Monday, July 28, 2014

Happy Monday!!


Wow I really feel like I was just writing an email yesterday! Time just flew this week. Well today it is super humid and my hair is just a lovely mess today. Its really great. But it has been raining so the temperature is pretty nice! Wow, I just still can't believe I'm a missionary. Sometimes I am in shock and I will just sit there and stare at my name tag. Ok I don't really have time for that but I did do that once this week for a couple seconds. I'M A MISSIONARY AND I LOVE IT. :)

Monday we got to go to the beach but sadly it was super foggy but it was still fun! The beach is exactly a mile from the main road where we live in Wells. So we parked our car and walked down the road to the beach for about 20 minutes and then walked back. The beach is really different from any beach I have been to. Lots of rocks, but so pretty! 
Tuesday we had appointments scheduled with Grace and then with a member for dinner but all our plans fell through so we ended up helping a member in the ward paint one of her nonmember friend's apartment. The lady was probably in her 60's and her and her husband are moving to an apartment that is one story because her husband is dying of cancer. She told us of how he is such an amazing man and is always doing service but he hasn't been able to do anything because of the cancer. We painted for about 4 hours and she was so grateful. I was able to talk to her about how little Brocky had cancer and told her that our family was able to get through it because of the gospel and the knowledge that it was in God's hand and that if something did happen we knew that we would see sweet Brock again. Gratefully that little superhero is still with us :) It was cool to be abel to relate with her though and hopefully plant a seed. Afterwards, Sister Combs took us to get some mexican food. It was no where near La Casita but it made me feel a little closer to home!
Wednesday was Zone Conference. Wow, President Stoker is an amazing man. Did I already say that? Well he is. It was my first zone conference and man it was so great. The conference was focused on chapter 1 in Preach My Gospel which talks all about our purpose as missionaries. We talked about being consecrated missionaries. He mentioned that as missionaries we are living the highest law of consecration as we literally give our lives to serving Heavenly Father and building His kingdom. We also studied indepth 2 Nephi 31. The chapter talks all about the doctrine of Christ. Such an amazing chapter. My favorite verse is verse 20. It says we must press forward feasting on the word of Christ.  He asked us what came to mind when we thought of "pressing forward". When I think of that I think of the Savior as he carried the cross to be crucified. How he pressed forward out of pure love. PURE LOVE for his brothers and sisters and most importantly His father in heaven. It makes me think of my life and how I can more fully utilize that sacrifice in my life. How my struggles and difficulties are so small compared to what he went through. A man gave a talk in church and he said, " We can either choose to live like Christ or suffer like Christ." If anything I am learning how to more fully use the atonement in my life! I also got to sing and play "Savior Redeemer of My Soul" with an elder in my district at the beginning of the afternoon meeting and then President asked us to do it again at the end. The spirit was so strong and I really could feel Heavenly Father helping me to be able to bring the spirit into the meeting. Such a cool experience.
Thursday we taught Grace the law of tithing. It was my first time teaching it and it was an easy one to teach but it's so hard. Grace has fibromialga and she is classified as disabled so she doesn't work and she has a little income. So at first she was asking if she could take tithing out after she paid her bills and we had to explain to her that it came out before anything else and she was really worried about being able to do it. But as we explained to her that Heavenly Father would bless her and that she would be able to have what she needed the spirit testified to her that it was true and her heart was softened and she willing accepted to pay tithing! Even though she is still worried about it her faith in Jesus Christ is so strong and I know she will be blessed for choosing to live the commandment!
My time is short so I will skip to Saturday! We got the privilege of being a part of an activity in the stake in celebration of the pioneers. It was called "A Step Back in Time" and it was so cool! We had like a little village built and there were a bunch of different buildings that depicted different things like, gardening, sewing, livestock, washing, and record keeping which is what we got to help with. The deseret news is doing a story on it so be on the lookout! It was such an amazing day. Me and Sister Aeschbacher were on our feet from 9 Am to 5 PM. The event lasted from 9-2 and we walked around most of the time and talked to people who were mostly nonmembers. We had about 1700 people come. It was a long day but definitely one to remember! I truly am grateful for the sacrifice of the pioneers and am humbled by the things they endured because of their faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that today we have our own struggles and know that as we put our faith in Jesus Christ and his gospel we truly will be able to say that "All is Well!" I got to sing "Come, Come Ye Saints to a couple people we visited and every time I got to sing it my gratitude became stronger for the pioneers but alsof or the knowledge of a Savior who is always there to help me through this life, because it is hard but it will be worth it!! 
I got the letters from the reunion and they sure made me smile. I love my family, you all are awesome! Thanks for being who you are.
 I am overwhelmed by the strength Heavenly Father has given me to fulfill this calling I have. There are still so many things I can do better at and so many things I am working on but as I have faith I can see how he truly is helping me. 
Life is a gift, don't waste a breath on something that isn't going to matter when we get to heaven.
Love you all!

Sister Innes

Monday, July 21, 2014


Hello people!

I literally feel like I was just emailing yesterday, time is just going by so fast. It makes me sad and happy all at the same time. A mission is truly something that is hard to explain but I feel like I am being trained in every aspect of my life to help me for the rest of my life. Does that make sense? haha anyways...This week was so amazing!
The weather here has seriously been PERFECT and there are so many tourists. We finally got to get a good glimpse of the beach this week and it is just so beautiful. Mom and dad we are coming back to visit in the summer ok? Cool!
 On Monday night we drove to Bedford for New Missionary training and we got to stay the night at the mission home. I got to see Sister Keown and Sister Gillies from the MTC and it was so good. It's crazy to talk about everything that we are going through and to see how much we have already grown since the MTC. And staying at the mission home is always a treat, Sister Stoker takes such good care of us.
Tuesday we had the training for pretty much the whole day and it was such an uplifting day. We learned a lot of logistical things but we got to listen to President Stoker speak and man, he is just an awesome man. He reminds me of dad because he is very sensitive to the spirit and cries a lot like dad. But he shared with us a chapter in the Book of Mormon that has helped me a lot this week. It is Alma 26 and it talks about the sons of Mosiah and tells about their missions. In verse 27 it says, "Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said; Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success."  The verse hit me hard because it has been hard and the first week here  there were times where I did think about how much easier it was at home and I was questioning what I was doing BUT I have pushed through those times and tried to be patient (which I am still working on) and I have felt that the Lord had given me success. But it is not because of me. I look back and know that he was carrying me through those times and continues to carry me as I humble myself and just ask for His help. That night we had dinner again with the Meyers who have the cousin from Italy. The first time we met with him, he would not talk about God or Jesus Christ but would only ask questions about the word of wisdom or the law of chastity. He couldn't understand how we could be so happy by following those commandments. Well, this time we met with him he was asking us questions about why we believed in Jesus Christ and why we believed the gospel was the true gospel of Jesus Christ. It was an amazing experience as I answered the words I said were not my own. The Lord truly helped me to share my testimony of Jesus Christ and the spirit was so strong. I was also prompted to share a scripture that I had studied earlier that day in 2 Nephi 2, verse 27 which talks about how we do have freedom in this life according to the flesh but we have the choice to choose freedom in the life after. And the only way we can have that freedom is through following the commandments! The commandments literally will bring freedom and salvation if we follow them. Its such a simple concept but we make it so hard.
Wednesday we had district meeting and I was asked to play the piano and I am so bad at it! I have lost some of my ability to sight read, but I am getting better. But I was also asked to lead the district in saying our purpose which includes D&C Section 4. So yeah that was fun because I'm still trying to memorize it but I am almost there! But, we finally got to meet with Grace again and one of the members, Sister Wright, came with us. We taught her the Law of Chastity and it was my first time teaching that to a real investigator but it went really well! Grace is so skinny shes 36, but she looks like she's 25. We told her that part of keeping the law of chastity is dressing modestly. We explained to her how it shows respect for ourselves and it helps others respect us. And she was like I've been working on this body for 30 years, I like to show off my hard work haha. But she finally agreed that she would obey the law of chastity and she was so willing! Last Sunday we asked the elders to go and give Grace a blessing because she was still having a hard time with the word of wisdom and she loved the blessing. She told us how she could feel the influence of satan go away and that she could feel the holy spirit again! She is so receptive to the spirit. Her heart is truly being changed and her faith is amazing. We had rescheduled her to get baptized on August 30th. She said that she wants to do this right and we agreed that she needed  more time so she could be all ready for her baptism. I love Grace!
Thursday we did a lot of door knocking. I don't know how salesman do it. It is still so awkward for me so that is something I am trying to work on! We did meet with a girl and her mom though. The daughter, Julia, is 12 and has been investigating the church. She is friends with some of the girls in the ward and she loves the church! Her mom told her that she wanted her to check out other churches before she gets baptized and that she doesn't want her to get baptized until shes 18. Her mom doesn't want to be taught but she doesn't mind us stopping by so we just talked to her and we got talking about family history and then we got into talking about the gospel and she was asking so many questions but said that she wasn't interested. She just wanted to learn about the church because her daughter was attending. She said that she doesn't think she needs the gospel in her life right now. But we always have good discussions when we go over there so we are just going to keep doing that. :) Hopefully her heart will be softened eventually at least for Julia! Then we had dinner with the Hastings! They are so awesome. Brother and Sister Hastings are getting closer and closer to being baptized. Satan is working hard on them because he knows it! Please pray for Brother and Sister Hastings!
Friday we planned for pretty much the whole day and then we went and visited Sister Harlow who is a less active in the ward. Such a sweet lady she is! She made us cookies with mint chocolate chips and I had to have one! That's the thing about sweets here, we are fed so much and we can't say no which is good and bad all in itself! I have definitely put on some pounds. But I have worked out faithfully every morning since I got here! Anyways, our lesson with Sister Harlow was centered on the blessings of covenants and how going to church is such a blessing not a burden. It was such a good lesson!  We taught from 2 Nephi 9. Such a solid chapter, I would definitely take a look at it. Jacob is so amazing. We also got to teach Grace again on Friday night. We taught her about Prophets and we showed her a video of Thomas S Monson speaking at the last Women's General conference. The spirit was so strong and the talk was titled "You are Never Alone", when we were planning about playing it for Grace I didn't really know how the talk would apply but that it would awesome for Grace to actually hear President Monson to speak. Sister Aeschbacher picked out the talk and she was so inspired. The talk was just what I needed even though it didn't really apply to Grace,I felt that Heavenly Father was very aware of me. He said Heavenly Father will ALWAYS love you, and I guess I really needed that reminder. I was bawling by the end. But Grace loved it. She was so giddy as we talked about it afterwards. She just loves the church and it makes me so happy!
Saturday I had the opportunity to sing at the Manchester Fishercats baseball game. It was a Mormon themed night I guess and President asked me if I would sing America, the Beautiful. It was a fun experience. When they announced me they introduced me as "Sister Innes" and it was a little weird because I'm not used to that but it was so cool! I loved every minute. During the game we had a booth with a bunch of B of M and pass-along cards and we tried to talk to people. It was a little tricky because we couldn't go about it like we do when we tract out in public but it was still really awesome. We got to stay at the mission home again and visit with President Stoker's parents who are visiting right now. Such sweet people. President said that a lot of missionaries don't really go back to the mission home and stay once they get there and I've already been there 3 times in the past 3 weeks hah!
But then we got up early on Sunday so we could make church at 9 AM where I had the privilege of giving a short talk and also giving musical number. I shared Ether12:27 and how it had really come to mean a lot to me on my mission so far. I am so grateful for the chance I have right now to devote my life to testifying of Christ. Through this I have come closer to him and come to know more of him and his attributes. But as I have come closer to him I have also become more aware of my weaknesses and have been very humbled. Humility truly has come to really make sense to me and I am far from it but am striving to lean more and more on my Savior everyday. There is no other way to do anything on a mission without His help! I have come to know that I am nothing without my Savior. I cannot overcome my weaknesses without humbling myself and asking for help! His grace is sufficient if we only humble ourselves.

Like Ryan says, "We are all on our way back to God!" I am grateful for the chance I have to help these people in my area on their way back. I am truly humbled everyday.
I love you all so much and I am so grateful for the continual support and love!
Have an amazing week and share the gospel, you've got nothing to lose!

Sister Innes

About pictures:
All the sisters at missionary training
baseball game
president stoker threw the first pitch!

Monday, July 14, 2014

1 month.

People that I love!

Time is just flying by, how is everyone doing? I have almost been out for a month! This week was so good. So good that writing in my journal is such a struggle because I barely have time before bed. But I will try and tell you everything I remember! I think I only cried once this week so we are getting better! hahah no but I honestly and truly really love it out here. Everyday I have seen how my President was truly inspired to send me to this area. My trainer is so awesome and so patient with me! She loves to run and eat healthy so she has been keeping me on track. We go running every morning and I think I might have run off all those cookies and icecream I ate at the MTC. But we get fed so good by the members here so it is a struggle trying to not gain weight! But we woke up early this week and ran to the beach. It is beautiful! That was the only time I have seen it so far but we are trying to ride our bikes there today! It is so crazy here with all of the summer vacationers. But ok, I am still getting used to this whole email writing so bear with me.
Our investigator Grace is still having a hard time with the Word of Wisdom but is coming along. Keep praying for her :) Last night we committed another investigator to baptism! Rose wants to be baptized so much but works a lot and hasn't had time to come to church yet. So we are hoping she comes soon and we can get her ready to be baptized! and guess who asked her to be baptized? ME! MY first one, it was so exciting when she said yes! The Hastings family is still coming along and there hearts are slowly being softened. I love them so much and am just trying to be patient as they realize what Heavenly Father wants for them.
We have been trying to contact 10 people a day. I think it is probably my favorite thing so far. Some people look at us like we are crazy and when we mention Jesus Christ we ususaly get an "I'm all set" But that rejection just makes it so much better when someone wants to be taught more! We have a couple people who we are going to go back and visit this week including a family with two kids! Hopefully we can see them soon :) But, we had a cool experience. We stopped by a house and they were having a cookout and we started talking to the mom and she told us that she didn't believe in God but that she believed in the energy of the earth and then her mom came up and said she was a Roman catholic and that our church was way different from theirs because we didn't welcome everyone to our church. We asked her why she thought that and she said because our church is only open on Sundays and theirs is open every day. But we told her that we were there welcoming them to our church. That we are called to invite people to the gospel! she was still kind of stand-offish so we kept talking to them and I felt prompted to sing "How Great Thou Art" again so I asked if I could sing a song and when I sang it the daughter started crying. And afterwards you could see how the spirit had softened their hearts. They didn't accept our message but I know the spirit touched them. It was an amazing experience!
The second day I got here I was asked by the bishop if I could sing at a funeral this week. So on Thursday I sang at the funeral and then I have been asked to sing at a baseball game in Manchester by president. They are having a Mormon night at the game and there will be missionaries there doing other things and so it should be pretty cool! And I just got asked to sing in church on Sunday! The Lord is really using me here and I am so grateful!! Nothing makes me happier :) 
Being a missionary is probably one the hardest things I have done in my life. The day before I left the MTC I was having my exit interview with my Branch president and after the interview he told me that if I needed it he could give me a blessing and before he said that I didn't feel like I needed one but while he saying it the spirit told me I needed one. And so I told him that I would like one and he told me that he had been prompted that he would need to give Sister Innes a blessing that day. So he gave me an amazing blessing and I can't remember all of it but in it he said that Heavenly Father wanted me to know that up until now this would be the most important decision that I will make in my life until I choose a spouse. It was just cool to know that Heavenly Father really wanted me to know that because he prompted me and President. And now whenever I get discouraged or think about home I remember that this is EXACTLY WHERE I"M SUPPOSED TO BE. I'm so grateful for a Heavenly Father who knows me personally and cares so much about his Children in the NHMM to let me help them come closer to Him!
Some days are harder then others but I can honestly say that I am happy. I love you all and am so grateful for the love and support!! Go share the gospel! You will be blessed :)

Sister Innes

Here's her description of the pictures below:
We ate with some members and they have a cousin visiting from Italy. He taught us how to make pasta! So good! And then we went blueberry picking with Sister Chiaradonna:) They have all kinds of produce growing here and you can go pick it at lots of different places! And then my humble abode! I put up pictures to make it more like home :)

Monday, July 7, 2014


Hello people that I love!

Wow is all I can say. This first week has definitely been the hardest of my life. BUT I love being a missionary :) I thought I knew how homesickness felt, I thought I knew how being in a completely new place with new people and a new culture felt but I didn't. It has been a long week but I can already see how the Lord is refining and I am growing stronger and faster than I ever have before. This gospel is so real and so amazing! Wow. Ok so Monday night at around 6 PM we flew into the Manchester, NH airport and man I had no idea what was in store for me. President and Sister Stoker picked us up, they are so kind. I'm excited to work with them. We had an amazing home-cooked dinner with all of the mission office staff as well. Then the next day we got our trainers, my trainer is Sister Jena Aeshbacher and she is from South Carolina. She has been out for about 13 months so I will be her last companion. Somehow she got stuck with me! haha. Anyways, she is so amazing! I have already learned so much from her and will continue to learn. She is so patient with me and when I cry she just lets me be. (Its happened a couple times this week :)) We are serving in Sanford, Maine. Its on the Coast of Maine but the farthest south in Maine you can really get. We our about an hour away from the mission home which is in Bedford, NH. It is so beautiful here!!! I think I have annoyed Sister Aeschbacher because I keep just saying hoe beautiful it is like every hour of every day. The green is so vibrant right now and the humidity is nowhere as bad as I thought it would be. Its perfect here! So after I got my trainer we drove to Sanford and then we went straight into planning for the day. (I will finally get to full unpack later today! ha) We taught the Hastings, a part-member family and had dinner with them. So the parents have been taught for about a year already but the kids are both baptized, Haley who actually just got home from a mission and then Tyler who has been baptized for a year. Haley brought one of her nonmember friends to dinner and then she stayed for the lesson. Her name is Rachel. I was really nervous when we taught the lesson but it ended up not going too bad. We gave Rachel a B of M and we were supposed to meet again with her tonight but she cancelled so hopefully we will got to see her soon. But we also knocked on a door that was supposed to be a less-active but it turns out they have moved but we got to teach their uncle, Ratha. He is from Cambodia and is awesome! We have taught him once since them and will see him again tomorrow. We have another investigator named Grace who is scheduled to be baptized on August 8th. The sister who was here before me and Sister Aeschbacher committed her to baptism on her first lesson before I got here. But we just committed her stop smoking, drinking coffee, and tea. Her faith and willingness to quit is amazing. It has been such a miracle to truly see how the gospel is working in her and changing her heart. She has been to church the past 2 sundays too. Pray for Grace and her commitment to obey the word of wisdom! We have also been able to work with some less-actives which has been really cool too. One of them has made a total turn around and has now been back to church for about a month now. We've met with her a couple times andon Saturday night she fed us mussels. Yes, I ate mussels!! Believe it. And they were actually pretty good. I think Heavenly Father may have helped me a little bit there ;) Anyways I am really growing to love the lady. We also taught another less-active lady my first night out and I had the prompting to sing "How Great Thou Art" to her during our lesson on repentance and she was brought to tears. The spirit was so strong. She hasn't been to church in a couple years and she met with the bishop the next day. Miracles I tell you! I have had many opportunities to sing to everyone we teach and can honestly say that I have sang to almost every person we taught this week. It is simply the best feeling in the whole world. I am so grateful for the talent Heavenly Father has given me and the opportunity I have to use it to bring others closer to him.  I had my first door slam in my face on Thursday haha and I actually started crying. BIG SURPRISE! It was kind of just icing on the cake from a build up of everything. I told the man we were missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint and that we had a message about Christ and he said that he had already accepted Christ and slammed the face in my door. Rejection is humbling! I still love him though. And I also had my first tick on Wednesday, ticks are bad here this season and when they get on you you can't feel. They embed themselves into your skin and if you don't get them within 24 hours you can develop a thing called lime disease which can be very serious. So I have been a little paranoid about that but luckily I found him before he could start embedding himself. He was a tiny little thing! How was your 4th of July? It rained here all weekend due to a hurricane somewhere on the coast. But I LOVE THE RAIN here. It is so beautiful. Well our fourth of July was great. We got to go scoop poop at a cat shelter down the road :) and we had weekly planning for 4 hours and then we taught some people and then one of the members MADE US RIBS AND POTATOES. So good!! Oh, and homemade bread. I was so grateful! All in all, this week has been very hard but I actually thought to myself yesterday that I am truly happy. After a day packed with service, I am so happy. Being able to forget myself and focus on the needs of others is a humbling thing. I have been trying to work on patience, faith and charity. Patience with myself, my companion and those we work with and teach. Faith in myself and also faith that my Heavenly Father is going to help me and that its ok if I'm not a perfect missionary yet. And charity towards every one I meet. I had a great study on charity and wow it is so important! One thing that I got out of my studies today was the idea that if we have charity there are so many sins we will simply pass up if truly have the pure love of Christ. Seeing someone for who they can become. If we don't have charity when we stand to be judged than nothing else matters! This gospel is the most truthful thing I have ever come to know on this Earth. It is the only way to be happy and ultimately receive eternal life. Without the atonement we are nothing. I am so grateful for my decision to serve a mission and I know that this is exactly where I'm supposed to be. If you have any questions, just email me about things you want to know. I love you all so much! The church is true :)


Sister Innes