(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, July 29, 2013

July 29, 2013 - Williamsburg, Virginia - Sister Missionaries

Dear Dearest Most Darlingest Most Wonderful Family in the ENTIRE world,


So this week went by really slow, but really fast.  So fast, that I don't really remember everyday.  8 hours of sleep just seems like a really long nap these days, and so all of the days in the whole week really feel like just one really long day.  :)

But things went good!  We tracted a lot.  And I got exactly one letter at all. (hint hint)  I know that I never respond to letters but that does not give you an excuse to stop spending all day long composing me pages and pages of your lives which then end up in my very small mailbox.  That's just not a valid excuse.  It's just not.  I'm sorry I have to be so blunt with you here. ;)

FOR MOM:  There is a really cool missionary infographic that I would love to have you post on my blog.  go to this page http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/topic/missionary-program and click the view infographic and then there is a code at the bottom which you can embed.   If it doesn't work then no worries.  (note from mom:  I've posted it below)

Just as always there were many miracle this week, but the major one was I got through it.  Yup, truth revealed.  It was a rough week.  In all honesty that is usually how weeks are.  I didn't really understand that until I was living it, but being a missionary is hard.  There are days when you have to consistantly remind yourself why you made the decision to go on a mission. Not I ever question my desire to serve the Lord, but I do sometimes find myself questioning why I made the decision to serve in this way. Trying to teach simply, while teaching doctrine fully and completely AND following the Spirit to tell you what to say is not a simple task.  Sometimes I want to curl up in a ball and never speak again.

But along with the discouragement that occurs for at least a second everyday there comes great lessons.  
I have learned to talk to people.
I have learned to get past the first judgements that I frequently make.
I have learned about second chances.
I have learned about love.
I have learned to open my mouth.
I have learned to do things that are intimidating, and scary.

I am learning to teach with love always,
I am learning that every day is a mountain to climb, and it's worth climbing.
I am learning that Heavenly Father doesn't expect us to cross the finish line before he will bless us, but he will bless us as we take each labored step to get there.
I am learning that the only person that can hold me back is me.
I am learning about the person that God designed me to be, and am seeing more potential in myself, and the opportunity to do good than I have ever seen before.

This week was a mountain, but I reached a checkpoint in the race, and I it was worth it.  I am still here, and I still have faith.  I can still pray, I can have a second chance, and I can continue to open my mouth and speak.

I love you all so much, and will admit that last Monday I was a little bit homesick so I bought myself a box of Reese's Puff cereal because it reminded me of mom.  I know that is weird.
Also, I ate the whole thing. 
Shhhhh!  No telling. ;)

I hope y'all have a better day everyday. :)

Love forever, and past eternity,
Sister Garvin

Monday, July 22, 2013

Monday, July 22, 2013 - Williamsburg, Virginia


This week was really good.  I was pretty long.  I can't believe that in weeks I wil have been a missionary for 4 months.  I don't know if that is okay with me.  But it really is because I love Utah so much!  And there are some things I miss about home life.  Like: Sitting around and reading a book for an entire day because I have no other plans.  

I am confident that will never happen to me in the next 14 months.  Whoa.  14 Months.  Whew.

You may wonder why I have thought this thought that I thunk.  :)

It's because last night we got home and after planning and getting ready for bed I had 30 minutes left of time with which I was unsure what to do.  In those moments most often you study.  

But I was in the mood for something different, so I picked up 'Jesus The Christ'.  

I tried to read it a little bit before I left with little success.  There are lots of big words in that book.

But last night my mind was enlightened and expanded, and I read 2 chapters while comprehending all things which I read.  WAHOO!  I have learned that the more familiar you become with OT, NT, and BOM language the easier it becomes to read really lengthy books with lots of big words. 

So that is what I did last night.

I know.... It's facinating, and I am sure you all really care about this really long thought process that I had last night while reading Jesus the Christ.

It's a good book.
I was a little sad that it would've been a really bad idea to stay up all night reading it.  But not devestated, because I REALLY like the 8 hours of sleep I get each night.

That's not sarcastic at alll. Really.

This week there were lots of miracles.  We were able to contact some people that haven't been contacted for at least 2 years, and were able to have some really incredible experiences with appointments.

That is all I have time to say today.

Virginia is humid, and hot.  And it rains.  A lot.

My new companion is AWESOME!  And I love her.

Bye for this week!

I love you all!  Always!

Sister Garvin

P.S. look at this cute puppy that this family in our ward got!  (don't mind my chubbiness. :)  I WANT ONE! 
Sister Missionaries - Williamsburg, Virginia
Also: best speed limit ever.  It's my favorite!
Best Speed Limit Sign Ever.  :)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Monday, July 15, 2013 - Jamestown/Williamsburg Virginia


Today is pretty monumental.  I really had some days when I thought I would never make it this far, but here is is..... 12th week of being in Virginia.

Crazy things happened this week.  The new missionaries that were coming in had probably the worst flight experience EVER.  Their flight got cancelled, then re-routed, then they were all on different flights, with different layovers, more cancellations, delays, and everything that could go wrong while traveling.

So we went to transfer meeting, and all of the trainers met, and Pres. Baker announced that there were some new missionaries that still had not made it to Virginia.  And I just knew that mine was one of them.  I was right. :) -- So I stayed with my companion in her new area with her new companions for the night because it was too many miles to drive all the way home, and all the way back, and I didn't have a companion. (talk about identity crisis, I had no idea what to do with myself!!!)

But she arrived safe, and sound. Sister Newbold, from Utah.  I was so excited to meet her!

We had a mini transfer meeting, and I was the only one that could play the piano.  And I couldn't play well. So I choose the easiest hymns in the book, and played them poorly for the meeting.  I'm pretty sure that my face turned red, but that's okay!  I'm just blaming it on the temperature, because it is flaming hot in lots of places. :)

So, that is what happened this week.

I have a new appreciation for my trainer.  It's hard!  I don't know what I am doing, but I know that my new companion is meant to be in Jamestown, and that she has a specific purpose here!  I hope that together we can keep the work moving forward, and that we can reach more of our potential as missionaries while serving together in this area.

Bon Voyage! (Misieur Increabe!) (I can't spell French....)

Love Always,
Sister Garvin

Monday, July 8, 2013

July 8, 2013

Hello all!  

Today is really a milestone.  Actually it started yesterday....
I am going to be a trainer!!!

(Also, I am trying to be so excited about it that it pushes the fact that I am terrified out of my mind to the side...)

Sister Jasperson is going to be moving into every missionaries worst night mare. Opening an area, shot-gunning, training a new missionary, in a trio, in a singles ward.  Whoa.  

I know that she will be fantastic, and I know that she will be a success anywhere she goes. 

It was a surprise, and I am a little bit devastated to lose her, but I know that she will be a fantastic addition to the singles ward so I am excited for her. :)

As for myself.....uhhhhhh...... prayers please?  I wonder if it will be really awkward to train somebody that is older than me?.... I am thinking that I may just keep my age a secret unless directly asked.  Don't worry, there will be no lies.

My first thought after being asked to train was "how on earth is this going to work?!"  I know that God will provide a way for missionary work to be successful in this area, and that he will not let me ruin anything beyond repair.  And I am trying really hard to rely wholly on that faith, because I feel like that is all I have going for me right now. 

We had some great miracles this week!  We have been working with someone for probably 9 months that has been less active for quite awhile, and for the first time SHE PRAYED!!!!! I was so so so so so so so happy!!!!!

It basically made my entire time in Jamestown completely worth it.  Hard work pays off right?!  

This is a great area to be trained in because you learn quickly that not every person that you ever meet will be baptized.  But you learn quickly that that is not what makes you successful.  'Preach My Gospel' even says that your success as a missionary is measured primarily by your commitment... something, something, something.  I didn't bring it (the book) to the library (where I'm emailing) so I can't quote it directly... But I have learned that my success is not based on the agency of other people.  And that is a really wonderful thing to learn early on. :)

I am learning more, and more how to love people, and give them the benefit of the doubt for their honest and sincere efforts.  

The End.:)

Sometimes I feel much better about things after I have thrown them all up in letters home.  So I would like to just give a quick shout out to all y'all folks back home who read the many little rants, and unorganized thoughts I send your way.  You have made a great support to the missionary cause, and I am better able to process things as I type them up.

I guess I should use a journal for that, huh?

Okay.  I think this thought is mostly complete now.

I love you so much, and really, truly appreciate all of your prayers. :)

Love Always,
Sister Garvin

Monday, July 1, 2013

New Mission: Virginia, Cheseapeake. July 1, 2013

Welcome to the Virginia Chesapeake Mission!  

Today is the official mission split, and we are excited to be a part of this historic milestone.  58 new
missions!  That is a big number.

Our new mission president (President Baker) flew in last week with his wife (Sister Baker).  Something that really amazes me is how inspired mission calls are.  Really.  And the age change announcement. Wow. This time last year I had just finished high school.  I never thought that I would be in Virginia. And now, I have already served in 2 different missions!  This is some crazy stuff. :)

We had a very interesting Sunday.  I was presented with some things that made my opinions burn so passionately that I sort of shook.  But I am not going to share those thoughts because I haven't completely  organized them yet.

What I will say is this:  The age change for missionaries was one hundred percent absolutely pure and inspired revelation, and the things that the First Presidency are doing now to further hasten the work of salvation are a part of that inspired, pure revelation.  There is no room for wondering and speculating, and saying things like "someone else will..." or "somebody should do something about that"s.  We have been prepared and are expected to be that someone.  We are more then capable of taking a stand, and doing hard things.  This is how it is right now, and no single person that is part of this church can participate passively.  President Perry said it wonderfully at our last mission conference "Ours is not a convenient Christianity."

Now, this is my fiery opinion, and is not to be quoted as doctrine.  But it is my belief.  I can take a stand, I am taking a stand, and I will continue to fight for the things that I believe and know to be true.  It is much harder to float around in gray space rather than to just keep fighting.

I am running short on time again and wan't to get some pictures out to you... 
... the most AMAZING sunsets... every day... except for rainy ones.

I love you!
Happy 4th of July!
-Sister Garvin

- Historic battle field that we go to when it feels really claustiphobic.
P.S.  Virginia has AMAZING clouds... every day.

Add  Funniest label on the back of a dvd player I had ever seen.  We laughed at that for a few minutes. :)

Photos - July 1, 2013

Recent Photos -

 We rode the ferry to Surrey before the Mission split!  
Ronnie (friend from BYU-I) sent me some money that fed us dinner and bought us cheesecake that was surprisingly good, and danced upon our tastebuds. :)

Sister Roberts and me - on the Ferry.. I seriously love her! .. She is outstanding and adorable!