(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, November 25, 2013

Monday, November 25th, 2013, Rocky Mount, North Carolina

This week was filled with many different opportunities and miracles.  Let me tell you something that is a good principle that I learned:
One time (last Thursday...) we were setting many goals.  These goals were SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, reasonable, and timely) EXCEPT: there was one.
There was one goal with which we have been not a SMART about.  Namely, finding new investigators. 
I will just say that I'm still learning ways that we can do that.
BUT!  We devised a plan.
Instead of setting a low SMART goal as we had been previously we would set a HIGH SMART goal knowing that it probably wouldn't happen, but knowing that it would be a high number and that we would be forced to think about it throughout the week.
Let me tell you something.  I think it was a major 'lightbulb' moment because....
We reached our goal.
And we did it while doing all the same things that we have been doing in the last 6 weeks.
So I learned that Heavenly Father makes it possible for us to accomplish great things in the midst of our everyday activities.  You don't have to do something outstandingly different to make a difference, just be willing.
I think that as far as members of the church go, sometimes we think that finding people who might be interested in the gospel is independant of what we do in our lives already-- it's a different activity.
It's not!
I can say it as a member, and as a missionary. 
All that we are asked to do is be commited to doing what the Lord has asked.
If we are commited, TRULY committed, and we set an insired goal, He will make it possible for us to accomplish that goal in a way that we may not have thought it would happen, and in a way that suits our personal strengths and our personal lives.
So, everybody:
Christmas is coming fast.  Are you commited to finding a person with whom you can help feel of God's love?  Are you really committed?  If you are, I can promise you that the Lord will trust you enough to place somebody in your path that is ready and needs to feel of that love.  It may be in an unexpected way, but it will happen.

Epiphany:  Miracles do not come from casual commitment.  I just thought of that just barely as I was typing this to you.
Now you know my thought processes. :)
I hope that each of you will commit to finding that "one" and loving that "one" in the same way that the Savior would love them.  Will you do that? It will bless not only them, but you. I KNOW that as we have Christlike love for others, we feel of Christ's love for us because I have learned for myself through service, and through that love that He loves me.
I know that this is a season and time in the gospel as well as year to reach out in love to others and help them, and invite them to feel of the love that Heavenly Father and the Savior have for them!
I LOVE YOU!!!! And I hope that you know it every time that you feel "low".  I am one of the three people that loves you a million much!!!!! :)
Talk to y'all nest week!
Sister Starvin (for a Thanksgivin' feast) Garvin

Monday, November 18, 2013

Monday, November 18, Rocky Mount, North Carolina, LDS Sister Missionaries

Dear Family,
I was going to start of my letter by saying something funny about how I hadn't received a letter in a week, and then call you all to repentance, but then I found out about how your computer crashed, and other things that are happening in your lives, so I think I will just start out by being grateful. :)

(Also, Thanksgiving is nigh upon us, so twill be fitting!)

I'm so grateful.  I'm grateful for miracles, I'm grateful for love, and I'm grateful for you.

I know I have said it before, but I often wonder if anything I have done has been for the bettering of anyone besides myself.  It's so easy to see all the things that I'm not doing well, or not doing right, and wonder-- what on earth drove me to make a decision that would cause as much of an emotional roller-coaster as serving a mission.

I woke up thinking this exact thing this morning.

Why on earth did I decide to serve a mission? 

Well it's a miracle! And I remember why a little bit more since emailing you today.

As a part of one of the miracles which I have seen as of late:

I just received news that an investigator that we were working with in Jamestown has decided to be baptized!  Yay!  (I don't really know how to describe it any better. :)

I didn't come out here for worldly gratification, but it does make a difference to know that something I have done mattered. 

So in a summation of all the things that I could continue to say today I just want to end with this.  Thank you for making it possible for me to matter.

I know that you each are dealing with things in your own lives that are challenging to you specifically, but you have made a difference for me, and you matter to me.  So remember that!  Remember that to at least one other person in the universe (besides Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father) you have made a lasting impression on the person that I am and the person that I will continue to become.

My invitation to all that read this letter this week is this:  Tell everyone that you run into this week that had made a positive impression or influence in your life that they matter.  It's not awkward. 

To Andrew:  (everytime I type your name I miss the w and type an s so your name is almost always Andres. ;)
I love you!  You matter to me!  And you are a miracle in my life!  I'm so grateful to have the best brother in the whole world!  You are amazing!  And I know that you make a BIG HUGE difference to so many people! (ya done good kid!)

To Ashley:  (haha!  Just typed you as Ashlet.)
I love you!  You matter to me!  Way to go on the GED!  I know that you leave an imprint of joy, and delight on every life you touch!  
Every time I see the photo of Winnie-the-Pooh that you drew me, I remember that joy, and delight!  Thank you for being my delightful best sister, and for making me happier! :)

To Mom: 
You hear from me more than anyone else.  I wish that I could tell you all the things that have made you matter to me.  But I think that unconditional love and support would be the best that I can type up short. Thank you for always making me important. :)  And I love you!

To Steve:
I have lots of nice things to say about you, and to you!  But in short: Thank you for being willing to help, and for sharing as much love as you do, and for making a difference in my life! You are thoughtful, and reach for the kindness within yourself to serve others who may be in need.  You matter!

To Brock:
You matter to me because you always sacrifice for my benefit.  You always do everything within your power to make things for me better, and easier.  You also are probably the most honest and hard working person that I have ever met, and I look up to you for that.  I hope it is an attribute(s) that I have inherited. :)  

I love you all so much, and I don't know if you'll all read this, but now you can know that you matter, and that I'm grateful for each of you, and the impression that you have made on my life.

I would go through all the people that I know, but I only have 15 minutes left and I know that if I forget someone in my extended family and friends that would defeat the purpose of this being an uplifting email. Sooooooo......


Thank you very much, that's the nicest thing anyone's ever dun for me.....

Love forever,
Sister Garvin

Monday, November 11, 2013

Monday, November 11, 2013, Sister Garvin in 'North Carolina'

Missionaries: Goldsboro Zone
So transfer calls were yesterday (which I can hardly believe....).  I've been here for 6 weeks already, and I get to stay at least another 5!

We are having a 5 week transfer next time because otherwise the new missionaries would be coming in on Christmas day.  Also it's no good to spend the entire week of Christmas getting ready to leave all the people that you love.  Now we get to spend the week before doing that.  Which is still no good, but it's better than the worst, and I can be content-ish with that.

Anyway.... I'll know if I'm leaving Rocky Mount on December 16.  Then I can tell you. :)

This week was adventurous.

On Saturday at exactly 5:00 AM our fire alarm started chirping every single minute.  The battery was low, and it was awful! We tried to take the battery out, but it was still attached to the ceiling, and had a back up power source, so it still chirped. We turned all the lights on, and I stood on my companion's bed to try to do something about it.  I just wanted my extra 1.5 hours of sleep left! 

We reached the conclusion that we were just going to have to sleep with ear plugs, but we said a little prayer over the battery, and put it back in.

Guess what?..... It worked, and the alarm stopped chirping!

Whether by miracle or happenstance it matters not, because I believe that it was an answered prayer.  Especially since at 6:30, as soon as my alarm went off it started chirping again.

We woke up and it was 61 degrees in our house.

We went to the store and got a battery at 6:45 a.m., as soon as we had put on skirts, and brushed our hair.

It was a long day, but I learned that as many bad things that there are in one day there are at least as many good things too.  There is always enough good to combat the bad.  It's just really hard to shift your perspective.

Oh P.S.   It was my 7 month birthday yesterday.
I'm growing up so fast!  In January I'll be half way done!

I read some good missionary (and life) talks this week-- both by Elder Bednar.

The First "That We Might Not 'Shrink",which I may have made mention of before.  It's great.  Everyone should read it.  It helps with the whole perspective business.

The second "Becoming a Preach My Gospel Missionary."

They helped me this week. :)

I don't really know how to end this week.  I've run out of things to say that are inspiring today.  Except rhymes.... If you're inspired by rhymes.... Then I am still full of inspiration.

add, bad, cad, dad, fad, gad, had, lad, mad, pad, rad, sad, tad, wad, zad, orange, grape, artichoke.

Haha.  I really make myself laugh.
I'm so weird, I hope that you still like me when I get home, and have no social skills.  All I'll know how to do is bear my testimony. 

Oh, Ash!  The member that we live with-- Brother Holloman had a 'hippie van' that had red white and blue, with American flag curtains on it.  You would really, really like him. :)     
(note from Amber's mom:  Amber's younger sister, Ashley, LOVES 'hippie vans' and wants one 'really bad'.)  :)

I hope you can meet (by Skype) at Christmas!

Love always, and forever!  even when its colder than 60 degrees.

Buenos Nachos! ;)

-Sister Garvin

Hakki! AKA: 'Hello' Via Ashley.

Monday, November 4, 2013

November 4, 2013 - Amber in North Carolina

I didn't monitor my time wisely this week: Thus the really short update.

It's November.  In case anyone missed that Memo.

I AM SOOOOO GRATEFUL for Daylight savings.

It seriously changed my life on Sunday.  I had an extra hour of sleep.  It was great.

Beautiful Scene - North Carolina 
This week we drove to Portsmouth for a Sisters Conference.  It was fun.  President Baker taught the difference between being light-hearted and light-minded.  And he had me laughing so hard that I cried.  It was great.
I'm grateful for laughter.

I'm also focusing on 2 things this month that I know will make a difference not only in my mission, but in my life.  Patience, and Prayer. 

I just barely realized how interconnected those two words are. 

I thought I was patient, but then I came on a mission and it was all tried, then it ran out.  So I'm restoring my reserves of patience.

I thought I'd let you know. ;)

The leaves are finally starting to change color, and it is beautiful!  I like it!

I'm grateful for seasons. (And that cold here only lasts from Nov-Mar.) 

I'm grateful that I have a companion.  Literally, and spiritually with the Holy Ghost.

NC has lots of Cotton Fields that glow in the Sunset Sunshine.
Missionary work would be devastatingly hard if I had to do it all my myself.

Also, I'm grateful that right now I feel like I have enough stamina to do this for 11 more months. 

Can you believe that? 

I know I say it every week, but it really blows my mind!

These 18 months are a speck in eternity, and it determines so much. 


I wish I had time for more, but most of all I'm grateful for you. 

You are my most treasured everybody!

Love Forever,
Sister Amber Garvin

Ward 'Trunk or Treat"- we shared treats and 'pass along' cards