(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, August 25, 2014

AWESOME WEEK!!! Obedience, Standards of Excellence, Playing the Piano, Spanish Branch, Lord's Kingdom on Earth

Before I forget: Since Labor Day is next weekend, I will be emailing on Tuesday.  It will probably be later in the day, so I may not be able to chat back and forth, but I'll write home.  Promise. :)

Sisters Carlson and Garvin - Nag's Head, NC - Beach

I sort of regret sending the letter home last week that I did.  I'm really sorry that it was so negative.  I was just really grumpy that day, and it showed in my interactions with everyone on email.  I just wanted you to know that grumpiness doesn't last forever, and I've done a complete 180' to who I am today.
This week was truly incredible!  Sister Carlson and I are feeling so blessed.
We were able to reach almost all of our goals this week, and even exceeded our member present lesson goal.  We taught 7!  It was so great!  This week we've had the highest numbers in this area for the whole year so far.  And our zone exceeded the number of member presents total for the zone ever.  What a wonderful thing to feel that we've contributed in small part to the work in our zone.  
Our vision truly has been raised as we've focused on the Standards of Excellence.  I'm so grateful for President Baker's inspiration and reliance on the Spirit of God to help increase our faith in building, not just maintaining the Lord's Kingdom on earth.

Sisters Garvin and Carlson - (In the humidity)
I have a relate-able experience to share with you mom....
The Hermanas in our area a trying SO hard to start up a Spanish branch.  There are not many Spanish speaking members, and it's very difficult for them.  We felt impressed to go to their Sacrament Meeting last night, and it was such a special experience!

Here's the relate-able part:  I got to play the piano!  Boy.... I'm sure grateful that it was one of the electric ones that had the hymns already programmed in.... All I had to do was hit one key on the keyboard and count right.  Piano lessons paid off as far as understanding counting and time signatures!  :)
I didn't understand most of the meeting.  Bless our dedicated members.  We had several that speak no Spanish come just to support the branch.  It was so sweet.  Our Bishop is doing an amazing job.  He conducts in Spanish and reads off a card to say things right, and he's been practicing.
There was an English member that was asked to give a talk, and he consulted his daughter-in-law from Mexico to prepare.
The Spirit was strong, and was not bound by a language  barrier.  You could feel that.
There was one investigator that came, and he said the same thing.
We had 4 investigators at Sacrament meeting!!!!  I don't think that has ever happened to me on a mission!  There was a part member family that we've been teaching as well as an investigator that we just met last week.
We know that Heavenly Father loves us so much.  I feel that so strongly.  There were so many things that happened, not because we did anything different-- or discovered some secret recipe for missionary work, but because we were so set on being exactly obedient (No exception!).  We know that our week was good because we were trying so hard to be diligent.  The Holy Ghost bore witness to us both of that.
That's all I have for this week! 
It's the Last week of August, and I have only 6 weeks left. AHHHHHHHHHH!
Love forever,

Sister Garvin

Sisters w/youth- including Whitney who was recently baptized
Sister Missionaries  :)
At park with "Big Fish".  We read the Book of Mormon there with some members.
Bodie Lighthouse!  Sisters Garvin and Carlson
Cupcakes for Someone's birthday

Monday, August 18, 2014

Hard Week, Delicious Shrimp, CTR acronymns, The Currant Bush, Be Happy

Hello there Family.

This week feels like it's been the most hardest week of my life.  I've had people yell at me, criticize me, miss appointments, yadda yadda (well that last one is not really new.) Also, today, I received my 'trunky' papers via email.

Worst day ever.  The rest of it will be good though.

There were some good things though.  We had an investigator come to Sacrament Meeting.  We found a new investigator, we ate delicious shrimp from a delicious deli owned by the Mayor.  That was good.  We also watched some really uplifting Mormon messages.  I'd like to share this one.  It's basically the story of my life the past week....

It's called "The Will of God" and is the story of a Currant bush that got cut down.  But the moral is that God knows who each of us need to be, and knows that we will be happy being that person.  So sometimes He cuts us down when we are trying to be something we're not intended to be so that He can shape us into the thing that will make us the most happy.

We also spent the car ride home from our district meeting making acronyms for CTR.  Here are  a few.  Some we cannot take credit for.

Christ The Redeemer
Current Temple Recommend
Choose To be Ready
Called To Repent
Cause to Rejoice
Come to Rest
Called to rescue
Curb the Rebellion (AKA Apostasy...)
Claim the Redemption
Called To Reach out
Carry the Righteous
Celebrate the Restoration
Courage to Repent
Courage to Receive
Cleansed through Repentance/righteousness
Claim the reward
Count the Reasons

Personal favorites:
Contact, Tract, Role-play
Contact the Referral

So here is wisdom for today.  CTR!!!! :)

Sometimes I complain at the beginning of my letter.  Rest assured,  I do know better.  But sometimes journaling just doesn't do it for me.  I've gotta get it out.  And by the end of my letters I'm feeling encouraged and motivated to do a little better. :)

So I feel better now I think.

I read many things this morning related to missionary work.  Alma 38, Doctrine and Covenants 12-17, some favorite talks and Preach My Gospel.  Here is a bit of revelation that I received this morning.  It's not meant to stress people out okay?  I'm just sharing something that matters to me.

Its this:

President Baker has told us that we are here to build the kingdom, not just to maintain it.

So, if we are rewarded according to our works, and all we are working here is to maintain things and "putter around", we'll be rewarded with a place that we can "putter".  A stagnant place meant for not progressing and making changes sounds like a terrible state of being if you ask me, and I'm resolved to build. 

Now, I've had only 1 baptism.  And people may say that building the kingdom of God just means that we baptize everyone.  Let me direct you to Preach My Gospel Chapter 1.  Building the Kingdom is measured by your commitment to do what the Lord has asked.

Now think of your most favorite thing in the whole wide world.  Are you committed to it? Do you practice it?  Does it absorb you?  Well, then you are committed.

Now ask yourself this.  Am I committed to the promises that I have made with God who is the almighty being of the universe?  Do you practice it?  Does it absorb you?

Or is it just for Sundays and Wednesday night activities?

This week I am going to be thinking about what it really means to me to be committed, and not to just putter in maintaining the kingdom (which I don't think I do, but can be easy to get in the mindset of).  

I will build it this week. 

Ask me if I'm serious.
(notice that that was not a question)

I will report on the success, and miracles that we see next week.  

Thank you all for being here, for responding favorably to my request for quotes, and for enduring another episode of the Garvin Soapbox.

Just wait until I get home.  It's better in person.

I have to get off the computer now.

I love you still!

Sister Garvin

Read more about Sister Garvin and Sister Carlson 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Quote Book, Ups and Downs, Preach My Gospel, His Grace is Sufficient

I'm trying to make a quote book and write a quote that is really good each day.  I've fallen behind, because in all honesty I don't have time to look.  So I wondered if y'all would send me 20 or so quotes in the mail?  It can be over time.... I need about 70 more. :)

I'm going to be brief this week.  I'm about out of time.

I've just learned a lot from reading several talks this week.

"Bear up their Burdens with Ease" Elder David A Bednar
"Preach My Gospel"

I've found myself being a downer this week.  Dumb I know.  I know I know better, but I dont always do what I know-- which has been declared before.  So.... whatever.  :)
Anyway, there have been a lot of things to laugh about this week because I have a great companion, and we have similar senses of humor.

There is a shining experience that I had this week though.  I flat out told a guy that we were there as representatives of Jesus Christ to invite him to repent, to come back to church, and to keep his covenants.  I felt good about it.  But sometimes being that bold makes me shake a little bit.  I'm not sure if it's the Spirit, or if I just get fired-up.  It was a powerful teaching moment though.
In Alma it talks about using boldness, but not overbearance.  I looked through some of my old notes from meetings, etc.... and I read something that I had written a few months ago. 

"The difference between boldness, and over-bearance is the intent behind it." 

Elder Holland states in Preach my Gospel that " if we listen with love we wont need to wonder what to say.  It will be given us by the Spirit, and by our friends."

I re-learned that to be true.

This mission has been full of ups and downs. 

I learned from some of my past companions about multiple baptisms, and great success in their areas, and I don't have all those things under my belt.  It can be easy to compare my weaknesses to their strengths.  But I do have a strength.  I've been a part of the journey of each of the amazing, incredible people that are inviting so many to come unto Christ, and I am so grateful that they are having these miraculous experiences. Because I'm willing to have the ones that I'm having.  And they are willing to have the ones that they are having.... Also, there are mighty miracles wrought every day.  They are here.  They are evident if I but have the eyes to see them.

I don't know if that makes a lot of sense in words, as it does in my head.

Well.... Hopefully someone will learn something from that.

I'm making a conscious decision this week to only compare my strengths and weaknesses to what Heavenly Father expects of me right now, where I am in life.  That is all that I need anyway.

Sending love and hugs,
Sister Garvin

Go to this website for some uplifting music.

And for some inspirational memes, quotes, and photos.


Kay, Bye!

Eggs and Donuts! :)

Eggs from a ward members' chickens.
"Duck Donuts"  a favorite of the neighborhood

Monday, August 4, 2014

Gray Sky, Alligator Meat, Relatives' Visit and...Gospel Miracles!!!

Today it is with a heavy heart, and a dark red sweater, and 70 + degrees that I tell you for the last 4 days the sky has been gray.  Literally.  With the really miserable drizzle-y rain.  Not the glorious pouring rain that I love.  So Sister Carlson and I both have been a little blue.

I didn't even realize how affected by weather I could be.  And I have very little control over this circumstance except for prayers.

Good news.  We've had amazing miracles this week.  Truly miraculous.

I haven't got much time today, but here's a brief overview.

We had a goal to have 3 investigators with a baptismal date.  We had no investigators.  We dropped all the investigators that were ignoring us.  Which meant that we had no teaching pool, but here's my thought process "If you don't want us to come teach you about the best thing in the whole world, and we keep trying with no response, then we'll move onto the next person that really does want to know...." Then The Lord provided a way for us to teach a part-member family twice this week.  We were able to set 2 of them for baptism, and almost reached our goal.  The Lord made a way for us, and it took us acknowleging the miracles for us to see the way ahead that He paved. :)

Go team gospel!

Also, today.  We are going to go eat alligator meat.  It's going to be adventurous.
That's probably the only time that I've ever used a hash-tag in an email home, but it seemed appropriate for the occasion.

Also, surprise encounter from some cousins at church that I didn't know were vacationing here alll week, and were super close to our place of residence!  I'm so glad that they came to church! :)  I think it's fine because they didn't come here just to see me. :)  And I appreciated the fruit they brought!  It made my day!  Now I don't have to buy it myself!  Plus, that's expensive for me living here on the beach!


We have exchanges this week-- Sister Carlson's first one!  I'm going to be in super-charged missionary mode, and that will probably require a nap at some point today.

The gospel is true, the Book is Blue, I love Souther BBQ!  (and you! :)

Also, study the Apostasy.  It's incredible!  I've learned so much about it this week from Jesus the Christ, the scriptures, and Preach My Gospel.  It's so part of God's plan!

Love forever,
Sister Garvin

With my Uncle Paul, Aunt Christy and their children (who are currently living in Falls Church, VA)

Sister Carlson, Me and...some of my vacationing cousins  :)