(Amber Garvin from Provo, Utah served as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as 'Mormons') in the Richmond, Virginia area (Now called the "Virginia Chesapeake Mission"). 'Sister' Missionaries are able to serve at age 19 for a period of 18 months. They leave their homes, families and educational pursuits to love and serve their fellowman, and to teach about how families can be together forever. All are invited to follow her missionary experiences.)

*I have now returned home to Utah and will continue to share the experiences of being a returned missionary. :)

Monday, April 29, 2013

First Letter from Virginia; Williamsburg!!!

Williamsburg (from Wikipedia)
I am HERE!  I was sent to Williamsburg in the Jamestown Area.  My new trainer is Sister _____.

I miss my district and the MTC SOOOO much!  I wish that we were still together.  They are my missionary family, and I am not allowed to email them, so I just have to pray that they are each doing well, and trust that Heavenly Father is taking great care of them.  I really am excited for each of them, and know that their trainers will become great friends of theirs, but it was hard to say goodbye after being with them for 15 hours a day for 14 days.

Apparently the area I am in now is hard.  We haven't had a baptism in over a year, and we get ignored a lot.  There are two HUGE (really enormous, and elaborately decorated) churches right by where we live, so lots of people go to those.  Also, everyone has dogs, and Sister J has been chased by some before.  Also, people blatantly ignore you when you knock on their doors.  That one is funny actually.  Really?  You don't think we can hear you ignoring us through your open window?  We can.  But we just keep on Keeping on.

We met with _____ last night.  It was an awesome  experience.  She is one of the most enduring people I know, and the pieces  of her story that she shared, and pieces of my story that relate to her.  I know that she has the potential to be an outstanding disciple of Christ.  

I leave you with my favorite scripture of the week: Psalms 116:1-9 (Look it up!)  I know that He hath heard my supplications.  He answers Prayers.

Love Always,
Sister Garvin

Read more about Williamsburg, Virginia

Friday, April 26, 2013

MTC - April 18, 2013

Today is our very first p-day at the MTC!  We were so excited to do laundry that Sister ___ and I made a song. :)  Sorry that it has taken so long for me to get back with you!

I got an unexpected package from ____ and the _____family--it almost made me cry.  _____ sent me a wonderful talk by Elder Holland, and an entire starter kit of the fullsized Doterra oils.  I also got a picture from ____ and she wrote her own name!  (I think) And that kind of boggles my mind.  I don't have a return address, but I will have more time to hand write letters today then I will have to email, so if I send thank you notes back could you forward them to ____?  Because that would be great.

I did mention that I was called to be the Sister Training leader for our zone right?  I feel so blessed to be able to meet with the amazing ladies that entered the MTC yesterday.  9 new sisters!  _____ and I were albe to talk to them last night before they went to bed, and they are amazing girls!  I already feel such an amazing capacity to love them!

MTC Missionaries
Our district is amazing, and have quickly become some of my favorite people in the world.  We were joking about petitioning our mission pres. into letting us stay together as a district for at least one transfer of our missions.  They are my family at the MTC, and I am going to cry a lot when we have to shake hands and say goodbye. 

I can't send pictures today because I have to go to the bookstore and get a card reader, but I promise to get some to you soon.  We do matching district days, so we have a picture of our entire district wearing Blue, Black and a day that we tried to do red, but I don't really have red, so it is more pink.

(I'm) Doing great!  It is a huge blessing to be surrounded by men holding the Priesthood Authority of God.  I have had a couple blessings and know that I have a huge team that wants me here.  I  asked for angels when I arrived to be with me, and I know without a doubt that they were here.

I love you all so much, and am glad that you are continuing to do activities that will uplift you.

Last thing.  Elder Scott came and talked to us about prayer Tuesday night.  I know without a doubt that he is a prophet of God, and I love this truth and this gospel with all of my soul.

I have learned that this is not a time for self-evalutation.  It is a time to learn how to help investigators progress, and to evalutate how they are coming closer to Christ.  We learned that yesterday and it finally clicked.

Also, Mary Ellen Edmunds came and talked to us for Relief Society.  She is great!
Pick and choose what you want to put on my blog.  Almost out of time.

Love you!
Sister Garvin

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

MTC - First Entry - April 11, 2013

These are excerpts from Amber's first letter.  I was SO thrilled to get it.  :) I'll be the one updating her site.  Thanks for following.  Heidi G. (Amber's Mom)

Dear Mom,

We were challenged by our MTC Presidency to write letters home last night.  I am a little late, but I am fulfilling the commitment I made.

I finally feel reassured that I .....have been prepared to be here.  I asked that there would be angels round about me to bear me up, and I felt there were throughout my arrival day and still.  Thank you for teaching me to ask.

It is an amazing thing to be here and to be part of this work.  I have already gained a new appreciation of being surrounded by the feeling of the Holy Ghost all the time.  I have also begun to learn to love differently despite mortal differences.

I know that Heavenly Father has prepared me to be a missionary for many reasons, one of them being that I really haven't gotten a huge culture shock -- maybe that will come later.  Right now I feel like studying and having a companion are what life should have always been like.

My companion is Sister ____.  She is from California and has amazing curly hair.  So far we get along really well, and she is teaching me, through her example,  how to talk to, relate to, and love others' no matter what.

Our district consists of 6 Elders and us.  We have already become close and have had some great discussions.  I am amazed at how quickly Elders step up their game and behave like men of God.

I know that one day ______(brother) can be one of them and learn some of the same lessons and behaviors he has already begun.

I want you to know that I am doing good.

I am glad to know of the birthplace of peanuts :)   Our district was wondering if peanuts grow on trees, shrubs, or underground?

Talk to you soon!
Sister Garvin

p.s.  I was called/chosen to be a sister training leader and Senior Companions for this week.  I will be in training with the other sisters until Sunday because they leave Monday from the MTC to their missions. I didn't know I could grown so much in such a short time.   :)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Easter Talk And A Hard Tuesday

I was assigned to give my "farewell" talk on Easter Sunday.  I prayed hard that I would be able to give a good talk that could reach each person in the congregation in some way.  The musical numbers that were before me invited the Spirit into the room, and I felt like the people that were there were more open to the whisperings of the Holy Ghost because of the music.

The talk went well.  I finished feeling like the things I had said had all come out the right way, and that the message was important and contributed to the meaning of Easter.  I was so grateful to the friends and family that were able to come.  I felt so loved and supported.  There were people there who I hadn't thought would be there, and it just added to the joy I felt throughout the rest of the day.

The weather was a miracle.  It was sunny, and warm accompanied by a sunburn.  The world was green, and there were lots of smiles all around.

Thanks to some of the Relief Society sisters who provided the food, and helped us set up our house to accommodate more people then would have been able to fit otherwise.  We could not have possibly done it without them.

I was able to visit with some of the most important people in my life, which was a huge blessing.  It was great to see old roommates, best friend families, and have a chance to share the day with people that I love.  I was able to meet new people, get to know some old friends better, and at the end of the day I felt exhausted, but entirely fulfilled. :)

We had so many leftovers that we had a family picnic in the house Monday.  It was all soggy, and rainy, and cold outside so Andrew made a house proof Easter Egg hunt, and we let the kids loose for a couple of hours while we visited with the Aunts and Uncles, and Grandparents.

The hard Tuesday wasn't always hard.  I woke up and started laundering and packing all of the things I have to have ready for next week.  I got thank-you cards written, phone calls made, and changed out of my pajamas for once.  It was actually really great!

The hard thing came when I got a phone call from the manager from the apartment complex I lived at last semester.  She said that the girl who she had lined up to buy my housing contract backed out, and signed with someone else.  That leaves me with one week to either sell the contract at a incentive reduced price, or figure out how to pay for it.  One week is not a long time to be able to do that.

It is overwhelming to have something so big go so wrong with such short notice.  I think I will probably have to pay for it.  That is three months of my mission unaccounted for which is hard for me to move forward with.

I am learning that it is easy to trust the Lord when you know that things will fall into place, and be taken care of, but it is not as easy when you are launching yourself into the unknown at full speed and know what you are running for, but not quite where the finish line is.
(that is my wise analogy for the day)
I know that somehow things will fall into place.  I know that I am running for the Lord and His team, I just have a little anxiety because I don't know where or when things will fall into order.  My God is a third watch God, but I hardly ever know when that is.

I just have to keep telling myself that He will take care of it.  That He already has this all planned out, and that if I am on His errand, He will provide.

I hope that that girl who has unknowingly taught me such a hard lesson has a really great semester wherever she ended up living.  I hope that she has great roommates who become lifelong friends, or that she finds a husband in her singles ward or something.  Then I can justify not being upset with her.