Monday, January 27, 2014

Transfers and Goodbyes

Oh my goodness where do I even begin?? I'm being transfered! You're going to like it ....... I'M GOING TO ILLINOIS!!!!! Hahaha I never ever ever thought I would be going to that part of the mission, but I am! I'm going to Marion Illinois. All week I was thinking about where I'd be going. I thought that there was a slight possibility of me leaving. Then, Saturday morning I had a little conversation with the Holy Ghost. I was starting my studies with a prayer and the Holy Ghost told me I was leaving and that I was going far away. I thought... ok.. then I thought NAH!! I'm staying. Haha well.. just a short hour later Sister Jarvis and Sister Mickelsen got a call. They were called to be trainers! Sister Jarvis is staying in the YSA ward and training and Sister Mickelsen is going to Bowling Green Kentucky into another trio and team training. I'm actually not sad that I'm not training. I'm not ready. President said "Sister Rokovitz I have your assignment right in front of me! You'll find out tonight!" It killed me! We had dinner that night with our ward mission leader and the assistants and they called us before the dinner to ask for a progress record. I asked if they would tell me where I was going. They said they would if I gave a spiritual thought at dinner. I said "DEAL!" So they told me.. and I didn't believe them! Then I just kinda smiled.. and thought "I knew it." The spirit told me! I thought far away meant.. like not in Nashville though.. not ILLINOIS!!! We got to dinner and I asked if they were serious. They promised they were and then I listened to the call that night and sure enough.. I'm leaving!

I'm so excited and stressed and I have a million things running through my head right now!! I'm just so excited that I can see in myself that I am willing to trust in the Lord with this transfer. I'm really seeing a positive change in myself. I hate change.. but when it brings me even more happiness, I'm all for it!

I had to say goodbye to everyone yesterday. I will miss Rebekah in the ward. I teared up!! She wrote me THEE sweetest note in my "yearbook". I plan on being her friend for eternity. I had a very special experience last night while saying goodbye to Cha. She was the hardest one to say goodbye to. She was so sad! She talked to us about how glad she is that she's been baptized. She's been through a lot and doesn't have the most ideal situation. She struggles financially but despite all her trials, she's so positive. She says she just keeps praying and she knows something good will happen. She started crying and telling us how hard it is not to have a family that is all together. I was able to think of a scripture I had studied that day and I shared it with her. I shared my testimony with her about trusting in the Lord and we were both just sobbing! (Keep in mind that Cha doesn't cry.) I have seen this girl change from day one. When I met her she was a totally different person. She has such a strong testimony and she is going to be able to use that to get through the toughest times. She's a special daughter of God and I will never forget what an example she is for me! I will never forget that goodbye moment too.. She hugged me for so long while we both just melted out of our eyeballs! CHA IS THE BEST THING EVER!!

Now it's my turn to learn to trust in the Lord as I go to the farthest point of the mission!! I've loved Nashville so much! I hate to admit it.. but I've become a city girl! I love being in the city and having tons of things to do and places to go! But it is being left in good hands. I feel like I've done all I can here. I'm not leaving anything unfinished. It's time for me to stretch and to grow even more!! When we got the call from President Andersen and I knew I was leaving.. I just smiled. I felt like the Lord was saying "Do you trust me?" And all I could say was yes! I love my Father in Heaven SO much!! No matter how much I wish I could stay.. I'm excited for a new adventure! I know I'm going exactly where I'm needed. My new companion is Sister Ferrin. Sister Jarvis knew her from her last area. She says she's super sweet and down to earth and so I'm excited to meet her!

I can't even begin to explain how good this week was! We had the best time ever! We have really been able to involve the members in the work and it is just exploding! One member, Daniel, is just on fire! He has been asking who our investigators are and inviting them to go bowling and to movies, etc. He sees a new investigator at church and he introduces himself and gets their number and hangs out with them. He goes to their sporting events and stuff to support them and he invites other investigators to go to those as well! This last Saturday, he went to support Wael at his soccer game and he got our investigator Kardo to go too! Then we all went and got ice cream after and got to know everyone. He is probably one of the best member missionaries in the branch.

A few of our 10 new investigators are making progress. Ashley and Liz. Liz came to institute and we taught her once. She already has friends in the branch because she came to activities a long time ago. She's doing great! Ashley is the question queen! She asks about everything! One word will spark another question. She really thinks about things. She doesn't attack us at all but she is really trying to figure out what we believe and how it relates to what she believes. We already finished lesson 2 with her and she'll be going on to lesson 3 next week. She's just.... So awesome!!

The 40 day fast has been coming along quite nicely. I have already noticed myself becoming more sensitive to the spirit. It's crazy! I'm only 7 days in too! I've been doing it the right way this time and updating Heavenly Father on each item on the list morning and night. I'm aware of every single time I slip up and I repent immediately. The littlest things are helping me come closer to my Father in Heaven and I feel like He trusts me with a few more things at a time.

 I've been loving the scriptures so much lately!! Today I read Alma 49 and I was laughing at how disappointed the Lamanites were! My companions looked at me like I was crazy because I was practically going to throw myself backwards laughing so hard during quiet personal study. The scriptures really come to life for me. I learned from that chapter that you cannot do anything without the Lord, and it's not even worth it to try. I also learned about Abner from the Bible. I was intending on spending about 10 minutes on his Bible Dictionary entrance because it was so little but I spent over 30 minutes reading about him and writing notes and it was so much fun!! I love the scriptures!! Although.. I've also learned that the Old Testament is a pretty sketchy place - haha.

I'm so stoked to go up to Illinois tomorrow. I guess I'll tell you all about it next week! I love you so much. Have the best week ever! BYE!!

~Sister Rokovitz~

Sister Rokovitz and Sister Mickelsen

Sister Rokovitz and Sister King

Emad became a citizen on Thursday - Sister Rokovitz, Emad, Sister Mickelsen and Sister Jarvis

Saying goodbye to Cha - after bawling our eyes out.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

10 New Investigators

President is giving us an hour to email today. So yay!

We just got a new ward mission leader on Sunday and he is on top of things! He's going to feed us and the assistants dinner every Saturday so that he can correlate with us. HOW AWESOME IS THAT?! And I don't know how... but we have a dinner every night this week and most nights next week. It's so awesome!

Emad is still on for the 9th of February. And because of him he has inspired me to learn Arabic. Haha. No really I want to learn it. He is picking things up so quickly! He has a lot of down time at work and he just sits and reads his Arabic Book of Mormon. I love it!

So the fast this week - We worked hard all week and as a companionship we got............. 10 NEW INVESTIGATORS!!! WHOO I have never seen that many in one week in the YSA! It's incredible! The zone was able to get a total of 121. That's 121 people in the Nashville stake that are willing to hear the gospel! It's so awesome!! As a reward Sister Andersen made us 2 wonderful cakes and we had a long zone p-day filled with sports that just about killed me. I'm so sore and so happy.

My companions kept saying it was such a good week and crying tears of joy and I thought... "Yeah.. it's been alright" It hit me on Sunday when we were teaching a lesson and I was totally lost and out of it and after they said they felt the spirit so strongly.... I  thought "Where was it? Why didn't I feel it?" Well.... I need to make some changes. I was recently doing the 40 fast but.... I needed to start again and REALLY do it. I  need to report to Heavenly Father about it morning and night and I need to be dedicated and not let things slip. I prayed on Sunday to work with the Lord on what I need to put on the list.

This list is comprised of various things that aren't necessarily bad, but they aren't the best that I could be doing on my mission. It's hard to give up a lot of these. It's hard to stick to it. But I know that I can do it through the atonement and that by the end of day 40, February 28th, I will be a better missionary and I will be who the Lord wants me to be and I will be able to feel the spirit. I'm dedicated and I'm all in to serving the Lord. All in. This is my time. I've only got 13 1/2 months left. That's not long at all!! Soon I'll only have a year left!! So why not make the very best of it, instead of making it just "good". I want to be on the best level of the good-better-best scale. I want to be like Sister Vandenberg when I go home. I'm all in and the Lord is all in with me too. I'm doing this with Him because I can't do it alone. I'm super stoked about this and I'm just going to be as obedient as I possibly can!!

I know that this is the absolute most important thing I could ever be doing.  The Second Coming is close. I'm helping prepare the world for it. Yay! Let's baptize the world into the Lord's church!

I've got 19 minutes left to email! I love you so much and I apologize that this is rushed and there isn't a lot of wonderful stuff in here....  I love you though so much! I'll talk to you next Monday!

~ Love, Sister Rokovitz ~

Monday, January 13, 2014

I Want To Be Here and Want To Serve With All My Heart!!

This week was amazing. We talked a lot in zone meeting about the atonement and how we can change and become who Christ wants us to become! I LOVE IT! It's been a very common subject and I am just soaking it all up. I think that started from day one in the mission field. I'm thinking it's becoming the theme of my mission. On day one, some elder was running around the mission home yelling "Any thing is possible through the atonement! You can stay awake!" I didn't have a clue what that meant. I didn't know before I got out here that the atonement is for EVERYTHING!! I am learning what the atonement is for and how I can apply it in my life. Pretty much everything is done through the power of the atonement.

This week we did a ton of member work! We taught 7 RCLA's (Recent converts and less actives) and 16 MRL's (Member restoration lessons/member visits) NEW RECORD FOR THE YSA!!! My companions are super good at doing that kind of thing. They have helped me see that the work speeds forward with the help of the members. They are also so good at keeping track of the commitments we've left. It's been hard because our ward mission leader moved to France so we haven't had one for a month - we're getting one soon though. Do we even have a ward mission leader in our home ward? You should find out... and help them - and feed the missionaries! I'm sure the Utah missionaries get fed like crazy.. we don't.  We're super lucky though because we have 2 per week for the rest of the month! Our members are so awesome and I'm finally getting to really know them! They all have so many people they could invite to church and an apostle even said that every member of the church is CURRENTLY in contact with someone who is ready to hear the gospel.
CHALLENGE: This challenge applies to everyone!! I challenge all of you at home to pray about who you could share the gospel with. Dad, I know you have a ton of co-workers, and Mom, you have a lot of friends through ebay and facebook, and Cory just knows everyone... Can ya do it? :) *yes we can!* Thanks!

I had a cool experience this week. I woke up feeling terrible and sick and just miserable. I was praying to start studies to know what I needed to do to have a great week and to focus on my studies... then I opened up the book, The Continuous Conversion, you sent me to the page I left off on, and it was entitled "Sacrifice Is Required For Our Sake..." UH.. Ok. I need to sacrifice things. Become selfless. It was like a smack in the face!! It talked about sacrificing things in order to receive the blessings we pray for. This is not for Heavenly Father, but for us. To help us learn and grow. It says "He is not trying to see how much He can squeeze out of us, but rather how much He can squeeze into us" SO TRUE. It also says "we will be judged according to our works because of how those works have shaped us. .... the promised prize... is not just what we get, but what we become. Becoming like Christ becomes its own reward." So then I decided to just work. I felt better and happier and the day was just smooth!

Also, this week we, as a zone, are doing something really cool. We are starting a fast in a few hours and each companionship is going to get 7 new investigators this week! That's a huge stretch, especially for YSA, but I'm super stoked because I know it's going to happen. With that much prayer and determination, it WILL happen.

I'm just really focused on the atonement and working hard! OH! Something CRAZY happened this week. So I started having the neck and head pains and piercing headaches, and I was telling my companions about it. They were saying maybe I should rest or something. I agreed but I also said "I just want to work so hard but I can't because I'm miserable!" I got a blessing from Elder Byington (one of the assistants, and also serving in our area) and he gave a great blessing.  You could tell he was focusing on listening to the spirit. He said my family is already receiving blessings. It was very comforting and the pain left for the rest of the day! When the Elder's gave me a blessing, they asked what was going on and I said it again without knowing it - I do want to work so hard and I desire more than anything else to be here. That's that.. First time that's happened though. I WANT TO BE HERE AND I WANT TO SERVE WITH ALL MY HEART!!! WHOO HOO!!

Update on Cha. She is doing so good! She is such an example to me of how the atonement can change people. I've been working on that this week. That was a common topic in church, zone meeting, and companion study. When I first met Cha, I thought she would have a hard time gaining a strong testimony. I was only one week into my mission and I kick myself for thinking that. Cha is a whole new person! She has such a strong testimony. She has fought so hard to change and to live the word of wisdom. She even got anti-ed by random phone numbers right before and after her baptism. She just bore her testimony and ignored what the people said... without us even telling her what to do! She knows this gospel is true and she has already seen it bless her life so much! She is living the gospel completely and trying to set an example for her parents and siblings. She is so amazing and her testimony lifts me up. It's such a miracle to me!

We set a date with Emad!!! He's getting baptized in February! It was the 9th...but there's a fireside that night so we might have to move it. But still... EMAD'S GETTING BAPTIZED!!! He's understanding things and progressing. We gave him an Arabic Book of Mormon and he was like a giddy little boy when he got it. He started mumbling and reading it super fast! He LOVES it! Ah. Emad!

Bob - Do you remember him? Sister Giles and I met him back in September or October. We told him we were missionaries and he said he had a friend named Jesse who was Mormon. We gave Bob a Book of Mormon and he said it was the best gift he's ever gotten. He lives in Indiana and comes to Nashville every weekend. We would text him every now and then but hadn't heard from him for a while. About 2 weeks ago, I sent him a text and invited him to church and HE CAME. He brought his wife, Celeste and Jesse (who is less active and apparently very famous - He looks like a Brazilian Elvis.) Bob stayed all three hours and asked questions and loved everything about it. He finished the whole Book of Mormon in a week and wants to re-read it and also read the Pearl of Great Price. Things are finally starting to pick up and take off and I'm starting to enjoy every aspect of missionary work.

Dad and Mom, your example, with both being missionaries is such a strength to me. I know that you both had similar experiences and that you had to work through them somehow too. I know I can and one day I'll be a fantastic parent, just like mine. I love you so much!! Thank you for your support and love and believing in me. Thank you for telling me that my Heavenly Father is proud of me. Elder Byington said that in the blessing. It must be true! I love you!

Well that's about it for this week. It's been super good! And it's only going to get better. I love you!

~Sister Rokovitz~

The "little kid" pizza that Emad made for me.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Cha was Baptized!

We had our all day P-day on New Years Day and we played football and basketball and Pakistani dodge ball and cards and mafia and watched Monsters University. It was such a good day! We were so exhausted at the end and soo sore the next day! It was just fun to have a day to really get all the wiggles out. I loved it! And Monsters University was so funny!! Sister Jarvis was dying of laughter throughout the whole movie.

New Years Day all day P-day - Sister Rokovitz, Sister Mickelsen and Sister Jarvis

Cha's baptism went really well! She had one of the Spanish sisters give a talk and then Sister Mickelsen volunteered herself for the piano. When she got confirmed I could really feel the spirit. And also it was fast and testimony Sunday and after church Cha said "I had a testimony but I was too shy to share it!" Haha she totally has a testimony. Also her dad came to the last part of her baptism!! That was really special for her to see him there.

Sister Jarvis, Sister Mickelsen, Sister Rokovitz, Cha, Sister Giles and two other sister missionaries.

I had a very hard experience with change this week and applying the atonement. I have recently studied in Alma and I went about this trial in the way Alma did. I asked to be able to bear it instead of asking for it to be taken away. It was a whole new experience! I felt peace, and calmness each time after I prayed. I prayed and begged for charity and to be able to understand how the other sisters felt and see through their eyes. This is really not like me. So I tried as hard as I could!! It was draining to try to do this. I focused on the words and actions I used and tried so hard to act in a way that Heavenly Father wouldn't be disappointed in me. I also sat on my bed, and looked at the picture of me and my own Daddy at the airport, and thought "would my own Dad be proud if he saw my reactions?" Honestly this was a hard challenge. But it was the first experience in my life of applying the atonement and practicing charity and being selfless. Words cannot describe how physically and mentally and emotionally and spiritually hard it was. I will never forget it.

Also.. cool experience - I had a dream about my friend Dyann that passed away. I dreamt that she and I were talking and I said "wait aren't you supposed to be dead?" She said "yeah, but I'm still alive" and then I woke up. The plan of salvation is real. My patriarchal blessing says "because of your devotion to the plan of salvation....." I have found that to be so true. That is one thing that my testimony is rock solid on, and even more so now because of that experience that the spirit world is real. It was so cool!

It is rather freezing here. 7 degrees today and then it will get warmer. The thing is... it's just cold. There's hardly any snow and the roads are fine, but everyone is inside. It makes it nice because there's no traffic.

I didn't know Cory was getting his patriarchal blessing today!! WHOO HOO!!! I'm super excited for him! Mine really didn't mean anything special to me till I got out here. It took 5 years to notice that... genius. Tell me how it goes and how he feels.

My goals for the new year are these:
1. Exercise daily
2. have 365 good days (so far, so good - believe it or not)
3. work on Charity
4. write in my journal daily
5. be on time
6. be a sister missionary, not just a girl on a mission.

My companions want me to get off. I'm so sorry that this email is short and has hardly anything in it. I'm going to find a nice quiet spot at the church to sit and write for the next hour and a half.

I'm thankful for your example in everything. I'm trying my hardest out here. I love you and I cannot tell you that enough!!I love you so much and I miss you more than ever. Please send some prayers my way. I'm being ushered out of the library. Ok I need to pray for some charity. Breathe. I love you.

~Sister Rokovitz~

The frozen water fountain in front of the library - They keep the fountain running all the time.