(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, September 29, 2014

Fish Fry, Exchanges, Answers to Prayers, Talent Night, We Sang in Church, Gift of Tears!

(This is Sister Garvin's last full week in the 'mission field'.  She has grown to love and cherish the people she's met in North Carolina and Virginia.  As her mother I can attest to her growth and the sadness she feels as she leaves dear friends behind, but, the joy we also all feel as she returns home with honor to start a new chapter of her life.  -- Service to the Lord is the greatest blessing any of us could ever have.  It's a life-long work with varied chapters.  I'm thankful that she chose to serve the Lord as a missionary and am grateful for the wonderful people she's met and for those that, I too, have connected with through her.  We love and cherish them and pray the Lord's blessings to continue with them.  Now...to her entry.)

This week was really full of wonderful experiences.  

We went on Exchanges in Chesapeake.  I prayed the whole time that I would be able to allow the spirit to teach through me so that I'd be unified with my exchanged companion.  There were several people that we talked with that I felt that prayer was answered.  Especially with one family.  We went to visit with the mother who is a member, and her son who is sort of investigating (he's 10 I think?....) and she was flitting around from crying children to art projects, and all the other things that Mom's do.  So we had a minute to talk with her son before she sat down with us, and he really opened up.  It was sweet.  I learned that just genuinely caring about people helps us to care about what they care about.  He kept asking us questions about being " Bath-tized."  It was cute.

In addition to that experience I add a cool informative sch-peel thing:  The little boy who we talked with is in Elder Betillion's (from Rocky Mount) area as well, and I think that the Elders will be teaching him.  So I thought that was a fun little connection, go teamwork!

Our talent night ended up being a success.  We had 2 investigators that attended, as well as a few less active members.  It was really fun.

I was pretty hesitant and scared to do a ward activity because I have a little bit of anxiety about failing things-- which I think it's pretty normal.  I don't think people generally like to fail (and, when I do fail I prefer it to be in a pretty controlled environment with not a lot of people who are affected by it.)

Anyway, there were many people that came, and supported us as well as those who performed.

We ate some yummy food, and enjoyed the company of others.  We should have called it a Variety Show instead, because there was a lot of variety.  From sewing projects, musical numbers, magic tricks, jump rope, etc... It was so joyful to share with people not in a way of showing off, but just in a way of sharing something that is important to you with a community of people that have lots of love.

The ward had a Fish Fry on Saturday, and lemme tell you...... I've never had hush puppies so good in my whole life.  It's our ward mission leaders secret family recipe.  I heard that he sold it to someone, but that they had to sign a contract that they would pay $10,000 dollars or something if they ever gave the recipe out.  And the person that signed the contract keeps the recipe in a safe.

Dems is special secret hush puppies. Fo' reals.


Miracle of the Fish Fry:  We met several non-members, and a less active member came with his friend and had a great time.  Yes!  I was SOOOOOOOO HAPPY!!!!!

We sang in Sacrament Meeting the youth theme song from 2014... I may have included a link to that video in the past, but here's another for good measure:


There was a very special spirit there.  Sister Carlson started crying, and it touched so many people hearts.  They all started crying too.  Like I said at the beginning of our companionship-- she has a spiritual gift for being able to weep.  And she is not ashamed, neither should any of us be.  The Spirit speaks to us through feelings, so it's important that we let feelings in.

That's one of the greatest lessons I've learned as a missionary.

I'll send out one more email next week.  So this isn't the last yet.  I have to spend more time contemplating the things that I feel are the most important to share as I still wear the mantle of a representative of the Savior.

What I will say this week is what a privilege it has been to learn of the Savior as His representative.  I HAVE learned things that I couldn't have learned otherwise, and I am grateful to Him for carrying me through the difficulties that I have faced.  He is there!  He is good! The Gospel is wings to carry us, and it lifts us higher than we could ever reach on our own.  I love y'all!  (the y'all is dedicated to one very special Sister Jasperson.... I think that I've got the hang of it now. ;)  haha.)

Gotta Go!

 Love Forever,
Sister Garvin

Read more from her companions' blog:

Thanks to Brother Kelly (a beloved ward member who has taken special care of the Missionaries) for these photos from his phone.  It's AMAZING to receive photos on the DAY of the activity and to feel more connected and part of this great work!  Thanks, Brother Kelly!!!!

The Sister Missionaries Preparing for and Helping with 'Ward Talent Night'.