Monday, July 28, 2014

Andover is...the opposite of Austin. It is well to do white people, so it has been quite the struggle the past couple of days learning how to teach them, and getting use to knocking doors again. We were talking to some members last night who told me that I needed some humbling, so I was sent to Andover! Seriously, I think that might be true. Missionary work was easy in Austin, there were not many rejections. It has been hard, but I have seen some neat miracles. On Saturday we were tracting all day long. It was super hot, and I was not filled with much faith. I don't know the area, or the people, so it's interesting. AT about 2:30, my companion and I decided that we needed to take a quick bathroom break, so we drove to a gas station near by. We bought some water, because we were out of it, and went back to the car. I went to open my water bottle, and I couldn't! We tried for seriously 10 minutes, even using a pocket knife....anyways it wasn't working. I was so frusterated, and tired, and finally said a prayer asking Heavenly Father to somehow help me to get some water! I opened my eyes, and guess who is pulling in the parking lot? The Elders. It was crazy. We ran out of our car, and one of them was able to open it! It was such a simple thing, but a huge tender mercy for me. The ward here is absolutely huge, a big big change from Austin. We live in China....20 miles outside of town with a member. The closest city to us is St. Francis, which is little! We are able to email here at the library, but just for an hour, so that is a change as well. We are hoping to move into Andover in a couple months or so, but it will be a while. Crazy stuff! My companion's name is Sister Nelson. She has been out for 3 months so far. She is from Oregon, and just got out of the foster system there. She was in the foster system from the time she was 6 years old until now. Isn't that crazy, given my background with foster care? I think I found out pretty quickly why I am here. I don't think it is to teach a ton of people. It's to be a sister if you know what I mean. It has been really hard for me to switch roles, but it is going alright. Sister Nelson is very sweet, she has amazing simple faith. She has some learning disabilities, but she loves being on a mission. I am learning a lot about patience, and learning to love more like Christ did. Her birthday is on the 20th of August, so I'm hoping to do something awesome! ;) p.s. if the kids just happened to want to write/color a picture for her, I am sure it would be greatly appreciated! I had to leave all my plants behind, but I have faith that Sister Callister is taking care of them :) I haven't received a package, but I look forward to it! I will get you my address next week, but for now, just send things to the mission home. Thanks! It sounds like the kids are being kept busy, that is fantastic! I am glad that the celebration went well. How was your birthday? I hope that it was a good one....rumor has it that you received some flowers and a awesome looking cake? Is that true? :) I can't believe Jacob's birthday is already, holy moly! Time just flies. I will have reached halfway this week. Wednesday in fact. How crazy is that? I will have to send Jacob an awesome letter or something ;) Since we live out in the boonies, I think we have lots more time to write letters, which will be good. Relief Society is an interesting organization, I am glad you had that opportunity though. Thanks for the thoughts, I really like that. The world constantly tells us that we are not good enough, or smart enough, or pretty enough, or a good enough missionary, but when we realize that we are literally Daughters of God, that pressure leaves. All we can do is the best we can. That is all that is expected of us. Not perfection, just being ourselves. I hope that made sense. Thanks so much for the letter, I will write you more this afternoon. I am doing well, don't worry. We have been able to laugh. I know that I have been strengthened by the Savior this week. I have been forced to rely on Him and His Atonement. I don't know how else I could have had the patience, and strength and mental capacity that I have had! The Lord loves us, this I know. He lives. Everything He does is to help us to achieve eternal salvation. This gospel is truly the gospel of Jesus Chrst. It is restored to the earth. I love you all, and miss you so very much!!! You are in my prayers.
Sister Christina Trickler

Monday, July 21, 2014

This girl is going to Andover to be with Sister Nelson. Not going to lie it may not be the most thrilling news ever that I am leaving Austin, but there you have it. Thanks for the new pin number and card, it's much appreciate. Haha I am glad that you went in a walk in the rain, next step, dancing in the rain ;) It sounds like Flaming George was fun, good! I am glad that the cousins were able to come and that everyone had a good time! Haha Matthew is the stake indexing representative?! What the world is that? that's great. When we had our interview with the new mission president, he told me to take an hour sometime and work on my family history. The only problem is that we are so very busy here, that we haven't had time! Haha maybe in Andover I will. Crazy Crazy Stuff. Thanks for the address, it's appreciated. Malori! Advice...just make it until Sunday. It is hard and crazy, but Sunday you get to walk to the temple, and have a little bit of a break. After that it just flies by! Also, enjoy the MTC while it lasts, she is going English speaking, yes? It is a marvelous opportunity to really spiritually prepare before you go out into the real world, which is nothing like the MTC! And advice for missions in general, just be yourself. Everything else will eventually fall into place, just don't lose who you are! I will definitely email her :)

It is a great blessing that I have been able to have so many experiences here on the mission. It is interesting, I have been suspecting that I was going to leave Austin for the past week or so, so I have had an opportunity to reflect on what I have done well here, and what I haven't done so well. Enduring well I think is something I have learned. Some trials just don't go away, and there is nothing you can do about them, except for to endure well. It's different than just enduring, and something that I am far from perfect at. I am one who likes to solve problems and better situations, and sometimes that is just not possible! But yes, good life lessons have been learned here. I hope to keep learning them! ;)
So far I haven't heard anything about pioneer days, it is definitely a mostly Utah thing. Everyone here thinks it's strange that Utah celebrates the day it was made a state...haha I don't even know if Minnesota has such an official day! ;) I will let you know though if anything happens. Also, there are no fireworks restrictions here, so we have very large fireworks going off nearly every night. Between those and the fireflies, life is a party! Gotta love it :)
It is interesting the different challenges we face. I agree with you 100% we were foreordained to come to this earth at the time we did, and to the situations we are each in. I have thought a lot recently about how there are so few members of the church here on the earth, and that as this is the case, we are each in essence called to be leaders. So many people look up to us as members whether we realize it or not. It is a hard thing sometimes, but a blessing as well. It is a reminder to me to represent the Lord well, wherever I am going, whoever I am interacting with.
I'm glad the cucumbers are going well! That's great :) My tomatoes are really big now. I am having an intense internal dillema whether to bring them with me, or to leave them....I'll let you know what I decide, don't worry! ;)
I hope you all have a lovely week, I will let you know how all is going next week!
Sister Christina Trickler

I hope all is going well on your trip! It sounds like a fun adventure :) I can't believe Izaya's old enough to be baptized! Holy moly! I'm glad you were able to go though. It has been said that a baptism is the most spiritual meeting in the whole church. I think you can enjoy it more when you are not in charge though! I'm glad that Brandon was there, I hope all is going well for him. I'm so excited for Malori! A mission is going to be a great exerience for her I am sure. "a trial and a test, it shows you the worst and teaches you the best!"
So yesterday I had probably two of the strangest experiences of my entire mission. The first one happened when we were out knocking doors. We were talking to this really nice old couple, and through a series of events (perhaps unfortunate ones;) ) My companion told the couple her first name. They then asked for mine and in order to not make the situation super weird, I told them mine as well. We had a good conversation about the word of God, and how Jesus Christ is our Savior, then when we were leaving they called us by our names again. It was so strange, because I didn't really....connect with my name! I am so use to everyone calling me Sister or Sister Trickler or Trickler or Trickster that it took me a second to realize that they were talking to me! CRAZY WEIRD. I am officially becoming a missionary, and it's sort of weirding me out!
Second experience. We were home and my companion was in the other room for a bit. I was just talking to myself in my head like I tend to do, and all of the sudden I realized that I was talking like a missionary to myself! It was rather bizarre. I seriously was wondering where I had gone, and who this crazy missionary was that had taken my place! Don't worry, I got over it, but it was rather strange for a moment. I have been out for a long time, it's crazy.
This week we did have a rather neat experience though. So....the first day I got into Austin, nearly 6 months ago, Sister Amis and I went to teach a girl named Maddie. This was the first real lesson that sister had with her, the other one being just a doorstep lesson. Anyways, we have taught her pretty constantly since then, usually twice a week. She has set a date for baptism multiple times, but it always is pushed off due to usually family opposition. Well, this past Saturday, we were eating dinner with her and a member, and she told us rather nonchalantly, that she had talked a lot with her mom, and they decided that August 16th would be a good day for her to get baptized! Say What?! Se said her mom really wanted to be there, so that was the soonest she could come! Oh my goodness, I was in such shock, I still don't think that it has completely hit me! Super cool experience. I have felt for quite a while, in particular with her, that there comes a point where you have to make a stand. Whether you are investigating the church, or have been a life long member, there is a point where you have to stand up and decide what you believe in. You have to decide whether it is true or not, and what the gospel of Jesus Christ is worth to you. She did that. She decided that it was the most important thing in her life, and is making a covenant with God showing how important it is to her. One of my favorite things to say as a missionary is not to just believe me or my companion, we are just two girls, but to ask God if what we are sharing is true. If it is, it will change your life. It it isn't, then you can go on your merry way! Maddie decided to ask God, and she found that answer for herself. She didn't rely on my testimony, or the words I (or my companion) spoke, but she relied on her testimony that she has gained, the answers she has recieved.
In case you can't tell, I am a huge advocate of finding out for yourself if things are true. Asking questions is a beautiful thing. Now, it is always important to "doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith", but explore. Find out what you really believe and why. I think if we don't have this solid knowledge of what we believe, then the winds of life will be able to move us. They can knock us down if we don't had a deep root system! (speaking of the who, my tomatoes are getting so big!!! :D) These last days are going to be crazy, we don't have time to waste in finding out what is truth, and what is not!
Another neat experience. On Thursday we recieved a call from on or our members who is from Guatemala I believe. She moved here a year or two ago, and has very limited english. She is so very sweet though! She called us and said that she met this Chinese lady (Susan) and was talking to her a bit about family. Somehow during the conversation, Susan asked if the member was a mormon. The member said of course, and Susan said that she didn't know that there was a church here in Austin! Long story short, the member gave us Susans name and phone number and told us that she was expecting a call that evening. We called and set up a time to go talk to her. It turns out her family moved here from Iowa City a couple of years ago. They went to our church there with a member friend, but didn't know that there was one here in Austin, so they have since joined another church. We were able to talk to her and her two daughters, and they came to church with us on Sunday! There were a couple of things that really stood out to me about this experience.
1st. The sweet member who could only speak a little English had the courage to not only talk to this sister from China who has a really thick accent, but she wasn't afraid to tell her that she belonged to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This sister knows who she is, and is following the prophets council.
2nd. Because of members she knew when she lived in Iowa City, Susan had a very positive impression of the church. She had a desire to attend because of the family emphasis, and the classiness of character she saw! Our examples matter. She told us about a man at the church in Iowa that she saw open the car door for his wife. I'm sure that man didn't open the door just so Susan could have a positive impression!
3rd. Once again, we are all brothers and sister. God is our father and we are his children, no matter where we are from, how old we are, or what we have gone through in our lives.
Okay, I sufficiently sound like a missionary, bother. I have learned this past week that I am in favor of the word melancholy. But I think the only way to pronounce it is mel-an-kal-ly. (megamind!)
I hope you all have a lovely week, and that all goes well. Enjoy summer while it lasts!
Sister Christina Trickler

Monday, July 7, 2014

Hello! I hope all is going well at home! Thanks for the email, I loved it :) We only have a little bit of time to email today due to having our p-day on the 4th, but I will see what I can fit in! ;)
Summer has hit, and it sure is hot! Holy Moly, humidity is something new to this girl, and she's still getting use to it! And we saw fireflies too this week! We weren't able to go to fireworks because they were too late at night, but Sister Callister and I stood on our porch and watched them from there....and we saw quite a few fireflies! It was the best :) I'm glad the kids are enjoying swimming, I have to admit that is one thing I miss quite a bit! There is a city pool in the center of town that we pass quite a is tempting to jump in when it is 85 degrees, and super humid!! And I am sure that Jackie is quite the teacher. She has more patience than I ever had! Have fun in Flaming George, is the whole family going? It has been quite a while since that has happened. And speaking of the cousins, has anyone heard anything from Brandon? I wonder what he's doing...if I could I would just call him up! Oh my goodness, I do the same thing when I am laying on the floor! I have to get my exercise somehow, jk ;)
I'm glad that the 4th was a fun occasion, what is Tanner doing with his life? Is he still going to USU? It was fun here for the 4th, we had a p-day, so we went to the parade....the most unique parade I have ever been to before. It was fantastic, there were 6 or 7 different bands, which is always my favorite part, no royalty and a lot of people! It was fun to sit by the ward, and just feel slightly normal for a few hours...and I got to use my voice which was good. I miss being able to cheer at athletic events and such, so I got it all out! My poor companion ;) I too am so very grateful for the country in which we live. It isn't perfect, but it is so much better than a lot of them out there. Holidays are an interesting experience on the mission, you have the opportunity to celebrate the holiday without all of the fun things that you usually do at home. I have had the chance to really think about what they all mean. It is great :)
We were able to see another one of our investigators get baptised this week. It was a really interesting experience. Morning of, we got told that we were planning it (which we weren't planning on doing) So it was a really stressful day, due to the fact that it was the 5th of July and lots of people were gone anyway! We got it all done though, we had all the necessary people there, but not much more than that. It was one of the most spiritual baptisms I have had though. There were just a few of us, but the spirit was so strong. It reminded me that all that matters is the actual ordinance. It doesn't matter how many people are there, or what the refreshments are, or even how well the talk goes. It just matters that the baptism is performed in the proper way by the proper authority. As long as Konnor has a desire to follow Christ, everything else will fall into place. It will be good :) You will have to take pictures and send them to me.
We are going to meet our new mission president tomorrow, I will let you know how that goes. I think it will be good though, change is good. I just pray that the music rule is changed!! ;) I am not sure how long I am going to be in Austin, I will be here at least until the 23th of July. I have been here nearly 6 months though, so it's anyone's guess if I am staying or if Sister Callister is staying! We find out in 2 weeks. Until then though, we are going to get work done! :) My tomatoes are a little small still, but they are doing well. I think they like the heat, and all the rain we have had! Riding a bike in a skirt is an adventure, and I am sure we help a lot of people find a reason to laugh! Haha really though, it is one of my favorite things. It is good to get exercise, and I feel like we can talk to more people when we are biking rather than in a car! Haha I feel that way too sometimes Kaycee! But it's good. I'm nearly to halfway, that is rather strange! Just one more winter :) I hope you all have a lovely week, you are in my prayers!
Love, Sister Christina Trickler