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Sunday, July 5, 2015

Priesthood Power

Oh wow, I haven't updated since December. I have a LOT to tell.

First off - moving to the YSA has been one of the best decisions of my life. I am the happiest I have ever been. When I take a step back and look at all of the amazing friend's I've made, I actually start to get a little emotional. I have never felt so close and tight knit to a group of people. I've become one of the people in the branch who everyone knows and I know everyone, and it's amazing. Yes, I'm still close to the missionaries and don't get me wrong, I still adore them, but I've finally found my place in the church and I'm starting to really figure out who I am and who Heavenly Father wants me to be. I've become so confident and I've been able to really be myself around everyone. Sure, there have been little bumps, but for the most part my experiences with my YSA friends have been nothing but a blessing.

My first calling was a member of the prefireside meal committee, and it's fun, but super stressful feeding 60+ people. But I love it. I got really close to this kid named Mitchell. He's the branch mission leader and actually asked me to teach Gospel Principles one day and I jokingly brought up how I should be a branch missionary (a bunch of times). So I'm also a branch missionary, now. I love love love it :) it's been the hardest calling of my life but I am so grateful for it.

I'm going to make a blog post in the morning about the people I've encountered in the YSA, but for now I want to share something special I experienced today.


One of the guys in the branch suffers from epilepsy. He's the Sunday School president, so we all know and love him. Today, we were sitting in 3rd hour (we met together to discuss the letter released by the first presidency about the court ruling a few weeks ago) and everyone was talking and laughing and having a good time. Then the room got quiet, I looked towards the other side of the room and my branch president was holding this boy as he was having a seizure. My stomach tied itself in a knot and my eyes filled with tears. My branch president sat him back down in the chair while other priesthood holders surrounding the boy jumped into action, moving chairs and getting the door open to escort him out of the room to the couch in the foyer where his seizure commenced. After the little meeting I went outside to check on him and he was okay. Upset that he had had another seizure, but he was okay.

Now, this was a huge testimony builder for me. To see a bunch of boys around my age immediately jump into action to help someone else without even really knowing what to do - that's amazing. It really shows how powerful the priesthood really is and how selfless it is.

I am so grateful for the influence of the priesthood in my life and the many times I have been blessed by it. This church is amazing and I am so proud to be a part of such a constant church while the world around us is chaos.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Missionaries are my best friends

So I have discovered that the Elders in the zone are afraid to tell me no. :) 

The other day we were serving in the garden and my sisters were somewhere else so it was me and 3 sets of Elders. They were all talking about tracting and teaching and stuff like that and jokingly (and to see what they would say) I ask "can I go tracting with you?" Omigosh it was literally the funniest thing. "Well.... I mean.... I guess you could... Um..." :) the conversation ended with a suggestion to see if the sisters would let me go with them :)

On Monday I took the Sisters out shopping with me and we spontaneously decided we wanted to leave Allen and go to the Plano mall. So Sister Ricks told me  that we would have to ask the zone leaders for permission. :) so I did and they said yes :)

It's so fun being close to these sweet people. Every year at about this time I struggle with the church. Mostly because I'm the one and only in my family. I have internal battles about if I should continue down this road or stop going to church. The missionaries have been an amazing example to me and have kept me on the right track. 

Every summer my family usually goes to the beach. I don't know if you've ever tried it, but you know that super dry sand that's not packable and it's like powdery? Have you ever tried to walk on it? It's very challenging. So what my family usually does is we all get behind my dad and walk in his footsteps (we look like little ducks in a line), the sand where he just walked is packed down enough to keep the sand from slipping away, making it harder and more painful to walk on. I compare this to how the missionaries help me. The church can be hard for me to understand at times, or sometimes I'm having a downright crappy day and I'm really struggling. The missionaries are in front of me, leading the way, making it slightly easier for me to push past my trials. Yes, they're still pretty tough to handle, but you know what? Just that little bit of help is what keeps me going in times of trials. They have become a little family to me. I don't know what I would do without them. I'm so grateful.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Anniversary ❤️❤️❤️

Today was literally one of the best days of my entire life. 

This morning I woke up to texts from a couple people saying congratulations, and then I got a bunch of chores and stuff done. 

At 1:30 I picked up my Sisters and got the biggest hugs EVER :) it was so sweet. Have I mentioned how much I adore them? Because I adore them. We made our way to the church where we were going to play sports, socialize, etc. When I walked in the Elders started singing a form of happy birthday to me, but changed it to baptism day :) it was sweet. I got a ton of handshakes and hugs. We played basketball then Sister Baker have me a gift from all the missionaries. This card was in it.

I started BAWLING. Omigosh. It was SO sweet. :) 

9 of our zone is transferring out so we signed books and said goodbyes the rest of the time. It was fantastic.

I went to FHE a few hours later and awkwardly walked around (I still don't know many people and the Elders weren't there yet). People started coming up and saying "HAPPY ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY!!!" I didn't even tell them!! Crazy, huh? :) when asked they said that the Spirit told them... :) I think it was two sweet little missionaries that spilled the beans :)

So we had our opening prayer and announcements were announced and Patrick (this super sweet convert friend of mine) asked if there were any more announcements. Someone said Elder Briggs's name and he said "On behalf of the YSA branch, we want to congratulate Casey on HER ONE YEAR MARK OF BAPTISM!!!!" It was CRAZY!!!! Everyone cheered and everything. Holy guacamole. I cried again and I think I turned bright red. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the YSA. And I adore my sweet missionaries. I'm so grateful for all of my missionaries, the ones serving today all the way to the ones who have me my first Book of Mormon. The ones that congratulated me today and the ones that didn't. I love them all. More than I can express. 

Here is my sweet zone (minus the ZL's) when we went caroling. :)

Elder Schaat is going home on Wednesday and so is Sister Carlson. I was able to get a picture with Elder Schaat but not with Sister Carlson. Hopefully I'll get one when I drive the Sisters to transfers dark and early tomorrow morning (6:30AM)

That awkward moment when you can't hug. Haha :)


I love this church so freaking much. I made the best decision of my life a year ago.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Moving On

Last Sunday I took a leap and decided to try YSA. I fell in love with it. So much that I am getting released from my calling in the primary and my records are getting transferred.

Since my baptism day I've had a hard time with change. I felt like a baby bird being pushed out of my cute little comfortable nest and into the real world, but I didn't know how to fly so I kind of just fell. I felt that was through a lot of things. Adjusting to life as a member was a tough transition for me. This change into a new ward is a totally different situation, though. This is my choice, I'm spreading my wings and FLYING out of my nest instead of getting pushed to my doom. 

That doesn't mean I'm any less terrified, though. 

I've been in the Allen first ward since I was introduced to the church. They have become my family, I'm so close to the sisters (and even though they say I can still be close to them, I know I won't be as close because I won't technically be their member anymore), I adore my home teachers (don't tell Elder C he was right), and I just feel like I'm going away forever. 

I have thought long and hard about this decision, the blessing that I talked about in my last post solidified my thoughts on it, though. 

On my last day of young women's I cried my eyes out because of everything that that program has done for me. I was sad to see it go. Tomorrow I have to say goodbye to a lot of my favorite people. Sure, it's more of a "see you later" but most of those people I don't talk to unless I'm at church. But this is about my testimony, and I'm at a point where if I'm not careful with how I use my time, my testimony could faulter. With all the converts and RMs in the YSA, I think I'll be good. I got flooded with texts today with invites to their Christmas party, and on Monday at FHE everyone welcomed me. :) I feel like I really fit in somewhere, again, not just with the missionaries. :)

I'm so thrilled to start a new adventure :)


Oh and my one year mark is on Monday. Holy guacamole. 

Blessings

(I tried to upload this on the 8th but it didn't upload. Oops)
First off, look how freaking cute these little gifts are.
I asked the missionaries what they wanted for Christmas and most said "a baptism" so I have each of them one of these. Santa's getting baptized :) hehe :)

A lot has been going on in my life. I've been struggling with making some pivotal choices in my life. Like changing my major in school, starting to attend YSA (which I LOVE), and so much more. There have also been some really rough things going on in my life. My moms surgery being one of the main stressors. Yesterday I learned something that just made me crumble. It was everything that was built up spilling over into this other thing. I cried for hours, I made myself sick, I didn't eat for most of the day today, I barely slept last night. I just moped around all day today. 

After attending the missionary Christmas party

(Look at the temple!!!!!)
Which was a blast, by the way. The missionaries made me feel so good about myself. :) 

I went to my first FHE for the YSA. It was... Interesting. I didn't know anyone which made it awkward. The Elders were going to come with me but they got caught in traffic, so I had to fend for myself. Haha :) we looked at Christmas lights, that was fun. But on the drive home my mind kept wandering back to my struggles and my eyes started to tear up again. So I decided that it was time to ask for a blessing. I had talked to the Elders on the phone earlier and they asked me if I needed anything, I said no and they told me to let them know if I did. So I figured I should ask them. They agreed and we met at the church.

So I have this really bad habit of bottling everything up until I explode, so once the Elders asked me what was wrong, I started bawling. We talked for a bit and I felt better just after that, but we went ahead with the blessing. Elder Briggs said it for me. It was the longest blessing I think I have ever had and every word was filled with love. The words "your Heavenly Father loves you so much" were repeated 5 or 6 times throughout and answers to things I didn't even talk about were mentioned. There were even little references to my patriarchal blessing sprinkled in there. I'm so glad I decided to get a blessing. My head has stopped spinning and I'm not feeling as sick. It's amazing what the priesthood and a little bit if faith can do.

I love this church. I'm grateful for my struggles and I'm grateful for the rainbow of blessings that come after the storms of my life.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Reunited

For the first time in my life I'm actually grateful for missionary transfers. 

Transfers have always been very hard on me. I cry every single time, it's hard for me to say goodbye to people I've grown so close to. But since we have sister missionaries in the ward now, I'm allowed to drive them to transfers, and that makes them a lot easier on me. I can say goodbye to my missionary, see their new companion and then meet the new missionary coming in. I told the sisters that I want to drive to transfers every time it's possible :)

So when Sister Aumua got her call last night, they texted me immediately.

We loaded up her bags and we were on the road to transfers by 9:15 and we made it there at 10. The sisters told me to come inside and wait in the foyer because it was so cold outside. So I stood and talked to some other members for a minute then President Taylor invited us to come into the meeting with them and turned to lead us where to go. I was about to start walking when I felt someone tap my shoulder and ask "Hey do you know where, uh..." As the question was being asked I turned and saw Elder Christensen. I started to BAWL. Oh my gosh. Happy tears of course, seeing one of my absolute best friends for the first time in months when you aren't expecting it will do that to you :) 

I was so happy. I think you can probably tell by the picture. 

The meeting was great. President had the missionaries stand and sing "Army of Helaman" to the members that drove. It made me cry, too. The elders that were standing near me had big huge smiles on their faces too. The joy I felt today at that meeting was indescribable. I'm still beaming at this very moment. 

I said goodbye to my sister and only cried a little bit. She was like a big sister to me so it was really hard on me, and I think I would have taken it a lot harder if I wasn't driving them. I met the new sister and she's awesome. 

Right as we were about to leave I went to go say goodbye to Elder C. I got to meet his new companion and Elder C told him the brief version of my conversion and said I was the best convert. It was so cool. It was so great catching up with him. The best surprise of my week, if not my month. 

I'm so grateful for the worthy young men and women that chose to serve missions. Each time I see a missionary it makes me happy to the core because they are finding those that are lost, like I was. They are on a search and rescue mission, diligently searching for those that need the gospel. I love them.


Today also marks the day my parents said that I could get baptized... :) how special is that?? What a great day to get reunited with the missionary that made it all happen.


Friday, October 10, 2014

State Fair

So tonight I went to the state fair with some friends from college. It was a ton of fun.

I went with Andrew (23) Josh (23?) and Jessica (19). We went on roller coasters, played games and Josh won me a hedgehog stuffed animal. It was great.

About an hour before we left, Andrew and Josh bought beers. Josh, trying to be friendly, offered me a sip when I said I had never drank before. I'm not going to lie, I thought about it. "One sip wouldn't hurt" and "I'm at the fair, I should let loose and have fun" ran through my head. I thought about it longer than I would like to say, but I did say no. He asked if I was sure and I shook my head. He was really cool about it.

After the fair we went out to eat at Chili's, where Josh ordered another beer. And offered me a drink again. Again, I thought about it. And then said no.

Remember who you are, no matter the situation. Even though I've been having a testimony low point, I remembered the promises I made at baptism and didn't drink. Stand as a witness "in all times, in all things, in all places." Even the state fair.