Monday, January 27, 2014

Snow in Virginia!

Hi Everyone,

We got snow this week and it has been super cold. The kids here were out of school for a whole week. A WHOLE WEEK!  It was finals at a lot of the schools, so they were super lucky kids:)  It was interesting, we really didn't get that much snow. It is a lot like Oregon here they just don't get a lot of snow so it kind of freaks everyone out:) This kind of threw our whole week off. In fact the cars in our mission were grounded on Tuesday so we had to stay home and we watched "The Testaments" It was kind of fun:) The rest of the week we had people cancel on us like crazy and no one wanted us out in the snow. The roads were a little icy, but definitely not as bad as we thought they would be. I used this time to catch up on letters. I am glad to hear that people got them already. I had quite a stack to catch up on.

To answer a few questions:

I still don't have my own money card due to me being a Visa waiter. They put my funds on my Companions card.  I get my money every two weeks and we get $69. I wish I had my own card but I guess it helps me keep track of what I spend.

My testimony has certainly grown while on my mission. I think the greatest thing I have gained a testimony of is that I can rely on Heavenly Father.  Out here we don't have the normal things like music (the music I used to listen to), tv, movies (other than church movies) to help us cope with things. It gets pretty quiet. We have to get over it with the help of the Lord. He is always willing to help us out. It is cool because I feel like my testimony has grown on the little things that as members we take for granted. Like the Sacrament. I was watching the Young Men pass the sacrament yesterday and there was this new Deacon passing who was SOOO excited to pass it. He was basically running down the isles. Haha, but the thought came to me that those young men should all be doing that. They have the opportunity to pass a sacred thing around to remind all of us about sacred ordinances we had made at Baptism and also in the Temple. Those sacred ordinances sometimes get over looked, but they are so beautiful and such a wonderful gift from our Heavenly Father. He has taken a time in the meeting for us to think about them for a reason!

The things I have enjoyed the most on my mission is that I get to take time to read the scriptures every morning and I get time to focus on what is important. I get time to also serve others in ways that I have never before. I get to tell others about Jesus Christ and introduce another testament to them so they can grow even closer to him. I also have had time to really think about life and about what I want in life. Who I want to be, what I want to do as a career, what kind of person I want to be. It has really been life changing!

Like I said this week have been a little messed up due to the weather. We did get to meet with one of our investigators L, who told us she is really trying to quit smoking and we haven't even taught her about the word of wisdom yet!! She is so prepared and you can see a difference in her countenance! She loves the gospel and loves how is can help her raise her children. She has two busy little boys. I played the game dead deer with them (when you tell them to be still and the one that moves first loses) My cousin used to play that with all us younger cousins. Haha I have to say Alison that is an inspired game! Haha

This week we also got a ton of referrals which is sooooo good! We are excited for it to help us out! We have had a good week, but I am glad it is over and I am glad to be starting a new week. Week four of the transfer! I can't believe it is past half way done!!! Whatttt? Time is starting to run away from me and I am now coming up on my 8 month mark in a week and a half. I am not sure how this all happened, but I am grateful for it. Read Hebrews 12:1-2, it is really good! Heavenly Father loves us and is proud of who we are all becoming! just keep enduring! LOVE YOU ALL!! Have a great week! :)

-Sister Siepert

We got Pedicures this week at a place in Goochland at a place called "Beyond Spa." They did a really good job! It was kind of funny there was a TV basically right in front of us. We tried not to watch it, but it was right in front of us. It just reminded me that I actually don't miss TV that much. It is kind of terrible sometimes....the standards of the world are changing and changing and it is getting sad. Satan is really good at his job.

 Yep it is snowing here in The Gooch. No I haven't gained a ton of weight I just have many many many layers of clothes. Yes Katie did say that:)

More snow in the Gooch:)

Monday, January 20, 2014

The VISA is so close but so far away............

Hello Everyone,
 Sorry I missed a blog post last week but, I am back:)

I had to do fingerprints for my FBI clearance this week. It turned out to be a big deal. My mom had to overnight my Social Security Card so I had two forms of ID's. I am so thankful for Sister Haines from the mission office. She came and picked my companion and I up after our District Meeting and helped me with all the steps. She drove me all over the place. I Loved It!! It is all done and sent on to the FBI they said it would take 6-8 weeks to clear. It was a definitely a tender mercy that she helped me so much. I am so grateful that all I have to do now is seems like forever away, but it will be here sooner than I know it. We stopped by the Mission office after we mailed everything and I got to see the Mission President. I loved, LOVED visiting with President Wilson and Sister Wilson. They are so wonderful and he is just so inspired by the spirit always! I walked in and he just hugged me! It was just what I needed. He also reassured me that it would come in its own time. So, he is just wonderful! Mission Presidents are the best!:) To top off the wonderful afternoon, she and her companion took my companion and I to a wonderful Mexican dinner. What a great afternoon!

It is so crazy that Tanner Townsends new companion is from right here. I am serving in the Gayton Ward right now, but there is a Spanish branch (full of Brazilians...just saying) who meet after us, they do young women's with all the girls in our ward. I asked the hemanas if they knew his family and they love them! I am trying to find them so I can meet them, but I have not been able to just yet because our church changed times. I will meet them:)  I have seen his plaque in our church. What a small world.

This week has been a great week!!!!!:) The things that have been so difficult these last few weeks have resolved themselves with much prayer.  I have learned so much and have grown up so much these last few transfers. It makes me so happy to be happy. I made that goal a long time ago and I feel I am back to my happy self. Whew!! It is amazing how time is flying, like this transfer is halfway done. I can hardly believe it!

I am however a little nervous because the sister that I am borrowing her coat is leaving to go home after this transfer and then I won't have a warm coat, but I will just have to figure that all out. I hate to have you send one because I will be leaving sometime...... It will be just fine:)

This week has been a good week though! Not a whole lot of success with investigators but we saw a lot of less actives this week.! We are seeing peoples hearts soften slowly, but surely! We are stoked for what is to come and are just working really hard to find people. Tracting is really scary for both Sister Gale and I. I would almost rather do anything rather than tract. We have been really trying our best to do it more. We play this game that when we go up to a house and we choose a country and if they don't answer we have to make up a dance from that country. Sometimes it gets really funny!! Haha, so that is good. We have plenty of less actives in this area to keep us busy. We love them so much and are so sad when they don't come to church.

Thanks for the printouts from Al Fox(see below)! I love her so much and she is so inspiring and so wonderful. I have been thinking a lot about sacred covenants like sealings in the Temple. I am so grateful that the covenants that I need to make are almost all done and that I am getting closer and closer to that Celestial Kingdom. Endurance is the thing. That is one thing I have learned a lot about on my mission is endurance. There are days when I wish I was just at home sitting watching a movie or hanging out with friends, but I just keep going. Endurance is hard, but it is soooo worth it! I am so grateful to be on a mission and meeting the wonderful people in Virginia and for all the things I have learned and continue to learn. I am so grateful to be in the Gayton Ward and working with this wonderful people in this ward:)

I love you all and am sooo grateful for all the support I get from my friends and family! I could not ask for better people in my life. I Love You All!! Sorry if my emails are not all that great, but I try! Haha

-Sister Siepert

We are so excited we are going to get Pday Pedicures:) Thanks Mom:)

Here is a copy of what I (Katie's mom) mailed her this week:

I am no longer a Fox, but fully and completely a Carraway! Al Carraway-  here's to happiness with a companion! Still will be blogging. Still making videos. Recording audio this week for our newest video that we've been trying to get done for a while now. It's coming, I promise! I'm really excited for many reasons. One being, the topic. Any guess what it is? Two- being, did any of you noticed that I said "our" and "we"?
I definitely married above myself.  I strive to have as much faith as he does, and to be the example that he is. I'm confident that if others knew him, they would be askin him to give Firesides and not me. Seriously. 

I am proudly, and far beyond excited, to introduce to you, Benjamin Carraway. Best friend. Companion. And husband. Here's to a life with no longer "I's" and "me's", but "our's" and "we's." 

It's funny, I never put thought into getting married until I got baptized. I joked saying I swallowed some of the baptism water, because quickly after then I had thoughts of, "Where's my husband?!" Haha. And exactly 4 years later, to the date, I got married and sealed. How's that for a baptism anniversary! A few short months after my baptism, Elder Krause and Elder Richardson gave me a lesson on Eternal Marriages- one of them said that in their Patriarchal Blessing their future wife is preparing from him right now. I decided right then and there that I was going to do that too. I knew the only way to do that is to become as close to the Lord and I possibly could. They also made me write a letter to my future spouse, which was a little awkward at first not knowing who he was at the time, but proved to be an awesome thing. It was the start of 2010 I did that, right before I would pack up my life into a 2-Door Alero Oldsmobile and drove across the country to UT, for who knows why at the time, where I would eventually meet him 3.5 years down the line. 

It wasn't until Utah that my life took a turn in a direction I didn't even know was a possibility for myself. The closer I became to my Savior and Father, (not just because of my future spouse, but out of pure joy and desire,) the more my I started doing things I never thought I could ever do. Not once has things gone the way I had in mind, which can be really difficult at times- you have those fleeting thoughts of if God truly cares about you, or if He actually listens to your prayers and knows you- but how grateful I am that they did not go the way I had in mind. Because they have been profoundly better.  Looking the way that I do and moving to Utah, I had it in the back of my head that I would never get married because of the looks and reactions I would get. But I knew that nothing should override my initial and prominent goal: to live and share the gospel. To love and live for my God. Never would I let what I didn't have get in the way of that. Never would I let a change of course take away from the unchangeable truth that if I were trying, I would be blessed. I would be taken care of, no matter what.

Life is hard. Strength wasn't as strong as I needed it to be some times. Times where it was so hard I would lay on my floor yelling at Him. Asking Him where He was. Telling Him I can't do this, whatever it was at the time. But my commitment was never wavering. Had I not made that promise to myself and to God, I'm not sure if I'd be where I am today, doing the things I'm doing.  Sometimes, forcing myself to use this faith that I didn't think I had, but using every bit of me to never lose sight of the faith that I did have. Sometimes grasping to it with every bit of energy that was left, sometimes it seemed by my fingertips and someone was pulling me by the ankles in the opposite direction. Holding on to blessings I had received and what I had read in the scriptures. That if I put Him first, if I put God first, everything else would fall in to place. That I would be blessed from my efforts of trying, not perfection. That I would be taken care of with what I can do, and not compared to someone else’s strengths or weaknesses. Just mine. That I wouldn't knowand strengthen if I didn't experiment with His word. That I wouldn't be helped if I didn't act. If I didn't do. The only option to me, was to keep going. To keep going with Him. Every single time, being shown that His ways are greater. That with Him can I overcome anything that comes my way. And each and every single time it would lead me to something better in my life, that wouldn't have been there if I didn't push through, have those hard times, and trust. Each time, my love for Him would grow. I would strengthen. I would receive. And have a continuance of comfort and happiness. The only way I have come to know how great our God is, is never leaving Him during my times of weakness, times of un-sureties, times of anger and lack of understanding. With Him am I truly happy. The more I served the happier I was.  The more I tried, the better I became. The more I was helped, the more I wanted to share. I blogged with no shame or fear of my trials and conviction to my Father in Heaven. I started traveling to speak at firesides several times a week, while working full time. I got endowed in 2012 and just 2 weeks after I did, I started working as an ordinance worker in the Provo Temple on the only night I had free for myself. And the way the story goes for me, it wasn’t until I was doing everything I could and magnifying all the opportunities that arose-whether they were planned and wanted, or by surprise and 
doubted- that I met him. That I met Ben. My companion. My best friend. My biggest support.   

“...I am finally becoming the person Heavenly Father wanted me to become all along. My best self meant for you. In 1 week I leave behind my family. In 1 week I leave behind the only way of living that I know of...everything is so different, and I have to just continue to be led by the spirit no matter how hard or lonely it is. ...I wish I knew you right now. I wish you were here with me as I go through all of this...When you read this our wait is finally over because it seems so far away right now. ...But I'm glad you are here now. I'm glad that I never have to be alone again.”(Letter To Husband, 2010)

Life is hard, but oh so beautiful. Forget not whose hands we’re in. Forget not that you are not meant to just ‘get by’, but to give you the absolute best ever created. Forget not that His ways are always better and how comforting to know He knows us better then we know ourselves. Never should it be about what you don’t have or haven’t gotten yet. Don’t let it be about what you don’t know, or can’t do. Embrace what comes your way, especially that which you didn't initially invision for yourself.  Trust.Allow Him to show you how great our God is. Do not be ashamed or embarrassed. And more then anything, do not think you cannot do this. Do not let giving up be an option. Focus on Him, knowing that you will be blessed with the best ever created. What you know and what you have is enough for His help and guidance. You are always worthy of your God’s love. Prioritize. Turn to Him. Experiment. Act. Focus. Commit. Try. Hold on. Embrace and receive. 

Monday, January 6, 2014


My week has been a little strange, but good and I am very glad the holidays are over...haha, that sounds really weird, but like New Years Day we were not aloud to go out unless we had an appointment and stuff. That must makes everything a little slow around here! If you are not aware, yesterday was my seven month marks. 7 MONTHS! Who knew I could make it this long? Yesterday I bore my testimony in fast and testimony meeting and said, "well, today I have been out and away from my family for 7 months, and hey, I haven't died yet." Haha, but really this is the longest I have been away from home and I am doing fine! I guess I really can grow up and stuff and I will be okay. Crazy, huh? I have had some real challenges this week, but I made it! This has been a huge week about learning humility. I guess if Jesus Christ can do it then I can right? I have spent a whole lot of times on my knees this week striving to be better and it is cool how much that helps. Heavenly Father really does care about the little things and is just waiting for us to come to him with them.

We did have a cool experience this week: While stopping at the grocery store for a little potty stop. Haha! We were leaving and met a man sitting outside. We just started talking to him and talked about the restoration. We weren't really sure about him but, He said he wanted to know more and wanted to be baptized! a river. So we are excited about teaching him. We still aren't really sure about him but he loves Jesus and so do I! He actually called us yesterday which we were really happy about because we are really smart and forgot to get his number...but we will for sure have a male with us at the lesson, so it will be okay! We were really stoked about that little miracle!

This week we also ate dinner at a really sweet families house. They are really fun! Sister E said she wanted to go with us to go see her neighbors, so we did. Before we left we asked a little bit about her neighbor and she told us she was a baptist and very open, well we get there and really come to find out this lady is an atheist. So, you can guess how that went....haha, she kept contradicting herself, but that was okay. We taught a mini lesson and of course she had the questions, "where did God come from?" "How do you really know he is there?" and then we talked about prayer, but she was like no, no I have already tried that. It was way weird and afterwards Sister E felt bad, but hey, whatever:) Haha, it was kind of an interesting experience.

This week we volunteered at the Old folks home and rehab center and played bingo with them. Let me tell you, go play bingo with old people! It is soooo funnnn! This lady that was sitting across from me and couldn't hear very well. After someone had gotten a bingo I said, "you were really close!" She then yelled BINGO! And proceeded to name every number on her card...hahaha, I laughed so hard. I then helped with this Older black gentleman and come to find out, he couldn't read and that is why he kept putting them all over the place. I love being there! It is so fun to be with them!

Yesterday we taught Young Womens just like you mom! We taught about how we can know Heavenly Father and it was way fun! It is so cool how you can teach them and feel this love for them. They loved how just over a year ago I was in Young Womens. It was so fun to teach them. I kind of wanted to shake them  and be like " YOU ARE LOVED!  BELIEVE IT!" Teenage girls just don't understand that and it makes me so sad. We shared with them the worth article that mom sent me from Roseburgs Girls Camp and it was a hit! It has been really slow but I am hoping with the Holidays over things will pick up:)

Things are going good and I have grown up faster than I ever thought I could. I have learned a lot about myself and how much I need my Heavenly Father everyday! He is waiting for us patiently and watching out for us. I love the fact that he would never force us to come to him but hopes that we will want to. He loves us! HE LOVES US! More than we can even understand. He is so good to us...I am so grateful to know that and to know him.:)

I just want to thank everyone that reads my blog! It blows my mind that so many of you read it. I am even more surprised since I think it might be a bit boring. I hope you all enjoy it! I really appreciate all your love and support. If you have time drop me an email or letter. I would love to hear from you:)

Missionary life is still good and still hard, but still worth it. Just keep swimming:) I love you all! :)

-Sister  Siepert :)