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