Thursday, May 3, 2012

One Year.


This is sheerly because this blog needs a 100th post.  I'm not sure how it's possible that I only ended with 99, but we'll relive some of the events of last year - to the hour.

Granted that I was still riding on a plane, sitting next to a man from Green Bay that was sure I was straight out of the looney bin, but I returned from my Washington home one year ago today.  I can't believe that it's been a year and all that has happened.  It absolutely blows my mind.  I never thought at this point I would be sitting on my bed with my husband, pregnant, and a mere two weeks away from finding out if I've got a boy or girl acting like the inside of my body is a trampoline.

But I will never forget all those wonderful people that I have served, taught, and those that have served me.  I won't forget those experiences that have changed my life and made me the person I am today.  I won't forget being so excited to see my family and how I'd be able to keep it together.  I won't forget my family not being there to greet me at the gate because they weren't in the airport yet.  I won't forget dropping my things on the floor and running to my mother like a lost child.  I won't forget the emotions the were present as I talked to my father.  I won't forget how painful it was to have my name tag stripped of me.  And I won't forget not sleeping that first night, being left alone that first day, and spending all day at the Gourleys.

Thanks to everyone who followed my mission blog and supported me.  And who wrote me.  That helped more than you know.  But, this will officially be my last post.  Que Dios les bendiga y hasta ver!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Home Again, Home Again.

I've been putting off blogging for 3 weeks now.  Part of it was that I didn't know where to start and the other part was that I didn't want to face reality.  But, here I am, after 18 months of serving Heavenly Father.  I guess we'll start off with a recap.
My first two companions in the MTC were Hna. Christensen and Hna. Pechin.  We were together for 10 glorious weeks.  They are amazing and we had a blast together.  We had a lot of struggles, as all missionaries do, but together we worked through them together.  The MTC was fantastic!  I loved it and wish I didn't have to leave.  I loved the people, my teachers, the food, everything.  I made amazing friends and the Elders in my district were awesome.  I learned so much about the Gospel and it strengthened my testimony.  Spanish was more of a challange, but I do know that the gift of tongues is real!  The Lord prepares and blesses His missionaries for the work which He has for them to do.  I spent my first Thanksgiving and Christmas here.  It was great!  We got to hear from all sorts of General Authorities and other amazing leaders of the Church. 
Then began my first transfer.  My greenie area was Kennewick, WA, serving in the Pasco 5th branch.  My trainer was Hna. Dunoskovic from Newark, Vermont and she was amazing.  The best first companion anyone could ask for.  She taught me a lot in our 6 short weeks together.  I love my greenie area, even though it was still a challenge, trying to understand people and the culture.  But, it was great!  We had many adventures together including house sitting for some members.  Together we fought the battle against the adversary, trying to bring souls to Christ.
My second transfer brought a new companion - Hna. Garcia from Tempe, Arizona.  She stayed here for her last transfer of her mission.  We had a blast together.  And like always, the trials come, but we pulled through.  Together we did the Collect the Elect program that our mission did and my first experience tracting was with her.  We also had the challenge of losing our WML, so together, all us missionaries tried to help keep the branch afloat.  It was hard to say goodbye to this amazing woman, but that's part of missionary life.    
My 3rd transfer took me over to Vancouver, WA, where I served in the Vancouver 5th Branch.  It also took my back to my trainer for her last six weeks of her mission.  We had a baptism together and rebuilt the area.  Our time there together consisted of tons of fun, especially on our 2 hikes to Punch Bowl Falls.  I made my first phone call home on Mother's Day and talked to my family.  It was amazing.  I absolutely fell in love with the area and the people.  This lovely lady was soooo hard to say goodbye to!  After many tears, I sent her on her way back home.
4th transfer brought a TON of changes!  I became the senior companion and greenie busted Hna. Kendell from Ogden, Utah.  In our 6 weeks together, we said goodbye to a mission president, hello to a new one, a cross mission trip to the Tri-Cities, a wonderful Dance Festival, and so much more.  We made one stop to the Krispy Kreme when the hot sign was on.  I absolutely enjoyed every second I spent with her and it was so much fun to work with someone that was only 6 weeks younger than me.  We were young, but we worked so hard.
My 5th transfer, I trained a new missionary - Hna. Rico from Draper, Utah.  I'll admit, I was really intimidated by the calling of being a trainer.  I didn't feel ready in the slightest, but the Lord became my source of strength.  I turned to Him many a time on bended knee, asking for the strength to carry the magnitude of the calling I was given.I grew so much and my Spanish improved immensely.  I also was asked to go to the Tri-Cities for a specialized training on the 8 new lessons.    We also did a lot together.  We had a branch camping trip and did ton of service for other people.
My 6th transfer was the first time I  hadn't heard my name in a transfer call.  As we started our second transfer together, miracles continued to happen.  Hna. Rico and I worked really hard together.  We didn't have as much success at first, but we began to see the fruits of our labors.  We also helped out the City of Vancouver on September 11th.  We harvested carrots with all the other missionaries in the zone.  This was the transfer where I had more struggles, but I also grew the most.  I now know that Heavenly Father's plan is greater than mine and I trust Him in that. 

Yakima was calling my name on my 7th transfer.  I was called to serve in Yakima, WA, in the Yakima Valley 2nd Branch with Hna. Salmon from Riverview, Florida.  It was hard to get to know the area and we used a map all the time.  The area we served in was huge, making it more difficult to learn.  Hna. Salmon and I started to rebuild the area from the black hole that it was.  With the help of awesome elders, we helped to improve the branch and members in that area.  I spent my 22nd birthday with my district and companion at district meeting.  It was hard for me to love Yakima like I loved my other areas.
My 8th transfer brought exciting things.  Serving with Sister Salmon still, we got doubled in to the Terrace Heights ward as well.  For me, it was the best of both worlds.  I met so many amazing people in the ward and as we began to work with both, our success increased.  I also spent my second Thanksgiving and second Christmas in Yakima.  The snow also came and things got a little more challenging, but the Lord ALWAYS blesses us.  He brought amazing people for us to teach and I started to really love the people this transfer.  I fell in love with Yakima.
9th transfer brought SO many surprises.  I got to be with Hna. Kendell again and together, we tore it up.  I absolutely enjoyed being with her every single day!  We had awesome success together and continued to build the work.  We started working more with the English ward and met Heather together.  Heather, our little miracle, is amazing and as we watched her grow, she would continually change our lives.  As we started to follow the council of our mission president, we began to see everything falling into place.  And in our own tradition, we had a training in the Tri-Cities and made a few roadtrips.
My 10th transfer was amazing.  I continued to have a fabulous companion and we saw all the miracles.  We had some baptisms and looked for every single little baby miracle we could.  Our attitudes changed as we watched our fellow missionaries struggle with their problems.  We helped them out and tried to forget ourselves and concentrate on others.  Although our finding efforts weren't as good as we wanted, the members helped us out so much as they would give us referrals.  This transfer ended in bliss as we learned that Hna. Kendell would be my last and longest companion.
My last transfer was amazing.  It went by quicker than the blink of an eye and we saw sooo many things happen because of obedience.  I learned the value of my mission and so many more things I can't even say.  My mission meant everything to me.  It still does.  I've cherished every single moment and every single person I've met and grown to love.  I'm thankful that I ended my mission in an amazing area, with awesome fellow elders, and with the best companion anyone could ask for. It was topped off by Aramis' baptism the Sunday before I left.
 The last few days, I spent in the Tri-Cities with Sister Burgoyne and Sister Holmes.  Leaving my beloved Washington, returning home, and being released as a missionary have been the most emotional moments of my life.  I'm so grateful for all the people and the things I've learned.  And to my Heavenly Father for giving me this amazing opportunity.  Without it, I know that I wouldn't be who I am.  I also know I would be empty.
And so ends the greatest adventure thus far.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

26 Apr 2011 - Last Letter

Mom,

I can't believe that this is my last letter home. I don't know where this time has gone and what has all happened. This has been a crazy week and so much has happened.

I really can't begin to describe my feelings. I feel as though it's all surreal and that nothing is really changing...that I'm just being transferred and life as it is will continue on. I keep telling myself that I'm really going home and that this is going to end...but I don't believe it.

Saturday was awesome! I was on an exchange with Sister Stewart and we had a blast. I was up in Naches, and so it was fabulous. We had a great companionship study and everything went well. We got to see a lot of people and we did some street contacting. I even exposed her to a Mexican bakery and how you OYM a Spanish person. Haha. She was so great. And then we had dinner at my mail man's house...who lives in her ward. We swapped back that night and it was fantastic to just be there with Sisters Kendell, Stewart and Holmes.
Sunday, it was so great to be in church twice. I love doing that and I will miss being in church for 9 hours a day. The ward was fantastic! The choir sang and Bishop DeGooyer gave an awesome talk about how the Savior helps us when we feel our life is ending. It's so true though. And we ate dinner with a couple families in the branch. Sister Kendell got really sick and we went to a part member family's home. But we had a great lesson with them and the elders. It was just a great Easter. Sister Kendell and I also wore our dresses. [See attached pictures]

Monday, I swear our world almost collapsed on us. Heather was unhappy and so we went and tried to help her. She's so strong, it's ridiculous. She's got her foundation built upon the Savior and I know she's not moving. It's such a great feeling to know that. It stinks that I'll have to leave her...but she's leaving before me. She's headed down to Utah on the 28th, so I'll have to say goodbye to her on Wednesday. The Sister in Naches had a crisis. Sister Stewart is going home...actually today she flies home. Salt Lake thought it would be a good idea for her to go home because she's having health issues. But I'm sure she'll be back and kicking. She's an awesome missionary and is in good spirits. But her and Sister Holmes were a mess yesterday, so we took them some happy hour from Sonic. It felt good to do some service for them and help cheer them up. We slid down the banister at the Prests...also a picture attached of that. We made some movies of that as well, so I'll be happy to show you them next week. We also had a great exchange last night. We went to a less-active's house. She's recently divorced and living with her parents. Well, Troy, the 6 year old is SO smart! We were talking about families and he was telling us about how we're here to learn to be like Jesus. And as we were talking about that and how we learn from our families, he started to say something about how when we make good decisions, we'll live with Jesus. Then he goes 'But my dad is making bad decisions so he'll live with Satan.' Oh my gosh, Sister Kendell and I had to hold in our laughter. Oh my gosh! It was just ...I couldn't believe it. They were so embarrased, but it was fun. But he's so smart. The whole situation is sad, but I love that family with ALL my heart and soul!

I sent a few boxes home today. They should get there in a few days. You can just put them in my room. They're heavy and have my more precious things [books, etc.] and so I'll just deal with it when I get home! =)

I am so grateful for this time I've had to be a missionary. I KNOW that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true. With every fiber of my being, I know that. I know God lives and loves us. He has sent us here for a purpose and is very aware of our lives. I know He makes us instruments in His hands, if we let Him. I know that we have a prophet. He speaks to God and receives that revelation for us. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet and ushered in the great Restoration. I know the Book of Mormon is the world of God and the most correct of any books. It WILL bring us closer to our Savior. I am so grateful for my eternal family and I can't express the amount of love I have for my Savior. He lives and God's plan of happiness is for me individually as it is for us as a whole.

I love you! I can't say that enough. My heart breaks at the thought of leaving and not coming back. At not having this time to be a missionary. But I know that I have been blessed. I know that God loves us. And I know that He helps us in every aspect of our lives. I am so in debt to Him. I love my mission more than I can say.

Don't doubt that I am excited to see all of your faces on Tuesday. My heart rejoices at that. I am so ready to see you all again. Gall, I'm such a baby. Crying all the time. Ha. Anyways, enjoy this week. I love you all! I will see you soon.

Con amor,
Tu misionera.









Tuesday, April 19, 2011

19 Apr 2011




video
It sounds like it has been a super duper week. Honestly, I don't remember a whole lot that happened this week. I got sick and it was bad. But, luckily, it only lasted for a day. I really am grateful that I haven't been super sick on my mission...I've only thrown up once and that's a blessing! Now when I get sick, I'll be at home. I hope returning home won't be what it was like when I got to Washington...sick for a week straight. I guess that's normal though.


We had some really great things happen this last week. People are progressing and the work is moving along nicely. We've got two people who are getting baptized in May. I'm so excited for them, even though I won't be here to see it. But, they're making way and doing awesome!

We've got zone p-day today. It's crazy how fast this transfer has gone. I don't know. I'm trying my hardest to stay focused and sometimes, it's really hard. Mainly because people keep asking me about home. And my good friend Elder Reeve is a walking countdown for me. Never fails. If I see him or if we talk on the phone, it's always a 'Oh, so how many weeks? 2?' Which I don't mind, but I guess the constant reminder is just saddening.

Sister Kendell and I are doing great. We've been working and I just feel exhausted writing this email. Like, I said, I don't even know what we all did this week, but I do know that we've seen hearts change and miracles happen. Prayers have been answered.

It's interesting, as a missionary, I feel like I can sense more people's problems than before. But, it happens. Pregnant people and marriages falling apart. I've learned so much about it and about myself and about everything. Things that will help me with my future life.
I've meet some really cool people this week. We've eaten dinner with them and I just, I love them. We ate with a hilarious couple last night. She's my age and has a 6 month old baby...I couldn't believe it. It shocks me to know that I really am in the world, but not at the same time. Our worlds aren't the same and that's really interesting for me to see sometimes.
The Mitchells are fabulous! I love living with them and feel so blessed to be in their home.

Some llamas followed us while we were tracting/walking. It was great. I sure do love them.
Haha, I feel sad that this email is lame. Haha. But, it by no means I love you all less. Things are going fantastically and I love my mission. I can't believe that it's almost over for me. Where does the time go? I honestly have zero idea.

But I love you all! And thank you for the support you've given to me.

Con amor,
Hna. Pleshek

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

12 Apr 2011






Mom,


Things are going fabulous here! So much to tell in so little time. I'm amazing each week at how fast the time goes and how little of it I have to write to you and to tell you all the amazing things that have happened each week!

Things are beautiful here and moving along so well! I had my last Zone Conference yesterday and it was awesome. I didn't even cry when I bore my testimony for the last time in front of my fellow missionaries. It's just been amazing and I am so glad for this experience, even though it's coming to an end faster than I'd like.

Last week for p-day, we flew kites. I know I told you that last week...maybe...but it was a lot of fun and afterwards, when we played football, I threw a touchdown. I pretty much felt like Aaron Rogers. Haha. Not. But, I'm so glad that my zone is amazing!

Speaking of amazing zones, my zone is doing this AMAZING thing called a scavanger hunt. It's where we have a list of things and when we go tracting and find these things, we check them off and the district who has the most wins. We're so excited!

Oh, before I forget. I'm not sure how much luggage is costing these days, but would you mind transferring some money, if it's not in my checking already, to my card so I can get my luggage home. Sister Wilson said that you should have my flight plans already and even though I don't, I just want to make sure I have my ends covered. Oh did you get my Easter card?

We had an interesting encounter with one of our less actives and her dolls. We went over to take her some pictures and she set up all her dolls and made us take pictures with them. It was really funny and Sister Kendell and I almost wet ourselves. Oh, it was just so great.
Things are progressing awesomely with our investigators! I've enjoyed serving them and just being with them. They teach me more than I teach them, I swear. Never ceases to amaze me at how much I learn.
I've been reading the Book of Mormon and I've come to have an everlasting/extreme love for it. I can't believe how much our relationship has grown. =)
We had a fabulous lesson on Thursday with a 13 year old on the Law of Chastity. It was hilarious. We were talking and it and he goes 'Well, you don't have to do that stuff after you get married. You can wait like a month or a week or something.' It was just funny. And he is a sponge. He absorbs everything. You know he's learning when he asks God in his prayers to help keep him sexually pure.

My little Heather is doing FANTASTIC! So great! She's dating someone and is just...wow! So happy. She bore her testimony on Sunday and made me cry. She's doing so awesome and I'm so glad I was able to play a baby part in helping her come to Christ.
I absolutely love being a missionary. It's amazing! And I am so grateful for all the things my Heavenly Father has give to me.

I've also learned the power of music. It's amazing and changes and softens the hardest of hearts! Things really do happen for a reason and when the Spirit is there, we can work miracles!
Oh, I also taught seminary with my companion on Friday. It was good. I miss seminary but I definitely could have gone without the PDA that I saw. Seriously, little couples all over, just all over each other. It was so disrespectful!
Anyways, I love you! Thank you for all the support you give. And sorry this letter is all over. But you're the best! Thank you, THANK YOU!

Con amor,
Hna. Pleshek

P.S. I made my first balloon animal yesterday. =)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

5 Apr 2011

Things here have been fantastic!  It's been a week of miracles and I couldn't ask for anything better.  Sister Kendell was sick this past week and that kind of slowed things down, but it's amazing to see how the Lord compensates for what we lack.  We're expected to teach 20 lessons a week.  We were down on Thursday and I went out on Friday for a little bit with an exchange.  And yet, at the end of the week, we'd taught like 19 lessons.  I don't know how that happened, but it did and I'm grateful.
 
But like I said, it's just been a week of miracles, and they continue!  All the amazing things that God does for us...I can't even begin to say how grateful I am.  And I know that He answers prayers...even immediately.  And I know that He directs us through the Spirit.
 
I don't have a ton of time to say what I want.  It would surely take hours and hours to talk of all the miracles that have happened this week.  But, yesterday, there were sooo many miracles, I can't even tell you!  We started off studying and what not.  And I'd lost my CD case with the movies we carry around in it.  I had had it, but didn't know where I put it.  The last place I'd saw it was in the car in the back window.  So, I prayed and I just asked to find it...I'd already been looking for it for a week or so.  During lunch, I said another prayer right before I went out to search.  I opened up the car, all the doors, trunk, etc., and the first place I checked - the back window - there it was.  And I know it wasn't there previously because that was one of the places Sister Kendell and I had both check during the week.
 
All of our appointments cancelled and instead of being down about it, we were excited because we knew that we were supposed to do something else.  A member exchange came with us and we had decided to go see a less-active that had been living in our ward for 3 years, but no one knew.  So, we went over with the member, and the less active was so touched that we were there.  This member even knew her grandmother, who had passed on that this woman was really close to.  And on top of everything, she's having a baby in a few weeks and we offered the support of the ward and Relief Society.  It was amazing to see her countenance change and I know it wouldn't have happened, except that specific member was with us.  It's no coincidence that she couldn't do it that night and had to come with us in the afternoon.
 
Afterwards, we had a lesson with an eternigator - who is progressing now - and a different member who has been her fellowshipper since the beginning.  And as we talked about the Plan of Salvation and got to Adam and Eve, this lady basically attacked us and the Book of Mormon saying it didn't make sense - we had read out of 2 Nephi 2.  And the spirit of contention was there.  Well, my companion bears a strong testimony and the member we were with shared an amazing experience, that not only cleared things up for her about Adam and Eve, but also magnified the Spirit of God.  I know members are IMPORTANT!
 
There are other miracles that happened yesterday, but those are some of the big ones.  I know the Lord is directing His work always and that we are just His servants, trying to live up to the name that we carry on our chest.
 
Things have been going awesome.  I know I already said that, but it's just been great!  General Conference was FANTASTIC!  I can't say more than that.  There are no words!  I had all my questions answered and I feel like the whole conference was directed towards me.  It's amazing and such a testimony builder to me that WE HAVE LIVING PROPHETS!  I know that!  With all my heart and I cannot deny that.  There were some things that I was taught by the Spirit that I don't necessarily ... that I don't think I'm ready for, but I know that the Lord is preparing me in that aspect of my life. I know that He will support me in all that I do and help make me the person I need to be.
 
I'm so grateful to be a missionary.  As my time ticks on, I just want to find the pause button and stop it so I can live in this amazing time forever.  But I know and I'm at peace with what I've done yet this far.  But my work isn't done and there are still people that I need to see and teach.  And I know that.  By no means am I slowing down or cutting the race short.   
 
I love you all and I am so excited to hear from you each week!  I hope the snow goes away.  The weather in Yakima is beautiful and as you can see, the Mitchells have daffodil growing ALL OVER their yard!  I love it!  Someday, I want to be like the Mitchells!  =)
 
And also, you can see that Hna. Kendell and I are matchy matchy with our crimped hair and oh, I LOVE GENERAL CONFERENCE!  AND BEING A MISSIONARY!
 
You guys are THE best!  Keep on being amazing and listening to the Spirit!  He's the ultimate GPS.  =)
Con mucho amor de Washington,
Hna. Pleshek 
 


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

29 Mar 2011







Mom,

THANK YOU for sending me pictures of my newest nephew Brock! He's so cute and I just can't wait to get home and hold him and all that good stuff that a new aunt is entitled to do. =) Well, I can wait, but it's so exciting to have a little baby to come home to!

I'm not sure what's all happened this week as far as people and teaching. All I know is that miracles have happened and are happening all the time! We had a fantastic lesson with Cynthia and she is progressing awesomely! She's so golden and we're actually going to dinner with her tonight. Oh, let me tell you about this crazy experience we had on...Sunday? No, Wednesday. It was so nuts.

We had dinner with Gloria and Cesar Moreno and had some really good food. But, we had a lesson afterwards and a prayer. Quetzalli gave was asked to pray. So as Cesar was helping her pray, she prayed for us to be safe. At that exact moment, I had the sound of gun shots come to my mind. And I realized I had protection in this home. And I also had a father/daughter duo praying for my companion and me as well. As we stepped out of the house, I felt uneasy. I told Hna. Kendell to get in the car. I locked the doors and we drove off pretty fast. As we were driving, I was telling her about my experience and why I was so uneasy about being in Yakima. She said she felt the same and related to me her experience which she had had during the prayer...which was identical to mine. Gun shots and all at the same point. Heavenly Father loves His missionaries. I'm so glad he sends the Spirit to guide us!

Another exciting thing this week is that Juana and Heather - our recent converts - went to the temple for baptisms!!! And they both LOVED it!! It made us really sad because Sister Kendell and I got permission from President to go and watch and participate, but on Thursday, we both felt it was better if we stayed and did the Lord's work for the living. And, we were really sad we weren't there, but then, we just kept thinking that we can go when they receive their endowments. That's more important to us. And we know that they will.

We're had some crazy service this week. I've been reading in Mosiah [WHICH I LOVE THE BOOK OF MORMON!] and I've been thinking about Mosiah and the kind of person he was and the example he is to us. As we were weeding and totally re-vamping someone's garden this past week, as we got in the car to leave, I turned to Sister Kendell and said 'We just weeded Jesus' garden.' Yeah, it's really interesting and a lot more ...meaningful as we look at service like that. If we're helping someone else, we're helping God. We're doing a service for Him, as well.

Speaking of service, remember the other week when I told you about helping Emy and Miguel cut all the ivy off of their tree and yard? Well, we had a lesson with them last night and it was about tithing. As we were talking about it, Emy recounted a story about how paying her tithing blessed her. She said she debated paying her tithing because they had all the ivy out in their yard and she could use that money to pay for it to get taken care of. Well, she decided to pay that tithing and a day later, we showed up with 3 other sisters and we cleared the yard for free. She said it was such a blessing because they saved SO much money and not only that, the tithing was less than what she would have payed to have someone clean it up. It's amazing to see that...when you're a blessing to someone. And you don't even mean to be. I've seen it so much on my mission. There's no mistake that I need to be here and doing the work I'm doing.

Well, I still have to write President Greer. But, I love you all. And I'll write more next time! Thank you for getting that stuff for me and arranging getting my things from the Martinez family. They are awesome and I know you would love them, Mom. He's such a hoot and she's so sweet. One day, when we come out to visit my mission. =)

I miss you and I'm working hard. Concentrating on the work and not worrying about the time I have left. I know it's precious and I don't want it to end.


I love you all!

Con amor,

Hna. Pleshek

P.S. A few pictures from last week.

One of our green dinner. One of Sister Kendell and I walking through the pear orchards to get back to our house from dinner.

Sister Kendell and I waiting to go the the Tree's last p-day.

Us in our Aztec and Charger ponchos at Emy and Miguels.

The elders and us at an FHE with Emy and Miguel and all our of drumsticks!