Monday, October 28, 2013

First Area in Layton!

Hello everyone! So I've been in the field for 6 days already and they have flown by! I'm in one of the stakes in Layton, UT and the adjustment has been quite smooth from the MTC to real life, surprisingly. I made it a goal in the MTC to learn and practice as much as I possibly could so I'd be prepared to work with real people. My trainer, Sister Wright, is amazing! She is from England so she has the British accent and I feel like I'm in a Jane Austen movie every day. She's only been out 3 months and she's already training. I have a feeling I'll be training someone too when my 12 weeks training is up. I'm adjusting to the schedule quite well. I am the designated driver for our car because Sister Wright doesn't have an American drivers license so it's been quite an experience getting thrown into it! And I drive like, all day from appointment to appointment, so thank you to everyone who let me drive their cars before my mission; the practice really did help! Sister Wright thanks you as well. The only thing about driving in Utah is that the roads aren't flat, especially in Layton, and if you don't look out, the transition from parkinglot to road has a huge dip in it and my car will scrape the ground. I already got two aggressive driving warnings from my little GPS monitor that reports to the mission office if I'm speeding or doing anything wrong. My district leader tells me it's a rite of passage for every missionary when they get their first aggressive driving, so I guess I nailed that the 2nd day! My first day the new missionaries were able to go see Temple Square for a special mission tour before we met our trainers, and the Sisters that took us around were so wonderful and helped us feel the Spirit. I am so grateful we have this resource to bring our Investigators to! We saw a movie called "God's plan" and it was amazing and made me think about my family and how grateful I am that we have the gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives, and the knowledge that we can be with our family members forever through the blessings of the temple. Also, one of the Temple Square Sisters told us how hard it was on her first week being a missionary, and mentioned that she missed her twin sister at BYU. I went up to her later and we talked about how we both have twins at BYU that we miss, and she gave me some really comforting words and advice. 

Miracles are already happening in Layton since I arrived! Although it's been slightly overwhelming to memorize the 5 Wards that we cover, as well as the 5 Bishops, 5 WML's, and of course all the less active, nonmember, recent converts and potential and current investigators each ward has to offer, I'm learning day by day and Sister Wright knows all these people and doesn't expect me to know it all right away. Thank goodness names and faces have always been easy for me to remember! I invited an investigator to be baptized on Friday night! I felt the Spirit so strong as I invited her using the exact wording from Preach My Gospel and she said yes because she finally was in the right circumstances to be qualified for baptism. If everything goes right, we will have our first baptism this Saturday the 2nd! 

Also, I had an inspiring experience Wednesday night at our first dinner appointment (we had roast and potatoes and carrots and rolls--thanks for the head's up Dad). I was still kind of in shock processing everything that had happened--I'm in Layton, I'm a missionary, this is for real--and I went to the bathroom and just prayed that I'd be able to be a good missionary and that I'd feel welcome here and be able to help these people. Then halfway through the dinner appointment, the Brother says, "So Elder Nelson said a year ago to 'ask the missionaries' if you ever need help with something. So I figured I'd ask you how I can get the people in our ward more excited about family history and temple work." Sister Wright just turned to me like "It's all yours". He is trying to get old people who are really into genealogy to not be afraid of computers and to learn how to use, and some of them are less actives we can help reactivate in the process! We are going to organize a family history fireside, and the Sisters, (so basically me) are going to run it and teach these old people how to transfer their genealogy from paper to online. I really do feel needed here, not just in family history work, but that certainly is helping and is a strength to our companionship. I hope you are all doing well, thank you for the emails and letters, they keep me going! I love Layton and being a missionary, it's the best decision I've ever made. 

-Sister Fluegel

Monday, October 21, 2013

Last Day at the MTC October 21st 2013

I can't believe I've been at the MTC for 12 days already! My district of 3 Sisters and 4 Elders has grown so close! We're like family now. It's going to be hard to say goodbye to everyone. Our P-day last week was Tuesday but now it's Monday because we leave tomorrow for Salt Lake City at 8am. It's going to be on Mondays from now on unless my mission president changes it. I'm slightly nervous to take the train to SLC because I've never been on one and they only give you 40 seconds to get your things and get off the train! Our district leader said he'd be the last one off to make sure we Sisters didn't get left behind. Everyone here is so willing to help and serve others. I'm going to miss it!

I'm all packed up except for a few things and I've got to clean up the apartment--which will be sad because WyView was just starting to feel like home. But I'm so happy to meet my trainer and be a real missionary with real people instead of fake investigators all the time. The appointments I went on with the Sisters when I was home really did help me! I feel so much better prepared than my fellow district members are feeling. This weekend has been a spiritually uplifting time for me because we've had so many devotionals and words of wisdom from our teachers for the field. 

Yesterday evening we had a Departure Devotional for everyone leaving the MTC this week, The speaker said, "Your mission experience is the MTC for the rest of your life...and the next." So true. He also said, "You shouldn't just go through your mission, you need to let your mission go through you." which I thought was a given but I guess some missionaries do go through the motions and don't let the experiences really change their hearts and who they are. I've already experienced a change of heart in my love for others and seeing them the way Heavenly Father sees them. It's been a struggle to see everyone that way but I've turned to the scriptures and prayer and I'm starting to change for the better and it's wonderful! I plan on serving my mission every day to the fullest and letting it touch my heart and soul. One of my teachers said something that really hit me as well, and made me start studying my scriptures and Preach My Gospel even more. He said, "You cannot convert someone beyond your own conversion." 

Something I've realized while here at the MTC is that I always saw missionary work as strictly work for the living and their children and posterity. But, one devotional speaker was saying that the ancestors of the people we are finding and baptizing are helping us on the other side, because they want their temple work done as well! And here I thought I was giving up family history work for 18 months. But no, I'm just helping others come unto Christ and all their ancestors will benefit from it! Hopefully I will be able to teach some of the new converts how to do their work. That'll be even better than doing my own! 

I've loved my experience at the MTC and being at West Campus has been such a blessing because we get to walk outside way more than Main Campus does, so we get more exercise, fresh air, and a much less crowded cafeteria! My district was one of the first and is the last of English Speakers to ever be on the West Campus, because they are making it the designated Spanish-Speakers campus starting next month! It's been a great experience and I've learned so much. The days are long but the weeks fly by. I'm loving every minute of it!

Thank you for all your letters, my district has been a little jealous that I receive so much mail but they have kept me going and given me strength when I felt discouraged or tired or homesick. I love all my family and friends and look forward to updating you all on my first week in Salt Lake City next Monday

First night at the MTC
 Raintree, where they have their lessons

 Last day at the MTC with Sister Fluegel's district and MTC teacher (also Elizabeth's FHE brother-weird!!)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Sister Fluegel's first letter from the MTC!

Hello everyone!

It's been an absolutely amazing first week at the Provo Missionary Training Center! I can't believe I've only been here 6 days; it feels like I've been here a month. I enjoyed the few days in Utah from Mondayto Wednesday I was able to spend finishing my mission quilt with Aunt Lorraine and going to all Elizabeth's classes at BYU because she was my "companion". That was fun to experience 2 days in the life of a BYU student! She kept telling everyone she was "babysitting a missionary" haha. 

   MTC life is so crazy! I'm living on the new West Campus, which was previously Wyview apartments, and we have to cross the street all the time to get to the RainTree apartments where we have our classes and meals and bookstore and mailroom. Every day we receive mail at lunch and at dinner, so everyone is always hoping to receive letters! Our days are so packed with studying, class, devotionals, meetings, training and coaching and "progressive investigator" or PI appointments, where my companions and I go into a living room set-up and teach an investigator who is acting. It really stressed me out at first but I'm getting much more comfortable with it. I'm loving wearing church clothes every day and pinning my little nametag on (the magnetic ones are the coolest) and just focusing on studying the gospel and how to meet the needs of our investigators. 

  I've already had a lot of challenges to overcome, the hardest of which has been my companionship--or rather, Tri-panionship. Sister Holt, from Georgia and Sister Perez from Washington are my companions because the other Sister in our district didn't show up for her mission. So the three of us have had to work together and try to all teach without walking all over each other during lessons with the PI's and it's been the hardest thing I've ever tried to do. Thankfully these lessons aren't with real investigators, so when we totally confused the guy in our first lesson I was just glad we didn't ruin his chance at salvation. The tripanionship thing still is pretty rocky but I've learned to turn to prayer and to the scriptures, as well as the Sister Training Leaders, for guidance and support. 

  I'm so busy all the time but I do keep you in my heart and think about my parents, grandparents, little sisters and brother, and friends often. I was so afraid of the MTC the night before I left that I made my stomach upset, but after experiencing a week of it I know that anyone can do it, just not on their own. You have to rely on the Lord to help you or you'll give up and go home. Yesterday I was having the worst day with companion drama because one of my companions didn't want to even try to practice our lesson or even talk about what we were going to say, and I just felt discouraged and stressed because I know we can't have the Spirit there without tripanionship unity. Plus, we were just about to start that night a new PI in the TRC building, with a legit actor/actress who might or might not be a nonmember! But right when we were about to go teach that first lesson, the Branch President's wife came to visit us and Sister Perez, who has been having homesickness and been questioning why she's here as well as many other issues, talked to her instead of coming with Sister Holt and I on the appointment. 

I have never appreciated more than now, the fact that we only usually have ONE companion, because everything just flowed so easily and the investigator spoke a lot so we understood her needs, and I felt the Spirit so strong in our lesson. At one point I felt like I should talk to her about how there are thousands of missionaries out serving just like us, to share this exciting news that the priesthood authority of God is here again on the earth and we just want to share it with everyone! When I did, she started smiling and said, "Wow you sound so excited about this!" and I honestly couldn't stop smiling the whole lesson because it WAS exciting and together Sister Holt and I were able to do everything we have been learning the past 5 days. When we left we were SO happy we had to keep from jumping up and down with excitement and just pure JOY in the work. Never have I been more sure, and more happy, of my decision to serve a mission. This is exactly where I want to be and exactly what I want to be doing and I'm learning to love every moment of it--the difficult moments and the beautiful moments alike. 

My district has 4 Elders and 3 Sisters and we are all going to the Utah Salt Lake City Mission! Our zone has another district and they just have 6 Elders, 2 of which are going to my mission as well. These boys may only be 18, but their testimonies are strong and so is their faith and they know they are on the Lord's errand. I'm so impressed with all the missionaries here and their attitudes of faith. When we take walks around the campus we'll say "Hi Elders' and we'll hear back "Hola Hermanas" or some other jibberish that could be Finnish, Tagolog, or who knows what. The food is good but I'm trying really hard not to take in more calories than I'm burning, especially with the ice cream and fudge bars always available to us at every meal, and the Creamery ice cream at the Wyview creamery where we go to get things we need and do our laundry. We also have breakfast at 6:30am, which means I'm getting up every morning at 5:15 to take a shower and get ready for the day. That'll be nice to "sleep in" when I get to Salt Lake City next week! We are taking the Frontrunner train on Tuesday the 22nd so I'm not sure if I'll have time to email next week. 

I hope you all are doing well and thank you for the letters I've already received from Sister Evans, Elizabeth of course, and Zella! Missionaries LIVE for letters. Our District Leader checks the mail twice a day and everyone just hopes and crosses their fingers that one of the letters in his hands is for them. I've probably received more mail than everyone in my district so far, thanks to Elizabeth and her dear-eldering me. Unfortunately I can't receive mail every day when I go to the real mission field next week, so this is the last and only week I have left to receive your letter the day you write it on Dear Elder. 

I was able to see Sister Holbrook, who is from Chicago and serving in Salt Lake with me, on Wednesday and Sunday when we had the same schedules. It was great to catch up with her! My tripanionship and her companionship are both Sister Training Leaders for our mini-Branches. Also on Sunday I saw Sister Kelsey Howard, from Las Vegas who I met up at BYU Idaho last fall and haven't seen since then! It was so exciting to see another person I knew and she was pretty excited too. She actually yellled out "Ashley!!" and then put her hands over her mouth like 'oops I said her first name" and it was pretty funny. I hope I can see her again and get a picture with her before she goes to the Philippines. I also saw Elizabeth's old roommate Hannin (still don't know her last name) and I yelled her name out too and she was totally caught off guard but she hugged me and it was just neat to see someone I knew. 

Before I go, I just wanted to thank Grandma Pam for the black and white skirt, it's so comfortable and cute! I'm loving my new scriptures and just marking away during my Personal Study time. That's my ultimate favorite time of the day--just complete silence for at least an hour where I can do my own searching and scripture marking and there is just complete peace with no distractions at all. I've always loved learning, but learning about missionary work and how to do it is the most I've ever learned spiritually in such a short time. Tonight I'm singing in the choir for our Tuesday night devotional, which is going to be broadcasted to every MTC there is! And there is a general authority speaking, so I get the best seats! I'm so excited to feel the Spirit and sing and go to the Main MTC Campus this time. 

I also went to the Provo temple this morning with my Zone and we had a wonderful time of course. We took a bunch of pictures so I was hoping to attach them on this email. So far our computers have been rejecting our cameras so I might have to wait to send them until next week or the week after. I love you all and hope everything is going well with you. Write me! :)

-Sister Fluegel 

P.S. I saved my red "dork dot" just so you know Dad. :)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


Well, October 9th came! Sister Fluegel entered the MTC today, her twin sister Elizabeth (me) and our Aunt Trisha saw her off! She was really excited and they whisked her away in seconds after getting her luggage out of the car. Here are some pictures:

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Called to Serve: Utah Salt Lake City Mission!!

Hi, I'm Sister Fluegel. Welcome to my Mission Blog! I will be serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the Utah Salt Lake City Mission from October 2013 to April 2015. I will be posting (through my twin sister) weekly updates about my mission experiences. I report October 9th to the MTC in Provo and will be there until October 23rd. I look forward to sharing the gospel with the people of the Salt Lake area and I hope you will enjoy reading about my experiences too.