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!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

1/26/15 Johns Creek

If I was looking for different when I transferred, I got it. There are times when I forget I'm even in America. 

For one thing, about 40% of the population is Asian. Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Tai, and another 20% is Indian or Hispanic. White, English speaking, is sorta a minority here. Since Wednesday, I've taught lessons in Chinese, Thai and Indian (we needed a translator). Half the houses we visit require we take our shoes off at the door. The ward is just as diverse. The opening prayer was in Korean and the closing was in Thai. There are four gospel doctrine classes: English, Korean, Chinese and Japanese. About a fourth of all the stores we pass are Korean. It's different.

My new companion, Sister Kang, is from Taiwan, and is a HUGE blessing for the area. The ward was struggling a bit because they only had a few members who could translate or teach classes, but then Sister Kang came along and now the ward can breath a little. I admit it is pretty strange teaching investigators and having very little idea of what is going on. We read scriptures with them, Sister Kang and the investigators read in Chinese and I read in English. I've come to love language study as well, because while I help Sister Kang with English, she teaches me bits of Chinese! Plus, Sister Kang is the sweetest. She is sweet, but really bold and a great teacher. We found that both of us love to talk in lessons and tracking, so we have to decide beforehand who's turn it is. But I love her so much! Oh! she's also trying to teach me Taekwondo! I'm not sure it's going very well though. Both her parents are professionals. I'm very much not. A lot of laughing goes on between the two of us.

Most of the little miracles that happened this week were with less actives. Like yesterday, we actually met with all the less actives we planned on (which never happens) and got in and taught half of them (which NEVER happens). We were able to quickly determine who was ready to be taught and what they needed to learn. The most spiritual lesson this week was actually with a woman from Thailand who spoke no English at all. Her daughter translated for us, and while neither Sister Kang nor I could understand her directly, the Spirit was so strong and all of us grew and were able to communicate. It was amazing.

I love you all! 
Sister Garver

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

1/20/15 First Transfer!

It's been an interesting week.

First off, it's been super warm. It was nearly 70 degrees out yesterday. It was beautiful, and even I didn't have to wear a jacket. Weird. It's January. But I like it. Plus, it's supposed to get even warmer this week. I can't wait :)

I was able to go to the temple last Saturday! Ryan and Esmeralda LOVED it! It was so amazing to see the change in them, even from before walking into the temple to right after. They practically glowed. I certainly felt like glowing myself! There is no better place to be on earth than in the temple, especially with those that you love. I really hope someday I'll be able to come back to a sealing of one of the families I've taught here. I bet there can be no greater joy.

Tomorrow I'm leaving my baby area! I'll be going to John's Creek, a really nice, well-off area. I've heard it has a great ward and everyone over there is super nice, so I'm really excited! And really sad at the same time. I'll miss Kennesaw. I hope the people over there are as awesome and as receptive to the gospel as the people over here. I'll miss Kennesaw tons, and all those I've come to love here with all my heart, but I'm looking forward to making new friends, meeting new people, learning new things, and finding the elect!

Several miracles have happened this week. One is that the funeral for a woman that I have visited and taught and brought back to the church was held this morning, on my last day here. It is such a miracle that I was able to go. I love her so much and I am so glad that I could pay my respects to her and her family before I leave. And it is such a blessing that we know of the Plan of Salvation and can rejoice in the knowledge that she is now free of pain and full of joy and peace in the glory of Spirit Paradise. What peace this brings to those of us still on Earth!

I love you all so much!
Sister Garver

P.S. I wanted to share a victory of this week. I finished reading through the New Testament for the first time! I loved it! Now on to the Old.

1/12/15 Train Museum

I know. Four months is not much to brag about but it still makes me happy. So you can all pretend to be happy for me. Yay!

This week has been both amazing and frustrating. Amazing because we are now teaching two new families, both referrals from members in the ward, and they are both so open and receptive to us and the gospel. We always ask for referrals, but members are not so great at giving them. I wasn't either, so I can't really talk. But now, as a missionary it seems to easy that I don't know what I was scared of. Inviting someone to FHE or church, saying prayers and reading scriptures before sleeping at a sleepover, or even just talking about gospel topics with friends. Seriously, all girls talk about boys and what they want their husbands and weddings to be like. How hard would it be to slip in eternal families, temples or return missionaries? I don't know what boys talk about, but I'm sure you can figure something out. Anywho, what we've found with investigators, is that those who have been referred from members are so much stronger and grow so much faster than ones we find by ourselves. They have a friend-base to build on. They have someone they can sit next to, ask questions, and look to as an example. They already know quite a bit just by living around them and watching them. No pressure or anything.

We get to go to the temple this Saturday! Ryan and Esmeralda get to go through the temple for the first time and we get to go with them! We're getting together with them later today and going over Family Search so they can both take a name or two with them. I really hope this will be a spiritual experience for them and that they become the influence that their families need to bring them to Christ. That has been the frustrating part. We have two investigators that have been taught all the lessons and have a testimony, but just don't want to make the commitment. They are stuck, and there's not much more we can do. But we love them too much to just give up, because they do have that testimony. Well, the Lord can do what we can't.

Oh, right. So there's not much in Kennesaw, but there is a train museum. Hold in your excitement please, I know, I know. But it actually was pretty interesting, and we got to watch a movie about The Great Train Chase because it's historical. I admit I was too Northern to really enjoy the Southern victory and annoyed some people by my opinions, but it was fun. Hilarious, actually. The acting was terrible. But the gift shop was fun :)

Love you all! I'll be emailing on Tuesday because Monday is Martin Luther King Day.
Sister Garver

1/5/15 Four Months!

Happy New Years!

New Years Eve wasn't that special for us. We still were home by 9 and up at 6:30 the next morning. We still tracted and taught. The only things that made that day different was a birthday party for a member in the ward turning 80 who invited us and 8 nonmembers for us to meet and do our best to convert, and having a very southern dinner of black eyed peas, collared greens, rice and hot sauce. Apparently everyone down here eats it on New Years Eve. The black eyed peas are for luck and the collared greens are for money for the upcoming year. For those of you who know me well, spicy/hot stuff is not really my thing, but just a little mixed with the rice, greens and peas was actually surprisingly good. Oh, but the greens by themselves are nasty. Don't eat them.

Since getting back in with Rosemary, things have been going great! She actually fed us and we had a movie night with her! We watched 17 Miracles and pretty much all cried through the entire thing. Well, except those parts with that extremely sappy couple. Then we just laughed at them. Afterwards we were able to teach her all about temples, eternal families, missions, and service. We're going to have another movie night either this week or next and watch Ephrim's Rescue. Have any of you seen Legacy? Is it good? How long is it?

We also got in with Jimmy after his month long vacation visiting his son. Miracle! We thought we were going over there to get dropped because he wasn't answering our calls or messages or anything, but we got there and he said "So about getting baptized, when are we doing this?" Sister Hanks and I were both flabbergasted. Plus, church is now at 9 instead of 11:30, so he can actually come to church. YES! So excited! So we set the 17th as his baptismal date and are starting to make plans :D

Love you all!
Sister Garver

P.S. Thanks for the best Christmas ever!

12/22/14 Christmas Week

Sorry I didn't send out an email last week! The computer crashed mid session and wouldn't let us back on. Problems.

This past week has been pretty fun, and a bit rough at the same time. But lets start with the fun.
Temple! As a Christmas present, the president let all the missionaries go to the temple! All the sisters went on Thursday. I've missed it, and it was amazing to be able to go again. There were so many sisters that we took up three sessions. We also had a missionary Christmas program/party that we put on that went pretty well, and I got to see and talk to all the elders that had been transferred from Kennesaw, as well as my entire district from the MTC! We chatted with them pretty much the entire time. They were all so surprised when Sister Hanks and I told them we were companions again :) 

And more fantastic news, we got in with Rosemary again! I cannot tell you how thrilled I was when we stopped by, just one more time, and then she let us in! She told us that it had been really hard since she had stopped meeting with us and that the little love texts we had sent her every once and a while had made such a difference and that she knew that we loved her. She wants to meet with us again!!! We are going to proceed slowly, not at 100mph like we were last time, but my adopted grandma and I are together again :D Nuna, thank you so much for the little letter you sent me, it really helped.

I got two packages from you and one from Nuna and Papa. I can't wait until Christmas! It is SO hard not opening them! That beautiful wrapping paper is soooo tempting. I'm glad you got mine though! The presents aren't much, but I wanted to remind you that I love you :) Plus, Christmas is coming up and I get to Skype home this week!!! I cannot wait! Emails are great, letters are awesome, packages are thrilling, but skyping...I can't stop bouncing just thinking about it!!!! Mom, Dad, Rachel, Sydney, possibly Andrew and Emily if you can figure it out...I CAN'T WAIT TO SEE YOU!

The rough part was that I got sick this week. I got an annoying little cold. I was blowing my nose throughout the entire temple session and made singing in the missionary Christmas program a little more difficult. But I persevered and it turned out alright! I'm still coughing a little bit, but I should be right as rain come Christmas and all the caroling we have planned.

I love all of you so much and wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

Sister Garver