Monday, March 23, 2015

I Love the Tennessee Nashville Mission!!!

Family and Friends,

The time has come for me to end my full time missionary service in the Tennessee Nashville Mission. It's hard. Just like everyone said it would be, but now that it's actually happening, I feel like I'm performing my own Atonement! It is physically and spiritually hard to be closing this part of my life.

I know that my missionary service will continue on after I am released. Trust me. I will not just forget everything I've ever learned. I promise I will be that annoying member that is just gun-ho about missionary work all the time! Y'all will love me for it though - Whether in this life or the next.

I've tried to gather my thoughts and share them with y'all in a testimony, but it's hard. No mission can ever be described. It's impossible. Every mission is hand crafted by God. Mine was for me. I guess I can start at the beginning though.

When the announcement was made that sisters could serve missions beginning at age 19, I immediately thought “Shoot..... now I have to serve a mission. Mom and Dad are never going to let me get out of that!” I really didn't want to go! I prayed though and the most powerful feeling swept over me. I knew without any flicker of doubt that I HAD to serve. Not for my parents, but for me. That feeling was once again confirmed as I prayed a few months later up at school while deciding if I really did need to go on a mission. The answer was so strong that I knew if I ignored it, I might be struck down.

So I put my papers in and was called to serve in the Tennessee Nashville Mission. I was excited... or acted excited, but deep down I was terrified. I had no clue what a mission was and what I was getting myself into.

September 2013 came and I left. I was dropped off at the curb that I had passed so many times before in my life. I felt as if I was just doing a trial run and everyone else was really going on missions. I could practically see my house from the hill of the temple. I saw my home teacher several times and many of my friends. It was a cool experience, but I'd be able to go home soon and return to the comfortable life I had before.

All of a sudden, doubt bombarded me. Up until that point in my life I had never questioned my beliefs. I had gone to church and read my scriptures and prophets were real and the church was true, and that was it! I never questioned anything! It was really scary for me actually. I feared that my questions would overtake me and that it was a sin to question. I emailed my dad wanting to quit and come home. I didn't know what I believed anymore.

Well... my dad happened to have a business trip the day I left the MTC and so he lovingly shoved me on the plane and told me I'd do great. He also gave me some great words of advice that I read on my flight. My first thought as the plane took off was “What have I done?!” It wasn't a trial run anymore. I was leaving. Gone. Bye bye Utah! I had no choice. I was going to Tennessee and that was it. I couldn't go back.

As I arrived, my doubts didn't go away. I didn't understand how anyone could love missionary work. I was exhausted and hot all the time, tracting was miserable, and it was just hard! How could anyone walk around with a smile ALL DAY and tell people about this gospel?! I didn't even know if it was true! I couldn't tell people about something that I was questioning myself!

Well.... I overcame my doubts. It took several months of serious study and prayer and loads of faith. Trusting God that He would answer me. He did. Not all at once in a big booming flashing lights way, but He answered bits and pieces at a time to let me know He was there and He loved me. It was frustrating at times. I just wanted to know!!! Couldn't He see that?! Why was He waiting and not giving me the full piece! All those times where doubt kept choking me, I was humbled to my knees, begging for answers. I had never felt real power in prayer before. I always felt I was more talking to myself in my head than talking to God. As I pleaded for light and direction, I felt a connection stronger than anything else. I felt as if I was REALLY talking to God. And I was!

One morning I woke up and realized a prayer had been answered. I found out through a really special way that Jesus Christ lives! He lives and He died for me and He is my Savior! I will always remember that experience and how much joy I felt as I realized that God had answered my prayer from months before asking for some manifestation to know that Christ was real. He was answering my prayers!

Now as I have been out here studying deeply in the scriptures, I have come to know that God lives! I know that He loves me so perfectly. Sometimes I don't always remember that, but I do know it. Looking at His church set up here on earth I see how perfect and glorious it is! It is flawless and organized perfectly so we can know that clear path that we need to take to get back to Him!

I cannot describe my mission and how it was. It was my mission and each experience was for my growth. Every person I taught, ended up teaching me some valuable lesson either about myself or about God or about life. I had experiences that gave me a small taste of the suffering the Savior felt in Gethsemane. I would never want to experience those again because the pain was so bitter and awful, but I am forever grateful for those experiences. I couldn't have learned more about the Savior and His Atonement than through those experiences.

I can't imagine trying to live life without having served my mission. I encourage EVERYONE who is able, to serve. Whether or not it's your first desire. I've heard some people say that a mission is not for everyone but I think otherwise. A mission IS for everyone. A mission is life. The Second Coming will happen! We have to serve with all we have! We have to tell people! This gospel is life. The gospel isn't something I just believe or do, it is who I am. I am a member of Christ's true church! It's everything I live for. I live for God! Life isn't school or work or sports or sleep or hiking or cars. Some of those things are important or fun, but life is more. Gain an eternal perspective. Serve God to the fullest of your capacity. Hold back nothing! Give yourself to Him!!!

I know without any doubt that this church IS true! It's true because it's Christ's. I respect all other religions. I have made many friends of other faiths who are devout in their religion. I love spending time with them and talking and finding things we have in common. I know though, that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the Lord's kingdom. I will remain firm in my faith and I will constantly share it with all those around me.

I have a solid testimony of the Book of Mormon. I just finished reading it again yesterday. I took Moroni's challenge and I knelt down to ask God if it was true. I already knew it was true though. I didn't even have to ask. I could declare to my God that I knew the Book of Mormon was His word, given to me to learn of Him and of His Son. The Book of Mormon is not something that was made up, or just another good book, it is the word of God. He inspired His holy prophets to write the things they did and God preserved that record for hundreds of years! If you doubt this, ask God. He knows. And if He did bring forth that book, He will tell you. God desires all of us to know the truth and light He prepared for us. All you have to do is ask.

I love God with all of my heart, mind, and strength. I have felt His love and His spirit countless times. I know this work is true and I know it's His. I know He guides His servants. I know that keeping God's commandments is true happiness. You'll be able to see that when I get home. I smile so much! Because I have something to smile about.

Thank you all for your love, support, letters, emails, prayers (they were a great strength to me), and for letting me leave to serve God. I will never regret my mission. It changed me. That is what the Atonement does. It changes you. Allow the Atonement to change you. You won't regret it. If you don't know what that means, find out. I love y'all.


~Sister Rokovitz~

“Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of Him to declare His word among His people, that they might have everlasting life.”
~3 Nephi 5:13~


My favorite bus driver

Our bishop and his wife

My matching church buddies

Monday, March 16, 2015

Getting Close To The End

Well, this is it. My last real email. Next week I'm going to send my testimony. I might send you an update of the week, but we'll just see how time goes.

Cha is in the hospital and they plan to keep her there until she delivers.... which means most likely no baby shower this weekend which I'm so sad about because she's been planning it for months!!! She was so excited! But we're going to get permission to go see her and I'm going to take her the gift. The baby isn't really doing well and so they're trying to keep Cha not stressed so it doesn't affect the baby. So keep her in your prayers and we'll see how everything goes.

I love talking to new people. The awkward part about me returning to Utah is that I'm probably going to be trying to share the gospel with every person I meet and most will already be members. Hey, it never hurts to share more!

We haven't gotten to see Matt and Amber this week. They are in Florida.

We did have rain every day this week... but now we have 70's too! Yesterday was 77 degrees and today was 74 when we left this morning. It's glorious!!! NO MORE TIGHTS!!! Freedom!!

It really sounds like you had a really good birthday! The pictures of you two are SO cute!!!! I really do have the best parents ever. Thank you for loving each other and loving God too. It's been the best example for me in my life.

So, about this week:

We went to Nashville with the Hulls and had a blast with them! It was fun to wear my boots and they didn't even hurt my feet. You'll be able to recognize me as your missionary because I'm wearing those off the plane.

The boot store

In the recording studio - I'm a country star

We had to drive to Brentwood for MLC. I asked Sister Gustaveson if she wanted me to drive and she said no, and I was kind of like "Alriiggghhhttyy then...." Because she always says how much she hates city driving and we were going right into the heart of  Nashville. Well... She almost got squished by a semi. She was ok, but I knew something would happen and that's why I offered to drive.

When we got home we ate dinner and then we were walking to the bus. We tried to contact someone but he had no apartment number, and that's no help at all. So we tried talking to a man outside and he wasn't interested. But all of that was for a reason. We were walking and a lady pulled up and asked if we needed a ride. We said sure and hopped in. If we wouldn't have contacted those people we wouldn't have been in the path for Carolyn to see us and pick us up! She's met missionaries before and she just loves them! She took us to Sonic to get us drinks and food because we were pretty hungry. We talked for a while and then she took us to our appointment. She is religious but not really interested. She has a few false answers from other sources about our church and so we asked if we could help answer those questions and she said yes. She was so amazing! So pray that when we contact her, she'll start to progress.

We had a great day! We saw Aijalon and we set a baptism date with her for April 18th!!!! She will need to get married to her boyfriend, or he'll have to move out, but I don't see the latter one happening. She's still actively seeking answers to her prayers. I think a big thing that's going to help is getting her to church. It's just a real stumbling block though trying to get her there.

We also saw Darrell briefly, but mostly to have him and Caitlyn sign my memory book.... we're dropping them. They seem more excited to convert us. They never really listen to us and our lessons... So we'll remain friends, but we're not going to try to teach them for now.

We had dinner with a member named Jo. She has 2 kids and her husband was at work. She is hilarious!!! It was such a blast! We had tears rolling down our cheeks!!! I love the members here because we didn't even really know Jo but we had so much fun. The members just take us in and make us laugh and are SO willing to help with whatever we need.

Lastly we saw Debbie F. She had a bad fall last week and she now needs to have a hip replacement which means she needs to withdraw from school. It's such a huge bummer!!! I feel so bad for her. But I'm hoping it will help. She says the surgery will most likely get her out of her wheel chair and get her walking again. So exciting to hear! Her surgery will be sometime next month. For now, it's lots of physical therapy. She needs to go outside to walk with a walker and she said she needs someone to drive her wheelchair next to her just in case and I told her I would gladly help out with that. I remember one visit with her and Sister West and I rode her chair around her apartment. Haha it was so much fun! Debbie always has such a positive outlook on everything.

We had Zone meeting and I gave my last ever training! I trained on the Atonement and how it enables us to change. The gospel is all about change!!!! It's a way for us to learn how to change to become better!! So let's change!! I feel like it was actually a pretty decent training. Then Sister Gustaveson followed up and talked about using our time wisely. We role-played nightly planning and we came in and plopped ourselves on the floor and pretended to waste 15 minutes getting snacks and blankets and going to the bathroom. I was dying of laughter because of course, I think I'm hilarious!

We helped everyone get their new iPad's after and I just still don't get the point of giving everyone new iPads..... What's wrong with the old ones we have? Anyways...

We met a really nice Spanish lady on the bus! Sister Gustaveson taught using the lady's translating app. It was awesome! We also met a Spanish man and we were trying to teach him... but it was such a fail! Haha imagine this:
We're walking down the street and say hi and he stops and says "Hola" so we happily say "Hola!!!" We try to communicate in terrible Spanish that we're missionaries and elders could teach him. Sister Gustaveson went to get something out of her bag and she handed me her sweaty tights that she had just taken off because it was too hot. So I'm holding a wadded up pair of wet tights and she's trying to find something. I tell her to call the elders and she says "How do you say what's your name?" I told her I didn't know, so she tells him "Te quiero". He looks so confused!!! Haha she told him she loved him!!! It's "I love you" in a soft and general way, like "Luy ya."He shook his head and said "no....." Hahahahaha We finally called the elders and they told him about English class and gave him all the info and then he left and I finally gave the sweaty tights back. It was so funny! Sister Gustaveson told an old Spanish guy that she loved him!!!! Oh we definitely don't have the gift of tongues!!

We went home for dinner and then did splits with members. I went with Sister Johnson and Sister Gustaveson went with Sister Ridings. Sister Johnson and I went and contacted Less-Active members. We had some pretty good success and it was fun too! It's different though because I felt like we weren't using every minute as wisely as we could! I was antsy when we stopped for gas and a bathroom and cookies at her house. But it was still a lot of fun. I'm glad we have members for us to work with. They're great!

TEMPLE DAY!!!!! The Pennington's took 8 of us sisters down to the temple. It was so nice to be there! Very needed. I sat in the Celestial room with my eyes closed and just prayed and I didn't have anything specific I was praying about... but I just felt God's love for me.
I love being at the temple

When we got back, we tried a couple people we had met this week and we had no success. We did meet some new people though. We met Jordin and Talia. They are not married, but have a little 3 month old. They seemed pretty interested. We only had a few minutes to talk to them and we tried again but they weren't home. So hopefully we'll get to see them again and start teaching them more!

We also had dinner at the Sims and I just love them! They make me laugh so much! It's been a huge blessing to have a ward mission leader that cares and who knows our people and works with us and desires to see success too. He has such a missionary minded heart. After dinner either him or his wife will come with us. They also gave us a referral to try their next door neighbor.

We saw Aijalon that night with Brother Sims and she told us that the main reason that she isn't coming to church yet is because her boyfriend doesn't want her out by herself with the kids because a gang has contacted him and threatened to kill his sons. No one in the ward really thinks it's real, but you never know out here. Gangs still exist.

I went to Lebanon with Sister Woods. She is really nice. We mostly knocked doors.... but we had fun talking and laughing and walking in the rain. I think they just do a lot of Less-Active work in that area. We didn't get to teach any lessons at all. The only person we sat down and talked with was a 92 year old former Stake president in a nursing home... and we had to yell our entire conversation. haha But I had fun!

I was so happy to be at church today with my friends here in Goodlettsville. I love it here! The people make me so happy!

That night we decided to go clear out to Old Hickory to contact the Sim's neighbor. We got muffins from the Sims and they gave us some to give to their neighbor. We went over and knocked and got the typical "Who is it?" We told her it was the missionaries and told her we had a gift for her. She opened the door and just stared at us as we tried to stutter out asking if she liked muffins. She was so confused! Then she looked at me and said "Do you know who you are?" She explained that I knew her. That I had met her outside her aunt's house in Hendersonville. I remembered all of a sudden! I was on an exchange with Hermana Dansie and we were knocking doors and she was smoking and crying because she was being abused. She is still being abused and she just doesn't know how to walk away. She was crying and hugging us saying this was definitely a sign from God that He loved her and that He knew she was there. It was a pure miracle! We're going to keep close contact with her and hoping she can come to the Relief Society activity on Thursday to have some laughs and be with other good women. She smiled at the muffins and said she'd eat one as soon as we left. It was the biggest miracle ever! Her boyfriend pulled in about 20 minutes after we left.... I sure hope she was ok last night. He looked scary.

Anyways. that's about it for the week. Still trying to stay focused and work hard.

Have a great week and I'll email y'all next Monday! I love y'all so much and I'm so thankful for your support throughout this huge journey I've gone on. I can't wait to see y'all.

~Sister Amber Rokovitz~

Big ol' hot dog topped with onion rings

Fried Twinkie

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

I Believe In Nashville

Guess what, we went to Nashville again this week! The Hull's took us to see where all the recording studios are and we even got to tour one which is owned by one of the Nashville YSA guys. Then we visited A Soul Indeed shop and also took pictures next to a really awesome sign. I have my boots on.


That's scary about ISIS and the things they are doing. I never thought about the freedom that I really do have. I've always taken all of that for granted. I've taken a lot for granted. I just have a lot of thankfulness for you and Dad. Y'all have had a strong marriage and still have a strong marriage. I look up to y'all for that and desire to have those same things in my life.

We haven't seen Matt and Amber... they had to cancel and said they were packed for the next two weeks, but 2 weeks is up on Thursday so we're going to stop by. I've just been begging and begging for people who are prepared to hear the gospel! I'm getting so desperate that I am just willing to do anything to find those people!!!

I am so glad you asked about Frank! The man who was following us in the creepy truck and had his wife's hair hanging in it. We went to the church one night and his truck was there! The elders were giving him a church tour. He was SO excited to see me and started telling the story about how he found us and how I gave him a pamphlet and everything. Then he showed up to church the next Sunday. He also came last week too! He was in Sunday school just asking so many questions and the class loved it! We all tried answering his questions and he said he really enjoyed the class. So it's actually going really well. Yesterday the elders said he really wants to serve and so he might come help out at the store house next week. You really never know who is prepared to hear the gospel.

Alrighty.... Here's the most recent updates of the week

Well.... that day was just awesome! I got my fancy boots. I am in love with them and can't wait to wear them more often.

We rode the bus to Cha's and her boyfriend was there. She's 22 and he's like.... 30 something. We talked to them a bit and her boyfriend does want to know more. They both said they'd come to institute.

We then had to run back to catch the bus. We made it to the bus and headed to the church for an appointment. The Hermanas had met a guy named Matt M. a week or so ago and he said he had met with missionaries before and wanted to learn more. They ran into him twice on the bus and so we called and set up an appointment. He never showed up. I guess he was taught before and was known for missing appointments. It was a real bummer. We had a member there waiting with us, and he never showed. So instead we went to see Aijalon. She is doing so good! She is reading the Book of Mormon and she is loving it. We talked about faith and how to receive answers about the Book of Mormon. Then Sister Ridings shared her story of how she came to know the Book of Mormon was true. It was a very good lesson!

The storehouse was cancelled today... BUMMER!! So we went on an exchange with the White House sisters. Sister Traughber came here with me. I had so much fun with her! We actually had a really successful day too. We presented the new ward mission plan to a member and she didn't seemed too thrilled about it. She made the normal excuses that she didn't know anyone and that she didn't know any service opportunities. Part of the plan is to commit them to 3 things:
1. Invite someone to hear the discussions within 2-4 weeks
2. Host a lesson at your home within 1-2 weeks
3. Invited someone to a church service with you within 3-6 weeks.
She just tried to get out of it, and she had typical fears. But we overcame them all and committed her to 3 dates.

After dinner that evening we saw 3 people. First was Debbie S. She is just a spit-fire! We taught her about the priesthood. At the end she sat there and said "Hmm... I'm going to have to think about that." It went really well. We're also going to try to set something up to take Hermana Stokes over there and have a waffle dinner before we go home.

Next we saw Charlene. She was Less-active for 20 years and is just now starting to come back. She is incredible. Health has been keeping her from attending church the last couple weeks, but she's really trying. She's been trying to get back to the temple too. I really love her.

Our last appointment for the evening was Debbie F. She got home late from school so we didn't get to see her for very long. She fell the other day and now she has to have surgery. It was a pretty bad fall and she's been struggling with arthritis in her legs for the last little while. Keep her in your prayers because it's going to be a rough surgery. It's probably going to be this week or next week.

We went to bed so exhausted that night because we were just running from place to place and teaching a ton! Those are the kind of days I love though.

We brought donuts to District meeting just to get rid of them because they were given to us. As we walked in the room there was a whole table heaping with donuts and sugar and junk! AH! That is part of being in a District with so many elders!

Sister Sims picked us up for dinner and they had a "night of favorites." They made Tuna Casserole for Sister Gustaveson and they had a box of Honey Bunches of Oats for me. Under Sister Gustaveson’s napkin was a surprise that I knew about. She lost 2 transfers worth of photos from her iPad being wiped out and so Brother Sims messaged members and companions and gathered pictures and put together a book for her. They are the best people on earth. No joke. I absolutely can't even grasp how kind they are. I love them.

We tried to contact some Investigators after dinner but no one was home. So Sister Sims dropped us off and we tracted in our complex, just getting soaked from the rain. We actually met a cool girl named Haley who was very talkative and invited us to come back! She wasn't home when we went back and so I'm trying to stay hopeful that we'll be able to contact her again and teach her.

We were iced inside again!!!!! This time it was very productive though. We did studies and weekly planning and so we were in our room planning and studying for a total of 9 hours. We only left once for lunch and then went right back to our room. It felt good to get so much done! So many things that we had been wishing we could do and we finally did it!

A member had signed up for dinner that night and so they just brought it to us instead. She kept saying “soup” on the phone and then once she said “chowder.” I figured it was just a Southern saying for soup. So we warmed it up and all started eating. Sister Gustaveson said, "This is Clam Chowder." I said "No it's not!" We kept talking and joking and debating and then Hermana Gamble said "Yeah I've found clam pieces in here!" I dropped my bowl and said, "Be quiet! That's not real! You're joking!" They weren't joking. It was Clam Chowder. The interesting thing is, it didn't taste bad at all. But within 20 minutes I was so sick. I laid in bed the rest of the night because I just felt awful and it gave me a migraine. So I've discovered that sea food literally makes me sick and Mexican food doesn't agree with me either.

We went on an exchange with the Hermanas. I stayed in the area with Hermana Stokes. We had a great day lined up, but it all cancelled! So.... long story short, we basically walked around all of Madison. My feet were so dead! They still hurt pretty bad. My calves are super sore too! That night though we saw Aijalon. We taught her the second half of the Restoration using cups. She really seemed to understand the priesthood and she also noticed that the Holy Ghost is after baptism. Most people don't notice that detail. She is amazing. I felt bad though because I was kind of rushing so we could catch the bus! But... lo and behold we missed our bus. And it was the last connector bus! So we started walking. We walked for 30 minutes back to the main road and waited for the bus. Just before the bus pulled up, the Sisters pulled up and rescued us and took us home. We walked so flippin much that day!

We had a pretty packed day that we needed to stay on schedule with. We were out the door right on the dot when we needed to be. We did Facebook and then contacted a few people near the church. One guy was just not interested haha Bummer!!!!

We saw Cha and it was a really awkward lesson. .... haha we were hitting that 2:00 tired wall and she wasn't feeling good and we were trying to get across the point that maybe her boyfriend wasn't the best option for her to stick with because he didn't meet any of her values that were important to her in a husband... so it was just all together awkward.

We did tracting which felt so good because we haven't tracted much here and I want to be obedient so we can have blessings, so tracting is part of that obedience. We didn't really find anyone, but we did run into a former Investigator. Brother Sims knows him and says he was kind of a tough one to teach, so we're going to send the Elders and see if they can make progress with him, if not, we'll put him back in God's hands.

We had dinner that night with Bishop and his wife. I always love going to their home. They are the best! We had left a note in bishop’s mailbox the last Sunday and he thanked us for that note. He told us he really appreciates us and that was just nice to hear.

We finished that night by attending a party at a member’s where they had non member friends. It was a fun little fiesta! One of their little boys was pretending to be a doggy and climbed across my lap and I was thinking "Hey if I don't put him on my lap myself than it doesn't count right?" Haha I want to hold children so bad!!!

We had lots of meetings, like usual. Then I was really trying to pay attention to church because I realized that I'm not the best at doing that. I go through the motions a lot with that one. I've never been really good at paying attention for a long time, so it was kind of tough. But I did my best and I really felt a lot better!

We presented the ward mission plan to another member that night and they really took it well. I'm excited for them to start meeting their goals and help in the work. It went a lot better than the first time. Then a member dropped us off at Darrell's church. There was a revival with a prophet so we went to check it out because he invited us. We missed it and so instead his friend Caitlyn took us to meet everyone. She kept telling people "I want you to meet the Mormons!" The preacher looked scared out of his mind when he met us! He didn't talk to us for more than 20 seconds. It was weird.

One small miracle happened that night. I've been trying to listen to the Spirit more... As I try to give my full effort. Well we were walking to an appointment after Darrell's church and we were on a sidewalk (imagine that - a sidewalk in Tennessee.) and we heard a loud rustling in the bushes. Sister Gustaveson took off running across the street and without a second thought I heard the prompting "Run! Go!" And I followed. My shoe came untied but we kept running. The rustling from across the street followed us fast and got louder but as I ran I begged Heavenly Father to keep us safe. He did. Nothing happened and we made it to our appointment safely. It was very cool for me to feel that prompting and to follow it. I don't know if it was just an animal or what, but I knew I had been told what to do, and I obeyed and that felt good.

Monday (today):
Today we got to go downtown again, and while we were there a number called and I answered. It was a member from the neighboring ward and he has a friend he invited today to hear the discussions and so he asked if we could meet at the church with him at 8:30 tonight!!! It's a miracle!!! I have been praying so hard to find those who are prepared! Now we're going to have a member present lesson, a referral contacted and a new Investigator!!!! It's incredible what the Lord does for us!!!

I also had a great study this morning that I'd like to share with you. This week was good, not really any complaints, but it was kind of hard. Our teaching pool is taking a dive and we just keep dropping more and more people. We don't have hardly anyone who is progressing and really searching for answers. I noticed this week that I just am not expecting much anymore. When we go knock doors, I teach someone and I immediately think "They're not interested." And then I don't put much effort into going back. Sister Gustaveson will get really excited about people we've just met who say they will come to church and in our meetings she'll tell the Ward Mission leader that we're expecting like 5 Investigators and I just think "No we're not. No one's coming." It's gotten me really down! So this morning... I decided to study faith. I opened Preach My Gospel and read the section on faith and realized a lot. Faith is trust and knowing that God will guide us. I finished the section and then there was a few scriptures listed. I almost skipped them and went to study Endure to the End, but I decided to read them anyways. The first scripture I read was 1 Nephi 7:12 and it slammed me in the face. "Yea and how is it that ye have forgotten that the Lord is able to do all things according to His will for the children of men if it so be that they exercise faith in Him? Wherefore, let us be faithful unto Him." Basically God saying to me "How have you forgotten? Have faith! We can do it!"
Then I read Moroni 7:34 which says "If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me." Then I read Moroni 10:7 "And ye may know that he is, by the power of the Holy Ghost; Wherefore I would exhort you that ye deny not the power of God; For he worketh by power, according to the faith of the children of men, the same today and tomorrow, and forever."

I remembered that yesterday Sister Gustaveson and I were talking about modern miracles and the reason we don't see a ton of them or see the prophet walking around healing people left and right is because of lack of faith and I brought up the scripture that  says if miracles have ceased it is because of no faith. I realized that I have had no faith! I have just completely forgotten that this is God's work and I am His instrument. I remember now that if I study and pray, He will guide me. Words will come. We will find the people who need to be found. It is possible.

It was an amazing study! A bit chastening, but very needed. I need to remember to have faith and to remember whose work this is and my role in it. I just wanted to share that with you. I thought as a "seasoned" missionary that I've got it down and didn't realize myself slipping from the basics. Faith. The first principle of the gospel. It is there that everything begins and without faith, nothing follows.

I hope you have a great week and remember your faith. Do you trust Him? Well I have to head back out to work. But I love y'all so much. And I'm loving being here and still learning more. Have a great week!

~Sister Rokovitz~

Monday, March 2, 2015

I'm Still a Missionary Right Now

Our Ward Mission leader told me yesterday that in a race, you never slow down until ten feet after the finish line. I liked that. Now I want to tell you something and I'd appreciate it if you got the word out about this. Going home... So far.. Stinks. And I'm not even there yet. It's tearing me apart. This week I had a really hard time focusing my studies and thoughts. So I got a blessing to be able to focus. Please please please don't make any mention of "few more weeks" or plans or anything. I know y'all are excited. I am too. But I'm still a missionary right now and I want to stay a missionary till they rip the tag off me. Please share your excitement at home, but don't talk about it with me right now. Don't talk about where you'll be at the airport or time for stuff that day. I'll see you. I want to focus and finish strong and I'm going to need y'all's help. Don't be hurt by this. I just want to give everything to the Lord, and I can't if I'm constantly thinking of home.

I just had a great p-day! I was really hoping I'd end my mission close to Nashville so I could get some boots... So when I came to Goodlettsville I started planning my trip. The bus takes us right downtown and so I finally got some boots. Hey great souvenir right?! I LOVE THEM!!! I wore them the rest of our time in downtown.

My new boots to bring home.....on my stove top.

I don't really like that I have to give up my iPad. It will be gone Friday. Also, I'll be off Facebook which will be nice because the YSA keep emailing me and telling me that I only have a few more weeks left. Sister Gustaveson will get a new one Friday, I'll turn mine in, and we'll share.

Well.. This week was pretty good. I have a very strong love/hate relationship with tracting. This week we didn't get to do much, so I told Sister Gustaveson that it's my dying wish to tract daily. And she agreed and so we're going to do it. It's rough. Some days it just plain stinks, but there will be no other time in my life that I will get to knock doors to tell people about Jesus Christ and His restored gospel.

We had dinner last week with the Demers and it was a lot of fun! They have two little girls and a baby boy. The girls gave us tea cups so we could have a tea party. Sister Demers told us about how they were snowed in for church the day before so the girls set up their own Sacrament meeting, chose songs and put them on a paper on the wall, they explained the Sacrament and why it's important, and then they had testimonies, and then Primary. Winnie the Pooh was their bishop. How cute is that?!

We got to go to the Bishop’s storehouse!! Finally! It was our first time this transfer. They had a ton for us to do. I really love getting in there and serving. We filled several large orders and it was just good to be there serving.

After that we headed to the bus stop. We were trying to cross the street and realized that we forgot the bus passes... and we had no money whatsoever and the bus doesn't accept debit cards. So we're standing there watching all the traffic pass and a truck passes and the driver waves. We came to the conclusion that it was Brother Demers! He gave us $5 for the bus! So we were able to make it to and from our appointment. We got back to the bus and rode it to Olive Garden. Daniel met us there and we had a great time talking and eating. He just has such a love for missionaries and missionary work.

After dinner we  got on the bus and crossed our fingers that the bus driver would let us on. She did. They see us ride a lot and so they know us. Then we got on the connector and that bus driver is the nicest bus driver I've ever met! He let us ride for free too. We went and saw Debbie and got her Family Search account set up. She was pretty excited about it. The hard part though is that a lot of her family was pretty awful to her when she was younger, so it's going to be a forgiving process as she tries to take their names to the temple. 

I went to Joelton and we got to see a lady named Connie. She is RLDS and she is so nice! She has an amazing talent with knitting and crocheting and so she ended up giving me 2 pot holders, a dish scrub, a dish towel, a scarf, and a little crocheted angel. She was so sweet!

Later we went to dinner with Sister Miller. She was really nice and made us a really fancy dessert. She lives by herself and her kids are grown, but she loved feeling like a mom again that night while feeding us and telling us to zip up our coats and put our gloves on.

That night we drove to so many homes trying to contact potentials. No one answered, but we had a lot of fun laughing and telling stories and having adventures! Then it started snowing like crazy! Everyone was freaking out... they cancelled school the next day.

We had one of the most productive weekly planning sessions ever! It felt so good to get so much done. We made a ton of lesson plans for those who we plan to see this next week. We were going to see Debbie that afternoon, but she was at school, and Aijalon was sick. So we found that we had a referral in the path of the bus that we already planned on riding. So we ride over there and contact him and he wasn't interested... great. It was freezing, we had an hour till the bus came back around, so we had to tract. We knocked a couple doors and as we were walking up to one, Sister Gustaveson said "this is probably a Hispanic household! There's a mop and Christmas decorations" sure enough... She didn't speak any English. So as we're trying to tell her that there are Hermanas and about JesuCristo and stuff... I asked Sister Gustaveson for the phone and called the Hermanas. They talked to her and she was interested! She hung up and looks at us and said "muchos gracias! Um.. Much thank you! Much thank you!" Haha it was a miracle! But it gets better... We then crossed the street without a second thought and knocked on that side. We had prayed for someone prepared to be placed in our  path. I look over and said "Hey look. A guy outside. We'll get to talk to someone!" His name was Matt and he was quite literally in our path. We taught him the whole Restoration and the spirit, through us, explained the priesthood  so well! He committed to baptism and then his wife pulled in the driveway. She went inside and then came back out and said hi and we told her we were just telling him what we believe and asked if we could come back again. She looks at him and said "I want to learn more." THAT NEVER HAPPENS!!! So we set up an appointment and give them both a Book of Mormon and pray. They have two little girls too... They are perfect! A family! And they're interested!!! It was the biggest miracle ever and while we taught it didn't even feel cold outside! God is so good .

We had dinner with our neighbor Andi and she fed us the most amazing Honey Pecan chicken ever! I wasn't too stoked about it when I saw it, but it was so good! I wish she had made more so I could have seconds. She then drove us to our bus stop and we rode the bus to Debbie's to watch the Testaments with her. I think it really helped her to understand the importance and main event in the Book of Mormon.

So this day was our mission wide conference about our iPads. They said a Seventy and "two other people" we're coming and we needed to be seated 30 minutes early. The night before I didn't sleep at all!! I was up every 20 minutes... I was so excited!! The mission conference wasn't what I thought it would be. It wasn't very chastening, and not very specific. It was mostly presenting the what and why. So we're all getting new iPads.. Except those who go home his transfer, so I get no iPad after Friday. Then we'll be off Facebook for two months. They are trying to make iPads more safe. Basically.. The world’s standard is that electronics are personal and secret. They're training us to be open, know passwords and do regular checks and just share it all. So everyone will still have their own iPad, but they're going to train us to use it how the Lord wants us to use it. It's going to be great. We'll get more specific instruction at MLC on Friday.

We got home that night and went to Ashland City for a music event sponsored by the ward. We sang at it while Brother Hull played the guitar, so yeah..... I've performed with a famous person. No big deal. It was held at a really cool Christian bookstore. I got a guitar pick that says "Pick Jesus." It was a fun night!

This is the day I found out I didn't get accepted to BYU. It was rough. I cried when I found out. I got in the shower and sobbed. Then I prayed and studied and the more I thought about it, I'm at peace with it. I'm comfortable with Rexburg and I have friends there. I'm ok with it. I'll have a job, so it works out. I don't know exactly what the Lord’s plan for me is, but I'm trusting Him. It will be great.

We taught Sarah Racey that day about the first part of the Plan of Salvation and we discovered that she is scared to come to church because she feels we're trying to manipulate her into baptism or that if she comes and feels something, she'll have to get baptized and won’t get to tell Tim first. We reassured her that it was not the case. She felt better about it. We're going to re-explain the priesthood and finish the Plan of Salvation next time.

We then tried to contact a guy we met that seemed really promising, but his wife saw us pull up. She shut the door and they wouldn't answer. BUMMER!! So we then went to the church and met the elders there and I got a blessing. It was so needed. The main things that I got were to study hard, and seek the guidance of the spirit.

I'm running out of time, there's not much left. We feel that we didn't work our hardest last week, and so we're going to step it up this week. We're expecting miracles!

I love y'all. A lot.

~Sister Rokovitz~


Monday, February 23, 2015

The Cold Continues

We were able to get out all day Thursday, most of Friday, all Saturday and all Sunday. But there are sisters in our ward who live in the boonies and they have been stuck inside every day since last Monday. The Bishop went to take them food and he couldn't get in their driveway and then when we tried walking down it, he just slid all the way down. All their roads were covered in ice. I feel bad for them.

Me and Sister Gustaveson went off sweets. The exception though is we can have it if it is from a member... so we've had sweets every day because members feed us all the time! But we've still had less than usual. So that's good.

I think last week was the first time I'd ever had Sweet Potato Pie and it was seriously heaven!! I need to keep that in mind for when I move back to TN and start cooking classic Southern meals for all the missionaries I have over.

Well.. about my week.. my oh so exciting iced-in week.

Iced in. Didn't go anywhere except outside to play a lot and to the church for martial arts. Real exciting day

Iced in day 2
We were told to plan as much as we could, and we tried. But there just wasn't much to plan. We trekked to CVS to buy the last 2 out of 3 gallons of milk. It was cold and slippery and it looked like we lived in the land of desolation! Everyone was gone! No noise, nothing. Just snow... Haha

Walking home from CVS with our milk.

We tried contacting some people who had been contacted before in our complex. No one was home, so that didn't last very long. We also went next door to Andi's and she made us homemade pasta and sauce. We emailed there and watched 17 Miracles. I bawled! I was in my bed in the corner just crying to myself haha. Oh it was embarrassing! But it is such a good movie!

We got out! Hallelujah! Sister Gustaveson's iPad was wiped on Monday, we don't know how, so we spent a couple hours with Brother Sims trying to resurrect it and all her pictures, but it's gone. So Brother Sims emailed all her companions and members and is going to gather as many pictures as he can to give to her as a gift. We seriously have the best ward mission leader on the face of the planet. He needs to keep his calling for life!

We had dinner with the Davis' that night and they were a lot of fun! They have two little boys, Aiden and Evan and they just talked our ears off haha. It was a fun dinner and I was happy to be outside the apartment!

Traded hats with my dinner partner.

Lastly we found a Less active that we've been trying to contact forever! She's totally the perfect rich lady right down to the fluffy white cats who are her babies. It's so funny! We helped her get ready for her husband to come home. She hardly sees him because of work and so she was setting up dinner and everything for him when they got home from the airport. She's a really nice lady and offered to feed us dinner in the future! So I'm excited to work with her! What's sad though is I feel she hasn't come to church because she's so wrapped up in life and work.... and she doesn't see the importance of church. We should always remember to make church our first priority!

We did our weekly planning which went really well! We set some sweet goals for the rest of the transfer and I'm excited for them! We made a vision as a companionship of what we want to accomplish in the next 4 weeks. Then our appointments cancelled and it started snowing super hard.. so we went to the bus and we were going to ride it to mark down where all the stops were because they're not all marked on the map. We were coming up to our stop where we needed to get off and turn around, and I forgot that I didn't know what time the bus across the street would come. The bus we were on was 40 minutes behind schedule. So if we got off we would have to wait up to an hour...... we panicked and just stayed on the bus which ended up going all the way to downtown Nashville! Oops...  We then had to ride it all the way back up to our area. On the bus we taught someone who said that everything was beautiful and wanted my name and wanted to know what I required in a partner for marriage. Super awkward. We listened to the "F" word about..... a lot. Like every other word for 10 minutes. We taught a drunk. We also taught 3 amazing people though! Keith is a YSA from Nashville and is interested so we gave his info to the YSA sisters, Jerral is interested. I didn't get to talk to him, but I guess he was this super tough guy with piercings all over telling Sister Gustaveson about some adorable kittens he rescued. And I taught a girl named Iesha but she wasn't really interested. She was really nice though and was laughing at us teaching the drunk man. We got called in early that night and we had permission to watch The Work and the Glory so we watched that.

We contacted a lot of potentials this day..... we thought we had success... with a guy named Miguel. He had been taught by the Hermanas and we taught him that day and his parents told us to leave but he told them no, because he was talking to us. He said he'd come to a church tour yesterday but never showed up. I'm trying to have faith in him, but I just don't know if he's really interested.

We also saw Sarah and Kassie. Tim wasn't home. Sarah told us she believes everything - The Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, the Priesthood, but she doesn't want to be Mormon. So something isn't clicking and I don't know what it is. They mean a lot to me and since Sister Gustaveson wasn't there from the beginning, she kind of wants to drop them... I hope she doesn't do that when I leave. They have so much potential!!!

We had dinner at the Bishop's that night and I just love him to death! He has such a love and fire for missionary work. And he loves the missionaries in his ward. He's been my favorite Bishop.

We also got to see Debbie and watched Finding Faith in Christ with her. She loved it! About half way through she said "I know all these stories!" She is the sweetest lady ever and I can't wait for y'all to meet her!

We didn't get to go to church because of the weather. Our whole day was thrown off. That night after dinner we were getting ready to leave and I was looking at what time the bus would come and realized it was coming at that very minute. The next bus wouldn't come for an hour..... So I sat down and tried to figure things out and Sister Gustaveson kept saying "Let's just get out the door and just go do something." I was getting kind of stressed because I am a planner, and I wanted to make sure we had some good plans before we went out into the freezing cold. She kept pushing me to get out. So I snapped and I don't really know what caused it. We started to work things out and then we realized we needed to plan better.... so we tried to do some good planning, but that didn't quite work out. I just didn't know what to do. I didn't know how to change the situation. I'm the oldest one in the apartment, the STL, the most experienced on a mission, and I failed. I finally went and asked Sister Gustaveson to come to the room and we knelt down. I started to pray. I felt peace just envelop me. I felt forgiveness. I repented in front of her and that was one of the absolute hardest things I've EVER done. It was humiliating. But then, after it was all said and done, I felt ok. I have an amazing companion who just dropped it all and forgave me right then and there.

As I prayed that night, I really felt the atonement start to work. I had studied a few days before about how quick the Savior is to forgive... but how could He so quickly forgive me? I felt it though. In a split second it was all gone. And I felt renewed. At that moment, all I could feel was that God KNEW me. He KNEW me so perfectly and it didn't matter what anyone else said. It was rewarding. I studied repentance this morning and one thing I read said that repentance is accepting the loving chastening of the Lord. Trials and challenges and temptations come to us to test how we will react. I reacted wrong, but because of the atonement I can be forgiven. The atonement is to bring about unto us faith unto repentance. And I experienced that last night. I had the faith that I had a God who loved me. He sent His son to die for me and because of that, I had the faith I needed to repent.

Now... Pday is rushed again and we need to go run around like crazy some more. Sorry this is a shorter email. This week wasn't super eventful.

Love you!

~Sister Rokovitz~

I wanted to send my Daddy a giant teddy bear for Valentine's day....but I couldn't figure out how to send it.

Me with the flowers you sent me for Valentine's Day.

Remember this toy?

Frozen branches

A frozen leaf

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Iced In - Part 2

I'm finally emailing. I am so sorry for all of this but it has been an adventurous week!

At transfers I was asked to accompany the musical number. Sister King and Hermana Hofrietza sang and Sister Cotton played the violin. It was a version of Come Thou Fount. It sounded so good! The photo below is of me at the podium sharing a miracle. I asked for my former YSA companions who were there to come up with me because I'm not used to sharing miracles alone. So they came up and I shared the success of the YSA with how we've had 7 baptisms and Keith went to the temple, got the priesthood, and got his patriarchal blessing. Aaron has been to the temple and got the priesthood, Austin same, Jaykob same, Wayne is getting the priesthood.... Miracles are just flowing out of there. So we all were up there talking about it and it just brings tears to my eyes.

Sharing YSA miracles with Sister McDonald, Sister Oldroyd and Sister LeFevor at transfer meeting.

Chris's friend Nathan moved out and it sounds like they're getting too old to keep track of each other. ..... like I'll ask Nathan and he says he doesn't know. I wrote Chris a pretty bold letter yesterday and I'll send it off today. That’s the last way I can think of to try to get in contact with him..

It's funny that you ask about my new companion. I've served around her a ton so I already know her so I just assume you do too haha. So I am just loving being with her! We have been laughing so much every day!! She is from South Ogden and she is a brand new STL. She's been out for just barely over a year. We now have Hermana Gamble living with us and I like her. We've had a fun 3 days stuck inside.

OOooook... The long awaited email about the week!!!

So Monday was not real relaxing. We just went around visiting Spanish people before Sister Dansie was transferred and I typed my emails as I followed along. It was rough for me to want to be there. But I tried to just make the best out of the situation that I was in. I played with the little kids and just smiled and tried not to be sour about it all.

Our ward mission leader, Brother Sims, took us to the transfer meeting and it was a good one! It was hard though... because I knew it was the last time I would ever be at a transfer meeting and be in the audience to watch it. It made me want to cry. Things became really real when I saw the last group before me go home. Now... I only have my time left. And I have to work harder than I've ever worked before!

So we came home and then we were taken by the Hermanas over to the Sims for dinner. Waffle Tuesday! Then Brother Sims came with us to see Debbie S. Debbie is an Investigator who has known missionaries for a while. She met them about 2 years ago in Lebanon, TN. Then she moved here and met more. She's learned a lot, but I don't know how much she's really considered and prayed about. So we told her our purpose and asked what she expected from our visits. She said she wanted to learn. Her only concern is being so connected to her church back home in another state. She's going to start making some progress.

We went back to the Sims and went over the ward list a bit to sort them into groups of who is active and Less-active. Lastly, Sister Sims came with us to see Debbie F., the recent convert. We talked about her study on the Holy Ghost and what she learned. She is just amazing as a convert to the church! She is always so excited to learn something new and progress in the gospel.

We had District meeting and it was a good meeting. I love those meetings. We have trainings and then we spend the majority of the time role-playing.

We tried to see Cathy... she wasn't home. I don't know how well she is progressing. She hasn't been remembering when we're coming lately and we can't confirm because she never answers her phone.... Bummer. We also tried visiting Aiijalon. I don't know if you remember me talking about her. She has 3 kids and she is just so sweet! She had been gone for a month which is a long time not to see someone.... so we decided to try knocking on her door and she was home! We went in and sat down to talk to her. The elders were teaching her too, but we felt it was kind of confusing for her to have more than one set of missionaries coming to teach her. We didn't know what she had been taught by the elders. So we talked to the elders and they told us we could just teach her. So we went and told her that just us would be coming and she said that she was kind of confused with everything. So we went over with her some of her concerns. She was confused about the Book of Mormon and where it came from. She has been taking it to Bible study and trying to find comparisons in the Book of Mormon. She asked her Pastor about it, but he said he didn't know and would do his research. She thought that she had to believe in the Bible or the Book of Mormon, so when we told her we believed in both, she was pretty excited about it. She is incredible! She said she'll keep reading and praying.

We finished the night by contacting potentials and we had success with contacting Tawyna. She served at the storehouse one day and said she was interested but she's always so busy that she's never been taught... so she was home that night! And we got to set a return appointment with her!! It was for today... but we're stuck. So we had to cancel. But so many miracles happened that day! Sister Gustaveson is a miracle worker!

Later that night we tried to contact an Investigator and we had to get past the apartment gate. We planned to just sneak in behind the car in front of us. but the problem was that they didn't know the code either.... so soon a train of 7 cars were lined up and a guy from one car came running up to let her in... and we snuck in with them haha We sat there for close to ten minutes and..... the lady told us to go away. So we left.

I can't even remember much about Thursday besides the fact that we laughed a TON and it was super funny! It was a good day! This was the first day we had to ride the bus and I had to figure it all out. We made it to Cha's and it was fun for her to see Sister Gustaveson. Sister Gustaveson took my place in Nashville so she knew Cha too.

We then realized that we wouldn't have enough time to get all the way home for dinner, so we had a Rafferty's gift card from Aunt Cheryl and we took ourselves out to dinner. It is an amazing restaurant! We had to scarf our food down and then while I was paying we asked for sweet potato pie to go. So we ran to the bus, and had to figure out how to get onto the connector bus. No one on the bus knew, not even the driver. So we got off and asked a lady and she told us. We made it on the connector just fine which just ventures out into some neighborhoods away from the main road. While I was freaking out about where to get off, Sister Gustaveson was talking to a lady name Jaque, who is amazing! She was totally interested! We got her number and she said we could come over on Friday, but we've been calling and its telling us that she has her phone off or is out of service range. So... that's a bummer. We got off at the right place and went to Debbie F.'s but she wasn't home yet... so we plopped down on her porch in the 30 degree weather and had ourselves some sweet potato pie. It was so good! We were just laughing and eating and having a good time in the cold.

We had a great lesson with Debbie but it was short because we had to get back to the bus. She talked about how she's learning about forgiveness and learning to forgive her grandfather even though he did some pretty terrible things to her. She is amazingly strong and has a deep testimony of the gospel and the atonement of Christ. I love her. We got home that night and we were just dead and sore because we ran to all our bus stops because we were afraid we'd be late! So we did lots of running and walking. But it was such a fun day full of good hard missionary work.

We tried contacting a lot of potentials this day and we had no success at all! Not a single person answered their door... it was lame! But we did have fun driving and laughing and singing and telling stories. I really love being with Sister Gustaveson because we just get along and she is a good hard working missionary. Those hard workers are the companions that have been my absolute favorites. It makes it a lot easier to work hard and to have fun while doing it too.

Lastly we saw Debbie S. and taught her the Restoration and she really liked it. We only got through half and then asked her to pray about it and she said she would. I wish we could see her more often. That would help her progression. But I really love her a lot and she's one person I want to stay in contact with forever.

Sister Sims picked us up and we went to visit Aijalon. She had been reading and so we taught her a bit more about the Book of Mormon and answered her questions. She's so sincere and really seeking answers... so we are going to explain the Restoration clearly to her next time we see her.

When Sister Sims dropped us off, she asked if we had a dinner appointment for Valentine's. We said no and she laughed and said "It's ok, I don't even know what I'm doing for dinner..." Haha but when we walked in, the Hermanas had warm pizza and bread sticks and shared with us. It was a good Valentine’s dinner.

That night we trekked back to our complex and met with Sherry, Kia, and Tastasia. They have been taught quite a bit but I just didn't know if they were interested... so we went and asked and they said yes and then Sister Gustaveson got them to commit to church!! It was a miracle! We left and I joked with Sister Gustaveson "Hi my name is Sister  Gustaveson and I work miracles. Wanna come to church? Yeah? Ok see you tomorrow!" Hahha it was really cool though.

Everyone was freaking out about "the storm". We had meetings and then..... KIA, SHERRY, AND TASTESIA CAME To CHURCH!!!! They came! And..... Sacrament meeting was the most zombie meeting I've probably ever attended. EVERYONE was asleep. They didn't stay because they had already been to 2 hours of their own church so they were tired, but we had Investigators at church!!! It was so cool.

We had dinner that night with the Hamblin's and I hardly knew them, but I love them! Super fun couple! She's really into selling tupperwear and she's a violin teacher and she teaches over Skype!! How cool is that?! Her husband also imports scripture cases from Guatemala and so we got to pick some out and take them for free. It was the best dinner appointment ever. And she made us custard with caramel and mint Oreos with marshmallow cream inside. It was so good!
Scripture covers from Guatemala.

That night we tried to contact a lady, but some man kept yelling "Who is it?" We were so scared! We went to leave and saw him staring at us through the window.... we booked it to our car and got our tails out of there! Haha

This week I think the theme has been "who cares!" Meaning.. Who cares what others think. Sister Gustaveson has commented a lot on how happy she sees that I am because she's been around me my whole mission and she says she can see a change... It's awesome. I told her that I just stopped caring what others think of me and really focusing on my relationship with God. She points out when I say "who cares" and I say it a lot. Like she'll talk about being an STL and scared to correct things and have sisters mad at her... And I'm just like "who cares?" Haha so it's awesome.

So it's been a good week and I'm thankful for these few days of being iced in... Because I've needed them to relax. I've been needing pure relaxation for a while, and now that I've got it, I want to just give God even more for the last month. I love this gospel! I love you so much!! Have a great week!

~Sister Rokovitz~

Our Tennessee snow and iciness.

Iced bushes.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


Monday -
We're iced in so we grabbed wifi from the apartment office and we'll go back and type and then come back and send them later. We'll send pics tomorrow from the church computers. We got some GREAT pics of the ice haha. We've been out in it for the past hour just playing. Anyways. I love you! So don't panic. I'll send my email. Love you!

Tuesday morning -
Iced in still. We have to trek to get wifi so I'm working on typing it and hopefully I can send it today.

Tuesday evening -
Hey Mom!
So here's what's going on.. So we aren't allowed to drive our cars, the front office is closed so we can't use their computers, the bus system is down so we can't get to the church, aren't allowed to ride in any vehicle.... Got wifi from our neighbor.. The weather is supposed to be bad tomorrow so District meeting is on hold.... So we don't know when we'll get to get out... So I just wanted to send this note to tell you we're ok. Warm, safe, plenty of milk, having fun, and just enjoying our time all together. I love you!!!

Hey Dad! I just wanted to personally thank you for the flowers! I didn't want to demand flowers... But things lately had been rough and I just really wanted flowers! Haha the bouquet was HUGE and beautiful. I started tearing up because it meant so much to me!! Thank you so much! They're on my desk and I stare at them so much!! I love you more than anything and I'm so grateful to you for doing that for me. You're the best valentine I've ever had! I love you!

Valentine flowers from my Daddy.

Stuck in with an ice storm.

Playing in the ice and snow on p-day and getting soaked.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Convert = Greatest Joy

Oh my goodness this week has felt forever long for me! This week has been pretty crazy. Not like any other week on my mission haha but throughout this week I have felt the prayers of y'all, other family, friends, President Andersen, the prophet, the temples, and everyone else. It's incredible. I felt Heavenly Father walking beside me the entire week and it's made me realize how much He really loves me. As I knelt down each night, there were things that I knew I could have done better, but I knew that I tried my hardest and that He was just there to comfort me. Each day I felt His guidance and it just carried me over what I thought was going to be a really heavy week. I was scared to death and not wanting to face it, but it turned out to be ok. It turned out better than I though and I look back being proud that I accomplished it.

One thing that made me feel really great was what I heard President say. I was talking to Sister Penrod, another STL and one of my great friends. She called me every other day to see how I was. She said President was up in her area for a meeting and she was talking to him about the whole situation and he said that he is really proud of me and the way I've stepped up. It made me feel ten times stronger than I thought. It was really great.

So this week might be kinda scattered because of everything that has happened and my mushy brain.
Let me just say this though, I died this week of Spanish food. The majority of our dinner appointments were Spanish and they just made my stomach hurt so bad. I was so grateful for my roast dinner last night with potatoes and veggies and gravy. Ah. That was nice.

We got to see Cha that night and we watched the Finding Faith in Christ DVD and she loved it! She is doing well. She's quoting hymns and knows scripture stories and is just a lot different from a year and a half ago. She didn't come to church because she was very sick, but I'm working with the ward to get her some great help.. Like visiting teachers and friends.

We got to go serve at the bishop's storehouse and that was a relief. It was nice to just get to serve. Even though it was fast paced, it was relaxing because it was service and it was with the spirit and with people that have the same goal. It felt good to be there. It didn't feel great to not have Sister West there though. I missed her. She was always all smiles and laughs. I have a goal to be more like that.

We went to see a Spanish Investigator named Roxanna and I had a great time sitting and trying to pick up Spanish words! ... Not. I was bored out of my mind. I was really hoping that I would develop the gift of tongues this week and be able to learn Spanish miraculously fast. It didn't happen. I did get to memorize Our Purpose in Spanish though! That was pretty miraculous.

The rest of the afternoon was spent doing Spanish stuff. We ended the night by seeing Debbie F. and she is just awesome! We talked a lot about repentance and faith because we are going through the new member lessons with her right now. We also gave her a scripture chase of scriptures about baptism. She was pretty excited to look them up! She just brings a smile to my face every time I see her! She is always smiling and always in tune with the spirit and just sharing the gospel with everyone! I love her. I can't wait for y'all  to meet her!

We had District meeting and I gave a training. I was going to do a cool demonstration where I had something written in white on a white paper and then I would use a colored pencil to reveal the white writing.... I practiced like 4 times in my study journal and they all worked. But the real one didn't work! Haha so everyone just laughed at me and I laughed with them!

After District meeting we had plans to go to lunch with the other sisters. Before District meeting one of the Hermanas just seemed so mad. Then she would act totally fine around everyone else, but when we got in the car with just our companionship again, it was bad. So we pull up at Chick-fil-a and I locked all the doors and said "We're not leaving this car till we work things out." I expressed that I was hurt by the sarcasm that's been going on and I feel hurt when I'm ignored but then treated fine around everyone else. It ended up being over an hour that we sat in that blazing hot car. I was sweating buckets.

The Hermana wasn't talking. So we sat there. I was sick of the negativity and not feeling the spirit in the companionship and so I wasn't going to let those things slide. Finally we worked it out and I made them all get out in the middle of the parking lot and we did a group hug. We had to miss lunch and just grab food and eat in the car.

Later, I was picked up by Sister Norris, a member, to go on exchanges.We first went and saw Marylyn. I think she's progressing, but I'm not really sure. She's kinda hard to read. But Sister West had a lot of faith in her and so I'm not going to give up. We actually made a lot of progress with her. We were supposed to see her again but she said she was sick. She sounded like she was really considering coming to church and bring her son and his family along too.

We then saw Cathy and she is kind of progressing, but not really. She basically said she doesn't want to come to church because she is getting her GED from another church and she is tied to them. She doesn't even attend there on Sunday's. So I'm not really sure what to do with her.

Last we saw Cha and we didn't have much time with her, but she is doing good. It was good to see her.

The Hermanas picked me up for dinner.. Spanish dinner.. And then we went to see William and Evon. We had to stop by because they aren't responding to when we could come back. So we popped in and then Evon asked "So if Joseph Smith was a prophet, are there prophets today and how would you know?" It was a perfect question. We had a really great conversation about prophets and showed them a clip of Thomas S. Monson and then William said a prayer to ask if the things we taught were true and if there were really prophets. It was so cool!  Lastly we saw the Racey family but when we walked in you could tell something was wrong. So we abandoned our lesson plan and talked a lot about finding strength  through trials and how much God loves us and then showed them a video about keeping faith in trials. It ended out really good.

This day was the first day that we had a relaxed morning and didn't have to rush off somewhere. It was great. So when it was time to go out, I went with Sister Counter. She is a Filipino lady and she is so funny! We went to see Crystal, a Less-active, and she just talked our ears off for over an hour. We didn't make much progress..... But I think it was good. But then the next lesson was with Brittany. She opened up, and she told us that she really has no interest in learning more.... This was after she talked for over an hour too. I could see Sister Counter yawning. Haha I saved it a little by telling her that we were there to help strengthen her faith, so she said we could keep coming. But I felt so bad that Sister Counter came and people just talked and talked to us for 3 hours! Haha

We got to have an American dinner that night and I loved it! Haha I got left behind until my temporary companion came, Sister Sims, our ward mission leader's wife. She finally came and we went to see Debbie S. Can I just say though real quick that the Sims are the best! Brother Sims is the ward mission leader, and his dad is the bishop. They all just care and are always on top of things and I have so much fun with all of them! They have become very special people to me. So I have fun laughing with Sister Sims. So Debbie S. is an Investigator and she has known missionaries for years. I wanted to do something else than share a scripture, so I asked what she expects from our visits. She told us that she feels she has to say goodbye to her home church before she can move on and look at other churches but she does want to learn more. What she doesn't know though, is that we are going to teach her all the lessons and she's going to feel the spirit, haha, she's great though!

We also saw Debbie F. and talked about baptism and our covenants and sacrament. I had a cool realization. Debbie outwardly lives her baptism covenants. You can physically see that she is keeping her covenants. She stands as a witness and she comforts others and helps them when they're in need. She is a walking example of what we should be doing. She is amazing.

I did weekly planning kinda by myself because we will have separate schedules again. Then Sister Abernathy picked me up. She is the stake President's wife and she is hilarious! Our 45 minute drive was actually 2 hours long because she kept taking the wrong turn! But we had so much fun talking and laughing and singing to Vocal Point and it was just a fun drive. I made it to Bowling Green and I went on an exchange with both sisters so I was just in a trio with them. It was actually really weird... I just felt like a third wheel tag along. There wasn't much time to talk to them to see how their area was going and what their goals are and stuff. I was only there for the last few hours of the day. Then the next day I left at 6:15 a.m. with a member from there to head back to Goodlettsville. It's funny how parents are ok with putting their teenagers on a plane to go to a random place alone and live with strangers and ride alone with strangers around a foreign state or country... haha. Glad I'm still alive.

I got home in time to get ready and then did studies and then I went with Laura C. from the Nashville YSA to visit some people. One of our stops was William and Evon and I think William was slightly hung over. They had shot glasses on the table and he was just drinking cup after cup of water. He still functioned pretty well though. We taught them about the Book of Mormon and read the intro with them. They loved it and said they will consider church!

During that lesson the transfer call came in and I'm getting Sister Gustaveson! I have served around her a lot and I know that she is an incredible missionary! I'm really excited to be getting her as my companion for my last 6 weeks.
Next I went with Daniel, Annemarie, and Emily from the Nashville YSA. We went and hung photos in Debbie F.'s apartment. We also put up a cool vinyl thing above her piano. It looks so cool!

Lastly we tracted and that was a lot of fun to do with them! Daniel was really good at talking to people at the door. He's really confident. It was a blast to be out with them!

Tracting with Nashville YSA

Then April W., a member here, took me to Clarksville for Wayne's baptism! The room was packed wall to wall with people! Sister Andersen even came. It was a beautiful baptism. Wayne's grandma flew in for a surprise visit from Colorado and she came to his baptism. She plays the piano super well and so she played while he was changing. When he came up out of the water he had tears and he just hugged Robert! It made me want to just burst into tears of happiness! Clarksville has a very special place in my heart.

At Wayne's baptism with the Clarksville YSA group.

Jaykob and me, YSA cool.

Aaron's profile picture - love it!

With my sisters at the baptism.

I was talking to Aaron after, the one who got baptized in December, and he told me he got all Sundays off now!! I said "How did you do that?!" He said "I just prayed..." He is amazing! All smiles all the time and I thought he was going to struggle a little. He's incredible.

On our way home we stopped by Chris's because he hasn't been to church since he was confirmed. He wasn't home... his car was gone. I left him a note and called him but he wont respond. I don't know what his deal is.

I was just passed off a lot in church. I had to sit in the Spanish sacrament for a few minutes and a little girl looked at me and said "Do you belong here?" haha I looked at her and said "....... no. I don't......." haha sad.

That evening I went out with Sister Frey and I thought I had made such good plans that we wouldn't get to it all.... everything fell through within 15 minutes. Sister Frey is in her 60's and is super hilarious and so we just tried everyone we could think of. We ended up sticky-noting a member's door and peeking in someone's windows and she banged on one Less-active's door and yelled "It's the cops! Open up!" Haha no one answered anywhere..... but it was a fun night full of laughter!

Sister Penrod called that night and we talked till 11:00 pm and I just cried to her because I was so burnt out. I was exhausted. She gave me a great pep talk and I felt better after that.

I want to tell you something that has brought me great joy this week. When I was praying the second time about if I should come on a mission, when I was at school, I got the overwhelming feeling and decided to come. Then I resumed my New Testament homework and everything I read was about missionary work. I remember one heading distinctly that said "Converts are a missionary's greatest joy". For the life of me I can't find it again. But I got a letter from Aaron this week and then he messaged me. He found out about Sister West and said "I need to write her". Aaron has gone through the exact same thing and he felt he needed to write her and let her know that he knows what it's like and that the gospel has helped. I can't even describe the amount of joy I felt. I'm sure you've felt it before on your missions. But as I was sitting in studies one day, it clicked. Convert = greatest joy. Fulfilled. God was right. I have had exploding amounts of joy this week from Aaron and seeing Wayne get baptized and seeing Jaykob speak at the baptism and seeing Calvin pray at the baptism. It's incredible! Keith got his patriarchal blessing yesterday and Calvin, Keith, Jaykob, and Aaron have been to the temple. I've never been happier! So I wanted to share that with you. My call letter was right when it said "More happiness awaits you than you've ever experienced as you labor among the Lord's children in love.."

I love this gospel and the joy I feel is carrying me, helping me work harder. I know Satan sees this and will try his hardest to stop me. But he won't. Mark my words, I will finish stronger than ever and I will come home without a single regret. Fact.

I love you so much! Have a great week!

~Sister Rokovitz~