(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. :)

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Temple, Service, Thanksgiving!

Hello Everyone!

I'm happy to announce that it has snowed, and the snowed stuck. So that's pretty. This week I'm just going to send you a picture. And wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving, and to Sister Felt--Happy Birthday! (Which I thought of you all day, but didn't send you a Thanksgiving dinner in a package--sorry.)
Registered for classes today. This is a new phase of life. I still have no idea what I'm going to do.
Going to the temple today I picked up a little old lady from the Phillipenes who was walking to the temple. I saw her in a skirt, and the Spirit said, "Turn around and go pick her up. She is going to the temple." So I did, and she was so cute. This is her first time in the United States, and she got a job doing laundry at the temple. :)
Tender mercies abound!
Love you all!
-Sister Amber Garvin

P.S. Good luck to Sister Carlson who is sending another companion in home. :)You can do it! Wooo!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Whipped Cream and Farewells

(Haha!  I forgot to post this last week, so here it is... two weeks late!)

Hello friends,
Today my email will be very short.  I have to work. I got a temporary job at the casting department again, and I've loved it.  We had to find people to participate in a documentary.  We went to SLC, and BYU to talk with people, and I felt like a missionary again. YAY!  It was great.

My brother's mission farewell talk and Thanksgiving dinner was yesterday.  He is going to be missed.  Everywhere I went to talk with family there was someone who said "Andrew did it!" Mostly meaning playing a joke on them or doing something goofy... (I raised him well you see....)  A good one from yesterday was that he convinced my younger cousins to allow him to quirt the whipped cream onto their slice of pumpkin pie.  Remember how sometimes when I pour glasses of water for people and fill it up to the very top until it almost spills over?  Well we had a similar experience with this squirt-y cream.  Would you like some pie with your whipped cream?  IT WAS EVERYWHERE!  But since kids enjoy whipped cream it wasn't a problem.  My uncle tried to make my grandma drink whipped cream and it made a little one cry..... so that was more problematic. ;)

I saw the November Newsletter.... HAPPY BIRTHDAY!  To Sister Felt, and Elder Bettilyon (TODAY!) I hope that you receive packages.  That is the best part.

Hope to hear from you how things are going, and I hope that the sun shines a lot this week.

Sister Amber Garvin

Feeling Famous, Thanksgiving, and Strong Leaders!


This week I drove Al Fox Carraway and her husband Ben in a golf cart. So I feel a little bit closer to famous. Famous people know famous people right?! They are super nice. I enjoyed the five minute jaunt.

It's been interesting to work at the casting office again. I feel like I get to talk with more people about things that are important to them instead of the passing "How are you's?" in the street. The church is incredible. And I so greatly admire those who seek direction from the Lord in the small and great things.

There are like 12 Youth Mormon messages that are supposed to be filmed by the end of this year. So it will be a payday next year when they are all released.

In other news.... I was just called to teach the 17-18 year olds. Woot! I'm SOOOO excited! I love the youth!-- And it's my sister's class so that's a bonus as well. I sat in the class for the first time yesterday, and felt so much love for each of them. I don't remember all the ways that you can struggle as a teenager, but I know that I was so grateful for strong willed Young Women's leaders who came to my house to bring me to activities, and didn't give me an easy way out. It shaped the foundation for my life, and activity in the church. I am so grateful for them.

It may not be the same, but I am praying that the Lord will teach me and guide me to know how I can relate with these young people. They need a strong foundation. They need exactly what the "Come Follow Me" program and "Preach My Gospel" teach-- they need to be taught according to their needs; not just cookie-cutter lessons.

It's a journey to learn how to strengthen foundations.
My dad was re-building the footing and foundation of his house, and I remember some of the process. It took a really long time. He had to mount half of the house on stilts, stabilize it, cut out the old foundation, create a mold for the new foundation, pour concrete, wait for it to dry, then go through the whole process again on the other half.

I think that we spend most of our lives just working on the foundation. Or maybe that's just me, but either way therein lies an important principle. The foundation must be built thoroughly, with patience, and an eye for detail, just as our lives must be shaped, built and endures on principles of exact obedience, patience, faith, and "eye single to the glory of God", and trust in the Lord. It can't be built all at once, but a step at a time, a day at a time.

During this week of Thanksgiving not only am I grateful for the leaders in the church who helped me shape a strong foundation, but I am grateful for the tools to build that foundation. And I'm grateful that the Lord has all the specific instructions to building a sure, stable foundation I don't have to re-create a less perfect plan, but I can follow His!

I hope that this Thanksgiving you have the opportunity to be leaders in your own sphere of responsibility (within your ward, area, etc...). That you find joy in service, and can lend a helping hand in the work of strengthening, shaping, or re-pouring the foundations of others. :)

I'm grateful for each of you, and send you my love!

-Sister Amber Garvin

Monday, November 3, 2014

Snow, Christmas Movies, and Building a Firm Foundation

Wow!  Can you believe that it's already not October?  This is craziness!  It's been a year since I was in Rocky Mount.

I'm friends with many of the members in Rocky Mount, and every time they post pictures on Facebook of things happening there my heart just cries a little, and my brain says "Please! let me come back and be a missionary with you again!"   Speaking of pictures, it looked like for many of you the November 1 Social Media Exchange went well.  I saw many pictures of service projects, and smiles. I hope that you each had a very fun-filling day. :)

Hallmark has started Christmas early.  So it's been fun to spend time with my family watching clean Christmas movies. The more media I'm exposed to the more I realize how easy it could be to drown in it. So I'm setting limits. And so far it's going better than it was last week. (thank you personal interview.)

Cleaning the temple last Monday was phenomenal!  I loved it! My group was able to clean the sealing rooms of the temple. It was neat to learn some of the things that I had never recognized such as the no vacuum lines in the carpet. So.... learned how to do that, which also fulfills my slight OCD complex (if vacuum lines aren't seen no one will know if they are straight!!! Wahahahaha!)

How was Halloween?  Did any of you have success with trunk or treats or ward activities? Did you get any leftover candy from the Primary? :)

'Tis now officially the season of gaining weight. So I admonish each of you to only eat what you need to survive the season, and don't overindulge. Thus you will avoid many plagues of life such as gallstones, and loss of the Spirit from eating too much. And you will be happy. Don't follow my example of sugar consumption. (It's gotten better, minus the hoard of frozen snickers in the freezer leftover from last week. But as soon as those are gone I'm off sugar! ;) Just kidding.... I think that we all know I don't have enough resolve to have that happen in my life at this point.)

I'm learning more and more to just LOVE when people talk about God. It's so refreshing! I the South you can talk about Him with anyone, in almost any setting, anywhere.   Grocery stores, gas stations, on the street.  It's an odd difference to feel here. People don't really want to talk about their personal relationships with Heavenly Father, and Jesus Christ. I think that it causes them to feel vulnerable. Let's have a moment of truth.  We are ALL vulnerable in some way, and Jesus Christ is the only one that can make us strong in weak places.

I loved that about the CES Fireside last night. Building a foundation in Christ is the very most important thing. Above and beyond everything else. If we don't have that, it wont ever matter what we have because it is as sand running through our fingers, and is fleeting.  If we build a permanent foundation on our Savior, we have what cannot be taken from us without our consent. And growing, and abiding love of God, and of all our brothers and sisters here on the earth, peace that is lasting, and the ability to "endure delay, trouble, opposition, or suffering without becoming angry, frustrated, or anxious...you hold up under pressure and are able to face adversity calmly and hopefully."(PMG p.120)
I love you all, and hope that you feel the added strength that is needful for you to conquer this week.  I know that you can do it, and I know that Heavenly Father has qualified (and He will continue to do so) each of you, through your faith, diligence, and desire, to do His work.  I am so grateful each of our paths crossed.  I'm holding on to the friendships that we've grown knowing that one day when I see you again I want to be on the right path, and I'm willing to do what it takes to stay there.

Thanks for being pals!

Love Always,
Sister Amber Garvin

P.S. For all you Utah folks.... My brother called me this morning and said that it was snowing in the canyon.
The seasons change so quickly! (parallel of life) but they're each beautiful. :)