Monday, February 20, 2012

Sweetheart's Dance

!!FYI for any of you randoms that don't know... this post and the pictures are strictly for fun!! LDS missionaries are not actually male and female companions. Unless you are married senior companion missionaries =) !!

It was the night before the Sweetheart's dance, and we still hadn't made time to figure out what we were going to dress up as! The theme for the dance was "Famous Couples-- Red Carpet attire?" I'm not too sure how you could get away with, say, Adam and Eve... red carpet attire. If you put a suit on Adam and a dress on Eve... no one would know that you are supposed to be Adam and Eve.. ya know?

We came up with the genius idea to dress up as the most famous "couple" we know... The west side missionaries in our area! Elder Mooney and Elder Daye! They are pretty freakin famous around these parts... So we called them up, and asked to borrow some nametags. Then I borrowed some of Ricky's dress clothes-- we make-shift hemmed the pants and strapped a belt on me. I found some of my Grandma's old loafers, put my hair in a tight bun, "side-parted" my hair.. and off we went!

We definitely turned a few heads when we showed up at the dance around 10 pm ("Isn't it past your curfew, elders?!") Some people had to do a double-take because they thought for a second, that it was the real missionaries showing up at the dance!
Joseph Smith, anyone?!

We made sure to bring extra Book of Mormon's and pamphlets for all the proseliting we would be doing that evening! =P

We also had to make sure everyone was dancing a "BOM's length away" =P

We had alot of fun!!!! Although it felt a little awkward dancing to a slow song while both wearing a manly suit... You might have to try it to understand... or maybe it was the fact that I was pretending to be a guy missionary... dancing with a pretend missionary companion... weeeeird! We also made sure to turn a couple heads by doing some risque dance moves... hahah just kidding... I wouldn't know how to do risque dance moves even if I wanted to. true story.. 

The Story of Stephanie and Amy

I can't believe I havn't taken the time to write about this wonderful experience that I was so blessed to be a part of!!
Back in September, I joined the college soccer team (refer here). It was great and I was loving playing soccer so much! Buuut I was having a hard time making friends on the team... everyone probably thought I was so shy because I didn't really say much... but really it was because I didn't want to participate in any of the conversations going on! Everyone talked about the filthiest things and there wasn't a single sentence that escaped without some sort of profanity!! It was driving me nuts!
This is a piece of what I wrote one week:
 "The last away soccer game we had, I was ready to quit my team by the end of day. I'm the only LDS member on my team. They ALL have the worst potty mouths! They literally swore at least once in every sentence! And I had never heard the F word so many times in my life! Ugh! So filthy... The worst part... Picture this.. I'm reading my "Book of Mormon Made Easier Book" on the bus as I overhear my teammates talking about how much they HATE mormons!! They had like a 10 minute conversation about it! ... I sloooowly lower my book and hide the cover.. Haha. Its not that I'm ashamed to tell people I'm LDS.. I actually love to tell people I'm LDS... But I was definitely a minority in this situation haha I didn't want to "proclaim" to the entire womans/mens team on the bus. On that same bus ride, I overheard yet another 2 mormon bashings. I felt like dirt! Sooo you can see why I'm less than thrilled to be spending 7 straight hours with these pearls!"

When I got home from that trip, I remember talking to my roommate about the situation and I was telling her that I was pretty sure I was going to quit the team.  She then challenged me to pray for a missionary experience on my soccer team, and that she was confident I would have one.  I didn't doubt that at all, so I was up for the challenge! I prayed about it every day that week! On our next away weekend, I got paired up to room with this girl!
Stephanie Penny!
That night, I was laying in bed reading a book by President Thomas S. Monson, "Pathways to Perfection". Steph asked me what I was reading, so I showed her and kinda told her what it was about. We eventually got to talking, and she asked if I was a Mormon... how could ya tell? =P She started asking questions, and I was giving her answers as best I could. In our conversation, she told me that she had never had any sort of spiritual upbringing, and that she would really like to start going to church, cause she wants to believe in that sort of thing! (At this point, I realized that my prayers had, indeed, been answered!!) I took that opportunity to invite her to church. She told me that she would love to come to church with me!! She said she wanted to come, but she flaked out on me a bunch of times... for that month and a half, I kept trying to be a good example, pray and fast for her... Steph finally came to church for the very first time in her life on December 4, 2011!! I prayed for Stephanie Every. Single. Day. after that!
(a couple days before she came to church with me -->) Her and her boyfriend broke up that weekend so she called me and asked me to come pick her up cause she didnt want to be alone. We stayed up til 4 am that night, and somehow got on the subject of the church again. I told her that I had marked a Book of Mormon for her, and that if she still wanted it, she could  have it. She was super excited that I got her her very own Book of Mormon  and that I took the time to mark specific scriptures for her! She read half of the scriptures I marked that day! It was fast and testimony meeting the next day. Sunday school was really good! Steph asked if she could keep the Gospel Principles book because she really liked it! THEN we went to sacrament... I could not have asked for a better meeting for her! The spirit was so strong and I knew she could feel it too. Usually I am too shy to go up and bear my testimony but I knew I had to go up there and talk. I bore my testimony on the scriptures, missionary work and the power of prayer. When I sat down again, Steph told me that she felt the urge to go up there and bear her testimony!! (let me remind you that this was her FIRST time EVER going to church!!) She asked me what she should say if she goes up. I told her to just copy what everyone else was saying (hahaha) and then she was like "What is the thing that everyone keeps saying at the end of their testimonies" "I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen." She repeated after me, and then repeated it a couple more times... and right when she was getting the courage to go up, they closed the meeting.. haha She was determined to go up next month! I asked her if we could set up an appointment with the Missionaries and she was all for it! When she got home, she finished reading the marked BOM scriptures, and then she started reading the Gospel Principles. That week, all she could talk about was how excited she was to meet with the Elders, that she was loving the Book of Mormon and that she was thinking of converting. So great!
Steph came to church with me that next week and it was great! We met with the missionaries-- Elder Truman and Elder Roberts-- right after church, she was so excited/nervous! The first lesson went SO great!! The Spirit was so strong and I know she felt it!! She told us that she was feeling butterflies in her stomach and that it wasn't from being nervous! That it was good butterflies!! haha She accepted and understood everything so well and had a couple questins too. We taught her the 10 commandments, and then she said the closing prayer... it was the first time she had ever prayed in her life!
That day she decided she was going to get baptised. She was so excited! She was texting all her friends to tell them that she was getting baptised and that she wanted them to come support her. I love how gung ho she is!! And how she's not afraid to tell people about church!
She had alot of questions for me after the first discussion, and we had a really good chat. Then we went out to Raymond to have dinner with my family. It was so great and Steph had a great day! Ah man... I just love the Lord and I LOVE that he is paving the way for Steph to come unto him. I feel like my prayers and fasting have been answered and that God really does hear and answer our prayers! And that he WANTS Steph to learn this gospel!! Man... life is so great! That day made me appreciate all the tender mercies the Lord gives us, and I love it!!

Elder Truman and Elder Roberts teaching about the Plan of Salvation.
We sure did appreciate those two!!!

Stephanie kept taking lessons from the Missionaries and every lesson got better as we went!

On January 23, 2012, Steph and I had our first church tour.  It was also our first time meeting Nick Barfuss (What a great guy!!) I will always remember the sweetness of the Spirit we all felt that day. Especially of the room dedicated to Jesus Christ that the Elders set up.  I remember feeling an overwhelming sense of pure selfless love from my Savior.  It was almost as if I could feel his arm around my shoulder, saying, "Come unto me. I will never leave thee".  By the end of the lesson, we had settled on a date for Stephanie's baptism. January 28th, 2012.  5 days away! What a spiritual, emotion, wonderful day that was!!!!
And what a crazy, hectic, wonderful week that was... Between school, homework, working 2 jobs, playing on 2 soccer leagues, meeting with Steph and the missionaries almost every day, organizing the Baptism, being there for Steph, helping Jermaine move, preparing a talk & a musical number... life was a little insane. But I loved it!

We had to say goodbye to one of our favorite missionaries, Elder Truman, because he was getting transferred to Calgary RIGHT before Steph's baptism! We were super bummed =(

"I don't give a lick!"

"Excuse me! Do you know what time it is... 11:05!"

The best part was that the NIGHT before her baptism (at 10:30 pm), Steph decided she wanted her and I to sing a musical number. I still hadn't even had time to write a talk, let alone have time to learn and practice a song with Steph! It was her day though, so I was glad to do whatever she wanted! haha
The morning of the baptism, and we were just learning that song, and I still hadn't written my talk! By now I was getting a little worried. and by now Steph was getting pretty antsy too! Elder Tulane was stressing big time... he must have been getting annoyed at how much of a gong show we were! hahah We quickly ran home to get ready, and had to rush back to the church to do a walk through of the program. We tried to squeeze Steph into a tinsy little boys baptismal jumpsuit... no dice! it was really funny though! haha.
Elder Parks, Elder Tulane, Stephanie, Me, Elder Mooney

Alicia, Stephanie, Me

Elder Parks, Elder Tulane, Stephanie, Me, Elder Mooney

20 minutes before the baptism.... still hadn't had time to prepare a talk! Literally ALL I had written on my paper was:
-Tell story of how Amy and Steph met
- Why do we need Baptism?
    -We must be baptised for the remission of our

I was getting really frazzled by now! I was the first speaker too! I am not the kind of person that can just get up and speak for 20 minutes without a word-for-word written talk! I had no choice though... haha... everyone told me I did a really good job... I'm not sure I fully believe them though... at least my roommate, Alicia was honest enough to tell me that "The first part of your talk was really good and you could feel the Spirit really strong!!... the second part of your talk... not as good." haha I knew it!! thanks for your honestly sister!! =P
Steph and I sang our song. It turned out really nice and Payton Dudley was nice enough to play piano for us so short notice! Stephanie's baptism went great!! Elder Mooney was asked to baptise her. We love Elder Mooney! He's so great! One thing that really stuck out to me; and I'm so glad that elder Tulane said this, was, "Steph... do you realise that at this very moment, you are the most perfect person in the world!" So true! Afterwards, Nick gave his talk. The Spirit is always so strong when he speaks! I absolutely love all of his many comments and testimonies he has shared with us in the time we have known him! Closing hymn was pretty apropriate, I thought... "I Know That My Redeemer Lives" What an amazing song =) We ate refreshments and introduced Stephanie to a bunch of people. She already fits in perfectly!!!! Stephanie was really nervous that not very many people were going to show up. None of her family, and some of her friends, couldn't come. It truly is amazing how the members come together to support and welcome a new person into the church! We had around 60-70 people show up!!! Including some of steph's friends and our college soccer coaches!

Yes, you heard correct... that was Steph's monster snort at the end

Yes, you heard correct... That was Elder Tulane rapping about poopy diapers..

Steph and I after her baptism. Sure love ya!
Later that night, Alicia, Steph and I made quiche... k so Alica and Steph made quiche, and I just ate it. Then we went to the university basketball game with Amy Flemming (love her!)

The next day, Sunday, I got to go to 3 sacrament meetings! I went to hear Ricky Duane's talk... he told mine and Stephanie's story, so I had to go "make sure he got it right" ;-) Then I went to Steph's confirmation (Stephanie is officially a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints!! YAY!!!!!!!) And then I went to my own ward.
That night was so fun!! Stephanie, Alicia and I went out to Raymond to have dinner with my family and just chill.  We ended up having a full out nerf war! It was crazy (and painful) and so fun!

I am so thankful that Stephanie decided to join the church! I know her and I are going to be best friends for the rest of our lives partly because we have this wonderful connection to bond us forever! I love Steph like a sister! While talking to someone, they pointed out that it was interesting that in a way, Stephanie and I saved eachother. Steph "saved" me by going out of her way to befriend me on the soccer team when I needed a friend, and I "saved" Steph by introducing her to the LDS church and bringing comfort into her life. What a blessing she is to me!! I will forever be changed and humbled by this experience!!!