Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A Guide to Dreaming Big for Dummies


We had a decent week teaching.  We finally got to teach the wife in another part member family.  The 18-year-old daughter randomly sat in on the end, and we hit it off and she started asking questions and we're going start teaching her! I love this family!  Oh, and we also almost got eaten by a Pitbull this week. Literally. It was so scary.

So yesterday we had dinner at the M---------'s.  Sister M------- cooks up a Southern storm.  She usually makes tons of green beans cooked in butter, potatoes, peas, some sort of salad, her "celestial" biscuits, and this week she made a delicious roast with the best gravy I've ever had.  I love being in their home.  I had a minute yesterday to realize, "Wow, I've been out here in the WVCM for 16 months," and I thought about where I was and where I am now. I have changed, and yet I haven't. I think I told you what Kevin said about how he feels--how he hasn't really changed, just become more him. I totally feel that. 

When I decided to serve a mission, (sometimes I'm not even so sure I decided to come; it sort of feels like it just happened and God just got me out here) I had found what that scripture in John talks about, how the truth will make you free, because I did feel freed by making good choices and having better desires, but  I had no idea that MORE freedom was in store. I didn't even realize what freedom meant. Freedom is so much more than not being tied down by addictions or sin or whatever it is; it goes beyond that until you literally have no limits. Until you realize that you are truly a child of God and that "impossible" is just a word we use when we're scared. That dreams come true and there is ALWAYS something better in store for you. 

I listened to a thing on Mormon.org that was called "Defying Gravity." It talked about how to defy gravity and keep a bike upright, you have to keep pedaling. I've thought a lot about that this week. If we keep pedaling, we will continue to progress and change and we can go wherever we want to. We can defy gravity. We ARE defying gravity. Our lives are just millions of miracles piled on top of each other if you look closely. I might have told you this, but I think that the gospel is really just A Guide to Dreaming Big for Dummies. Children of God are spectacular. It's wonderful to go around and meet so many beautiful individuals who are so different, and as I meet each of them, I can feel that there is more to the human being than just flesh and blood, that in each of us is an eternal being with eternal potential, and that being is a child of God. I know that He loves each one of us because I've felt that love.  I have felt it for me, and for others. We are all amazing. God is amazing. This mission is amazing. 

16 fingers between us because
Elder Tullis and I hit our 16-Month mark
Playing with the baby goats, Miley and Billy Ray

I need one!

A little town called Pocahontas.  They have an exhibition
mine there, but it's closed in the winter.

Thursday, February 5, 2015


Cutting wood for some elderly ladies


We got a new zone leader, Elder Trujillo. He spent all day with us yesterday and he just brought so much happiness with him.  He is wonderful!

Also, we had a really awesome district meeting back in the cave. We made a little fire and our meeting had a fire theme.  Elder Johnson was doing his 5-minute principle and he was talking about this talk called, "But if Not".  It talks about the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and how they were going to be thrown in the fire and they said, "Our God can save us. He can do that. But if he doesn't. . . But if Not. . . we will stand by our standards and do whatever we need to."   God talked to me through Elder Johnson that day.  I needed the message he shared, and It's so amazing to feel God mistering through someone else.  

Along those same lines, Kevin gave me this CD with a really cool compilation of quotes from apostles set to sweet music and I had this weird impression to give it to our district leader and his companion. I just thought it would be cool, but anyway, I had the thought for a long time and finally gave it to them the day before district meeting when they were down here blitzing our area. The next day at district meeting there were like, "Sister Lytle, where did you get that song??" It apparently had a message that prompted them to take action on something they needed to do, and it was HUGE for them. Cool huh? Weird little coincidences and God helping things to fall into place. I love the mission!! 

So the night of transfers we were supposed to have correlation meeting at Brother M-------'s at 7:00 and have dinner. We got there and we were knocking and knocking and nobody was answering, but lights are on. We can't call them because our phones don't have service out there (I LOVE THIS PLACE) so we all decide to walk across the street to Bishop's house to see what he knows. We walk over all together and Bishop lets us in and calls for us and it turns out no one is there and they totally forgot about it.  We were fine, no big deal, but Bishop says, "Well, what do you guys want to eat? What are we gonna make??" So we made rice and eggs, which apparently is a staple meal in the B------ household, and we all played with the kids and laughed and talked while it cooked. 

That night, Elder Trujillo got the best introduction to the Bluefield Ward in the world. I wish you could have been there, in the B-----'s warm home with the sound of K---- and M-----'s laughter and the B------ boys showing us their shark teeth from their vacation. It was almost like we had our own little world there, with our own little family. Miles away from town, in the most beautiful country there ever was. Bishop fed us good food that night, and my soul was fed as well. Everything just felt so right, so home. So... exactly where I was supposed to be. A few days later Elder Trujillo put my feelings for this ward and these people here better than I could. When asked how many people were in his family. He counted each one of us one by one and said, "You all are my family now."

You can see Elder Trujillo in the last photo--he took his tooth out

Woodcutting with the Tazewell Elders---Tullis & Erickson


Tearing down the theater a few weeks ago made the local paper

Monday, February 2, 2015

Our District Stays Together


Well, we got the transfer news. We're both staying.

This area is heavenly and it is such a blessing to be here in Bluefield. The members and investigators here make me so so so happy. I'm grateful for my district, too. My district leader is anti-district-meetings-in-a-church, which is so good for me! We got to hike last week, and we will probably have another outside meeting this week! My district leader and his companion are coming to blitz our area so that will be super good too! He's such a good DL.  

Remember the girl I got to talk to when we did a booth at Marshall University?  Well, I got the following message from Elder Steed, and it made me so happy:

“Hey, just thought you would like to hear this. We were helping do the Marshall booth and a girl walked up to us and said that she talked to a blond haired sister missionary and you gave her a card and she said that she checked out the website and then chatted with the missionaries on Mormon.org and she was really interested. We got all her info and were going to teach her. So that was awesome! Keep up the good work.”

We hiked to this lake near Wytheville, Virginia
Our District is staying together!
Larson, Davis, Lichtenstein, Garrett, Johnson
Elder Garret NOT jumping with me, haha

Fine, I will jump all by myself