(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 28, 2014

I'm being Transferred to Nags Head, North Carolina. My "Ode" to Rocky Mount.

Dear Everyone,

So I got my transfer call.  I am going to Nags Head, North Carolina.  I will be companions with Sister Petrie.  She arrived to the mission with Sister Felt. Sister Quiroz will be taking my place in Rocky Mount.
"Selfie' - from a members Ipad.  :)

I keep crying.  And everytime I think that I'm all run out of tears there seems to be a back-up supply come from somewhere.
Bodies.... they are so funny.

I don't remember if I wrote an Ode to Jamestown, but I'm definetly writing an Ode to Rocky Mount.  Humor is the only way I know how to cope with heartbreak. (Insert HUGE sigh here)

Ode to Rocky Mount:
(To the tune of "You can Make the Pathway Bright")

In this land called Rocky Mount,
I have learned to smile not pout.
With my Southern family(ies)
Even in the darkest days
there were brightly beaming rays
as we searched diligently.

For the people who God loves.
We found them here, and there.
They were placed everywhere.
And I know that He is pleased.
With the work of the Sisters here.

I have learned to love a lot,
and the Spirit's in my heart,
I have worked so mightily.
There is still much to be done,
by another one,
and I pray she'll arrive safely.

For the people who God loves.
We found them here, and there.
They were placed everywhere.
And I know that He is pleased.
With the work of the Sisters here.

Through some small and simple things
I have grown stronger wings
and I know that I'm not done
There is yet some sky to fly
Under Heaven's watchful eye,
it will shape a greater destiny.

For the people who God loves.
We found them here, and there.
They were placed everywhere.
And I know that He is pleased.
With the work of the Sisters here.

I know this chorus is silly,
but it's true enough to me,
I know that I am loved.
This journey has been long,
but I have become more
than I ever could've been before.

And I know that there is need
for my service here and there,
I will go to anywhere.
(even the ocean where I might be killed my a hurricane or tsunami or eaten by a Kitty Hawk, or lost in the city of Roanoke, or fall off the sand bar, or see a jellyfish, or a beached whale, or stub my leg on hidden pirate booty, or whatever else bad can happen.....)

The Lord has promised me,
that if I follow him I will succeed.

So this is humorous, and serious.  But it's all true.

I wish anyone the opportunity to be on the Lord's errand in this blessed place. 
I love it!

I love you!
Goodbye until next week!

Sister Amber Garvin

(The following photos are from my Mom so that you can all see the area where I'll be serving next.  My Mom got these online and hope that they are representative of the area.)  :)

Before and After Storm

First Flight....
Wright Brothers' Memorial
Wright Air Strip
1911 Flight - Wright Brothers

Town of "Kill Devil Hills" where Sister Garvin will be living

Yep, it's a Real Place

Wright Brothers - Sculpture
Wright Brothers etc. - 1911

Monday, April 21, 2014

Monday, April 21, 2014 - Rocky Mount, North Carolina, LDS Sister Missionaries

Dear all the people that I love and know,

In contrast to last week. This week was ~AWESOME!!!~

We had such amazing miracles happen.  And we saved the life of a snapping turtle that was trying to cross the street!  Yay!  We are doing good in the world around us! :)

We named the turtle Jean Pierre.  He was huge
Saving Jean Pierre  :)

So, I felt good about it. :)  I would have been scarred for life if we'd have run it over.  You can't hit a turtle!!!  It's a very tender creature. :(  If you think about it, it's probably the worst thing in the world to hit besides a person.  So, now you can understand my feelings about saving his little turtle life.  It was a special experience.  I know that sounds weird.  I just don't know how to say it any other way.....

We had a really wonderful week.  We worked very hard.

As part of the 12-week training program Sister Felt took the lead in all of our teaching and planning situations for the week. She was a little bit anxious about it at the beginning of the week, but I think that it really boosted her confidence in herself, and taught her that she knows more than she gives herself credit for.   There are many lessons that you have to learn from having experiences, not from people telling you something.  I am proud of her for being diligent in carrying out the plans that she made, and for following the Spirit to lead her in every good thing.

Easter was wonderful.  We sang in the ward choir.  One of the Elders spoke on the Atonement, and gave a great testimony.  It was a powerful talk.  And he used some great scriptures.  

Sometime, I just love being a missionary.  I learn more and more each day, each week, and each transfer what a sacred calling this is.  I am so grateful that the Lord would guide me to the place that I am in now.  As I said before... There are many lessons that you have to learn from having experiences (I'm not sure if it is grammatically correct to quote myself here..... so, Go Mom! ;).  And I am grateful for the lessons that I have learned from the experiences that I have had specifically from serving this mission.  The course of my life will forever be altered for the better.

This is the best life to live!

Isn't that phrase a turn around from the start of my mission, when I was doom, and gloomy?  Repentance is a change of heart to bring our lives in closer harmony with God's teachings... He's changed my heart.  And I don't ever have to live wondering how things would be if I was a different person.  I am different each time I allow the principles of the gospel to change my heart.

What a wonderful gift!

I've thought about it a lot this Easter holiday.

Okay.... The end.

Sister Amber Garvin

(also, it becomes increasingly weird-er to have a first name.....)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday, April 14 - LDS Sister Missionaries, Rocky Mount, North Carolina - Easter

Sister Garvin, Sister Felt
Dear Fambilly,  :) 

Spring is here.  Everything is yellow from the pollen.  We tried to wash our car (I felt like we needed to because it was purchased with sacred funds) and that was a fiasco.  Then we drove home, and the next day the car looked worse than it had the day previously.  So.... I've given up.  I just need a hose to spray it off once in awhile.  


You don't even understand it until you done seen it.  I'll try to get a good picture and send it next week.

In preparation for Easter this week Sister Felt and I wrote our testimonies on the Atonement and printed of segments of the talk "None Were With Him" by Elder Holland.  We are going to (Easter) egg peoples houses with paper Easter-eggs give them our testimonies and the talk. 

I said to Sister Felt. "I've got a great idea!  We should egg peoples houses!" She said, "Okay... that is not a great idea.... what do you really mean?"  I explained and then she was on board. :)  It's like a heart-attack (paper hearts on people's doors), but with Easter eggs!  It's going to be great!  Go inspiration.

Sister Garvin - in the Service of the Lord
I'm sending a separate letter with my testimony, I didn't have time to type it all up, but if you would like to Mom, you are welcome.  I know that you have tons of free time to answer my beckon call. ;)

Just kidding.  It's a hassle, but whatever.

That's basically my update.  I haven't got much time left today, and wanted to send some pictures since I didn't do that last week.

I just am continually reminded of the power of the scriptures. 

We watched a video segment in our last zone conference, and I asked President Baker which talk is was from.  "A Teacher Come of God" By Elder Holland.

I read through it this morning, and there is a powerful message to each member of the church on the role of being a teacher wherever you are currently serving.  Primary, Nursery, Visiting or Home teacher.... Read this powerful message from an apostle of the Lord, and be magnified by the Spirit in your ability to teach simply, and powerfully the doctrine of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in it's fulness.

Sending love and prayers your way!

All my love,

Sister Amber

Just a little treat...

Helping out.....

6,666 miles.  Just had to share.... :)

Silly Moment - sigh....

Sweet Moment!!!

Sister Garvin, Sister Felt - Rocky Mount, North Carolina

Monday, April 7, 2014

Amber's Report; General Conference and Personal Testimony

This week I am sending a short email home. 

We watched General Conference.  We were really happy because in the Sunday Morning session we had an investigator come to church, and she knew the congregational hymn that we sung in the middle.  So that was a wonderful thing.  The church and it's leaders are led by revelation received through the power of God.  I know it.  There is no other way that all.....this...... could work out.

So it was a wonderful revelatory experience.

I emailed my MTC companion, Sister Vance, this morning.  I can hardly believe that it has been almost a year since I met her, and since I was in the training center.  This journey has seemed long, and difficult, but in now looking back it seems too short.  And looking forward it seems there is not enough time left. It's surreal.

Sister Vance has served in 4 areas in the Richmond mission, and is now blessing the lives of many as a Sister Training Leader.  I'm so grateful for the time that I was able to spend as her companion for 2 weeks.  What a blessing.  I haven't seen her since. :)  But I am so proud to be serving alongside such valiant sisters even in different missions besides mine.
I just know that my weeks in Rock Mount are coming closer to an end.  So sad!  I love our ward SO much!  That has been the greatest blessing of serving here.  Plug for our ward:  If somehow this letter reaches someone that has the opportunity of coming to our blessed mission and serving in the Rocky Mount area, they are serving in the BEST place in the mission.

I am SO privileged.  To be on of the 83,035 some-odd missionaries and serving as one of the 4 in Rocky Mount.  Surely, the Lord's plan is perfect and divine.  Surely He is in the details of His work, and of our lives.  Surely He cares about me enough to send me to such a wonderful place. What a gift.

The next 6 months I KNOW will fly by.  Time is like the moment in Mulan when the little gorilla guy lets go of the rope and Mulan and the horse and Shang all fall off the cliff.  I'm the little guy standing at the top "[Time] slipped right through my fingers...."

But somehow the Lord will shoot me a rope to hold onto again.  That probably doesn't make much sense, but I've sorted through how I'm feeling about it and feel much better.  Also, I thought it was a great analogy! So thanks!  You are the best listeners!
I just love you, and wish you each well!

Sister Garvin

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Sacredness of Missionary Labors

I'm a day late, but I have reason, and permission to be.

Yesterday Sister Felt was throwing up in the Halloween bowl.  Like, probably for a couple of hours.

Is no bueno.  But so far today, she is feeling better!  That's good!

I spent the day watching Mormon Messages that someone gave us to watch, and sewing up my pile of stuff to sew up, eating sour patch bunnies, and writing a pile of substantial letters to a bunch of people that I love. :)  It was good.  The Mormon Message "Lessons I learned as a Boy" by Gordon B. Hinckley made me cry.  What a wonderful spirit in that profound, but simple lesson.  (I'm not going to expound, because it will give you all the chance to watch it. :)

Watch here: http://www.mormonchannel.org/mormon-channel-daily/193?v=911029440001

Also, if you haven't taken the time to watch the new on on bullying please do. It will bring a new perspective, and make you want to be, and do better.

I'm not sure of the direction of this letter this week.  There has been a lot that has happened.
For the first time in my mission we have an investigator with a baptismal date.  We are thrilled about that, but I also wonder if I should feel more thrilled about that?

I am happy because she wants it.  But it has also been re-confirmed that baptism is not my "golden ticket".  It is truly wonderful, but it is really seeing the lives of people change that is my golden ticket.  I love to see the light of the gospel shine in the faces of people that I love, and truly, I love them. I know that I'm going to be so sad to leave Rocky Mount when the time comes, because I know that this has been a place that my efforts have gone to good use in building the Lord's kingdom on earth.

I had a lot of time to ponder yesterday, and I don't know exactly what triggered it, but there was a shift in me.  I was led to pray for something that I hadn't prayed for before.  I said that I was so sorry that I didn't always understand how truly sacred this work is.  I was devastated that it had taken me this long for it to finally click, and I shifted.  I wish I could express the depth of the feelings of my heart in sharing how I feel now.

This work is SO sacred.  It is a privilege and an honor to be a part of it.  Although there are over 80,000 missionaries world wide, I am not an insignificant part of this work.  It cannot be done without my efforts, and I have been a major part of this work in a specific place.  In Rocky Mount No. Carolina, Virginia Chesapeake Mission.  Also, fun fact for you; I am the best Sister Garvin in this whole mission (mostly because I am the only Sister Garvin in our mission. :)

And I continue to thank all of those who have provided me with the means of going on this sacred journey.

I sometimes get caught in wondering how there could possible be room for any more growth, but it is the little things now to put me through the refiners fire over, and over again to get out all the bits of dross.

From the hymn "How Firm A Foundation" it says:
  1. 5. When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
    My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply.
    The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
    Thy dross to consume, thy dross to consume,
    Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.
I hope that I will trust enough to continually go through this process.

There is so much to hope for in a bright future, and it is oft times easy to lose sight of that when we are passing through the "dark ages" of our lives.

I just know that no matter how dark a trial may seem there will have to come a time when it shall pass.  And through the divine help and strength that provided through the Atonement of Jesus Christ it will be possible to be refined, and not consumed.

(Here's my new thing that I came up with this week. #GarvinSoapbox any time I say something that I know is true I say "Hashtag, Garvin soapbox."  Yes, I'm still funny even when I know profound things)

I love you each so greatly, and I hope that things are home are more refining than consuming. 
Also for A&A:  the youth of this church are prayed for almost as much as the missionaries, you have untapped potential to be a tremendous force for good in this world.

I love you all!

Sister Amber Garvin