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, March 16, 2015

3/16/15 Tribute to Mom

People say you never really appreciate Mom until you go off to college and have to live without her. Well, I say, you never truly appreciate Mom until you are standing in her shoes. 

Being a trainer, aka a mom, is a lot more work than I thought. I admit, my first thoughts about being a trainer is that we would just love each other to pieces, get along perfectly, never have any problems (because we just adored each other too much), and our area would explode with success. Yes, yes, please try to stifle your amused snorts. I know, I know. Turns out, being a mom is actually a lot of work. And stress. And prayer. And joy in the little things. And turning to the Lord in all things. And patience. And happiness in watching her take her first steps. And pain in watching her fall. But helping her back up again and trying to teach her to try again. I feel like the past week has taught me more about myself, my Savior, and my mother, than the rest of my life put together. And I've never felt closer to my Father. It's been such a blessing.

Love you all!
Sister Garver

3/9/15 My Not-So-Little Baby Girl

While I went stateside, I seem to have the world come to me. My daughter, Sister Tuitea, is from the beautiful island of Samoa. Up until the day she left for the MTC, she had never left the island in her life. And Johns Creek, Georgia is NOTHING like Samoa. Big, crowded, fast, cold (by her standards), loud, busy and exhausting. We've been taking the work a little bit slow to help her ease into the new world she was flung into. I've had to deal with some things I hadn't expected, such as car-sickness, and not knowing how to use a dishwasher, and finding Walmart terrifying (it's huge). Her English is very good, but she's still not too confident about it. Her accent is really cool; it sounds like a mix of African and British. But she can be super sweet and loves to sing. She also told me she loves to listen to me sing. I loved her right off the bat :) But all this is super overwhelming, so any prayers in her direction would be appreciated.

We had a miracle this week. We decided to drop by a less active close by after dinner yesterday because I didn't know them. We got there, and they ween't home, but a family across the street was out redoing their garage. So we said hi. 45 minutes later, they invited us to come back to visit with them again, have dinner with them, and go to their daughters Easter performance. It was amazing. Oh, and their 15 year old son does parkour (it's like what Tristan does in The Prince of Persia) and showed us a few of his flips. I was blown away. I thought all that stuff was just special effects in movies. Nope. You know what? I've decided. We're going to baptize them.

Love you all! I hope you're enjoying the 60 degree weather we are! ;)
Sister Garver

3/2/15 I'm Going To Be A "Mother"!

I decided to title my email that way because that's what Andrew, my brother, did on his mission and it freaked everyone out at first and I thought it was hilarious. I'm training!!!!! I pick up my daughter at the mission office this Wednesday! I was able to see a list of all the incoming elders and sisters when I had a training on training (ha) last Friday, but they're not assigned yet. There are 6 sisters coming in! That hasn't happened since the age change. In fact, in the 6 months I've been here, the number of sisters has dropped by almost 40%, so this is big. Plus, there's only one sister from Utah. Unheard of. But they come in Tuesday, President will interview them that night, and Wednesday morning, he'll tell us who our new companions are about 15 minutes before we go meet them. But I love her already!! Me and my daughter are going to be best friends :) Plus, my mom, the sister who trained me, is actually my STL, so we'll have three generations in one district! But I will miss Sister Kang :(

In other news, it has been a great week! We even had a chance to go to the temple to watch a family we've been working with get their endowments and get sealed. Let me tell you, there is nothing cuter than a one year old dressed in white in the sealing room. And the Spirit is powerful, because she behaved. It was really amazing and touching. Even with a translator repeating everything in Chinese.

We then returned and were able to witness two baptisms back to back; one for an investigator named Matthew and one for an 8 year old of an active family. It was really interesting to see how different the two were. However, the Spirit there was the same. I know that baptism is ordained of God and He is present for each one. What parent wouldn't want to witness their beloved child entering the gate and coming home after a long separation? The joy felt there is not just our own, but also that of our Father.

Love you all tons!

2/23/15 Chinese New Year!

Oh boy, has this week been busy, tons of fun, and exhausting. First things first: Rosemary got baptized!!!!!! Remember, my adopted grandma from Kennesaw? That one! And I got permission to go! We had to get a ride, and it was a long drive, and we almost missed it because of the freezing rain predicted, but the Lord blessed us, and the rain missed us. It was so worth it. Seeing her come running down the hallway towards me, all dressed in white, was the best feeling ever. I was able to to give the talk on baptism, and I was privileged enough to have the Spirit testify to me, and then to her, how much the Lord loved her, how the Father and many of his angels were so proud of her. Their joy could be felt in that small room. It was truly an experience I'll never forget. 

Then, later that night, was the ward Chinese New Year party! Oh my, but do they know how to celebrate. Balloons, streamers, Chinese lanterns, lucky cats, the Chinese Zodiacs (its now the year of the goat), and everything was red. We spent the first hour and a half just talking and making dumplings. It's actually really easy, but I found that I liked the fried ones better than boiled. Sometimes water gets inside. We must have made at least 300 dumplings. Then there was red bean rice cakes, beef and broccoli, fried rice, hard boiled eggs, kung pau, white carrot cakes (a vegetable), and a bunch of other stuff that I had never seen before. By the way, squid tentacles are really good. Then after, all the children received "red envelopes." Apparently, every New Years, parents give their kids "red envelopes" which contain money. Quite a bit of money. The kids then save it to use for school, or weddings, or laptops, or stuff like that. Fun! They gave us envelopes with a dollar in it :) 

Lameriah came to church yesterday! I love it when investigators come to church because we see their progression shoot up after. I love it even more when they go, bring their family and then as a bunch of questions afterwards. We love her so much, and always look forward to meeting with her. She asks some hard questions, but it means she wants to learn and is studying by herself, so we welcome them. We have another investigator though, that every lesson is a mental workout. He is very scientific and logical and thoroughly does his research. Oh boy, I should have paid more attention in science. He is an atheist who sees no point in faith, but more than anything wants to know truth. He doesn't believe in a God, but we do, and He wants to know if it's possible. And we can teach about faith, and God, and agency, but when he starts talking about black holes, theories of time, Greek translations and Jewish claims, I really just pray. But we promised him that if he just read the Book of Mormon and pray for two weeks, with a desire to know, that he would get an answer. But after that, if there's no progression, we might have to drop him :( That would stink, because those lessons are a lot of fun.

Love you tons!!!
Gao Chien Mei  <-- my Chinese name

2/17/15 SNOW!!...or rain. Same thing.

This week has been pretty awesome! For the first thing, we had a 70% chance of snow yesterday!! Sister Kang and I were so excited! I wanted to see Georgia totally shut down for half an inch of snow and Sister Kang comes from a country where the coldest winter is about 60. And then all we got was rain :( Lots and lots of rain. And then it kinda froze overnight. Not enough to stop us from driving but enough to make the trees look pretty. So we're still okay with it. Just a tad disappointed. 

Chinese New Year is coming up on the 19th! So actually, all the Asian countries celebrate the Lunar new year, not just the Chinese. We've celebrated twice already with members, once with Chinese, once with Korean.... I felt so white. But anyway, it was tons of fun! I found I love the food! Well, except kimchi. It's a bit too spicy. But thank you Dad, for teaching me how to use chopsticks. It has come in handy. We're going to one more celebration on Thursday, a BIG one. All the Chinese members and all of their friends. I can't wait! Also, did you know that the Thai New Years is on April 13th? They celebrate by throwing ice water at people all day. 

Coolest experience this week. It's like straight out of the Ensign. We are teaching this one French woman named Lameriah. Now Lameriah, when she was 19 or so, she was giving birth to her first child, lost too much blood, and died. She was dead for an hour and a half. I know, I was skeptical at first, but her husband agreed. She told us that when she died, she saw Jesus, and talked with him. And guess what? He told her that there were three heavens, and he took her and she visited all three with him. I KNOW RIGHT?! And the only reason we heard about this was because she dropped our lesson. Her husband was really sick and she didn't want us we decided to doorbell ditch some muffins instead. Her husband was so touched that he wanted to learn more about us (he hadn't been interested before) and Googled "what do Mormons believe?" Potentially a bad move, but guess what he found? The Plan of Salvation. When he saw we believed in three heavens, he called his wife over. They were both blown away and immediately called us. We plan to have them on date to be baptized this week. Whoa.

Love ya lots! 
Sister Garver

2/9/15 Another Week

This week has been pretty awesome. We've found a lot of less actives, got back in with several former investigators,  and found a handful of new ones. The weather has been in the 60s for the past few days, and we've been working on a song that our district is going to perform for zone meeting on Wednesday. We've had several really good lessons and had an investigator we've only met with once call us and tell us she had read the scriptures that had been assigned and had felt a confirmation that they were true. Jesus Christ really had visited the Americas. There's a baptism coming up this Saturday, and we're taking a family through the temple to get their endowments next week, and sealed the week after. 

Coolest experience this week was sneaking into a gated apartment complex (which we are now quite skilled at) with a young woman from the ward, having the appointment fall through, and then tracting into a boy from the young woman's math class in school! He was Korean and had never heard of Christ, and had no religious background. We taught him a bit about God and prayer, the young woman gave a prayer with him, right on the doorstep, and we have a return appointment with him this Friday! God works miracles.

I love you all so much!
Sister Garver

2/2/15 Over A Fourth Way Done?

So I realized the other day...I'm over a fourth way done with my mission. But I just got here. It's the weirdest feeling ever. But I still have a long way to go, so let's ignore that fact as unimportant.

This week has been interesting. For one thing, we ran out of miles on the car three days early, and we're in a big area. So our first plan: get rides from members. You have no idea how hard that can be. Everyone works or has kids or already has plans. But we did our best and had a few little headaches over that issue, but did alright. Then next plan: let's bike. Yeah. We did that once. Then decided to never do that again.Way too many hills. We finally get a long downhill to rest and breathe, and then the thought strikes you: I'm going to have to go back up that thing. Crap. So after that fun expedition, we went to plan three: walk. That was actually quite fun. It took a lot longer, but it was really fun. Sister Kang and I were able to talk and laugh and sing. One of us would start singing in our language, and the other would recognize the song and join in in her language. We also were able to tract and contact as we went. The only scary parts were having to run across the highways, but we made it just fine and with only slightly sore feet.

Church this week was amazing. During fast and testimony meeting, we had three recent converts and an investigator get up and bear testimony. The investigator even shared that she had received a witness of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon last night and was thrilled for her baptism on the 14th. Then in Gospel Principles, we had a recent convert bring her husband and the Spirit was so strong as we learned about the books of scripture and about the Book of Mormon. The best part was when the teacher showed us Elder Holland's Testimony of the Book of Mormon ( 

We met a few awesome people this week. One family is Vietnamese, but the 8 year old son speaks English. But he didn't even know who Jesus Christ is! All he knew about God was that "He's the guy up in the sky, right?" But when we started telling him about God, he got really excited and pleaded for his dad to let us come back and give him a children's Book of Mormon and teach them more. Also, we ran into another guy who had run into a LOT of anti, but was totally willing to hear our perspective and learn more. I love questions! And I even love anti because it opens the way for us to teach truth and answer questions. Of course, I also hate anti because it can draw away the elect that we've already found. So mixed feelings on that.

Ofa' atu!
Sister Garver

P.S. Sister Kang's last companion was Tongan, so ofa' atu means "I love you!"