Monday, November 24, 2014

An Attitude of Gratitude!!!

Sister Judd and I in some slave ruins. 

I'm going to live in this house someday. It's just missing a roof... and windows and doors and a floor. But you know... It's a fixer upper. 

The Ocean!  I never get tired of the ocean! ;)
Hey everyone! 
We started this week off the right way with a road trip to a national park here on the island. We explored some slave settlement ruins, found a sweet cave, and of course... spent some time on the beach. It was a very good day. As usual. I'm pretty sure every day is a good day in the Bahamas. :) 
I think I mentioned last week that we're really trying to put an emphasis on serving in our area. So this week, we went over and helped an investigator clean up his yard. He had a bunch of banana trees that had fallen down in a storm, and we went and helped him clean it all up. It was so fun! I've discovered I have a love for working in the dirt. Dirt covered hands equals a happy heart.  I may get that from you, Dad. We'll never know :) 
There were several highlights to this week. First up, we took Linda teaching with us for the first time! (She's the one that got baptized about two months ago.) It was amazing. I almost cried. I've seen this girl go from knowing next to nothing about the church to bearing one of the most powerful testimonies of the temple that I've ever heard... all in three months. And she's never even been to a temple. If that doesn't show you how true this gospel is, I don't know what does. The gospel has to be true! It changes lives... it changes people! Through the gospel, someone with all sorts of problems and challenges can become an amazing leader and just a wonderful person! I've seen it happen time and time again... and I'm just so humbled every day to think that Heavenly Father would allow me to be a part of all of this! 
We had a lesson a few days ago with those three brothers I've mentioned a few times. This particular lesson, we were addressing some concerns about finding out if the Book of Mormon is true or not. The boys had been praying and reading diligently... they really wanted to know if it was true. So we went in and asked them a few questions... and then realized they might not be recognizing the answer they're receiving. We read a scripture with them that talks about the fruits of the spirit. The conversation went something along the lines of... 
Us: "So boys, do any of these things sound similar to what you feel when you read and pray?"
One of the boys: "Yeah... peace, joy, faith, love... well I guess all of these."
Another boy: "Oh! I always feel happy when I read and I wondered why."
Us: "So do you think those feelings could be the answer you're looking for?" 
They said yes, and we went on to talk about what it means to know the Book of Mormon is true. Conversations like that make my heart melt. I feel so much love for these people and words can't even describe the feeling you get when they come to know the gospel is true. 
We had a fun family home evening this week. We ate tacos (which was mostly what made it fun because Mexican food is very, very rare here), and then talked about temples! We played a fun little game to help the kids know how to prepare for the temple. It was a very good night indeed. 
Ummm other than that, we had a lot of really fun times running through the rain to appointments, getting splashed by traffic, and just enjoying the life of a missionary! I love this life. I never want it to end :) 
Also, seeing as it's Thanksgiving back home this week, I thought I would share one of my favorite quotes on gratitude. Thanksgiving isn't widely celebrated here, but we'll be eating with a member who knows we'd be missing out and said she'd make us American food for the day :) 
But anyways... the quote. 
"Gratitude to our Father in Heaven broadens our perception and clears our vision. It inspires humility and fosters empathy toward our fellowmen and all of God's creation. Gratitude is a catalyst to all Christlike attributes! A thankful heart is the parent of all virtues." -Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Good ol' President Uchtdorf always knows just what to say, doesn't he? I just love that man. So I'm working on gratitude again this week. In honor of Thanksgiving and all. 
But anyways, that's all for now folks! Have a wonderful week, and Happy Thanksgiving!!! Let the Christmas season begin!! Woohoo!! 
Sister Oman  

Sister Bailey and I at the slave settlement.  

One of my favorite little girls.  

One of my favorite families ever! (Plus he's the branch president, so that's even cooler! haha.) 
On p-day road trips, we take backseat companion selfies. haha :)..... 

.....and we eat sugar cane for snacks!.....

.....and we find colorful buildings!!! 

The national park we went to last week! 

We found this sweet little cave but we couldn't get down to it because we were in skirts. Also it looked a little dangerous haha!!!

Slave settlement thing! it was sick. plus it only cost two dollars! bonus :) 

The awesome ocean!

Just some random street.  Ha Ha!

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Happy Life

Hello good people of the world. I hope everyone had a fantastic week. 
I discovered my new favorite quote this week. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I do. 
"You do not find the happy life. You make it." -Camilla Eyring Kimball 
I just think that quote is absolutely beautiful. So this week we shifted perspective a little bit and decided to focus on making the life we've been giving the happy life. Some days are better than others. Some days are really hard and it's just about all we can do to keep going. There's the occasional moments of frustration and tears and homesickness. But the good always outweighs the bad. The great days always outweigh the really hard days. And the laughter far outweighs the tears. We make the happy life by focusing on the gospel! 
Let me share a story with you to prove this. Haha.
We had a baptism this last Saturday. We were so blessed to be able to baptize Cerament. We've been working with him since August, when his son introduced him to the church. Our very first lesson with him, he asked us when he could be baptized. Ever since then, we've been working diligently to help him prepare and understand the gospel. Saturday was finally his time to be baptized. It was a beautiful thing. His son (the one who introduced him to us) got to baptize him. They were both just glowing. I'm pretty sure there wasn't a single dry eye in the room. After the baptism, he came up to us just glowing and kept saying "Thank you. Thank you for everything." Those are the sweetest words I've ever heard. This is what matters most. It's not about the movies and music we're missing out on. It's not about the year and a half's worth of schooling we're postponing. It's about telling everyone we see the truth we know and praying and hoping that they will accept it so they can have the happy life! 
We had a meeting via skype with all the sisters in the mission all day Tuesday. It was marvelous. We got to hear from the amazing President Brown, and Elder Cornish was able to skype in. Hearing from your mission president and a General Authority in one day? Yes please. It was muy marvelous. The four of us had to do the musical number at the meeting... so yes. I sing for General Authorities and Mission Presidents. Haha just kidding it was terrifying and we all almost died. But it went okay so that was good :) 
We spent a lot of time this week helping people out. We're really trying to put an emphasis on serving... so we spent a few hours here and there washing clothes with people, scrubbing walls and floors, etc. I love doing service. It's so fun and I just feel so happy the entire time!! It's something I plan on doing all the time for the rest of my life :) 
Something that's really stuck out to me in my studies and just as we go about our days is that the Lord has a plan for each of us. There's a scripture somewhere in Ezekiel that I can't remember off the top of my head but it talks about giving the Lord our hearts made of stone and allowing Him to give us a new heart. That's another part of making the happy life... choosing not to fight against the Lord's plan but rather to mold ourselves to fit the plan the Lord has made for each of us. So I've been thinking about how I can allow the Lord to mold me into the person I need to become to fit His plan. And I've realized it's kind of like the whole good better best situation. Before my mission, I spent a lot of time doing some good things and a few things that were just a little bit better. But I'm realizing that I don't want to go home and go back to just doing the good things. I want to try to fill my life with the best things... which means I have a lot more changing to do. Everyone always told me missions are designed to show you your weaknesses... but I've realized that's what life is designed to do! When we see our weaknesses and we turn them over to the Lord, they can become our strengths. So I'll just be praying every day that the Lord will take my many, many weaknesses and somehow help me turn them into strengths. But thankfully, we don't have to be perfect to share the gospel. One more scripture for your enjoyment: Doctrine and Covenants 1:23.
"That the fulness of my gospel might be proclaimed by the weak and the simple unto the ends of the world, and before kings and rulers." 
I'm pretty weak and simple... I have a long way to go in my progression. But I've just been so humbled to realize that the Lord will still allow me to play a little role in His bringing the gospel to all the world. And we're going to keep doing our very best to do just that... we'll talk to everyone we see and be as obedient as we can, and we are confident we'll continue to find those that are seeking the truth :) 
I love you all! Have marvelous weeks!! 
Sister Oman
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! And if you know me... you know how excited I am every time I see a Christmas tree. So yes, I did have to take a picture with this giant tree in the mall last Monday.

Baptism!! Cerament is the one in the middle in the picture with Sister Bailey and I. His son that baptized him is the other one in the picture... and then the other guy in the other picture is Brother Verna, the funniest man you will ever meet. Haha. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Pirates in the Caribbean!!

We had a pretty great week here in the Bahamas! On Monday, we decided to play tourist and went to a pirate museum in downtown. It was a lot scarier than we anticipated... well actually it wasn't supposed to be scary at all, we just freaked ourselves out and spent almost the entire hour and a half in the museum clinging to each other for dear life. There was one particular part that a pirate actor came out from behind a curtain and I don't know why we all got so scared but we seriously ran for like five minutes screaming. Everyone in the entire museum heard us and they have it all on tape. Also I cut my arm open because I ran into a wall as I was screaming. Yeah... I'm still just as clumsy as ever. Haha. So that was mildly embarrassing. 
But it was a very fun little adventure. We also had a delightful little picnic on our favorite boardwalk, and spent a while sitting on the dock by the ocean contemplating life. It was a very good p-day indeed. I love Nassau. Have I mentioned that before? Well I do. A lot. 
Other exciting things that happened this week include Guy Fawkes day! It was on Wednesday, so during our dinner hour we went over to the Taylor family's house and helped them build their Guy Fawkes. Then they lit him on fire and set off a bunch of fireworks while we watched. (Cuz you know, we couldn't light them ourselves because of the rules.) It was a blast. I love that family so much! 
We spent almost three hours in the immigration office on Friday trying to get a bunch of work permit stuff sorted out... I think every single person in that office knows us by name now. I've probably spent three full days of my life in that office at this point. Man I'm so grateful that I don't have to mess with work permits and stuff to work in the states. Yep.
Hmmmm... oh! So we're teaching Evans, Evelt, and Peter still... the three brothers. I love those boys. So much. They have such a strong desire to learn about the gospel... and it doesn't hurt that they have two of the strongest fellowshippers I've ever seen, Jouvance and Jackson. For example, we had a lesson with them on Saturday. We asked them if they would be able to come to church. Two of the boys said yes, the other one said no because he had to work so he could save up money for something. Well, Jouvance decided he would have none of that and he wanted all of his friends to come to church. So those darling boys made a plan to all help each other out with money so none of them ever have to work on Sundays. They literally just pool all of their money and whoever needs it at that time takes it... because they know how important church attendance is. I just love it! They have such strong testimonies... and half of them aren't even baptized yet! Not to mention they're all under the age of sixteen. It's pretty crazy. I love it. 
We work a lot with the young women and young men here, and this last week one of them informed me that I'm the "funnest old person" he's ever met. Well snap. When did I go from being one of the young women to an old person? At least they still think I'm fun? I guess I just decided to take it as a compliment haha.  
Sister Bailey and I had to speak in sacrament yesterday... that made it the fourth time I've talked in a sacrament meeting in the last six months. I'm not complaining though... giving talks gives me a really good chance to learn more about the gospel. So that's good. 
We had two meal appointments yesterday. It felt like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter all piled into one day. We got home for the night and after planning, we all just collapsed on the ground because we were so full. Haha. 
I've been thinking a lot about agency lately. I read somewhere from some apostle that apart from our bodies themselves, agency is the greatest gift Heavenly Father could give us. I've been realizing how true that is! How amazing is it that we get to choose so many things for ourselves. I've just been so grateful for that gift lately! And I'm even more grateful for the knowledge that I can turn to my Father in Heaven whenever I'm not sure about a decision and He'll guide me to the correct choice. This gospel is amazing! 
I love you all! You guys are the greatest people in the entire world :) 
Have a great week!!!
Sister Oman 

A picnic on our favorite boardwalk!

I am wearing a sweat in the Bahamas.  Weird!  It's actually been chilly here lately!

Best Companion Ever!

Pirate Museum

That cage thing is an actual cage they put dead, tarred and feathered pirates in and swung it over the port here in  nassau to dissuade other pirates from attacking the island or ships around the island.  

Look at the size of that gun! It's one of the original ones they used to shoot pirates. haha.

We accidentally decided to go to the beach at high tide... so we just sat on the steps and watched the ocean for a while. muy relaxing. yep.

Guys....I live here!  Isn't it gorgeous!

Future Missionaries

Deshanda and Andre, two of my favorite children in the entire world. 

A random assortment of investigators, members, and friends. all younger than us. 

Us and the Taylor Clan on Guy Fawkes day! 

P.J. with our Guy Fawkes day dude 

Guy Fawkes Day Dude on fire!

Guy Fawkes Day Selfie!

We went to teach getro and look at all these cute little puppies he has behind his house! aww we played with them for like twenty minutes. they were adorable.

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Weeks Keep Getting Faster!

The wonderful Halloween treat box that Sister Judd's mom sent!! Thanks!!!

International Day of Service

Andre and I at church yesterday.  I love that kid!!
Well hello people. This week was the fastest week of my life. I can't believe it's already Monday again. Where is my life going? I don't know. 
Sister Judd and I decided to go for a walk around our neighborhood for p-day. Which sounded like a nice idea until we got so lost it wasn't even funny, and it was about a million degrees, and we had no water. So our casual stroll turned into a survival quest. But we still laughed a lot and had a jolly good time so that's good. 
Tuesday we got a call from a member, saying that there were some tourists that wanted to take us to lunch at the fish fry downtown. And of course we didn't turn them down... hello, free food! How nice is that? I don't know about ya'll... but I think the last thing I'd be thinking of while on a cruise is taking care of the missionaries. It was a very nice little treat. 
Ummmm well we seemingly lost pretty much all of our investigators over the last few weeks... so this week was a week of finding. We spent a lot of time walking the streets, talking to everyone. I got super tan, but we didn't find anyone to teach. Oh well, planting seeds is always good! Everyone deserves to hear the gospel. It's up to them if they accept it or not! 
Friday was Halloween!! And while we didn't do anything special to celebrate, we did get to pick up a giant package full of delightful Halloween treats from Sister Judd's mom! It was a very nice surprise, and we ended our night laying on the couch eating chocolate... just like every other Halloween I've ever had :) woohoo! 
Saturday was a church wide International Day of Service! We had special permission to do service all day in our areas, and we got to go help the branch here with their service project! We went to a home for the elderly, and did a lot of painting and rebuilding to fix up the place for Christmas. It was so sweet to see how grateful they all were... doing service really just reminds me of how important this gospel is! I've decided to put a lot bigger emphasis on serving others in my life... and even though I only implemented that a few days ago, I'm already seeing the difference it makes! I love service.
I've been studying the Savior's earthly ministry and atonement a lot over the last few weeks, and my love and appreciation for Christ and all that He's done for us has grown a huge amount! I've just been looking around at the different types of trials people face. Here, the amount and the size of the trials that a lot of the people are facing is way more than I think I've ever had to face in my life or could even handle. But I know that everyone's trials are designed specifically for them, and we're never given any trial beyond what we have strength to bear. We find that strength through our Savior Jesus Christ. When we come to know what He has done for us, we can know that no matter what we face, we are not alone-- we can be strengthened, uplifted, and comforted as long as we rely wholly on Christ. I love this sentence from PMG, "When the Father asked His Beloved Son to pay the price of the world's sins, Jesus was prepared and willing." Christ was prepared and willing to pay the price for our sins. He took every little bit of hurt that we will ever have upon Himself so He could know how to help us. And now it's just up to us to realize the importance of the Atonement-- the price has already been paid, we just need to come and collect the benefits. 
I'm loving this scripture this week too- Mosiah 15:31.
"The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God."
Heavenly Father loves us and wants us to accept this gospel! I'm so humbled that He trusts me enough to send me to find His children that are searching for the truth... I love being a missionary more than I've ever loved anything in my life. These last six months have been the best thing that's ever happened to me. I love this work! 
Well. This week went by so fast I don't really know what else to say. So that's it. I love you all. 
Sister Oman