(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, June 30, 2014

Baptism, Miracles, Forgive, Stay in your own Ward! :)

Happy Birthday Dear Sister Ashley-kins!

This week I wanted to start of my just saying that: We had a baptism.  Yay.  Except that it was in Washington State. So I didn't get to go to it.  But, for the first time in 11 planners, I was able to record that we had a baptism and confirmation.  Go Miracle!
Christ baptized by John

Really though.  I didn't know if that would ever happen. :)

We've been teaching a young woman who wanted to be baptized by her grandfather who is a member of the church in WA state, and so we coordinated her baptism there with the bishop and missionaries of the ward there. 
We were so thrilled for her.

She gave us permission to quote what she said to us yesterday after church.
We texted her to ask what she had learned at church that day (in WA). She responded back: "We learned about staying in your ward (congregation) and if there are people you don't like -- just endure and it will end up good."

That made us laugh, but there is also a very true principle contained therein.

I'm pretty sure that no matter what ward anyone ever goes to - there will probably be someone that says something that hurts your feelings, or offends you.  Sometimes, sadly, we are the person that offends or hurts another.  Don't let that get in the way of your salvation.  Frankly, if you do you are not repenting.  If we don't forgive - we are not showing signs of repentance.

This lesson will be learned over and over again for the rest of our lives.  I testify of this principle, because I continue to learn it.  So, here are some wise words of wisdom.... Forgive people. 

Nephi bound by his brothers
Remember in Nephi  (I don't have my scriptures, but I believe it was either when they went back to get the plates of brass, or when he was tied up on the boat.  Maybe I'm wrong about both, but I promise that it is in Nephi)..... Laman and Lemuel were being mean, and then they were chastised, and Nephi "did frankly forgive them".  Here we learn wise words of wisdom from the scriptures.  It's great. (see also 1 Nephi 18:9-16)
So that's what I wanted to share today.

Also, we had an excellent zone conference this week, and a 17-hour day.  We had to get up at 5 to make it to zone conference on time.  It was early.  I've spent all week suffering after-effects.
Also, last night in an effort to be home on time we biked about 4 miles in 20 minutes.

I'm being booted off the computer at the library now.

Read this EXCELLENT talk by Elder Bednar.

I spoke on it in Sacrament Meeting yesterday.

Be an Agent to act this week.

Kay I love you!


Sister Garvin

Monday, June 23, 2014

Happy Belated Father's Day and....SO MANY MIRACLES!!!


Now to this week:

This week we saw SO MANY MIRACLES!!!!!

It was miraculous, really.
But first I forgot to tell you something last week.

At Stake Conference we had to go up early, and we worked with President Baker so that we wouldn't have to be at the Stake Center (church) with nothing to do-- because that is not purposeful, and we would be bored.  So this great answer to my prayer happened.....

We got to work with the Portsmouth Sisters, and guess who the Portsmouth sisters are?!?!?!  SISTER NEWBOLD!!!!!!!!!! (and she just was called to be a trainer again.  We only had one Sister Missionary enter the mission this transfer-- Sister Smart (who is now famous because she is the 'one') and Sister Newbold is her trainer)

It was an answer to my prayers because I have wanted so badly to see her growth since we parted ways as companions.  I felt the transfers that we were together I didn't teach her the things that she needed to know that that I basically ruined her, but the good news is that she is doing phenomonally well.  I'm so pleased to know and have witnessed her growth as a missionary.

Also miracle #2 and another answered prayer.  WE GOT TO EAT WITH A SENIOR MISSIONARY COUPLE.... My dreams came true.  It was so much fun, and I just love being around the senior couples.  We ate with the Simmons who work in the office.  Elder Simmons blessed me with the lovely car that we drove in Rocky Mount. 

They are great, and so funny!  I learned.

Also, I'm not weird, because we had burritos and Elder Simmons brought out the pickles.  I found a kindred spirit! :)

Okay, so to the miracles of this week.

On Saturday we were rushing to an appointment and we walked outside, and there was a baby bird on the ground.  We weren't able to pick him up because we had to go.  But there had been a huge storm and I think he'd fallen out of his nest.  We prayed that maybe somehow his mom would come back and save his little life.

We came home about 6 hours later and didn't see him, but then we did.  He was under a bush just exhausted.

We called everyone we knew.  And talked to a vet in the ward, and then we got the baby bird some food, and fed it.  And then we gave it to a young man in the ward who works with wildlife birds... He's been taking care of it, and the bird has lived!!!!!!  I'm so happy because if it hadn't lived I probably would have been devastated....  But I'm not, so MIRACLE!

We also went to Chesapeake to go on exchanges with our Sister Training Leaders.  It went well.  It was far away.  We had to drive about 2 hours to get there.  But there were many miracles there as well.  We found a new investigator, and tracted using family history-- but it was really hot, and no one was outside, so we didn't do that long, and mostly 'planted seeds'.

I'm so grateful that I continue to learn things.  Go missions!

This has been more substantial than some of my previous letters home.  For awhile there I just had completely run dry of ideas to write home about.  But I think I got it again.  I just have to keep looking for inspiration that will keep my momentum up.

Summer is here, it's hot.  We almost reached 100 degrees last week, and I had heard that with the humidity there was a heat index of 112 degrees.  But that's just a random fact that I don't really understand.  I only did a semester of college.  ;)

Just know of my love for each of you, and your importance to me.  I remind you each week, but I hope that you feel my love each week.

This sacred time has seemed to pass in the blink of an eye, but the effects of it will influence me and last for eternity.  I hope you will still like me in October. :)

Love forever,
Sister Amber Garvin

Monday, June 16, 2014

What do we do all day?

I received a letter from my Mom with these questions that some of you have had - 
and now I will answer them as my letter home today.

1) What do you do each day?

 6:30 AM: Jolt awake, roll off my bed onto the floor.  Walk downstairs to wake me up so I don't fall asleep again.  Climb back up the stairs.  Pray.  Do some sort of physical activity. 

7:00 AM  Eat some food.  Choose an outfit.  Try it on.  Choose another outfit.  Put clothes away.  Write in my journal more.  Make my bed.  Etc.
7:30 Shower, put my face on, do my hair.
8:00 Study for one hour.  Right now we are reading the Book of Mormon so that takes about an hour 
to read about 7 pages.
9:00 Companion study.  Sing a hymn. Pray.  Read 3 pages in the missionary handbook (I've read it almost 18 times now... I counted this morning.) Talk about the way we felt during our personal study about how to help the people we will teach that day.  Make lesson plans.
10:00 Begin proselyting.  Usually we make phone calls.

Somewhere between 11:00-12:00 we take an hour for lunch break, and additional study (and do the dishes....)
12-5  Teach, find, teach, talk with people, go to lessons, contact people that previous missionaries found, do service, and other nice things for everyone.
We try to have dinner at 5:00 PM so that we can proselyte after 6.  That's the best time because people are home. :)  We often eat with members of the ward, and then have an experience after the meal when we discuss missionary work, principles from chapter 3 of Preach My Gospel, and ...we've begun to role-play with our members more.
9:00-9:30 PM  Talk about what we accomplished that day and set goals for tomorrow, make plans for tomorrow.
9:30-10:30 Get ready for bed, and go to bed.  This usually includes writing in my journal and praying.  Also sometimes eating a snack. :)
10:31 Dream about missionary work in a state of REM.  (or whatever that sleep business is called.)

2) What is the Area like?

We do indeed live on a sandbar.  The widest part is about 5 miles wide.  Usually I am acutely aware of where the ocean is. We also have lots of tourists.

Everyone's house is built on stilts in case there are floods--- so I get lot's of exercise climbing up many stairs.  There are lot's of pets.

Our church is about 15 minutes away.
There is a highway that goes from top to bottom of our area.  You cannot make left turns in the summer because of traffic unless you are at a turn signal light.  So we leave extra time for traveling.
There are wild horses in Corolla that live on the beach, and you can't touch.  There are lot's of mini-golf courses with pirate ships, volcanoes, and fountains, and one with a dinosaur.
There is a fancy outlet mall that I will probably never shop at.
We drive past the Wright Brother's memorial every day on the way home to our house. 
We have 4 out of 5 lighthouses in North Carolina in our area.
Also lots of wildlife. 
Last week I accidentally ran over a frog on my bike.

I also rode about 3 miles without using the handlebars. It was awesome.

Our first day on bikes....

3) What's the ward like?
Small, but wonderful.  We have a pretty small ward building, and are about 8 people short of an expansion.  So we're working on that, but we don't have a ward.  We have incredible recent converts, and not so recent converts, and life-long members.  They love the gospel. :)
4) Your Companion?
Sister Petrie is great!  She's from Boise, Idaho, and came out with Sister Felt.  We are now in her 4th transfer.  She's been in the OBX about 6 months.  She is the youngest of 9 children, loves musical theater, music, cats, Dr. Who, writing books, and Alice in Wonderland. 
We are currently in the library (writing to you), and there is some sort of kids-event going on where all I hear is about a duck that quacks.
I'm being kicked off the computer now, and have to go.  It's not really worth it to save this message just to write something for 20 more minutes.  I'll write paper letters.
I love you so much!  Thank you for all that you do!
Sister Garvin

Monday, June 9, 2014

Goose Egg, Time Travel, Dreams and Brother Kelly!

Haha!  I almost dated this email as April, 9th.  Guess it's not caught up with me how quickly time has passed.  I would just like to say  "THIS IS NOT OKAY!!!"  It's going too fast!  I only have 4 months left?!  What?  NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Go back!

Hurry, someone invent a time-travel machine.

Last week I had a dream that I decided I needed to serve another mission, and I got a mission call while I was on my mission.  I left to the MTC 3 days after I got home from this mission and it was crazy because I went from the VA Chesapeake Mission back to the VA Richmond Mission.

You know you're a missionary when..... You dream about being a missionary.

Life is so weird!

That's the status update.

Also, this week I fell out of my chair during studies, and hit my head on the solid wood windowsill and probably the floor. I had a goose-egg and a headache.  Then I called Sister Baker, she wanted me to go to the Urgent Care to see if I had a concussion.  But Urgent Care was closed.  So She called the mission Dr. and he told me to just take ibuprofen.  I don't have a concussion.   Go me!  The Dr. said I'm a lucky girl.  So go hard head (i probably get it from my dad ;)

We went on exchanges, which were great.  I wasn't even stressed even though I don't really know what's going on yet.  We talked with many people.

We also had transfer calls, and everyone in our zone received one except us. 

Not trying to predict the future or anything, but probably we're going to be the only ones that receive one next transfer. Which is only in a month.  And Sister Jasperson goes home.  Again I repeat "THIS IS NOT OKAY!!!"  It's going too fast!  I only have 4 months left?!  What?  NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Go back!
But it's okay.

We finished the Book of Mosiah today.

And I'm really sorry, but I accidentally left home the list of questions that Mom and Ash sent me in the mail this week.  So I'll have to answer them next week.

I feel like I've gotten worse at giving information to you about what I'm doing because it's just normal missionary life, and I don't remember what it's like to not be living this way.  That fact alone really terrifies me about no longer living this life.... I need an adjusting to nametag-less life plan.  Otherwise I will have no purpose, and I will grow fat on the couch.  That's not really an okay thing to do, and I don't want to live that way.  So I'll work on that plan, and y'all can research ways to stay busy for free on google.  Good plan?  I think yes.

Great.  Go forth! :)

This is rambling.  Is that okay?

I'm sorry really!!!!  I've just sort of run out of things to write about, and to say.  I don't know what's wrong.  This has never happened before, but the last few weeks, I've just not had a lot left to say.  Maybe I've reached an all new level of succinctness, where I just don't say anything.  This email is not a good example.

Thank you for all that you do, and all of your support!  You are wonderful, and I love you, and pray for you often.

Love Always and Forever,
Sister Amber Garvin

Shout out to Brother Kelly: If you ever find this blog online, and read through it, make note of the fact that I'm mentioning you, and your haircut looks great!

(Brother Kelly is basically the dad of the missionaries here in The OBX.  He'd love to see a post of him online. :)  So you have approval to put it online. :)

HELLO Brother Kelly!!!!   

map of the area...... (posted by my mom)

Monday, June 2, 2014

Urgent Care, 21 Photos and...Our Area boundaries! :)

with my cute sister Ashley  :)
Tada!  Sister Garvin is on a rollllll!!!!  So that one time when I realized that I've been to the Urgent care with all of my companions.... It's continued.  I must be bad luck for other people, or I just take really good care of me. :)  On Saturday, Sister Petrie fell down the stairs and fractured her finger.  We spent the afternoon in the Urgent Care yesterday because we could see that the swelling was right at her knuckle, and we had a medic look at it and he said that we should check it out, so we did.  We met a nurse from California, and from Idaho.  It was pretty neat.
We also found out that our area is probably 4 hours long (from top to bottom) and at the most 10 minutes wide.  Pretty crazy.  We had a few extra miles, and drove to the bottom of our area (almost)  Hatteras.  We saw the lighthouse, and we took a picture.  We were going to go to Ocracoke which is the very bottom, but it required that we wait in line for an hour to take a 40 minute long ferry.  And we were hungry and out of time.  So we didn't go all the way out there.
Pretty amazing though.  There were points where it looked like a sandbank on one side, and water on the other side of the road.  That's when it was about 100 feet wide. :)  That's probably an exaggeration... Just kidding.
I have to write letters now.  Today we are really busy.
I will send you off with a little short message.
Mosiah chapters 3 & 4.
Bodie Island Light Station
We read them today, and it all testifies of the Atonement.
I'm seeing more and more the patterns of repentance in missionary service, and what I need to continue to strive to become.
Also I love you.
Sorry.  I forgot what I was going to say today, so this is really short. 
Sorry, mom.... I was going to try to be more informative.  Will you and the kids just compile a list of questions?  then I can send you a list of responses of things that you want to know.
I love you!
Sister Garvin
Sister Petrie and Sister Garvin at the Beach
Sister Missionaries - at the beach....
Bird Formation
The beach
Bodie Island Light Station
Ashley's photo at the light house

Bike Riding...
Sister Garvin and Sister Petrie
Service Project - something was funny.....
Cleaning the pool we found a turtle and named him 'Tiger'
Service Project with Hermana Hayward
The Spanish Sisters:  Pugman and Valdez
Little goslings..... (is that what they're called?)