Monday, April 25, 2016

4-25-2016 #Miracles

So I experienced two pretty huge miracles this week. One of them is kind of weird and silly and the other is BAPTISM!! 

So Layla got baptized and Sister Shober and I got permission to go. We had to go to Anaheim mission which was kind of awkward. We also met the Anaheim mission president which was super awkward. We almost stayed in Anaheim too long and turned into pumpkins. 

"If we stay in Anaheim much longer we might turn into pumpkins." -Me 
"Yeah that's what happens to us after two years we turn into pumpkins" -An Anaheim Elder 
This explains a lot about Aaron Pitt actually. 

So anyway this is Layla. I only taught her twice, but Sister Shober and I were the initial contact. Turns out she was super elect and got baptized two months later. She shared how she decided to be baptized, and it was one of the coolest descriptions of conversion I've ever heard.
"I've read the Book of Mormon every day since Sister Atchley and Sister Shober gave it to me two months ago. I was laying in bed read it one day when I realized that God has always been in my life we just had not been formally introduced until I met the sisters two months ago." -Layla 
It was such a cool experience to be on the other side of a convert baptism. It makes me think of all the times that missionaries share the gospel and DON'T get to see the fruits of their efforts. It also makes me think of all the times we try to share the gospel with people who are not ready to hear it. 

That's the topic of my other miracle. This one is kind of convoluted, but I definitely saw the hand of the Lord in my life this week. Earlier this week I was having an average personal study like I typically do when the spirit told me to go over the how to begin teaching points. So if you don't know what that means there's some pointers on how to begin teaching in Preach My Gospel, and my heart was super hard to them for like my first two entire transfers. So I decided to go through them and find scriptural evidence for all of them. I only got to point two because it lead me to Alma7:11-13 and I proceeded to receive an extremely powerful witness of Christ and a ton of revelation for the rest of personal study. 
The next day the zone leaders decided it would be a good idea to have a frisbee activity together as a zone for our exercise. I literally never play frisbee ever because I'm so lame and I hate fun, but something told me that it would be a good idea on this particular occasion. So as y'all probably know I'm not super good at anything that requires running or hand-eye coordination. Basically I was just being super lame and feeling pretty useless for the entire time. So I said a prayer in my heart which was basically along the lines of "Heavenly Father I know this is such a stupid request, but I feel really useless right now can you please just help me do something useful one time during this frisbee game?" I hear my name, the frisbee falls out of the sky right into my hands, I pass it to Elder Chain, who is like a pro at frisbee, and our team wins the game. So now my testimony of prayer is at an all time high. 
"It may not seem important in the grand scheme of things, but if it's important to you it's important to Him, because YOU are important to Him." -President Orgill 
Then I go see someone get baptized. So I've just seen an ordinance of salvation performed. My testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel is off the chain. 

That night Sister Peterson and I decided to go contacting in the park and we met the nastiest basher I've probably met on my mission. I mean he was trying to destroy us. He was trying to twist our words, and tell us that we don't believe in the real christ, and that the only way you can know truth is by the bible, not by feelings etc. He just got really aggressive and slammed us for a solid 10 minutes. Several things happened in this bash that were pretty amazing to be a part of. 
First of all, the things he tried to convince me I was wrong about were things that I had just spent the past two days having my testimony of strengthened in huge ways by the power of the Holy Ghost. Second, all I did was bear testimony over and over again. So when he tried to refute my words or corner me he just got himself into an awkward situation. Example: 
"Mormons don't believe in the christ of the bible." -This guy
"I believe that christ is my savior and my redeemer, and I know that he suffered for my sins and died on the cross." -me 

"Thank you for informing me, tonight I will pray about the things that you have said and I know that Heavenly Father who loves me will answer my question through the power of the holy ghost. I know Heavenly Father always answers prayers. Seek and ye shall find knock and it shall be opened unto you." -me 
"You don't get answers from the "Holy Ghost" you get them from the bible!! It doesn't matter how big of a "feeling" you get blah blah." - homeboy 

So basically I learned why you only bear testimony to bashers. If you try to teach them they will twist your words and try to confound you and attempt to shake your testimony. If you bear simple pure testimony and they argue back they are only arguing against the godhead. 
Third, this guy tried to share ONE scripture with us to prove us wrong. Between him and his wife they absolutely could not find this scripture. They couldn't find it in the entire time they were talking to us even with the help of the internet. I on the other hand quoted out of the air probably about 15 scriptures. They just kept coming to my mind. This is because the spirit, who is my constant companion, was bringing things to my remembrance, but confounding his thoughts. 
D&C100: 5 Therefore, Verily I say unto you, lift up your voices unto this people; speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts, and you shall not be confounded before men;
6 For it shall be given you in the very hour, yea, in the very moment, what ye shall say. 

Fourth is the most important miracle that happened through all of this. Sometimes when you talk to bashers you get this pit in your stomach and this sinking feeling in your heart, because you know what they're saying isn't true. I had this feeling for the first half of our conversation and about half way through I said a prayer in my heart. It was something along the lines of "Heavenly Father, I know this is your child, please help me to have Christlike love for him." As I said this the feelings in my heart melted away and I had christlike love for this individual. As soon as this happened he started stumbling on his ideas and ran out of things to say. I walked away with a stronger testimony of the gospel and he was left standing there calling us names. 
D&C62:3 Nevertheless, ye are blessed, for the testimony which ye have borne is recorded in heaven for the angels to look upon; and they rejoice over you, and your sins are forgiven you.

Your reading assignment is Alma7:11-13 and I want you to pay very close attention to the reason behind the word "nevertheless". 

Some funnies: 

"It's an effective study if you receive revelation from an angel of the Lord" -Elder King

"I don't actually know your first name" -Elder Robinson
"It rhymes with shmadeleine" -Sister Fullmer 

"Maybe the waffle has miracle grow in it." -Elder Center
"Maybe Sister Atchley should eat it." -Elder Davis 

"As sisters in zion we'll all go play frisbee...." -Elder Anthony + Elder Chain

Love Y'all!! 

Monday, April 18, 2016

4/18/2016 Where did last week go?

Some guy who spoke in church the other week was like "Why is the Book of Mormon important? I'm glad I asked." It was super funny. 

We had zone training meeting this week and pretty much every training was on Sister Atchley and her missionaries. It wasn't intended to be that way, but somehow it kept coming back to that. Someone would teach a principle and then they would be like, "Sister Atchley how was this important to your conversion story?" and I would be like "One really good lesson I learned from my missionaries was______." 

The Assistants gave a training on following up and they based it on the talk in the April 2014 Sunday morning session of general conference. Coincidentally, we were at the very next session of general conference. I just talked about how much the Elders followed up with me. They would just text and be like "do you remember the three parts of the atonement? Great! Have you read the Book of Mormon?"  It was a pretty huge part of my conversion story. 
A really weird thing to realize is that I got baptized like 25 something days after the date of initial contact. That's not actually normal fun fact. So I always try to look for things that I can apply to the other side of missionary work. I've learned so many lessons. Sometimes I think I got trained by Sister Shober, but really it was probably Elder Whatcott and Elder Severson. Then I think about how I never know who's going to go on a mission one day and look back and be like "wow Sister Atchley was a really ______ example." I hope the word good would fit in that blank. 

"I already know the answer to this question because I had the privilege of being in Sister Atchley's district, but how much do you love your missionaries, and how much do they love you?" -Elder Fuell 

I just cried the whole time. I was overwhelmed with all the love for the zone and the work and my missionaries. I hope they read this that would be awkward. Love y'all. :] 

"I had the privilege of going on an hour and a half exchange with Sister Atchley and all I heard about was her missionaries. She loves them so much and I know that we are going to be that way for our converts." -Sister Wolterman (Really all this exchange was was me ugly crying about how much I couldn't handle life right at that moment and I guess I talk about the Elders too.) 

"All the Utah missionaries that go home are going to be like hey are you Elder Whatcott!? YOU'RE SISTER ATCHLEY'S MISSIONARY!" -Elder Robinson 

That awkward moment when you served in Texas, but you're famous in the Irvine California mission. 

I made some bread this week and now Elder Center is trying to hire me to make him bread every week. Most of the things that happened this week were funny. We did go on exchanges and Sister Lee kicked my butt and reminded me that I have no Idea how to be a missionary. It was amazing. She is so good. She's just a hardworking, loving, dedicated sister. She taught me a lot, because I think all my companion problems are bad, but she's one of only two Chinese sisters, so if her companion problems are bad she has to deal with them for like 17 months. Sister Lee and Sister Kwok also have like 8 or something investigators. She said she's been a little stressed about having to handle all of them at once. So she got to my area and was like "ok lets plan on seeing all your investigators tomorrow Sister Atchley!" and I was like "All zero of them!" So I was able to gain a greater appreciation of working with members and she was able to have a greater appreciation of her investigators. It was a really good lesson about how nobody's missionary work is more or less important than anyone else's. As long as you're doing the best you can do and relying on the Lord you are so important to the work. 

Speaking of! I'm going to the baptism of a girl that I contacted, committed to baptism, and then passed to the ysa missionaries this week. She said a bunch of stuff to me one thing was "I wouldn't be where I am today if you girls didn't approach me on that rainy afternoon." The finding is just as important as the teaching. If that doesn't make me want to talk to everyone I don't know what does. 

So some funny stuff: 

"I don't care if it's nerd stuff, I just want to go LARPing!" -Elder Burk 

"Two guys walk into a bar... lol you'd think the second guy would be smarter." -Elder Burk

"Can we be zombies?" -Everyone 
"Can we be penguins?" -me 
"SO we're all in Antarctica!" -Elder King

"You all wake up in the morning only to find whale tracks." -Elder King

"The seals didn't even eat him they stabbed him with a narwhale, those punks." -Elder Burk 

"She's from Texas so of course she knows how to do this stuff." -Elder Center

"I'll replace your ingredients with money." -Elder Center

"You have a phone voice. All Texas people do." -Sister Lee 

So every time I'm near Sister Fullmer we just giggle uncontrollably. 
"Sister Fullmer is too funny. I can't even right now. If I was in daddy's class right now what would he do to handle this situation? Probably move us to the opposite sides of the room..." -internal dialogue
*moves away from sister Fullmer*

"YOU'RE 21!?!" -Sister Suchanski 
"How old did you think I was?" -me 
"14, but that's mainly because of the height...." -Elder King 

"This is the stupidest conversation I've ever had. They're just telling me they won't respect me unless I eat a big piece of chicken. Elders are so stupid!!!" -Sister Suchanski 

"I'm being super quiet *makes a bunch of noise* now I'm being Sister Atchley" -Elder Davis

"You're a beautiful and majestic tuna." -Elder Ball 

"What's it like to serve in the other areas?" -Sister Oldham 
"We'll just direct this question to Elder Davis." -me 
So Elder Davis is the only missionary in the ward whose greenie area isn't Oak Creek. We added up the combined time for Elder Center, Sister Peterson, and myself and it's barely over half Elder Davis's time. Also he was trained by Elder Despain, from Utah, with 10 siblings. 

So the reading assignment is this: 

Go to and read all the little things and watch the cute videos. They're really good simple explanations of our beliefs. They helped me know how to explain things simply. 

Love Y'all! 
Sister Atchley

P.S. They called our Bishop to a stake presidency calling. So now I'm wondering who the new bishop is gonna be. 

Monday, April 11, 2016

4/11/2016 We're doing it!!

I'm happy to report that Sister Peterson and I are getting along much better now! We've just worked through some stuff and relied on the Lord and it's awesome. Companion inventory is the best thing ever. One thing I'm having to learn is to offer ways to improve without hurting feelings. It's a really hard balance between being bold and loving that I haven't previously learned in my life. It's also hard because I'm pretty much just down to receive criticism and nothing offends me, but I can't expect others to feel the same way. The Lord is definitely strengthening me though.

I feel like I don't really have a ton to report this week. It seems like the week has been super long and I don't really understand what all has happened. I experienced a miracle in the temple! Sister Peterson received special permission to go to the temple because she's working through some stuff, and I received permission to go with her because I'm her companion. Lucky! So one of the ordinance workers was like "Hi sister where are you from? OH MY GOODNESS IS THIS YOUR NAME!? Atchley is my maiden name! How long have you been a member of the church!?" I gave her your phone number so she's going to call you. When we were leaving she was like "good luck on you missions, I hope you find someone to teach, thanks for coming to the temple, may the force be with you!" So I'm pretty sure she's family. Miracles every time you go to the temple. 

I asked Heavenly Father to show me my weaknesses and he directed me to D&C 50. So that's your reading assignment. What I came to know my weaknesses are are too much pride and not enough christlike love. You will get something different from D&C 50 though. Pay attention to how many of the people that the father has given Christ will be lost. 

I got a blessing regarding these things and Heavenly Father said out loud in a priesthood blessing what he has been telling me through the Holy Ghost since I got my call. Which is that he needs me here to be a missionary to other members of the church. 

Also Layla is getting baptized! Did I already say that? I'm just so stoked! I love Layla she's amazing. She is super elect. 

Funny Stuff: 

"It's the service coordinators fault!!" -Sister Suchanski 
"Aren't YOU the service coordinators?" -Elder King

"I'm gonna name my twins ropey and sticky and one of them is gonna be dirty good at catchin cows and the other is gonna be dirty good at ridin horses." -Elder Center 

"If you say my name really fast it sounds like a verb. Patrick King. Patricking. I've been out patricking today." -Elder King 

"What did your first girlfriend look like?" -Sister Bell
"She was short.... brown hair..... kinda chunky......" -Elder Davis
"You just basically described Sister Atchley!" -Elder Center 

"I hear a lot of short jokes on my mission" -me
"Really? I've only met ONE short joke on my mission" *wiggles eyebrows* -Elder Burk 

People have been savage to me this week. 

"You don't come on your mission to make friends. Do you make weekly goals for FRIENDS Sister Atchley?" -Elder Chain

Elder Chain is really good at taking gnarly songs and making them about missionary work. 

"I would just leave the camp and be a cat in the jungle. Mrow." -Elder King 

"Why so glum Sister Atchley? Did you lose your testimony last night." -Brother Turner 

"I could be talking to my future wife on a daily basis and not even know." -Jake Henderson 
"My future wife could be not even born yet." -Ryan Henderson 
"HALF YOUR AGE PLUS SEVEN SON!!" -Bishop Henderson 
"Half my age plus seven is fourteen like me dad!" -Ryan Henderson 

Jake Henderson is a year younger than Matthew and an inch taller. 

Anyway Love y'all! 
<3 Sister Atchley 

Monday, April 4, 2016

4/4/2016 Y'all are carrying me

Dear Dad

You now how I made everyone write all this advice in a book so I could read it when I'm sad? That book was carrying me through my days at the beginning of this week. So thanks to everyone who wrote in it. 

"It's so hard to write in your journal when you had a bad day." -me for the first week and a half after transfers 

"why is mission so hard?" -me commenting on things not actually being any different than usual 

"Sister Peterson probably thinks it's really lame that her trainer just cries all day every day and doesn't even know how to exist." -me like 3 times a day for half of this week 

I'm just tryin to be real so y'all don't think I'm a perfect missionary with no problems. Don't be fooled I actually have a lot of trouble getting along with people. Heavenly Father helps me though. So I'm just trying to remember the super good lessons I've learned this week, but I don't really know how to write them down there's just so many. I didn't get my life figured out until like the 31st whatever day that was. You know I've already been out for 4 months. That's so upsetting! What is life? You know mothers' day is next month? What is that? Disgusting that's what. 

I guess lets get real: 

One thing I learned this week is that I'm a super prideful person. Also I have a really rebellious heart. I was struggling with loving Sister Peterson, not because she's a bad companion, just because we're two different human beings with different personalities and different comfort zones. I was also feeling like Heavenly Father wasn't using me as an instrument in his hands, because we haven't baptized anyone within a week and a half. Go figure. So I felt like I couldn't feel the spirit and I was a really terrible trainer, because I was not being myself and I was swept up in this vicious cycle of each of those feelings getting progressively worse based on literally nothing. We would just be going places and doing things in silence and planning accomplishing things with no unity because I was being a tool and not letting myself be friends with my companion. 
Heavenly Father was telling me to get a blessing for like 3 days in a row. I kept putting it off because I felt like I wasn't actually doing that badly. I was ignoring this spiritual prompting and continuing to ask Heavenly Father what I could do to feel better about my life and he was like I've told you like 20 already Sister Atchley you already know what to do. 
I got a blessing that day and it was literally the shortest blessing I've ever gotten. It was basically "Madeleine, Heavenly Father wants you to know that he is pleased with you. He will give you the peace you are looking for. He wants you to, when it comes, thank him for it." 

 So I woke up the next day already feeling like trash and rolled out of bed and tried to live my life. I was laying on the living room floor feeling all scooped out  trying to do crunches or whatever and I just burst into tears for like the 50th time. I just became so done with being sad and I was like Heavenly Father look at me I'm trying my best but I can't do it so I'm just going to open my scriptures please guide me to something that will help. 
Then he did. I just felt the Spirit super strong and read the Book of Mormon and received peace. Basically I leveled up. So I'm sure another trial is probably coming really soon, but then I can just level up again. 
I also realized that Heavenly Father keeps teaching me the same lessons over and over again. Almost like there are some key flaws I have that I have to overcome in my life. Almost like he gave me weaknesses so that I can be humble. Almost like Ether12:27. Fancy that. 

Here's one that I keep learning over and over again: 

If I ask Heavenly Father for something he expects me to not be a hypocrite. 
Example: I've been praying for the gift of discernment. The spirit told me I can't look into peoples souls unless I'm open to everyone seeing inside MY soul. 

I've been praying that people will be able to see how much I love them. The spirit told me that it won't work if there's even one person that I'm not trying my best to love. 

It's a pretty cool lesson. Mostly because the spirit tells you you have to do something and then strengthens you to do it. 

We did A LOT of service this week. It was pretty awesome. The best part was seeing the Elders carry these big crates of wine and vodka around to get some people ready for a benefit. 

Conference was so amazing. I had pretty much every one of those hymns stuck in my head for the past 3 weeks so it was really satisfying. ALSO THEY SANG COME THOU FOUNT!! Come Thou Fount is like the theme song of my mission. It's what everyone was singing when I started my papers, they sang it in the MTC twice, they sang it my first day in the field, and then they sang it at my first general conference in the mission. Also President Eyring was speaking directly to me I think. I mean obviously the spirit was speaking directly to me, but conference is so awesome. My prediction is that Elder Stevenson's talk will be the one that we have 100 lessons/talks on for the next 5 months. Kind of like the truck/snow one and Where Justice Love and Mercy Meet. 
Elder Hallstrom when he talked about How Firm a Foundation!! So good I was just sobbing. Also Elder Christofferson. I was like Oh he's about to tell me what kind of husband I need and then I wrote like a page and a half of notes. 
President Uchtdorf's talk and then his reaction to Elder Kearon's throw down. "This moment does not define them but our response does define us." So good. Then I just want to be like Elder Holland when I grow up. I'm not even sad that people compare me to him anymore. #NewFavorite 

I love conference. 

I have some funny quotes: 

"Your hair looks lighter Sister Atchley.... I can tell from up here." -Sister Fullmer

The Korean ladies that we talk to struggled for a solid like 3 weeks to understand what orange is the new black meant. We finally got it explained to them and Sister Peterson and I both wore orange the other day. 

"Oh wait!! Before we start!! ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK!!" -One of the Korean ladies

That's right, I've got inside jokes with Korean moms. 

"like Dr. Nightmare but nice. Dr Nicemare." -Sister Fullmer 

"Hey Elder Center how much does a goat weigh?" -Sister Fullmer
"About 194." -Elder Center
*Everyone dies laughing* 
"How much does a goat weigh when it reports to the MTC" - Sister Fullmer 
".......about 169......" -Elder Center 

"We never have to talk about middle school." -Elder Hook
"Bet y'all can't guess what I was in middle school!" -me
"A boy!" -Elder Hook 

"I'm full of mer" -Sister Fullmer
"I'm wonderfullmer" -Sister Fullmer 

"Hi we're missionaries-" -me 

"Please don't starve to death Sister Atchley. I'm the district leader so if you die it's my fault." -Elder Davis

"What do you know about the Book of Mormon?" -Sister Fullmer
"I saw the play!" - a lady
"Oh well yeah so they're a bit different. Different authors you know? The play was made by the people who make South Park while the author of the book is God." -Sister Fullmer 

"I want to marry the right woman." -Elder Robinson
"A white woman?" - Elder Burk 
"NO the right woman!" -Elder Robinson 
"Did you just say you want to marry a white woman?" -me 
"OK FINE I want to marry a covenant keeping woman." -Elder Robinson 
"Did you just say you want to marry a caucasian woman?" -Sister Fullmer 

BTW The girl I wrote y'all about, Layla, was at conference and apparently she's getting baptized this month. I contacted her! Finding is equally important as teaching! I'm so stoked. She said I better come. 

The reading assignment is this: 
The very first time I went to institute you asked if the Bradleys would write down a talk for you to review later. It's been on a notecard in the front of my scriptures for almost two years. I have no idea what it says. 

Neil A Maxwell: Things as They Really Were. 

Love y'all!