Monday, February 29, 2016

False Alarms and Miracles!

February 29, 2016

Hey Family,

Wow, y'all have had a great week. I can't believe Mikey got all those cool things from the teams and AJ in Florida taking advantage of the warm weather. 

So to just let y'all know that we didn't get a tornado. I was a little upset cause I wanted to see some golf-size hail, but all we got was crazy wind and a little bit of rain. So we just to chill in the apartment and did some Bible word search.

So we got a new elder in the district, his name is Elder Crouch. He has been out for about 6 months and he is from California. He is a really cool guy.

So me and Poulson's main focus this transfer is finding people. We are looking for more creative ways to find those who are ready.

So on Saturday, we had a crazy day. So we went and tried some potential investigators and when we tried them, they weren't home. So then we tried an In-active member. We stopped by her house and she was home. We got to go inside and got to listen to this lady for about an hour. She was very nice and she really believes in taking care of herself. We got to sing "I am a Child of God" to her, and she loved it. Then we went and grabbed some lunch. After, we went over to watch Savannah Wright in her lacrosse game. It was a lot of fun being able to watch her play. We also found out that a girl that Nathan Cardon has been bring to church was also on the team. They won 14-2, it was pretty insane. Then we got to go out with Sister Ganschow. We decided to go contact media referrals that we have been getting the past couple weeks. The first guy we tried, his name is Larry and a friend form California referred him. So we got there and were able to take to him for a little bit. He is kind of deciding if there is a God. So we just invited him to the ward Luau party this weekend. And he said he might be coming, so we will have to watch out for him. Then we wanted to try another referral and his name is Adam. So we program his house in and we couldn't find it, so we were about to give up then sister Ganschow told us to hurry and call him. So we called him and we get the right address and start driving over. So we start driving over and as we are driving, I notice that the Oliver Family is pretty close, so I hurry and look at the ward roaster and I see that Adam is the son of one of the Oliver daughters who is in-active. So we got really excited because we are wanting to work on bring this family back. So we pull up and Adam is outside and he welcomes us in. His mom is inside so we get to talk with the both of them. We give him his Bible then we get to give him a Book of Mormon. He wants to change his life around. After his grandpa (father Oliver) he wants to be better. He left when grandpa got sick and was gone the whole time until he passed, so he is guilty. He also told us that he hasn't smoked, drank or done drugs since. I can see that his grandpa is working with him and his helping Adam in the right direction. We got to share the restoration with them and he really liked it. We invited him and his family to the ward Luau and he said he would come. Then he told us he would come to church Sunday. So we told him the place and time. They were all super nice to us and I truly believe that this will be a big step in helping the family come back. When we got to the car, I did my little happy dance, I was so excited!!!! It is truly a Miracle that this happened. The Lord is helping and it feels great.

So we were pretty nervous Sunday morning but we did pretty well. We got to church and got a text from Adam. He wasn't going to make it because of a family emergency. So we were pretty bummed. So during sacrament meeting, Brother Meline talked about being clean and it was such a great talk. Me and Poulson just kept on looking at each other and just wished that Adam could be here. Then after I looked at the phone and saw that he had texted. He told us that he was at the church so we looked all over the place and couldn't find him. He told us that he had left, and I was pretty sad. But hopefully we will catch him this week. After church, we went and tried the Jellum family. It has been a while since we have seen them because they are always busy. So we caught them at home and we got to go inside to see all of them. They were doing schoolwork, but we just got to talk with them which is good. After a little bit of time we had to leave and we invited them to the ward Luau (we inviting everyone to it, ha-ha) and we pray that they come. Then we went over to the Wright's home for dinner and they also had long-lost family there, so it was pretty interesting to hear their stories. Then we left to go and try some people. And of course it was dark outside and everyone was getting ready for bed. So we headed back home and got everything ready for bed. Because we have been so exhausted. We weren't able to see Steve and Debbie this past week. We are trying to evaluate the situation and figure out what they need.

I haven't gotten the BYU info yet, hopefully today. I am still trying to figure out where the best place would be for me. Both are great choices; just want to know where I can get a good education and also where I could find my future husband. I will for sure let you know which one I chose.

So I hope y'all have a great week!!!!

Love and miss y'all!!!!
Sister McKenna O'Connor

7 more weeks in Ocean Springs!!!

February 23, 2016

Hey Family,

 So it sounds like y'all have had a good week. I was so surprised on Sunday finding out that I got accepted to BYU. I am so excited but now I got to figure out what to do. I will be preying a lot to figure out where Heavenly Father wants me to be.

Well this past week has been kind of long but that is just because it was the last week of Transfers.
But on Monday for P-day, we got to go looking around downtown Ocean Springs and went into a couple of the shops. It was a lot of fun and we got to talk with a lot of people. One of the ladies we got to talk to for about 30 minutes and she asked us to pray for a lot of people. It was pretty cool how we could just talk about our beliefs with one another.

So we got to go to Waveland this past week to go on exchanges with the STL's. It was awesome because we got to do a couple hours of service at a soup kitchen. It was a lot of fun. We got to serve the food to the people and they would just keep saying that they loved my smile. We spent about 4 hours there and we loved it.

On Thursday, we went over to Sister Shumaker's house to help with the Valentine's Day this weekend. So we helped cut cookies and make decorations. We had fun and got a little messy, ha-ha. Then we went over to Sister Maisch’s house to have dinner. We had hamburgers and they were pretty good. I always love going over there and chatting with them.

On Friday we had Lunch Bunch with the ward and about 16 people showed up which it has been one of our biggest groups. We went and ate at Sal and Mookies. It's a pizza place and it was really good. We had a good time talking with all the ladies there. Then after we went to see Shunta Thomas because she has been having a hard time. But when we got there, they were leaving so we said a prayer with them and started walking back to the apt when a guy stopped us. He asked us if we were Jehovah Witnesses, and then we got to talk with him a little bit about the church.
So Saturday was a pretty busy day. We went and did serve and Bishop's storehouse, then we had a lesson with Elizabeth. She just got engaged this past weekend so we got to hear the story and it was so cute. Then we went to meet Thelma and we had a good talk with her and got to see how she is doing. Then we hurried and raced home so that the Oliver's could pick us up for dinner. Josh made BBQ chicken pizza and it was dang good. He is a really good cook and he made a caramel apple pizza. I was freaking out just a little bit because we were waiting for transfer calls. I had prayed about it all week and had the feeling that I wasn't leaving. I feel like I have something else to do here. SO after the Oliver's, we went out with Sister Ganschow and we went out to see Steve and Debbie. We got to share with them the first part of the Plan of Salvation and we can see that Debbie understands everything, but Steve is being tough. He kept on saying  false prophets and stuff. So we don't know what to do with him. It is a really weird situation. While we were there, we got calls but didn't answer it till we got home. It was close to 10 by the time we got a hold of the Zone Leaders and they told us that we are staying together. And I get to stay in Ocean Springs 7 more weeks. I am pretty excited because I know that Heavenly Father wants me to do more here.

Sunday, we got to go to ward council in the morning and then church. A lot of people were super excited to hear that I get to stay longer. I love the people here and am so happy I can be here longer. I was so nice to get that surprise from the Cardon's.

So just to let y'all know that the weather is going to get bad today, so just keep us in your prayers. I love y'all and miss you!!!!!!!

Sister McKenna O'Connor

Special thank you to the Cardon family for making the announcement of 
McKenna being excepted to BYU for the Fall 2016 so fun and exciting. Something she
will always remember. We even have a video of it too!

Thank you McKenna for sending this picture for my birthday!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Heart Attack and Happy Valentines Day service

February 15, 2016

Hey Family,

Hope y'all are staying warm and enjoying the snow. Looks like y'all had a great week and a lot is going on. This past week has been pretty good. Like I said briefly last week, that a lot of changes were made in the mission. President Olson is changing a few things that will later help the MJM. 

So in the last couple weeks, we have gotten a lot of referrals and now that we have the car, we are able to contact them. One of the ones we contacted was Tonia and she asked for a Bible. So we got there and gave her a Bible and we were able to talk about the Book of Mormon and lent her a copy. We have an appointment with her and her daughter on Tuesday and hope it goes well. Everyone else we tried either no one answered or we are seeing them later.

So Friday morning we were able to go to early morning seminary at Sister Chesley's home. It was a lot of fun to be able to attend and get to hang with the youth for a little bit. We talked about Ezra 1-6 and it talked about Temples and Following the Prophet. It was a lot of fun. Then we got to go out to lunch with Sister Stewart to Fisherman's Wharf. Also while we were there, before we left our waitress was saying good-bye to us and also asked us to pray for her. I was so shocked that she had asked that and we didn't even talk about the gospel, but she saw our name tags and knew that we worked for the Lord. It was pretty cool. It's a local seafood place here and it is pretty good. I always love spending time with Sister Stewart and how much she loves us.

After that, we did our weekly planning and it took us almost 3 hours to do it. We just talked a lot about those we are teaching and what they truly need in life. After we went ad visited the Haley's and they were super excited to see us. We just had a great time talking with them and not focusing so much on the Gospel. They really appreciated us just talking with them. 

So for Valentine's Day I decided to make little goodie bags for the single and widow women in the ward. So a lot of Saturday, I was baking cookies and cutting little hearts out. They turned out pretty cute. Then we went out with Sister Ganschow to go see people. We tried a lot of the referrals and most of them weren't home. Then we tried a couple less-actives and they weren't home. So before we called it a night, we went to go see Steve and Debbie. So we got there and they were really excited to see us. We got to talk with them a little bit more about the Book of Mormon and Steve was telling me not to cry because it would make him cry. Then he told me that there is something about me that opens people hearts and I was super honored by him saying that. Then we invited them to church and they said they might come. 

So we had a great Sabbath Day and I loved how we also had Valentine's Day the same day. As we were welcoming people into church, a lot of people were commenting on our smiles and one of the members said that I looked like an angel and that I was glowing. That makes me feel so good. After church we grabbed the goodie bags and we headed out. The first person we tried was Dorothy Oliver, her husband passed away in December. So when we got there, the whole Oliver gang was there, so we were able to talk with them for a little bit and they really liked that we visited. Then we tried Sister Migues and she was really happy that we came by and she told us that she is trying to come back to church, so she might be coming in a week or two. Which I would be really excited if/when she comes back because it has been a couple years since she has been. Then we tried Sister Stewart, Sister Maisch and Sister Leonard. They were all super excited to see us and were so grateful to spend time with them and wish them a Happy Valentine's Day. Also while we were at Sister Leonard's, she kept on itching her legs because they were super dry and so I asked if I could put lotion on them. So I grabbed some lotion and started rubbing them on her legs. She was so happy that I was willing to do that. While I was doing it, I just thought of grandma and how she would love it. 

Then we got to go to the Chesley's house to have dinner, and guess what we had... a Heart Attack Burger. So it’s a burger with a Krispy Kreme donut as a bun. At first I was a little worried about it, but it was dang good. I had two!. Then we got to share a lesson with them about the Gospel and invited them to somehow share it with others. Then we left and tried delivering at least one more goodie. So we delivered it to the Shumaker's and the Bahr's were there to, so we got to spend a little bit of time with them. They are both such great families. 

So this past week has been pretty good and of course transfers are next week and we get calls on Saturday. I feel like I could stay in Ocean Springs one more but I have no idea. I feel like there are still things I need to do here, but it all depends on where the Lord needs me. Hope y'all have a great week. 

I love and miss y'all!!!!!!

Sister McKenna O'Connor

 Heart Attack Hamburger-Krispy Kream donuts as buns. It was so good I had TWO!

Goodie plates for widow and single sisters in the ward.

They turned out so cute.

Fun signs in Mississippi

Love seeing these signs in the south

Mardi Gras parade

Here is the porch, but the house is missing

Another beautiful sunset in Ocean Springs.

Mardi Gras and Best Zone Conference yet

February 9, 2016

Hey Family,

Hope y'all had a great week in good ole' Utah. I heard that the Bronco's won the Super Bowl 50 :(. How's the snow treating ya, ha-ha!!! It's starting to get cold here, and with the cold here it goes straight to ya bone. So this week has been pretty good. Sister Poulson has gotten her voice back which has been really nice. We did a little bit of tracting and we had a lot of people not wanting to listen to us but we had a really cool experience on Friday. 

So we went and tracted for a little before we went out with the Meline's. So the first man who opens his door grew up in the west and has family and friends who are members. He is an artist and said he doesn't have time, but we gave him our number and told him to call us when he is ready. Then the next house the man to answer the door was a guy name Ron. We asked him if we wanted to hear our message and he said, “yea come on in”, and I was super excited because it has been a while since we have gone inside to teach someone. His wife was there so we were able to talk with them for a while. They told us that they were looking for a church and everything that they were saying was just making sense to us and we got to talk to them about our mission and about gospel. We then asked them to come to church and they said that they could try to make it. We left and were just so excited about them and it has been so long. Then we looked at the time and started heading back to the apartment. So the Meline's picked us up and we headed to dinner. We had a great time and then after we went to the Ocean Springs Night Mardi Gras Parade. It was so much fun being able to experience this culture. So something that is really funny is that the first float that started the parade was full of flowers and they were giving them out. So I was cheering and one of the guys with a flower pointed right at me and when he gave me the flower.  It was so much fun getting beads and just seeing all of it. 

Then yesterday we had Zone Conference and it was the best conference that we have had. We focused a lot on the Gospel of Jesus Christ and how we can use it every time we teach someone. Then President talked a lot about new things for the mission. He changed a lot of things, like they don't care how many hours we tract. They want us focusing on those we are teaching and also a lot on planning. I am super excited to see how this will help the mission and how the “Vision of the South” is coming true. 

So this week has been great and I am excited for everything that is happening. Love you all and miss ya!!!

Happy Mardi Gras!!!!!
Sister McKenna O'Connor

Yeah, new mattresses!

 Happy one year anniversary!

One year anniversary treat. Yummy

Sister Poulsen and I out to dinner before the parade

Mardi Gras family friendly parade. So much fun!

At the parade with Sister Poulsen