Monday, December 14, 2015

Palmyra, New York

Draha Rodino a Pratele,

Sounds like there is some snow back home. That is so exciting! I hope that you get a white Christmas!! It has YET TO SNOW HERE. It has been in the 50 and 60's the past couple of days. ha ha it feels more like late October than it does December here. Sister Seader and I have been loving it though. It has given us a lot more opportunities to go running. :)


Happy 2 year Anniversary to Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Holley! I hope that you both have a wonderful day. :)
FOUR MORE DAYS UNTIL MR. AND MRS. MATT SPENCER!!!!!! I will be thinking about you all day. 
Four more days until MR. and MRS. IAN BLAKE as well!! I have both of your wedding announcements up on the fridge. Thanks for sending those my way. :)

---> There is a dog park about a block away from our APT. It is PACKED. Everyday. ha ha having a dog is such a social thing here. It's awesome.
---> "Bubbles 'n Sun" They kill two birds with one stone here by combining laundry mats with tanning salons. 
---> Sister Dodds knows the Sutts! She did Pagent with them and stayed with them right next door to us a couple years back!

The Work: 

Because of the temple trip this past week was such a blur along with the work that happened too. Come Friday night I was was so exhausted. It was 8:30 and we had a lesson with Kaitlyn (The one we ran into the same night as Shannon) We watched the 20 minute Restoration video with her. It was a struuuuuggglllleeee. Her APT was just too warm and her couch too comfy. I was in and out of conciousness the entire 20 minutes. ha ha ha. I regained enough strength to wake up and bear testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. hehe. She said she really liked the video and you could tell she felt the spirit. :) Sister Seader and I went straight home, planned, and went straight to bed that night! Sleep is so precious as a missionary. 

While I was on the temple trip, Sister Seader was on exchange with Sister from Plattsburg. I came back to Saratoga Wednesday morning and we exchanged again. Sister Yancy that was with me on the temple trip stayed in Toga with me and Sister Seader went with Sister Bowie, Sister Yancy's comp to Manchester, Vermont. ( A tiny part of Vermont is in our misson. Cool huh?! ) Sis Yancy and I had an awesome exchange and had some really powerful lessons with John, Shannon and Kaitlyn. When we went to see John, I didn't really have a game plan as to what to teach him, so I told Sister Yancy we were going by the spirit. It was one of most powerful lessons I have been a part of. Sister Yancy bore beautiful testimony of how God and Christ need ALL of us to be on Their side. She told John, "Christ needs you." That really got to him. You could see the spirit working so strongly. We invited him to be baptized again and to pray and ponder about a date. We have only been able to see him for a short moment since then, because it's been so crazy around here, but we will be seeing him tonight or tomorrow to follow up with that. Keep him in your prayers. He's got a lot of family changes going on as well. He needs love from all of us! 

Shannon is doing well!  She's been busy with work and trying to get her life back together, but all is well. We couldn't ask for a better person to teach really. She is amazing. We went over to teach her the Gospel of Jesus Christ the other day and she was nodding off on us. hahahahahah. She's so funny. She also nick-named Sister Seader and I "Barbie Doll and Little Bit" baha! The way she says it in her voice is the best. 


It would take me forever and a day to tell you alllllll the amazing things that we got to do on Tuesday and the feelings that I felt. I will try to sum it up as best I can, while trying to help you feel like you were there with me.

Our morning started early at 5:00 a.m. We were out the door at 6 and piled in to the 15 passenger van with a 2 1/2 hour drive ahead of us. I kept prayinggggg that I wouldn't fall alseep during the session at the temple. I took a nap on the car ride there and I felt energized enough the rest of the day. I didn't even nod off once during the session. I was pretty proud of myself because I almost always do. ha. Before the session started we gathered in one of the Sealing rooms and got to have a little Q and A with one of the Temple Presidency members. It was awesome. I learned a lot of stuff.

Following the session, we made our way to the Smith homes and farm, along with the Sacred Grove. We were on a tight schedule so we didn't have a whole lot of time there, but the Sacred Grove was amazing. We had 30 minutes to ourselves to go and walk through, ponder, pray, read, etc. My 30 minutes in that Grove of trees was and will be one of the most sacred and spiritual experiences I have had in my entire life. I wish I could have stayed there forever. The peace and stillness that is felt there is unreal along with the spirit. I am grateful that I was so fortunate to be able to walk those sacred grounds as a missionary. 

After the Sacred Grove, we made our way to Alvin Smith's grave, Joseph's older Brother, and then quickly ate some lunch and went to the Publication site of the Book of Mormon. We had the tour from a senior couple. The Elder did such a great job. I loved seeing what the process was like to put together the book. It took  A LOT of work. There were so many sacrifices made as well to make it happen. I am grateful for all of those who took a leap of faith for that great cause. 

Next stop was the HIll Cummorah. I RAN UP IT!!!!!! hahahahah I about died. It is A LOT steeper than it looks. I thought my legs were going to fall off. It reminded me of how NOT in shape I am. ha oh dear. Super cool though. The view from the top is beautiful as it looks out across the valley. We all gathered around the monument there and President Rogers gave us some neat facts and history along with his testimony.

Our last stop was the Whitmer Farm. It's hard to say which part of the day was my favorite, because all of it was just so good, but the temple, Sacred Grove and the Whitmer Farm prolly come out on top. This is where some if not most of the translation of the Book of Mormon took place. Don't take my word for it. I can't remember exactly! Being in the home and seeing where Joseph once sat and translated The Book of Mormon with the help of Oliver Cowdery was humbling. We forget sometimes that they had families too, just like us. There was chaos with the kids, screaming and fighting I'm sure. It wasn't like they had the most IDEAL place to translate. But they did it, with the help of God. It is truly incredible. 

After stopping for burgers and fries on the way home we got back into to Utica around 8 ish. We had the rest of the evening to write in our journals and ponder about the experiences and feelings we had that day.
Another thing I loved about the trip was the spirit of the Restoration that is felt there. It is somethings special.

What a blessing it has been to serve in the New York, Utica mission. I have been extremely blessed to have met so many amazing people and missionaries. My life has been changed for the better by each one of their examples. My heart is so full as I prepare to head back to the Czech Republic. I want you all to know that I know that this is the true church. I know that it was through a humble 14 year old boy that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was restored back to the Earth. I know that Jesus is the Christ and our Savior. 

Mom, Dad, Family I'll talk to you soon! :)

S laskou,

Sestra Fred.

Book of Mormon in the Sacred Grove

Whitmer farm house where translating of the Book of Mormon took place

President Rogers and i in the Sacred Grove

Sister Rogers and I at the Palmyra Temple
Sister Kayla Dodds and Jamie Sue

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