Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The work must go on!

Hola Familia!

Thank you to the trillion emails I get each week.  I cannot express enough gratitude to everyone who takes time to write me.  It is truly such a blessing to have wonderful friends and family who care so much about me.  Because I have gotten so many emails, I many not get a reply to everyone..but I'll try the best that I can.  This hour time limit is a little frightening...ha!  So, if I don't get back to you, know I read it and I am so grateful.

This week was definitely a testimony builder.  I learned many things.  As I was reading my scriptures this morning I came across a scripture that says: "I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down."  Nehemiah 6:3

I think President Uchtdorf gave a talk on this a couple years ago in the priesthood session that I learned about in Seminary.  This scripture helped me realize that this is the Lord's work, and if I am obedient I will not fall.

I am a messenger from God and things are going to try and stop the work from progressing, but I am doing what is right and I will not break!  My companions and I were talking and we said, "I know I am doing what is right when everything goes wrong."  The adversary is working harder than ever today. We cannot let that effect us, any of us, not just me as a missionary.

This knowledge came to me when we went to go visit an investigator who works at a retail store.  Let me share a quick run down.

(Investigator J) works at (retail store) so she can help with her family's income.  She has been taking the discussions for about 2 months now.  She is a very religious lady.  We were talking with her and she finally started to open up to us about how she felt something different at our church, and how her church pastor only calls her when she needs help or needs something done.  She feels like her church has forgot about her and is using her.  So she expressed how great it is to have missionaries teach her at her house when she cannot make it to church because of work  She really was opening up, and we were feeling so great.  This whole conversation was in English...then out of the blue comes a Hispanic man and (Investigator J) asks if he needs any help.  He replies in Spanish saying he heard us talking about God.

Ever since that moment, we were in a 45 minute long bash on God, religion, Mormons, etc..  I did not catch it all, but the man was saying that we are in an apostasy right now and that the true church is not on the earth.  When he figured out we were Mormons we got everything from bashing Joseph Smith, to secretive temples, to honestly everything.  All during this time (Investigator J) is listening in.  Finally, this man and (Investigator J) exchange emails and phone numbers....so frustrating.

We ended up saying we needed to go, and so we left.  As we were all heart broken and terrified for our investigator, we see a man almost crash in his little scooter cart thing.  I helped him out of the way and after talking with him I figured out that he was in the process of moving.  So, we offered to help him.  He said he would love help, but we should call his wife to make sure.  So, we talked to the wife and expressed how as missionaries we do service.  She said "Forget it, and don't call back again!"  The old man apologized and said he wished we could help him.

While we were inside helping this man, a member walked by.  After checking out, he and his wife called us over to his car and expressed their gratitude to us.  After all of the mess and struggle, it made me realize that people are watching my actions and do look up to me.  Even when things are going bad, it is my attitude to either dwell or work harder.

Like I said, the adversary is working on those who are strong.  But I am motivated and know that there is work to be done.  Waller is about to explode.  There is so much work here, and I feel the work spreading so so soon.

I love it here and am learning every day.  I wish I spoke more Spanish, but God is watching over me..truly.  I pray every day that my tongue will be loosed...and sure enough my Spanish flows.  We went to a members house yesterday for dinner after church.  They are full Spanish speakers.  They asked me how long I had been here and I said for about 2 weeks.  They asked if my family spoke Spanish.  I told them nobody did.  They were very impressed with my language and how quick I picked it up.  I tried to convince them I was Hispanic, but clearly they didn't believe me! Ha!  God truly is blessing me.  I know it!

Well, I am running short on time but i just wanted to say that there is work to be done.  We all can play a part in it, even if you are not a missionary.  Help somebody, share a spiritual thought with a friend, whatever it may be..lift somebody up and be an example.

Love you all so much.  Thanks for all the love you show to me!

P.S.  I totally spoke in church on Sunday! HAHAHAHA!!!

--Shout out to Hannah Hyde for writing me the first letter I received here in Waller, TX.  HOLLA!
--Shout out to Hermano Sagers for heading out to the Mexico MTC.  Best wishes.  Remember you can touch so many lives there--especially my brother.  YAY!
--Shout out to Kaitlin, a sweet member who found my blog and wrote me thanking me for touching her life.  It was such a pleasure to read her story and spiritual thought to me.
--Shout out to Mom and Dad for teaching me how to work..and when I mean work, I truly mean work.  Thank you!  I knew it would pay off some day :)

Funny lines that happened this week:
--A daughter of one of our investigators: After giving the family a picture of Jesus, she says, "Aw thank you.  I will cherish this after my mom dies." HA!
--Hermana Hosking:  "I'm getting fat off food I don't even want to eat."

Mailing address while serving in Texas:

Hermana Mikayla McChesney
16623 Hafer Rd
Houston, TX 77090-4401

Monday, July 22, 2013

Howdy y'all

Well everybody,

I have officially made it to the campo.  I can't even believe I am here in Texas, like what?  So, to give you a little update about my adventure.  Yes, I realize my Spanish is not nearly where it needs to be...like at all.  For example, at the airport a man overheard me say that I "speak Spanish" and then he goes off asking me questions and I literally just sat there and signaled for help.  Yeah...It doesn't get any better.  I'll update you on my first lesson in a few.  So at the transfers it felt like Hunger Games. President Pingree calls up a trainer and then later calls up his/her trainee as we all sit in anticipation.  Now picture this...everybody but Malmrose (my travel buddy) and me have been called up, so there are 2 companionship's left.  We shake hands and the whole "may the odds be ever in your favor" type thing.  Sure enough she gets called and I am the awkward hermana sitting there.  Why does this always happen to me? HA!

I walked up with my 2 new companions and didn't get the whole anticipation thing.  But it was still fantastic!  I am in a trio, with 2 hermanas named Hermana Serrano and Hermana Hosking.  They are both from California and super super sweet.  Hermana Serrano's native language is Spanish so that has been a big help.  We drive a Jeep and are in the country!  You know I love the country so I feel right at home.  I am in a city called Waller.  It is full of cows, and corn stalk things, and just a lot of land.  I really love it though!

So, back to my first lesson.  For the first lesson we showed the Restoration video.  After they were all talking about it, in Spanish obviously, and I caught maybe 20 percent.  But you will all be so proud of me...first lesson..I invited the family to be baptized!!  Yeah!  They all said they would but they need to approve it with their dad (they were young).  So we are hoping for a yes!

This family comes to church every week and they love attending all of the meetings.  Yesterday was my first day in church.  The little 8 year old girl came and sat by me.  We were singing the hymns and she shares the book with me and I help her sing along.  She sang with so much heart!  She kept on looking up at me and smiling.  Such a sweetheart!  I couldn't help but tear up as she was so dedicated to be there in church and to learn.

Waller is a fairly new area with not a whole lot of members (branch of 30).  So it is my job to find the lost sheep.

I was reading in my personal study today and I read a scripture, I believe it's D&C 1:29 and it said God calls his weak to preach to the nations (something like that).  I looked at the footnote for the word "weak" and is said "STRONG".  If we humble ourselves our weak things will be made strong.  That is one thing I am working on...giving up my weaknesses to the Lord.

I has been an amazing week.  I love it here.  Miss my MTC family, but wouldn't want to be anywhere else but here in Texas where the stop signs are horizontal and the people aren't exactly what I thought they would look like from all the western movies.  HA!  I love it here!

Hope everyone is doing so well back home.  I will share more stories about investigators later...but just know that I love them all and they love me, too.  Even though they keep on saying, "Oh, you have a new missionary...Where is Hermana Auton?" ...and "Are you sad to have a new companion??"  I should probably walk into every new house and say, "Hi, I am Hermana McChesney, yes I am new, yes my companions miss Hermana Auton, I am from Utah, and I don't really speak Spanish."  HA!

The Lord has performed miracles for me this week, real miracles.  I know without His help I would not be where I am today.  I love this gospel and I love the work.  I encourage you all to be a member missionary.  The missionaries need your help!


--Shout out to Austin for going through the temple this week.  Love you buddy!  Have the best day ever!
--Shout out to everybody and their grandma who got engaged this week!  Congrats to all my friends.  I couldn't be more excited for you!
--Shout out to Zach Mortensen for heading into the MTC next week.  Best wishes buddy!

Saturday, July 13, 2013


Familia, la diversion a llegado (THE FUN HAS ARRIVED)

I have officially been reassigned!!  Can you believe it?  2 missions para mi, es muy raro! Pero, guess where I am going?

Headed to HOUSTON TEXAS!! AH!!  Dad, I'm headed to your neck of the woods.  I could not be more excited!  It is such a great opportunity for me.  I truly am so excited!  To be honest, I am scared to go out into the "real world" and teach "real people" in "real Spanish" but I am ready to get out there. :)  I head out the 17 of July, so on Miercoles (Wed).  I leave at 3:30 am...yes, you heard right..3:30 am.  Going to be a zombie that's for sure.  Who knows how long I will be there, hopefully as long as they need me, but I am excited to get to Argentina nonetheless.  There is only me and 1 other girl traveling the same time.  Her name is Hermana Rebecca Malmrose.  She is the Hermana also going to Neuquen and she knows Bruce Bird!  How exciting!! We are going to get along just great...I mean, we are going to have to figure our way around airports, so I am sure after this experience we are going to be best buddies.  Ha!! I fly from Salt Lake to Phoenix, have an hour lay over, then fly from Phoenix to Houston.  I will arrive there at 1:42, so just enough time for me to probably tract that night.  AH!

I will probably have time to call you that morning.   I don't know what time.  It will probably be super early...so maybe I just won't call you.  HA!  UN CHISTE!  I am sure I can send you an email or call you or something (I don't know the rules on that yet) but if not, be expecting a call early Wednesday morning!  Can't wait!  You all better be there so I can talk to you all.  Be excited!

All of us Hermanas opened our reassignments today.  Hermana Hafen and Hermana Stanley are headed to Anaheim, CA, then Hermana Albright is headed to Richmond, VA.  How exciting huh?!  Poor Hermana Albright is the only one on her flight.  I know she can do it though! :)

Well, I guess that is it.  Write me or something to tell me your reaction!!

Love you all and could not be more excited to go serve in Texas :)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Last P-day in the MTC??

Okay, somehow today is my last P-day in the MTC?  Where has the time gone?  I was supposed to get my reassignment yesterday at dinner, but I never did.  So I am hoping (fingers crossed) it comes today around almuerzo or cena.  Who knows though.  If it does come I get to email you again, so you will know!  Yay!

This week was fantastic.  everybody has their travel plans in my district but all of the Neuquen Hermanas.  Que triste :(  Pero, esta bien!  It's just sad to think that everybody is going to be leaving.  Hermana Petersen and Hermana Roper have tourist visas to Peru, they leave Monday, and they aren't even flying out the same time.  So it's kind of a sad time this week at the MTC.  Everybody is so close. It's sad to think that we will all be leaving, but at the same time, I'm so excited!

Yesterday was In-Field Orientation.  It was from 8am-5:30pm.  Yeah, it's true.  I really sat in a room for that long! Ha!  But it was good.  They prepared us for the field.  we did a lot of role play with other sister missionaries.  It is a lot of fun to practice an approach and different teaching techniques with somebody rather than your companion.

We only taught Ian and Carlos a couple times this week.  My schedule has been pretty crazy as we have been preparing to leave.  (That is so raro to say).  Both of the lessons went really well with them.  I love them both so much.  It gives me a little glimpse into the future about how I am going to feel for my real investigators.  I truly feel like their salvation lies in my hands and they aren't even real.  Ha!  I am ready to get out and teach real people.  Think, it very well could be in a matter of days.  Eeek!

This week we had 2 amazing lessons from both Hermano Haug and Hermano Sagers.  They are trying to prepare us for the field both spiritually and with the language.  You know when they break out into English it is important.  So they spoke to us in English about how we need to give it our all, give our whole heart to the Lord because it is His work.  It made me think "Have I truly given him all I can?"  God gave us everything and the only thing we can give him back is our heart and our will.  So I have really been focusing a lot on that question this week.  I know I am far from where I need to be, but I am getting there day by day.  Hermano Haug asked us to write in our study journal all we have been blessed with.  Wow!  I have been so blessed my whole life.  Truly, God has given me a wonderful family, friends who are the best examples, the ability to receive and education, financial stability, a testimony, and the list goes on.  The least I can do for Him is to serve Him with all my heart these next 17ish months.

Also, Hermano Sagers did little "coaching" interview things with anyone in the district who had questions or needed help.  I decided to take the opportunity to learn and ask him how I can recognize the spirit better and with that use it to ask inspired questions in lessons.  It was a pretty broad subject, but after meeting one on one with him, I can say that I learned exactly what I needed.  I am now keeping a journal of all the times I feel the spirit throughout the day.  Clearly I know what the spirit feels like for me, but it's nice to learn how it speaks to me better and so I know how to recognize it and utilize those feelings in lessons.  D&C 50 verse 18(?)  has helped me so much.  I just want you to know that I have seen miracles here.  I have learned so much and small miracles happen each day as I strive to learn and serve.

This past week I was also called to be the Coordinating Sister.  Hermana Hafen and I have been so blessed with such amazing calls and opportunities.  It is our responsibility to make sure each sister feels loved, included, and is doing well.  I love being able to get to know them each better.  We go around each night and give "Buenas Noches" hugs. :)  Iss da best (nacho libre voice..duh).  I truly love my calling, love my district, love my zone, love my teachers...the list goes on!  I am so blessed and the only one I can truly thank is my Padre Celestial.

I will make this short, but I want to say I love you all.  Thanks for the support.  The church is true, I know it!  My testimony is growing each day---It it not where I want it to be yet, but I am motivated to increase my knowledge and learn as much as I can each day.  El Libro de Mormon es verdadero, y el palabras de Dios.  Yo se que Thomas S. Monson es el profeta de este Inglesia y es llamado de Dios.  Jesucristo es siempre aqui para mi.  I love this church, I love the gospel.  (So, maybe I can't write Spanish very well, but try to see where I am coming from, ha!)

The Lord is blessing me with the ability to wake up at 6:30 each day and get to sleep right at 10:30 each night.  Even if I do have bags under my eyes and this weird rash that won't go away on my face. HA!!

Hasta luego, hopefully later as in today!

--Shoutout to Dad, Austin, and the whole Willey family.  Hope you are all enjoying Montana!  Can't wait to join you in 2 summers ;)
--HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOUUUUU...Love you Austin!  Have the best birthday on the 16th.  Package coming your way!!
--Congrats to all the little boys and their baseball teams!  So proud of you all!  So lucky to call you all my siblings!  And mom, good luck sitting at all the baseball games. BAH!
Mikayla got to be the Host this week to her dear friend, Brandi Betteridge.  What a tender mercy!

 Mikayla and Hermana Albright enjoying some "free" time!

 Mikayla with 2 fellow lone peak friends...Sister Jacobs and Sister Wright.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Happy Fourth of July

This week flew by!  I think this week was probably one of my favorites thus far in the mission.  To begin, on Monday, Hermana Hafen and I were studying in the classroom alone when we saw this man and lady walk by with this HUGE camera (yes, bigger than dad's camera, ha!)  We peek out the door to see what they were doing.  The next thing we know they are asking to take a picture of us.  So clearly, we said "Yes".  They said they wouldn't use it unless they got our permission...so we thought that was all.  2 hours later they come back and say, "We would like you to be in a photoshoot for the church."  WHAT?!?!  Yeah.  My thoughts exactly.  Photoshoot?  In the MTC?  Stunned.  They went off to say we needed to bring 3 outfits, got all of our shoe, shirt, and skirt sizes (just in case) and then said, "okay we will see you in the morning at 8"...Trying so hard not to laugh.  The next morning we got up and headed to the "photoshoot" (I don't know what else to call it).  We get there, they coordinate our outfits, they do our makeup, everything.  It was so fun!  We were acting out a scene on the street with fake investigators as we were giving them a pass along card, showing them a video on an Ipad, and scheduling an appointment on the iphone.  It's for the new technology training I guess...so we may be the faces for some of the training.  Look out for us! :)

The following day was the day we did the "How to Begin Training".  Out of the whole MTC, only 8 companionships were chosen and one was Hermana Hafen and myself.  How incredible is that?  We have been so blessed!  Thank you for all the prayers and fasting.  We needed them!  We taught twice in front of a crowd of new missionaries.  It went SO WELL.  I loved being able to talk and teach in English.  It was such a blessing.  It gave us hope that maybe we can do it out in Argentina...well...in Spanish, too.

We had some fantastic devotionals this week.  We learned a lot about how we need to be ourselves and not anybody else.  For example, if God chose me to be a 5 and my companion to be an 8 (the 8 is not better than the 5 just different roles).  God wants me to be the best 5 I can be.  Even if I want to be an 8, that is not by role here on earth.  I have been chosen to be a 5 and I am going to be the best 5 I can be.  It also goes along with not comparing our abilities to others.  That is one thing that has been hard.  Watching people progress faster, or learn more quickly, is frustrating.  But I've learned that I am comparing my weaknesses to their strengths.  God gave me so many strengths and I need to be thankful for them each day.

Ooo ooo oooh!  I forgot to say that on Wednesday I was able to Host the new missionaries!  Yay!  I was able to host a cute girl from California and another from St. George.  I was so happy!  I loved wearing that "HOST" sticker around and feeling like I knew exactly what I was doing (when clearly, I really don't).

One more thing.  How can I forget the Fourth of July?!  It was amazing. We were able to watch 17 Miracles and then after watch the Stadium of Fire Fireworks!  Unreal!  I felt like a little child who has never seen them before.  I literally was screaming and making childish noises when each firework was lit.  Wow.  Sad huh?  The weeping willow ones will forever be my favorite..beautiful!  We decorated our whole classroom with the stuff you and Austin sent in my package.  Thanks a ton!  It was fantastic!  Still holds my favorite holiday spot, I think.

Love you all.   Can't wait to hear from you next week :)

Hermana McChesney


--Shoutout to the Barrett family and Jean Smith for sending me the sweetest packages/letter ever!  Love you all so much!
--Shoutout to Kristie Harker for her missionary story she sent me.  I have shared it with so many people in my district!
--Shout out to Camille and Weston Fisher on their marriage!  YAY!!

 Mikayla and Hermana Hafen in the TALL room practicing their Spanish.

 Mikayla with her high school friend Ally Modersitzki.

Happy Fourth of July!  It looks like this district has a lot of personality.

Mikayla and Hermana Hafen "Hosting" for the first time.