(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, January 27, 2014

Monday, January 27, 2014, Rocky Mount, North Carolina - SNOW

Sister Garvin and "Chester, the snominary'
This week there was a snowstorm.  We went to the Bishop's house to eat dinner, and we came outside after about 40 minutes and there was snow on the ground!  About 3 inches!  Whew wee!
We were "grounded" for lack of a better term, and had to stay inside from that point on until the next afternoon about 4:00 because we are not allowed to drive with ice on the road.  We built a little snowman in record time, and most of the snow on the roads had melted by the next day. 
Everything was mostly shut down though for a little while.  They cancelled school, and people tried to stay home, and stay warm. 
The wind chill is fridgid!!!!!!
We stayed warm, and were able to get permission to move our weekly planning day, so we did that while we were inside-- which was great!  We were able to stay productive and do the things that we needed to be doing, so the day wasn't just lost.
We did feel a little bit bad about cancelling some of our appointments, but people were very understanding, and didn't want us out driving either! :)  So everything worked out.
Sister Watt and I spoke briefly in Sacrament Meeting yesterday.  Our topic was Hastening The Work.  From the First Pres. Message in the Feb. 2013 Ensign El. Uctdorf gave a talk for "... The Hesitant Missionary..." it was really good, and I based my talk off of the things that he presented there.
One of the other speakers invited over 100 people to come hear him speak, and 30 came!  So amazing! 
It's possible people! :)
Love you! 
Beautiful Snow and Sky
First Snow of Season
Beautiful Sun between the branches
Gotta go!

Sorry for the rushed message this week.  I was looking at pictures of all the craft things that Ashley has been doing.
Do you all know that I have an amazing talented pair of siblings?!
(I do. :)
Love you all forever!
(Possible snow-day again this week!) Pictures to come again next week!  And transfer calls!  I forgot about that.
Call are next Sunday.  Surprise! :)
Sister Amber Garvin

Friday, January 24, 2014

First Snow - Rocky Mount, NC January 2014

First snow of the Season….Photo from the Bishop who had the missionaries over for dinner.  Thanks Bishop!!!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Rocky Mount, North Carolina, LDS Sister Missionaries - Monday, January 20, 2014

So.  I don't really know what to write this week.

I just know that the Holy Ghost is a better teacher than I am.  And I'm really grateful that I don't have to try to figure it out on my own.

This week I'm sending home some pictures. 

We bought matching mustache pens with a gift card that someone gave us for Christmas.  
They are really funny.:)

I tried to make some bread.  We were going to give it to a member of our ward with the talk from Pres. Monson's address at the Relief Society Broadcast Oct. 2013.

But we didn't have an exact yeast measurement, and we used self-rising flour.  So, it didn't rise at all, and it was really salty. We had to use our sharpest kitchen knife to saw through the crust....
So I was embarrassed and refused to give it to them, and we made cookies instead.  The cookies were better anyway.

So lesson: We have to follow the exact directions and put in the exact ingredients for the end product to turn out the way it was intended.  So it is also with exact obedience.


I had some blue pajama pants that turned my white bedspread blue.  So I'm going to probably spend all day trying to remedy that situation.... Good thing I have some trusty stain removers!

We had interviews with President Baker this week and he asked us to role-play teaching him some part of the Restoration.  It went really well!  It was good to be able to spend some time with him and Sister Baker, they are really delightful to be around.

Something really great that I read this week was the second half of 1 Peter 3 there is some good stuff there!  Very uplifting.  It talks about how we must always be ready to stand and bear testimony, and how Christ suffered all, and it is better to suffer for good than to suffer for evil.  So I really liked that.  If you have a few minutes to read and ponder it I would encourage you do to so.  Maybe you'll get something out of it that I didn't and that is personally important and relevant to you. :)

All my love!  
-Sister Garvin

Monday, January 13, 2014

Monday, January 13, 2014, Rocky Mount, North Carolina - LDS Sister Missionaries

Life has peaks and valleys….
"Peaks and Valleys"

Sometimes I think that I should look back over the things that I wrote last week so that I don't repeat the same things over and over again, but then I think "hmmmm..... that takes time....." And I don't do it.

So I might repeat the same things over and over again.

Someone once compared life to peaks and valleys.  I'm really glad that they did that because it is a good description. And it helps me to express myself better.
This week was mostly a valley.

Besides the normal things that are thought of as discouraging to missionaries-- like all your investigators dropping you in one week, and having nobody answer their doors after you spend 3 hours trying to contact people, and hitting a half-way milestone in your mission life and feeling like I'd not made much of a difference to anyone or anything anyplace--I was having a little bit of an emotional melt down too.

Don't take this the wrong way.  I'm not complaining. Merely explaining, and expounding.  And also-- when I write emails home I always learn something from having to form the jumble of thoughts I have into words.

SO, anyways, I was seriously low, and depressed.  That's not really fun if you know what I mean.

Ugh..... sometimes being a person is hard because there is all this emotional stuff.  I think that it's sometimes easier to just smash something and be done with it.  (that's an aside, and definitely just a fleeting opinion.... I don't really want to be a gorilla or anything.)

I read Elder Christofferson's talk on the 'Moral Force of Women' from Oct 2013 General Conference (this may be repeated from last week) and he said basically that the most important thing to remember is our relationship with Heavenly Father and the Savior.

It has been impressed upon me that that is something that I haven't been as focused on for a little while.  I need to improve on that.  I realized that if my relationship with Them is suffering then all the relationships I have with other people are suffering as well.

So okay, I got it.

I've really been praying more fervently than this email explains - and that I can do better at that.
I've also been going to all my church meetings and missionary meetings with a question.  Elder Perkins of the seventy who spoke to us last month encouraged us to change the attitue of "going to a meeting" to "going to have a revelatory experience". So, that has been helping as I've been working through the things mentioned above.

Without many details, because I'm running low on time, there is a principle that I learned this week while walking in the valley -- that I wanted to share.

The Lord always sends rescuers.

I'm part of a team of rescuers, but this week I needed rescuing.

The Lord sent me rescuers in many forms this week.  Leaders in the mission and in the ward.

Can I express the depth of my gratitude to those who listened to the Spirit to ask after me? Can I express my gratitute that the Spirit prompted me to answer with courage, and honesty-  something other than the rote reply of "good" or "well"? Well, no actually, because gratitute is a really overwhelming feeling and I don't do well to express it in words.  Just know that I'm realy grateful to the Lord for sending me rescuers, and for reminding me to look for the answers to my prayers that came through other people, and for the encouragement to act on the answers to those prayers.

We are NEVER forgotten. My favorite scripture was brought to my mind again "For a small moment have I forsaken thee, but with great mercies will I gather thee. " (3 Ne. 22:7)

Don't give up the opportunity to take the help of the rescuers, or to search them out. 

I also read the parable of the lost sheep in Luke 15:3-7.  We each deal with times that we feel lost, or are lost, but our Shepherd will never give up the rescue efforts.  He is always searching, always calling, and always true to his role as our Savior.

I hope that if anyone who reads this is struggling with any challenges similar, feeling lost, forsaken, or forgotten that something here will strike them with a remembrance of the deep-rooted truths that are in our hearts.  We are never so lost that we can be found by our loving Father in Heaven, His Son--our Savior-- and the Heavenly Rescue squad that covers the whole earth.  We are never as alone as we think we are, and we are NEVER EVER beyond being rescued.

You are greatly loved!

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
(I felt that was a better close than anything)

-Sister Garvin


P.S. (the following was written to my Mom as we emailed this morning -  but I told her she could share it on the blog if she wanted to.)
My Mom writes:  I'm grateful for these words of wisdom that helped me this morning as we are making some major decisions in our family and seeking the Lord's guidance.  It's been such a great blessing to have a missionary daughter who is serving the Lord, and who offers us strength, encouragement and guidance we we travel life's pathway together.)

Even when he was 90 years old Pres. Joseph Fielding Smith prayed that he'd stay faithful, and be able to keep his covenants.  We can't afford to lose the faith to pray for those things all the time.
There really isn't a rest from the tests that we are asked to go through in this life.  The "world" and the things of the world are incredibly wicked and people who turn a blind eye will not learn from it.  They will lose the opportunity to become discerning. 
I pray that now more than ever our home will compare to the temple as a refuge, sanctuary; holy House of the Lord; where there can be strength received as we strengthen each other.
I'm often discouraged and depressed, but it never diminishes the faith that I have the the Lord is watching.  Nor does it diminish the faith that I have that the gospel is true, nor that I can be happy. 
Sometimes I want to hide under a rock.  So I'm grateful that my spiritual self has the courage to ask on the promptings to keep going, even when my natural self wants to do nothing except hide and be by myself.  :)
I'm still learning, and there are just peaks an valleys all the time every day.
And if I'm in a valley and things aren't okay, the Lord doesn't let me stay there without offering some way to get to a peak. Then every thing is okay.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Monday, January 6, 2014 - Amber in Rocky Mount North Carolina

Merry Christmas from Sis. Watt and Garvin
Basically I'm going to write the same thing that I wrote in my journal yesterday to you, because I had some pretty good thoughts, and it basically describes some of the things that I thought through and dealt with this past week.
In a really joking manner in which I didn't take offense at all-- we were in an appointment and someone told me that I was a perfectionist, that it was written all over my face, and that I tried too hard. (this is a very condensed version that probably sounds pretty harsh, but I can't explain the whole back story.  I just pulled out these three things so that I could expound on the thoughts that I had this week. :)
I really didn't take offense.
In fact, I will completely admit to the truth of the aformentioned statements.
So here are the deep thoughts.
As I recognized the truth of the statement "you're a perfectionist" I wondered why that might be.  I did some self-reflecting, and came to the conclusion that being a perfectionist and being controlling of other people are two different things.  Well, obviously.
Okay.  Talking myself in circles here.
I just want to let you know why I feel completely comfortable about being a perfectionst, and and important thing that I leanred this week and my agency to choose to do good, be good, and think good were tried a little bit.
I looked back over my life, and thought of all the things that have ever happend to me. All of the enviorments, challenges, tests, moves, sittuations, and other external things I RARELY had control over. 
But I did have control over my internal reaction to external challenges. 
So with "perfectionist" attributes I realized that yes, I am a perfectionist.  Be cause I have control over the things that I do, and my personal agency.  I want to know that I can be satisfied with the things that I do, and I have to do and be my best to be satisfied.
I don't know if that makes sense.
Maybe it's way too deep.
I probably should just testify of simple gospel truths.
So in summation (I looked 'summation' up in the dictionary last week, and I did use it in the correct context!  So I'll do it again!  Vocabulary=Expanded!)
God has given us agency to use to make decisions that will lead us to happiness, and will guide us bak to Him someday.  He wants us to try to do our very best so that we can grow, and can find goodness in each day we are blessed to live.  He loves it when we make good decisions, and when we are happy, and love it when we remember that He is the one that has given us a precious gift with which we can CHOOSE to be good, CHOOSE to do good, and CHOOSE to think good.
Maybe that's more simple. :)
So there ya' go!  Deep thoughts from deep in the South.
P.S. half way is this Friday. Woot.
Love you all, always,
-Sister Amber Garvin

Christmas Packages - Thank you!

Kind of a Big Bite!  :)