Friday, March 31, 2017

Week 65 - I'm a wanderer...

So, this week was crazy. Like really crazy.  But it started great!  With a visit to the Gandin (Buddhist Temple) and a trip to Round Table Pizza,  I left wanting to explode, but it just tasted so good!  That night we met up with a family whose little daughter was in an accident.  But the daughter looked so good!  She sang us a song and was so stinking cute.  After that visit, we held family home evening with the young single adults.  My new member was there, but another new member who was supposed to meet us there didn't come.  But it was fun to see my new member from the other ward.  
Tuesday we went to my amazing grandma's house.  She wouldn't let go again.  But this time was especially heartbreaking because Sister Bollwinkel was saying goodbye.  We lingered a little extra that day.  It made me so excited to go back and see her again.  Our other appointments cancelled left and right, and nobody else was able to meet.  So we explored our area.  The ger districts are pretty disorganized, so at every fork in the road, we just randomly picked a direction to go.  We saw some cool fences and gers and dogs that way - it was a great time!  Transfer calls came out Tuesday night!  I'll stay in Tuul (cutting my area in half since I was in 2 wards before) and I'm going to TRAIN again!  The only catch is that my trainee won't come for a week or so.  That's where the crazy begins.
I was sad to take Sister Bollwinkel's stuff to the church on Wednesday.  The apartment feels so empty, but it's so clean and ready for my new trainee!  Sister Bollwinkel moved to the church and then we went out to dinner and got her situated.  We also helped some other sisters move around and pack their things for the transfer.  Transfers are always exciting.  I met up with Sister Austin and Sister Wilcox (the other 2 trainers) that night.  We are staying across the city from my apartment.
Thursday we planned for next and ran some errands.  At the end of the day we went to the church and said our last goodbyes to the sisters leaving our mission.  We miss them already!  But I'm excited to hear about their adventures!  They are amazing.  
On Friday, we tried to teach lessons, but none of them worked out.  But then we got to go over to Sister Brezenski's apartment and help by making them food for dinner since she and her companion were both sick.  I love serving!  
Saturday we went to two district meetings and a relief society activity (we made tie blankets for the babies in my ward!) and a baptism.  It was crazy running around all day.  And at the end of the day we went all the way across town and I got dropped off with Sister Hansen and Sister Guild so that Sunday could go smoother.  
Sunday was pretty smooth, all things considered.  We went to the long-distance branch at 10.  Sister Hansen and Sister Guild are the missionaries in that branch, and we listened to the sacrament there.  Then we ran over to my ward (across town) to see my people for sacrament.  After that sacrament we went to their ward's 3 hour block.  After church we were starving and ate a good dinner before teaching a cute 24 year old girl in their area.  Then we went back to their house and made brownies.
I met up with my other companions on Monday morning and we taught English at the school lab all day yesterday.  We'll teach again tomorrow, too.  This week is crazy and fun!  It's what missionary life is like.  Flexibility is the key to success.  And thank goodness I have so many great sisters in my mission who are willing!  Well, now we're actually down to 9 American sisters in the mission.  Crazy.  But we are having a party over here, so don't worry about us!  
Love you!
Sister Bottorff

Outside the Gandin

The Buddha inside

Me and Sister Bollwinkle

Nice digs, no?

A great time at the Relief Society activity!

Making tie blankets - service comes in many forms

I love sunsets!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Week 64 - One by One

This week I found a new song on the LDS youth website called One by One and I'm obsessed with it.  You can find it on this page and get obsessed with it too!

It's about how we all need to take care of God's children individually.  We all are so different and go through different trials, "so the only way to help them and lift them up is one by one."  That's so true.  And as I continue my mission I find that message to be more and more true and more and more real.  God knows us each one by one and He takes care of us that way.  You might ask how He took care of me and others this week?  Allow me to expound…

Tuesday He took care of me by letting me get a manicure and pedicure last P-Day.  He knows and loves the individual and spoils us with our favorite things! :)  He also answered my prayers that night at a member's house when I brought up a topic and they answered my prayer perfectly about how I can help someone in particular.

He also helped me overcome an overdose in food.  Sometimes that happens at dinner appointments.  But He helped me, so it's all good! 
He helped me help my investigators this week, too.  We read from the Book of Mormon with one of them.  She reads in faith but doesn't always understand.  We picked up where she left off, and it was a perfect lesson on faith and how God knows us and will answer our prayers.  

I got the opportunity to also help some sisters in my zone who were sick.  I packed a bag of Lipton soup (thanks mom!) and we got to go to their aid.  And it was so fun!  Now nobody is sick! But it was cool to be a part of helping someone in need!  

We went out to dinner on Friday to the coolest restaurant.  It has little gers set up and you can sit in a ger and eat!  There is even a river that goes through the restaurant.  And we wore green to celebrate our Irish heritage.  

Saturday was really the highlight of the week.  My 2 investigators were baptized!  The baptism was flawless.  The musical number was perfect and my investigators started their new life.  They were so excited!  And it made me consider even more how God cares for us individually.  The two people who were baptized are from different families and have had different stories leading up to that moment.  One is a mother of 4 who has been investigating the Church for 3 years.  The other is 19 and has lots of family members who are Church members who supported her on her journey.  But they were taught and baptized individually.  I hadn't thought of that before.  But Heavenly Father cares so much about the individual that He has them make covenants with Him individually.  I also saw, at their baptism, signs of their individual growth and journey towards knowing Christ better.  Their relationships with Him are so personal and different.  And it's been such a blessing to have been able to see their relationships with God improve and deepen.  I got to see it so closely as I met with each of them many times and invited them to make changes in their lives so they could know Him better.  And through that, I, too, got to know Him better.  

So I'd say my week was successful and fun.  I'm so sad to see Sister Bollwinkel leave me, but she's off to new adventures!  And I'll just have to continue the ice cream and cookie runs with my new companion.  I hope you had a great week and saw God's hand in your individual lives.  I know I did!  

Love you all!

Sister Bottorff   

Up with the chickens!

It's the little things that make a difference

Yummy dinner in a ger

Wearin' the green in a ger for dinner

A river runs through it!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Week 63 - Hard Rock, doing the splits, and many blessings!

So I know I've said that time has been flying my entire mission, but this transfer has gone particularly fast.  I'm not sure why, but I can't believe transfer calls come out in a week.  It's been packed to the brim and so fun!  

Tuesday we went to the Hard Rock Cafe with Sister Olsen and Sister Lichtenberg.  We had shakes and made friends with the super nice hostess.  She took great care of us!  The nachos and the mac-and-cheese were so good.  We had a great lesson that night with our 19-year-old investigator, Namuun.  She is pretty much the cutest person ever.  She is patient with our Mongolian, and we always laugh really hard when we are together.  Her extended family is all church members, so we have the lessons at her relative's house. And her niece is adorable.  I love her.  The niece only speaks English, and it's so funny.  She said our names are too hard, so she calls me Butterfly and my companion Star.  It's always a good time!  

Wednesday we had a split with the sisters from Unur.  I went back to Unur and helped Sister Wilcox learn the area a little better.  We also celebrated women's day by getting our companions flowers!  Women's day is a really fun holiday here because the grandmas wear their traditional clothing with the medals of honor they've received, and everyone passes and says, "Happy Women's Day"!  It made me feel good!  We had a super good dinner with the Sisters before sending them off and welcoming in the sisters from Songino for their split.

The split with Songino was also super fun!  I went out with Sister Austin, and we met with some people in my area.  I learned a lot from Sister Austin.  She is so patient and kind and fun to be around.  She is such a good example to me.  It was a pretty stress free day!  And we even dropped off a Snickers bar to our investigator who got baptized this weekend.  

Friday we had school.  Sometimes people don't come.  And then when they do they beg to leave.  So they drew a thing on the board begging us to let them go and then they concluded it with (Shrek's sad cat face).  I pictured the cat from the movie and laughed and gave them an A+ for creativity.  Haha High school is fun!  

Saturday we had a stake relief society birthday party to celebrate 175 years of relief society!  It was a blast!  They had a talent show and so many fun people came! I got to see old friends from old wards! :)  Then our 15 year old investigator got baptized!  The font was freezing, so for the 2 hours leading up to the baptism, we boiled water on the stove and in water boilers and in the microwave.  It didn't make much of a difference, but hopefully it was better than it could have been...But the baptism was so happy! So many people came!  And it made me so happy to see our investigator so happy!  I love these moments!  

Yesterday we counted our blessings.  There were so many.  While English was a little crazy, we got cookies and enjoyed.  And we talked to a lady while we were walking around who studied and lived in Ireland!  She was so cute and happy!  And we also got shakes afterward at a deli by our house.  And we visited a sister in our ward last minute because our appointment fell through.  We brought her cookies and she invited us in and we had a really delicious meal together.  I also shared a scripture that seemed to be just right for them at the time.  I'm amazed that when things don't work out my way they seem to work out the RIGHT way. God's in charge.  

I love you all!  

Sister Bottorff

A mission can't be ALL work, right?

The snow - it's melting...

What snow??

I love the wall art...

More wall art...

Even more...

And even more!

How did she do that with her hair?

My apartment building