Well I’m probably more comfortable than you because I’m not wearing pants!

 

Shout out to Rachelle for the subject line [she was wearing a skirt].ย Thanks for the letters!! I think everyone in my district was pretty jealous at how incredible my family is but thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

This week has been crazy! I have to look back at my journal so I don’t leave anything out haha On Sunday, I received my training as sister training leader and it was pretty simple. Unfortunately, I was thrown into the deep end Monday morning. There is a trio in our zone and one of the sisters was feeling very ignored. Sister Tongi and I ended up talking to them our whole classroom time in the morning (three hours) and called our branch president. He gave us some advice then came later in the afternoon with his wife to sort it out a little more. It was crazy but by the end of the day, the three of them we happier than ever ๐Ÿ™‚ We taught our first “investigator” on Monday night and it was a little intimidating but very exciting. Her name is Sydney and she’s married to a member but wants to learn more. We taught her about the restoration and she was very sweet. By the end of the lesson, she offered a prayer and said that if she continued to feel that this was right, she would be baptized! Woo!
Tuesday was devotional night and we heard from Elder Falabella of the seventy. He taught us to do everything in our power to teach families. He used the example of Ammon and Aaron who baptized thousands by starting with one family (even if it was a royal family). It was very powerful and a good reminder that families are central to Heavenly Father’s plan.
By Wednesday, Sister Tongi and I had welcomed nine new sisters and were constantly escorting them from building to building. Whenever I start to think this calling of leadership is tedious, I am immediately humbled and shown why it is important. One of the new sisters didn’t seem extremely happy and just asked me for a hug. I hugged her for a while and talked to her about what was wrong and made sure she asked the branch presidency for a blessing. Heavenly Father knows what we need before we do and I’ve already seen that he puts us where we need to be. Wednesday afternoon was the Worldwide Missionary Broadcast and it blew me away. I took three full pages of notes and felt the spirit so strongly singing Called to Serve with an auditorium full of missionaries. I don’t know if you guys can watch it on LDS.org but I highly recommend it! The brethren talked a lot about working with the Spirit and I keep being reminded during lessons that I am not the teacher.
Thursday was “in-field orientation” covering material we wouldn’t learn in the classroom. We talked about the Doctrine of Christ, goals & planning, finding, and working with members. While we’ve been learning how to teach the Doctrine of Christ, I have been pretty scared to teach the doctrine of repentance. However, I never want to forget that repentance is such a beautiful gift and opportunity. Heavenly Father loved us enough to send His son so that we could repent. During our scripture study, we read 1 Nephi 3. At verse 7, Sister Csolity asked if we thought that we would have had the same willing attitude as Nephi. I raised my hand and said no haha. I said that so often we read the scriptures and we think “yeah I would totally do that! I would be as strong as Alma and go back to Ammoniha the second I was told” but I don’t think I would! Luckily, that’s exactly why we have the Doctrine of Christ, right? To keep learning. To keep improving little by little. To remind us to be a little more willing next time.
I received my travel itinerary the other day and it scared me to death. I leave Sunday night, by myself, to fly to JFK then Barbados. I’ve enjoyed my week here so much that I can’t imagine another change so quickly! I talked with my branch president, President Bartholomew, and asked if I could receive another blessing before I leave. He was more than happy to schedule me in but left me with a few reminders. He reminded me that while my family loves me totally and completely, Heavenly Father loves me beyond understanding. He asked me to ask God, sincerely, to see myself as He sees me and I want ย to challenge you all to do that this week. To try to understand the potential Heavenly Father sees in you but I also want you to ask to see that potential in those around you. It’s hard to remember, but the more we see others as God’s children, whom he loves, the more we will be filled with that “perfect brightness of hope” and “love of all men.”
I love you all so so so much and I’m sorry my emails are so scattered brained! Thanks again for the letters, I wouldn’t be here without all of you.
Love always,
Sister Needs

Today was good….then I got up

Okay I thought of that quote last night (Freaky Friday for my uniformed friends) and thought it was too good to pass up.

Hello from the Missionary Training Center!
I’ve been here for maybe two days in total and it has been quite the rollercoaster. I was busy enough in the first few hours trying to pretend like I was super stoked to be here that I wasn’t very upset but by the fireside in the late afternoon, I was losing it. I hadn’t been assigned a companion yet which made things fairly difficult and I just wanted to go home! Luckily, later in the day, we participated in an activity called “People and Your Purpose–part 1” where we taught investigators in large groups. It was really exciting for me to think about their needs and how I could explain the gospel in a meaningful way through the spirit. We had a few more activities throughout the day and then we were able to meet our Zone Leaders and Branch President. I asked President Bartholomew if I could get a blessing the next night and it put my mind at ease ๐Ÿ™‚ We got ready for bed, and had lights out at 10:30.
I did my best to stay up-beat on Thursday and managed to make it happen for the most part! We had another session of People and Your Purpose and the spirit was so strong. I felt such a strong love for the people of Barbados already and I just wanted to get out there! Afterwards was class time and I kept getting emotional again. I talked to my teacher, Sister Allred, once class was over and she gave me some good advice on little things I can do to feel better and take my mind off of being homesick. By the end of the day I felt a lot better. We met our Branch Presidency and their wives and they were all so sweet. We had individual interviews with them and I was reminded that this separation anxiety I’ve experienced a little too often for my liking in something that will pass with time. I was given a blessing of comfort and we received our “assignments” for our stay here. I have been assigned to be………………………a sister trainer leader! While I still need to receive the training, I’m BEYOND excited. I know Heavenly Father gave me this opportunity to help me cope, to keep busy, and to help the sisters that are feeling the same way as me.
Mom and Rachelle sent me some great letters through Dear Elder and all of your emails have been really helpful ๐Ÿ™‚ I haven’t received any information on my travel plans but on the Dear Elder letter it said that my departure date is January 24 (next Sunday)!
It’s almost time for me to go but I want to tell you about my district because it’s super weird! It’s basically just elders and sisters that are not native English speakers but speak well enough to not need language training, so it’s me and one other sister in my zone that are from the U.S. The sisters in my district are Sister Tongi (my companion, she’s the best!), Sister Naitoko, Sister Csolity, Sister Lee, and Sister Chen. Tongi is from Tonga if you couldn’t already guess and she’s going to Lansing Michigan!!! She has such a strong spirit and testimony of our Savior, I know she’ll be a great example to me ๐Ÿ™‚ Naitoko is also from Tonga going to Pocatello Idaho! Csolity is from Hungary going to Mesa (watch out Drew), Lee and Chen are from China going to Temple Square.
These last few days have been so tough but I’ve been reading about faith in Preach my Gospel and it says, “Faith leads to action, including repentance, obedience, and dedicated service…You accomplish what the Lord wants you to accomplish.” I love you guys more than anything in this world and, like dad keeps reminding me, it’s this love that motivates me to serve and make sure I can annoy you all for the rest of eternity.
Mom reminded me of a scripture that I’ve already seen work here–“for whosoever will save his life shall lost it; and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.”
I love you guys beyond compare and I’ll talk to you in a week ๐Ÿ™‚
Sister Needs

Day 1: MTC

Today we said goodbye to Natalie as we dropped her off at the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo, UT. Rion and Char were even able to be part of the action from Africa thanks to FaceTime. It was definitely bittersweet for everyone, but she is more than ready and we know the next 18 months will fly by.

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Barbados, Bridgetown Mission

Natalie has been called to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Barbados, Bridgetown mission. For the next 18 months she will be teaching people about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. She will help them come closer to Christ as she serves and teaches them about God’s Plan of Happiness (to learn more visit http://www.mormon.org) ย We be posting weekly updates from Natalie while she is away. To send her a letter, please address it to:

Sister Natalie Needs
Barbados Bridgetown Mission
Trident Financial Center, Hwy 7
Hastings
Christ Church BB15156
Barbados

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