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~