Saturday, June 29, 2013

Voy a la Bella Del Sol

Dearest Familia,

I thought you should know that this past Tuesday, Sister Young and I got a phone call from President Weaver. He wanted to speak with us in person, and he was getting off the freeway at that very moment! We met with him in uptown in the library parking lot. And do you know what he told me, Tuesday afternoon? My visa came through. Actually, it came through a day after Elder Higginson's and Decker's came through, and before he saw me on my birthday--but he couldn't bear to tell me then because Sister Dean's did not come through. She will be the only one of our original four-some of Visa waiters left behind--isn't that tragic? I was most concerned about her at first because I, quite frankly, wouldn't have minded switching places. I'm lovin' the WA-TAC! But President said it doesn't work that way, and I'll be on my way. I called sister dean last night, and she's doing well with the news. President Weaver told her for sure that she'll be on her way to Argentina next transfer, without a doubt.

Am I excited? Yes. Am I terrified? Yes. I can't believe that in three short Days I'll be on my way to la bella del sol. I report to the mission office at 8 am, this Monday. I'll be flying to Atlanta by noon, and then have a layover there before flying into Buenos Aires. Voy a Argentina! Increible!

 Sister Young is quite bummed I'm leaving, and I'm sad to leave her and beloved Wollochet too. We are hoping she gets a real hard working companion to keep up the wild pace we've been running at!

I love you, my sweet family. I'll be talking to you Monday Morning from the Airport. I have no idea when my next P-day will be (this P-day was 3 hours on a Friday afternoon, thanks be to President). Until then, I love you!

the Argentina-Bound Hermana Mikayla Boren

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Estrella Del Mar . . . . Starfish :)

Oh mi familia querida!

Buenos tardes! I'm emailing at a different time today because we went to the Key Peninsula this morning to see the STARFISH! And other neat sea creatures of the great puget deep. Most of our zone went with The Key Center Ward's Bishop and his family. They showed us some neat critters, like the great  Moon Snail, Crabs, Sea Cucumbers, Starfish, Clams, Gooey-ducs (or whatever they are called . . .), Sand Dollars, Catfish, Eels, SeaSuns, and even a real BALD EAGLE in the sky. Bald eagles are pretty commonplace in Washington, at least it seems like it to the people here. The little Utah girl in me kept saying "OH, WOW!" As it flew overhead. Absolutely stunning. Lakebay, Washington. We're visiting here someday, family! See the pictures for further details, funny faces, etc.

News on the visa--Elder Higginson (from my district in the MTC) and Elder Decker both got their Visas to Argentina and will be leaving next Monday. Sister Dean and I still have no idea. I'm not sure how I feel, and I'm trying hard not to think to much about it. I know Argentina will come in it's own time, but I'm not sure what timing I want that to be. I am hungry for Espanol and Argentina. And ever anxious in the sea of unknown. At the same time, I have completely, unexpectedly and unreservedly fallen in love with the WA-TAC and I will not restrain the tears when I have to say goodbye.

I want to begin with yesterday. Yesterday was June 23rd, my 21st birthday. It was one of the best birthdays of my life! Saturday night we had dinner at my dear friends Bob & Kim H's, they had made a delicious chocolate-strawberry cake for after our hamburger barbeque dinner (p.s, they are taking a trip to Utah in late July, Mom and Dad, and they want to meet you!). Sunday Morning, Sister Young ordered me to get ready first for the day. Usually we alternate who showers first, and it would have been her turn. While I showered, she made me a breakfast of banana muffins! What an awesome companion! We had ward council at 11:30, and Sacrament Meeting at 1pm. Asan and Tracy were both supposed to come, but neither of them showed. That part was rather depressing :( After a peaceful and renewing sacrament meeting, Sister Young and I took off to the 12th and Pearl building in Tacoma for the Missionary Broadcast. This is the chapel we have all of our transfer meetings at, it was the first place they took me after landing in the Seattle airport. Sister & President Weaver sat behind us, and several of our fellow missionaries watched with us as well. What a Powerful broadcast. The Spirit filled my heart, and I felt overwhelmed with gratitude and excitement and a little bit of intimidation to be a missionary at this time. There are souls to save, and the work is hastening. It was pretty special to have General Conference (of sorts) on my birthday, on my mission. I've never quite had a gift so special before! Some highlights--Elder Perry's energy. I love that man, and his excitement for missionary work enthused me even further! I want to be so energized and exuberant about the work at his age! Elder Holland is such a bold, powerful leader (I told Sister Young this week that if we were general authorities, she'd be Elder Holland and I'd be Elder Eyring). The video about member-missionary work was inspiring, I cried when I watched that sweet little boy sit by a new friend on the bus and share the gospel with him. Children are precious, and are an heritage of the Lord. I love and Sustain our Dear Prophet, Thomas S. Monson. Pray for him, as I'm sure you already are, as he mourns his sweet wife. Something powerful, also, was president Packer's testimony. He's such a wonderful teacher, and spoke about teaching--yet the things he emphasized the most were obedience and repentance. What interesting elements we need in order to improve our teaching skills.

After the broadcast, Sister Young and I piled into a 12-passenger van with 8 other missionaries to head to our musical fireside, the Assistants to the President (AP's) were driving. Keep in mind that the AP missionaries are named Elder Denison and Elder Parry.

Here dawns, thus-far, the most embarrassing part of my mission.

As we began to drive, it was awfully quiet. Still energized and spiritually filled from the Mission Broadcast, I said cheerfully, "Man, isn't Elder Perry just so cute? He's just so excited about missionary work . . . " With that, Elder Parry from the front seat said confidently, "Yeah he is!" and everyone else in the car began looking at me with a "Wow, did you really just say that out loud?" look. It took me a moment to realize that while I was talking about Elder L. Tom Perry, everyone in the car had taken me to mean Elder Parry Assistant-to-the-president Elder Parry, who was currently driving the 12-passenger van to the Missionary fireside. I blushed, explained I meant elder L. Tom Perry, and closed my mouth to prevent any further blunders.

We arrived at the Puyallup chapel and practiced our musical numbers. This would be the last musical fireside for the year. As of this week, the Washington Tacoma Mission and Washington Seattle Missions are losing parts of their mission to create the Washington Federal Way Mission. It was an emotional night as we realized 24 of our own missionaries were being sent to another mission. We sang with fervor and with spirit. My favorite is 'Amazing Grace.' Our 70+ voices rang brightly in the Chapel and through the cultural hall. Warmth enveloped our hearts as we, for the last time, shared our musical testimonies together in this fireside setting.

It was Elder Higginson's birthday yesterday, too! and he happened to be at the fireside as well! We talked a little while, and he told me about his visa. I expressed my excitement and 'bueno suerte' (good luck) to him in his travels. My MTC 41B District will always have a dear place in my heart and memories from the beginning of my mission, and I look forward to seeing all of them in Rosario again one day.

After driving home, Sister Young made me outer darkness for my Birthday treat! And I enjoyed opening my packages from Grandma Reesa + Papa Phil, and you my dear family. Thank you for the Solar flower and spending $, Grandma & Grandpa. And thank you, Mom & Dad and my dear brothers, for the wonderful contents of my package! The music, the clothes, $, the earrings, the cereal, the gum and chocolate. I sure love you. Mostly the pictures and letters, though! Those are priceless!

In all, it was a magnificent birthday.

This week, we ate dinner with the Clive Family. They have traveled all around the world to cool places like Angkor Wat. They have a lovely home on Fox Island. As we dined with them and their friend Loa A., she began telling us about her own adventures performing in Vaudville as a little girl, messing up her knee while riding an elephant, finishing school in Italy, and getting mugged in Tahiti. She told of her father, who said on her 10th birthday that she should write a list of 25 adventures she wanted to have before her 11th birthday. She did that every year but two in her lifetime, and by now, there's not a lot she hasn't done, she says! I decided to do the same. Seeing as the next year I'll be on my mission and traversing to a foreign land, I had at least 25 adventures I want to have before my 22nd birthday. #1 on my list was dying my hair for the first time--and Sister Young obliged this morning! She gave me some high lights and low lights, nothing too drastic since I can't do much with my hair in Argentina. But it is fun to have a change and to witness more of her talents firsthand. Looking forward to more adventures to come!

Sorry this email has lacked some spiritual element, I've been a little selfish, I apologize. There's been some incredible miracles this week. The most moving to me is Mallory, our 6:59 tracting miracle of last Monday evening. We knocked two dead end streets and ended at about 6:50. Sister Young told me she had faith that wherever I drove, we would find someone who needed to hear this message. I found myself pulling up next to a warehouse/shed/barn looking edifice on the side of a quiet road. Sister Young and I hopped out and decided to give it a look after saying a prayer, asking Heavenly Father to lead us even to one soul who needs the gospel. We climbed the hill by this shed, and found a little brown farmhouse behind it. After we knocked, this young, cute mom named Mallory came to the door. She said she wasn't religious, but we asked if we could share a prayer with her. She agreed. After the prayer on her doorstep, she invited us inside and asked if we were thirsty. And she began to cry. She has two sweet kids under the age of 5, and an abusive boyfriend she put a restraining order in for only a day before. She kept saying, 'It's so crazy you're here . .. it's so crazy you're here . . ."sister Young and I bore testimony to her that she is a child of God, and that God is very aware of her. There is no such thing as coincidence, only God's hand in our life.

I know God lives. He loves us. We are his children, and he is aware of us. I hope you are all praying for missionary experiences! I love you deeply and think and pray for you often.  Lesquiero mucho!

Hermana Boren
Miki Moo face

Hymn of the week: I heard the bells on Christmas Day .. . I'll explain in a letter!

Scripture: 3 Nephi 11

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Game of Sims

Hola, Familia! Que tal?

So apparently y'all are in YELLOWSTONE?? How awesome! I hope its a grand old time and that your Trek experience was fantastic as well. Anxiously awaiting a full report from all of you about both adventures!

Happy father's day yesterday, Dad! And to Grandpa Phil, and all my sweet uncles. Happy Father's day :) Much love from Mickey-Moo face. Here's a scripture that I feel describes how I feel about fathers, especially mine--Enos 1:1. "Behold, it came to pass that I, Enos, knowing my father that he was a just man--for he taught me in his language, and also in the nurture and admonition of the Lord--and blessed be the name of my God for it." Yes, blessed be the name of my God for the Fathers in my life!

Game of Sims--this is what Sister Young calls missionary work/our life on earth sometimes. She's fearless, and i'm a little more timid when it comes to tracting. She inquired as to why, one day. I explained that I feel I'm invading someone's space, someone's territory (which is true. This is their property). But she's helped me out with a funny analogy--think of it all as a game of sims when it comes to tracting. There's these people, some are doctors and some are bus drivers and some are painters and some are writers. They live in these houses on these streets in Gig Harbor, Washington. Here's the fire station, the coffee shop, the library. Just like in Sims, right? Well, they are also all Children of God. And as missionaries, it's important for us to tell them! It's a funny analogy, but it makes us laugh and helps us carry on.

Sister Young says a lot of funny things--she uses 'spiritual trail of breadcrumbs' too. We'll feel inspired to be someplace, and it's only after talking to ten or eleven people or knocking several doors that we finally meet the person who has been hungering for this knowledge. Also of her, "I feel like if it's not chocolate, it's just not worth putting in my body." Some of these you just have to be there for. But she makes me laugh and keeps it real.

So . . . Saturday was Darren's miracle baptism! I shared the story of planning with you last week. Well, June 15th at 2:30 pm, the Baptismal service began. I have never seen someone more excited for Baptism, and this is my first time seeing a grown-up enter the waters. What a precious experience it was, indeed. Sister Young offered a talk on Baptism, I sang "When I am Baptized" (just like at my own baptism nearly 13 years ago). Then Darren entered the waters, Bishop Kasteler baptized him per Darren's request. After coming out of the water, he gave Bishop a huge, wet hug! We played the restoration video (the short missionary version) while they changed, and Darren's extended family was glued to the story. There might yet be baptisms in the future with this group! Sister Brown was able to come to the baptism from her new area, she gave a talk on the Holy Ghost.

After the Baptism, Darren kept shaking our hands and saying how much he loved what we shared and sang. See the pictures: his smile says it all.

As for other folks we're teaching right now--our teaching pool is exploding. We have had a marvelous lesson with Michelle this week--she told us she wants very much to dedicate herself to this spiritual journey, and wants to find out for herself if this church is true and if she should be baptized. I feel a deep connection with her, every time I see her she gives me a hug and there's a mutual feeling of trust. I'm not sure why. One neat thing--her name is Michelle, and her only daughter is Layla Renee. Hmm . . . my Mom's middle name is Michelle, and my name is Mikayla Renee . . . it's a neat coincidence, perhaps. But I also know Heavenly Father has a sense of humor. I'm excited for her and have high hopes.

Another new wonderful woman is Kathy. I might have mentioned her before, but on one particular day I felt prompted to pull off onto this dead-end street. I parked next to one particular house. After we knocked, this woman told us she has been recently divorced after 22 years. She feels God guides her to the truth and help she needs, and She explained that maybe this church and the Book of Mormon is what she needs at this time. We had a fantastic lesson with her, teaching the Restoration, and have a follow up appointment this week with a Church Tour.

Asan is progressing in baby steps. We have started teaching a young girl named Ashley, age 11. Her father left the church at 15 but is interested in coming back. We have several part member families we're teaching as often as we can. We're busy, and loving it.

This Wednesday, Elder Piper of the Seventy is coming for a mission tour. Pretty much, it's general conference in person, and just for missionaries. He's coming to see how the work is progressing in the WA-TAC. Kind of a big deal . . . :) And then this Sunday is the broadcast with President Monson. AAAAAAHHHHHH! I'm pretty excited for that one as well!

To any of you who aren't sure about your testimony, or aren't sure about what's truth and what is myth--keep searching. Hold fast to what you DO know. The Gospel--it makes sense. The hardest time of day for me is the morning, as I wake up and get ready for the day, Satan tries to slam all kinds of doubts and fears in my face. But I'm learning to fight back! In the scriptures, there's an analogy of the armor of God. Shield of Faith, Breastplate of Righteousness, etc. The only offensive part of the armor is the Sword of the Spirit. I get stronger and I oppose Satan by strengthening that sword. I study my scriptures for an hour each morning personally, and then have nearly 2 hours to study with my companion. There is truth to be found in the Scriptures. This week I was pondering languages, and my new found love for the diverse languages in the world. And lo and behold, I read Mosiah 1:2 as part of my personal study. I'll leave you to look it up, but as I read, I read amidst laughter and joy. God is so aware of us and our interests and concerns. Answers are found in the scriptures.

"There is a green hill far away, without a city wall. Where the dear lord was crucified who died to save us all. Oh dearly, dearly has he loved--and we must love him too. And trust in his redeeming love and try his works to do." I know the beautiful words of this hymn are true, and sacred. There is a man who lived 2000 years ago. His name is Jesus Christ! He lives, he lives! All glory to his name. He lives, he lives! My Savior, still the same.

Ustedes estan en mis oraciones!
Con amor y amistad,
Hermana Boren

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Miracles in Wollochet

My dearest family,

I have never loved being a Missionary so much! This past week has been incredible! Words cannot adequately express the exhilaration I feel for missionary work right now. But I'll give it a shot anyways.

I'll begin with last Monday. So after I emailed you, the rest of the day resulted in a rockin' game of basketball (how I've missed my time in the church gym with the boys! Josh, Jordan, Ty, and J-Bird, I did you proud) and a nerf war. After hastily gathering our laundry from the stake offices and zooming back to change into proselyting attire, Sister Young and I zipped over the fox island bridge for tracting at 6pm. Sister Young has introduced me to a whole new world of tracting. She goes completely off the spirit. Sister Brown and I would look at a map and decide where to go the next day, trying to follow the spirit and be inspired which geographic area to go/where we haven't done before.Sister Young has introduced me to a new method. We say a prayer that Heavenly Father will guide us to wherever he'd like us to go, whomever needs the restored gospel in their lives. And then we drive. And whenever Sister Young or Myself (whomever is driving) feels we should stop, or pull off in a certain driveway, or take a side road or a back street--we follow that prompting and knock those doors.

As it so happened on Monday, Sister Young pulled off about halfway down the highway through fox island. The first door we knocked, a kind woman named Carol answered the door. "Oh, I'm Buddhist, I don't have interest in joining your religion," she explained. "But I do have a sister who is LDS, and she has grandchildren on missions!" We chatted a little, said a prayer with her, and went on our way. We knocked a few neighboring doors and were able to give a Book of Mormon to a woman from Spokane who was visiting family. As we walked back to our car at around 7pm, Carol bustled out of her front door and called, "Wait! Sisters! Have you eaten?" We responded that we had not. "My sister tells me she often feeds the missionaries! What kind of Buddhist would I be if I didn't invite you in! I have a quiche that just came out of the oven. Let's eat on the deck." So, with that, she invited us inside and we enjoyed her gorgeous view of the Puget Sound while discussing our beliefs. She's preparing her cabin-style home for sale, and a real estate man showed up towards the end of the meal. While she chatted with him we left our card on her deck table and waved goodbye and thank you.

The next day while checking up on potential investigators, we got a phone call from Carol. "Sister Boren," she asked, "do you have any Boren relatives in Alaska, Washington? My sister is married to a Boren!" She asked for my Father's, Grandfather's, and Great Grandfather's names. She wants to find out how we're related. Now, if that whole situation isn't a miracle I'm not sure what is. This sweet woman is now involved in family history research with her sister in trying to find out how we're related, after inviting us to dinner on her deck porch while we were out knocking doors. Sister Young knew where to drive that day!

Similar experiences have happened all throughout this week. While putting an address in the GPS for Horsehead bay, the GPS directed us to take a side street--Dunbar--to turn around. As we drove up Dunbar I remembered we had two potential investigators that lived on that street, Sister Brown and I had previously knocked into them. Both happened to be home, and BOTH invited us to come back. That might not seem crazy to anyone but a missionary . . . but we were delighted!

Friday night I was feeling exhausted and somewhat discouraged, but I still wanted to follow the Spirit while tracting. After saying a prayer, I drove to a small 'DEAD END' street off of a busy highway. The first door we knocked on was Kathy. She opened up when we began sharing our testimonies of Jesus Christ. She feels like she's entered a really dark time, she recently divorced someone she'd been married to for 22 years. She feels that Jesus has been with her all her life and provided her with the help she needed when she needed it. She said maybe this was what she was looking for, and even asked us if she could buy a Book of Mormon. We explained they were free and handed her a copy. She said she'd finish this week.

Earlier on Friday we tried visiting a potential investigator (his name is Jay) who had invited us back. Sadly, he didn't answer his door. After visiting Kathy I continued up East Bay drive and felt prompted to pull off the side of the road to a grouping of three or four houses. We knocked on the first house, nothing. As we walked to the second house, a BIG white truck pulled into the first house's driveway. Much to our surprise, Jay hopped out of the driver's side. This home was on the other side of town from Jay's! Turns out this house was his parent's place, they were out of town so he was coming to water their plants. He said he'd still like us over and we set up another appointment. As we walked away I just shook my head and smiled. God works in mysterious ways.

Another miracle came after Zone Conference on Thursday. All of the missionaries in the Northern part of the Tacoma mission gathered for further training on missionary work. President Weaver showed us the book of Moses--it is essentially God's planner!  God planned to create the earth, and the order he would create it. And then he followed that plan. He asked us to plan with faith.

So, the next morning, Sister Young and I (during our weekly planning session) felt like we should pencil in a baptism for the following Saturday, June 15th, at 2:30 p.m. That afternoon we had a lesson with Darren & Brandi. Darren originally had his baptism set for August 31st, after he takes his trip to get married to Brandi and his family are in town. He explained to us that he feels Satan is trying so hard to make him break the word of wisdom and the other commandments he's been trying to keep in preparing for his Baptism. He decided a few things right then and there during our lesson. 1) He was going to pitch a tent in the back yard that he would sleep in until he and Brandi get married, so he can keep the law of chastity. 2) He wants to be baptized and receive the gift of the holy ghost as soon as possible. 3)His baptism will be on June 15th at 2:30 p.m., and he wants the Bishop to baptize him.

Well, turns out we already had a baptism scheduled for that day.
Blessings from planning! Sister Young and I called President Weaver as soon as we giddily got back to our car. God sure loves us!

As of right now, Sister Young and I have 9 progressing investigators and 23 investigators total.We are overwhelmed and delighted with how the work is progressing. God is hastening his work. Sister Young and I have been in the mission field the same amount of time--this is our second transfer. We are still new and trying to figure out what we're doing. We know we are young and inexperienced, but so eager to learn and such fervor to go forth. At Zone Conference, President Weaver gave us some exciting news. On June 19th, Elder Piper of the 70 will be coming to our Mission for a Mission Tour. He will be inspecting our work here, making sure missionary work is being conducted correctly. Sister Young and I both decided we want to be as strictly obedient as possible, so that all things are in their proper order when Elder Piper comes. All I can think to say to describe what we're doing is 'pedal to the medal, captain!' We're studying the white missionary handbook and aligning ourselves with it's rules, practicing Spanish as much as we can (Sister Young is so good to help me practice), clean our little blue house, and use every minute of our day wisely. We go for a run every morning and are eating healthy. This might sound strict, but I have never felt more like a soldier! :) In the best way. Sister Young and I still share jokes and crack up every so often. We come home feeling fulfilled and happy. We're exhausted, but it's more like Missionary Fun, not Work.

Another tremendous announcement--June 23rd, there will be a gigantic worldwide broadcast about Missionary Work. President Monson will be speaking. It will be broadcast from the Marriott Center. Truly, God is hastening his work, and this meeting will explain part of why. I encourage all of you to go, if you can. I have never been more excited for my Birthday!

One last story--we had an investigator named Asan (Islamic for 'beautiful') come to church yesterday. He is a big, tall, strong, dark man with an accent that sounds like downtown Chicago. Luckily we were standing in the parking lot, otherwise he said he would have turned around and driven away. He's been muslim his whole life, but wants a greater sense of peace and knew Christianity was the way to go. He was sweating bullets all the way into the chapel. We sat down, and he said, "i gotta talk to y'all outside!" so we followed him into the hallway. "i'm not chickening out or nothin, but this is makin' me nervous. Work with me here. I'll come next week. I promise." We tried talking with him and walked into a classroom to say a prayer. He said, "Sisters! I need baby steps! I don't want to do this. I'm used to walking into a room and being the main guy." We talked a little while about humility and how it's here that he can gain that peace into his life again through repentance. We ended up with a compromise: He sat on the couch in the foyer for about 30 minutes with us, all through the sacrament. Sister Young opened up to "Be Still My Soul" and had him read it. He smiled at that. And then he decided to leave. "Baby steps. y'all. Y'all are just too much. I'll be back for the full hour next week, I promise. Maybe I'll bring my family. See you Tuesday." And he drove off. Sister Young and I breathed a sigh of relief that at least he had stayed. I never thought about church being nerve-racking before. Satan does all he can to keep us away--but there's happiness and peace to be found through Jesus Christ! I KNOW that to be true.

Scripture of the Week: Enos.
Hymn of the Week: I feel my savior's love

I love you all deeply.

Hermana Boren

Monday, June 3, 2013

My Sweet Family,

I am so blessed with so many people that love me. Thank you for your beautiful letters this week. I opened them up and read them yesterday morning (sometimes I save my letters for the morning, so I have something to look forward to while eating breakfast!). Yesterday was fast Sunday, but I feasted on your words. Thank you for your love and your support. Corey and Tyler, what artists you are! I loved your picture of the choir concert, CJ. And Tyler, what a neat drawing of 'evolution.' Quite the artistic talent! Austin and Jordan, when I read your letters I laughed so hard my companion came flying out of the other room to see what was going on. You both crack me up! And Mom, your words are always just what I need to hear. You just . . . GET me. Dad, thanks for your emails and the pictures you send--it's fun to see what you're seeing, too! Love you all. Lesamo mucho!

I've also received letters from friends and extended family over the past couple weeks--thanks to the Sanders, Grandma Reesa (she sent THE STUFF!), Amber Cosgrove, Davey, Justin&Anne&Fam, Faith, Jessica H. Love y'all!

God is Good. That's the theme for this week! He is good, loving. He knows us perfectly and he knows what we need.

Last Tuesday, just a few hours after I wrote you, Sister Young from Cedar Hills, UT, became my companion. She graduated from Lone Peak High, I was a Senior while she was a Sophomore. She is BOLD, artistic, outgoing. She went to MATC Hair School and is a fantastic stylist. Because of Sister Young's talent, we had a really sweet and tender moment of service on Saturday afternoon. One of our investigators has schizophrenia and some learning disabilities, as well as family struggles. She doesn't have a lot of confidence in herself. This particular investigator was frustrated one day and cut her own hair--it was a misshapen mess! I told Sister Young about this, and so she brought her shears and hair tools to our Saturday teaching appointment. Soon this sister we're teaching was sitting in a kitchen chair with a black cape draped around her neck, and Sister Young's dainty fingers and shears were clipping away. A stylish pixie cut was the result, and my heart lit up when Sister Young held a mirror in front of this girl's face--a smile erupted, and a quiet flurry of 'thank-yous.' We afterwards watched the Restoration DVD and had a quiet, brief lesson, before leaving to tract. God gives each of us gifts (D&C 46). Every good gift, every good thing we are able to do, can bless others. I know that when we use our talents to strive and bless others' lives, we  get even more talents. How special is that?

This Morning Sister Young cut my hair, too. I was a little nervous to let her let loose. She gave me a trim, and then started slithering away. Strands of hair began to fall to the ground. I was so nervous to look in the mirror. I was astonished! My curly hair was huge and wild as always, but it actually looked   pretty cool! It has more body, less snarls. Lots of layers. I'll send pictures soon. It might not seem drastic to anyone but me, but for once I loved my natural curl without reservations. What a neat gift my companion has, to help people see themselves as beautiful. Christ taught that we need to love others as we love ourselves. Sister Young is teaching me that it's important to love myself--meaning, a healthy dose of confidence, not pride--so I can better love others. We're hard on ourselves, as humans. We see so much wrong with us when we look in the mirror. But we're children of God! What a fantastic identity! Remembering that gives me strength.

You all have talents, you know that? Every one of you dear people reading this, my family and friends, you have talents. You've blessed my life and helped me better see myself as God sees me. I hope you can better see yourself like God does. Man, he sure loves us.

Some great moments from this week--

Outer Darkness. This is the name of the brownie treat Sister Young makes. It's Ghiradelli Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix, half baked, fresh out of the oven. It's to die for. You know how in the family cookbook there's that recipe called 'Better Than____ Cake?' This is the missionary version of a title for trouble treats. Outer Darkness. Get some!

Accidentally tracting outside our area. The boundaries for our area are kind of foggy sometimes. We found two families eager to hear more about the gospel! We knocked into a member a few doors later. I didn't recognize him, and he informed us we were in the Gig Harbor Ward boundaries, not Wollochet . . . bummed out, we called the Elders and gave them two referrals. They were quite pleased!

We tracted into a man named Rodney the other night on Fox Island. He is suffering from a concussion, and recently got in a car wreck. In his words, he was 'touched by an angel.' He felt like he shouldn't have lived after that experience, and that God had intervened. He said to us, "It's actually kind of funny you're here right now. A few minutes ago I was praying, and I told God I was going to recommit to him." We told him everything happens for a reason.  We gave him a copy of the Family proclamation and shared a prayer with him on his front porch. Sister Young and I are hoping to start teaching him soon! His house was in a hidden neighborhood we almost missed, tucked behind the only gas station on Fox Island. God works in mysterious ways!

Sister Brown and I have regularly given service to an older couple, Evan and Dick, every Friday afternoon for about an hour. Evan has Parkinsons, and is really bitter towards God for this challenge in her life, but gladly welcomes missionaries to come do service. She grew up catholic, but isn't very religious anymore. I love her, she's a spitfire and a talented artist! About a year ago, Dick showed some interest in the Book of Mormon, but nothing ever took charge with that interest. After introducing Sister Young to Evan and Dick, Evan & Sister Young found a connection in textiles/fabric. Evan gave her an old textbook about textiles to be of use to her. Dick told Sister Young on the way out that if she read the first 20 pages of the textile book, he'd read the first 20 of the Book of Mormon. WOW! Again, God works in mysterious ways.

This week we were over for dinner at a part-member family's home. Quinn, their 10 year old who was baptized just last summer, was playing an uno-type game at the table by himself while the Mom prepared dinner. Sister Young struck up conversation with the Catholic Dad, so I sauntered over to Quinn. He is a shy, wonderful little boy. He hasn't been to church since he was confirmed last year. As I tried to gently talk to him, he invited me to play his game with him. We played for a while, and he began to open up a little and tell me about himself--playing games at recess, enjoying video games with his friends. Well, yesterday, he decided to come back to church again. I don't know if this had anything to do with our missionary visit only a few nights before, but it was precious to me to see him there.

There are miracles abounding in the Wollochet Ward, and I feel humbled and blessed to be a part of them. God is Good! He loves us, and he is mindful of us. I hope and pray for you, praying that you'll have similar experiences in your experiences at home!

Ask, and ye shall receive. Knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Seek, and ye shall find. The same goes for blessings in our lives. We have a God that delights to bless us when we serve him. He will bless us with things when we ask, as long as we give him our best. I know that to be true!

Hymn of the week: 108, the Lord is my Shepherd
Scripture: 2 Nephi 2:23: Children bring JOY!

Love, Love, Love,
Hermana Mikayla Renee Boren