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.