Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Mason Lodge


This week. . . we taught the restoration. . . IN A MASON LODGE!!!!
Then, we helped make apple butter at the lodge.  It was quite the production, and possibly the most fun thing of my life!

We also got to teach these three young girls on Marshall campus and clear up all their weird misconceptions about Mormons.  They are at such a great age, and they are all really seeking.  One of them is Baha’i, and she is responsible for my favorite quote of the week: 
               "People have like, auras ya know? And I really like your-alls."

Pressing the apples

The apple butter cooking
Filling the jars
Putting on the lids
Check out our Masonic aprons!

Monday, October 20, 2014



Did you LOVE conference? I think I got more out of this one than ever before! It was also a blast to get to spend it with the new Huntington family. We all brought different treats and snacks and put them on a table and just snacked the whole time. In the first session specifically I felt like the talks were all directed to our favorite agnostic investigator. I also had some questions in mind that I specifically wanted answered. Every. Single. One. was addressed. I honestly feel like I'm on a crazy spiritual high right now! Everything that everyone spoke about was so powerful!

I especially loved the second talk where Lynn G Robbins asked, "Which way do you face?" That question and that talk definitely hit me. In my personal studies I had come across the story of Lot's wife recently. When Elder Robbins was asking which we face, I thought of that story. I see in myself so well the tendency to try to face God, while I also try to save face with the world. Lot's wife was a lot like this, she did indeed begin the journey out of the city with her husband, but she didn't keep her face toward God. She looked back.

Sometimes, like Lot's wife, I fall under the false impression that the world has something to offer me----that the world has some kind of power to make me happy, or beyond that, that the world's opinion of me matters. But, luckily, I have the knowledge that all these ideas are false. That doesn't change the fact that turning from the world and keeping your eye single to God's glory is not easy. Satan is "really really" good at what he does (just like we should become "really really" good at repenting.) I think I'm coming to find though, that the longer you keep your eyes on God, the easier it is to forget the world, and all of a sudden, I'm beginning to understand what "having an eye single to the glory of God" REALLY means. I'm starting to understand a lot of things. It's so wonderful to be out here and to be learning and beginning to understand all these things, and a little bit sad that it's taken me this long. But I know one thing, it's the happiest I've ever been in my life.

So, the "really really" good at repenting talk! Another of my favorites! That dude threw it down!! As I thought of that talk and this whole conference, I decided upon a theme for the conference for myself. Themes are an interesting idea in the first place. There are themes in everything, especially the gospel, and they are so important. As I thought about the theme for conference it got me thinking about themes in my life. In my latest years, "LIVE SIMPLY" has definitely been a theme. (How great is it that I have a talented dad who can engrave me a bracelet so I see those words every day on my wrist.) During my high school running days, one of my themes was "ONE MORE". Every time coach asked if you could do another interval, every time you thought you couldn't make it up the next big hill, I found you can ALWAYS do at least one more. Then I thought back a little further. I thought of my childhood, how I was raised, and what made the most impression on me.

I thought of this conference, the call to do what we know is right even when it's hard, and it WILL be hard. And dad's words came to me loud and clear,
                                                 "COWGIRL UP."
This isn't the first time that those words have come to me, both on my mission and otherwise. I can remember many a race when those words crossed my mind in the final stretch of a 3-mile race, and in those lonely moments on my mission where I needed to do something I didn't want to do, those words came again. My heart and thoughts would go back to warm summer nights spent watching dad team pen, maybe sitting on the bleachers with Kyle Christensen, or playing with the cats in the barn, but mostly the little bit of cowgirl those days planted in my heart. The cowgirl I had to be when I got bucked off and dad put me right back on the horse. I had to "COWGIRL UP", and I still have to cowgirl up. And I will ALWAYS have to cowgirl up. But the thing is, I AM a cowgirl. And cowgirls, well, they "cowgirl up". And I AM a child of God. And children of God. . . they make it back to their father. They do the hard things that their father asks of them because they know that's what they were made to do. They are made to succeed. To lift. To inspire. To change. That little line from my childhood, the little words that my parents said, they're still true. And they still apply. Hard things will still happen and be asked of me, but I'm a cowgirl, I'm a child of God, and I when I get bucked off, I will always get back on. Because that's who I am.

It really was an all around great week this week. We found a new little family of investigators that we are SO excited about. The mom's name is A------ and she has two little girls, one 10 and the other 13. We also had a really awesome lesson with our agnostic investigator. I wish you could be here with me. I wish you could feel what I feel when we teach him, always sitting around his kitchen table. I love him because he asks questions. Not mean, bashing questions, but he asks the hard questions, because he sincerely wants to know. We have really awesome discussions. He is really, really seeking. (And he came to conference!!! AAhhhh!!! I can't tell you how happy I was about that!) He asks questions that take a lot of thought and the spirit to answer, and every time we go in, I come out with an even stronger testimony. I haven't had the chance to teach anyone who REALLY doesn't know/believe if there is a God quite like him, and it's a really awesome experience.

Anyway. It's been an awesome week. I'm so happy here. I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be. I love y'all so much and I want you to know that I pray for you multiple times a day. There was a really special moment in conference, during a closing prayer. The speaker asked for the parents and grandparents of the missionaries to be blessed. Mom, Dad, Grandpa and Grandma Mower, Grandpa and Grandma “Duck”. . . that prayer was for you. And I hope you feel that.
I love you.
"Y'all be blessed"


P.S. Y'all heard of Meet the Mormons? The movie? Well... I TOTALLY ALREADY SAW IT AT A ZONE MEETING THIS WEEK!!!

Conference with the Huntington, WV family.
Our District Leader 
Elders Carter and Steed
Shipwreck on the Ohio River

Starbucks Hot Chocolate + The Gospel = Happiness

So, I might have cried a little reading about you going to Sister Pierson's homecoming. You seriously don't know how much that means to me. And that you hiked to Elephant Rock for me! :)  

This week has been great. We picked up two new investigators and had this crazy lesson with a less active lady. We basically said nothing, but by the end of the lesson, the lady was crying and instead of us inviting her, she was just like, "I've got to go back to church." SO COOL.

We went on exchanges in Barboursville with the STL's this week.  Barboursville has a Starbucks, which is rare out here in the boonies.  Anyway, Sister Boldrin told Sister Scarff she had to take me there.  I love Sister Boldrin!

Friday we had a district meeting and the senior couple from Logan made me and Elder Steed brownie cupcakes for our one year mark! They are so sweet!  

Elder Steed and I wearing glasses to celebrate one year in the WVCM.
(Photobombing by Elders Mitchell and Signs)

Looking for persimmons with the Louisiana family that we love.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Down In The River

Come on Sisters let's go down, down in the river to pray."  #OhioRiver # OBrotherWhereArtThou


I love this area!!!!! It's the coolest area in the world! Morgantown was city-ish and I had a hard time relating to people, but I'm back here (same stake as Pikeville and Ashland) and I just-------I love these people. I feel so at home. We walk down the street and I literally WANT to talk to everyone. And I'm not like that, but I really want to just talk to everyone and get to know them. People are so amazing and have such amazing stories. We met a really cool guy who races BMX bikes the other day and a girl who has been homeless and had to eat dog food. Gosh. It's just so incredible to be part of all these people’s lives. I've met such sweet people already. We have this super cool agnostic investigator that we have SUCH good conversations with. I think he will get baptized.  Sister Maddox is a great companion! She is an awesome hard worker and we get along really well. I love her! We laugh a lot, and this is going to be an awesome transfer.

This week I finally decided to listen to Heavenly Father and accept the fact that he wants me to come home in April. So... I will probably come home in April and not February. God was kind of like, "Sister Lytle, you need to cowgirl up and stay the extra transfer." And I finally said ok.

Also, this week we had Specialized Training with President. I wish you would have been able to see the handshake we had. We walked into the meeting and everyone was saying their hellos and what not and President comes walking by, obviously going somewhere, and then he sees me, stops in his tracks and says, “Hello Sister Lytle" and looks me right in the eyes as he says, "How are you?" It felt so, so good to be able to look at him right back and smile and say, "President, I am SO good." He smiled back at me with a knowing smile. He opened his mouth like he was about to say something, and then closed it again. And he just shakes my hand for a little longer. Somehow, those wordless moments meant more than words could have. In his email to me he thanked me so much for all I did last transfer and told me that I exemplify the most precious qualities that exist in the wonderful sisters of the WVCM. It meant a lot to me.  

I got to see Sister Long at Specialized Training!  She is in Ashland now! She hasn't gotten to meet S---- yet, but promised she would ASAP. Also, Sister Boldrin is my STL now! My mom. I really do love her. More and more every time I see her.

This week I will have been out for a year.  I was thinking about where I was this time last year. I was remembering how hard leaving was. Everything in me except my heart didn't want to leave. I didn't want to leave home in the least. I knew full well that I would have to give up many of the things I thought I loved most when I entered those MTC doors. I thought I was giving up so many things that were so important to me, but it turns out that first of all, they were never really mine to begin with, and they weren't really that important. Satan has probably never worked harder on me than those months and especially that week before I left home for the WVCM. I didn't quite realize it, but I guess Satan was well aware that this experience would change me, that it would make me so happy that words can't even describe. So he got me to focus on all those things I would be leaving. And it was scary. Looking back now, I think I can safely say I've never been so scared in my life. Sometimes I wonder what really got me out here... but then I realize God had a plan and he made it happen. And I'm so glad he did. Because I am SO HAPPY here.

Alison Krauss, "Down in the River"
(This is an unrelated Christian Site, but a great version of the song.

Just holding a snake

Welcome to Ohio

Monday, October 6, 2014

Wings and Goodbyes


My best friend is home!!!
It was meant to be that I was able to be in Sister Pierson's last transfer meeting. I was able to sit right next to her and be at her side as we stood to sing "Called to Serve" one last time while we still wore our name tags together. Our souls are made out of the same stuff, hers and mine. I'm going to miss seeing her so much these next six months. My heart broke a little during the closing prayer of the transfer meeting. That girl. She changed my life.
#LongLiveTheLexingtonSisters #LexingtonFamilyForLife

Sister Pierson and her "children" . . . . . who are GIANTS!

The Promised Land

West Virginia - The State Animal is Roadkill


Transfers!  God has delivered me from bondage!!! I'm leaving Babylon and being sent to the promised land of Huntington, West Virginia! (Seriously though, I loved Morgantown, but they really do call it Babyon in the mission.)  I'm going from the number one party school in the U.S. to one of the biggest drug cities in the U.S.. I'm so excited! My companion, Sister Snyder, was trained by Sister Tripp in Huntington, and they both have only had amazing things to say about the area. I'm excited to be staying in West Virginia, and excited to get to be close to Kentucky—only about a half hour away! We'll get to see the Kentucky zone at all our big conferences. There is just such a soft place in my heart for Kentucky. #KentuckyKid

Huntington is home to Marshall University and they say if I wear my West Virginia University stuff down there they'll jump me! I am so excited though. I will actually be living across the river in Proctorville, Ohio, because that is where the apartment is. 

 My companion will be Sister Maddox.  I’ve been on exchanges with her when I was STL-ing in Lexington.  We had a REALLY good exchange and I’m so excited to have her as a companion!  I AM SO HAPPY!!!!!!!!

Lytle, Snyder, and Shreeve