each other and Amber has promised to be at the airport when Lindsie comes home from her mission. 

They are not liking this good-bye stuff.

Pretty soon, it was time for Amber to enter the MTC. We drove across the street, entered the drop off area, and pulled up the curb where Amber met her host sister missionary and got her luggage ready to go. There were so many new missionaries.

Those suitcases were heavy and that sweet little sister missionary just hauled them off like there was nothing to it. Amber followed behind like a little puppy.

Good-bye family. I'll see you in 18 months.

We are going to miss Amber tremendously, but we know of no better place for her to be right now. We are so pleased with her decision to serve a mission to the wonderful people of Tennessee, Kentucky and Illinois. She is going to grow so much in this experience and we are so excited to read her letters and see the difference this life changing experience will make for her. We love you Amber!!!