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, June 9, 2015

6/8/15 Halfway Done, and iPads!

Hello everybody! Yes, I am writing this from my iPad and it is proving
to be both harder and easier to adapt to than I thought. I slipped
right into using it for notes, scriptures, personal study, calendar,
contacts and the ward directory with no hesitation at all. It's fun!
It has everything! And I have a easy access camera at all times so
I've been taking more pictures and they are so easy to attach now!
Teaching with it is another thing. We now have interactive pamphlets
on them (which anyone can download off the App Store) and all these
videos at our fingertips. But how do we incorporate them into our
lessons and tracting approaches? That's a bit more difficult. We're
working on it, but I don't want to rely off them too much. They don't
teach. Or bear testimony. That is up to us and the Spirit. So we are
working on finding a balance of using this tool that we have been
blessed with to further the work, and not relying on it too much and
trying to make it the teacher.

They were a nice "birthday" gift though. The iPad was placed into my
hands on my 9 month mark. I am officially half-way done with my
mission. That's creepy. It seems like I just got here, but in the past
9 months, so much has happened.

I have taught so many. Have been blessed to witness so many of those I
have come to love be taught by the Spirit and grow, embrace truth, and
find joy. I've been able to help 8 of the Father's precious children
into the waters of baptism. I have experienced to joy of seeing tiny
new bodies in adoring mother's arms and I've experienced pain from
having those I've come to love with all my soul turn away, and in 3
cases, pass away. I have come to a sure knowledge of my Savior, His
Atonement, His love for me, and His presence around me. I have come to
know my Father, His perfect Plan, and His immense and incomprehensible
care for me. I now know that He answers prayers, even the unspoken
ones. I know Joseph Smith was called of God to be His first prophet of
these last days, and that through him the gospel and the priesthood was
restored. I have seen its power. I know Thomas Monson is the Savior's
living prophet, chosen for us today, and that continuous revelation is
the foundation of the Lord's church and always has been. I know the
temple is the closest we can get to heaven on earth and that angels
exist. I know. I have seen His hand.

I love being a missionary. Who wouldn't want to be on the front lines
of the army of the Lord?
Sister Garver

Monday, June 1, 2015

6/1/15 Extremes

This week has been nothing but extremes, fantastic and terrible.
For those of you who don't already know, this last Friday two sisters I knew were involved in a bad car accident in the area directly north of us. Sister Barnard was killed. Sister Beckstram is currently in the hospital. Her surgery went well, but she is still unconscious and probably will be for a few more days. Please, pray for them and their families. She just got here. 
We got the call Friday night, sat in shock for a few minutes, and then, of course, the power goes out. Lovely. After scrambling around for a bit, we pulled out a couple flashlight and lit our one candle. And started singing. We sat there and sang hymns for about 30 minutes until the lights came back on, the Spirit was present, and we felt peace. You know, I bet those who pass away in the service of God get a special reception on the other side. Missionaries, apostles, prophets; they must enter the Spirit World to the applause of all those that they affected, past and future. She had work to do apparently.

Our work has been up and down this week as well. Lessons and investigators falling through and dropping us, and us finding a huge amount of new investigators; a recent convert snapping for no reason, and getting to go to the baptism of one of my former investigators and best friends; losing yet another daughter after 6 weeks and gaining one more amazing daughter whom I love already; Sisters Barnard and Beckstram, as well as Elder Perry; and the peace that the Lord, and the knowledge of His plan, provides. My brain is so tired after trying to compute everything, and is ready to just give up. Thank goodness for P-Day.

Sister Garver

5/26/15 I Must Be Cursed

I must be cursed. Seriously. There must be something wrong with me. I am just about halfway done with my mission and, besides my trainer whom I was with for 3 months, I have never had a companion for more than 6 weeks. Sister Stout, Sister Hanks, Sister Kang, Sister Tuitea, Sister Gonzalez, and now Sister Blair. That's right. Transfers are tomorrow and Sister Gonzalez is getting transferred to a Spanish branch. And I am going to be step-training. Yup. 3 daughters in 3 transfers. That must be a record. And I am almost guaranteed to only be with Sister Blair for 6 weeks because in that time I will have been here in Johns Creek for 6 months. I must be cursed. From all my moves, I never have minded leaving, but I hate watching other people go. It starts to be depressing. I'm not used to others leaving me

On another note, I have both seen many miracles and many hardships this past week. I would love to tell you all one experience that stuck out this week. We came to visit one of our investigators, but she wasn't home. She texted us and said she was on her way but she would be a while. So we sat in the car and waited for her and worked on our weekly planning (a looong planning session for the upcoming week). We had been sitting there in the complex for about a half hour when we saw a cop slowly making his rounds. He idled behind our car for a while, stopped, and then got out and came up to our window. Uh oh. But he was super friendly and just wanted to see what we were doing and if we were alright, because we had "obviously been here a while." We told him we were waiting on our appointment, and he told us we were fine and drove off. A half hour later, he was back, continuing his rounds. He idled behind us again, started to drive off, stopped, and then backed his car next to ours. Great. He then leaned out the window and said, "So, what's the difference between Mormons and LDS?"...........Oh. Well, let me tell you. 20 minutes later, he drove off with our number, a Restoration pamphlet, an invite to church, and a lot to think about, and we knew all about Officer "Johnny," his family, concerns, and religious background. It was pretty awesome. I hope he actually comes to church sometime :)

In answer to questions, no we do not have the iPads yet. We will be getting them on June 2nd. And we will be able to use different functions at different times and we go through 3 "phases." Each of which generally takes 2-3 weeks. We will start out just being able to use the Gospel Library App. Facebook and Skype come in phase 3. And not all missions will get them. Just the ones where they think it will be beneficial. With backstreets in Russia and rundown parts of Argentina, iPads would just be asking for trouble. We don't want our good missionaries mugged or murdered for their technology. 

And yes, Memorial Day was fun :) We went to a barbecue at a member's home and were sent home with enough food to feed us for a week.

Sending pictures in a bit!

Sister Garver

5/18/15 IPADS!!!!!

Yes, yes, I know, calm down. BUT STILL! The hour is come and the day is here. Well, almost. This Wednesday, Elder Zwick of the 70 is coming to speak to us and train us on how to use our brand new issued, shiny, sleek, beautiful, useful, handy, flabbergasting, mobile electronic devices. We will be taking an online training the next week, and then on June 2 they will be ever so sweetly placed into these gleeful hands. I shall call mine Precious, and Precious shall be mine, and precious will she be to me. Not that I'm too excited about this or anything.

To tell the truth, I am a bit stunned. We will be able to use Facebook. Take a moment to take that in............What? But I'm a missionary. We don't do that. But apparently we do. So. That is. Interesting. And our mission will be part of the last testing group for iPads, meaning that after they finish their "test" with us, iPads will be issued to all missionaries world-wide. The work of the Lord is hastening. With this we can teach lessons over Skype, spread the word world-wide in seconds, access pictures of the ward members on the online directory (SUPER nice when entering a new ward and trying to get to know everyone in a week), be able to share movies and Mormon Messages on the doorstep, have online planners, maps, records and scriptures. Yup. I'm stoked. 

As for our current work, Sister Gonzalez and I are working hard. We still have a lot to improve on and we know we can do so much better, and we are working toward that goal. We are teaching more lessons and trying to use the Lord's time perfectly. No wasted minutes. Even at the shop for our car, we spent a good 45 minutes talking to the other people waiting. One nice. One not so nice. Both weird. But that's okay. God loves them anyway, and so, in turn, do we :) 

Love you all!
Sister Garver

P.S. My Mom (aka Sister Stout, my trainer) is "dying" in a week and a half! She's going home! Finished her 18 months! When I got here, she hadn't even been out a full year. Man. I feel old. I weep.

5/11/15 Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day! Shout outs to my Mom, Nuna, Grandma, and all my aunts, 
     Alicia :)

This week has been pretty great. We had a very inspiring zone conference this week about working with members, teaching through the Spirit, cleaning ourselves of "barnacles," and obedience (in preparation for iPads in two weeks!). As for the work, it has been both great and frustrating at the same time. We are teaching so many people, it truly is amazing. We are getting investigators to church, having them keep commitments, and committing them to baptism. The one hiccup is that they won't set dates to be baptized on because they are all having family problems and want to be baptized with their family, who doesn't want to meet with us. But we do have one scheduled for the 30th, and she is sooo ready and golden and elect and we are probably going to be friends when I get home. Ella is 21 and has been prepared for the gospel by the Lord. She keeps commitments, comes to church every week and loves the Book of Mormon. She even brought her mom to church with her this week! She is quiet, but super funny and sweet, and absorbs everything. 

Per request of Mom (who I talked to yesterday!!!) it is now story time. We are teaching this young man named Anthony. No idea how old he is because he refuses to tell us and thinks it's hilarious. He is so much fun to teach because he is so odd and distracted and off topic and teases us (mostly me) constantly and asks tons of really good and sometimes random questions, but always, within the last 5 minutes, understands everything, makes huge commitments like it's easy and he thought of it himself, and can get really deep and making extra commitments for himself. For instance, we taught the Word of Wisdom the other day (Anthony smokes an electric cigarette) and he complained, groaned and refused. Then, 5 minutes later, is promising to throw away 2 of his 3 electric cigarettes and to stop completely in a week. And also promising to pray everyday and to read a conference talk. It is impossible to predict this guy. 

Alright, now to the story part: We were going to teach Anthony on Tuesday, but were struggling because we need a team up to get in the door. Out of the blue, one of the sisters in the ward texted us and asked if we would need her. She would normally not be able to come with us at that time, because she has a 2 year old daughter, but as long as the daughter could go with us, that was fine. We almost said no because, knowing Anthony, a 2 year old would be a major distraction. But we said yes. We went, had a phenomenal lesson. They clicked right off, have the same type of work and can both talk and push each other around. Finally, as we were leaving, oops, 2 year old needs a diaper change, which Anthony let us do there. Finishing up, all the sudden, the sister screams. She turns to Anthony, points to a picture on the counter and asks "Wait, is Don your dad?!" Turns out, she actually knows his whole family and worked with his step-mom for years. She even went to her wedding! So now, Anthony is going to her house for dinner today with us :) Miracle :)

Love you all tons! Sorry it was so long...
Sister Garver

                                          Sister Gonzalez and I

Legit Chinese Food. Sorry, family, but I may never be able to eat at Panda Express again. The real stuff is too good.