(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, September 30, 2013

Amber in Virginia - September 30, 2013 - Transferring to North Carolina

So I didn't have a chance to respond to all the emails I wanted to this week, so here is my public apology. :)  Thank you all for writing to me though!  I love to hear from you!

I'm being transferred this week.  I don't really know where I'm going geographically, but I'm going to be opening an area where sisters have never been, and I'll be training a new missionary.  (see links at end of post for more info. on where Amber will be serving; Rocky Mount, North Carolina.) 

I'm so so excited!  I'm also so so sad!

I have grown in Jamestown, and I'm going to always have a part of my heart reserved for this place.  I wouldn't be the person I am right now if I hadn't been here.  So it is sad to be leaving, and I'm sad that I wont see any of the immediate results of some of the things that I tried to do here, but I am SO THRILLED for Sister Newbold!  She will begin the harvest, and I am so glad that she will have the opportunity to train and grow here!

Well, mixed feelings.

I was so sad to hear about the passing of my friend Adam this week.  I had a hard few days, but I prayed and said that I needed 3 days to mourn, and then asked for a blessing.

I have learned a lot.  I loved that kid, but I know that things will be okay, and I'm so glad and grateful that he can be in a place with no pain, only love joy, and beauty.  I know that he is happy there.  

There is a scripture in Nehemiah 6:3 "...I'm am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down..."
I know that he is in a better place, and he is doing a great work, and I am so happy to be connected to people that aren't here in person through this wonderful Work of Salvation.

I can stand (write) before you, and say with full conviction and testimony that I KNOW that The Plan of Salvation is Heavenly Father's plan of happiness for us, and I know that it is true, and I know that it is really more than what I know of it.

It's truth though, and I can stand by that.

I don't know everything that is in store for me in the next year, but I do know that Heavenly Father has a place for me in His plan, and that His plan includes my happiness.

I'm so grateful for the experiences that I have had here, and I know that I wouldn't be able to fully become who God designed me to be without this opportunity to serve.

Thank you to those who have helped provide it, and who have been a part of it.

I cherish you!

Sorry this is so rushed!
It's cram-everything-that-you-have-to-do-and-pack-day along with grocery shopping and appointments!

I love you for eternity!

Sister Amber in North Carolina (soon)

Map of Rocky Mount

Our 'District' - Jamestown

Monday, September 23, 2013

Amber in Virginia - Monday, Sept. 23, 2013

So apparently when I try to type really fast my brain spells the wrong version of words that I am thinking of like four instead of for.  Well, that's embarassing..... Oops!

Guess what I'm SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO excited for?!
You probably will take to long to guess so I will just tell you.
General Conference is (not this weekend) NEXT WEEKEND!
Guess why this is momentous?! 
Because it will mark 1 year since the age change for missionaries (which changed many peoples worlds--including mine.)
Also, I get to spend 10 hours sitting-- which is way more than I have done in 2 days in the last 5 months. :)  So that will be great.

This week I have been thinking a lot about being successful, and becoming, and other deep thoughts like that.
I have reached a really wonderful conclusions (thanks again to my lovely mother, and also my great mission president) 
Wise words "all we have to show for this is what we have become."

So then the question is: What would have to happen for me to feel like I had served a successful mission?

Would it be 'X' number of baptisms, or 'Y' number of miracles?

You are right if your brain just thought "NO!"

Go you!

While my realizations may not be accurate for all other missionaries around the world, they are for me, and on the slight chance they may benefit somebody I am willing to share.

If (super metaphorically) I came home tomorrow, or next week, or next month, would I be satisfied with who I had become?  The answer: yes. Why you ask?  What is the point, or what do you have to show for it?

Well, my answer is simply that I have become more.

I know that it sounds weird. But it's true.  I haven't become a completely different person (I still think I'm SO funny!)  but I have become more, and maybe even more important than that is that I LOVE the people here.

I could come home tomorrow and feel like I had been successful simply because I opened my heart up again, and I learned to love the people.

I can show for all this that I loved. And that I served out of love.

That's good enough for me, and I feel that it is good enough for the Lord.

I know that He called me on a mission so that he could teach me about this really miraculous, and minor-ly comprehendable thing called love.

And that's that.

Well, not also, 
(as always)
You are in my prayers, and 
I love you forever.

Sister Amber

From:  Mission Conference in July - (Photo posted by my Mom)  
(Amber is on third row back, kneeling 5th from left, red top.  :)
Missionaries in Virginia, Chesapeake Mission, 2013

Monday, September 16, 2013

September 23, 2013. Willamsburg, Virginia. -- Starfish Story.

Muddy 'Crocs'  :)
Dearest Loved ones, whom I love,  

I don't remember what week it happened or if I sent a picture, but I made my companion walk through the mud.  It was an accident, but it happened.  This is what happened to the new Crocs that I bought at TJMaxx for $8 (stellar deal.)

We've also been working with this sweet hispanic woman named Maria - to help her with her English, and in reading the Book of Mormon. We aren't going to be meeting with her anymore because she is going to the Spanish Branch, and the Hermanas (spanish-speaking sisters) are going to be meeting with her from now on, but she is so sweet. :)

I don't know if I have many words of wisdom this week, but I can say this:
I'm 10 pages away from the end of the Book of Mormon, and it's still true.
It was true when I started it, it was true when I got half way through it, and it is still true as I approach the end.

So, it's kind of like the best thing.

Everyone should read it.  Every day.  Or more.

We had Zone Conference this week.  Our ward (church congregation) fed all the missionaries, for which we were all grateful.  I love Relief Society, and being part of something.  They were wonderful to us.  

It was great to hear from President Baker, and his wife, and to refresh and refine the vision of missionary work that they have for this mission.  I appreciated so many things that they said.

This week I'm not as fiery-sounding as I have been inprevious weeks.  It must be the weather. :)  Or the change in season. (There is an entire yellow-leaved tree by our house!) But I'm just as fiery in testimony.

To quote the words of a very wise woman-- namely mom-- who changed my life today.

"There are so many things like that that just don't seem fair and...I know that you know that and have dealt with a lot of them in your life.  And, yet, like the starfish, you have made a difference - one person at a time....
"Sometimes we don't think we are - but, we are watched and...everything we do - makes a difference.  Even if we don't know it. "

"It made a difference for that one."
Mommy, thank you for helping me be a starfish. We are a family of starfish.

Probably somehow the entire eco-system would crash without starfish.  I don't know all that scienc-y stuff, but that's just my idea.

So yeah.

It's weird, but thank you for being my starfish family.
You're basically the best-- more than anything else ever.  And you're mine, which is even better.

Love for eternity, "AND BEYOND!"

Sister Garvin AKA Amber

The Starfish Story
A young man is walking along the ocean and sees a beach on which thousands and thousands of starfish have washed ashore. Further along he sees an old man, walking slowly and stooping often, picking up one starfish after another and tossing each one gently into the ocean.
“Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?,” he asks.
“Because the sun is up and the tide is going out and if I don’t throw them further in they will die.”
“But, old man, don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it! You can’t possibly save them all, you can’t even save one-tenth of them. In fact, even if you work all day, your efforts won’t even make a difference .”
The old man listened calmly and then bent down to pick up another starfish and threw it into the sea. “It made a difference for that one.”

Monday, September 9, 2013

Mormon Missionaries - Why do they do what they do?

And...here's a BEAUTIFUL message about Missionary Work.  I found it to be very touching!
(Posted by:  Amber's mom)

Williamsburg, Virginia, September 9, 2013 - Sister Amber Garvin

(Dear Readers:  Amber was a bit hesitant to share this and wanted me to look it over and see if it sounded 'too grumpy' or not.  I felt it was actually strong and powerful, and...a good reminder to the rest of us as to our personal responsibility of sharing the gospel and doing more than just being an example.  I hope you will all take it the same way.  - Sincerely, Amber's mom, Heidi Garvin)  :)

From Sister Amber Garvin; serving in Williamsburg, Va
Monday, Sept. 9, 2013

Soooo..... There is this thing called missionary work.  And we had Stake Conference this week and it was all about it.

There is something that I learned from it that I would like to share.  I only share it because it hit me with full force this week, and especially as I listened to the words of our inspired leaders who hold the keys to missionary work in this area.  I share this not to offend, but to invoke a thought.  A thought that if cultivated and pondered will lead to an action.

That's the disclaimer.  Please take the rest with a pinch of salt or a grain of salt or whatever that phrase is that will deliver the message in a way that I mean it.  I mean it out of love, and out of a hope that I will always retain in my remembrance the things that I am learning here.  I don't always remember to write them down, and one day I would like to look back and remember what lessons I learned that shaped me into the person that I am becoming.

Here's the rest:

We talk about it all the time, and I have gained a new perspective about it since I have been living it.

We talk about it frequently enough that I hope that if I just cut to the point you can piece things together.

Missionary work has changed, and is continuing to change.  

Here I will be very frank: Being an example is not enough.  It's not.

While being an example does lead to people noticing you, and it does lead to you being able to live the standards that it doesn't lead others to action.

I am not excusing myself; I have used that line before "I will just be an example." But I have asked this, and I could probably think really hard to structure this question more eloquently, but here it is.  Where did that get me? Honestly, not far.  I was able to maintain my personal standards, but that didn't share the gospel with anybody.

Being an example did not make me a missionary. 

This probably sounds harsh.  But I'm learning that beating around the bush doesn't get me very far either because I'm not being completely honest.
I'm just working on being a bit more tactful.

So anyway.


I have to head out for today, we only have an hour, but I will be here next week, and I love you, and I will write you a letter soon!  Sorry that I have fallen behind!
You are my reason for fighting!
Thank you for being my constants!
I hit 5 months tomorrow.  It's been a year since I started school (at BYU-I last year).  It still doesn't seem real that I have been here (in Virginia) this long, but I still think about how far away next October seems.

When I picture my most beloved family waiting for me at the airport that is when I continue to have the strength to continue one more step.  

You mean more to me than I even thought, and more than you will ever know.

Love (literally) forever,


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Tuesday, September 3, 2013, Williamsburg, Virginia, LDS/Mormon Missionaries

My name is Sister Garvin.
I'm a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Sister Amber Garvin - 2013
I bear a message about "the good news" of the Gospel, which is centered around your Savior, and my Savior, Jesus Christ.
I know that the message which I share is true, and I know that no matter what stage of life you may be in it can bring strength, relief, and courage to face anything that may lie ahead.
I am not here to change your faith, only to build upon it.
I am here to teach.
I am here to testify that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
He loves you, and he knows you.
I am here to witness of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, I know it to be the word of God.
I am here to share this message to all who will heed it.
I am here to lead others to Christ by helping them to receive the teaching of this restored gospel, and to exercise their faith unto repentance.
I am here to love.
I am here to learn.
Most importantly, I am here to serve.
God is mighty.  Through many small and simple things I have been a witness to the power of everyday miracles this week.  I wish that I could share all of them.

Something that I learned from somebody important to me this week we were talking about chances/percentages.
I learned this: God can work with a 10% chance. In fact, He can work with a 0.00000000000001% chance.  I'm not completely sure how small a percent can get, but I KNOW with all conviction that God can work with that low of a percent chance.

"...The things which are impossible with men are possible with God." (Luke 18:27)

I have probably said it before, and I know that most of my letters are probably pretty redundant, but I will continue on with stating the things that I have learned.

Ours is a God of second chances.

Do you understand how profound that is?

We have the option of a second chance no matter where we have been, where we are, or who we are.  We are only defined by the limits we set for ourselves.  Our Father truly loves us, and desires our success.  For that reason He doesn't set limits on us.  With limits all things are not possible. In the context that I am pondering limits-- they are man made.

In this context, limitless and impossible are synonymous.

Also, I really think that this pondering that is occurring in my brain ought to be published in a book or something.  In my very apparent opinion, these thoughts are not that of a not-quite-yet 20 year old woman.  Whew!
I know another thing for certain, I am grateful that grandma is saving all these letters, because if I don't have a book published, I sure am going to make a giant quote wall with my face on it along with all the profound thoughts that I forget I send home! :)

For those people that have been instruments in the Lord's hands for making my perceived limitations possible I thank you most graciously.  Thank you for encouraging and supporting me in overcoming the things that I thought were impossible, and for allowing me to experience this time of growth, and profound thought.  You will never truly know what a lasting, and infinite effect it has had on the welfare of my soul.

Sorry, no more time.
Get me published! ;)
Just kidding.
It would probably make me blush.

Love you always!
Sister Amber Garvin

P.S. Will send photos next week!

Also --- My Mom is posting the following for all your information...and, because I didn't send any photos this week and...she thinks that people like to see photos. 

Flash Mob at Tabernacle Choir Performance in Williamsburg, June 22, 2013