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!

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