Saturday, August 27, 2016

If, for a while, the harder you try-the harder it get's- take heart

One of my favorite quotes from Elder Holland is "If, for a while, the harder you try-the harder it get's-take heart. So it has been with the best people who have ever lived". I don't know if I have ever worked harder in my life, and it's sure been a while since Satan’s influence has been this discouraging. Looking back on this week, it was so great and so much good happened that no WONDER it was so hard-...Satan was a slightly peeved to say the least. It truthfully was a rough week, but it was also so so so good. And...that last sentence sums up missionary work at its finest. Haha! 
     As I have felt very inadequate and discouraged this week, I have been thinking about the 3 Nephites who are still here (and if you are one of those 3 Nephites and happen to be reading this letter-you are my hero. I'm currently in Traverse City and I'll be in Provo at the beginning of next year-and I'd love to go to lunch or something and chat). As Christ was leaving them, He said, "and again, ye shall not have pain while ye shall dwell in the flesh, neither sorrow save it be for the sins of the world..." (3 Nephi 28:9). Think of all of the things these three and John have seen? I wonder what has been the hardest thing for them to watch through each generation? I wonder where they were during the revolutionary war, the world wars, the cold war, and all that is going on right now. Having seen Christ personally and to now to be living in a "post Christian" era, I wonder what their sadness and discouragement feels like. But I'm sure they keep their heads high and keep on preaching the good word-and so must I. :) 
    One great thing that happened this week was transfer calls! Sister Fletcher and I will be staying together!! I am SOSOSO EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!!! I mean, I thought we might, but I'm stoked. 
    I also know that God is personally looking out for me every day. As we were grocery shopping earlier this afternoon, a woman came up to us and said, "I just felt impressed like I needed to talk to you. I love the Mormons. You are doing a great job. Thank you for our service". Say what?! Thanks! Also, Sister Fletcher and I get asked if we are twins literally every day. We get asked if we are sisters all of the time, but it seems like we were asked so many times this week! And then when people are drawn to talk to us to find out if we are twins, they all of the sudden find themselves at the end of the conversation with an appointment to learn about the Book of Mormon next week.
    We met this little family that the parents are LA, but their 14-year-old daughter wants to be baptized soon. We put her on date and are going to have her dad baptize her-meaning they have to change some things. The mom is super stand offish, and when I saw her for the first time, I thought "challenge accepted". You will like us, whether you want to or not, you'll like us one day:) 
    We met with many other less actives and met some other investigators. We took one of the Laurels to a lesson with us, and afterwards she said, "WOAH! Missionary work is the best! I could hardly sleep last night I was so nervous and excited to go out with you today". I absolutely love the missionary fire! It made me laugh and I loved seeing someone so excited to serve!
    I hope you all have a wonderful week. If you are doing the best you know how, and life somehow seems to be getting harder---join the club. Elder Holland also said, "You are in good company. In fact, you are in the best company that ever lived'. Angels are around you and are there to bear you up. You've got this! Have a wonderful week!

Sister Ensign :) 

We went to the tip of our area called Northport for a picnic on Monday with our branch mission leader. Isn't this beautiful!?!? Can't wait to touch it one day.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


Hello dearest family and friends, 

    I truly don't think I have been happier on my mission than I am right now. Things are starting to pick up here in Traverse City and I am thrilled to be here. Another transfer is over this week, and I can't believe how quickly it is going. As I'm sure like a lot of things in life, when I wanted it to go quickly (like at the beginning) it went on forever, but now that I want it to stay, the time is flying by. 

The Lord is definitely hastening His work.

 I just have to tell you about yesterday! We have been out knocking doors and trying to find people to teach. Well let me tell you we have found some pretty incredible people! I don't really want to tell you too much about them yet to ruin the excitement, but keep reading the chronicles of Sister Ensign in the MLM to find out what happens! All week we had been trying to meet with less-actives and we have been calling everyone with very little success, BUT YESTERDAY 8 less actives came to church! That was incredible and truly a miracle!!!

  One of the coolest things was as we were running one morning this week- we met a woman who offered to drive us to Suttons bay. So we hopped in her car a few days later and then took multiple bus systems to get home. Not going to lie, the tourist in me had an absolute blast! We taught many lessons on our trip, and it was so fun!
   My thought I am going to leave with you all this week is the power of prayer. I think many times we go to our Heavenly Father in times of need and we forget to thank him for all the help he gives us. I invite all of you to follow the council found in D&C 19:28 and pray vocally. Pray with a sincere heart and contrite spirit. Grow your relationship with Heavenly Father. Come to know the Savior and by doing this I promise you will come to know yourselves. I love you all so much:) Talk to you soon!

                      With love, Sister Ensign

P.S. I have two P-days this week and no P-days next week so don't freak out when I don't write next week! But I will write you all again Saturday:)

A confidence booster for sure. Oh yeah baby! And I COULD tell you how many times we have been asked if we were twins on one hand-but then I might have to grow 39847239857 million more hands. Twins? More like Sisters:) 


This week was honestly one of the best weeks of my mission.

I got to go to the temple with Jessica and Mary!!! It was a dream come true!! One of my favorite less actives also went through the temple for the first time in years!!!


One of my favorite pictures

"I'd rather wear out than rust out."

Ok, so you know how people say that missions are the best two years of your life? Most definitely the best two years for my life-a struggle to say the least when facing a sinus infection. I was teaching a new guy about the restoration, and my nose was so stuffed he literally couldn't understand a word I was saying. I just sat there, laughed, and looked at my greenie (who is AMAZING) to take it over because I my blocked nasal cavities were preoccupied as they became well acquainted with two whole boxes of Vicks scented tissue. Even though I felt kind of crummy, it was cool to see how the Lord helped me be able to work every day. He helped me not feel too tired and to help my greenie know what to say when I was coughing like a maniac. I received a blessing, and I know all will be well. It's my own fault too-I just love to talk with other missionaries when we get together and stay up chatting about who knows what. Moral of the story-if we don't take time to take care of our bodies, they will make us take time to feel better (unless your a missionary-then the Lord will help you keep doing the work every day) :) 

This week was actually pretty good considering the sickness! However, we did drop 4 of our investigators. They weren't progressing, so we're excited to see what miracles will be placed in our paths this upcoming week. We met the CUTEST little family in a town called Suttons Bay right on the coast. They have already had all of the lessons because they used to live in Colorado, and their member friends sent over the new missionaries to "practice" on them. Smooth. I am a little worried on how high my hopes are. It's fun when I met someone and think, "Yep. You fit the mold. You would be perfect". But then it's also fun to see people who come from crazy backgrounds and think "You'd have to change everything, but it's exactly what you need". 

I was down in Lansing this week for MLC and we had a huge BBQ together as leaders in the Mission. It was the first time I was able to see Sister Bates and Sonderegger from the MTC and all talk. You would think we had known each other for years. We laughed to hard and talked about the craziness of the mission thus far. 

We have met so many nice people recently (more than normal), which may be due to having a greenie on board. Sister Fletcher is doing so well and I am so proud of her. It is so fun to watch her apply the little things she has learned and already see her becoming braver. It makes me excited to Hunter to get into the field and watch him change. Love the kid. 

I studied about the sacrament this week-particularly from 3 Nephi 20. People often say they don't need to go to church to be a good person or to become closer to God. In many ways, they are right! We have such a large responsibility to build our relationship with God outside of the church building. However, we have been commanded to go to church because of the sacrament. When we take the sacrament worthily and with purpose, we can be forgiven of the wrong that we do, and don't have to feel guilty anymore. Then we can have the Holy Ghost with us ALWAYS. I second Elder Oaks when he says, "To those brothers and sisters who may have allowed themselves to become lax in this vital renewal of the covenants of the sacrament, I plead in the words of the First Presidency that you come back and feast at the table of the Lord, and taste again of the sweet and satisfying fruits of fellowship with the saints. Let us qualify ourselves for our Savior's promise that by partaking of the sacrament we will be filled, which means we will be filled with the Spirit. That spirit-the Holy Ghost- is our comforter, our direction finder our communicator, our interpreter, our witness, and our purifier-our infallible guide and sanctifier for our mortal journey toward eternal life". 

I am so glad He called me on a mission. It may be especially the times when I don't feel the best that I am grateful that I know I have the Atonement to heal me. I testify Jesus Christ lives and He and His Father have a plan for us. 

Have a great week. Thanks for the letters and the little packages!! Love you!!

Sister Ensign 

An eternal optimist

Hello Dearest Family, 


I am doing so well, and am even better knowing Hunt is a ZONE LEADER!!! Atta kid! 

This week was so much- I love greenies. Greenie fire is real! Sister Fletcher is such an angel and I love her to pieces already. 

One of the most exciting parts about my week was teaching in Sign! There is a less active who is deaf and we decided to stop by (Mind you-I am not that great at sign anyway, and i haven't really signed in a year). So before we went to the door, I prayed for the gift of tongues to be able to communicate with her. We talked for about a half hour, and it was amazing how quickly I could remember things. It was awesome!!!

Dad, would you mind sending me your patriarchal blessing? I'd love to be able to read it.

Also, who is Billy Dean? We met a SUPER old guy this week who is Billy Dean's father in law. ? 

Sorry, I have to go- we are headed down to Lansing today for a meeting! Next week I will probably be writing on a different day because we are hoping to be traveling again! Next week will be so crazy but probably one of the most fun weeks on the mish. I'll tell you more later!

I love you all. I love being a missionary and I can't wait to hear about how Hunt man is doing. I hope you are okay too Momma. I need and love you more than you think. 

Have a great week!!

Sister Ensign 

Traverse City

Hello Hello hello!!!
How are you all!?!

      This week was so crazy but it was also one of the most fun weeks I'll probably have while on my mission! I had my birthday this week-and it was AWESOME!!! I woke up in Petoskey, and we went to the pier in the morning. I got to Irish Dance on the pier over the water as I watched the sun rise on my 20th birthday. It was so fun.

THANK YOU TO THOSE WHO WROTE/SENT ME THINGS!!!!!!! I am so grateful for you and don't deserve the love I have been shown. Thank you again!! Some members of the Petoskey branch took me to breakfast to say goodbye, and it was so sad to say goodbye to everyone this week. I will always love Petoskey.
     But I already love it here in Traverse City! This branch is amazing and it is weird to open an area while already knowing quiet a few members (Which is so helpful). 
AND I LOVE MY DARLING NEW COMPANION!!!!! Her name is Sister McKenna Fletcher from Orem, Utah. She went to SVU for a year before coming out. She is the 3rd of 4 in her family, and she is already one of my dearest friends. She cracks me up and we have so much fun together! It is honestly more like she is training me. I can't wait to see what the new few weeks have in store for us!

We got to our new apartment after a long day traveling and found we had nothing in our apartment. Ha!! So we decided we needed some food, and not knowing where much was, we went to McDonalds for a drink. We ended up teaching a guy there and it was a very successful evening! 

There have been so many amazing people I have been able to meet and talk with here. I can't believe I'll hit my year mark this week. This definitely has been one of the best years FOR my life that could ever happen. I love the Savior. I know He lives and I know He knows you because I know He knows me.

Have a great week!! GOOD LUCK AT THE MTC HUNTIE BABY!!!! You may be able to hear the state of Michigan cheering you on because I talk with EVERYONE about you!!! WE ARE SO THRILLED TO HAVE YOU JOIN THE LORD'S ARMY!!! I LOVE YOU KIDDO!!!!

Sister Ensign 


Last day being 19.       19 on the 19th

New Companion: Sister Fletcher

And Transfer Calls are In....

Hello dear family! I hope you are all doing well! 

This week was super busy but also super great. I can't believe it is already P-Day again! 

On Monday we visited less actives that I have never met before, and it was fun to see people whose names I have seen on a list for months.

Wednesday was super crazy because we had district meeting up in Cheboygan. We visited 4 less actives and were running from appointment to appointment. 

One of the coolest things that happened this week was that Sister Mathis and I were talking about miracles and we told AMAZING stories that we have heard missionaries have. I know that there are miracles around me each day, but we wanted to have something awesome happen. I was reading in 3 Nephi 1 about how people were shown signs as a result of their faith. Sister Mathis and I tried our best to be as diligent as we could to show our faith. As we were talking about how we could improve, a woman named Jessica called us and said, "Hi, I don't know if you are the right people to talk to, but I have a lot of Mormon friends and I want to come to your church. I'm not a member yet, but I may want to be". Sweet! I don't know what I was expecting to have happen, but I was really excited!!

We also got our transfer calls this week. I will be headed down to Traverse City to open the area-as well as train-as well as still being a Sister Training leader. Sister Mathis will be staying here in Petoskey to also train. We will kind of still work together as we are the STL's up in the Traverse City Zone, but we will also train. We will still go on trade offs (meaning I'll get to come back to Petoskey!!!!!) and we'll meet in Cadillac sometime in the transfer. I am sad to be leaving the Petoksey area and branch, but I am THRILLED to be staying up North!! I will still be in the District, and will get to see people like Jessica every now and then! I am PUMPED!!! I don't have my address yet because I won't be in the apartment until Thursday after I have picked up my new sister and we'll walk in it for our first time together. I think I am the most thrilled to train because I will be training while Hunt is in training and I hope training goes well for him!! 

We spent this morning in Cheboygan at the baptism of two 18 year old girls being baptized. It was so fun to watch them, and I loved being able to help them get ready!

Thank you for the BOM study guide! I LOVE IT!!! I am also so grateful for those who sent cards this last week (especially the cards from San Francisco)! The best way to be reached for the next week or so will be the mission office.

I'll know my Traverse City address later! It is a brand new apartment and I'm so excited to see what the Lord has in store for my new baby and me! 

I am doing so well, and can't believe how quickly a year has gone by. Best of luck on your talk tomorrow Huntie! I love you to death and can't wait to hear how it goes. Will you send me a copy of your talk? I meet so many people with connections to Nashville! 

Have a great week! I know the Savior lives. I love Him. 

Sister Ensign 


Sister Ball. Love her to death

Sums it up nicely

How can the transfer already be over?

Hello family and friends! I hope you are doing well and have had a wonderful week! 
     Remember our good neighbor friend David who walked us out a couple weeks ago? Well, it has been my personal challenge to be nicer to that man than anyone I've ever met. I was dancing in the parking lot this morning and as he gets into his car says, "Are you training for something?" I told him briefly about trying to keep in shape (...haha I WISH) by dancing/running every day for the folk dance team. He then said, "I want you to know that I really appreciate what you do. The reason I walked you out the other day was because how you got into our apartment was deceitful. You know what I mean?"....HAHAH!!! It's crazy how opening a door works. Anyway, long story short-please pray for David. One day he'll like me, "but that day is not today".. haha!

This week was actually really cool! The branch was hit hard with some pretty major tragedies, and I don't know if I've ever seen God's hand more in our lives. On the 4th, one of our member's apartment burned and she lost everything. The kid above her was playing with fireworks and one didn't completely finish burning. She thankfully was at work, but has to get new everything. 
     The more I have thought about it, the more I see it as God's greatest blessings to her. She is financially struggling MAJORLY due to poor choices, and I thought she was going to be homeless before I left the area. Now that her place burned, she will be able to get an apartment closer to work, and she is able to gt even nicer things than she had. They let her go through what she could for 15 minutes a few days later, and she actually was able to find a bin with her only son's baby pictures. Isn't that so cool! Not only was God able to save her financially, He is able to give her something even greater in return-and is able to bless the branch with an opportunity to serve. 

We also found out yesterday that one of my favorite less active members has stage 4 breast cancer. She bawled as I rubbed her back for a while. I didn't really know what to say when she told us, but I read some scriptures with her and gave her many, many tissues. We visited her last night, and it was good to be with her. We talked with her about possible solutions, but mainly we just listened. All of the sudden, I said, "One of my favorite things about being a missionary is that we have literally been set apart to represent the Lord Jesus Christ. As such, we have been given the authority to act in His name" I randomly opened up my scriptures and read Mosiah 4:9 'Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend'. I then said "I promise you in the name of Jesus Christ that if you will either move out of or marry your boyfriend, you will be healed. God loves you and wants you to obey Him". WOAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I started freaking out in the car afterwards. I asked her if she believed me, and when she said "Yes", I testified that I knew God loved her. It was actually a really neat experience

(Sorry the font changed, and I don't know how to change it back!) 

This week I also got to spend a night in Cadillac as well as in Mt. Pleasant in my old apartment!!! It was so weird to be back there, and 6 months of memories definitely came back. I am grateful for Mt. Pleasant, but I was sure glad to come back home to Petoskey! We traveled all over because we had Zone Training, and I ended up teaching part of it. My topic was "working with Members" and I prayed for days on what I should do. I couldn't figure anything out, and all of the sudden, the idea of "Etiquette" came to my mind. I literally taught 60 missionaries how to eat right and why they should. I kept thinking about all of my "lessons" with Dad downtown at Lambs and it was actually really fun! We had a practice teach where a couple missionaries eat very poorly in front of President and Sister Jacobsen (who had no idea what was going on) and it went really well. We also talked about asking members "Why are you active?" and helping members remember why they are doing what they are doing. Thanks for all of the idea that helped me!

This week I was thinking about a cute little family I met quiet a few months ago who weren't interested. I thought we should try again, and they said yes!! (I usually just act like I've never met the people because I was in about 300 lbs of coats the last time I knocked on their door...but their 6 year old girl looked at me and said "I think I've seen you before" Shoot! I guess it doesn't work every time! Ha!)

The fourth was fun-kinda. We were given ALL day to play around. But we got to bored we ended up teaching a guy and picking him up as a new investigator! The coolest part of the 4th was dancing in a parking lot as the sun set into the water, and then watching the fireworks over the water. Seriously, Petoskey is the coolest place ever!! 

Overall, I am doing so well. I am loving life, and I can't wait until Huntie is a missionary! I have a referral waiting for him once he is in the field. You would think that Petoskey and Nashville were like Sandy and Draper by the amount of people that know people in each place. I can't wait until I get to send Hunter some names of people to teach. 

I testify that Jesus Christ lives. He is the Son of the Living God. We have a Prophet on the Earth today who allows us to know true doctrine. I am so grateful to know that this church teaches the doctrine that Christ taught. I love Him. 

Have a wonderful week!! 

Sister Ensign 

God Shed His Grace on Thee

This week was so amazing!!!

One of my favorite things that happened this week was I was able to receive a blessing. I don't know why, but asking for blessings is something that has been hard for me. I have thought in the past that me asking for a blessing must mean that something is "wrong". If you have thought this, or have felt prompted to receive a blessing-PLEASE DO IT!!! I testify that men here on Earth hold the power and authority to speak in God's name and His behalf. I know that blessings brings so much comfort, because they always do for me-and they help remind me how much God loves me. I know He loves you too and has a specific role for you to play while you are here on Earth. I know receiving a blessing will remind you of His perfect love for you!

We traveled to St. Ignas this week and had district meeting across the bay from Macinac Island. It was so cool to see the Grand Hotel! I can't wait to come back here and actually be able to go to the Island! I also tried the worlds hottest pepper- the Carolina Reeper. It was insanely hot, but I just HAD to try it! I literally had the smallest bit possible (like the size of a mini chocolate chip) When else am I going to eat one of those suckers?! I wouldn't recommend it as some elders threw up after eating a whole one. So I'm grateful that I have gotten much better at eating hot food since being out. So funny!!

Are you from Nashville? Because you are the only 10 I See!! It seems like the entire city of Petoskey is moving to Nashville. I have met SO many people who are moving there or are going to be visiting there!!! Isn't that so cool!!! What if I taught someone that Hunter baptizes!?!?! Every time someone says they have a connection with Nashville, I freak out....and I somehow end up telling them all about Huntie. We were having a particularly long day, and as we were trying to put on a smiling face, we met Mike. He was riding his horse and while the horse's baby walked by them. On top of the baby horse was a stuffed Woody from Toy Story. Mike is from Nashville, and was out "walking his horse". I busted up laughing and said "Thank you Heavenly Father for the remembering Hunter and me" It was exactly what I needed! I laughed about it all day long. And as I have thought about it, God has never forgotten me. He has put just the right people in the exact moment I need them. I'm so grateful to know He loves me. 

Even though it is July, I have been is sweaters all week long-IT'S PERFECT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It is exactly what I prayed for when I was waiting to receive my call! It's in the 70's in the day, and in the 60's in the evening. I AM LOVING IT HERE!!! And because I am loving it so much, it will be quite difficult to leave this place. 

Another highlight of the week was Jessica bearing her testimony to us about how much the gospel has changed her life. She was confirmed the newest member of the Petoskey branch yesterday, and it was a moment I will remember for the rest of my life. She told me how much comfort she feels knowing that when she dies, she will be with her Heavenly Father and her grandma again.  (We did family history with her for a little bit, and she already has 9 generations on family search!) I SO badly hope I'll be able to go to the temple with her and Mary when Mary gets back. 
      Missionaries definitely have moments when we ask if we are actually making a difference, or if it's worth it. But like Elder Holland says, "Yes it is worth it. Because without it...we would leave our nation and our lives desolate". This was one of those moments that will forever help me know that pushing through hard things are WORTH IT!!!! 

Another highlight was that Patrick went to church in Alpena (On the other side of the state) while he was on a camping trip! We talked about drinking (which he really isn't much of a drinker, but does drink when he is with his family who drinks). He hasn't had any alcohol yet while out of town! We asked him why he should follow the Word of Wisdom, and he said "I really want to know what is true. If I want to know if it is the Mormon way, then I better start acting like a Mormon". Sweet! It was so exciting to get a call from the Elders in Alpena to tell us how solid he is! We are hoping he'll be baptized in the next few weeks. 

Overall, being a missionary is one of the most tiring and rewarding things that anyone could go through. I am blessed to be here, and am grateful for the wonderful people around me. I know Christ lives!

Have 4th of July!!! Love you all! 
Sister Ensign 

Sister Jessica Bowhall

'ello love!

This week went by so quickly-it's weird how quickly time is passing now! This week we went to Lansing for our monthly trip for a leadership meeting. We had a blast in Lansing. It is so fun to have a little change of scenery every now and then-but don't get me wrong-the scenery of Petoskey is absolutely gorgeous right now! In Lansing we were trained by the aps and the Jacobsens. We got home late Tuesday, but we had a great time with the missionaries from Traverse City and down in Lansing. Later this last week we saw some less actives and also went on trade offs.

I was with Sister Tongi from Tonga who has now been out for 5 months. I went on her first trade off with her when she had only been out for 5 weeks, and it's crazy to see how much of a missionary she has become. I'm so proud of her! 

We ran into a part member/less active family this week and we are having dinner with them this week. We were so excited, and we're able to teach them a lesson on the spot. Love it when that happens! 

Patrick is doing well. He went to the branch shooting activity-even though we couldn't! He sees the large commitment this Church is, so he is a little more hesitant, but is still on date for another month. We'll see! 

Ok, so now for the SUPER exciting news...JESSICA WAS BAPTIZED YESTERDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WAHOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Isn't she just beautiful!?!?! We are already planning her trip out to Utah when we are home. On Wednesday we had Jessica's baptismal interview, and she is what we refer as "golden". She is so stalwart, and we couldn't be more thrilled for her. The service was held after church yesterday, and even visitors stayed. President and Sister Jacobsen came, and it was such a fun experience. She cried the majority of the time, and once she came out of the water she said, "man, that felt good. I just feel good". It was awesome!! She'll be confirmed on Sunday, and we are hoping to get to the temple before transfers. She is such a blessing and has changed my life. Welcome to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We love you!! (I'll have to write more later!)
Have a wonderful week!!! This church is true!

Sister Ensign

Happy Father's Day

You know that Snickers commercial with the horseless headsman that says "You're not you when you are hungry" ? What I didn't know until this week was that when someone's blood sugar drops, they change into a completely different person. We were visiting a woman who went a little crazy for a bit. After I asked her to check her blood sugar, and found out it was 49 (which I guess it's supposed to be in the 140s?) we were able to take care of the situation with a jam packed (pun kinda intended) PB&J. Ohh the things I find myself learning each day on a mission. Ha!

We had a fabulous week here in Petoskey. I don't know if I have slept better at night in my life. I can't even count until 30 before I am out.

We were literally running from appointment to appointment this week all over Northern Michigan. It's so fun to serve up North! I wish everyone could serve here!  As we visited a less active this week, she ran out the door, and said, "today is just not a good day!" and cried in my arms. I just held her for a while, and once she was a little more calm, she said, "Oh I just love you. Thank you for coming over". We talked for a while, but mostly she showed us her flower garden. We didn't teach much of a lesson, but one of my favorite lessons I've learned is that sometimes the Lord needs us to be His listening ear for others.

On Wednesday, we had our District meeting up in Cheboygan which is at the very top of the lower Peninsula. We were running to try to see a recent convert, a less active, and then make it back to our appointments here in Petoskey. We had a lesson with Jessica and she is doing so well! We have been talking about my lack of cooking for a while and she wants me to learn! She had us over for dinner this week and she taught us how to make a spicy stir fry. It was so good! Then she said, "I have a gift for you girls". She bought each of us a cook book, and wants us to come up with our favorite recipe to try. She is so cool!!!!!!! WE LOVE HER!!! She'll be baptized on Sunday and we all can't wait. I can't thank the Lord enough to have had the chance to get to know her!

OH!!!! As we furthered our journey in meeting our neighbors this week (though it didn't go AS well as we had hoped last week...HA!), it turns out a 16 year old less active lives underneath us! She is a foster child, and said she was offended at church. We talked about which members of the branch she could remember, and then talked to those members throughout the week. One of the members talked to us for a while, and talked about the hard life this 16 year old and her mother have had. Long story short, not even an hour after we had talked about this girls mother with the member, she was sitting behind us during one of our lessons! The Lord placed her in our path, and it was SO COOL!!! We called the member back and said that we had met the mother of this girl, and the member laughed so hard! It was awesome!

This town may not have a Target or a mall, but it does have an Irish store-Another highlight of the week.(Is that not the most random thing?) We walked in, and I almost cried. I LOVE IRISH DANCE!!! We talked to the workers for a while, and one said she plays the fiddle. We then talked about how she wants to play at feis's, and it felt so good to see some Irish things. Two of the workers are now potentials, and I got to see some overpriced sweatshirts with "Ireland" written on them. I felt like I was back home.

As we were downtown near the bay front this week, a woman stopped us and said, "Aren't you those Mormon girls? Tell me, what do you believe?" Well...people rarely come up to us and ask, so it was cool! She kind of threw down on the trinity, but it was still a good experience. We also met this girl named Kasey who is so sweet!! She ended up giving me a Petoskey Stone, and it so nice. We met with her at the park again yesterday, and it is so fun to be around so many people in such a beautiful part of the world.

I am currently in the war chapters of the Book of Mormon, and the overarching theme seems to be that we can never over prepare. I am seeing that we can never be too prepared, or have too much faith in Christ. I am seeing how much comfort the Gospel brings to people, and I know that He will be there. Happy Father's Day. I know the Father of us all loves us and I testify that He lives!

Love you!!
Sister Ensign

This link is all about Father's, and it made me especially grateful for mine!

Another week in Paradise of Petoskey

Ok, get this.  The funniest part about my week was that as we were door knocking an apartment complex, we were PROMPTLY escorted out by a 60 year old man who sternly walked us out of the building. The funniest part?'s our apartment complex. Moral of the story-we know where NOT to go when we need a cup of flour. I laughed so hard I couldn't even look at him as he walked us out. HAHAH!!! Poor guy. 

This week was so great! A major highlight was that our investigator Jessica taught the Relief Society enrichment activity on Saturday. The gal is a miracle. She is so funny, and we are having dinner with her this week because we have told her about our lack of cooking ability. She is a dietitian, and she said, "we need you to know how to cook so we can get you married". Hahah!!  You better believe she's coming to my wedding! She is doing so well, and she is excited for her baptism in 2 weeks. 

Another fun thing was having FHE with Mary's family. Mary has moving to Illinois for a month to live with her daughter. She knows when transfer calls are, and she said she would be back to say goodbye. As our final lesson, we played Pictionary with her and her two grandkids, and we all laughed so hard. I love the Eaton family. I'm sad to say goodbye to them for a few weeks. 

We also had an amazing experience as we talked with a less active who lives with her boyfriend. She told us that they aren't married because they will lose $300 a month from government aide if she's married. I told her that losing her salvation is much more important than $3600 a year, and she started to bawl. I love moments when people feel the Spirit testify to them that they need to change. It's a unique situation for me (19 years old) to tell a woman 65 that she needs to either move out of her boyfriends' home, or get married. But it's also definitely a memory. We all love her. 

We met with a woman this week who told us she was so excited to meet with us and had some questions for us. We were so excited after we talked with her on her doorstep, but that excitement turned just a tad as she began her lesson with "Well, you do know that I'm a Jehovah Witness, right? I won't join in your prayer, unless it is to Jehovah God". ....and then things turned south quickly. Our member, a returned missionary, and our dear Jehovah Witness friend began a bash of the bible. After a while, I said, "It's obvious that we are all convinced that our doctrine is correct, and nothing we say today will change our opinion. If you are interested in learning about the truthfulness of our doctrine, you can do as we have all done by reading the Book of Mormon and praying to know if it is true." It was much better afterwards, and the longer I am out, the more I am realizing that adults are just little kids in taller bodies. oh man.... 

Another super random thing that happened this week was as we were walking home one rainy night, a woman with 3 little kids ran up to us and said "Can you pray with us? I was just in a car accident, and I need help". It began to rain cats and dogs, and we talked to this woman about how we know God will help her with her trials and that He loves her. I said a prayer as we all held hands in a circle on the side of the road. The woman's mother came (who is a retired nurse) and helped. The woman said, "Wait, we have to take a picture because you are so cute!" She then proceeded to ask us if we make bread all day long. Just to top off the situation, we were confused as Amish. Ha! The picture is on the bottom. 

Overall I am doing really well! I can't believe that June will be half way done this week. It's crazy how quickly time is picking up. Thank you for all of the prayers in my behalf as well as in behalf of the Petoskey area. I know that God lives, that Jesus is the Christ, and that They love us. I know that He is aware of you, because I can see Him help me. 

Have a great week! Love you!!

Sister Ensign 

Another Transfer in Petoskey!

Hello hello family and friends!!

Congrats Molly!!! I am so excited for you!!!! You are constantly in my thoughts and prayers, as well as my new niece!!! AH!!!!!!!!!!!

We had another wonderful week-in fact probably one of the best I've had on my mission. We finished our 40 day fast as a branch and it is amazing how the power of the Lord works when people are united.

On Monday after P-Day, we walked on the shoreline talking with people. It is so fun to live by water! Man, this place has my heart! I was a little nervous with transfers coming up this last week, but I am lucky enough to be staying one more. I am pretty positive I'll leave in the middle of July, so I am STOKED to be staying here for a bit longer!!

We saw quiet a few less actives this week-which always includes a good story. One of the saddest parts of the week was when we visited a woman in her early 60's named A in the hospital. She is from the Cheboygan group, but is down in Petoskey because we have the main hospital. We visited her in ICU (she has a lot of fluid around her lungs, and probably won't live much longer). She looked at me (and her eyes remind me of Kelsey's) and said, "I am so scared to die. I've never done it before. Help me". ...uh....Well, I've never before given a "final speech" to someone as they are facing death, and it was quiet the experience. My companion was talking with the nurse, so with a pray in my heart, told her about the place of Salvation and God's love for her. She said, "That does sound alright. I'll be okay". She was taken from ICU this week back home with a hospice nurse. I don't know if I'll see her again in this life, but it comforted me also to know that things will be okay when we pass away. 

We spent some time in St. Ignace this week (which is in the Upper Peninsula) and it was fun to see Mackinac Island, and am hoping to go there one day! 

We also met with some of our solid investigator this week!! We met with Jessica, and she pretty much taught us the Law of Chastity and the Word of Wisdom. She invited us over for dinner this week to teach us how to cook a super yummy and healthy meal (since she is a dietitian). Those are the most difficult lessons, so it appears we are smooth sailing for her baptism in three weeks. She even came down to district conference in Traverse City (and hour and a half away) BOTH Saturday and Sunday! She met President and Sister Jacobsen and all of the missionaries. She also said "I feel like I have been preparing my whole life for this. I know this is exactly what God wants me to be doing". She's also teaching a part of the enrichment activity this weekend with the relief society. Too good to be true? It seems like it, but she's 100% real-and ready. It's so fun!!

Mary is doing well, but is going to Illinois this weekend to stay with her sister for the remainder of the transfer. It is sad to see her go, but she said she would try to come home early so she could say goodbye to me before I get transferred in July. 

I am so so happy here. I don't know why I was called on a mission, but I am so grateful for it. I love the Branch, I love the area, and I love serving the Lord. The amazing moments far outweigh the more difficult times. I know that Jesus Christ lives and love us. One of the talks that has stood out to me from this last conference is "Do I Believe?" I feel we often do things in the church because we either see it as tradition, or something we grew up in. But as we come to understand the message our church has to share, the reality of it is much more apparent!! This is actually all real! And it's so cool to study it each day! I love my mission.

Have a great day!!!
Sister Ensign