Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Tornados in Jersey!!

Hello my beloved family!! 

Did you know I love you all?!?

Well happy Fourth of July this week everyone! Don't have too much fun without me blowing stuff up and all...well this week was pretty great! Kinda nuts actually haha but still pretty great! 

So first of all this week we had an awesome Mission Tour Conference where Elder Larry S Kacher of the Seventy came and spoke to us! I was way excited to hear him speak to us because he had also spoken to us while I was in the MTC and so I was excited to hear him twice! He basically trained and taught all of the missionaries some very very VERY important things about Mind Sets. And how we can't allow ourselves to get stuck in a negative mind set as a missionary. He really taught us how to thoroughly work with the Ward Council and how to find through the members. And OH MY GOODNESS!!....was that the biggest answer to prayer. Because lately Sister Jolley and I have been doing A LOT of tracting and not much has come of it. And so we knew that something needed to change. We needed to start working with the ward council but didn't really know how to go about doing so but that was all answered when Elder Kacher came! But one of my all time favorite parts was when Elder Kacher was talking to us missionaries specifically about who we are. He really wanted to get all of the missionaries involved in the meeting and for the most part a lot of missionaries participated but Elder Kacher noticed something that most all of the missionaries that were participating were Elders. So Elder Kacher stopped the meeting real quick, and asked all of the Sister Missionaries to stand up. As we stood he asked us why we were holding back the things we had to say. He joked about how Sisters are smarter than Elders, but sincerely he said to us "please don't hold back. If you do you will miss out on great opportunities and so will other. You have so much good to offer, and you are especially powerful. So will you promise me that from now on, you won't hold back?" Each of us Sisters all loudly said yes and with that promise we made we sat back down. But right after he walked up to one particular Sister and asked her "do you think you're good enough to be here?" She looked at him and said "I am trying my best to be good enough to be here." And he sincerely and enthusiastically said "No, don't tell me that. Because you ARE good enough to be here! You are perfect to be here! You are meant to be here! All of you are! Don't ever doubt yourself Sister. Because the Lord loves you. And you are special to him." That was powerful for me. And even just at the Sisters simple remark that she was trying her best, I know that if he would've asked me that question I would've said "Nope. No way, no how." But I took that and it felt as if he were talking to me personally too. I mean how cool is that?!? You just had a general authority, and special witness of Jesus Christ stare you down and tell you that you are good enough to do the lords work! That is special. And so after Elder Kacher taught us everything he could for that short time we stood and sung the mission hymn. And afterwards we got to speak with Elder and Sister Kacher more and come to find out Sister Kacher is from Richfield Utah!! I asked her if she knew any Ogden’s in Richfield and she said yes! I think her maiden name was Miller so maybe grandma knows her! Super cool!

And so after that we made our way back to our area and later that night we went to dinner. And George knows like everyone in this are haha and so he said that his friend Sal who owns a restaurant here wanted to feed us. And so we drove to the restaurant and as we began eating we received a tornado warning on the phone!! I turned around and looked out side and everything was just so dark! It was so dark outside and so windy you could barely see the trees outside in the parking lot! I started freaking out! But then Sister Jolley said to me "Sister Callaway calm down. We are the most prayed for people on earth and that we were safe." I was grateful for her faith and we said a prayer and I immediately felt calm. And then George's friend Italian friend Sal who owned the restaurant came and started singing something in Italian and George know what he was singing and said to us, "okay that's scary because now he's singing the same song they sang on the movie titanic right before the ship sank..." and then...the lights went out! I was so scared but I knew that the lord would protect us. And he's THERE WAS A TORNADO!!! It didn't touch down in our area but pretty close to it and there were 75 mile an hour winds, which uprooted some of the biggest trees!! It was crazy!! Once the storm passed we went back to our apartment and put on our service clothes and ventured out to pick up all the debris from the storm. And that was actually pretty fun! The sky after the storm though was crazy! I wish I had a picture but sadly I don't. On one side you saw a rainbow and this beautiful golden sunset and on the other you saw the darkest clouds I've ever seen AND the sky was green! And I mean like "Wicked" green(of anybody knows that play) it was crazy! I'll send a picture of it!!

Anyway the day after the storm we went to go help a nonmember family because we offered service to them even before the storm. As we went my arm felt like it was hurting and I didn't know why. During the storm the night before I had felt my elbow pop but thats usually pretty normal for me haha. But it still hurt nonetheless and so I just brushed it off and started working to help this family. Well as we were raking up the yard I put a load of leaves into a wheelbarrow and started pushing it toward the dump pile when I felt something in my hair......(yeah and if you're reading this right now and if you know me at all you know that I hate bugs!) so whatever it was I flung it out of my hair and it landed on my arm and stung me! I'm pretty sure it was a wasp because right after it stung it hurt so bad! The mother of the family rushed me into the house and put some medicine on it and it immediately felt better but of course the spot where it stung me started to swell up. But eventually as we went on throughout the day I was fine. 

However, the next day when I woke and I couldn't move my arm!! It was hurting SO bad and my arm was all swollen. I tried to pick stuff up but my muscle just hurt so bad that my arm gave out. I couldn't straighten it or bend it past 90 degrees. And so I thought either I popped it out of place or I was having some kind of an allergic reaction to the wasp sting. But we district meeting that morning of course my first thought was to just ask the Elders for a blessing and then see if it still hurt bad enough to go to the doctors. And so all morning I couldn't use my left arm. I couldn't even let it down to hang by my side so I just held it with my right hand to keep it from hurting. Well by the end of District Meeting I was in tears because it hurt so bad. And once the Elders saw me they asked if I wanted a blessing and I said yes please.

One of my Zone Leaders, Elder Hendricks gave me the blessing after Elder Owen(who is actually from Granite Bay and I knew him before we came out here!) anointed the oil and once he put his hands on my head and spoke my name I just felt like the pain was leaving my body! It was an amazing blessing and he said in the blessing that the Lord wanted me to know how grateful he was for the work I've done thus far on my mission. And that though the decision was hard, that he was grateful for my decision to serve a mission.(which was something that I had been searching for as an answer to prayer) I was promised in the blessing that my arm would be healed and that I would not be stopped in doing the Lords work. I was promised some other pretty amazing things as well! I just LOVE the priesthood! Once he closed I stood up and after not being able to move my arm at all the entire morning I was able to move it around! The pain wasn't entirely gone but the pain was bearable now and I was just excited to get back to work! My biggest fear was that I would have to go to the doctor and take time away from Proselyting which I didn't want to do. 

But that night we called Sister Anderson and she told us to go to the store and to get some Benadryl to take. And after going to a few pharmacies in town only to find that they were closed due to power outage because of the storm still we went to the local grocery store. And so before we went in I wrote out a certain number of pass along cards that I was determined to give away while in the store! While we were there I remembered how there was a woman that we met briefly at the CVS that I really wished that I had talked to but i didn't. But as we were walking through the store there she was! She came and said hello and we talked to her a little bit about what missionaries do and quickly gave her a card as she left. It was a miracle!! Sister Jolley said "I was totally praying that we would see her again so we could talk to her!" And of course the lord is mindful and gave us a second chance! 

Also! While we were still in the store I still had a few pass along cards left to hand out and so we began walking down the isle with all of the waters and Gatorade etc...I saw a worker organizing the merchandise and as we were walking past him without even realizing what I was doing I quickly turned around to him and said "Hi! Can we help you organize the gatorades?! I only have one good arm but she has two!" Haha SO random! After I said it my first thought to myself was "you weirdo you totally just made him feel uncomfortable!" But he just laughed and said "yeah if you really want to." And so we started helping him! He was a young teenaged boy and he said his name was Rizin (rise-in) and I just started talking to him like he was my buddy! Haha. While we were talking I told him we were volunteers for our church and I started talking to him about the gospel he talked about how he goes to church and we just had good conversation. We gave him a card and committed him to watch the Because He Lives video and we told him we would follow up with him on it. I made him promise me that he would go and watch it and he said "Yes I promise." It was a Miracle!! And then by the end I still had one more card left and I practically just chucked the last one at a guy from a distance haha. But we accomplished our goal and we still did missionary work in the store and we got a new potential investigator! I'll keep you posted on Rizin because he is awesome!

And then a few days later and now my arm is completely back to normal! I don't know what it was but the power of the Priesthood is real! I have a firm testimony of that. And now I would just like to mention a few things I learned in church yesterday. Yesterday in church we focused A LOT on the sacred nature of marriage and family, for reasons that obviously everyone knows. And oh my, other than the Atonement of my Savior Jesus Christ, Eternal Marriage and Eternal Families is what I have always been most passionate about. If anyone really knows me then you know just how excited I get when I think of my family, the one I have now and the one that I have yet to come. And it is part of the very foundation of my testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I KNOW that families are ordained of God and I KNOW that marriage between a man and a woman most essential and sacred of things ever to be upon this earth for the eternal happiness for the children of God. I could honestly go on and on and on about this subject because I love it so much but I will just share a few things that I have truly learned and that have struck me with such great power. In this most recent General Conference Elder Christofferson said in his talk, 

"A family built on the marriage of a man and woman supplies the best setting for God’s plan to thrive--the setting for the birth of children, who come in purity and innocence from God, and the environment for the learning and preparation they will need for a successful mortal life and eternal life in the world to come. A critical mass of families built on such marriages is vital for societies to survive and flourish. That is why communities and nations generally have encouraged and protected marriage and the family as privileged institutions. It has never been just about the love and happiness of adults." 

I love that. Not only is that just coming from an apostle of God but I feel the spirit each time I read it, and therefore I know it is truth. Particularly the last sentence. Marriage has never just been about two people just being happy together. It essential for society as a whole to flourish. And most importantly for Gods plan to be fulfilled.

Something I have come to realize on my mission is that as I have been set apart as a missionary I feel it. Now let me explain, I've noticed that before I was a missionary I would be totally fine with just staying in my sweats at home and watching a movie or two on any given day... But as a missionary I know what my purpose is, and I do not like to waste time. In fact I'm afraid of it! Haha. I've truly felt that if I am not doing something to fulfill my purpose then I don't feel good. I don't feel fulfilled or satisfied. And so it goes with our purpose and sons and daughters, men and women of God in the sacred roles that we play in that of Gods eternal plan. 

 I also read Elder L. Tom Perry’s talk from conference about Marriage and Family. And if you have t read over it I'd encourage you to do so  because it is a powerful. And it is a mans last testimony of what matter most in time and eternity. He said this in his talk, 

"We also believe that strong traditional families are not only the basic units of a stable society, a stable economy, and a stable culture of values--but that they are also the basic units of eternity and of the kingdom and government of God...

We want our voice to be heard against all of the counterfeit and alternative lifestyles that try to replace the family organization that God Himself established. We also want our voice to be heard in sustaining the joy and fulfillment that traditional families bring. We must continue to project that voice throughout the world in declaring why marriage and family are so important, why marriage and family really do matter, and why they always will.

My brothers and sisters, the restored gospel centers on marriage and family. It is also on marriage and family where we can unite most with other faiths. It is around marriage and family where we will find our greatest commonality with the rest of the world. It is around marriage and family that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has the greatest opportunity to be a light on the hill." 

I know it's lengthy but what I learned from that is this...We will not quit. We will not give up. We will defend this most sacred and eternal gift of family that God himself has established for the eternal happiness of his children. And so like many in the world today and along with the Prophet and Apostles themselves, I will willing give my name to the world as one who will stand up in defense of eternal marriage and family as the sacred God-given gifts that they are. 

Some people who read this could be thinking "Whoa, Sister Callaway that's a little bold." And yeah I very well know it is. But here's something else I've learned as a missionary...Nothing short of boldness is going to get anyone's attention. Especially in the world today. I've often been told that I am a "people pleaser" I don't like to hurt anyone or offend anyone and yes that title might've been true of me 5 months ago but not anymore. And though I still have a LONG ways to go I've learned that I have to be bold as a missionary but not overbearing. Over-bearence is boldness without love, we've often been told that as missionaries. But as bold as you can be if you are filled with charity or the pure love of Christ then nothing can be too hard for anyone to hear. I am not ashamed of the gospel. I know it is the absolute truth. And though hard it may be, my simple desire is to share this gift with others who are prepared to hear it. I hope and pray and with all the energy of my soul I invite everyone to stand up for the gospel boldly. To defend and protect our families for they are most sacred and bring the most eternal joy and happiness. As Elder Jeffery R Holland said 

"Now be strong. Live the Gospel. Even if, others around you don't live it at all...Defend your beliefs with courtesy and compassion but defend them." 

I bear my firm testimony that Jesus Christ is our loving Savior and Redeemer. His arms are always outstretched to us. And I know that the marriage and family is ordained of God I have felt the spirit confirm this to me over and over and over again each time it is discussed. And I love my mom dad sisters and brothers more than I will ever be able to begin to describe. And how grateful I am that my whole family will soon be sealed for time and all eternity in Gods house. And how excited I am for the day when I will have an eternal family of my own. I know the gospel is true, and I pray everyday that we will have the courage and strength to defend it. 

I love you all more than you will ever know!! Until next week! 
~Sister Amy Callaway~

And a few pictures of Sister Jolley and I being weird and a total fail at taking a picture and also a picture of the Tornado!!!

A day in the life of a Mary Mary :)

Hello my loved ones!!

Fist of all I have to wish dad a happy Father's Day yesterday! Even though you got that text from George already haha. And I have to wish my sweet friend Cassidy Carol happy birthday on Wednesday! I love you cass!! Also I can't believe I've been on my mission for 5 months now! That is seriously so crazy. Time has gone by way to darn fast...anyway onto the week!

So this week was pretty of my favorite things from the entire week was that on Wednesday we got to teach the sweetest little activity day girls! They all have been bringing some of their no members friends and so we thought it would be a great way to find some new investigators! We were kind of crunched for time and so we prayed about what we should teach them and finally came up with something. We based the lesson off of the book "You Are Special" the book about the Wimmicks with the dots and the stars that they put on each other. And so we decided to title our lesson " You Are Special." We thought of some activities and games that we could have them do and then we decided to read them the story. They loved it! We reminded them of how they are all precious daughters of God and how much he loves them.  

Then I though of something that we did at Girls Camp once. I remember it vividly, it was a lesson that Sister Zufelt taught and she did this same activity. So we felt it would be a powerful lesson for these little girls, but we had to do it in a way that these girls would understand it. So I if you can visualize this; I took a picture of piece of cardboard and on one side I put a picture of the Savior and on the other I put a picture of Hans from the movie Frozen(because every little girl loves Frozen, so I knew they would know who he was)... 

right after Sister Jolley read them the story I "interrupted" and I showed the picture of Hans to all of the little girls and they clearly knew who he was haha...anyway, I explained to them how Hans was not a very nice man, and that he was very mean to my friend Ana...he lied to her, he tried to hurt her sister Elsa, and he tried to take things from them, so he kind of deserved a little pay back for what he did right? They all agreed as they shouted haha. And so they each came up to the picture and put a push pin in it. Some girls put one in his nose, some girls out one in his eye until they had all placed one in the picture (I know sounds a little ruthless for little girls but there's a point I promise!) when they all sat down I looked at them and said "do you think he deserved that? And they all shouted "yes!" Once they all quieted down I told them I wanted to show them something...

I actually started to cry as I slowly took the picture down off the wall and turned it around to the picture of the Savior only to hear all of the little girls gasp! Some of them said, "oh no! What did we do!" Once they all hushed they asked us why we let them do that. I began to cry as I explained to them that I didn't want to let them do that to a picture of the Savior because I love him and I know that they do to by the way they reacted. We explained to them that because Jesus suffered for ALL of us He knows exactly how we feel every time we get hurt and every time we might hurt someone else. We had one of them read Matt. 25:40 and we asked them why they thought we had them do this without knowing that they Savior was on the other side and they each said something to the effect of "because if we hurt someone else, we hurt Jesus too." The point of the activity was to remind them that we are ALL special to Heavenly Father, He loves ALL of His children. And that because Jesus Christ suffered for each and everyone of us, He knows how to help us when we are hurt or when someone else is hurt too. We are ALL special to Him and Heavenly Father. And once they all understood that simple principle of the Atonement we ended with the Mormon Message called Our True Identity by President Uchtdorf about the ugly duckling who realized it was actually a Swan. It was such a wonderful experience to teach them! I felt like I was teaching my little sisters and I truly was! I felt a portion of how much Heavenly Father loves them and how special they are to Him! And we got a few new investigators from the whole experience! Which was great too! 

Another miracle this week was on Saturday night Sister Jolley and I were just driving down the street in Mt. Holly as I saw people walking all around the city. As we turned the corner I particularly noticed a certain man just sitting on a small brick wall near the stop light. And right then and there I received a simple prompting to go and talk to him. Realizing that Sister Jolley and I had had a pretty long day with no luck of finding anyone, My first thought was but what if he says no like everyone else? But even with that simple fear of rejection on my mind I thought of how I would feel if I didn't act on that prompting and would just be left to wonder about that man. So, with that I asked Sister Jolley to stop the car. She immediately pulled over, and I voiced to her the prompting I had felt and she okay let's go. We said a quick prayer, hopped out of the car, and quickly walked/ran to go and speak with this man hoping that he would still be there. As we turned the corner we found him in the same spot, and I walked right up to him, cheerfully said hello and introduced ourselves and asked if we could sit and talk with him! He introduced himself as Dennis, and he was smiling/laughing just at the fact that two young girls wanted to sit and talk with him as he was waiting for his bus. As we spoke we talked about where we were from, life, church etc. And he inquired as to who we are and what we do. We explained briefly to him, and then invited him to watch the Because He Lives video. Just as the video started his bus came and he quickly apologized and ran to try and catch the bus. But to his dismay the bus left him, he said "well I guess I was meant to talk to you then, because that's the only bus that comes through here only every two hours. So why don't you show me that video." We showed it to him and he loved it! He then started to explain how he is going through a lot of hard times with his family right now. And he told us that just as he was sitting there on that small brick wall he was praying to God because he didn't know what to do anymore and that just at the moment as he was asking God to give him some guidance he turned around and there we were smiling and saying hello to him! We testified of the Restored Gospel and of the Atonement and of the plan that God has for him. He visibly felt the spirit and he was just in total awe that we had come to him right in his moment of need. He was such a happy and vibrant person! We asked him if he would promise us to meet with the missionaries in his area that would teach him more of the plan that God has for him and his family. He smiled and said "I promise, I will." We gave him and card and then he asked if we could pray. We gladly accepted and Sister Jolley offered the sweetest prayer for him, and then he asked if he could pray for us. In his prayer he thanked Heavenly Father countless times for sending us to him, and he spoke of how much it meant to him that we stopped to talk with him and tell him of the plan. And he spoke of how excited he was to meet with the Elders. Afterwards we got a voicemail on the phone from Dennis again thanking us for how grateful he was that he met us and for helping to answer his prayers. It was amazing!!! I will never be able to thank my Father in Heaven enough for allowing me to be one of His missionaries right now. I am grateful for the still small voice of the spirit. I learned from this experience that when we get promptings it may not always be at the most convenient times. But being missionary and living the gospel is not about being convenient or comfortable. Because when we're comfortable, we're not changing we're not growing like Heavenly Father wants us to. I'm grateful for this gospel and for the spirit and for the fact that I get to see miracles like this constantly :)

Tomorrow we are having Mission Tour Conference. It's like a Zone Conference but this time Elder Kacher of the Seventy is coming to speak to us! and I am so excited! I also got to hear him speak in the MTC and he was amazing so I am excited to hear him again. But this last week he asked President Anderson to ask all of us Missionaries that we study "What the Atonement means to me as a Disciple of Jesus Christ." I took this invitation very seriously, and I have been studying the scriptures, talks, hymns, Preach My Gospel, anything and everything in whatever spare time I've had just to study the Atonement more in depth, and to truly figure out what it means to me as a disciple of Jesus Christ. And OH MY GOODNESS!! I cant even begin to tell you everything that I have learned about the Atonement this week. My testimony has grown in ways that I never thought it could. My love, gratitude, and reverence for the Savior has only grown deeper and deeper. Simply put the Atonement means everything to me. Without it I would not be a missionary, no one would. As I studied three words came to my mind: Change, Grace, and Love. What is the Atonement for? Change. It's purpose is to change us from the imperfect mortals that we are to the eternal beings that we have the potential to become. How does the Atonement change us? Through the Saviors Grace. The enabling power of the atonement to help us to overcome and do the things that we cannot otherwise do on our own. Why did the Savior do it? Because He loves us. And he loves Heavenly Father. Infinitely more than we will ever begin to understand in this life. Sometimes I think we forget that even the Savior Himself asked if there was another way...and there wasn't. He was the only one that could accomplish such a task in order to enable all of the rest of us to be able to return to our heavenly home. I don't understand the atonement as much as I wish I did. But I can testify because I KNOW that the power of the Atonement is real. I have felt in my life and I have seen it in the lives of others who I have come to love. 

"I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me, confused at the grace that so fully He proffers me." 

I invite you all to study and ponder what the Atonement means to you individually as a disciple of Jesus Christ. This gospel is true and I know it with all of my heart. This is the only entirely true church upon the face of the earth. And I know that this is the Saviors gospel. And I will be Eternally grateful to have been His missionary for this time. 

I love you all more than you know!!
Until next week,

Sister Amy Callaway

Miracles in Medford

Hello my loved ones!! 

First of all...Happy 2 years to Court and Zack yesterday!! Ah and tell the Alstons congratulations on their mission call!! I am so excited for them! I could not imagine anyone more perfect to be working in a YSA than the Alstons!! You guys are going to be some of the greatest missionaries that Birmingham England has ever seen! 

Man this week was seriously just FULL of miracles!! So, on Wednesday we had transfers. My new area is Medford, New Jersey!!! And I LOVE IT HERE!! It's so beautiful! And definitely not what I expected NJ to be like. It's so foresty. And there is one part of our area called Medford Lakes and oh my gosh it's beautiful. If I were to ever live in NJ, Medford Lakes is where I would live. I love it, but it's also so different here. Like there's these random things called "Jug Handles" where when you are driving you have to turn right to go what the the heck?? It completely throws you off! I swear NJ just made driving more complicated than it needs to be. Anyway it's awesome here. I already love it. I love the area, I love the people and I love the ward! It's a military ward which is pretty cool. And there are so many young families in the ward and all the moms are about to have babies pretty soon. But it's cool to see how all of these military families work. 

So Sister Asi got called to be a Sister Training Leader, and she is now in Dover Delaware. My new companion is Sister Jolley and she is from Furth, Idaho! She is so sweet and adorable, and we work together really well! 

Anyway I'll just get right to everything that happened this week. So last Monday we were going to go have a lesson with Tony but then we got a call from him and he said that we better not dare even drive because there was a tornado warning and the weather was pretty bad. So we promised him that we wouldn't drive anywhere and we didn't we just finished packing for transfers. Tuesday we had to finish getting everything ready for the elders coming into the area, and we also got to go around and say goodbye to a few people. And all week I had been joking/not joking with Sister Asi that President was going to call and ask her to be a Sister Training Leader. And she kept telling me. "Stop, no he's not going to do that." And of course...Tuesday he called and called her to be a STL!! Well come Wednesday I had to say bye to Sister Asi which was so hard because she taught me so much and I didn't feel like I was done learning everything that I could from her. She taught me so much of what it is to be a hard working, diligent, and obedient full purpose missionary. And I know the Lord needs her to help other Sisters like she helped me. Anyway, after Sister Jolley and i loaded my stuff into the car we began heading for Medford. And in order to get to Medford you have to drive right through Philly to get there. It was so awesome!!! I have SO many pictures of the city now haha but I have to figure out where to go to send pictures. But fear not, pictures will be coming soon...or someday...whenever I can figure it out haha...

(Oh and yeah those pictures that Brittney and Dad got...I'll explain the background story to that)

So right as we are driving through the middle of the city, Sister Jolley and I got a few text messages on the phone from one of our investigators who's name is George. And it said "Sister Callaway, my daughter lives in California in Cottonwood. Not too far from Loomis." I read it and looked at Sister Jolley and was like "ummm why does this guy know where I'm from??" Sister Jolley just started laughing and wouldn't say anything more. Then he texted back and said "Brittney said she is proud of you." I was just freaking out and I was like Sister Jolley "why does this guy know this stuff?? Does he like know my family or something?!" She just laughed and then a while later George called and started naming off a bunch of other random correct facts about me. I was throughly weirded out by now...and then Sister Jolley said "okay George you can tell her now, she's getting creeped out" and so then George told me about how he used to be a Detective. And that he wants to know who he is dealing with and so therefore Facebook is his best friend. I felt a little relieved but still weirded out a bit haha. But we actually had a lessons with George that night. And so during the lesson George told me about himself. And oh my gosh he is so awesome!! I care for him so much already! And here's a little bit why, 

George has been meeting with the missionaries for a little over a year and half now. He has had all of the lessons, kept every commitment (with the exception of one because he lost the paper for it) and he has come to church faithfully every Sunday for the last year and a half. And when he's not in town to go to church he goes to the nearest one wherever he is. He would be baptized today if he could but there has just been some issues with some of his family members not wanting him to join the church. And legally he is to have permission of everyone in his family if he is to be baptized into the church. I cant say more than that though. And once he told me that I asked about all of the things that they have tried to do, like fasting and praying etc. and trust me, any and everything there is to done he and the ward have tried. And so I have added my prayers to the many that have and are being said in George's behalf so that he can be baptized into the church. He believes and knows with all of his heart and soul that the Church is true and he trusts Heavenly Father so deeply that he knows he will eventually become a member of the Lord's true Church.

He is seriously so great! I am SO completely and utterly existed to keep working with him and hopefully through lots of prayer and hard work help to soften some hearts so that he can be baptized And the next day he said "Sister Callaway, I sent the pictures to Sister Bone and your dad." Hahaha he is the best! He wants to make sure that our families know we are doing well and that he appreciates out helping him. And so to return the favor he sends stuff to our families. He also feels like he needs to take care of the missionaries, and so he is constantly buying us food haha I told you...he is the best!! 

Then on Saturday we saw many many miracles!! We were tracting in a part of our area called Mt. Holly along this one street where we saw a yard sale going on, and so we decided to go "look around" but mostly it was just a sneaky tactic to go and talk to the ladies that were running it haha as we were talking they all said that they were catholic but still inquired as to what church we go to. They immediately knew us as Mormons and one of the women said "I knew some Mormons they used to rent from me." We asked what their names were and she said "Vancour" and we got so excited and told her that we knew them! We has just had dinner with them the two nights before. She just shook her head and said "are you serious? You Mormons are everywhere!" Haha but that was a small miracle and hopefully we can get some member missionary work going there. But before we left I bought something just to be nice so I bought this random pink jar for 50cents and I'm totally going to use to catch fireflies in!! haha anyway! Later that day we also had another miracle, we were out trying to find a potential investigator and it took us to the right address and so we began knocking and waited for quite some time but then no one answered the door. We started walking away when I just stopped and said to Sister Jolley "we should go back and knock one more time" and so we went right back and knocked again and a few moments later a man answered the door holding his little baby. We got to talking with him and we asked him if there would be a time that we could come and share the message of the restored gospel with him and his family and he said "well I've never given religion much thought but yeah you can come back on Monday." He was very nice and we were excited to come back and teach them. Walking away I was just jumping up and down I was so excited!! MIRACLE!! We had a lot of other miracles that day too but I'll just get right to yesterday at church. 

All week k was SO excited to go to church and to meet everyone!! And that morning at Ward Council I got to meet quite a few people and then one of the Bishops Councilors asked me if I would be willing to get up and bear my testimony/give a talk.......but I gladly accepted. He asked me to speak a little bit about the sabbath day. And once church started and after the sacrament was passed I was called up to "give my talk." and so I spoke about the most important thing that I could ever speak about and that is the Atonement of Jesus Christ. To which I then bore my testimony of the Sacrament. Something I have learned and truly come to understand on my mission is the importance and sacredness of the Sacrament. I have met SO many people out here (members and nonmembers) who feel like they don't need to come to church because it's enough that they pray to God each day. Which is good too but the reason why we come to church is to strengthen our relationship with the savior and Heavenly Father. And one of the most important ways to do that is through the sacrament. Those few moments each Sunday where we are able to take the bread and water in remembrance of what the Son of God sacrificed himself for in our behalf. That perfect and infinite sacrifice that he made so that WE would have the opportunity to return and live with God again. I know now what a sacred experience the sacrament should be for us each Sunday and that is what it is for me. I feel closest during the week to my savior when I take the sacrament. I feel his love more fully and I appreciate his sacrifice he made for me more deeply. While I spoke I referenced Matt. 26 where the Savior is suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, and when he asks His Apostles to sit and watch with Him. As He goes to bear every burden and every sin for everyone who would ever come to this earth. And He knew full well that He was the ONLY one that could do it, but He simply asked His Apostles to do the only thing that these mere mortal men could do, to sit and watch with Him that perhaps He might not feel so completely and entirely alone. But when He came back, He returned only to find that they had each fallen asleep. And the Savior asks them this questions, "What, could ye not watch with me one hour?"...could they not at least wait with Him while He was suffering for them? And for ever other human being as well?...I related that to the sacrament as best as I could. Too often I feel that sometimes we don't always approach the sacrament like we should. Are we "spiritually asleep" while taking the sacrament? When we should be remembering exactly what the savior himself did for each and every one of us? I pray that we will all strive to approach the sacrament with a more humble attitude. And strive to strengthen our relationship with the Savior but trying to make the taking of the sacrament a spiritual experience every week. And also I'd like to point out that you young men who pass the sacrament, remember what a sacred privilege that is. To be the ones administering the sacrament to others and helping them to use the atonement. I bear my testimony that the power of the Atonement is real, and I pray that we will all strive to use it in our everyday lives. 
Ahh too many miracles and too little time! 
I love you all and I love this gospel more than anything!!
Until next week,

Dun, Dun, Dunnnnn

Hello hello everyone!! I seriously cried a little on Saturday after it hit me that my baby sister graduated from high school, but I hope everyone had a good time celebrating Hay and Zach on their graduation day! I love you Haley and I am so proud of you! I wish I could've been there but I know the lord is mindful. I hope you all had a wonderful week though! 

Also I have to wish Mom and Dad a Happy Anniverary tomorrow!! 31 wonderful years and 5 crazy daughters to prove it  haha I love you mom and dad and am so grateful for all you do! 

So I'll just cut right to the chase with the biggest news of this Friday night was transfer calls...dun dun dunnnnnn!  haha. Anyway, all week we knew transfer calls were coming and we were pretty darn sure that Sister Asi and I would both be staying in the area so we didn't even worry about it. Then the call came...Elder Bierman our District Leader just likes to drag it out and make everyone wait so he can just prolong the anxiety of the moment. But anyway he started with me. He called and said 

"Sister Callaway...(and then paused for 30 seconds, no joke. As I am holding breath and my heart is beating a million miles an hour)'re leaving."......

Then he proceeded to list all of the other missionaries who were leaving. When he got to Sister Asi he said...

"Sister Asi...(then paused for dramatic effect)'re leaving also."

WHAT?!? Total curve ball! We knew that there were some changes that would be happening and that Elders would be coming in eventually but we honestly didn't think it would be that quick. So yes Sister Asi and I are getting doubled out after the call on Friday Sister Asi and I just sat there in shock. She was surprised because she has only been here for one transfer and I just started to cry. I am seriously the biggest cry baby haha. But it hit me immediately and I felt like my heart hurt because I have grown to love these people so much. The people we are teaching, the members in the Ward, the less actives we are working with. I have become so close with so many of them and this being my first area I couldn't keep myself from crying. But the Lord knows best and we are needed elsewhere right now. I know that Heavenly Father is mindful of everyone and I can honestly say that I know that this is what is best for the people in this area. I'm just grateful for the opportunity I have had to serve in Kutztown. I'll definitely be coming back here some day. 

When we told the members and after they announced it in Sacrament meeting yesterday you just heard this big gasp haha. Everybody came up to  us after sacrament and said something to the effect of "we don't want Elders!"... And to be honest this area has had some issues with Elders before but we know that those fears will be put aside because this is what the lord wants right now. 

Anyway so this week was actually pretty great! But since I don't have much time I will tell you about the lesson we had with Tony is week. As I have said before he is the absolute best!! Seriously he is the investigator that every missionary wants. He is so funny and so willing to learn and to change. We taught him about the Gospel of Jesus Christ this week and he loves every bit of the gospel! He loves the changes that he is seeing the gospel help him make in his life. But the highlight of my entire week was this....
Yesterday at church when Tony got up to bear his testimony in sacrament meeting. Sister Asi and I had of course planned on bearing our testimonies which we did. But right before we were about to get up Tony surprised everyone and got up there to bear his testimony. And if you can just picture me I was just sitting in the back beaming and of course crying haha. Tony looked at us while he was up there and said how grateful he was for us and for the members who have helped to bring him into the gospel. That has by far been the biggest highlight of my mission. When I saw him get up there I just felt this overwhelming sense of joy. To watch someone who you have taught to the gospel to and seen the Atonement work in their life, when they are standing before you and you can honestly see the change in them...that is what it is all about. I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for allowing me he opportunity to to teach Tony and his family. We have our last lesson with him tonight so that is going to be so hard haha but that is okay. I know the lord will take care of them and I will be coming back for his baptism in September. 

Something I learned this week that I wanted to share was what we learned at Zone Training this past Thursday and that is about Being of Good Cheer. That is something that our Mission President says frequently. I always thought I knew what it meant but I found out there is a far deeper meaning. I wish I could tell you everything I learned but simply put it comes down to this: happiness is a choice. Especially in the face of adversity. We always have a choice to look forward with faith. I wish I could share more but I simply pray that we will all be able to choose to look forward with faith and choose to be optimistic in the face of our trials whatever they may be. 

I'll end with my simple testimony, I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ live and love us. And I have seen the power of the Saviors atonement work in my life and the lives of those I love. Please I pray that we will all strive to access the miraculous gift of the Saviors atonement and try our hearsest to gain a stronger testimony of the Grace Mercy and Love that comes from seeking out the Savior. 

Love you all!! Until next week! 

~Sister Amy Callaway~