Monday, April 13, 2015

Well...Here we go!

  I honestly never thought that I would get to this point in my mission! Where has the time gone? This time next week, I will be home and probably wearing jeans--CRAZY! Everyone keeps asking me how I feel, and I think it's a little bit of everything. Sad, excited, nervous, anxious, happy, overwhelmed, stressed, you name it! It has just been a roller coaster of a time these past few weeks trying to come to grips with what's going on.  I'm so grateful for the prayers and support from you and from the wonderful people I get to serve with here. I definitely feel the love! 
   First, I want to talk about how much I absolutely LOVED General Conference. It was so amazing. It definitely strengthened my testimony of the truthfulness of this gospel and that our church really is led by apostles and prophets called by God! My favorite talk was given by Elder Pearson in the Sunday Afternoon session. He talked about enduring to the end and that "hang in there" is not a principle of the gospel. He reminded us to read the Book of Mormon "every day, every day, every day!" For those who remember, he told a story of being called as a mission president.  His firm didn't appreciate his decision to leave, and questioned him as to when he made this commitment. He responded, "I made this decision as a 19-year-old boy, when I made sacred covenants with God in the temple to follow the Savior. I’ve built my entire life on those covenants, and I fully intend to keep them now." WOW. What power! His talk really struck me to the core. He also warned returned missionaries not to "do a swan dive back into Babylon..." I'm not sure if he was talking to me, but It sure is good advice! I'm so grateful to know that I can listen to and watch General Conference and receive so much truth that will enrich and bless my life.
   What a blessing it is to have a testimony of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. I have really started to appreciate more how my testimony affects every part of my life. I thank my Father in Heaven for it everyday and for the opportunity He has given me to serve Him. This whole experience being on a mission has just given me so much. I honestly think that I've learned more about life, the gospel, and myself these past 18 months, than I have my whole life leading up to it! There is one quote that comes to mind. One of my Zone Leaders always used to tell us, "You can never fully grasp who you are, until you come to understand whose you are." I'm not sure if he came up with that or if he heard it somewhere else, but it has always stuck with me. I know that on my mission, I have come to more fully understand "whose" I am. I am a daughter of God. I am His servant and disciple. He loves me so much. Because of that knowledge and assurance I have gained, I now feel like I have a greater understanding of who I am. I am confident in myself, and I know what my potential is. I can rely on my Savior as I try to make the changes that are necessary.
   I guess what I'm trying to say is that this mission has given me the tools, if you will, for the rest of my life. I haven't reached my potential--I haven't become really who the Lord wants me to become... but now I know how to work on it. I've learned really what repentance is all about, and I've prayed more fervently than I ever did before. I study the scriptures with the intent to receive revelation.  These are all things that I was taught to do my whole life, but I guess I really had to experience them on a consistent basis to truly apply them. I needed experiences that would drag me to my knees almost daily for the support of my Savior. My mission has been the hardest thing that I've ever done. It's also been the most fun, enriching, learning, growing, tiring, uplifting, strengthening, best choice I've ever made.
   I love my Father in Heaven and my Savior, Jesus Christ. I love them so much. They are so forgiving and patient as I try to be my best self. I just want to make them proud. I know that God is aware of me. He knows how hard I have worked these past 18 months, and He knows my heart. I feel so close to Him. 
   I love you all, too. I know that God has put each of you in my life to help me learn something. He is so gracious. I am so blessed.
Exchanges with my home-girl!!

Elders being weird...nothing new here.

Hiking Tablerock.  It was so awesome!

April Fool's dinner!! Try to figure out what the food actually is....

Sister Kingsolver and I had to do a training at a Special Sisters' Meeting about stress, and learning how to deal with it. We decided to do this crazy object lesson with eggs under a cement block! I might have to demonstrate it for you all when I get back!

Happy Easter!! We woke up to a cute little basket from the Schroath's

More Elders being weird and taking selfies

Saying goodbye to people at the Sisters' Meeting!! Bitter-sweet.

The flowers at the temple are gorgeous as always!

On exchanges, we volunteered at the homeless shelter... I spend 20 minutes scraping boogers off the wall and felt very humbled.

I love Sister Morris! I couldn't go through all of this without her! She goes home with me and has been a huge support :)

Departing temple trip with President and Sister Winder! It was so great.

All the Sister Missionaries I came out with! I can't believe we made it!! I love them all so much.

Sister Pratt

  Thank you all so much for your continued support and prayers! It's been another amazing week, here in the Idaho Boise Mission! I know Brooke already sent out the new Easter video, but if you haven't seen it already, it's amazing! If you saw last year's Easter video "Because of Him," it's pretty similar, but I love it! You can find the video (and a lot of other amazing stories & resources) at Go watch it! Then, share it! Everyone deserves to know what's possible because of our Savior, Jesus Christ. There are a lot of people in the world that don't know Him and even more who have forgotten what they once knew. It's our job to find them and help them remember. In answer to Sam's question, that is my favorite thing to do on my mission--especially recently! I love to help people understand the Atonement of Jesus Christ and everything that He did for us. It's the most important message that we have! Let's go share it!
   Thank you so much for everyone that asked me questions! It's so much easier to find things to talk about when I have some direction. There is just so much that happens in a week, that I have no idea where to start! I'm also going to see you all so soon. I know that I'm going to be telling you all these experiences and stories in just a few weeks, so sometimes it seems a little pointless to write a whole long email! I know that I need to, though, and that you love my emails just as much as I love yours.  Nadine asked what my favorite month was (weather wise) in Boise. I actually have to say that it's probably this one!! March has been GORGEOUS, and it gets prettier everyday. Some people really don't like it because allergy season is starting, but I've never really had allergies, so I love it!  I definitely think that my mission has helped me adjust to the cold, though. I still don't like it, but being a missionary forces you to be out working in it instead of hiding under my covers (which is what I used to do.)
   I hope everyone is as excited for General Conference as I am! It's going to be so great! We took a member of the YSA ward with us to teach an investigator, and when we invited her to General Conference, Sami (the member) told us the best idea ever. She talked about the story of King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon, and how the people listened to the prophets in their tents. She said that it's been a tradition in her family that they set up a tent in the living room to watch the talks on TV! I thought that was genius! It think it should be a new family tradition, but we should make a huge blanket fort instead of the tent. Feedback? Yes? No? I'll probably do it by myself if no one wants to do it with me because I'm so excited.
   Right now is just an amazing time to be a missionary. We have Easter. We have this great video/initiative that was just launched. We have General Conference coming up. The weather is amazing. I love my companion. I love my area. I just feel that the Lord is blessing me so much at this last part of my mission.  Some missionaries have a hard time working hard, focusing or continuing to be obedient toward the end of their mission, but I just have so many blessings!! I can't help but love the work because it's so much fun! It's so great to be a part of building the kingdom of God! Why wouldn't you want to sprint to the finish? That's what I've been trying to do, and with so many amazing things going on, I don't think it will be very hard. It's all possible Because He Lives!!
   I love you all so much, and I pray for you often. Thanks for everything you do for me!
Sister Pratt 

Our GPS broke... so we had to buy this huge map to get around Boise. It gets pretty intense.


Sunday, March 29, 2015

A Month to Go

March 20
Mom! and Dad!
Thanks for the letter.  At this point, I don't really mind talking about coming home.  President Winder has counseled that I make detailed plans for after mission life.  And I feel confident now that I'll be able to focus and work hard to the end!
     I don't know if you've already made plans of where to stay.  There are SO many people that I want to visit, but I'm starting to be OK with the fact that we might just have time for a handful of families.  Do we know what days exactly we will be here?  I can start setting up dinners and things like that over email and such.  I just need to make sure that I have the right days that we'll be here.  And how many days...
    I got the glasses prescription!  Now I'm just waiting for the glasses to be done.  I think it will just be about $100 for them--$30 for the frames and $70 for the lenses.  I'm pretty excited!  And it will be something I will always have from Boise!  Anyway I love you!!!   Sister Pratt

Dear MOM

March 23, 2015
Dear Mom,
I really am loving the end of my mission--it is so much fun! I feel like I've finally gotten to the point where I kinda know what I'm doing... sort of. I'm excited to work hard and get as much done as I possibly can!!
One thing I have noticed, though, is that it's getting harder and harder to email home. I don't feel like I have much to say because I'm going to see you all soon! Part of me would rather not send an email at all rather than send a half-hearted, lame one. I've also been trying to take care of a lot of stuff like housing and classes, etc, which takes a lot of time. 
Anyway, so I don't know if I'm going to send a mass email this week. Hopefully next week will be easier (but probably not because it's my fall classes registration day). It would really be helpful if I got questions to answer about how my week went, so I'm not just fishing my brain for something important to say. I just wanted to let you know that I'm still alive and why I didn't email. Maybe I will send a hand written letter that you can post on the blog. 
Love you!
Sister Pratt

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

So Many Special Moments!

 There really isn't anything that I could say to recreate the experience that was this past weekend--you just had to be there! However, I am going to try by sharing a few major highlights. 
   Most of this week was spent preparing for the baptismal services that were coming up! This includes baptismal interviews, making programs, practicing songs/talks, and making pies. When we told Kelcy that she was going to be baptized on 3.14/15 (aka pi day), she automatically insisted that we make pies for the refreshments! Anyone who knows me well, know how much I love pie, so I wasn't about to disagree!!  In total, the project took about 5 hours of baking, resulting in 4 normal sized pies, 2 dozen "hand pies" (they look like empanadas), and 3 dozen cupcake flower pies. Don't worry, I attached pictures. We thought there was no way we would eat them all, but more people showed up than we thought! 
   The baptismal service itself turned out to be pretty memorable! When Kelcy got in the font with Bishop Piscione, the water only came up to their knees! They tried to do the baptism, but the water was too shallow! (For those of you who aren't familiar with LDS baptisms, you have to be completely immersed in the water for it to "count.")  So, she kneeled down in the water while the prayer was said again. The bishop leaned her back, but she still couldn't get all the way under. It started to be pretty comical, but she is such a good sport.  The third time, she sat on her bum in the font, and he just laid her down under the water. When we were helping her get ready in the bathroom afterward, she said, "I think we had to do it 3 times because God wanted to make sure I was paying attention." She is just such an amazing example to me! After that, I sang the family favorite "For Me Alone," and Sister Kingsolver gave a wonderful talk about the Gift of the Holy Ghost.  My favorite part was when Kelcy got up to share her testimony and thoughts. She just talked about how much she loved her Savior and the determination she has to hold to the iron rod for the rest of her life. I think she would be the best missionary! 
   After that baptism, we had time to grab a quick lunch and go to the Thornton's baptism! (I feel like I'm serving in Brazil or something!!) It was so special and wonderful. Earlier in the week, we had asked/convinced the mom, Amy, if she would say the opening prayer. We knew that it would be a special experience for her and the kids. Well, the opening song was "Families can be Together Forever."  She got up and said the prayer. It seemed very poignant. Here was this single mom of 3 kids with what seems to be the weight of the world on her shoulders.  She's made this recent decision in her life to come back to church, and now, through the ordinance that was happening that day, she has a renewed hope that her family really can be together after this life. In her prayer she expressed gratitude that her kids were able to feel of the Spirit and make this important step in their lives. I think we all were holding back tears. I love that family so much!
   Well, that's all I have time to share, but I hope some of these pictures will make up for it!
I love you all!
Sister Pratt 
 Emma and Hayden at their baptism

 The whole family!  I love them!
The cute little flower pie things!

 ...and more pie!
 Making pies!  Don't you love our aprons?
 Kelcy at her baptism.  She is so amazing!
When we got to our District Meeting this week, the building was being cleaned! We had to meet outside, and consequently, we had a photo shoot :)

Monday, March 9, 2015

Crazy Week

Before I jump into my email, let me just map out how crazy this week was.
Tuesday=Missionary Leadership Council (7 hour meeting)
Thursday=Zone Meeting and Weekly Planning
Friday=exchanges again
Saturday=Transfer calls (don't worry, we're both staying)
   Looking at it like that may seem pretty stressful, but I think it was the perfect amount of pressure to help us really focus and work hard. It was a really good week! One big thing that happened was we introduced our investigator, Kelcy, to the other missionaries. In order to be baptized, she had to move out of her boyfriend's apartment... but the place that she found was out of our area. It was a pretty funny when we called the Elders to tell them they had a new investigator that was being baptized the next week.  They were so excited to meet her! (She's pretty amazing).  Anyway, so she has her interview tomorrow, and the service is scheduled for this coming Saturday. I'm a little nervous because she asked me to sing for it! I'm excited, but I don't really know what I'm doing yet.
   Exchanges this week were so much fun, because I got to go with 2 of my favorite missionaries in the whole mission! On Wednesday, I was with Sister Morris! She was in the MTC with me over a year ago, and we had a blast catching up and swapping mission stories. She's an amazing missionary, and I just love to teach with her--it's so much fun! On Friday, I was companions again with Sister Venable! It's been 3 months since we served together, but I feel like it's been only a few weeks! It was just a party being together again. 
   Well, I don't have a whole lot else to say! Life is unbeatable :) 
Sister Pratt
So my pink glasses are broken, and I need a new pair. I found a really good deal with this place that gives missionaries discounts, but I need my glasses prescription! I don't think I need to go get a new eye exam, as long as you have a piece of paper with the numbers on it.  So... email me back if you have that info! If not, I'll try to find a cheap place to get my eyes tested. 
Sister Pratt 
Look who I found! Sister Metcalf came back to visit :) It was good to see her again!

I debated whether or not to send this picture... but it accurately shows how dysfunctional our zone is!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Loving Life!

March 2, 2015
   It's still so weird when I get to these emails and I don't remember anything that's happened in the past week.  Our investigator, Kelcy is still progressing to her baptismal date in a couple weeks, and we are so excited for her! Every time she talks about her baptism, she just gets this huge smile on her face and starts beaming. She is so amazing. The sad thing is, she is moving out of our area today! She's just moving a few blocks away, but we will have to introduce her to the new missionaries this week. I know that she will be in good hands.  It's crazy because she's already had 3 sets of missionaries teach her in the past 5 months! We are convinced that it is because everyone needs the opportunity to meet her and hear her testimony of the gospel. It is so inspiring every time I hear it! I love her so much. 
   We're also still teaching the Thornton family, (single mom & 3 kids) and they are awesome! The two kids, Emma and Hayden, have decided to be baptized on March 14.  They are so excited for it, and they just love the gospel. Every time we go to their house and we start visiting with their mom, the kids ask, "Is it time to start our lesson, yet? Can we start already? What's our lesson on today? etc." It's adorable. Sister Kingsolver and I have really grown to love that family so much. We are so proud of this decision they have made to be baptized, but more importantly, we know that Heavenly Father is even more proud of them!
   Well, we have a super busy day today! Sorry the email isn't longer, but hopefully the pictures will help :)
Love you!
Sister Pratt
Man from SnowyRiver!

Ok. This might take a little explanation... I went on exchanges with Sister Peckham. She is awesome, and half-way through our exchange, I found out that she is from Fountain Green, UT! That's where the Despains are from, and that's where Lamb Days is!!! When I told her that I knew what Lamb Days was, she got so excited!! We started going crazy talking about it. This is a picture of us with a program from last year's Lamb Day celebration that her family sent to her. CRAZY!

  February 23, 2015
   This week was so packed, I don't even know where to begin! On Wednesday, we went on exchanges, and I got to be back with Sister Capitan again!! Woo! I was gearing up for an adventure, and that's definitely what I got. Our first appointment of the day was with that lady from Nepal. We went to start teaching her English. We actually had a pretty good lesson with her, and when we were about to leave, she offered us something to drink.  The language barrier is incredibly thick, so we just assumed she meant water or something. We accepted. We were sorely wrong. I cannot accurately describe what she gave us because none of the ingredients were even remotely familiar. What resulted tasted like some sort of spicy-curry-squash-tea-something. The best part of the story is when she brought us the mugs of drink, they were both about half-way full. I turned my back briefly to grab my planner, and when I came back, Sister Capitan looked at me and said simply, "I took the one with the least amount." I looked in the mug she left for me, and it was almost completely full!! That little stinker had poured most of her drink into mine! We had a good laugh about it. I wish I could somehow convey to you how gross it was. Even worse than the taste, though, was how it made us feel. When we left her house, we were waddling to the car, trying to hold ourselves together without vomiting. I could go into details, but it will be sufficient to say that we went home so Sister Capitan could spend 3 hours hurling in our bathroom. I didn't actually throw-up, which could be a good or a bad thing because I just continued to feel miserable for the next 2 days. PARTY!!!! 
   Beside that whole incident, the other main event of the week was Zone Conference! It was so amazing. It was also a little hard because I knew it would be my last one! No more Zone Conferences for Sister Pratt. They made me and everyone who's leaving with me give their departing testimonies (we call them "trunkimonies").  It was definitely a weird experience because I won't be leaving for another 2 months.  It's almost like those awkward times when you see someone you know in a grocery store, have a conversation, and say goodbye... only to realize that you both have to go down the same aisle to buy bread.  It's not really a goodbye, yet because you haven't left. Anyway, I hope you know what I'm talking about. 
   The work has been going pretty well, here! We've still been working a lot with our investigators to help them feel the Spirit and recognize their answers from God. It's a great work. I love it.
Have a great week!
Find someone who needs help!
Share your testimony!
Sister Pratt 
Dinner with this RM named Melissa.  She's awesome!

Exchanges with Sister Tauiliili!! I love her so much 

Feb 17, 2015
 This will probably be one of those emails where it's purpose is just to tell you that I'm alive and that I love my mission and everything is going well! I don't really have a whole lot of time to write details. One crazy thing that happened, was that we found a Nepali lady to teach... but we don't know Nepali. We don't even know anyone who knows Nepali. It will be interesting. We had a visit with her this week, and we aren't sure how much she understood, but she knows that we're missionaries of Jesus Christ. That's probably the extent.
   Our investigator that I wrote about last week (Kelcy) is still amazing! She has a baptismal date for March 14th! She is so excited, and we are, too. I just feel blessed to be able to teach her.  She has so much real intent when she learns the gospel. Every time we teach her a new principle, she knows that she should act on it right away!
   We had another cool experience with someone we are teaching named Alex. For the first few lessons, he seemed interested, but we couldn't really tell what was going through his head. I guess we just didn't know how much he was really getting out of our lessons. One time we taught him, we read together part of Moroni 7, which talks about how we can determine good from bad. We committed him to finish the chapter and pray about it.  When we went back the next time, he not only had reread the whole chapter, but he took notes on the whole thing! It blew us away. I didn't realize how much he really was interested and listening. We're excited to continue to teach him! 
  Well, my time is up! I hope you're doing well. I love you.
Sister Pratt
Think "Man from Snowy River"

Most of our district eating lunch at Tocano's.  Party!

Look who came to visit!! Reunited and it feels so good
Feb 9, 2015
 I love being with Sister Kingsolver. With every transfer and new companion, there is usually an awkward first week or so when you are getting used to each others personalities and teaching styles before you can get some real work done. I feel like we totally skipped that because we've already been companions! It's been great. 
   We have been finding people to teach left and right! When we added our numbers last night, Sister K and I both realized that we've found more investigators these past 2 weeks than any other time in our missions. We have both served in areas that need a lot of love and cultivating before the work comes. This area is different! We feel so blessed to be a part of it. One of the people that we found to teach this week was Kelcy in the YSA ward. She is AMAZING! She has been taught in a different area for the past couple months, but she just has so much faith and understanding of the gospel. Yesterday, she came to church, and she was answering more questions in Sunday School than anyone else! She did the same in Relief Society. She is just incredibly prepared. There are still a few things she needs to overcome, but I know that if she continues this relationship with her Savior, she will be able to overcome everything!
   I decided this week that one of the saddest things is when someone thinks that they have sinned so much that they cannot be forgiven. If there is anyone reading this that believes that about themselves, know that it is false. Our Savior wants to forgive! He wants you to come to Him. He has His arms open to you, if you are willing to turn to Him. I know this is true. 
   We had a recent convert this week who let us know that he feels this way. He doesn't want to come to church because he thinks he will "stain" it. We are trying so hard to reach out to him and let him know that he can always repent. That is the reason for us to be in this journey. That's why Jesus Christ came to earth--to allow us to repent and come unto Him. We will never make it on our own. Never. We can only make it with His help. And we can make it with His help. It's possible.
I love you!
Sister Pratt

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Short Letter, Sorry

I'm going to take some time today to register for classes, so my letter might be very short.
I just wanted to warn you.
I love you!
  I am so happy to be back with Sister Kingsolver as my companion. She is really amazing, and I love her! I just feel like we've been able to jump right into the work because we already know how to teach together and get along. It's been so fun! I love it!  We also have been seeing a lot of success in our area and support from the members. 
   This week has only been a couple days long, but it already has been wonderful! Sister Kingsolver and I started teaching this family in the ward, and they are so sweet. It's a single mom who is coming back into activity and her 3 kids who haven't been baptized, yet. Sometimes, the kids were rowdy, but most of the time, they were interested in the message we had for them. The oldest girl, Emma, is especially excited to be a part of the church and the gospel. I'm so happy to have met them, and I can't wait to get to know them better! 
   Hopefully, next week I will have more time to tell you about the other people we have started to teach!
   I love you all! I hope you are finding opportunities to be missionaries and help the Lord in this wonderful work.
Sister Pratt
P.S. (February Challenge-I've heard that you should drink half your body weight in ounces everyday..... so if you were 100 lbs, you would drink 50 oz a day. )

Me and my new (old) companion