(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, July 28, 2014

Monday, July 28, Nag's Head, North Carolina - "Questions of the Soul"

Neat 'Tender Mercies' 
(From Sister Garvin's Mother)
Yesterday I received a text from a family visiting Nag's Head from Utah and...they took a photo of the missionaries with their family.  It was SO kind of them and SO rewarding to receive a photo and message.  How great to know that we're all connected and 'in this together'.  It was a tender mercy for them (as their son just entered the Mexico City MTC 2 1/2 weeks ago and...they felt very blessed to see and talk with the missionaries in NC) and...a tender mercy for me to see their bright, smiling faces and..to meet Sister Garvin's new companion.

That is the Second news item and neat 'miracle'.  Apparently Sister Garvin's new companion is Sister Cami Carlson from Sandy, Utah.  I'm just waiting this morning for e-mail with more details and while I do so I'm piecing together information.  :)  Yay.  It's SO neat to be involved in this exciting work.  ('The Adventures of the Spirit' as Elder Robert E. Wells called it.) 

Well, Sister Carlson's Mother 'friended' me on G+, which I'm thrilled about (and will respond to as soon as I get Sister Garvin's email) and...her daughter's blog is:  Sister Carlson in Chesapeake, so you can read both of their perspectives and experiences.  Isn't it incredible how technology can bless our lives?   

They are SO busy and don't have much time to write home on Mondays (their 'preparation days') so....they each share what they can and....it's nice to be able to read what they both write.

It's been a glorious blessing for me to be the mother of a missionary.  All the sacrifices and 'missing' her (sometimes tremendously) is compensated for because of her growth and learning and progression and the way that she has strengthen us at home because of her service and sacrifices as her covenant part in helping to build up the Kingdom of God here upon the earth. 

I feel particularly grateful, this day, for the members in NC that I've connected with because of this mission and...the mothers of her companions - who I now feel are all dear online friends. 

Sister Garvin's Entry:

Questions of the Soul:
Two answers to that question.... Preach My Gospel Page 107
AND....NEW Companion Information:

What's her name?  Sister Carlson
Where is she from? Sandy, UT
How's it going with her?  Wonderful!
Do you 'connect'?  Yes.  We watched the same youtube videos in the past, read the same scriptures, like to talk to people, and both have name tags/purpose in life.  So we've got a bunch in common! :)

Where did Sister Petrie go?  The pickle capital of the world!  Mt. Olive, NC in the Goldsboro Zone.  She'll love it there!
In other news.... (this is like a duct tape mustache that just got ripped off of my face...)
I found out at transfer meeting that the day I'm coming home got pushed to a week earlier.  So now it's officially, October 7th.

AHHHHHHHHHH.... And this week is August.  So that's outrageous.
I've made a countdown because Sister Jasperson told me that everyone was going to ask me about it anyway.  And they already are....
I've allotted myself 4 days that I can be emotional about this situation.  That is when I hit 50 days. 30 days, 10 days, and 5 days.
On to reports from this week:
President Baker promised miracles as a trainer when you are trying to be obedient, and they are already starting to happen.  but I wanted to share a funny story first.
This is one for the journal for sure!
We went to contact a potential investigator.  There was a 'No Soliciting' sign on the door.  But we are not solicitors, so we knocked anyway.  They were obviously home, and obviously ignoring us.  So we said "let's just come back in a couple of days".  So we went back two days later, and there was an additional sign posted underneath the original.  Written on cardboard it said: (it was the little circle with the line through it.... No smoking sign...)
No religion,
No politics,
No magazines,
No candy
I don't know how else to react except to laugh.  It was funny.  Okay, we're girls in skirts, on bikes, and it's a lot less work to just say 'no' than it is to make a perfectly strait edge sign.
Please bless that house.  
Also, this morning, I saw a spider with florescent orange legs.  Weird.
We found a few new investigators that are really sincere.
We met many new families that we hadn't met before.
We met a family from Utah that took care of us at church, and were super nice.
We ate some delicious food.
We taught many lessons.
Sister Carlson gave out a Book of Mormon to the first person that she talked to.
It hasn't been deathly humid.
I received a letter every day from my dearest sister (Ashley).
We took the Sacrament.
We provided an environment for members of the ward to take care of us by "comforting those that stand in need of comfort".
One of Sister Carlson's (beautiful) spiritual gifts is that of being able to weep, and feeling deeply.  She's going to be wonderful for this ward, because she will allow people to love her and take care of her. 
I have a harder time doing that because I don't cry that much, and I have a hard time asking for help if I can do it myself (even with much difficulty....) So I'm looking forward to repenting, and learning new experiences for the next few weeks.
I learned a powerful truth for me yesterday during Sacrament meeting which I was grateful to learn.  "sometimes the biggest leap of faith is not accepting an answer, but in asking a question."
I feel that I've grown a lot in the past year, in ways that I cannot even see.  But I've still SO far to go!  And if I focus on that, all the results, and answers in the future.  I miss the joy of learning now, asking questions now, and having the peace that comes from a question.  There are many questions that I know I will probably never have the answers to, but my faith is founded.
The Atonement has already been made, the price was paid, and there are no take-backs.  Plus, there is no way that Christ would take it back anyway.  His gift to us is always there for us to reach out, take hold of, and to be the wings upon our backs when we haven't any strength left to walk.
In a very real way I am growing spiritual wings.  
I don't have the strength left to walk on my own, so I have to be carried.
That was promised to me in a blessing I received several months ago.
When I look back on my life and only see one set of footprints on the path-- I will know that I was not walking alone, but was being carried.
These are my wise words of wisdom for the day.  I feel that often they are meant more for me to vocalize than they are for you to read, but I'm appreciative of someone that listens to all my thoughts.  
It's therapeutic for me to write with a purpose, and is basically a purposeful journal.
I have to go now.
I love you all forever!
Sister Garvin

New companions:  Sister Carlson and Sister Garvin

Sister Carlson's Blog

My Testimony - Easter Time

(Note from my Mom:  The Sister Missionaries made paper Easter eggs and copies of their testimonies to share with some of the people in their area at Easter time.  I didn't receive a copy of them until a few weeks ago and...am sorry to say that I hadn't found the time to type it up until today.  But, I'm a believer that all things happen for a reason so...hopefully this testimony, posted today, will be for that. See Easter Post for more details.  :)

"Serving in Rocky Mount has had a large impact on my understanding and testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  I catch myself sometimes feeling inadequate -- as most of us experience at some time or another -- and focusing on the weaknesses that I seen in myself, instead of my strengths.  I know that those are the times when Satan is trying to discourage me from the path of discipleship that I have chosen to walk as a member of Christ's church.

Through Christ's ''divine means of help or strength" (BD: Grace) I know that it is not my weakness that defines who I am as a servant of the Savior, but it is my confidence in Him, in His Atonement, in His power, and in His love that overcomes our limitations.  His 'grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before [him]" (Ether 12:27).  We can press forward with steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope' (2 Ne. 31:20) with each new day, and each new learning experience.

His Atonement is so perfect that it can correct each of us in the exact way that we need it.  He loved us enough to pave a perfect and exact path back to our Father in Heaven after we die, and He is walking it with us -- lifting, carrying, and encouraging each step of the way.

I know that I have felt His strength in my life as I have turned my heart to him, and have been willing to open the door to Him.  I have felt His penetrating love in times of need, and reassurance, and I know that His arms are open wide to all those who will 'come unto [Him]."  (Matthew 11:28)

In addition to knowing that He died for us, I know that He lives for us.  He lives to rescue, and lift, and He lives that we might have the blessing of eternal life with our families in the life to come.  Choose Him, and His way, and you will find joy even when circumstances are not ideal or even desirable.  :)

He loves you personally!  He knows you!  I pray that each of you will feel of His love as you remember His eternal Sacrifice, and the joy of knowing that He lives.  In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

- Sister Garvin

Monday, July 21, 2014

I Wrote a Song; "Fly Free, and Run Full Speed"

Well I received probably my last transfer call.  I'm training again, and staying in Nags Head.
Sister Felt is opening an area which is fantastic, Sister Jasperson is finished and going home, Sister Watt is staying in VA Beach, Sister Newbold is staying in Portsmouth, and Sister Petrie is going to Mt. Olive.
Well because Sister Petrie is leaving I've written her a song.  It's basically the story of her life while we've been together.  So I thought I'd share it.  I hope that it contains a message that may bless someone who reads it.  The words came very easily, and it's pretty corny, but I thought it was pretty good corn.  (probably corn pudding) Also, the punctuation is no bueno.

I call it "fly free, and run full speed"
Running on empty,
feeling a loss;
Where is the brightness to push me along?
If I could only see the light ahead of me, I'd know I'm doing the right thing.
Ready, take off!
Take flight!
Faster than the wind, higher than a kite.
Filling each hole in the road ahead up with pure light.
Fly free, and run full speed.

Look ahead,
to the lighthouse--
lit with hope of promises in eternity.
Look up,
be filled with life.
Feel joy in each moment, as you always simply try.
See a cloud in the sky,
make an elephant dance.
Recognize the rain brings a second chance
the sky will clear into a brand new day.
Ready, take off!
Take flight!
Faster than the wind, higher than a kite.
Fill each hole in the road ahead up with pure light.
Fly free, and run full speed.
Start with a willing heart--
there are no limits to who you are.
In your soul there's a song, waiting to emerge.
Sing it loud and strong,
don't let it go unheard.
Be who you want to become,
but remember who you've been.
The sky has cleared, and brought a brand new day
Just so you can:
Take off!
Take flight!
Faster than the wind, higher than a kite.
Leave your troubled road behind,
and see ahead, paved with pure light.
You can fly free, and at full speed.
Your second chance has come,
so fly free.
Run full speed towards who you want to be,
and fly free.
Anyway, there's your corn for the week.  :)
I like writing songs. :)  It's a good outlet. 
Please include me in your prayers for these last 2 transfers.  3 months go by way too quickly, and I'm anxious about being ' trunky', and sabotaging the system.
I love you and hope that you know it every day.  I'm not good at informative emails, but I'm good at lots of words. :)
Love forever, and see you soon! (but I'm not going to talk about that for the next 3 months.  I have to be strict with myself on trunky-ness)
Sister Amber Garvin

Monday, July 14, 2014

Haircutting, Lawn Mower Mishap, and...STRAIT and narrow path....

I missed the free slushie day at 7-11 last week (on 7/11).  That was disheartening.

Whatever.  :)

This week I my attitude may be full of what appears to be dry humor.  Don't worry.  It's just a coping mechanism.

This week was awesome. (dry?)

I will start out with something that I forgot to mention last week.

I did the unthinkable. 

I cut my own hair.

Gasps everyone?

Good news: it looks about the same, just a little shorter. 

In fact, after all those years of observing hairstylists, I did such a passably good job that I cut 3 inches off Hermana Haywood's hair too.  (she was a year over due)  She even got a compliment on it Sunday.  It also looks about the same, but a little shorter, and a straighter.

Funny for this week:

Actually it was just awkward. 

I ran over a pair of boxer shorts with a lawn mower.  They jammed the lawn mower.  Sister Petrie pulled the remnants of said shorts out of the mower.  Then she threw them away.  I then started the mower up again, and it worked like a gem.

So that's super funny.  

Suddenly, I am super awkward all the time.  My excuse it that it makes it more comfortable for everyone else, but really I think it's just me.

I promised a spiritual thought right?

Here is something that Sister Petrie pointed out to me this week, and you have to be a little philosophical about it okay?

So in the scriptures is talks about the "strait and narrow path" not the "straight and narrow path". Notice the spelling differences.

Well according to the dictionary definition of strait and straight it puts a different perspective on the "strait and narrow".
(these are revised definition's according to Sister Garvin because I left my dictionary at home)

Straight: a direction without angles, bends, curves.  Without obstacle.
Strait: a narrow way, usually angled an dangerous between two destinations.

So thus we learn that the scriptures do indeed talk about the "straight and narrow" path because there is only one way. We must stay on the one path, and there really isn't wiggle room.  But it is NOT without obstacles.

2 Ne. 31:17-20  

The path is truly "strait".  It is narrow.  There are obstacles, any "convenient God" as talked about in Elder Hollands most recent conference address would not walk the strait path with us.

The journey of disciple ship is paved with difficulties.  But for every pothole in the path and each obstacle that we face the healing power of the Atonement is there to fill the potholes, and the guiding light of the Savior is there to lead us home.

Go forth with strength!  The Atonement is for sinners and saints!  It's for the world, it's for the one, and it is for every single moment for the span of eternity.

What a magnificent gift.  What a waste if we don't take the time to understand it's influence in our lives, and what a waste if we do not try our very best to take advantage of it's enabling power each day that we walk the "strait" path.

I say that in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.

If I love you as much as I feel it in my heart, Heavenly Father loves you ALL the more.

Love Forever,

Sister Amber Garvin

Monday, July 7, 2014

We Slept Through the Hurricane :)

"I'm Seester Garvin, I'm a missionary, I love to plan things (that's new huh?), I'm a hurricane Arthur survivor, and I'm a Mormon...."

Do you think that would be a winner status for mormon.org?  I put a lot of effort into that one.

Well, here's the story that I know you are all anxious to hear, and know, and share....

On Tuesday we talked to a member, and they said (in more words) P.S. there is a hurricane coming, are you going to be evacuated?

Us: Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh........ Well, we dont know.

Then we hung up the phone and called the zone leaders.  Why were we only hearing about this 2 days before a natural disatster hit?  I don't know.... We were just forgotten I guess.....

Well, we were told that if it got too bad we'd be taken care of.

So we went throughout the rest of our day. (AND FOUND A NEW INVESTIGATOR!!!!  Woo!)

Fast forward to Wednesday during lunch while I was enjoying a delicious free sandwich. (that's another story altogether.)

President Baker calls and says "Sisters, I'm going to ask you to evacuate to Elizabeth City tonight for the storm. "

Then he said that he hadn't had time to get in touch with the Hermanas or the Elizabeth City Hermanas, and he asked us to and then to report back.

So we did.  Obviously, otherwise we'd be destroyed by gale force winds, and that seems like it would be a very unpleasant experience.  So we didn't do that.

The Elizabeth City Hermanas were SOOOOOOOOOO excited to have us come, and screamed on the phone.

We evacuated after taking down our recent converts trampoline. 

Thursday: The Elizabeth City Elders gave us some names to see in their area, and we were given permission to work there.  Also, I ate a self-pity shake from Cook-Out to calm my nerves.  Also, a Southern BBQ Sandwich.

Thursday night: We slept in the kitchen to avoid windows being blown out. 


The hurricane hit. 
and I slept right through it.... along with the rest of the household.

Wasn't that an exciting story?

Thought you might like it.

We had zone meeting as planned on Friday morning (which was great, because we were already in El. City) and then we ate another shake, and waited for President Baker to call and tell us to go home.

Then we went home, and we assessed the scene, found no damage, ate dinner, made my last two planners (before I come home), almost cried because of that, and ate smores around a campfire with our friend Brother Kelly.

It was great.

I'm not going to take the rest of my 30 minutes on the computer today, because there is a long line, and some contentions.....

Also, we are going to a funeral today. 

Preparation Days are not so relaxing anymore.  But it's okay.

We have interviews with the mission President Tomorrow.

I am going to focus on spiritually uplifting things next week. 

Here's an entertaining story though that you can share with your friends...

And, I didn't die.

anxiety eased.

I love you!

Sister Amber