Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Susquehanna still has my heart

Hello my dearest loved ones! 

Okay so real quick, just had to give a shout out to Brother Gallagher. I was told by a little birdy that I do not make mention of him enough in my emails and I apologize. Haha miss you Brother G! You're the best! 

So this week was good but hard in a lot of ways. Last Monday right when pday ended the elders in our ward gave a us a referral for an someone living in our area. Well we showed up around 6:15 and we met miss Judy and her grandson Davion. Judy had a friend who referred her to the missionaries and she invited us in. She said she didn't have much time but that she is very interested and wants to know more about "that book" meaning The Book of Mormon. So we taught her a very simple Restoration in 5 minutes or so and then we gave her a copy of The Book of Mormon and she said that she will definitely be ready it. She is so sweet and we are so excited to continue working with her! 

Then this week we had the opportunity to go on exchanges with the Susquehanna Sisters! Which meant that we got to go back up to The Restoration site! We drove up to Susquehanna and if you remember how I talked about it when I was there in October I just love it even more every time I go! The spirit there is indescribable. I felt just like I did in October. It is amazing. We went there to exchange with the Susquehanna sisters and so Sister Robison came with me and Sister Shaffer went to Susquehanna with Sister Brown. And Sister Robison came out with me so it was good to catch up with her a little bit. Sister Robison and I had a good day here in Wilkes-Barre and then the next day we had Zone Training. And Sister Shaffer and I had the opportunity to train on how to use The Book of Mormon. And the more we trained the more my testimony was strengthened on the importance of The Book of Mormon. Especially with the mission that we are serving in. A mission where a lot of The Book of Mormon was actually translated not too far from us just a little ways up the Susquehanna. And a mission where not only so much church history happened but where so much American history happened. A place where so many people fought for freedom, and whether knowingly or unknowingly so that The Restoration could happen and that The Book of Mormon could come forth. I love this mission. 

Then yesterday we had the opportunity to hear the testimonies of a family that was sealed on Saturday. The missionary who helped this family came back and came for the sealing and as I was listening yesterday I felt such a strong spirit and confirmation of why I am here. To help families be sealed for eternity. That is what it is all about. That is and should be the end goal of all missionary work in the church. To help families be sealed for eternity. This week is going to be even better than the last, and I am going to work like I still have another 18 months left! 

Sorry this email is shorter than most but I just wanted to share a quote that I love, President Monson once said, 

"The best decision I ever made was to give up something I loved for the God I love even more. He has never forgotten me for it." 

I know now, that no matter the sacrifice, there is no greater testimony than giving up what the Lord asks of you to serve Him in whatever way He asks. Serving a mission is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, I still have moments of "I don't know if I can keep doing this" but in those moments God always provides a miracle, and helps me to see the why of missionary work. I'm definitely not a perfect missionary. I am a slow learner and even a slow speaker. But I know what the Atonement can do for an imperfect person like myself. The Atonement is real and it works for everyone. I love my savior with all of my heart. And his gospel is true.

Love you all! Until next week! 
~Sister Amy Callaway~

Our Zone pictures...the normal one...the silly one...and then Sister Martinez and Sister Robison from exchanges! Sister Robison is a byu volleyball player and she is 6'1 and I am 4'11...it was pretty funny to see us walking around together for a day haha.

Here's one picture

Happy Leap Year

Hello again my loved ones!

Wow is it seriously already Monday?? And it's a leap year! One extra day in the mission haha. And happy birthday to Erick! I hear that it is your 9th birthday today...so happy day of birth brother-in-law! 

Well what a week it has been. Earlier in the week we went on exchanges! I went to Montrose with Sister Martinez and Sister Shaffer stayed in Wilkes-Barre with Sister Payne. And we had a good time in Montrose it was so beautiful there!! It's very very rural and so they have a truck too because they need it, and I swear all of Montrose is just dirt roads...because that's pretty much all we drove on. It was fun driving up there because from where we are we just had to follow the Susquehanna River all the way up there. It was gorgeous! We had fun, and we did some service at a convalescent home where we got to call out Bingo Cards for the old ladies that lived there haha. It was fun! They kept commenting on my hair and how long and blonde it was it was funny. They asked me about 50 times if I've ever cut it before haha. They were great. Well and then later that night we were driving in this horrible thunder storm but we had to go back and exchange and so we had to get out and pull trees out of the road but we were okay and safe :) Heavenly Father protected us for sure! But there were these awful sirens going off and I thought that meant that maybe a tornado was coming but I had no idea...all I know is that we were kept safe :)

Then on Thursday after district meeting we had a cool miracle. Sister Shaffer and I went to go visit a less active woman in the ward but she said she wasn't feeling well. So we decided knock on a few doors around. And ever door we knocked on no body answered. But i told Sister Shaffer we were not leaving until at least one person answered the door. So the last house we knocked and this nice man answered and let us inside. We offered to share a video with him and his daughter and so that's exactly what we did. After the video they told us that it was weird how we stopped by at that time because they had something hard happens that day. We shared a scriptures with them in The Book of Mormon about how God is mindful of every people and how He is mindful of them and he sent us to let them know that He loves them. By the time we left his daughter was in tears, and she said this makes me want to go to church! We left them with a copy of The Book of Mormon and said a prayer with them. And it just helped me to remember that Heavenly Father is mindful of all of us no matter what. 

Then Thursday evening we had to drive with the Zone Leaders two and a half hours down to Broomall for MLC (Mission Leadership Council) it's where all the missionary leaders go to be instructed to help the other missionaries we are over. MLC was on Friday but we spent the night with some other sisters Thursday and went to MLC on Friday. And oh. My. Goodness. MLC was amazing. I loved it SO much. We talked a lot about The Book of Mormon and how we as missionaries need to use it better in our teaching. The spirit was so strong the entire time. I am just so grateful for the opportunity that I have to be an STL. I'm not a perfect missionary's by any means but I am so grateful for this opportunity I have to learn from other missionaries in so many ways. Heavenly Father is truly merciful. I'm so grateful and humbled at all the opportunities he has given me over the course of my mission and my life. 

Then Sunday Sister Shaffer and I spoke in Sacrament meeting. And Sister Shaffer totally threw me under the bus and told the bishopric that I would like to speak first...but I spoke on Charity, or the pure love of Christ. One of my favorite things to talk about! And with my talk I had the opportunity to share my testimony about the atonement and missionary work. There is so much that went on this week that I just can't put it all into words!!-I wish I could transfer everything in my brain into an email without having to type it out myself. But for a spiritual thought I quickly wanted to share an awesome quote by cs Lewis that basically sums up my testimony of agency...

"“No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good. A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. After all, you find out the strength of the German army by fighting against it, not by giving in. You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down. A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness — they have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it: and Christ, because He was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means."

I'm sorry but I don't have much more time! I love you all and I know that this gospel is true! The gospel is true but we MUST be true to the gospel.

Love you all!! Until next week! 
~Sister Amy Callaway~
A random picture from Christmas Conference and a random dirt road in our area...sorry I didn't take pictures this week! 

New Area, New Calling

Sooo apparently myldsmail wasn't working on Monday...hence why mom didn't get an email from me! So mom I am alive don't worry. And we got permission from president to send these today I'll let you know where I'm at on Monday! 

Hello hello everyone!!

So this weeks email may not be so long because I've got lots to do!! This week was good and kind of crazy...with sister Veater leaving we had a lot of stuff that we had to do for her. She was mostly stressed about packing and so she just kind of sat there and handed me her stuff while I packed for her lol. So I got all of her stuff packed on Friday and then transfer calls came on Saturday and I found out that I am getting transferred...:( it came as a total surprise to me because I've only been here for two transfers and I honestly thought that I was going to stay at least another transfer...I love his area so much! but I actually knew that I was leaving before we even got the call.

So president called me on Friday and asked to speak with me in private...at first I thought i did something wrong, and my first thought was "oh no! What did I do??" But when he asked to speak with me he just asked me how I was doing etc...and carried on a nice conversation with me and then he surprised me and said,

"well Sister Callaway, the Lord has called you to be a Sister Training Leader...will you accept this call?"

Totally caught me off guard but without even really thinking I said "yes of course I will!" So yep I have been called to be an STL! Not sure what all of that entails, I just know that I will be helping some of the other sisters in the mission and I'll be going on exchanges with them. It will be fun! But I'm kind of really nervous haha. I feel like I am still a golden though haha. But the Lord doesn't give you anything you can't handle.  So I'm excited!

So I will let you know where I go next week!! 
Love you all! Sorry this is so short but I have to pack!!
Until next week! 
~Sister Amy Callaway~
And the Websters!! One of my favorite families here! He is from Rexburg and his dad was my stake president my first semester up at school! So funny! And then a picture of all of us "killing" sister Veater lol

Banished to Scranton

Hello hello everyone! 

Well so transfers happened last week and I have been exiled to the Scranton area...haha not really exiled but that is where I am now! Not actually Scranton but right next to it in Wilkes-Barre! We are the Scranton Zone and I've already had some members tell me they want to take us to the train station where they shoot The Office at haha. My new companions name is Sister Shaffer! I are pretty much like the same person...it's kinda weird how similar we are. She is from Sacramento area in California, more specifically Elk Grove. She went to BYU-I at the same time that I did, she has all sisters, and I have all sisters, her dad had all sisters, my dad has all sisters (not that that is of any importance to our companionship but it's just funny) and the more and more we talk the more we find out how similar we are...it's weird. But this transfer should be fun! 

Also we are the STLs over the sister in Montrose, Susquehanna, and the Great Bend area. And I also get to see the Susquehanna River everyday! It runs right through the middle of our area! I was so excited to tell grandma that lol.

Anyway this week was very interesting. When I found out I was going to Wilkes-Barre I was so nervous because I went from Philadelphia where there's people everywhere to talk with, to Scranton and honestly in my mind I just had the picture of the boon docks lol. I didn't think it would be as populated as it was but our area literally has everything you need in it. We live by all of the stores and outlets too so that's nice. Also with coming to this new area Sister Shaffer and I doubled-in. Which means that neither one of us was here before we both got here at the same time. And amidst doubling-in we were also moving apartments! Because the branch that sister Shaffer was in before was called Tunkhannok (tunk-hannock) which is literally the boon docks. But anyway they closed that branch and moved the sisters from their to here. Oh and we also drive a truck! Which is awesome! We named it either Teancum or the Stripling Warrior...we haven't decided yet lol. 

And so last Tuesday when I got my new companion we started for our two and half hour drive up to Wilkes Barre! And somewhere in all of the travel our phone got water in it and broke...so when we got here we didn't know anyone and our phone didn't work so we couldn't get into contact with anyone either....it was kind of scary lol. And the only way to contact anyone really was our iPads so we emailed president and eventually we got a new phone. But in that while that we didn't have one we also didn't have our area book so we didn't have any investigators or members we could stop by either. So it was just us by our ourselves. And so on Wednesday we didn't think we could really do anything her than unpack so that's what we decided to do and thankfully we did because soon after some members came and knocked on our door and asked us if we needed anything. Then they also invited us to attend the home comin of a sister missio are coming home from her mission in Logan Utah, she was coming home early because she was in a car accident. Her name is Sister Stevens and she is the sweetest thing. We had the opportunity of going to the airport and being there when she came home. A lot of the ward was there because sadly her family was out of town and the time she came home. And when we watched her come home I just balled...I couldn't help but cry for the fact that this sister reluctantly came home from her mission yet she had accomplished so much. She was glowing with the spirit but it was so hard to see her come home because it made me think of the day when I come home...even though I don't want to think about it, it was hard not to when one of your companions went home that same day and then you watched another missionary come home too. It was all very emotional lol. But I was grateful for the opportunity to be there and to be with the ward.

We also had a cool experience with a member named Sister Dean. Sister Dean is awesome. She is like the ultimate member missionary! She is so excited about everything. She and her husband are such wonderful people. Her husband actually is very sick but he still does missionary work however he can. So the other day we were having dinner with the Deans and sister Dean saw this young man waking up to her porch and she said "I'm going to scare him!" So she runs over and flings the door open and scares him...then she blurts out "hey I have missionaries from my church in my house do you want to talk with them??" And we began talking with this young man named Joe and he had a lot of good questions. And then it really hit me that was that easy to just invite someone to listen for just a few minutes. Sister Dean has really helped me to realize that missionary work is easy. You just have to talk to people. And invite them. 

The rest of the week went pretty well, we got a new phone and the ward had been so good to us. I love it here already! One thing I love is that the members know and expect how missionaries should be and that is something else that helps to keep me motivated! 

Oh and also I had dinner with one of Scott Schmidts roommates and Robbie Cooks friends the other night. Joseph and Emma Leatham. They are awesome! Super random connection! 

I don't have much time for a huge long spiritual thought so I just wanted to share something that one of my dear friends from my mission shared with me this morning. She is from Kaseville Utah, and she told me of how she went to the funeral of the a Sister Missionary that was killed in the Pittsburg Mission...

The story was told by Sadie's father of a man, who had tight-rope walked across Niagra Falls many many times in his life. His fans loved him, and had full confidence in his abilities. However, on one occasion, just before he was about to set foot on the rope, yet again across Niagra Falls, he turned to his beloved fans and told them that this time would be different because he was going to push a wheelbarrow across the rope while he walked. Looking out at his fans as they cheered him on, he then added, "and I want one of you to get in the wheelbarrow." His fans, who had previously shown so much faith in him, suddenly became silent. No one had the courage and the faith in this man to get in the wheelbarrow.

It seems that too often, we outwardly express our faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ, yet when put to the test, find ourselves fearful and unwilling to do what is required. Sadie's dad, having been put to the ultimate test, and with tears in his eyes, stated with all of the conviction of his heart, "I want you all to know, that I am in the wheelbarrow."

At the conclusion of the service, Elder Bednar gave a few words, saying: "there have been many times when people have asked me 'Why does God take some of His children home so early?'" he said his response is always the same: "I don't know. But, I have faith in the one who does know, and that is enough."

I will say that I have never seen so much faith in a family. The Wells family is incredible. Despite a heart-breaking circumstance, they have used the Atonement, and found the faith to continue on. I left the service asking myself that same question, "am I in the wheelbarrow?" I know that I am so imperfect, but I hope that every day I can wake up, regardless of the circumstance in which I find myself, and say with the same conviction of Brother Wells, "I am in the wheelbarrow."...

I know that I'm not perfect. But I know that I can try to do my best and do whatever the lord asks of me. I want to be able to say just like that man that I am In the wheelbarrow. Are you in the wheelbarrow? Will you do what he asks of you? We might not know the reason for everything in life but I promise each and everyone of you, whomever may be reading this email that if you do your best to trust the lord and His plan for you, you will one day look back with an understanding of why He asked that of you. 

I know that the Lord has a specific plan for each of us, if we but trust in him and in his timing. 

I love you all! Until next week! 
~Sister Amy Callaway~ 

Oh and if anyone wants to snail mail me my address is now 3 Beaver Ct. Wilkes-Barre, Pa...and I don't know what the Zip Code is! Or you can always use the mission office too..721 Paxon Hollow Rd. Are. B Broomall, Pa 19008

Sister Shaffer and I with Sister Stevens! And then a funny lamp shade I decided to use as a hat lol.

Charity Never Faith

Hello hello everyone!!

Well what a week it has been. Sister Veater and Sister Kartchner have been sick most of the week but I've been totally fine which is weird because when you're in a trio if one of you goes down sick usually you all go down sick! I plan on drinking plenty of airborne to avoid getting sick. But because they were sick this week was pretty slowish. They just didn't have the energy to keep walking around and going to a bunch of lessons. Plus they didn't want to get anyone else sick. But since they were both sick and resting I can say that our apartment has never been so clean :) haha. While they were both resting I was reporting on lessons, making phone calls, writing thank you cards, and doing what I could to be as effective as possible and then I resorted to cleaning the apartment :) which I have found is a healthy stress reliever...I know mom you probably never thought that I would actually like to clean right?? Haha. 

Oh also!! Sister Abana told me that two of our investigators from Medford were baptized last week and then two more were baptized on Saturday!!!

And things have been pretty hectic because Sister Veater goes home next!

So this last week we had to pass off Mildred and her family to our District Leader and his companion. Last Monday after Pday we went with the Elders to do a little bit of a "pass off" meeting at Mildred's To introduce the Elders to them and they also wanted to feed us. They fed us this Ghanian dish called Fufu. It basically just this starchy ball of really thick mashed potatoes. It wasn't bad but the catch is you cannot eat the fufu by itself...you have to have some kind of a soup or something with it to wash it down...I figured that out after the first bite haha. it wants too bad though but oh my heck it fills you up fast lol. And they fed us some kind of chicken, okra broth with it too because I told Mildred that my papa loved okra so she insisted on making it for us! Then the Elders had to leave in order to make it to another one of their lessons and we finished teaching everyone about The Plan of Salvation.  It was such a spirit filled lesson. Mildred is progressing so well and she understood everything in the The Plan of Salvation pamphlet so well that she turned around and helped us to teach the rest of her family! It was great. We read with them some scriptures about The Plan of Salvation in the bible and all Mildred kept saying was "Wow I never knew that that is what that meant in the Bible! It makes so much sense!" And it did. I was so grateful that the lord has prepared this wonderful family. Mildred, Love, Blessed and Apple will all be baptized this month!! And I am so excited!! They are amazing!! 

We also saw one of our investigators this week named Stephanie. Stephanie grew up agnostic but she wants to believe in God. I can't say how difficult but humbling it is to teach someone without a Christian background. The fast of having to God and Jesus Christ has really helped me to appreciate that I grew up believing in them. That my parents taught me who Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are. It's something I don't think I ever really appreciated until I taught someone who never had that in her life. Stephanie is awesome. 

Oh and also we had Zone Training this week and President and Suster Anderson came to which we got to role play with them and I totally messed up so bad in front of President...but that's okay! Haha

And in honor of Valentine's Day I just wanted to share one of my favorite quotes from Elder Holland, forgive me for copying and pasting like half of his talk but he says my testimony better than I can say it myself, and every point I want to make in these few paragraphs...

"My beloved brothers and sisters, I am not certain just what our experience will be on Judgment Day, but I will be very surprised if at some point in that conversation, God does not ask us exactly what Christ asked Peter: “Did you love me?” I think He will want to know if in our very mortal, very inadequate, and sometimes childish grasp of things, did we at least understand one commandment, the first and greatest commandment of them all--“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind.” And if at such a moment we can stammer out, “Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee,” then He may remind us that the crowning characteristic of love is always loyalty.

"If ye love me, keep my commandments,” Jesus said. So we have neighbors to bless, children to protect, the poor to lift up, and the truth to defend. We have wrongs to make right, truths to share, and good to do. In short, we have a life of devoted discipleship to give in demonstrating our love of the Lord. We can’t quit and we can’t go back. After an encounter with the living Son of the living God, nothing is ever again to be as it was before. The Crucifixion, Atonement, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ mark the beginning of a Christian life, not the end of it."

"I testify from the bottom of my heart, with the intensity of my soul, to all who can hear my voice that those apostolic keys have been restored to the earth, and they are found in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. To those who have not yet joined with us in this great final cause of Christ, we say, “Please come.” To those who were once with us but have retreated, preferring to pick and choose a few cultural hors d’oeuvres from the smorgasbord of the Restoration and leave the rest of the feast, I say that I fear you face a lot of long nights and empty nets. The call is to come back, to stay true, to love God, and to lend a hand. I include in that call to fixed faithfulness every returned missionary who ever stood in a baptismal font and with arm to the square said, “Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ.” That commission was to have changed your convert forever, but it was surely supposed to have changed you forever as well. To the youth of the Church rising up to missions and temples and marriage, we say: “Love God and remain clean from the blood and sins of this generation. You have a monumental work to do, underscored by that marvelous announcement President Thomas S. Monson made yesterday morning. Your Father in Heaven expects your loyalty and your love at every stage of your life.”

"To all within the sound of my voice, the voice of Christ comes ringing down through the halls of time, asking each one of us while there is time, “Do you love me?” And for every one of us, I answer with my honor and my soul, “Yea, Lord, we do love thee.” And having set our “hand to the plough,” we will never look back until this work is finished and love of God and neighbor rules the world. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

I know it's long. But with that I want to share what I've learned about Charity or the pure love of Christ. I know from personal experience that Charity truly never faileth. Pure Christ-like love will never fail us. In time nor in eternity. And I know that obedience to Gods commandments shows our love for Him. And if we truly want to become like Christ we will strive to be charitable. Strive to have a "love of God and of all men." I testify of the Saviors divinity and of His Atonement that makes all righteous things possible, and all negative things able to overcome. I love Him. I am eternally indebted to Him. And I will serve Him and give Him everything that I am. Because I love Him. 

I love you all!! Happy Love day this week!! Until next week! 
~Sister Amy Callaway~

Me eating the Fufu...and also a giant teddy bear we found at Rite Aid that was the same size as me! And then at Zone training! 

Right here, right now

Hello hello everyone!! 

TWO BOYS??? AAAAHHHH!! I love my little nephews already!!! I really hope you tell me their names before they're born...Steph and Trav I can totally see you being that couple that doesn't tell anyone until after the baby is born haha. But really I am so excited to hold my little nephews when I get home :) there's tons of babies in my ward here and it literally is killing me that I can't hold one of them...if there was one mission rule I would change it would be that haha. But I am so excited for my nephews to get here! :)

So this week was really good and there was a lot going on! First I'll update you on Mildred and her family! We had two lessons with them this week, on Tuesday and then again on Friday. The lesson on Tuesday we taught them lesson 3 which is the Gospel of Jesus Christ and all about the first principles and ordinances of the gospel. Our Ward Mission Leader came with us and his name is Brother Heaton. The lesson went well and we tried to set a date for baptism with Mildred and her sister Love. They are the two who are progressing the most toward baptism right now. The whole family actually consists of the parents Jean and Rufus (Rufus is temporarily blind because he has cataracts on his eyes and he is the sweetest old African man) then their children Mildred, Victoria (and her baby Miracle), David, Ya and Love. And then Mildred's two daughters Blessed and Apple. And just to remind you they all came from Liberia. The rest of their family is in Liberia still. 

So anyway back to the lesson, we tried to set a date with Mildred and Love and Mildred told us that she had to pray about it first. Which is good because at least she is learning the importance of prayer! But after the lesson they invited us over for dinner on Friday and oh my goodness was that some spicy African food haha but it was good, and I had to eat salmon...which is not my favorite but the spice of the food kind of like numbed my tastebuds so I could really taste it lol. Then during dinner Mildred told us that ever since they met us things in their lives have only been getting better. She told us that she prayed about it and the Lord told her that she must be baptized into this church! We set a date with her and her sister Love for Feb. 21!!...but on a sad note...we found out that they actually live just outside of our area and we have to pass them off to our District Leader and his companion but it is okay because we know that they will take good care of them! But they are doing well and I just love this family!! African people are so lovable!! They also started singing some gospel soul sos to us haha and it was just so funny! But they are progressing and they will be baptized next month!! Please keep them in your prayers!! 

Then on Wednesday we had another sister with us for a day. Sister Abbott. Her trainer had to help out in the mission office for the day and so she came with us for the day. So for the day Sister Veater and Sister Kartchner were companions and I went with Sister Abbott. She is a golden and has been out for almost a month. So we had fun together and it really showed me what having two sets of missionaries in one are can do! It was weird but fun because we saw many miracles!! It reminded me of training sister Abana! It was fun to have her with us for the day! 

And then we FINALLY got to go to church yesterday after not being able to for two weeks!! I have never been more excited in my life to take the sacrament! I kept joking with my companions that I finally got to get rid of these two weeks worth of sins that I'd been carrying lol. But in all seriousness, I really have thought about it and yesterday while I was taking the sacrament I was listening to the prayer and a few words from the sacrament prayer came to me differently than they have before. 

"that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him, and keep his commandments which he hath given them, that they may always have his Spirit to be with them."

And then in the blessing of the water...

"that they do always remember him, that they may have his Spirit to be with them."

These parts of the sacrament prayers hit me pretty hard this time. After not being able to take the sacrament for two weeks I approached the sacrament with a more humble heart this time. And I was grateful for the promise that as I remember my Savior, and keep his commandments...and the covenants that I have made with Him...he promises to send his spirit to be with me. And that is a gift that I will give anything to have. This week has been kind of hard in some ways. I've learned a lot on my mission. A lot about myself and a lot of things I need to change. This last week I found myself getting weighed down because of all of the many many mistakes I have made the thing that I have done wrong. Times I messed up and I can't believe I did because I felt like I knew better. It was while this was going on that I reflected on the sacrament. On the Atonement. And as I looked at a picture of the savior that I have these are the words that came to my mind...

"That is why I did it though." 

I finally learned something about the atonement that I always thought I "knew" because people had told me before but now I finally "learned" for myself...and that is that the Atonement really is meant to HELP us change. To HELP us repent. To HELP us become what God expects us to be. I used to always think that I was never going to be worthy enough for the Saviors atonement. I wasn't worthy of his love. I wasn't worth of his help. I always felt like I had to reach a certain amount of worthiness before I could deserve the Saviors help. But that is not true. The savior can help us where we are right now. No matter where that is. And He can help us become worthy to live in our Heavenly a Fathers presence one day. I read a quote from Elder Bednar this week that really helped me... He said...

" Elders and sisters, we obviously are not required presently to be perfect. But we are commanded to be clean and to walk uprightly before the Redeemer of Israel.” “Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord” (D&C 38:42)...“Please remember, the Lord requires you to be clean but not perfect. The Holy Ghost operating again in your life is the surest indicator of forgiveness by the Lord because “the Spirit of the Lord 
doth not dwell in unholy temples” (Helaman 4:24). And recognize that the mandate to “forgive all men” (D&C 64:10) includes forgiving yourself."

That quote really helped me. I bear my testimony to anyone and everyone that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is real and that the Saviors love, grace, mercy, and help is available right here, right now, wherever we may presently be at in our lives to help us become what He wants us to be. I know that this is true. And my prayer is that we all will always be worthy of the priceless gift of the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. 

I love you all!! Until next week!
~Sister "Auntie" Amy Callaway~

...so. Much. Snow...and I seriously screamed when I saw this California license plate...it made me so happy haha

Is it still wonderful to you?

Hello loved ones!

First of Happy Day of Birth to Josh and Ally tomorrow!! ...Wow it is so cold here...I don't think I've ever seen so much snow in my life, well at least a snowfall all at one time. So we just had weekly planning switched to Saturday because president knew that the storm was coming so we were safe and warm and inside all day on Saturday but oh my heck did I get cabin fever...I was so tired of being inside. But we also could really go out because sister K has been really sick...but at least we stayed away from the blizzard. But oh my heck is there so much dang snow. When they plowed everything the snow piles are all taller than me haha. 

So this week we went on exchanges with our STLs!! Sister Hepworth and Sister Neilson. Sister Neilson actually served in P4 right before sister Veater and I came so it was helpful to have her come back and give us some tips for the area. But sister Veater and Sister Kartchner stayed here with Sister Neilson and Sister Hepworth and I went to West Chester!! It was a fun day in West Chester however West Chester is definitely not Philly. It's really ritzy and that was hard coming from an area of more humble circumstances. But we still saw miracles and we had a great time! The next morning on Wednesday we came back and came to the church building for district meeting and then right after district meeting we had a special broadcast for missionaries!! It was awesome it was all about teaching Repentance and Baptism. 

The Lord has inspired the prophet and apostles to have been very focused on that lately and rightly so. The broadcast was nothing short of AMAZING!! We heard from a few apostles and other general authorities of the church and I learned so much. Shortly after the broadcast we were scheduled to have interviews with President and Sister Anderson so they just came to watch it with us. And during the broadcast they shared one of my favorite videos that is called "Ill Go Where You Want Me To Go" we were sitting in the back watching it and while the video was playing the spirit was so strong and it just filled the room. As I was watching it I had the sidle impression to look over to my left at president and sister Anderson...and as I did I noticed that President was crying...(don't tell him I actually said that about him haha) but it was true. My heart was so touched by the sight of my mission president, the man who seems to have become my father out here on the mission, just sobbing because of the love that he clearly has for the savior and His gospel. I know how much president Anderson loves the gospel and I know how diligent he has been in the service of the savior. I have really come to feel like he is my dad out here and he really reminds my of my own father. It was such a great experience...and then after the broadcast when we had interviews I didn't tell president that I saw him cry haha but I did have a great interview with him. But I did tell sister Anderson that I saw him cry haha. But one of my favorite quotes from the broadcast was from Elder Dallin H. Oaks when he said, 

"In a time to come you will understand your unique opportunity and responsibility better than you do now. You will come to realize how important of full time missionary work is for the work of the Lord and for your own personal life." It was an amazing broadcast. 

 And now I have to tell you all about some miracles we the Lord has blessed us with!! So, rewind to a few weeks ago when we had transfers...when we got sister Kartchner immediately we went out to go work! We were walking along this one street that is full of less active members and potentials and as we were walking we saw a few people getting out of their car. So we stopped to talk with them and sister Kartchner was the one who asked them if we could come back another time and share a message with them, but then the I had the thought that said "no, now." So without even time to think I blurted out "what about right now?? Do you have time now that we could share a message with you and your family?" They accepted and let us into their home where we found that the rest of their family welcomed us in! All together it was 9 people, who became new investigators! They are all from Liberia! One in particular her name is Mildred. And she was telling us how she has met missionaries in Liberia and how they told her a little but of what The Book of Mormon is and how she wanted to learn more. In the past weeks we have prayerfully considered what to teach her and her family and we had been focusing on The Book of Mormon, and they have been progressing very well...now fast forward to this last week...We have invited Mildred and her family to be baptized, and Mildred has kept all of the commitments we have given her and she said that she would decide officially after she comes to church...well church got canceled this week because of the snow but that is okay! She kept calling us throughout the storm and she told us that she has been reading The Book of Mormon and that she has really been thinking about being baptized into our church. She love The Book of Mormon and I know that has been a key in her progress. I am so grateful for the missionaries in Liberia who have prepared her to hear the gospel now. We are setting a date with her for February 13! So keep her in your prayers! She is amazing and I just love this family so much! I am so grateful that the Lord has prepared so many people to hear the gospel! I love this gospel and I love this family so please keep them in your prayers! 

So this last week I asked president in my interview what was one thing, if he could pick one that he would like me to take away from my mission. He told me that it wasn't anything he wanted me to take away from but to take with me, and that was to develop a habit of studying preach My Gospel. Because it would not only be the foundation (along with the scriptures) of helping me in my mission but of helping me prepare to be a better wife and mother someday. So with that I have been studying PMG like crazy haha. One of my favorite lines from PMG says, 

"As your understanding of the Atonement of Jesus Christ grows, your desire to share the gospel will increase."

And I testify that that is so true. I never learned more about the atonement in my life since being on my mission. Of course when you are in the full time service of the savior you can't help but seek to understand his atonement more and more. And as I have done that I have come to have a real sense of reverence, gratitude, and the deepest love for my Savior. Without Him and His perfect sacrifice I would have no hope of anything. None of us would. We NEVER stop learning about the atonement. Ever. And we should NEVER develop an attitude of "oh I know enough," that will only weaken your testimony. We must seek to learn more and more about His sacrifice. Because He will reveal things to us that we did not know before and the Atonement will have a more personal meaning to us. I thought I learned a lot over the year of my mission but I am recently finding that I have only scratched the surface of all that can be discovered about the atonement of Jesus Christ. I personally have been learning how I need to "shut up more in the presence of God" and allow the enabling power of the atonement take effect in my life. We can learn on a more personal level what the atonement does for us, and why we even needed to be saved in the first place through reading The Book of Mormon and reading the words of our modern day prophet and apostles. So has been the case with me. And my job as a missionary and a disciple of Jesus Christ is to do all I can to help those around me experience the fullest blessings of the Atonement. And so I will do for the rest of my life. With what I now know of the Atonement, and of my Savior I can do nothing less than that. I bear my firm testimony of the reality and divinity of the Savior of the World and of all mankind. His Atonement is real. It is here for us to use in every aspect of our lives. And as we show our love for Him by keeping His commandments, the Atonement will take effect in our lives and we will live to feel the enabling power of the grace of our savior work in our lives. I love this gospel more than absolutely anything. I love it with all that I am. I want everyone to experience this joy. And I challenge everyone to learn all they can about the Atonement of Jesus Christ and what it can do for them. It will change your life in every good way. I testify of The Book of Mormon, of Joseph Smith that he was called to restore the church of Jesus Christ. I testify of President Thomas S. Monson that he is the lords prophet on the earth today and that this church is lead by prophets and apostles of God. Remember, it's true. It's all true. 

Love you all!! Until next week! 
~Sister Amy Callaway~
A picture from exchanges and a picture of Philly!