Monday, September 29, 2014

And My Second Transfer Begins!

So in some ways time flies SO fast as a missionary. But at the same time, each day feels like it's 3 months long! It's incredible how much you can do in one day. No wonder I feel exhausted. :) 

I'm definitely counting down the days until I'm finished training. Just 5 more weeks! Woohoo! I hate training. :) I'm sure I will like it much more when I'm a trainer. It's also better this transfer though because most of our training videos are from the District 2 - the District 1 is really super cheesy and makes me cringe. :) 

Also my companion, Sister Haddock, says that she's pretty sure I was a cat in my last life. (PS - false doctrine! We don't believe in "last lives" :) Only premortal existence.) It rained all day Saturday and I HATE getting wet. After we did some early morning service I came inside and made some hot (herbal) tea and curled up with a blanket to study. I was not inclined to move all day. That was a hard day. :) 

BUT it was also a WONDERFUL day because I was able to attend the General Women's Meeting at the Conference center! Every 6 months the members of my church gather together to listen to the words from the Prophet and apostles. Since our church is organized by Christ and exactly as He organized His church when He was on the earth, we have a prophet and 12 apostles that lead and guide us, and it is our wonderful opportunity to hear their words to the world twice a year! Saturday night was the women's conference which included all girls and women ages 8 and up. Most people watch a broadcast or stream it online, but I had the unique chance to actually be there in person! It was so great! 

People ask me all the time what I thought of when I got called to serve in Utah. THIS is what I thought. At first I thought it was a little funny that I was coming here since I didn't much like Utah when I lived here before, but I was so hoping that I'd get to go to conference and see the Prophet and apostles in person, and I DID! 

We took one of our investigators and she loved it! The best moment for me was about 5 minutes before the meeting started when the Prophet walked in. The whole room was instantly silent. I don't know if you've ever witnessed thousands of people fall silence at once, but it's quite impressive. (The conference center holds 20,000+ people I think) They all stood, and the feeling as President Thomas S. Monson entered the room was undeniable. I could hardly see him, but I could feel the presence of the Spirit confirming to me that THAT man is a prophet of our God. Maybe this makes me sound a little crazy, but God is unchanging. He has called prophets throughout time, so it would make sense that He calls prophets now. But as the scriptures say, (paraphrased) "By their fruits you will know them." Good fruit cannot come from an evil tree, and President Monson - along with the Church as a whole - does a LOT of good! Don't take my word for it! Read the Book of Mormon, and pray! 

This week we had some crazy times. We moved back into our actual apartment! The renovation is complete! And it is a MUCH nicer place to live in - it was so yucky before that my socks turned BLACK after walking on the carpets. Now we have new carpets, and new mold free walls. And we're scrubbing out the other places - like the bathroom and the refrigerator - that probably haven't been cleaned in years because this place was previously inhabited by elders (boy missionaries) and 18 year old boys are GROSS!!! I was seriously throwing out homemade jams that were dated YEARS ago! So so so gross! At least we'll have some weeks to live in a nice, clean place. And I feel good about passing the apartment on to the next pair of missionaries. Sister Haddock says that this was one of the grosser places that she's lived, so that's good to know that I won't have to do this with every place I live! 

As for the work, we had three new families agree to let us teach them this week! Super exciting! Two families are less actives - the kind where they believe in the gospel, they just don't come to church - so we have high hopes for them. And the third family is a returning member family. They have chinchillas!! So cute! They have two teenagers - a boy and a girl. The girl is so rock solid. She wants to serve a mission and was the driving force behind getting her family to come back to church - apparently she told her parents that it was child abuse for them not to take her. Ha! You should repeat that to all of YOUR teenagers who think it's child abuse to go to church! ;) 

And then you should tell them how much time I spend in church each week! Yesterday we attended 3 sacrament meetings, 2 Sunday School classes, and 1 Relief Society class. That's 6+ hours of church! I love being able to go, but by hour 5 I'm a little tired. :) 

We met with a family last Monday that we've been teaching for awhile. We're actually taking them to conference this weekend! So by the way, when you're watching it Saturday and Sunday morning, pay attention to when they pan over the congregation. You might just see someone you recognize! :D I'm so excited to be able to go back!  We teach a certain family every Monday. They have been less active for awhile and are returning to church. We talked about prayer and how much God wants to hear from us. He's our Father and really truly desires to know all of the things on our hearts. I heard a quote yesterday, "Don't pray. Talk to God - commune with God!" It really is a conversation! So at the end of the lesson we invited them to kneel and offer the prayer. They agreed and it was such a sweet heartfelt prayer! At first they really didn't want to have the missionaries over, but in the prayer she thanked Heavenly Father for us because the messages we have shared have helped them to better understand Him and draw closer to Him. The Spirit was so strong! And It made me feel really good!!

I also received some more Birthday gifts! Shout out to the Columbia YSA Branch and the GIANT card that they gave me! I love it! And to the Hirschi's! You know so well what a missionary needs! Especially a missionary from MARYLAND! Thanks so much for the UTZ Maryland Crab flavored chips!! If we weren't fasting yesterday they probably would be gone by now. :) I have shared them with my companion and we've already wolfed half the bag. We're such fatties. :D But they're SO GOOD. I shared my chocolate too - except for the dark chocolate. That one I was selfish with. :D

Every week we order supplies from our district leader. Last week I ordered a baby dragon. I'm sure a baby dragon would help the work to progress. But they didn't get me one. :( I'm so sad. Maybe next week!

Thank you all for your continued love and letters! I read everything you send! I just don't always have time to respond. :) Also, go to and request for it to be played in a theater near you!! Then go see it!! I don't know if we'll be able to. But you should! All of the proceeds are going to be donated to the American Red Cross. 

They keep hinting about us receiving iPads. All of our leaders say things like, "your missions will be changed by this technology that's coming!" Not sure when it's coming, but hopefully soon! We heard a story yesterday from a Bishop here about his son who is serving in Sweden who met a person that had met some sister missionaries from Washington DC online and was referred to the missionaries in Sweden! That person was later baptized, and they allowed the sisters from DC to skype in. How neat is that?! This work is worldwide! I can't wait to become a part of that!!! 

Love you all! Until next week,

Sister Tipton

Monday, September 22, 2014

Birthday and Transfers!

Well, I know this is a HUGE shocker to all of you, but I am staying in Bountiful!! Woohoo! 6 more weeks! 6 more weeks!! 

My trainer, Sister Haddock is staying too. So is my district leader and his companion and actually most of our district! I'm so excited! 
Elder Crow - our district leader - says some pretty funny things sometimes! He's SO quiet, and he kinda speaks in a monotone, so you wouldn't always expect it from him! But last week when we were telling him about a family that we are trying to teach but that we have decided to do service for until they are more comfortable with us he gave us some great advice. He said, "Just teach them Ammon style. And then one day he'll say, "Are you sent from God?" and you'll say, "Yes." And then they'll get baptized." HA! (please see the Book of Mormon for information about Ammon. :) He also told us that he wants to get a portable baptismal font for those people who have been meeting with the missionaries for years, have agreed to be baptized, and just haven't picked a date yet. "Priesthood not included." 

It would be very helpful though! :) 

This week I had a door slammed in my face for the first time. It was actually HILARIOUS. We were visiting the G Family but they weren't home so their son answered the door instead. He has a disease that appears like autism (but isn't quite.) So he opened the door, murmured something, and then closed it again. That happened again the next day, and then when we stopped back later in the evening (when both of their cars were there!) his DAD who is a HOOT opens the door mockingly (before we could even knock!) pretends to notice us, and slams it in our faces! We were cracking up! Then we had to explain how that happened twice with his son, and he says "Yes!" Apparently they have been teaching their son not to open the door for strangers, so there's some progress! And we're taking them to General Conference which is in TWO WEEKS! 

We met another very sweet woman this week! She is wildly eccentric, but so kind! We visited her for awhile and mostly let her talk - she admitted to being kinda lonely. Her home is painted bright yellow, with red trim and light blue lawn furniture. It's covered with flowers and faeries. Really she would be much more at home back in Maryland! Utah is a little too normal sometimes... back home they have Renn Fest and Faerie Con and the Sheep and Wool festival and all KINDS of fun things that she would love! We had a wonderful conversation about faith and God's love and how each person in this world is so important. She has a desire to run up and hug every single person and tell them how special they are. She's a grandma, but she still dances barefoot in the rain. And after we talked she gave us some tomatoes from her garden and thanked the plant for giving us fruit. :) 

We heard a speaker this week named Matt Townsend. (You can google him.) He was HILARIOUS. He spoke about how men and women are very different because we're designed differently and for different purposes. I think my favorite comment was about the brain. Men have bigger brains - about 11% bigger. But the size doesn't matter. What matters is the neurons, and men and women have the same amount - women just pack them in better. When women talk, they use their WHOLE brain. We talk to strengthen relationships. When men talk they use only half of their brains - their goals with talking are simply to report/transmit data. So we all have a bundle of fibers that connect the two halves of our brains. In his words this is what he said, "The women have a super highway with high speed cars. The men have a country road. With a donkey. With a 3 legged donkey. With asthma. A THREE LEGGED, asthmatic donkey. That would rather sit in his lazy-boy and eat cheetos." He was pretty hilarious. But then he tied all of these differences back into our divine nature. We all have a body, a mind and a Spirit. We know that our Spirit's lived with God before we came to earth, but since we were still learning and growing we were IMPERFECT, and that was totally ok! We were imperfect and lived with God and we never felt unworthy. So what makes us feel unworthy or inadequate? Our body's? No. Our Spirit's? No. It's our minds. And part of our great challenge here is to order our mind to obey our Spirits. When we are in the Spirit, and communing with God, and feeling truth THEN we are in a state of peace and cheerfulness. 

I had a birthday this week! I'm 25 years old! WHAT?! We spent my Birthday visiting some people in the hospital. It was a wonderful way to spend a birthday! I got tons of letters and packages. And then one of our ward mission leaders that we work with hosted a birthday get together for me! Our friends Sharon and Ruth came! As well as some families that we've had dinner with over the past few weeks. It was wonderful! We had a bonfire with mushroom poppers (bacon wrapped mushrooms cooked over the fire) and marshmallows and tons and tons of CAKE. Good food, good friends, good times. :)

Finally we got to see the Ogden temple dedication! They broadcast it to all of the local churches out here, which was so great! I've never been to a dedication before! This is where they dedicate the temple as a House of the Lord just before it begins operating. As Latter-Day Saints we worship each Sunday in a church and anyone is welcome there! But we also attend the temple which requires a temple recommend. It's a wonderful building and it feels so good to be there! As the dedicatory prayer was being given I felt as if Jesus Christ Himself was standing next to President Eyring who was giving the prayer. (Or rather, repeating the prayer that President Monson had given at a session earlier that day) So I peeked. ;) I did not see Christ, but I did feel His presence and I think that is enough. 

Sister Haddock and I are excited for 6 more weeks in Bountiful! I'm excited to continue to serve the people in this community and to see all of the great works that will happen here! I love you all!

Sister Tipton

Monday, September 15, 2014

I Met Jon Schmidt!

I can't believe we just finished week 5. My first transfers are in a week! I'm probably going to stay in my area, but you never know! Thank you all so much for the birthday wishes!!! They really made my day! I've decided to create an email list (finally) just tell me if you'd rather not be included. :) I'd love to hear your responses! And I will respond when I can... unfortunately we don't have a ton of time to email. If you send me your addresses though I can send you some snail mail!

So this week. 


I mean... a ton of really great things happened also this week. But those 15 minutes... Ha! I'm such a fan girl. His son Chris totally masterminded the whole thing too - we were supposed to follow up on a commitment that we left the family last week. Half of the family were missing, but Chris said, "This is your obligatory 'meet the crazy redhead' moment." So that happened. And he fist-bumped us in a goodbye salutation. Greatest. Family. Ever. 

I'm never washing my hand again. ;) Ha! SUCH a fangirl!! 

But seriously - go youtube piano guys if you don't know what I'm talking about. 

In addition to Jon Schmidt - the ward mission leader for that ward found out that it is my 25th birthday this weekend. 25! Whaaat?? So he's decided that we're going to celebrate. I have no idea what this is going to entail, but I feel so loved. Don't worry - missionary work is happening too. We made sure that he invites all of the nonmembers and less actives in that ward that we're working with. One of which is an Olympic medalist in figure skating from the '80s. So if he and Jon Schmidt come. I mean. That'd be a pretty rockin' quarter of a century celebration. 

Ok, but I love the people here. One of our dear friends is a woman named Sharon. She is super sick a lot and she can't do as much as she used to be able to. She's receiving chemotherapy for something (not cancer) and it seriously wipes her out. She's not a member of the church, and felt weird about asking us for the help that she so desperately needs. We LOVE visiting her. She's a HOOT. She has a lot of questions about the church as well. On Friday we stopped by her house to drop off a note that we had written for her. But no one was home - we were just about to leave when she pulls up! Great timing, right?? Even better because she had been shopping after picking up her 6 year old daughter from school and was SO exhausted that she let us help her bring in the shopping and put it away! At this time I was on exchanges (we swap companions for one day every 6 weeks to learn from each other, so this wasn't Sister Haddock that was with me) and so I was taking the lead with all of the work that day. Crazy hard. But I practically BEGGED Sharon to let us come back and help her clean, since it was bothering her so much and since she just didn't have the energy. And she did! Sister Haddock was back with me by Saturday and we spent about 3 hours with Sharon helping her clean her house. It was so great! Mom - you would have been so shocked! We also made plans to come back and help her paint the spare bedroom from the boy theme into a girl theme so that her little girl can move into that room. Apparently I'm an expert painter now from all of the time I spent helping my parents with the rental properties. 

Some of the things Sharon said. "I need to get some sauce for the washer" You mean laundry detergent? "Yes! The sauce. :)" And I am now 'Sissy Tippy.' She's so hilarious! This woman has us in stitches when we visit. I'm so happy we can help her and her family!

This has really been a week of service. We taught a few lessons, and attended a few meetings, and tried to meet some of the people that the members and Bishops referred us to. But mostly it was service. On Friday we washed windows for this elderly couple. He's 90 and she's 80. They were also so wonderful to talk to! They've been married for 47 years. And they showed us their daughter and her 7 kids. They kept saying that they were so blessed - they were only able to have one child, but they were so blessed to have so many grandkids! Partly because this daughter kept conceiving twins - she gave birth to two sets of twins, and conceived two more sets of twins but lost one in each of those pregnancies. So in 5 pregnancies she only conceived a singleton ONCE. Crazy. We also helped an older woman weed her garden on Saturday. It was actually so relaxing and fun. It was great to focus our efforts on helping the temporal needs of some friends and neighbors. 

We also taught Paul and Mechel. They are both members of the church, but they were baptized as children and their testimonies really haven't grown much since then. We teach them the same things that we teach to non-members, and it is SO rewarding. Mechel is going to General Conference with us!! Sunday morning!! This is where we meet every 6 months to learn from our church leaders. I am so stinking excited for this!!! And so is she!! She has changed so much in the 5 weeks that I've known her. She said yesterday that she felt like sometimes in church that people said things that were meant just for HER. And she keeps saying how much better she feels on Sundays after going to church. Before I arrived, she would never even let the missionaries in to visit. My first Sunday here was the first time she let us in, but even then she wasn't really interested. She's just such a wonderful person, and I can feel God's love for her every time we go by. I love that we are able to help her get to know Jesus Christ a little better, and to develop her faith, and to help her make her life feel a little better. Last night we talked about the restoration of the gospel, and how the people of the world were living in darkness for so long because they didn't know where to find truth. She said that that's how she felt in her own life, and that it felt so wonderful to find that light at last. LOVE HER.

Also, Paul. Wow this family. I feel so drawn to them! His wife is a wonderful person. And Paul is a lot like Mechel in that he hasn't ever really prayed or felt God answer his prayers and he has spent most of his life searching. He has a hard time forgiving himself of past mistakes, but he is TRULY a wonderful person. The way that we feel when we visit with this family is nearly indescribable. Again, we just feel God's love pour out for them. It's so wonderful to be able to teach people about faith and repentance and the atonement. It's ok! You can make mistakes in your life! Try to do your best, but don't beat up on yourself if you fall short. When children learn to walk, a parent doesn't yell at them for stumbling. And God treats us the same way. He WANTS us to get back up and to try again. To rely on Him and to become strong. If you have a minute, youtube "Because of Him." It's a Mormon Message that teaches about Christ and what He did for us. I want so much for the people that I know and meet in life to understand the truth of those statements. I've been feeling it so much that I am brought to tears. It's just incredible. I love that I get to spend this time of my life helping others to realize the truth of that message. 

Being a missionary is wonderful hard work. I miss all of you so much. I miss my family like crazy.  But I know this work is so eternally important. It feels so wonderful at the end of each day to realize that we worked hard and to think "I did something good today." I wouldn't trade this opportunity for the world. 

Love you all! Thank you so much for your support and letters!

Sister Tipton

Monday, September 8, 2014


What a CRAZY week!

Ok, maybe I start all of my emails that way. I definitely start all of my journal entries that way. Missionary time is so weird! On one hand it feels like time is flying by, but on the other it feels like each day is a million years long. We do SO MUCH. I sit down to write in my journal each night and I have to spend a minute thinking about all that happened that day. It's way crazy.

This week has been both the best and worst week of my mission so far. 

The best because we have seen so much progression in this area! Two weeks ago we lost all of our investigators and most of the people we were teaching. Some moved, some said that they weren't interested, some asked us for a break. It was kinda lame. The work is a lot easier when you at least have someone to focus your efforts on. Last Monday I was feeling kinda lame. Well, really lame. I love love love all of your notes! They mean so much to me!!! 

Some things I have learned as a missionary - I LOVE studying! My two hours of studying in the morning are the things that set-up my whole day. And I get seriously annoyed when studies are interrupted. :) My companion feels strongly about making sure that we are reachable at all times, while I feel that it would be best to flush the phone down the toilet for those two hours every morning. I know normal people don't have time to study for two hours every morning, but starting the day off with feasting on the scriptures - best thing I've learned so far! Also I've started reading Jesus the Christ which is WONDERFUL. Seriously. I had been avoiding it because I thought it would be super tricky and boring. But it's not! I started reading it and just fell in LOVE with the language! It *does* sometimes take some minutes of pondering to understand what is being said but it's my favorite thing ever right now. I read it every chance I get. :) 

So this last week started off really strong, last p-day was kinda lame, but we went out that night and people actually answered their doors! And they asked us to come back and teach them!!! Three times that happened in an hour and a half! Monday was so good! It really goes to show that you will be blessed when you choose to follow the Lord and do the things you know you should even though you really don't feel like it. And then Tuesday was just as successful! We met with 4 people that we have been trying to track down forEVER. We had a lesson with a less-active man that was so Spirit filled and left everyone in tears - he's (mostly) agreed to allow us to begin teaching him! And then on Wednesday we got a new investigator! A wonderful woman who just moved here with her husband and daughter and who didn't know a thing about the church! Our mission president always says that our mission is unique because people just don't move to Utah. If the Lord wants to bring the gospel to people, he'll sometimes bring the people to the gospel, and what better place than Utah? There have been so many miracles in the mission regarding stories of people that move here without really realizing why. It's pretty cool. :) 

Wednesday we came home to a major renovation project happening in our apartment. Our landlord had ripped out ALL of the carpet without telling us, and we were pretty annoyed that he had moved our stuff. It was pretty discouraging to come home to. There were spiders everywhere, it was extra cold, and it felt like we were living in a dungeon. I felt strongly that we needed to let someone know that we were living in less than ideal circumstances. The worst part is just how distracting it felt. The place was cluttered and it was no place to feel the Spirit. I know that some missionaries live in much worse circumstances than we were, but I also knew that we had to let someone know. So I called the sister training leaders and we arranged for a new place for us to stay while the renovation was happening. 

We had stake conference this week - the Saturday night session was ALL about missionary work, which we were of course thrilled about! In addition to members of the stake presidency we heard from two returning from inactivity members, a recent convert, and a non-member! This non-member is what we call an "eternigator" or an eternal investigator. Oh Joe D. He just needs to be baptized already. He has finally said that he WILL be baptized, he just doesn't know WHEN. We kept joking during his talk that we could go fill the baptismal font during conference, and just push him in after. ;) Of course that's not how you baptize people... but some do need a little more help. :) 

We also watched "Because of Him." This is a video that I could NEVER get tired of! As I was watching I thought of all of the people that we are working with and how much I want them all to understand the truths that are shared in that video. I also realized how much I LOVE the people here! I think most of you have heard about my dear friend at the Care Center and the demon we cast out of him. He's had another really hard week. I love him a lot and I want so much for him to understand that God loves him and that he can trust God to help him through the tough times, but he doesn't. He has the mind of a child, which is something that I'm not sure if he's always had, or if it's because of his accident, or past choices. It's just really interesting to me how the choices we make affect us. He is no longer in bondage to drugs (other than nicotine) but in a way he is still in bondage because of his choice to use drugs - it's affected him so much that his will is just so weak and he is almost incapable of making good choices now. So. Make good choices always. Because sometimes if you make too many bad choices you don't really have a choice anymore. 

These people though. Oh! How I love them! 

I am so honored to be able to meet with them, and I hope so many things for them! I know that our Father in Heaven does as well. 

It really was a wonderful week. And I love our preparation days - it's crazy how much more energy I have on Tuesdays! Even though all we do is email and chores and we don't even nap. It is definitely needful to have a day of rest. :) 

Which - by the way - since it was stake conference we only had TWO hours of church yesterday. What a treat! We felt like we had all the time in the world! 

I love you all!!! Thanks so much for your letters. Talk to you soon,
Sister Tipton

Monday, September 1, 2014

Time Is Weird on a Mission

Ok it's REALLY weird for me that our first transfer is halfway over! Time is so weird on a mission... on one hand it feels like it is FLYING by. But on the other it feels like every single day is years long. It's crazy how much can happen in a day!

So this week. 

Last Monday we got TWO NEW INVESTIGATORS. Which brings the grand total of non-members that we are teaching to: two. :) We have been teaching this returning family for several weeks now. They are so sweet. :) But last week they volunteered that their two children haven't been baptized yet. We had no idea! So that's a pretty cool thing. 

I had a cool experience this week - I wasn't feeling great for several of the days. Nothing huge, just some typical yucky feelings. It didn't help that it has been raining like crazy here! Mostly I just wanted to curl up in bed with a hot mug of herbal tea and read my life away. But alas, I cannot. I discovered though that when I make that sacrifice to forget myself and to get lost in the work, that I didn't feel bad! Every time we approached a door to talk to someone, or taught a lesson, I felt totally fine. But when we got back in the car the yucky feeling returned. So crazy! We are truly blessed when we focus on others instead of ourselves, and when we choose to push through. 

(That said, if I was truly sick I know that it is important to take care of yourself first. This was just a "not feeling great" feeling. Not a "I'm sick" one.) 

We had a "mission tour" this week which meant that a general authority came to speak to us! It was Elder and Sister Arnold - he is in the first quorum of the seventy! Look for his picture in your conference edition of the Ensign. :) I got to see two of the elders from my MTC district and one of the sisters! That was so wonderful. It's crazy to see how much they've grown in just a few weeks. Our MTC district was really SO close. And the meeting FELT just like being at the MTC again. :) We were in meetings from 8am until 3pm, and we learned SO MUCH. I had to remember what I learned in the MTC - that we were being taught a model to follow, but that we didn't have to be perfect at everything that was taught right this minute. It's hard sometimes because you just want to be awesome, and you realize that you're not yet as awesome as you could be, but you have to remind yourself that you're still pretty great and doing your best and if you keep at it, one day you could really be absolutely incredible. :) I hope that you can hear my confidence in that. I really DO think it's possible to improve daily and it's such a wonderful gift to be able to do that with God's help. I'm just sometimes impatient that I can't be perfect NOW. :) 

We talked about so much with Elder Arnold, and learned SO MUCH. But probably one of my favorites was in 2 Nephi 9. I think it's verse 20 or 30. Can't remember. :) But it talks about how God knows us, and He knows all things, and He has experienced all things. Since he's experienced it all, it means that He knows exactly what we are experiencing, and He knows exactly what we feel and what we struggle with. We're actually never alone, and that is so comforting. :) 

So yesterday. Yesterday was cuh-RAZY. Sunday's always are here in Utah. We cover 11 wards and a Branch, and we made it to 1/3 of those yesterday. I sat in fast and testimony meeting for nearly 5 hours! That's 4 sacrament meetings at an hour and 10 minutes each. That's taking the sacrament FOUR times. My covenants are SO renewed. :) And the best part is, I get to do it again! Every week! Except for next week... because it's stake conference. :) 

So four hours of sacrament meetings, one hour of Sunday school. We had an hour of correlation where we met with 2 different ward mission leaders and discussed the concerns for their ward. We were supposed to meet with 3, but the last one was out of town for the holiday weekend. We spent an hour at a mission prep class too - it was huge! Maybe 30 or so kids preparing for missions, and a dozen or so parents and stake leaders. We were there to follow up on a commitment that the sisters left them when they visited a month ago. The commitment was to make a list of people that they can help (which should be pretty much everyone in your life) and then to pray about who to help and how to help. Well... none of them kept it. NO ONE had made a list. My companion was completely at a loss for what to say. I felt like it needed to be addressed... so, quite boldly, I said. "There is a section of Preach My Gospel that discusses extending commitments with the people you teach. You will be extending commitments CONSTANTLY as a missionary. How can you expect others to keep commitments if you don't keep yours?" Oh dang. It just came out! I couldn't stop it! I think it was the Spirit telling me to say that. Those boys were properly, righteously chastened. And then one of the parents suggested that we make them all raise their hands and re-commit... so we did. :) It was great. At the end the boy that offered a closing prayer mentioned being grateful for the atonement and repentance and prayed for help on being able to be better missionaries. Pretty cool experience. :)

I love the people here! I just can't share it enough! We visit this woman on Sunday nights, and every week we see her improve! We see a little more light come back into her life... it's so wonderful to visit her and to visit all of the people we teach. It's so great to see them improve. I love serving in Bountiful. :) If you ever drive past, just look for the mountain with the giant B and the temple - those are my two mountains! And all of the people we serve. I don't always love being a missionary, but it is ALWAYS worth it!

Love you all dearly,

Sister Tipton