Called to Serve

I'm Alicia Garver, and I'm a Mormon. I'm currently serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, in the Georgia Atlanta North Mission. I love what I'm doing, and I'm excited to be sharing His message and His love with the people in Georgia.

Come for a ride with me as I share my bicycle and walking shoes!

Monday, December 8, 2014

12/8/14 Transfers!

I'm staying in Kennesaw! Yay! Sister Stout is not. Boo. But guess what? My new companion will be Sister Hanks, who was my MTC companion three months ago! What are the odds of that happening?! It'll be super cool just to see how much we've changed in two transfers in the field. It'll also be kinda scary because both of us barely finished training ourselves. But the mission president and the Lord know what they're doing, so it'll be alright. In fact, it'll be great! I'm determined.

It's been a pretty rough week. Or three. Rosemary, my adopted grandma who had a baptismal date, hasn't met with us since Thanksgiving, won't answer our calls, and dropped us over a text today. And we don't know why. But I am not the type to give up, and I never give up on those I love, so we will get in this week! I love her so much. We will do all we can, for her, and to find new contacts, and the Lord will bless our efforts. I know it.

We are making progress with several of our less actives, and with Jimmy and Araceli. Araceli's son was baptized last Saturday, which was super exciting! Sister Stout and I were asked to do a musical number, which I thought was not so exciting. We sound pretty good together and our voices blend really well (she's a alto and I'm soprano) but singing in front of a bunch of people, and having a solo? Not so much fun. Very scary. I don't recommend it. Plus, the president and his very musically inclined wife were there. I'm pretty sure everyone heard my voice wobbling, but the Spirit was there and that's what matters. The baptism itself went without a hitch. This boy is the one who didn't want to be taught by girls, so we passed him to the elders. They worked with him and we worked with all the girls in the family, and now four of the five are members. Araceli is getting there, but something is holding her back. But we're getting closer to the problem and hope to put her on date this week or next. And with Jimmy when we asked him about being baptized, he told us he had been waiting on us! What! The only thing is he's only come to church once, so once that happens more frequently, there'll be no problem.

Love you all!
Sister Garver

12/1/14 Bit By the Christmas Bug

The season has definitely begun. Lights and trees were going up even before Thanksgiving. And now there are decorations everywhere and Christmas music is played constantly. Georgia really knows how to celebrate. I am going to be so much more festive when I get back. Sister Stout and I even got a tree from a member, and we have lights up in our apartment, because I have the Christmas bug pretty bad :) We've even started caroling for our investigators and less actives that are sick and don't want or can't have lessons. Plus, I don't know you all of you know about it yet, but the church came out with this thing called He is the Gift. It'll be on YouTube and Facebook, Twitter and all the other media sources whose names escape me at the moment. They made a short Christmas video and it is going viral! Ah, I'm so excited! It is making missionary work so much easier, because the site it's played at is and once you watch the video, it is so hard to get off that site. Christmas is so easy to share. I don't want to say too much more because this is being spread by missionaries all over the world, and the missionaries in your area will probably want to share it with you. But yay for Christmas!

Thanksgiving was a bit slow because so many people were out of town or had family over and didn't want to talk. But the lesson we did have were awesome! Jimmy, Araceli, Annamaria, Lisa; everyone here is so amazing and receptive to the Lord. There is nothing like seeing the Lord work and seeing the lives of those you love change. Nothing like it. When their lives change, so do yours. When my investigators turn to Christ and grow their testimonies, my testimony grows as well. I love my job!

Transfers are a week from Wednesday and Sister Stout is going to be transferred. Okay, so it's not official, but because she's been here for 7 1/2 months, we practically know she's leaving. I wonder what will happen next?

Love you all! Happy Thanksgiving and merry Christmas!
Sister Garver

11/24/14 Thanksgiving

First off, an update on Trenton. Thanks to everybody's prayers, he is no longer in danger. He is out of critical and actually going home today. However, he will have to go back every two weeks for the rest of his life to get a medicine injection. But it was that or be on dialysis for the rest of his life. But thank you for your prayers.

This week was pretty good. We found two new investigators, a husband and wife from Puerto Rico, so they have a bunch of fun stories to tell us :) Rosemary, my adopted grandma, went from smoking a pack a day to zero within a week and a half. Yes! There was a missionary fireside yesterday, where all the missionaries in our ward spoke on whatever the Spirit moved them to (I spoke on callings from the Lord and the power of the Gospel in changing lives) and then it was opened up to a question and answer panel. I was suprised. I was expecting the usual: what is the weirdest food you've eaten, worst companion, etc, but the questions asked were really good. What were the hardest things about being on a mission? Where you looked down on if you don't go? What do you do if you get homesick? And funny stories :) It was amazing. We got in with a less active member that hasn't let anyone in for months. Turns out she has cancer, is nothing but skin and bones, and can't talk any more. So we sang her a few hymns and had an awesome talk with her caretaker, who is herself a "missionary" and loves going on missionary trips all over the world. She sang us a few of her hymns and they were really cool and African (she being originally from Africa).

I don't have much time today either, sorry. We are serving a member that needs help packing. Which I have a bit of experience with. 

Love you all!
Sister Garver

P.S. That's so cool about the snow! While we didn't get any out here, it was a cold week, with an average of maybe 40 or 45, though it did get down to 32 at one point during the evening. I admit I have been following Sydney's example with Christmas music, hot chocolate, and decorating the apartment a little. Much to Sister Stout's dismay, seeing as it's not December! But I manage to slip in a few things :)

Yes, we get to eat at member's homes all the time. Some weeks, we eat over maybe 3 times while others we eat over 6. We are well fed! We have one set of elders in our ward (whom I love, they're awesome) and one set of sisters that are in our area, but they are based solely on the university campus and the YSA ward. We helped out once on campus, and I quickly found out that that was not my thing :( 

I've only ridden my bike once for exercise one morning, and I found that I've lost all the skill that I acquired in Arizona. I'm all wobbly and weak and, well, it was not enjoyable. I hope I don't get assigned a biking area any time soon. As for my days, they're all different, but there are a few things we always do: get up at 6:25, pretend to exercise for a half hour, get ready, personal study, comp study, and then during the day we visit less actives, recent converts, teach lessons, and try to have 2 hours of tracting. Then daily planning and bed. 

11/17/14 Trials, Blessings, and Signs of Being a True Missionary

This week was a tough one. We had the girls' baptism on Friday, and I'm pretty sure the Adversary did not want that happening. We didn't get any new investigators, and it seemed like we were constantly stressed and falling short on goals. The day before the baptism, we were told an ice storm would be coming the day of, and we might have to push it back. The day of came, and our pianist told us she couldn't come, and no one we called could fill her place. The church didn't have clothes in the right size, and the member who promised to lend her old temple dress couldn't find it. We didn't have a back up. When we went tracting, every single door either didn't open or was shut in our faces mid sentence within 10 seconds of opening. Then to top it off, we were on our way to the church a half our before the baptism to meet the family, when they called and asked when the baptism was, because they forgot if it was today. Ahh!

But the adversary could not stop the work from progressing. There wasn't a cloud in the sky all that day. Our ward coordinator found a pianist an hour before the baptism. When we opened the door to the baptismal clothes closet, I am positive there were more dresses in there then there were before and we were able to find outfits for all three girls that fit. The entire family arrived 20 minutes early, even the brother, and he told us he wanted to get baptized too. There were a ton of people there to love and support them. It was amazing.

And then yesterday, they received the Holy Ghost, and the Spirit was so strong. There was an almost immediate change in the girls, and their mom mentioned it to us later that evening. We read a chapter of the Book of Mormon with the family, and they loved it. The Spirit testified it was true, and the mom promised that they would read it together every night.

Rosemary is doing fantastic as well! We taught her the Word of Wisdom on Tuesday, and when we next saw her on Friday, she had thrown out all her alcohol, and was donating her unopened boxed of coffee and tea. She had also reduced her smoking to half. She has such a strong testimony and love for the Father and His word, it's inspiring to me. We were able to commit her to baptism on the 20th of December. Ah, I love her so much!

Sister stout told me there are a few signs of becoming a true missionary and that I was starting to show them. I was so excited! Let me share a few of them with you: admiring doors and wreaths, making scriptural jokes, scriptural words slipping into your vocabulary, a shoe tan, finding rejections funny, and finding hymns are your theme song. I was working on the shoe tan, but doubt that one will fully come into effect until spring, seeing I am on full boot mode.

I love you all!
Sister Garver

PS There is one thing that I feel I need to ask your help for. An 8 year old boy in our ward caught a rare form of fever on Wednesday. Yesterday, he was in the hospital with kidney failure. There is not much the doctors can do. If you could include Trenton in your prayers, he needs them.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

11/10/14 - The Lord's Work is Awesome

I have very little time today seeing as we had three people who could only see us on Monday :( But that's okay, they come first. We are here on the Lord's time.
We have three more baptisms this Friday: Araceli's three girls. And hopefully we can have one more next week if he's ready for it by then. Yeah, I know. This is a ton of baptisms this month! The area hasn't had a baptism in over a year and now we've had one and four more scheduled this month, with another woman we plan to put on date this week. It's so cool to see the Lord work! The only problem with the baptism on Friday is that we don't have three jumpsuits in the right sizes. Oh well, the ward is getting on that problem.
Awesome story for this week: we got in with a woman that we tracted into two months ago! We hadn't gotten in with her, we couldn't get in touch with her besides a few texts and then there was a death in the family. But for some reason, we felt like we shouldn't give up on her. Finally we were able to set up an appointment out of the blue, she was excited to see us, and was super open. And while she started off saying, "I don't care what church I go to as long as they only read from the Bible," by the end she was curious and willing to read from the Book of Mormon! And she told us next time we came over she would make sure her daughter would sit in with us as well.
Love you all!
Sister Garver

11/3/14 - Baptism!

Ryan was baptized this Saturday! His older brother, the only other member in his family, preformed the baptism, and the Spirit was so strong it could knock a horse over. Which was supremely awesome seeing as we brought Rosemary, a new investigator. Ah, I love Rosemary! I have officially adopted her as an honorary grandma :) But she loved the baptism and came to church yesterday as well! Our mission president came Sunday as well, which put a little pressure on us, but seeing as we had a confirmation, 6 investigators, and an awesome lesson in Gospel Principles this week, everything went smoothly.

Araceli and her family are just my favorite family! They all love us so much and now are waiting and asking for us when we have appointments. They come to activities and church regularly and are making so many friends. Araceli even asked us to teach her friend! (Which we can't, but we can send the Spanish Elders their way.) The three girls have a baptismal date on the 15th, and Araceli is working on stopping smoking. Her son won't meet with us, because he gets too much "girliness" just from his own family, but we set him up with the elders, and now he's coming to church too!

We had the strangest experience this week. We were tracting this one house, and started like we always do, "Hi! We're missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter," "Would you like to come in?" "Uh, yeah." We went in, taught the entire first lesson, committed him to reading, praying, keeping the word of wisdom, and going on for questions, then made an appointment for two days later. Two days later, we teach the second lesson, eternal marriage, and temples, and commit him to baptism. Wait, what?
I definitely know the Lord leads us to those ready for His message. We hardly do anything except go where He sends us, and listen to, teach, and LOVE His children. It's been an amazing week.

Love you!
Sister Garver

P.S.  It's gotten pretty cold. Not freezing, but still not my happy weather. I have started to wear layers, and I wear my leggings and boots everyday. What I suffer most from is lack of gloves, but we're going to go buy some today, so that should cease to be an issue. As for my bigger coats, yes I pulled them out, but found the black one was covered in fluff that I couldn't get off, so I took it to a dry cleaners today (which was an adventure, because I've never been to one before!).

Halloween was a bit of a let down. We had a huge bag of candy and not a single trick-or-treater knocked on our door :( plus, we didn't get to go to bed early because weekly planning took longer than we thought it would. But the extra hour of sleep on Sunday was nice! That's so cool about your Halloween though! Did you take any pictures of your pumpkins? I'd love to see them!

YES, I got your recipes and they are so awesome! Thank you a billion times! Today we are making taco soup! It made my entire week, and maybe more than that because every time I look at them, I can't help but smile! We have the basic pans, a cookie sheet, a crockpot, and we bought a muffin pan a few weeks ago. I wish we had a skillet. Have you ever tried making brownies in a muffin pan? It's brilliant! A good chunk, easy to eat, and portioned.


Transfers are coming up this Wednesday! I think Sister Stout and I will be fine, at least for one more transfer, but Elder Harward has to leave :( He is so strong and is a natural leader, so we'll be sad to see him go. But without him, the threesome of elders will become a twosome and be a bit more manageable. We'll as manageable as it can be with Elder Bronson, who classifies himself as a "one-third soulless ginger."

We have a baptism this Saturday! It didn't happen last week because his dad had to work, but this Saturday it's finally happening! Sister Stout is thrilled because she's been working with this kid for months and sees herself as his big sister. She constantly refers to him as "the punk." In a loving manner, of course. We also hope to invite Araceli's girls to come. Araceli herself can't come because she has to work then. But I'm not fretting over that too much, because she finally came to church yesterday! She was sick, but she and her girls came anyway! Plus, they came to trunk-or-treating and had a blast!

We have a new investigator this week that I just love to pieces. She's a referral from the elders and she is just amazing. She's an older woman and really struggling because her husband has dementia and early onset Alzheimer's. But she loves the Book of Mormon, immediately accepts our lessons, keeps her commitments and love us to pieces. She calls us her Little Women or sometimes Her Angels :) Every time we pull up, she's waiting for us and comes out ready for a hug. I never knew I could love people so quickly and so completely before coming out here. Seriously.

I started reading Isaiah today. It says so many times in the BoM that we need to "study the words of Isaiah" but I never did. Than today I was reading in 2 Nephi 6 and it says it again! And this time, when I read it, it was a commandment from the Lord to me. So I started. It's actually not nearly as bad as everyone says it is. Of course, I'm only on the first chapter, but I actually found it really interesting and I learned a ton just from that first chapter. I'm taking it slow, but I'm getting a lot out of it. For instance, the reason the children of Israel started to fall was because when wickedness started to enter the church and people started to go astray, nothing was done about it. The "sores and bruises" were not taken care of and in the end, everything from the "soles of the feet to the crown of the head" were sick and diseased. No wonder the church today is so quick and efficient today when coming down on false doctrine and other inconsistencies.

You asked about P-days. P-days we don't do too much. Email, clean (turns out I'm a bit of a clean freak), shop, and sleep. Last P-day we had a mini early Halloween party with all of the Sisters in the area. I've been told going to a nearby train museum is a must, and we could go hike Kennesaw Mountain (hah! Mountain! Its a bitty thing of a hill!) but I'd much rather sleep, or maybe go to the thrift store nearby. They have a ton of cool stuff. Like last P-day, I bought a glass chess and checkers set.

As for pictures, I've been trying to take pictures (without being creepy) of a lot of the houses here in Georgia. They're funny looking. Some look normal, especially the really nice ones, but some just look like a three year old designed the place, with bits and pieces stuck every which way. I've been to some really nice houses and some really poor ones. There's a bit of both here, but I almost prefer the poor ones, because they're closer together, so we can hit more houses while tracting in a shorter amount of time.

Anywho, this week has been awesome in everyway but one. I've been eating the same food/meals for over a month now and it's starting to get a bit old. I have very few recipes memorized and few to no ways to get more. Please email me some new recipes! Anything that can be made in less than a half hour to 45 minutes would be greatly appreciated!

Love you all tons!
Sister Garver

Friday, October 24, 2014

10/20/14 Halloween has hit!

Oh. My. Goodness. But do people go crazy over Halloween. Every house has a wreath. Every house has cobwebs (some fake and some real :P) Every other house has lights. Every street has at least one house completely decked out with giant spiders, inflatables, lights, cobwebs, caution tape, skeletons, pumpkins, the works. It's a bit insane and a bit extremely awesome. I'm loving it! I admit we always aim for the fun houses to tract act :) Sister Stout says everyone goes all out because it won't snow, and the coldest it'll get in December is maybe 40? Too bad on Halloween we have to be home by 5. But I guess it makes sense.

Fall has come as well. The leaves and starting to change and everywhere we go, we crunch through leaves. And there are so many acorns! Seriously. At times it almost seems like it's hailing acorns. I have been counting my blessings because I have not yet been hit, but I've had some close calls, and it scares me every time. They sound painful. The mornings are always super cold, but it warms up during the day. Sometimes warm enough to go in short sleeves,  but I always keep a jacket in the car. But the weather really has been nice. Just not in the mornings. I would die without leggings and boots. I don't know what I would do in a place like Russia, having to deal with snow and freezing temperatures in a skirt.

We have a baptism this week! The missionaries have been working with him for over a year and he's been wanting to be baptized for months, but he's a minor and his dad wouldn't let him. But he finally gave permission! I admit I did a little bit of a happy dance :) Our other family that we've been working with for a while, we set tentative dates, but hope to solidify those tomorrow as well. The family, especially the kids, are so amazing. They love the church and are just eating up the lessons. They come to activities and are reading the Book of Mormon, and making friends. They are so excited about everything, and they love us as well. It really melts your heart to have a bunch of kids race up to you yelling, and giving hugs. And oh my goodness, when an 8 year old gives you a hug around the knees and holds your hand as you introduce them to new friends. I LOVE that family! I wish all of you could meet them too! I just wish we could help them mom keep her commitments...

I love you all so much and love hearing from you!
Sister Garver

PS I forgot to mention, I'm officially a month old now! But everyone thinks I'm much older. I had one elder ask me if I'm going home soon! It makes me happy that I don't look like a greenie :)

10/14/14 Happiness Times 4

So I have a few things to report this week. 

One: apparently the cold snap was just a cold snap, and it's gotten pretty warm again. But it's pouring at the moment, so that cools things down. But I still love boots, so I'm wearing them anyway. Two: I cut my bangs. Myself. In the bathroom. With tiny sewing scissors. That was fun. But I think it looks pretty good, so I'm not complaining. Just bragging :) Three: I bought a skirt at a thrift store for $1.25 that's adorable and has pockets. Success! Aaannnddd, four: WE COMMITTED ARACELI AND HER FAMILY TO BAPTISM!!!

No way, right?! She set the date herself and committed to bringing to kids to mutual and having a tour of the church. They also committed to family prayer and reading every night. The youngest girl didn't want to be baptized yet, well she does but she's scared of water. So we are working on that. And the boy, Charlie, has never really sat in on any of the lessons. He's too busy playing video games and seems to think this is a girl thing. But hopefully YMs and meeting the elders on Sunday will spark some curiosity. But still, YAY! The ward here hasn't seen a convert baptism in over a year. Can you believe we tracted into her, and have only been teaching them for three weeks? So excited! We had brought a member with us (Grandma Sally, a rather interesting and passionate woman, but good with kids) who's a covert. I think when she told her conversion story, that's what really did it. The Spirit was strong and it really touched all of us. The power of members. For all you non-missionaries, you really need to go out with us missionaries sometimes. We know you're busy, but the Spirit and fellowship you guys bring is astounding.

My ward here is great! I love everyone in it! It's a bit small, but everyone is so kind and loving and willing to help in anyway they can. I just wish we could get more investigators to the building. Once there, they wouldn't be able to escape the love and Spirit all the members bring.
Love you all sooooo much!
Sister Garver

P.S. Sorry we didn't write yesterday. Pday was moved to today because of Columbus Day.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

10/6/14 Goodbye, Summer!

One day it's 75-80 outside, and literally over night, the temperature drops. 

We stepped outside Thursday to find that all the sudden, its cold! It was only 49 degrees! Its gone up a bit, but not much, since then, but at least that means the bugs are going away. Plus, I need not despair, for with the cold, came General Conference, and with General Conference, came permission to break out the boots! Yes! With leggings and boots, I am happy and warm :)

This week has been awesome! Last week was a tough one, but this week we got 5 new investigators, and had some really strong lessons. It's tough to find investigators here. We find the majority through tracting, but even that won't do anything if no one opens their doors! When they do though, Georgians tend to be very willing to talk about Christ and listen to what we have to say, but then very politely tell us they already belong to a church, but bless us for our efforts. But this week we had so many good contacts on the last doors we knocked! We met this woman named Araceli and her four children and had been trying to get in with her all week, but she was always busy with work. But we persisted and decided to drop by we were in the neighborhood. She had just pulled in and let us in to talk to her. We planned on a short visit, maybe 15 minutes. We ended up staying for an hour and a half. We taught the entire first lesson, the entire family sat around and listened (even the extremely active 9 year old) and the kids all asked really good questions. The 11 year old asked how we could know God was talking to us. When we explained about the Holy Ghost, Araceli turned to us and said "I've felt that way before. But no one ever explained it to me like that." They asked us to come back the next day. We taught the kids about faith, using stories from the Book of Mormon and the Bible, and by the end, they all could recite back to us the stories, sing the primary song about faith and kept asking for more! It was soooo cool!

We also were able to teach a Korean woman named Pokson that the missionaries have been working with for ages, but never really progressed. But while we were talking I figured out that she thought that because of all the bad things going on in the world, she really thought that God had abandoned us. We talked to her about it for a while, but she didn't seem convinced. So I told her that the only way she would gain that hope was to pray. So after a bit of prodding, we all got down on our knees and asked her to pray. After about 8 minutes of silence, I heard something. I looked up and Pokson had tears streaming down her face. God had answered her prayer. It was an amazing experience for not only Pokson, but Sister Stout and I as well.

This week was also General Conference and my 20th birthday! I got a box from home and a surprise party from the other Sisters in my district. Plus the lesson with Pokson. Conference was perfect. It went by so fast and every question I had written down was answered. I LOVED IT! I did notice that all the talks were very direct and kinda a throw down to straighten up. But I know I needed it. I now have a list of things I need to work on.

I love you all so much!
Sister Garver

9/29/14 Barbeque and Fried Pickles

It's hard to believe I've only been here for 2 weeks! It feels like I've been here forever! I already have a bunch of odd tracting stories and strange lessons stories, have eaten food I never would have normally (but still tasted good) and seen so many little miracles. This week summed up: Jehovah Witnesses, youth ministers, the creation and dinosaurs, being asked about Kolob (or Kolenbob as he pronounced it), fried pickles, lots of barbeque, the General Woman's Broadcast, and a less active finally coming to church after years of inactivity.

Sister Stout and I met a ton of potential investigators this past week! So many people seemed interested and were willing to have us back and we had so many lessons lined up, so I was really excited for this week. Then it seemed like every appointment fell through, and those we did have didn't progress very well (with concerns like dinosaurs, Kolob, blacks and the priesthood, science vs religion). I was so pumped for Sunday because 5 investigators and 2 less actives had said they would come to church. Guess what? No investigators showed. So its been a bit of a downer this week. But Saturday, we really prayed about it before we started tracting, and then it seemed that every house we went to opened their doors, listened and then invited us back. We met so many awesome people and were able to get so many return appointments! This week will be busy, and that's exactly what we love :)

Another miracle happened this week. The sisters have been working with this less active woman and her daughter for years, and they love having the sisters over, but are never interested in coming to church. But this week we invited them to come to the Woman's Broadcast and they came! And then afterwards, this sister turns to me and says "What time is church again?" So I told her and she came to church the next day! Yay! She even promised to come to at least one session of conference with her daughter next week. *happy dance*

Sister Stout and I really work well together. She loves calling people and hates tracting, while I don't really like calling people but love tracting, so we push each other and become better teachers. Sister Stout is from Wyoming and has been out 10 months. I'm her first daughter! She knows a ton  about the gospel and the doctrine that I don't so I'm learning a lot from her. She's pretty quiet most of the time, but once she starts teaching, she knows what they need to hear and can be really powerful. Its cool. 

I love you all! God bless!
Sister Garver

Monday, September 22, 2014

9/22/14 Where Are You From? Uhhh....

Sorry I didn't write last week! We flew in on what was my P-Day at the MTC and missed the one out here. 
Georgia is fantastic! Its warm and sunny and everyone is so nice! We actually still tract a ton out here, because people are so friendly and listen. We plan on tracting at least 2 hours every day. And I love it. The only problem with tracting is the mosquitoes. At the moment I have around 37 bites, mostly on my legs :(
My first day was exhausting. It was like the first day at the MTC all over again. I was tired, didn't know what I was doing, and didn't know what was going to happen next. But it was so cool at the same time.

We got off the plane, met  President Bennion and his wife, who handed us a Book of Mormon and pushed us on a train called the Marta. We had about a half hour to talk to people and teach them about the gospel. By ourselves. No companions.

But it was awesome! I was surprised to find I wasn't really scared at all. It was fun! I talked to two people (the first man was a real talker) and the second woman was really interested and said she wanted to learn more, so I got her in contact with the missionaries in that zone. So cool. We then got off the train and drove to President Bennion's house where we had food waiting for us. After eating, I think half of us dozed through the meeting where we got our assignments and companions. I'm now serving in Kennesaw, Georgia, with Sister Stout.

I love it here! We don't have as many investigators as I'd like, but we're going to work hard and make the Lord's church grow! We've already ran into some potentials this past week and we hope to get in contact with them again this week. I have high hopes. Sister Stout and I are going to make Kennesaw bloom!
As for the actual work out here, I have been blessed to be serving a car mission. It can be pretty hot and humid down here. Everything is still green and wet, but the heat can get pretty bad in the middle of the day. And still Sister Stout and I go running every other morning.  :P  I love air conditioning! I do have a bike though, so if we're ever short on miles, we will have to use them.

I went to my ward for the first time yesterday. We taught two classes! I'm working on everyone's names, but I think I'm getting along alright. And yes, the hardest question is "where are you from?" Um....America? I've been telling most people that I'm from New Jersey. Sort of. And then if they ask further, well its a long story. It began in 1994, in the small state of Utah...

I love you all!
Sister Garver 

9/16/14 I Made It!

Hey everyone!

I made it to Georgia safe and sound! The flight was nice and almost everyone fell asleep. Getting up at 2:40 a.m. does that to a person. I can't fall asleep sitting up though, so I read and wrote in my journal. I called Nuna and Papa, and Rachel, before I got on the plane, but no one picked up, so I left messages just saying I love you!

When we got off the plane, the mission president and his wife, the Bennions, were waiting for us. They took our luggage, handed us a Book of Mormon, and pushed us on a train to begin. And we had to work by ourselves. No Sister Hanks. It was actually really cool! I didn't feel nervous at all! The first guy I talked to was convinced there was no God and that He was just a figment of less educated and sharp minds. But he also loved to talk, so I listened and got in a few words and gave him a card.

The woman I talked to was amazing! She knew and loved God and Christ and actually asked me questions and was interested in what I had to say. I told her about prophets, about Joseph Smith, and the Book of Mormon, and she told me she wanted to know more! It was awesome!

We ate at President Bennion's house and are just starting to nod off (even though we still have 3 hours before bed). We meet our new companions and get our new bikes tomorrow. I'm so excited!

I love you all tons!

Sister Garver

9/14/14 Today Was Amazing!

Hello again!

Today was amazing! Sister Hanks and I taught our district during district meeting, about the Atonement. For an hour. I was rather worried about it as you can imagine, especially as Sister Hanks doesn't really believe in planning, and she's senior companion this week. But she was amazing! And I was amazing! The Spirit was so strong and my own testimony was reaffirmed and strengthened. I admit my voice was trembling the entire time and my throat still hurts 6 hours later from the strain of trying not to cry. 

It was a miracle! I had only planned for 15 minutes, but ended up with a half hour. But for some reason, I wasn't nervous at all once I began teaching. I guess I just knew what to say, what stories to tell, and what scriptures to share. I wasn't the only one sniffing during the closing prayer. If that's how I'm going to teach in Georgia, I can't wait to go! I want others to know the same truth I know, to feel the joy that comes from the gospel, or, as we have been taught, from faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. I can't wait to go. I know the Lord needs me to help bring His children back to Him.

I've come to love everyone here, and I'm going to miss them all a lot. Especially Elder Lowman, Elder Hodson, and Sister Hanks. We've all become really close and I'll miss the Elders most because I won't really be able to see them again after tomorrow. But I got everyone's emails, so I can email them once I get home.

Please don't be mad at me. I'm allowed to call right after we land in Georgia, but I don't have your numbers memorized, so I'm going to call Nuna and Papa. If they pick up. They sent their number with the cinnamon rolls. Sorry! I'm going to call Rachel's cell (because I remember that one) and leave a message. Just remember I love all of you so much and I think of you guys every day.

I'll email everyone on my next P-day and send pictures, but I'm not sure when that will be. But I'd love emails back, so write anyway, so I can look forward to opening my mail.

I love you all sooooo much!

Sister Garver

9/13/14 Missing Pockets

Hello everyone!

Tomorrow is my second, and last, Sunday here at the MTC, and I'm ready to go. We report to the Travel Office Tuesday at 3:30 a.m. I hope I can sleep on the plane. It's early, but I'm so ready to go. I've learned a ton and I've grown a lot, and I know I still have so far to go, but I can't wait to get to Georgia. I feel like there's not much more I can learn in here; I need to actually get out there and get to work.

Being with someone 24/7 is harder than I thought it would be. I love everyone in my district so much, but there are times I just want to be alone and study. That's something that I'm working on, but I have to pray for patience more than once a day. But by the time you get this, I'll probably be in Georgia with my new companion and I'll be starting fresh once again.

Papa just sent me cinnamon rolls! It was so nice to get something small and random like that and I felt so loved! Even if I only ate a few and shared the rest. (They have dessert available for every meal!) I've been trying to be good and stay away from the sugar, but I had to eat some cinnamon rolls. :)

I don't have my new address for the Georgia mission home (you might) but I do need a few things. Sorry. I need more contacts please. I only have the one pair and I think I'm going to need new ones pretty soon.  I also need more shirts and cardigans but I don't know if I should just try to buy those in Georgia. I also need your phone numbers! I was lazy and didn't memorize them and am now regretting it. :(  Oh, and maybe some more socks for my tennis shoes. I only brought two pairs and I use them to work out every morning. Ew.

Of everything I left behind, I miss pockets most. More than phones, books, movies, or jeans, I miss pockets. None of you have ever appreciated them as much as you should. Oh! That and jackets. I'm sure it'll be different in Georgia, but I'm constantly cold here. There will be 10 of us in the room, the air conditioning will be blasting, and literally everyone but me is fine. Full blast air and I'm huddling as far from the vents as possible, in my thickest cardigan, dying. And at night I often wake up around 3:00 because I'm so stinking cold! But everyone else is fine. Why? I can't wait for Georgia heat. Of course it'll be fall, so I'm not sure that'll help too much.

Andrew said it before and I'm saying it again: I really wish I had been better in Seminary. Scripture Masteries would have helped a TON! I can sometimes remember what one was and how perfect it would be to share but I can't remember really how it goes or where it is. It's so frustrating! Rachel, Sydney, pay attention. They seem pointless now, but someday you'll thank me. Even if you girls don't end up going on missions.

I love my lessons here. I love my teachers. I love my district. I love my elders and sisters I spend my days with. I love the Book of Mormon. I love everyone back home. I love my Father in Heaven and His Son.

I love you all!

Sister Garver

P.S. A brown belt might be nice too. But if you want me to get that in Georgia, I can.

9/10/14, part 2 But Wait, There's More!

Thanks for the two letters you sent me. This first week started off super slow but by the end its been going by really fast! Im loving my times here! My whole zone is from Utah, and now I see what people mean when they talk about Utah Mormons being a bit different. They are still really fun and awesome though! My whole district has become good friends and we have a blast together in class. 

The food here is almost identical to what they serve at BYU, so its pretty good. Meaning I have to work at not eating dessert with every meal! Im doing pretty good at it though. The spirit here is amazing and I can feel myself growing so much! I feel like a totally different person than I was last week. And I know by Tuesday when I leave I'll be that much more than I am now. People here constantly talk about how hard it is and how much they miss their family and how they all thought at one time about going home, but I have never felt that way. Yes, it was exhausting the first few days, but it was also so much fun! I never thought it was hard, just tiring. But it was so worth it, I didn't want to change anything. Why would anyone want to leave this amazing Spirit? Im having a blast!

I do admit though that I was a bit sad today. I opened up my mailbox, and the only thing in it was a letter from Rachael from California. I miss you guys! Email me! Mom, I know you just missed me, but I wouldn't mind emails from the girls too. Oh, and can you send Nuna and Papa, Andrew, and Kevin's emails? Oh, and Grandma's too? That would be fantastic. 
I love you so much Mom!
Sister Alicia Garver

9/10/14 One week in!

One week into the MTC and six days to go! I have an awesome district and zone! I'm in a class with three pairs of elders and me and my companion, Sister Hanks. The other district in our zone has five more sisters going to our same mission, but we only see them at meal times and at night. My teachers are all so amazing here! Both are Sisters and seem to know just how to teach us and just what we need to know. Now its gotten to the point that they start us off and we can almost teach ourselves. My testimony has just skyrocketed here, and I can see the hand of the Lord directing the MTC wherever I go. The Spirit is so strong here and I know that He has been accompanying me ever since I arrived. 

There are two things I discovered I love here that I never knew I loved before. I love praying and I love reading the Book of Mormon. I knew that they were important before, but now I find myself getting so excited to read or to talk to my Father. I always knew God heard my prayers and answered them, but now every time I close my eyes and reach out to Him, I can feel Him standing right in front of me and I can feel His love. Every time I've just been exhausted or needed peace or guidance or strength, all I have to do is ask and within a half hour I am wide awake, energetic and so excited about whatever we're learning. Its so cool! I recommend before you start talking to God, take a few seconds to just breathe and focus your thoughts on Him. Its His time. 

I still have a lot to learn though. I am not a natural teacher like I thought I was. I need so much help from Christ whenever I teach. Plus, I still haven't learned how to keep everything short and simple. I also have a hard time asking the right questions. I talk too much. But I like to think I'm getting a bit better. Sister Hanks is really good at knowing what questions to ask so she has helped me out a ton. We're doing quite a bit of teaching; each other, our progressing investigators (our teachers), and our TRC (a person who we don't know if they're a member pretending or a real investigator) who are quite a bit harder. It's not as nerve-wracking as before, and I always calm down right after we pray before we go in. But I still have a long way to go.

I leave for Georgia Tuesday at 7 in the morning, so I think im going to miss P-Day next week seeing as its probably going to be on a Monday out in the field. Sorry!

Thanks for the box Mom! Im not sure what the little blue dog ball thing is, but the brush and letter were really nice. And the letter through Dear Elder was awesome to get. I hope Andrew and Emily had an good reception. 

I love you all so much! Don't forget to write! 
Sister Alicia Garver