Friday, May 31, 2013

Buenos Dias,

HUBERTS LEMONADE IN UTAH!!!!! How wonderful! Oh, joyous day! Did you enjoy it as much as I do? :) I hope all is well still with the money and grocery challenge. Don't Starve, JP!

News is: I'm staying in the Wollochet Ward another Six weeks, here in Gig Harbor! Sister Young will be my new companion as of this afternoon. We've both only been in the field 6 weeks! AAAAAAH!!!  I'm terrified to be driving around town and teaching with such little experience between the two of us, but whom God calls, he qualifies, right? I'm a little depressed to be losing Sister Brown, we've become great friends and have a great time together while working hard. It's been a delight. I keep being blessed by so many good friends that have such conviction for the gospel and doing right and loving others. I just love her! She would sure fit in with the Boren's, we quote movies sometimes (when relevant, and when appropriate) like "I tell you what . . . WOW!" (Bartok, Anastasia) or "Anybody want a peanut?" or "Much Too Good for Children!" (Matilda. That made me think of you, Danielle). I will be here til July 10th for certain, and we'll see after that where the Lord would have me! I adore Gig Harbor and can't believe I've been granted another 6 weeks here. I feel intimidated and exhilarated at the same time. Keep the prayers coming! Love you all!

This past week has been a fantastic one. Josh's baptism was Saturday morning. Many people came to support him from the ward! Josh was beaming. His Step-uncle, Joey baptized him. Sister Brown & I bought him a journal and wrote our testimonies in the front. He maturely came to shake my hand and thank us both after the baptism. He is such a marvelous young man, every time we're over at the H. Residence Josh asks, in prayer, that Sister Brown and I will have a 'safe passage home.' His vocabulary astounds me! Anyways, the baptismal service was wonderful and uplifting. It's neat to see this young man choose to follow the Savior's example. His whole life, and the life of his family now and future family, will be effected positively by the standards he now upholds and the goals he has for the future. I am grateful to know him!

Boys, I thought you would like to know what we did for P-day yesterday. Normally we play Frisbee on p-day, but yesterday was sunny. So . . . we played volleyball with our zone (about 16 people) at the church for a while. And then we embarked on a game of ZOMBIES! Nerf guns are placed strategically throughout the church building (minus the chapel) as well as ammo. Also hidden are 4 jello packages. Two people are appointed to be zombies and are asked to go and hide. The rest of the people are asked to be humans. There is a re-spawn point (usually a classroom or a specific couch) for zombies, and a home-base for humans (like the classroom or kitchen area of the building). The point of the game (for humans) is to gather 4 hidden jello packets from throughout the building and return them to the human home base, without being caught by zombies! If you are touched by a zombie, you turn into a zombie! It was an amazing, intense game of strategy. Especially when your fellow humans turn rogue after being tagged and inflicted! Anyways, this is some of what we do on P-days to get our wiggles out and relax before returning to missionary work. We also do responsible things like laundry, letters, housecleaning, and grocery shopping.

Our ward held a fantastic memorial day breakfast yesterday! The boy scouts held it as a fundraiser, and asked each family to purchase a ticket to buy breakfast. The Thomas Family kindly bought Sister Brown and I a ticket! Despite the pouring rain, it was a blast! Some of the ward members put together a live band with their combined guitar, drum, bass, and singing talents. Young kids started a game of tag in the middle of the pouring rain. Brothers and Sisters in the ward chatted over piping hot pancakes and chocolate milk. There was an atmosphere of love and a good time. It felt like home. It felt like H's and B's and Highland 33rd ward family. This, I thought to myself, is a big part of why missionary work is so important. To bring others to this giant, loving family. We are God's children. He loves us. Why not love each other while living clean, trustworthy standards? God's standards for us? It was wonderful.

Things are well with our other investigators. Adults take a little more time than young people to search out the gospel. All things in their time, though. In precious time.

I wrote a miniature poem a few weeks ago in my journal, I thought I'd share it here:
"What is a heart?
A box, a cradle. A cradle for the cares of a human life, the solemn desires and frivolous wishes of yesterday
and tomorrow.
And the passion for today.
The reminder of what is Real
and what is wanted--not just by the body,
but the soul.
Wanted of the soul."

I share this because I'm realizing more and more lately the capacity we each have--that I have--to love others. To love them as Christ does. To cast away things that don't hold lasting happiness, and make room to care about other people. In 1st Nephi, When Lehi leaves Jerusalem with his family, all he takes are provisions and his Family. He leaves gold, silver, property, etc. behind.  We take similarly scant things with us beyond death. The provisions we take with us after this life will be the memory of our works on earth and the knowledge we've gained--especially spiritual knowledge. Fill your minds and hearts with the best thoughts and desires.

Con Amor,
Hermana Boren
Sister Boren
Mickey Moo Face
etc . . .

Monday, May 13, 2013

May 13, 2013

Hello my beautiful family!

What a joy it was to talk with you on the phone yesterday for Mother's day. It was such a gift to me to hear your voices and feel of your love! I'm glad all is well at home. Anecdotes about mowing the lawn, getting a job at Thanskgiving point (i'm proud of you, bud!), Birthday extraveganzas with a speech bubble cake, knot app updates, weekends with grandparents, cousin misadventures,  movie filming, and the droid noise (JP . . .:) ) were fantastic. I love love love you all with all my heart. Happy Mother's Day, Mom :) amidst all our laughter and talk I don't know If I actually said those words, but I sure meant them! Happy Happy Mother's Day!

All is well in Gig Harbor, Washington. The more I'm on my mission the more I marvel at how many unique and incredible children God has. Though tracting has it's disagreeable downfalls, it definitely contains shining moments on some incredible people's doorsteps. This week I met a fellow named Jim in his 70's. He was a pastor for over 40 years, but didn't belong to a certain sect. He didn't believe in the contention and anger that came from separation of Christian religions. Christ is the big picture for Jim. He has played Santa every Christmas since his hair went white and made dollhouses for his daughters and grandkids. Maybe it's something about the name Jim and playing Santa Claus :) He was so kind to us and talked with us for a good hour at his doorstep. Sister Brown and I were so touched that we bought a Lindt chocolate bar and took it to him a few days later. His bright old eyes beamed and he said with a jolly chuckle, 'you made my day!' Its small moments like that that make me smile :) A quote from Jim: "God's in the business of changing lives." I liked that a lot!

Another fellow we met was Fred--he was out watering his Daughter's garden in a bit of horse country. He was wearing a flappy flannel shirt and had a rough gray beard and shaggy hair, an old pair of working blue jeans. He had the hose in his right hand and a beer bottle in his left, and he offered us the biggest grin when we walked up and asked to share a message about Jesus Christ. He proceeded to listen to our testimonies and in turn offered his own. He expressed that he feels about as close to God as anybody, he just doesn't like the pomp and circumstance of organized religion. He says he feels God all around him, in the trees and in the sky and in the water. He thanked us and said how encouraging it was to meet young people--particularly young ladies--representing Jesus Christ.

Those small moments, meeting Good, Christian people and sharing our love of Christ with them--they are sweet, supernal moments for me.

We have 7 investigators (or people investigating the church of Jesus Christ) at present. Josh, age 10, is now being baptized on May 25th. We are also teaching 13-year-old baseball-playing Ben, Single-mom beautiful Michelle and her 4-year-old Layla, Incredible Catholic Eleanor, Quiet and Kind Craig, Clever and Curious Cheryl, Daring and Compassionate Darren. I am coming to love these good people so much!

Look at the hymn 'Ye elders of Israel.' I love this hymn and its been such a source of solace and inspiration to me as a missionary!

That's all the time I have for today, Family. Know that I love you with all that I am!!!

Con Amor,
Hermana Boren

Monday, May 6, 2013

 May 6, 2013
Hello hello!

So, in case you didn't know, I have enjoyed a freak Springtime incident in Gig Harbor, Washington. We haven't seen rain in 2 weeks, and the sun shines at 75 degrees right now. WOW. I don't even know if Utah weather is this good yet. It makes everything quite pleasant here!

Thanks for your letters, corey and Mom! And the email updates, as always. To my BYU and college going friends, with the end of the semester, I don't have your current addresses. Send me a letter to let me know where you live and I will write you :)

No news on the Visa at present :) I am loving Washington though, and am letting go of wondering when. I'm a bit of a control freak, and I didn't know how much until this unknowing time period has happened. For now, I have fallen in love with the beauty of Gig Harbor!

Some misadventures this week: Our toaster had a short or something, and caught my pop tarts on fire--six inches of flame! I began frantically unplugging the machine and dashing outside with it in my hands, to keep our little blue house from catching afire as well. The flames were soon extinguished and our house kept safe :)
Sister Brown went to shower Thursday morning and found the most gigantic house spider I have ever seen in my life! Half the size of a tarantula, I kid you not. See pictures!
Came home to doorbellditched sidewalk chalk art and donuts from a young family in the ward. We are loved! It made me think of my sweet kids camp kids at home, and lots of super-secret spy missions my freshman year of college.
Trampoline--our house has a lot of funny little items that have collected from the Ulsh family who own the place along with previous missionaries. One of them is a mini trampoline. Whenever we get sleepy during study, we pull our the trampoline and give a couple jumps to get alert again!

The highlight of my week: Thursday morning, our Mission President (pres Weaver) and his Wife took us to the Seattle Washington Temple, with a third of our mission. We got to ride a school bus, about a 1.5 hour journey from Gig Harbor. I only wish I could describe what a wound was filled in my heart that day. As the spire of the temple came into sight, as I entered the doors of the temple, as I changed into temple clothing--a warmth enveloped my broken heart.

Sister Weaver shared with us, later, that Elder Holland had visited several Mission Presidents in Washington, because he and the other general authorities are so concerned for the missionaries. They want to see how they are doing. Elder Holland expressed that his heart is breaking--and our hearts are breaking, as missionaries--for all of the sin that we see in the world. All these good people wallowing in the mire of Satan's tricks, searching for happiness in places they will never find it.

My heart felt broken as I rode to the Seattle Temple. Sister Brown and I are working with several members and investigators who are heavily addicted to smoking, coffee, and other harmful substances and habits.  I see the anguish and the pain they endure, countenances fallen from grace--souls starving for something of greater worth. A panic, a sadness in their eyes! I realize now how blessed I have been, how apart my life has been from the pain so prevalent in the world. The beautiful, blessed home in which I was raised. Mom and Dad, I can never thank you enough.

As I entered the doors of the temple, my heart was overcome with love. I felt swathed with joy and goodness I cannot describe in simple words! All the worry, the hurt, feelings of inadequacy and weakness and the heartache and grief I had been feeling was banished in the light that engulfed me. I have not felt so overcome with the spirit ever before in the Temple of our God. Warm tears spilled openly down my cheeks! I felt jubilant! Memories of the people I love the most (aka, y'all reading this email) and the blessings I have been given filled my soul. This beautiful edifice is God's. I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it! In the celestial room of the temple, over 70 missionaries stood. Young men & women, along with Senior couple missionaries. We looked like an army.

After our trip to the temple, our band of missioanries enjoyed a lunch and a miniature devotional. Together, we all sang amazing grace. I wish I could describe the gift music is to me, especially in that moment. On came the waterworks again. Tears spilled!

My sweet family, do all you can to be worthy of a temple reccommend! I cannot emphasize it enough. My young brothers and cousins and friends, never lose sight of the temple. NEVER! Satan wants so much to keep us from God's house. He wants us to be miserable, and sad. I went to the temple a LOT before my mission--37 times between Dec. 12th 2012 and Feb 27th 2013--and never did I feel so whole, so complete as I did on Thursday. There are things about the temple I didn't understand first attending--and, heck, things I still don't understand. But keep going. Keep attending. In time, more and more will be understood. And you will receive blessings beyond measure! I want all of you to feel as I did on Thursday. After leaving those doors, I was strong. I knew that with God, all things are possible. It was a tremendous and beautiful feeling.

There is a lot of darkness in this world, and I can't fathom what it would be like to be in High School and in Junior High right now. I only graduated 3 years ago, and already the world has taken such a darker turn. I see it every day in the lives of these people in Washington. Never forget who you are, boys. You are sons of God. Remember the names you hold and who you represent. You represent the Borens, and you Represent Jesus Christ.

Whew, well . . . Some other things for this week :) Josh, our sweet 10 year old, has decided he wants to be baptized. I will be celebrating Kylie Mae's birthday, May 18th, with my very first baptism. I think it's a tender mercy that my first baptism will be a child. I am excited for Josh and his decision to join the church!

We haven't met with Elanor this week, but we have 5 other investigators (all from different families, and all adults) that are progressing and we've been teaching. Perhaps most unexpected was Darren, a 40 year old man who randomly came to Church last Sunday. I can't explain it! He is engaged to a Member who hasn't attended church in years, and she and he both decided to come to church. We've met with them twice this week and he told us (on the first lesson) that he wants to be baptized. Sister Brown and I are elated!

Also, we offer service every other week at an Alzheimer's care facility called ClareBridge. What a neat experience this has been :) We sing and I play piano for these gentle old folks. It reminds me fondly of my volunteering with Utah Healing Arts at Provo Rehab. I don't have my guitar, but I have my voice and a piano. They don't say much, but they do listen. One sweet woman named Emma always comments after each song. She says, "I love it! Do you want to know why? It reminds me of Mom!"

Well, Mom, have a marvelous mother's day! I'l talk to you then. Corey Joseph, have a marvelous 13th!!! Love ya bud! Boys and Dad, can't wait to talk to you Sunday. And I'll bet the yard is looking great!

Love love love,
Sister Boren
Mikayla Renee