Wait...has it really been one month?

WHAT THE HECK? Can ANYONE believe that I have been in the field for a MONTH now? Because, I sure can't!! This week was so STELLAR! We are rocking it out here in Vestal! 

We had Zone Training Meeting this week so we got to drive out to Owego and have our interview with President and some training. It  was so great! I loved it! Elder Edgecomb from my MTC district is in my zone, so I got to see him! That was great! I got to have my interview with President Rogers and he was so encouraging! I really love him a lot and know that he is my mission president for a reason! Plus.. he is a doctor. So that is always great! We learned about how to be urgent missionaries. It really was great for me and helped me realize, what it is I need to do to become a better missionary. Sister Baxter and I learned so much and were so excited to apply it to our teaching. So after ZTM, Sister Baxter and I had dinner with President and Sister Rogers at TGI:Fridays... It was great! Then Sister Rogers came out to teach with us! We planned to meet with Jeff. We have been trying to teach Jeff for a really long time but have not been able to get a hold of him or come at the right time, but he always was willing to learn so we set up an appointment, it was for Tuesday at 6.. with Sister Rogers. I was so excited!!! We go in and he started telling us about what he believes and he is a Unitarist... pretty much should be Atheist. He has no belief in God, he has read the Book of Mormon and knows all about our church. He just wanted us to come so that we could have the experience of teaching someone like him. SO MEAN huh! It was fine, but I was kinda ticked that he played us and we wasted time, but ya know what! Everyone has to have the opportunity to accept or reject it and we bore some undeniable testimony to get him thinking. So hopefully he feels something and starts reading the Book of Mormon with real intent. It really was sad to go to his place. He was so close to knowing the truth, but was too stubborn to accept it. 

We then had a lesson with Hannah!! OH MY GOODNESS EVERYONE! Hannah is progressing so much! She has given up coffee and is really trying to give up smoking. I love Hannah so much! She really motivates me to be a better missionary and to find more golden investigators like her. She also committed to be baptized this week!!!!! AUGUST 26th, 2017... yeah... that's as soon as she can be baptized but! She is gonna make it! I know she will!!! :) She is so great!!! :) I love her so much!!! :) It is so crazy how that date seems so close to her, but yet so far away for me. When Hannah is ready to be baptized I will only have a few weeks left of my mission! Crazy, not even gonna think about it. But what a great way to end, am I right? I really love Hannah so much and am so excited for her!! 

We had a lesson this week on Binghamton University Campus with a less-active named Caroline and her roommates and friends. It was SO weird to be on a college campus again. Those girls are my exact same age... they could be my roommates. It just really made me so excited that I made the choice to come on a mission though, I have learned way more in these past 2 months then I would have if I stayed and continued college. I am so grateful I am out here. It was so weird to teach them though and to be back on a college campus. But it was great! :) It made me really proud of myself.

Next on the agenda is Casie! Casie is the Recent Convert we are teaching, she was baptized my first Saturday here. I am so grateful I have the opportunity to teach her, she really pushes me to become a better missionary. We were trying to figure out what to teach her, she has really been down recently, so we wanted something SUPER uplifting and I really kept thinking about Temples. WOW! I have never seen Casie so excited and felt the spirit more with her. She is so excited to enter the temple now! I loved it!!! She doesn't want to ever settle for anything less! She wants a temple marriage now and to be with her family for eternity! It made me realize how blessed I am to know that truth and rekindled the fire inside of me to share that knowledge! TEMPLES ARE AMAZING!!!! :) 

Next we had dinner and watched the Restoration with Nikki, Sally and Nikki's friend Vernon and Marcie. I haven't felt the spirit that strong since I have been on my mission. Little background info, Nikki and Sally are members. Nikki is Sally's daughter and they live together. Marcie is Nikki's best friend who lives next door and then Vernon is Nikki's man. Vernon and Marcie are not members. Nikki wanted us to watch the Restoration with her and her friends and it was amazing! Marcie really connected and EVERYONE felt the spirit. Sally kept talking about how the Church has helped her so much in the past few months get through everything and that this is truly the TRUE chruch. Her testimony was so simple but so powerful. A little more background, Nikki lost her youngest son a few months ago, He was at a rival football game and was murdered. It has been really hard on their family but they have been able to get through it because of the gospel. They used to be inactive but they have been coming to church regularly since the accident and Nikki is working towards the temple so that she can have her son sealed to her. This lesson was so indescribable. It was amazing! I love this gospel so much and I know that this is the true church and that the temple and Eternal Family truths are restored and can only be preformed through the true church of Jesus Christ. I LOVE THIS GOSPEL! 

ALRIGHT! I know you all have been waiting for the funny stories for this week... well first off.. SPRING CLEANING... I am cleaning the shower doing my thing when all the sudden a GIANT CENTIPEDE COMES CRAWLING OUT! I don't think I have ever screamed so loud in my life! hahaha it was soooo funny! Sister Baxter was laughing so hard! It was really great! haha! But we killed it so don't worry! 
The brave centipede killer?

The mighty centipede!

for the next two stories, names have been changed for the safety of the individual.
We were in sunday school yesterday, and Sister Izatt always starts out class by everyone introducing themselves and answering a question. So the question was "What is one thing on your bucket list you have to do before you die?" So we all go around and then we get to Betty. Betty is a 60 year old firery GOD loving MORMON. She loves to shout her praises and I love her for it. Now she says.. "Hi I'm Betty and... I don't even have a bucket." NO ONE expected it! The whole class just laughed for like 5 solid minutes! It was great! Then in Relief Society... they asked the typical.. "Now.. do we have any new faces today..." and Marge says "I don't know anyone!" Marge has dementia and probably doesn't even remember that she said that but I thought it was really funny and I started to laugh... No one else thought  it was funny... haha! Me and Sister Baxter sat in our own little chuckling corner! Haha! It was so great! Gotta love this ward!! 

I really am loving the work! I am so grateful for all your thoughts and prayers I definitely feel them all! You are all amazing! Thanks for everything! LOVE YOU ALL!!! :) Keep Smiling! :) 

Love: Sister DeVries


"You smell like pee"

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!! You are the best! I am so glad I have my best friend as my mother to help me through life. I am so grateful for your example and for always teaching us the gospel. I know so much about it because I was raised by such great parents! Thanks for everything!!!

Well.. How is everyone!! This week has been so  great! We are starting to see success in the area!!! I am going to tell you about some of the weekly highlights!!! :) 

Last Monday, we went to Sister Moore's for the night and it was so great! She is such a sweet lady! Remind me to talk more about it on Mother's Day over Skype okay? :) We went over though and we cleaned her house, she had a roommate who left her place super trashed so we helped her with it and we sang Josh Groban's you raise me up all night! BEST PART ABOUT IT... we got to wear JEANS!!!!!!!! I love wearing jeans... other than they were tight......... So let's just say I am starting to work out a little harder ;) haha! no actually they were tight for a good reason! I am gaining so much muscle! (let's hope.. it makes me feel better at least...) Anyway.. I have a great story about that day but it won't make any sense over email.. you gotta see my facial expressions :) haha! 

Such a rule breaker!

Last Tuesday in personal studies, I decided to read my patriarchal blessing. I love reading it as a missionary because it can really strengthen your testimony that you are doing the right thing. However, I also really hate it because I get so confused on what I am supposed to do when I get home and it makes me start thinking about the future. So after I read it that day I was really impressed that I needed to do family history a lot more when I get home. I started getting stressed out because I have NO CLUE where to start. Then we went to Sister Van Horn's and she was telling us all about herself and just started answering all of my prayers!!! It was amazing! She helped me realize that if I just start, I will receive help from those on the other side of the veil. She talked about how she had no clue where to start either but since she started miracle after miracle has happened and she has been able to find so many people who need their work done and she has been able to do the work. It was so great to hear that and to talk with her. She also knew a little bit more about Vriesland and told me about my heritage. It was so cool!! :) I definitely had my prayers answered! It is crazy how often that happens. People really are placed into our lives for a reason.

We had dinner with the Guthrie Family... with all of the Elders. It was called Initiation dinner... we were all on edge not quite sure what to expect. Except for those who had previously been to initiation dinner... So let me paint the picture for you. We walk in and I asked Sister Guthrie if I could help her with anything and she said "NO NO.. hurry get out of the kitchen." So we got out and just sat waiting in the dining room. The Elder's were late... as usual.. and we just waited for dinner. She brought out pulled pork sandwiches and we ate.. all the while half of her family wasn't at dinner. She said "they won't be joining us tonight..." . I was seated right next to the stairs so I kept looking behind me.. scared that someone was going to jump out. I stopped once everyone else seemed to think it was a chill atmosphere. Then I looked over at Elder Neddo and he was watering her plant. hahah! I was thinking to myself.. What the heck are you doing dude? But ya know.. it's Elder Neddo so it's fine but Elder Harmon and Elder Melanson were both telling him to stop watering the plant... It was pretty funny. After we had all eaten, Sister Guthrie reminded Elder Neddo about what he told her. That he would eat anything she gave him. So she put the plant in front of him and said.. "Eat the dirt" ... He asked if it was poisoned.. but then he just ate it anyway. Then he said "well played" The dirt was OREOs this was initiation. hahah! Our dessert was dirt. But the funniest part is our dessert was soggey! BECAUSE ELDER NEDDO DECIDED TO WATER THE PLANT! haha! it was pretty great! :)

 So... the "You smell like pee" story! Well... We were cooking dinner and we got caught doing a few other things and then... we smelt our dinner. Yup, we had just burnt the RICE! haha! I walked into the kitchen with Sister Baxter running outside with a pan of smoke! I could barely even see her through the smoke and then all the sudden there was a loud beeping sound!! Windows were flying open. I was using towels to fan the air from the smoke alarm that was annoying saying "Fire, Fire! There is a Fire!" all while still continuing to beep obnoxiously for the next 10 minutes. We really are great cooks, we just got distracted. But, Don't worry Mom! Won't happen again!! :) Anyway, we had an appointment after that and we ran off to it! Then we went to Hannah's and we told her to smell my scarf. She said.. "Why do you smell like  pee?" hahaha! WE LOVE HANNAH! she is so great! hahah! We honestly REEKED of smoke and it was really the worst smell in the world. This happened on Thursday and our apartment still smells like smoke. So that is great! ;) haha!

The burnt offering.

We had exchanges to Horseheads this week and it was so great! I served with Sister Munoz for the day and we had a great experience teaching Will,a recent convert and then, Sabrina one of their investigators as well as my first. "Yeah come on in.. RESTORATION lessons!" It was so great!! The family was so nice and I really want to serve in Horseheads now so that I can teach them later in the mission! They were so great! I really bonded with the Man of the house. He knew a lot of Mormon's and said that they were the nicest guys he has ever met, but he has ran across a lot of Anti stuff from watching South Park... but he realizes that it probably isn't true. Something really cool he said is that if you say anything that we believe in, if you lay any religion bluntly out onto a table it is going to look ridiculous.. But you know that it isn't because of the feelings that you get when you learn about it. He is SOOO prepared! I am so jealous I can't continue teaching him! But it gave me that extra push I need to really focus on finding people and that there are people who are prepared! 

Like Ben.. the day that George (the teddy bear) stood us up we found Ben... Ben is a Catholic and just recently went through a divorce. The day we knocked on his door he accepted the Restoration pamphlet. We decided to knock again on his door this week and he said he tried to contact us but THE WRONG NUMBER was on the back of the pamphlet. So he called his friend in Kirkwood who is a member and talked to him about it! He told us that for right now he is good with the Catholic church but that if he ever wasn't he knows that he will join the Mormon Church! We are just praying for Ben! He really is so prepared and is another teddy bear type guy! He is amazing!!! We really need to teach him! He will get there one day! I know it! and I know he knows it too!

Then last night we knocked on a few doors and this girl let us in her name is Sonia and she is a student at Binghamton University. She is baptist but listened to our message. She doesn't understand prophets and how there can be another book. But we do have a follow up appointment with her next next week! So hopefully that will go well!

We are starting to see miracles here in vestal town! :) I am sooooo excited about it! Well love you all!!! :) keep doing what you are doing.. unless your doing nothing! then get out and enjoy yourself! Spring is FINALLY here!!! :)


I Love this Ward!!!

Winter Wonderland

So every week we do laundry at one of the members houses, because it is super expensive to do it the quarter way. I don't love using members stuff but they all are pretty good  about it so that is good. Last week we went to Sister McDaniel's house (her husband is the Ward Mission Leader). We asked the usually questions, how long we had been out, family, where were from, if we went to school before we came out.. Well I was going through my basic life story with Sister McDaniel and she said "Oh, Ogden... I know someone from Ogden." ... knowing the chances that she would ever know someone I knew I just kinda said "Oh..Cool! yeah there are a lot of people.." Then she said... "they are from... like Slaterville.." I was SOOOO EXCITED! She knew the name of Slaterville all the way out here in NEW YORK!!! I told her that was where I was from and asked who it was. It turned out to be her husband's sister, her name is Sister Sosa. She texted her to see if she knew me or how close we lived to each other...she lives over by where the Dimicks used to live. She now goes to the spanish ward with her husband that's why shes not in our ward. So she asked her if she knew my last name, she said that when she moved into her house there was a Sister DeVries who was the relief society president. We figure out that that was Grandma!!! She told me a touching story about how Grandma really showed her love and was one of the main reasons she came back to church. I was so excited! She really loves our family, and I grew so grateful and proud to be carrying our family name. I definitely love all of you and I want you to remember who you represent. For me I represent, our state, myself, my family and Jesus Christ. But I think even though it's not written on a name tag for all of you like it is for Missionaries. You are representatives of the same thing. Can people see who you represent through your actions? Some of the best advice I received on my mission is to "look down when you get discouraged and look at those names on your name tag, remember who you represent and the reason you are here, then say a prayer and take a step forward with faith in Jesus Christ and your foreordained journey." We are all foreordained, each day has a purpose, FIND IT in EVERY DAY! :) there's my little pep talk for the week!

 Next, I can definitely feel your prayers. Unfortunately our lesson didn't work out with Rita, we got Mike to come with us, he is a recent convert who has an AMAZING conversion story and lived near Rita while he made this 360 change in his life. So she knows the blessing the gospel brings, she left our lesson though and isn't answering our calls. We don't know what is going on... we might need to drop her.. sadly.. she has been taking discussions for 3 years now. So she is a very slow progressing investigator. However, despite Rita, our prayers have been answered. We have been working with the ward members and regaining there trust. EVERY SINGLE MEMBER we have talked to has given us a referral, it has been amazing. We haven't got in with too many investigators however, we are doing great Less Active work for this ward there are probably about 250 in this ward and about 120 of them are active, which still is amazing but we really want to help out this ward. Even some who do come every week are dealing with poverty, and really need some help and I have loved helping all the members. Even though our numbers don't look impressive I have realized you can still be fulfilling your purpose without having the numbers to back it up. I am so grateful for this ward and for the referrals that we have received. Also this ward is great with missionaries, we have a meal AT LEAST 4 times a week and if not then we get a whole bag of food every Sunday and Thursday! They take care of us so much. It is really great I love them all to pieces. So... when I heard about the Sister Clothing Exchange box in every apartment. I was pretty excited honestly. I thought it was going to be this great box full of great stuff... and then.. it turned into great laughs. But I think i am going to keep this outfit :) hahaha (INSERT A PICTURE HERE MOM)

Next... BUBBLES!! So they are finally starting to work! I swear we are going to find someone through bubbles one day. haha! So it was a snowy day and we were driving back from service and I was kinda getting down and I saw the bubbles in car and decided to blow them. When I did this lady next to us pulled up and gave us thumbs up and rolled down her window to talk to us and tell us to keep doing it and they we were just laughing and smiling together. She really brightened my day and I am sure we brightened hers. We have had many similar experiences. My new motto is "Why blow smoke, when you can blow bubbles." Hahaha!! :) it's super fun to blow bubbles at the car next to you who is smoking his cigg... hahah!

Bubbles to Baptism!

 Alright! well the work is going great here and we are definitely finding people now! I really love this work and am trying to enjoy every moment! It is going by fast already! I can't believe it is monday again! But yeah.. Side note.. I am on facebook so don't be alarmed when I comment on something or post something :) haha! Well I Love You All! And i love being a missionary!! :)


Snow in Vestal!!

We woke up to snow here in vestal!!! Crazy!! I am just so grateful for the previous Sister in this area who left her winter coat and for the tender mercies of the Lord. I definitely see his hand in my life, my companions and those we come in contact with. It's so amazing how easy it is to recognize that when you are a missionary!

 So first off, I love Children!!! They are so innocent and pure... I definitely know now why Christ loved the little children more ;)  haha! No but really I have gotten to know the cutest little kids, I think they know how much they mean to me because the little girls always draw me a picture! :) It's the best!!! I can't (but I really can) wait to have my own family!!! :) hahaha! Don't be too scared mom! I just really see the importance of families and raising your kids in gospel centered homes. I cannot wait to do that! I also grow more grateful every day for my own parents! I constantly use their examples or stories in my lesson and find strength in the lessons they taught me. So grateful for my eternal family. Anywayssss.....

 On Monday... we had the lesson scheduled with George (the teddybear) He wasn't home and we tried back 3 times that night but he wasn't ever home, we also went later in the week and he wasn't home either. It is okay though, we will find him! He is so sweet, I just really hope that his wife will let him take the lessons.

 We really have been focusing on gaining the trust of the ward members so that we can receive referrals and know who to teach and we have had many amazing service opportunities with them. One was with a less active named, Vivian, she is so sweet!!! Vivian's son came and stayed with her for a month and tore her house apart, he left cigarette butts everywhere and really left a mess, so we went over and helped her clean her house before her landlord came. It was such a great experience and she shared some of her hard struggles with me, this ward is really big and a lot of people attended but there are also a ton that don't so we really need to help those who are less active. It has been such an amazing learning experience this week. The work is finally progressing as well we finally got some more miles and went down to our part of the area that is like 2 miles away from Pennsylvania (EVERYONE here calls it PA.. they are so lazy.. haha jk!!) but it was good we found some former investigators who are willing to let us come and teach them.
Last night we had a lesson with Rita! MY FIRST REAL LESSON! FINALLY!!! It was so good, she has been meeting with missionaries on and off for a year, she realized that we always come back when she is going through a really hard time in life. We helped her realize that this is because God is showing his love for you. He wants you to know he cares. She really realized that she needs this. We have another appt. tomorrow with her so hopefully that will go well. She is so amazing! Well, I hope I will have more to share next week, there really is so much I just  have to narrow it down but I will tell you one more happy story.
 We do a lot of driving in our area and there is A MILLION stop lights and we seem to always hit them, so one day we found bubbles in our car and decided to blow them out the window while we were at the stop light, the girl next to us was SOO HAPPY and just starting laughing, we realized that this made us happy and those around us. So now we blow bubbles at every red light haha! I don't think I have ever loved red lights so much in my life!!! hahaha! so good! just something to keep us sane! But... we probably need to make sure it is legal! hahah!!Well, I promise I will be better at writing soon! hahaha! theres just so much and so little time! Love you all!!!