Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Stretched Out Still

Wow what a week! And I really mean it too. I feel like I say that every week, but it's so true being a missionary! Every week is either the craziest, or hardest, or happiest, or funniest, or shortest week. There's always an -est at the end of whatever it was. Don't know if that makes any sense, but hey!

First off, TRANSFERS! WHOO! I made it through my first one everybody! Can't say it didn't come up fast because it totally did. I'm staying in Laie and finishing up my 12-week training with my momma. aka Sister Johnston. We are changing wards that we're serving in though, and I was totally caught off guard at how sad I am to leave them! You totally come to love each of them. I'm going to miss them even though it's only been a few weeks; but I'm so excited to serve in a family ward now! We've mostly been serving in the BYU student wards and it's so funny because I totally feel like a student when I'm in those wards. I forget that I'm not like everyone else until I see the student's reactions when they see my badge after talking to them for a little bit :) It's all good. 

Sis. Johnston and I are moving from our beautiful beach pad so I'm going to miss living there! Not gonna lie though, I'm not gonna miss waking up to cockroaches or maggots sleeping over every morning, but living on the beach was kinda nice! But hey, living right next to Laie temple is better than any shore I know of so I'm really stoked about that. Really, it's the closest neighbor we have. 

Serving at the Visitor's Center was super awesome this week! It's starting to become more crowded with the holidays and such and so we meet so many people from all over the world. And even better than that, I'll meet people from places that are special to me whether they are places I've been before, or whether they are places my family and friends either are serving now or have served before. It's so cool! I get to take them on tours and get to know them a little bit. And every so often they will self-refer and I can't help but to think that I get to refer them to one of my friends serving in that area! It's the greatest feeling. 

Tons of Koreans come to Hawaii and since Elder Annen is just rocking it over there, I, the second I meet them, I already feel like we're homies! I get so excited, but can't express it to them them except through charades. So help me out here: How do you act out the phrase, "My brother is serving a mission in your home land and because of that, I love you!" It's been one of the tougher ones to act out. 

The VC is beautifully decorated for Christmas too. I can't help but to think that life is so good everyday when I walk in and see the beautiful Christus. I mean, how blessed can you get to see this big magnificent statue of the resurrected Jesus Christ every day? I love how His arms are stretched out and extended to me and to all of us. His arms never change position! It's so symbolic of how He actually is and how He actually expresses His love for us every minute of everyday. I've come to learn that as blessed as I am to see the statue everyday, I know that we can all see and feel Him everyday without physically seeing. Our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love us so much don't they? What a gift to know that.

I love my Savior with all my heart and know that we can come closer unto Him everyday and be one of His disciples. 

I love you so much my dear family! I'm just dying to talk to you on the phone next week!
Mele Kalikimaka!

Love always,
Sister Annen

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sister Annen's Hawaiian Address

Sister Ashley McCall Annen
Hawaii Honolulu Mission
1500 S Beretania St. Ste 416
Honolulu, HI 96826

Monday, December 3, 2012

Heyloha Family!

Heyloha  family!

So this week, Sister and Johnston and I went out on my first tracting excursion! Chihu! Oh man guys, I was sups nervous, but more excited than nervous. We were thinking about where to tract and we decided to tract in Sunset. Now let me tell you a little bit about Sunset, Hawaii. Sunset is beach bum town. Everyone surfs here. Everyone! Oh and a sidenote… I totally walked passed Jack Johnson’s house. Heard of him? Ya, we’re totally planning on baptizing him the next time we go. We’re thinking of bringing our ukes with us so that when he answers, we’ll start jamming “Banana Pancakes” and then ask him to be baptized. Good tactic? I’ll keep you updated on that one :D

While we were tracting, we saw this adorable old man sitting in a wheelchair in his driveway. Now you couldn’t miss him because he was wearing a bright neon green Yankees sweatshirt and shorts and was just rocking the bling bling (watches, rings, earrings, etc.) We walked up to him and just started talking, not knowing what he would say to us white sister missionaries. We told him we were representatives of Jesus Christ and told him our purpose in talking with him. It was then he told us his name was Joe. We asked Joe if we could pray with him and he was totally up for it. I prayed, and then afterward stood and waited for a moment. After a few seconds, I asked him how he felt during the prayer. We could see it in his face, but it was incredible to hear the words “I felt something different. I feel really good for some reason!” come out of his mouth. We explained what that feeling was and told him we could feel this way all the time by following the example of Jesus Christ. It was then, that we had the strongest impression to ask him to be baptized. Wait, hold up, what?? Ask him to be baptized?! Now Heavenly Father, remember that we met this guy only five minutes ago! But we felt it again, “ask him to be baptized”. So with that, we asked him if he would follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized. Now normally, waiting for their response to that question is the longest few seconds of a missionary’s life. But in this case, Joe immediately answered “Yes!”! It was awesome. We set up another appointment with him and will teach him again soon. I can’t wait to tell you how it goes.

 There’s nothing better than walking away from something like that! Really, I have never felt such pure joy before. I’ve totally been happy, but nothing like this kind of joy. I understand what Elder Annen meant when he said that months ago! There’s nothing like it. I can’t think of a better work than helping others come unto their Savior Jesus Christ. Seeing them recognize the spirit is the greatest sight to see. I know I say it all the time, but the life of a missionary is the greatest! The hardest, but the greatest. And it’s incredible that we can all be missionaries. Just think about what Heavenly Father COULD say, versus what he allows US to say instead. What a blessing Heavenly Father has given us. I know this gospel is the way to live with our Heavenly Father again. It’s perfect evidence that His love for us is an eternal love. EVERYTHING we have is a blessing from Him. I love him so much.

And I love all of you! But more importantly, Heavenly Father loves you.

Have the greatest week my wonderful Family!


Sister Annen

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Aloha Ohana!!

Aloha ohana!! (ohana means family) :D
Wow, the day came ohana! It came! I can't believe I'm in Hawaii! It's the most beautiful place on earth and I can't believe I get to serve here. It almost doesn't seem fair.
This week was so wonderful and crazy and full of miracles that's for sure. There were miracles of all kinds actually. First off, you probably heard that I got in a car accident my first day in the field......Welcome to Hawaii! haha we were driving to morning exercise when this huge truck turned in to the road we were turning out of and he totally t-boned us! He was going 30 mph and smacked us on the driver's side. We flew back 20 feet and the airbags went off. Luckily, my trainer Sister Johnston and I weren't hurt. We both had to get out on the passenger's side though because the driver's side was destroyed. You can imagine our week was nuts after that with all the paper work, doctor's appointments, phone calls, oh and missionary work since were missionaries over here :D At the doctor's, we were prescibed medication for whiplash AND we have to get massages twice a week for six weeks. Rough right? Can't say I'm complaining about the massages part. I feel bad for the man who hit us though, since he has to pay for it all. Oh! Which speaking of him, we learned that Heavenly Father has a sense of humor, because guess who is the Bishop of the ward we're serving in?.... Yep, the guy who hit us. Of course. Good one.
But know that I'm totally fine and spic and spam! If I didn't think the Lord was going to protect me on my mission before, He sure let me know this week. :D
Man, missionary work rocks! Have I mentioned that? It's even more awesome now that I'm in the field too. My area is Laie, which is on the North Shore. It's super tiny and adorable. The people here are the humblest, and nicest people I have ever met. We are fed everyday, or twice or three times a day. It's Hawaii :D I'm two seconds away from the temple which is gorgeous, the PCC, and BYU Hawaii. Want to know something about Laie that I didn't know before? 95% of the people are LDS here. 95%! It's awesome because eveyone says hi to us or gives us free stuff whenever we walk by, but when it comes to finding and baptizing... it's a little tough. There are also so many missionaries here so we're all just trying to find people to teach. Half the day, I'm at the Temple Visitor's Center too which is awesome! I get to wear this huge bright blue muumuu and everyone who walks in wants our pictuure. I'm still learning how to give tours, but the ones I have given have been incredible. Who knew giving tours could be such a powerful tool for bringing others unto Christ. Sister Johnston and I gave this tour that actually made me more converted to my Savior. We all felt the the spirit so strongly. Someone from the group asked if we could all just kneel and pray because they were feeling something they had never felt before. We prayed and committed them to be baptized and they accepted! They totally knew it was true from that one tour and I'll never forget it. The spirit truly does testify of Christ and truth. There's nothing like it.
Well ohana, I have to go because we're going the the PCC now! Whoo! (missionaries get to go there for free btw) I'll have to tell you all about it. Know that I love you, and more importantly, God loves you. Have the best week! You got this :D Aloha!
Love always,
Sister Annen

Friday, November 9, 2012

Good Morning Everyone!

Good morning everyone!

So I have P-Day again today since my schedule changed now that I am in Visitor Center training! Two P-Days in one week...mmm...not complaining over here :D All I've got to say about Visitor's Center training is that, well, it ROCKS!! After my last district had left, I was super sad because we had all become really close. I didn't want them to go on their mission to serve the Lord because I wanted them to stay here with us sisters and keep us happy and entertained! ha selfish and terrible I know, but that's how I felt! But when we got our new district, I didn't even feel sad anymore because all the sisters are amazing! They are from all over the world and they are sweethearts. And guess what?... they're going to Hawaii with Sister Mckeever and me! Ah! We were so so happy to finally meet them because we thought we were the only sisters going. Two sisters are from Japan (Sister Takatsu and Sister Kunishi) one if from Micronesia (Sister Mark), and one is from Hong Kong (Sister Koek). They are still learning English so charades is a favorite game of ours. 

Wednesday was our first day of training. We went to Temple Square, where on the way we passed 9109 South Mallard Circle, tons of Cafe Rio's, people and cars! ha it was bittersweet since I was so close yet so far. But it was mostly sweet so I held it together! We were taken on a tour of the Visitor's Center and then were introduced to how we will be giving more than feel-good tours. Feel-good tours are good; however, we learned how we want to give tours that will be a climate for conversion. I loved what my teacher said. She said, "Give a tour that the Savior would give." That was so beautiful and profound to me! I have been trying to remember that as I have been "giving tours" here at the MTC. It requires so much prayer and thought and preparation beforehand. But my it is so worth the extra effort. Think about this for a second. As tourguides, we have no idea whom we will be meeting and teaching that day. So we have to be able to prepare and listen to the spirit to know what their concerns will be BEFORE even meeting them! At first, I didn't think it was possible, because how can you be in tune so much to know that?? But let me tell you, if you only have faith that He will tell you and you ponder and pray intently, you know exactly what their needs are. It's incredible! And I wish I could explain exactly how I feel when it happens. But just know, that throughout this week, I have really come to have a testimony about the power of personal revelation. It can happen to all of us! If we only have the faith. 

Well, this is my last P-Day in the MTC! I never thought I would be saying this so soon! I keep forgetting that this is only the training part of my mission because I just figure I'll be in the MTC all 18 months :D We leave the MTC early Tuesday morning so before you know it I'll be eating pineapple and hangin with the polyies. Oh yeah. FIVE MORE DAYS!!! 

I get to call on Tuesday too! So keep your phones glued to yourselves because I'm dying to hear your cute little voices! Til then, I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!! 

Love always,

Sister Amen

p.s. this church is so true it's not even funny :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Eight Days and Counting!


How are you my dearest ones? Did you just have the happiest last seven days? And how was Halloween? Did you stock up on the essential food groups? (sugar and saturated fats...mmm my favorite :D) What did you dress up as? The MTC let us dress up for Halloween too! It was so fun. We dressed up as missionaries, but not only missionaries...I got to be my companion for Halloween! haha it was so hilarious because I got to wear her badge and she got to wear mine. I felt honored that someone wanted to dress up as me for Halloween :D

This last week was spectacular as always! It was another week of miracles. Seriously, I feel bad ever getting used to this because I love it so much. Life is so good. It was the last week with my wonderful district because they all leave either today or Wednesday. I'm going to miss them! Even though I've only known them three weeks, I feel like we're family and BFFs.

I can't believe I have ONE more week left in the MTC! Where did the time go?? I promise I only left yesterday. Starting Wednesday, Sister Mckeever, Sister Brownell, and I begin our tour guide training! Oh baby! I've heard it is so fun, but pretty super intense training. But that's how it should be! I mean, this is people's salvation we're talking about here! We get to go to Temple Square on Wednesday for a tour and then go back on Saturday and actually be a tourguide! So even though I'll still be in training, I can't tell people that I'm in training haha.I have to pretend I know what I'm doing just fake it till I make it. Even though I'm a little nervous-okay a LOT nervous- Saturday can't come sooner. I can't wait to see Sandy too! 

So part of our training here is to role play. We role play everyday where either our teachers, volunteers, or paid actors come to the MTC and role play as our investigators. And I'm gonna be honest, at first I dreaded them! I didn't like them at all because it seemed like the real deal even though I had no idea what I was doing. I worried about them all day long! But you know what? I have learned probably the most from these role plays. You teach what you practice and I have really come to learn that. Even though, I still get a little anxious about them, I look forward to teaching with the spirit and coming to love the investigators even though they are role playing. I have had the most spiritual experiences teaching in the role plays (like tear jerking spiritual experiences) and I wish I had time to talk about all of them!

Here at the MTC, we get to watch past devotionals from apostles and leaders. Let me tell you, their messages are life changing. They truly are called of God. We got to watch a devotional from Elder Holland who was talking about our duty as missionaries and the responsibility we have to the people of the world. He asked us a question that really hit me. He asked, (now I'm only paraphrasing) "even though our message is from God and is for everyone, why don't people just flock to the font? Why is it so difficult?" And he answered by saying, "it's so hard because salvation is NOT a cheap experience. It was not intended to be easy. Why would it be easy for us if it wasn't easy for him? How can we be a disciple of Christ if we do not experience just a little bit of the suffering from Gethsemane? There was nothing easy about it. If we do it the way we are supposed to and the way God wants us to, then no doubt our mission will be tough." But we can do it! That's what so incredible! God wants us to succeed and if routing for us every step of the way. I LOVED listening to those words by Elder Holland. I hope all of us can learn from his words.

Well, duty calls once again! Thank you for all of your letters and emails and DearElders and packages! They make my day everyday. Know that I am the happiest I could be and love serving the Lord. The church is so true and I love all of you!!

Love forever,
Sister Annen

p.s. I got another nickname this week. Sister Annikan! haha I've never been called that before! Clever huh? This elder totally just thought it up and now whenever he sees me he says, "May the force be with you" :D ha I feel like I really do have it since I've been at the MTC. 

p.p.s. this same elder actually made my a tiny light sabor the other day. He made it! Since when do missionaries have time to make light sabors in their spare time I would like to know!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hello my Dear Family!

Hello my dear family that I miss and love!

Another week down huh?? Can I get a whoot whoot!! It was sure a week of miracles. I know I'm not out in the field yet, but I sure felt them all the same. Honestly, I know I said this last week, but I learn so much here!! Holy smokes one day I'll be sitting in class thinking, "Wow. I am so smart now. There isn't anything more that I could possibly learn." And yet I'm stood corrected EVERY day in class, devotional, prayer, scripture study, or in the shower... You name it, I'm learning. I have learned more in two weeks than I have in almost my whole life! And I wish I had time to share all of it! But the day will come when you'll wish I DIDN'T have time to talk about it because there's so much. Ah... the MTC. Happiest place on earth!

So I was called as the Coordinating Sister last Saturday and I totally forgot to mention that last week! (A coordinating sister is like a zone leader, but girl version) They called me right after interviews and I was put to work. I have meetings all day Sunday and Tuesday, and then give New Missionary Orientation on Wednesdays and Thursdays. I thought I was the new missionary still! Ha it's funny because once you've been in the MTC for a whole SEVEN days, you're considered the old missionary full of knowledge and wisdom :D I like to think that's true because I have been here TWELVE days now! Take that! ha I have loved my calling though. It's just another chance for me to serve more.

Speaking of how long I've been here, I already get my travel plans this week! You don't believe it do you?? I sure don't! We have In-Field Orientation this week because everyone in our District besides my companion, Sister Mckeever, Sister Brownell and I leave next week. They are all either going to Independence, or Florida. Sister Mckeever and I are the only ones going to Hawaii. Apparently word spreads super fast around the MTC because everywhere we go, elders and sister come up to us and ask, "Are you the sisters going to Hawaii??" And we just humbly :) say that's us! ha I love it. We feel like celebrities here. Ha not really, because everyone is so nice to everyone and we all feel like family here. Once our district leaves next week, us three sisters start learning how to be tourguides. And listen to this, we get to go to Temple Square on a fieldtrip! For two days! That means I'll be driving past all y'all two times my last week here. I'll be waving and hugging and sending kisses your way!

We had a devotional where they talked about how the applications for missionaries since the age change has increased 400%!! 400! How terrific is that?? And because of the huge change, they are trying to train us even better so that we can be the trainers weeks after we arrive in the field. I'm so excited.

Oh! On Sundays we get to have our Sunday Walk, where we all get to walk to the temple and take pictures.It's so fun because we get to see the outside world! And cars! And non-missionary people! I always feel like going up and touching them just to make sure they're real. Bad idea? Write me what you think. I'm sending some pictures of it along with some others so I hope you like it.

I wanted to talk about a talk from Elder Holland that I LOVED this week but I don't have time! I'll try to fit it in and talk about it next week. I did learn that we need to "walk by faith in a world governed by sight." I love that! Faith is an action word, and will only do us good if we take a step and ACT. It's a short, but sweet lesson that has helped me immensely since I've been here.

Well I better go, but I love you and miss you my dearest family! Remember the book is blue, the church is true, and Moroni is always on all the ball :D

Everyone here thinks my last name is Amen. So all the missionaries call me Sister Amen haha.

Sister Amen

ps I just realized that I didn't send the pictures! But if I don't logout my computer will self destruct so I'll send them hopefully soon! Love you!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Greetings From the MTC!

Greetings from the MTC my dearest family! ( MTC means, "Missionary Training Center" by the way. It's what I've learned since I've been here :D )

Wow what a week here in good ol Provo! I can't believe I'm here honestly. My whole life I have wondered what goes on in the MTC! I've always thought of it as Willy Wonka's chocolate factory because I have only seen missionaries go in and come out; but never have I seen what actually goes on inside. But now that I'm here, let me tell you something. There are even more incredible and sweet things being created over here than any candy you could ever taste! It's amazing!

So here's the scoop, the 411: That first day after you guys dropped me off, it was just like Elder JerBear said. I was Put. To. WORK! The two elders who took my luggage, introduced me to my host sister who helped me get my badge (It really does say 'Sister Annen' on it!), find my room, and find my classroom. It was in class where I met my companion, Sister Mckeever. She is awesome! She's from Orange County, California (Lake Forrest I think, if you remember when you lived in Mission Viejo Mom :D) She's 31 and a sweetheart. We instantly clicked and in a way she's sort of a mommy figure to me. haha it's great.
In class, I met my district where they are eight elders and four sisters. I have the best District! We have learned so much in class, and I can't wait to tell you more about that when I have time...ha said the missionaries at the MTC NEVER! Ha we have no time especially the first week since we have so many new missionary orientations and classes and things. It's awesome though because I have no time to be homesick or sad. What I've come to appreciate is sleep! It's like gold here! The days are packed with the most wonderful and spiritual classes, and devotions, and discussion and by the end of the day, everyone is wiped out. The spirit is incredible and it really takes it out of us. Everyone is on a spiritual high and it's obvious that thousands of prayers are said IN the MTC and FOR the MTC. We really are blessed here.
Just from these first few days, I can tell that my mission is going to fly by! Really I'm so excited for what is to come because of what I have already learned here. I could leave today and feel like a totally different person and I can't go back.
Ah my time is up! But know that I love you all and miss you so so much! Make this week count and I can't wait to talk to you next week! Love you!

This church is so true and God loves you!

Sister Annen

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Adventure is Out There!

          Ashley was set apart last night as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  She was set apart by our stake president, President Castleton, at the stake center.  She was blessed specifically to "have no fear" and to "never stop smiling".

     Ashley woke up this morning to her door decorated by her sister, Jessica, that read "Adventure is Out There! Have fun in your adventure in Hawaii!" Ashley loved it and it helped start her morning off really well.

We helped pack her up........


     .............and drove her down to the MTC this morning.

     It could be described as a bittersweet experience. We are excited about her decision to serve the Lord.  We will miss her, but are so excited for this new adventure!

Monday, October 8, 2012

It's a Mission Call to Hawaii, Honolulu!

     On June 6, 2012, Sister Ashley McCall Annen was called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  She was assigned to labor in the Hawaii Honolulu Mission.  In addition to her calling to share the gospel, she was assigned to serve in the Laie Hawaii Temple Visitors' Center.  

     She will report to the MTC on October 17, 2012 at 12:30 P.M. While at the Missionary Training Center, she will also receive special training in conducting tours.  She will prepare to preach the gospel in the English language.

     Her purpose will be to invite other to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.  As she serves with all her heart, might, and strength, the Lord will lead her to those who are prepared to be baptized.  

     We know that greater blessings and more happiness than she has yet experienced await her as she humbly and prayerfully serves the Lord in this labor of love among His children.  

     We love you Sister Annen!