A busy, busy week!

The only time that we can get a little extra sleep is on Pdays. We are usually pretty busy cleaning our apartment, cleaning out the vehicle, going to the carwash, grocery shopping, doing laundry, & at the end of it all, I do just want to sleep! but I never have! The district usually gets together to play games or go somewhere, but I am starting to care less & less about being with people & more about sleeping.. haha. My last few districts I was pretty close with, but not so much with this one yet. It's kind of weird because there's a photo on our fridge from 2 transfers ago, & I'm the only one in the entire photo that is still in Park City.. haha. I don't mind, because I really like my area, but it's just different being the oldest one.

Last Monday was Sister Villoso's first Pday in the field. We didn't do much. We went to Olympic Park here in Park City.. It's where they train for the Olympics for skiing. It wasn't too impressive, but it was fun being with Sister V.
Sister V at Olympic Park
On Wednesday, we taught a lesson to a woman from the Philippines. I was so impressed with Sister V because she taught nearly the whole lesson. She did a really good job of taking the lead. She had a connection with the woman (for obvious reasons) and they talked half-English, half-Tagalog.. It was so fun. It was actually really cool because she still isn't confident with her English, and so in most of our lessons, she will only talk when I ask her a question or I nudge her. 

On Thursday, I thought about Zooey (Matthew) the whole day! Happy Birthday to him!
That night, a less-active & his girlfriend came into the Family Tree to say Hi because he had been out of town for a while. He kept telling people that I was his "sister who was trying to convert him". haha. It is really so nice to have a relationship with the people that I teach and see that I am making some sort of a difference. He kept bragging about me & saying that I am the best missionary that he's met. He told this one woman that I am aggressive, and I said, "I'm just bold!" ...Which is not a sentence that I would have said at the beginning of my mission. My confidence in speaking & teaching has grown immensely. 

On Friday, we went to a lesson with the Johnsons, the wonderful couple that calls themselves "Brother & Sister Tomato Plant" (from Elder Ballard's conference talk). Ahhh. I love them so much. We did a role play with them & taught Lesson 1 to practice our teaching in unity. Brother Johnson got so into it! They were pretending to be investigators and he asked so many questions! haha. It was really great though. At one point, he even teared up. At the end of it, they both accepted baptism! Maybe they were too easy on us, haha. They both said that they felt the Spirit though. 

Friday night, we had dinner with this amazing couple. I loved their apartment and I loved the wife! She was completely adorable. . . Have you ever heard of the show Yo Gabba Gabba? Google it. It's a children's show. Zeke watches it all the time.. Well, I found out that the wife is one of the characters on that show! Ahh. Such funny things. 

On Saturday, Sister V and I went tracting in the rain. and the snow. and the sunshine. The weather here is just as crazy as it is in PA. We met a variety of people. One lady invited us in, asking where we are from, etc. She seemed really friendly but then as we testified about the Book of Mormon, she started yelling at us! Sister V's first experience with shouting.. haha. Sister V did so good though. We kept testifying and she asked us to leave. Before we left, though, I asked for a referral: "Who do you know that would benefit from hearing this message?"  :)
We also tracted into a really wonderful woman who let us give her a copy of the Book of Mormon & gave us her number. She said that she's very open & doesn't understand why people are so closed-minded about Mormons. She is so prepared to hear the gospel! She lives in Salt Lake though, so we are going to see about sending missionaries to her home there.

Howard Lewis, our recent convert, is officially living in Michigan. I've talked to him on the phone a few times this week & he is doing so good!! He said that on the 4 day (Ahh!) bus trip to Michigan, he was reading the Book of Mormon & the Gospel Principles book. I am so proud of him! He had an experience with his new co-workers where they were smoking & drinking & offered him some, but he didn't take any. He said that he wouldn't do that because he is Mormon! He said that he felt very proud to say that he was Mormon. Ahhh, I am just so pleased to know him.

The Stake Spring Formal seems so.. formal! Very cool.
You are so involved with the Youth! You go girl!
I have seen both versions of the JS Restoration movie. Ahhhh, I just love everything with Joseph Smith.
Thank you so much for the Olive Garden gift card. I will have to think about what I can do with it! haha. I loved it though, and the card. Thank you so much! 

I love you. I am planning on writing you a letter. 

A new companion and a baptism!

On Monday, Sister Zeiner and I had a lesson with Howard at the chapel. We brought Brother Peters, his son, & another lovely girl, Morgan. Howard was telling us that he would be moving the next week and Brother Peters said, "What if I offered you a job?" and he told him all about his roofing company and how he could get Howard a job!! Ahh. The members are so great here. Howard has some sort of restriction because of his Visa, so he couldn't accept the job, but it meant a lot to him anyways.
On Monday night, we got permission from President Miller for Howard to be baptized on the 14th, after only attending church twice!! What a miracle.

Tuesday, was the day before trainsfers, so we were all eagerly awaiting the news. I found out that I would be staying in my area (yay!) and training a new missionary from the MTC (scary!) Sisters Zeiner & Summerhays were being transferred together to Cottonwood & would be a companionship. 
Tuesday was also Howard's birthday. We decorated his door with balloons and a banner. That night, we went to the Livingstons for dinner & treats. We got Howard a giftcard so that he could buy some church clothes for his baptism and church. 
Sister Livingston & Howard on his birthday!
Wednesday was transfers. I took Zeinee and Summerhays to their house in Cottonwood and then went to a training meeting at the mission office. I have always dreaded training, so I was so nervous!! The trainers sat on one side of the chapel and the new missionaries sat on the other side. I saw 2 foreign sisters and I kept thinking, I want one of them!!! One of the foreign sisters was tiny & had little glasses, and I just had a feeling that she would be my companion.. Well President Miller called both of our names and we met in the middle of the chapel (it's such an awkward arrangement!) It was so good though! We hugged and we both loved each other right away. She told me that she had seen me and was hoping that I would be her companion because I looked so happy & friendly! We both got our pick! haha. Her name is Sister Villoso (pronounced "Vill-Ee-Oh-So").. She is from the Philippines. She has broken English, but she's rather good. She's so nice & just wonderful!
My new companion, Sister Villoso & I
For my birthday, I got a postcard from Hawaii from one of our investigators! I got several texts & calls from missionaries & members in the area. I got your package.. Cute! Thank you! I also got the letter from the YWs.. Thank you! Sister Villoso & I ate lunch with the Johnsons & they celebrated AGAIN. Summerhays & Zeinee called me at night before bed to tell me Happy Birthday :)

Friday was Howard's baptismal interview.. The district leader said that Howard is the most "legit" investigator he's ever met. He said that they were both almost crying from how strong the Spirit was. Ahhh. Wonderful.
Brother Livingston, Howard, Sister Villoso, and I after Howard's baptism!
Sunday, we saw Howard at church in his new fancy church clothes! At 1, I was able to go to Casey's ward (Casey, my red-headed convert from December) to see him get the Aaronic priesthood, which was amazing! 
At 5 was Howard's baptismal service & confirmation! Ahh, it was amazing. Absolutely perfect. After he was baptized, he just stood in the water for at least 30 seconds with his eyes closed. The Spirit was so strong! What a wonderful experience to see someone who was so prepared by the Lord. When he was getting dressed, Sister Villoso & I taught the Restoration to the audience. After the baptismal service, a non-member woman from Park City East asked if she could start being taught the lessons by the other sisters again! It was a beautiful day! Howard has already spoken with the branch president in Michigan (where he is moving), and he is looking forward to continuing this path. Beautiful things!

Love you! Hope all is well! <3

Ariel's Birthday Week!

What a unique and unusual week it has been! Wild, of course; a gong show, always; but it was completely perfect.
Loving my birthday milkshake!

Well, on Tuesday, we had a birthday celebration for me/going away party for Sister Walker. The wonderful wonderful directors of the Family Tree, the Jermans, made milkshakes (they know it is my favorite treat!) They had a wonderful breakfast prepared and then they scooped, blended, and poured milkshakes for each of us.

The Jermans, makin' milkshakes

We had a lesson with the Burtons that night, where we watched the Restoration video. As we watched, Sister Zeiner leaned over to me and told me that she felt really really sick and that she didn't know how much longer she could stay. Almost immediately after her comment, the Burtons TV made a popping sound and turned off! It reminded me of that part in Matilda, where Matilda is forced to watch the TV and then she stares at it so hard that it blows up! It was kind of like that. We quickly wrapped up the lesson and rushed outside, where we walked around the corner, and Sister Zeiner got sick on the grass. (I feel like each of my companions have helped me prepare for motherhood in one way or another...) I held her hair back and everything!

Well, on Wednesday, Sister Zeiner was still very sick and so I went out with a member (my first time going on splits with a member, by the way!) I had a few referrals at the Powderwood apartments in mind, so we headed over. We had gotten Howard as a referral and were told to contact him on Friday or Saturday, but I felt like we should visit him before then, just to see. When Howard opened the door, he seemed very surprised, and said that he wasn't expecting us until the weekend. He said that he had to go soon but I asked if it was okay if we could come in and share a brief message. He accepted. After we did How to Begin Teaching and got to know him a little bit, I shared 2 Nephi 9, verses 21 and 23 with him. I invited him to be baptized on April 21 (which would give him time to go to church for 3 weeks). He said that he was moving to Michigan on the 15th and so he could not be baptized.
Well, that night I went home and talked to the district and zone leaders. After explaining the situation about Howard, they said that we could prepare Howard for baptism on the 14th, after only attending church 2 times. So on Friday night, we had another lesson with Howard and extended the 14th to be baptized. He said, "Oh man... I wish that I could be baptized on my birthday," and explained that he wanted a new start. We asked him when his birthday would be and he said, "April 9th." What a miracle to find someone who wants to be baptized in less than a week! However, he said that he still had questions and would think more about his baptism for the 9th.

Scott & Malena Stevens, Sister Zeiner and I, and Howard!! our favorite Jamaican man!

Long story short, Howard watched all 5 sessions of General Conference, including the Priesthood session, where he met the bishop and several of the men from the ward. We told him that he cannot be baptized until the 14th and he is okay with that. He answered each of the baptismal interview questions perfectly and is so excited to live the standards of the Church. Ahh, he is absolutely wonderful! We are celebrating his birthday with him tomorrow night, even though he can't be baptized yet. We will go to the Livingstons (my first member I went on splits with) and the Ward Mission Leader, who has become friends with Howard, will be there, too! I bought decorations for his front door, to surprise him on his birthday, and also chocolate ice cream for his birthday party, because he said it is hisfavorite treat! :)

I agree that General Conference was great!! On Saturday, we watched the morning session with the Johnsons, who I love so dearly! They are a couple who has started coming back to church in the past couple of weeks. After we watched the session, they prepared us a birthday meal! We had lasagna (my favorite!) and an amazing cookie dough ice cream cake!
Me with the Johnsons and my icecream cake!
As we ate, we talked about conference, and Brother Johnson said that his favorite part was Elder M. Russell Ballard's talk about the tomato plant. If you don't remember that one very well, it talked about the little girl who neglected her tomato plant for a while and so it wilted. But when she watered it and gave it sunlight, it came back to life. It relates to those who have become spiritually under-nourished, neglecting their priesthood duties and church responsibilities. Elder Ballard taught that we each have unlimited and divine potential, that we just need spiritual nourishment. Brother Johnson told us that the talk reminded him of himself and his wife. He said that we came along and watered them and gave them sunshine. I said, "You are our little tomato plants!" and he said that he would forever think of himself as that. We went to the Tree for the afternoon session and watched it with the Ward Mission Leader, Brother Stevens, his wife, and Howard. It was really really good and Howard loved it as well!
In front of the SLC temple <3
On Sunday morning, we watched the first session at the Tree and then 4 of us sisters drove to Salt Lake. We got a parking pass for the lot RIGHT beside the Conference Center, which was nice. We had seats on the left side of the stage, right in front. We could perfectly see the right sides of the prophet and apostles' faces. haha. Elder Holland spoke first. It was a dream come true. He did SUCH a lovely lovely job. He speaks with such conviction and power. You can tell that he has had divine experiences that have lead him to KNOW that the things he says are true. I felt the Spirit so strongly as he spoke. What a special experience it was to be in the presence of those wonderful men. 

Sisters Marlow, Zeiner, Walker, and I in the Conference Center
I hope that Michael enjoyed Conference. I have been praying for him! Is he still preparing to get his Patriarchal blessing? What a miracle.

Of course I am not mad at Rachael McCarl! haha. I don't take any offense at things that people say about locking your heart. It's such a joke anyway... Like I even have a heart to lock! ;)

Have fun in Gettysburg!! I loved the picture of Babe-raham.

We get the information about transfers tomorrow, so I don't know what will happen yet... Here is what I wrote in my email to President Miller this week, though:
"Also, I just wanted to ask you to let me stay in this area next transfer :) I am willing to work so hard because I know how much potential and growth is possible for Park City West. We are working with several families: serving them, teaching them, extending commitments to them. Nonmembers, less actives, and even member families. I have so much love for these people and I have a great desire to help them come even closer to Christ! I would love to continue to help the people in this area grow! That is my sales pitch. That's all. Thank you! :)"

There will be a new mission, the Salt Lake City East Mission, in July. Both SLC South and SLC East will have new mission presidents. We don't know where the boundaries of the new mission will be, or which missionaries will be put there. It is assumed that Park City will be in the new East mission, but no one knows who will be switched over! I am guessing that I might stay in Park City and be switched to the East Mission. I love it here and I love the Family Tree, but I am making the guess because my whole mission has been a crazy gong show, so it would only be understandable for the craziness to continue!

Sad! I did not get a birthday box! Maybe Elder Jerman will let me open it on my birthday if it arrives this week! My birthday is the day after transfers. Sister Zeiner and I both feel like she might get transferred to the Valley because she has been in this same area for the entire 6 and a half months that we have been in the field. It's not for certain, but we are thinking that President might transfer her.

Well, I love love love you! Hope all is well! Miss you like crazy! MWAAAH.

It's a wonderful Easter!

Sister Zeiner and I with our Easter bags :) 
What a wonderful and wild week. We picked up three new investigators, only to find out that they would be going to church in other areas. Each lesson with a new investigator was followed by a phone call to pass them on to another set of missionaries. However, we are working with two less-active families, helping them return to activity and preparing their 8-year-old children to be baptized. On Sunday, we also picked up a new investigator and put her on date for the month of April. 

One of our investigators has been reading the Book of Mormon non-stop. On Tuesday, we had a lesson with her and she received her answer that the Book of Mormon is true! It is such a special experience to hear someone say that they have felt that confirmation from the Holy Ghost. I absolutely love her and am so excited to keep teaching her and seeing her grow.

The couch with our Easter bags & a few eggs

Message from the "Easter Bunny"
Elder Jerman (the director of the Family Tree) and his wife, Sister Jerman, spoiled us for Easter! At our district meeting on Tuesday, Sister Jerman received a "phone call" in the middle of the meeting. She stopped and said, "I have to take this." She continued to talk on the phone in front of all of us. 

After a minute or so, she whispered to us, "It's the Easter Bunny!" This conversation continued for a good three minutes! She said that the Easter Bunny had left us each a note. At the end of the meeting, we read the notes, telling us that there was a surprise for each of us upstairs! When we went upstairs, there were Easter eggs everywhere! 6 Easter eggs for each of us; filled with scriptures and candy. There was also an Easter bag for each of us. It was sooo adorable and thoughtful. 

Carrot cake (Mmm!) and Easter treats!
Wednesday, we had dinner with a mom and her two kids. The two kids are in a French-immersion program at school. I am so jealous!! They are SO good. Their mom was on the phone in the other room and me and the kids were talking French to each other a little bit and Sister Zeiner was just like, I have no idea what any one is saying. haha. 

We had an absolute miracle this week! We have been going through the part-member family lists for our ward, looking for less-actives and non-members that we can teach. On Thursday, we visited one last door before going into the Family Tree for our shift. The family wasn't there and it looked like they had been renting out their home (a lot of people do that during ski season in Park City). The next day, we were tracting in a completely different area, and we found a woman who is a member but hasn't been to church in a while. As we were inviting her to come to church with us, we asked her name. It turned out that she was the woman who we were looking for the previous day! The area is always changing and people's hearts are always being prepared to receive this gospel.

On Saturday, we drove all around, inviting people to come to church for Easter Sunday. We watched Finding Faith in Christ at the Family Tree with one of the families that we are teaching. It was really good!

Easter was really good!! We went to 2 sacraments. Our investigator came to the first sacrament, and a less active couple came to the second one. Ahhh, I just love everyone so much! Then we went to the combined RS/priesthood lesson at another ward. The Young Women gave Sister Zeiner and I each a rose! :) 
Easter morn! (It was quite windy!) 

After church, we went to visit a former investigator (from before I was in the area) and we picked up her back up as an investigator. We taught a lesson outside because it was really sunny and nice out. Then we went to dinner with the Livingstons; their daughter left on her mission a week ago. They gave us each an Easter basket :)

This week, we also found out that Sister Zeiner and I get to go to the last session of General Conference in Salt Lake! We are going to watch the Saturday sessions with some people we are teaching. I am excited!

Don't forget to go on the Family Tree facebook!

How are Rusty and Becky and the baby doing? That's crazy he's in Kuwait. 

I miss Mike! I am so proud of him! I really hope that he can prepare himself to get his patriarchal blessing. I have been praying for him and Adam every single morning and night! 

Mother's Day is coming up in a few months.. haha. I am excited to talk to you! Woo hoo! I don't know anything about what will happen, but I'll let you know when I do.

The whole mission slowed down on the New Testament reading, so no worries. We are on Jude right now. 

Thank you for doing my taxes! You sweet lady!

April Fools prank on the director! 
I love you SOOO much. MWAH! <3