Saturday, March 28, 2015

Not Sure I Can Leave


Hearing about homecomings and all that is going on at home is surreal. Coming out here made it seem like the world stopped back home, but then I realize it really didn't, and my sister got married, and a lot of things will be different. Something inside of me kind of revolts every time I think about leaving this place. I'm so excited to come home, but I'm not sure I can leave, if that makes any sense. 

Our week here in Bluefield has been incredible, as per usual :) The weather is starting to warm up a bit which is so exciting I can hardly stand it! We're going to be without a car for half this week because we took it in this morning to get it fixed, but I'm excited to get out and enjoy this weather and there are so many more opportunities to meet people when you're on foot. This last week I went on exchange to Blacksburg with Sister Erickson, an AWESOME girl from Star Valley, Wyoming! We had so much fun and saw some sweet miracles!

This week we get to drive to Charleston to hear Elder Christofferson speak!!! I can't wait!!!

Bluefield High


High School Spanish didn't prepare me for this!

Monday, March 23, 2015

God's Love is Like Gravity

Helping an investigator stack wood.


It has been such a productive week!  We taught so many lessons!  We also found a new guy who just moved here who is SO sincere.  I'm happy beyond belief and miracles are happening!

The closer I get to the end of my mission, the more my soul is kind of rejecting the whole idea. The other night I was brushing my teeth, looking in the mirror, and I was just like, "I'm Sister Lytle now. It's who I am. This is what I do." Home life almost seems like it was just a dream. 

I am so excited to share what I've learned doctrine-wise with y'all when I get home! I haven't shared much of that in my letters, but it's incredible! I understand the gospel on a whole new level, and I can't wait to share it with you! I have notebook upon notebook filled with amazing things I've learned.

I was looking through my old journals and I found where I had written about the second time we went back  to see S------.  He said, "I didn't think you would really come back." 
Now think about that in terms of God's love. . .
Like a lady in Huntington said,  "God's love is like gravity. We can deny it, we can pretend it's not there, but it will always bring us back." 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Do You Want This Dead 'Possum?


Sometimes we're at correlation at the M-------'s and we have to go out and move our car so Bishop can get his tractor through... but when we went outside Bishop already got the tractor through and is walking up the drive, and when we ask him if we need to move our car he says, "No, but do you want this dead 'possum?" 
Of course, I said yes.

So everyone is making jokes about us being trunky (thinking about home and wanting to go home) and we make jokes too, but actually, Sister Reed and I are so focused!  She said something beautiful the other night, she was like, "We can't be trunky, it's impossible, because we're already home."

This was an awesome night. J---- decided to get out all his guns to show us. (He keeps tempting me to shoot them, which we're not allowed to do, so pray that I'll be able to be strong, haha!) So he's showing us all his guns and he pulls out J-----'s Benelli and hands it to me, so I put it up to my shoulder to see how it feels and he gets this big smile, and I'm like, "What?" thinking he's about to make fun of me. But instead, he proceeds to tell me he was happy that I didn't hold it like most girls and try to stand behind it and that I leaned into it and everything. My response was, "This ain't my first rodeo" ;)  So here's a big thank you to dad for teaching me not to shoot like a girl. Who knew it would be so helpful on my mission ;)
I can't express how much I love these two families

Correlation fell on our anniversary day again--17 months!

What happens when you send 18-year-olds on a mission

The last picture together

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Everything is Perfect


I WILL BE SERVING MY NEXT TRANSFER WITH SISTER REED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sister Reed, my MTC companion!  I am happy out of my mind. I can't even express it!!!! THIS is why I was staying another transfer. Sister Reed was there with me when I started my mission and we'll end it together! She was there for so much!!!! THIS IS IT!!!!! It's ridiculous! Everything is PERFECT. God gave me every single thing I wanted AND MORE!!!!! I literally don't think I've ever been this happy!!!!!!!!!!

Because Sister Reed has served here already, we will be able to just hit the ground running and we will be able to skip all the weird introductions and... AAAAAAAhhhhhhh!!!!! I can hardly sit still or think or anything! I'm so excited!!!! Heavenly Father heard my prayers!!!!! And Sister Reed is SUCH a hard worker! We're gonna tear it up! It has been our dream to serve together since the MTC! This doesn't happen! It's like every missionary’s dream to "die" with their MTC companion and I get to!!!!

I have  a SWEET miracle story from last week.  So Sunday night we walk over to shovel out this lady named Sister B----- (she's so awesome by the way, every time she sees a penny she picks it up and says, "In God we trust," and knows that God is thinking about her. Pennies are her butterflies :) ) But anyway, she had to work the next morning and needed help shoveling out, (it was awful, we got a crazy ice storm and shoveling ice is HARD!) so we went to help her. On our way walking back in the dark, we start to pass two guys, probably about mid-twenties, shoveling a driveway in the darkness. Sister L kinda speeds up a little cause it honestly seemed a little creepy, and you know, two dudes in the dark... kinda creepy. But I get this weird urge to talk to them. I think, "no way, it's dark, and they're creepy," but the urge only gets stronger so we're pretty much past them and I finally kind of turn and I say, "Could y'all use some help?" 

The one with the shovel turns to me.  J----- always says that the eyes of a person will tell you everything about them. Well, the eyes I looked into were kind. Kind and good, and every feeling of doubt about my decision to talk to them was gone. The man was like, "Yeah! actually that would be great!" And he puts out his hand to me and says, "My name's T------." I shake his hand and introduce myself as Sister Lytle and start to explain that we're missionaries and he stops me and says, "From what church??" And I say, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints." His eyes light up even more and he's like, "I'm a Mormon!!" After some "no ways!" and "where are you froms?" and what not, we find out that he joined when he was 12, but  since he was 16 he's been pretty less active, but you can feel he still has a fire burning. So anyway, turns out he was shoveling the drive of that home because he and his friend had just bought it and needed a place for the moving truck to pull in (his friend is married and Muslim) and we are going to help them move in, and then he invited us to dinner with him and his roommate and wife and his other friend who is Jewish! He said they all love to talk about the Bible!

I feel like my whole mission has been leading up to me being here in Bluefield and especially this next transfer. I can just feel it! I can feel God's hand in it. I feel like I'll just be set free and be ready to work and miracles will happen!  THIS IS IT!!!!!

Monday, March 9, 2015

We Walked for Miles. . .Uphill. . .in the Snow. . .


We finally get to email! We walked through the snow yesterday to get to the library and it was CLOSED! We have about 14 inches of snow right now.... but it seems a lot worse than that because people in the East don't deal well with snow! Church was cancelled on Sunday which literally made me cry because I look forward to church and seeing everyone so much. We're supposed to get more today, and it's currently starting to snow, so we'll see.

Sunday night all our plans had fallen through and it was kind of bad weather, so we're like, “Well, what now?” I then had one of the strongest impressions I've EVER had to go see someone. Like, it was pretty much words. So we go to see this investigator that we haven't been able to get in contact with in FOREVER. She hasn't answered texts and all our appointments with her have fallen through so we had no idea what was up with her. So anyway, we go over and she just yells to us to come on in. (People do that all the time here. It gets sketchy when you're just tracting and you have no idea who is inviting you in!) 

So we come in and sit down and she just kind of lets it all out to us. I can't go into detail, but it was probably one of the most emotional talks I've ever had with someone. I think I really felt what if feels like to keep my baptismal covenants and "mourn with those that mourn." My heart just broke for her and with her. So we shared a BEAUTIFUL quote that Sister Snyder gave me once about the atonement and healing and after she said, “God always knows when to send you girls to me. Thank you so much for just listening, you have no idea how much I needed that.” And then we planned a time to go back. Miracles are happening. I love it here so much.

Fun Fact: Around here they don't call it "plowing" or "shoveling," they call it "scraping." People don't sit "on" the floor they sit "in" the floor, or you drop something "in" the floor. 
I'd reckon I be talkin’ like a Southern girl whenever I get back to y'all! (They also say "whenever” pretty much in every place that we would say "when.")

"Busin' for Jesus" Courtesy of Elder Powell

Maybe gang signs, or maybe WV

Thought you would appreciate this classic Darcy look

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Always Something to Look Forward To

My Zone plus the Sister Trainer Leaders

There are so many people here that I am so grateful for.  Particularly this week I am grateful for The M--------s.  Being in their home helps build me up for the week to come. Yesterday at their house their daughter was home and she was playing with her older sister's hair and we were all just laughing and talking and it was wonderful, but it actually made me miss my own sister way bad. It's so good to have a sister. I'm so lucky that I was blessed with both a brother and a sister. 

I have realized that here in Bluefield, when the mission is hard and I have a bad day, I can always count on an awesome member or investigator to lift me up, and I always know that no matter how hard it is, I'll get Sister M-------'s biscuits on Sunday------so there's ALWAYS something great to look forward to!!!!!!!!  :)  God is so good. I'm so blessed. 

We have Zone Conference tomorrow and I'll get to see people I have missed, and President, and the STLs.  We always learn a lot and I am so excited!  

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Sometimes We Teach, and Sometimes We Butcher Hogs

(If you find this photo disturbing, you should skip this post. . .)

We had such an incredible week!!! We found new people to teach! AAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!! I'm so happy!!!!! We also got to butcher hogs with Brother M------! In addition to that, we went on exchanges this week and I was with Sister Hutchings again and it was heavenly!  Today we are singing at another funeral.  (This makes the third funeral to sing at on my mission, and I don’t even sing!)

I am sending you a bunch of pictures of the butchering.  I was worried about it, but it was good.  The first day they killed the hogs, and the second day we cut and wrapped. Brother M------ had a blast showing us how to cut so that's what we did most of the time. It was so fun! I've never felt so comfortable with complete strangers in my entire life.

Brother M------- and I had a long talk on his back porch last night as he was going out to feed his goats and we were leaving from correlation and dinner. He was just talking about the land he's on and his animals and I was getting so choked up. At the end we were just looking out at his land and I said, "This is about the prettiest country in the whole world." And he just smiles and said, "Yeah, it's pretty good isn't it," and gives me this smile I'll never forget. I get teary eyed----this place, these people. I'm so in love.

I had an amazing interview with President Salisbury last week.  He gave me great advice, and I think the support he gave me, paired with the prayers going up for me helped to make this such a happy week.  He also said that he feels like I have more to do here in Bluefield, and he’s going to do everything in his power to keep me here another transfer.  I want that so much.

I love “the mission field.” Tons of people wear jeans to church here, and once in a while someone will have to go out to smoke, and people just love everyone. There was a young man at church yesterday who got baptized maybe three years ago and just barely is deciding to try coming back. He came to church looking kind of rough and to watch the ward just embrace this kid (literally embrace him too--every time I saw him someone was hugging on him) was so beautiful. That's what Christ would be doing. It has been interesting to be out here and have a real feel for what is cultural about Mormons and what it doctrinal. There's ALOT that is just cultural. I think it's been good for me because that culture isn't as strong out here, and it leaves the pure gospel for me to see, and that has strengthened my testimony. It makes it so good for investigators too.  Did I mention that I love it here?

The Beginning

Getting the vat up to 145 degrees

Scalding the hair off

Scraping the hair



Elder Tullis and I

Uh, Creepy


Brother M------- showing us how to cut

More cutting--the sausage we made was delicious!

My throat!