Wednesday, May 31, 2017


It's interesting because I don't feel like I'm going home. We talked to some Elders today and they said they have no motivation to do missionary work because they got doubled in their last transfer. They made it sound like they have just given up. They literally said that they try to stop by someone occasionally and they just work out and do My Plan. Sometimes I think that I'm at the end of my mission.... and I become INCREDIBLY ANXIOUS to do everything I can to leave a lasting impression on this ward. I can't understand the desire to take it easy your last transfer, or your last week, or even your last day. I think about the events of the week leading up to the atonement. The savior accomplished so many things in just one week. I think about what would be missing from our scriptures if the Savior had decided to take a break his last week. We wouldn't have the parable of ten virgins, the talents, or the sheep and goats. We also wouldn't have the first and second great commandments. It makes me ask myself what this ward will be lacking if I decide that there's no point to serving them for my last 6 (or 4) weeks. 

Right now I'm trying to make a positive lasting impact on our ward mission leader. He's the kindest most loving man ever, but he's not the best ever at goal setting and planning. He also doesn't know how to be bold and to the point. Those are skills I've developed over the course of my mission. If I can teach them to my ward mission leader he will be a more powerful force for good for the rest of his life, and he doesn't go home when I do. Therefore, if I'm successful, the last 6 weeks of my mission will be of service to the ward for the entire time Brother Mauss is ward mission leader. 

I gave my departing testimony at zone conference this week. It still doesn't ever seem like real life. It just hits me sometimes how much longer I have left. I realized when people were bearing their testimonies that I will never go to zone conference again. That's actually not totally true because we have a special zone conference with Elder Cordon next week, but anyway. I will never have another regular zone conference. Sister Clark is so upset that I'm going home soon. She's in as much denial as I am.

I'm like 5 times as stressed out anytime something happens though because I'm like "I DON'T HAVE TIME TO BE SICK I ONLY HAVE THIS TRANSFER!!" Also it honestly feels like my body is just giving out on me. Sometimes I'm so exhausted that I feel like I'll just die before the end of my mission. All my joints hurt. My back hurts. My shoulder hurts. My legs hurt. When I sleep at night it feels like it was only 5 minutes. On the other hand, I feel so close to the Lord. I can just see His hand every day in my life. I can even see it from moment to moment. I'm so blessed with amazing companions who understand and love me. I am in an amazing ward. I receive revelation literally constantly about my purpose when I return home, and how I can help the people while I'm still here. I feel confident that I'm doing everything I can to serve my mission and to walk uprightly before the Lord. Because of that I'm learning so much. 

Here's some quotes: 

"I'm not going to eat any." -Elder Blue
"WOAH! I didn't recognize you ELDER FOUTZ!" -Elder Hampton

"I once fell asleep on the floor holding a bag full of dead fish surrounded in ice. True or false?"-me 
"I couldn't do that... so it's false." -Elder Beus

"Sister Atchley is probably my favorite Sister Missionary." -Elder Howard
"Aw lucky! I don't get that title." -Elder Beus

"Elder Blue literally started PRAYING while I was cutting his hair!!!" -Sister Loveridge 

"Why do Sisters always wear each other's clothes?" -Elder Cheever
"Why do Elders pay so much attention to what sisters wear?" -Sister Loveridge

"Oh no! My crouton." -Sister Bollard 

"Sister Atchley! You go home soon! Ooooooooooold!" -Elder Powell

"Tropical Smoothie Cafe wrecked my companions. Their stomachs hurt. I think it's because it has a lot of healthy stuff in it and their bodies aren't used to it." -Elder Blue 

"I love doing blood drives at the Mormon church because set up is always the exact same. I always know it's going to be in the gym!" -Red cross guy

"God created the earth." -Emmett 
"Actually Jesus created the earth under the direction of Heavenly Father." -Sister Loveridge
"well they're the same person anyway!!" -Wyatt 
(they're some member kids that we brought to fellowship our recent convert kids) 

"I gotta spray some old spice. Oh yeah gotta hit my biceps. Now I can't forget my lovely thighs!" -Cole (age 12)

"I caught it with my old spice muscles!" -Cole

"Sister Atchley, you always sit on the floor. Can we get you a chair?" -President Clark
"President, I sit on the floor because my legs are too short to reach the ground in a chair so my lap is slanted and my scriptures fall on the ground." -me 
"I see, I see, So what we'll need to do is get a box for you to carry around and put your feet on." -President Clark

"I gave a talk two years ago so I was surprised when they asked me to speak today." -Cole (age like 17 or something) 

"I just want to share a story about alpacas." -Cole C.

"I thought I had rounded them all up when I looked to the side and saw a pregnant alpaca laying under a tree. I tried everything I could but I couldn't get her to move. Finally I prayed and asked God for help I explained what had happened and what I needed. When I finished the prayer I saw the alpaca walking back to the stall by herself. It was a miracle." -Cole C. 
( I like to imagine this prayer.) 

"I hope the next time I speak will be my mission farewell." -Cole C. 

Here's a reading assignment: 

Perfect Love Casteth out all Fear 
President Uchtdorf 

It made me think that we have nothing to be afraid of because we already know what will happen in the grand scheme of things if we do what is right. 


My companions are SO FAST and also REALLY TALL! I'm like a weiner dog! I have to jog to keep up all the time. They are also the hardest working people ever. This is the most awesome companionship. 

This has been the longest week of my mission probably. It's such a blessing. We've accomplished so much. We were honestly shocked to find out that it had only been a week since mother's day. It feels like it's been three.

I'm just so excited about my area and everything right now. I wish I could explain everything I'm feeling. I remember when I was with Sister Baker her last transfer and she was like "I keep learning everything I've been trying to figure out my whole mission, but it's too late to apply it." I feel the EXACT SAME WAY!! I'll just be sitting there eating my breakfast or whatever and the spirit will bring to my realization the solution to problems I've had will all my companions, but I don't have those problems anymore! All of the things I've struggled with in my mission are not present now. I love my companions, I love my district, I love my zone, I love the ward, I love everything. Interestingly enough my trios have been my happiest companionships.
Even the people I thought didn't like me in Newport actually are my homies. I'm literally living D&C 58:4 For after much tribulation come the blessings.

Because of the way my life is going right now I've been able to reflect about how much I've changed since the beginning of my mission. It's crazy! I didn't know that I could be more loving or more confident or more faithful when I came on my mission. I thought I was already pretty awesome at all those things. I know now that my perspective of myself is actually really limited and that Heavenly Father sees things that I have no ability to picture. It's like 1Corinthians2:9 "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." I feel like the currant bush from the Mormon Message "The Will of God." 
There have been times on my mission where I felt like my faith or my charity branches were pruned completely off. I've felt like the tiniest shrub sometimes. We were at the Mortensens' house in Laguna Hills one time and I cut down this overgrown rose bush that was like probably 7 feet tall and like 4 feet wide. I cut it down to about 1 cubic foot. There were a ton of dead parts to clear out. We went back about a month later and every part of that rose bush was alive. Furthermore it was twice as thick with stems. That's how I feel right now. 

On a side note Sister Loveridge goes home two weeks after me and she's been in the ward for awhile. So when we meet members they're like "woah Sister Loveridge when you go home soon right?" then they ask how long Sister Mitchell has been out and she says 9 months. So when they turn and ask how long I've been out they aren't even phased when I say over a year. I haven't had to talk about how long I have left or about coming home or anything. They might be shocked when I go home before Sister Loveridge. Only Bishop Forrest knows the real truth. 

We have found a ton of potential investigators this week. It's awesome. I don't want to tell y'all too much because I don't want you to have already heard all the stories I won't shut up about when I get home. 

Here's some quotes: 

"Just keep it short sweet and simple." -Sister Gage
"Hey that's me!" -me 
"More like short simple and basic." -Sister Gage

"The girls can rake the leaves... well I guess the boys can too. There are no gender specific jobs here." -Lady at service.
"Oh yeah. No gender specific jobs? Well then the Sisters can dig the trench next time." -Elder Cheever

"Wow this bed is bent. Somebody was fat." -Elder LuRey

"These legs don't go to this desk." -Sister Loveridge
"We'll go get different legs." -Elder Forthman 
"Can I have that too?" -me 

"What kind of wings would you have?" -me 
"Giraffe" -Sister Mitchell 
"Giraffes have wings?" -Sister Loveridge 

"What about you?" -Sister Mitchell
"butterfly." -me 
"Did you say buffalo wings?!" -Sister Mitchell

"If it bounces when it barks it's not a real dog." -Elder Gunn

"Don't worry Sister Atchley, you're only 8 inches below us." -Sister Mitchell 

"Are you 5' 2"?" -Sister Loveridge
"I'm five NO" -me

"I just want everyone to be best friends." -Elder Blue
"I"m already your best friend." -me
"I know Sister Atchley! but what about everyone else!?" -Elder Blue

"The animal that Elder VanOrden looks like is a potato." -Elder Center

"I would wear this suit." -Elder Hampton
"that's not a suit it's a suit coat and stretchy pants." -Elder Nattress

"Elder Hampton has the girliest sheets" -Elder Blue
"If you go to their apartment it looks like Elder Beus is companions with a sister." -Elder Cheever

"Every zone is like a unique instrument in the Lord's hand. It's like a chainsaw, you've got some moving parts, you've got a chain." -Elder Foutz
*Elder Chain dies laughing*

Here's a reading assignment:

Then Jesus Beholding Him Loved Him
By Elder S. Mark Palmer

This talk stood out to me this week. My main take away was that you can't judge people based on their performance according to your standards. You have to judge them based on how much faith they're exercising to act above their own standards. 

 The promised district
 The President's had is so big mine will not reach around.
 Tijeras Canyon
 The promised companionship
Sister Loveridge and Sister Mitchell


Well I'm being transferred to Tijeras Canyon my last transfer. I'm going to be in a trio with Sister Lovridge and Sister Mitchell. We're the Sister Training leaders. So basically I will be too busy to think about coming home. I can't even understand what it means to come home. It's like how I can teach about post earth life, and I know intellectually what post earth life is like, but I don't understand or have any way of comprehending post earth life. So right now I can talk about how long I have left without feeling uncomfortable becaue I don't really understand how long 6 weeks are. 
Writing the dates in my planner was kind of brutal though. 

This week we had a lot of crazy plot twists. 

We did service at this senior wellness summit at Laguna Woods. It was SO EXHAUSTING. Not because it was hard work, but because they had more volunteers than they needed so we were BORED. It was so hard. We chilled with Sister Calton on the bench outside the auditorium for awhile and talked about stuff. An ~80 year old man from South Africa tried to sell us a burial plot. We delivered hard boiled eggs, bran muffins, and fruit to some old people. We heard a presentation about social security and one about scams that target the elderly. We fell asleep a little. You know, just trying to fit in... 

Sometime after we got home we got a text from the Assistants saying that I was invited to MLC! So that was a plot twist because usually regular missionaries don't go to Mission Leadership Conference unless they're fixing to become mission leadership. Sister Gage wasn't invited. 

So then I went to MLC and it was the most awesome thing ever. Elder Zwick of the 70 came and addressed us. He and President Clark are personal friends. He talked about everything I've been having questions about. It was so awesome!!! The first thing that he talked about was councils. We spent like 30 minutes talking about what a council is and about how it's fundamental to how Heavenly Father runs things. He talked about how it's impossible to do anything if there is contention in the council. The Spirit just taught me that if a council is the most important method of operation for running the Kingdom of God, and family is the most important unity in the Kingdom of God then it follows that family council is the most important way you can contribute to the growth and progress of the Kingdom of God. He also talked about how everything you do needs to be backed up by names of individuals and how you can get them to the next ordinance which is usually either baptism or the sacrament. 

He talked about how in order for us to be better missionaries we need to have more faith in Christ. There was so much! He also promised all the sisters that we would get married in this life. Watch out boys. ;]

I got back from MLC and we were driving to Bishop's house when we got a call from the Elders. They informed us that they needed to give us their area book because they are closing their area! Plot twist! So random! Laguna Hills: Sisters Only! 
Then we saw the Elders pawning of stuff in their apartment off at the Church Library. We were like "We feel like we're staying together or Atchley leaves Gage stays." they were like "hah! yeah right! Sister Gage has been here for so long and it's just rude to transfer someone their last transfer!" Then two hours later they called us and told us that I'm getting transferred my last transfer. #Rude

And that's been my week! 


"Apparently I'm a guy that has feelings! I didn't know that about myself! I don't think I'm a feelings guy! I've only cried twice on my mission!" -Elder Gunn

"You look like such a midget in the car when we see you! We can barely see you over the door of the car! If you were basic you'd try to put your feet on the dash and they wouldn't reach!" -Elder Gunn

"loser bears testimony?" -me 
"Well.... I don't want to put it exactly that way...." -Elder Crone

"I'm running out of things to play." -Elder Gunn
"Make it up." -me 
"What do you think I've been doing!" -Elder Gunn

"Everything you play sounds spooky." -me 
"and sad." -Elder Ball
"like his life." -Elder Houghtalen 
"Careful you'll hurt all his feelings." -Elder Crone
"HEY!!" -Elder Gunn

"Why do dudes always want to hit each other?" -Elder Gunn

"Take the selfie you're the tallest one in the district." -Sister Gage
"Really!? This has never happened to me before!" -Elder Gunn (He's like 5' 7")

"Just put burlap on it." -Sister Matsen

"So can we teach you the lessons?" -me 
"Isn't that what you're supposed to be doing?" -Natalie

"Get out of the way guys! Let Sister Atchley go! Don't mess with her, she's in my top 30 favorite missionaries!" -Elder Radeke 

"So Sister Atchley... are you ready to go back to MV2 for your last transfer?" -Elder Boggess

"I just need to know if I'm staying or not so I can know if I need to turn in my keys!" -Sister Hunter 
"Just.... you can just keep them... yeah... keep them....." -Elder Everett

"Sister Atchley is so knowledgeable about the scriptures" -Sister Worthen
"What am I knowledgeable about?" -Sister Ferrell
"Food.." -Sister Worthen
"was that a fat joke?" -Sister Ferrell
"It wasn't a joke." -Sister Worthen 

"Yeah I think beards are fine that's not doctrine it's just BYU culture plus I'm a convert I don't know any better." -me 
"Oh! Atchley! I love that excuse! Sister Atchley what are you doing in Anaheim? I'm a convert I don't know any better? Why do you have that coffee? I'm a convert I don't know any better." -Sister Van Den Bron

"This shows that mothers are willing to do anything to protect their children. Even if this means frightening them." -youth speaker

"This is the second time I've spoken in sacrament meeting since I've turned 12. The first time was so traumatizing that I'm having a really hard time being up here right now." -same guy

"Elder Center is in my zone are you kidding me!? I was already in the same ward as him for 9 months! I was already in the same zone as him too! What the heck!?" -me 
"Maybe it's a sign!" -Elder Ball
"It's a sign or a test!!" -Elder Gunn 

"I have way too much makeup so I try to give some of it away a lot." -Sister Tayco
"The Elders are a little more weird about it." -Brother Tayco

Here's a reading assignment: 

Scripture Study

What reasons did the Book of Mormon prophets give for writing their records?

 1 Nephi 6:4–6

 1 Nephi 9:3–5

 2 Nephi 4:15–16

 2 Nephi 25:23–29

 2 Nephi 26:15–16

 2 Nephi 29:11–14

 2 Nephi 33:13–15

 Jacob 1:4–7

 Jacob 4:1–6, 12

 Enos 1:13

 Jarom 1:2

 Omni 1:25–26

 Words of Mormon 1:3–8

 Alma 37:2, 14

 3 Nephi 5:14–15

 Mormon 8:35

 D&C 3:16–20

 D&C 10:46–48

Read these and think what reasons you read the Book of Mormon. 
P.s. I plagiarized this from Preach My Gospel

Laguna Hills District: The tiny district 
From back to front: 
Elder Crone, Elder Houghtalen, Elder Ball, Sister Van Den Bron, Sister Hunter, Sister Gage, Sister Calton, Me, Elder Gunn

 His bow tie is made of duct tape.
 The Mortensens! So fun! Such Gardening! Many Service! Wow
 These are the Schaffs. They're the nicest.

Sorry about the random pictures Sister Calton I can't be bothered to make another email :) 
 It was Sister Calton's birthday
 This happened
 Nailed it

 the weirder picture.
 This is Sister Jacobsen. Her husband is a pro basketball player. There are two in the ward. yep.
 Sister McPherson thinks I'm a punk but I didn't even do anything!!! (except pass notes in ward council but that was like only one time ok)
 Cardalls! So awesome! The sweetest and the sassiest humans that have ever lived both together in one companionship!

 Reality show, Are you taller than a ten year old?

 We found this at an elderly home we volunteered at.
My last planer cover