How firm a foundation…. except in an earthquake!!!

Hey everyone!

Yes, there was an earthquake.  No, I did not get hurt.  Yes, it was a 7.7.  But no, Port McNeill was not super affected.  We had a tsunami warning, but nothing really came of it.  It was actually kind of fun.  Haha.

I don’t have a lot of time this week, but I wanted to share something from my personal study.  It was AWESOME!

1 Nephi 17: 8-9
“And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto me, saying:  Thou shalt construct a ship, after the manner which I shall show thee, that I may carry thy people across these waters.

And I said: Lord, whither shall I go that I may find ore to molten, that I may make tools to construct the ship after the manner which thou hast shown me?”

Now, I don’t know about you all, but if the Lord asked me to build a ship, that would NOT be the question I would ask.  It’d be more like… “um… really?  And how am I supposed to do that?…”
But not Nephi.  He asked where to find ore, to make tools.  What faith!!!

It goes on in verse 50 and 51
“And I said unto them: If God had commanded me to do all things I could do them.  If he should command me that I should say unto this water, be thou earth, it should be earth; and if I should say it, it would be done.

And now, if the Lord has such great power, and has wrought so many miracles among the children of men, how is it that he cannot instruct me, that I should build a ship?”

This scripture really struck me. If God commands us to do anything, He WILL provide the way for us to do it.  President Tilleman always says  “If God asked me to swim to Australia, the only question I’d ask is, can I start from the Gulf of Mexico rather than the Coast of California?”  I think it’s so amazing and inspiring that the Lord will ALWAYS help us to do the things He commands us.

That’s really about it for this week.  We have 9 lessons already planned for the week, so that’ll be great!  I will write more next week!  Until then, I hope everyone is doing wonderful, and I love you all!

Love Sister Arbon

Missionary work is not easy, because salvation is not cheap

Hello my most excellent amigos y familia!

So housekeeping first.  The work this week:
Our week was really great!  We had an exchange, Sister Nuttall came up here to Port McNeill.  It was a really neat experience for me, because I took over the area.  It was really confidence building for me, but also very humbling at the same time.  I realized that I am able to take control of the area, and know what to do and how to be a missionary, but it also taught me that you NEVER fully know how to be a missionary.  You are continuously learning and growing.  I really enjoyed our experience!
We taught 3 member presents in the time that we were on the exchange (2 days)!  We taught Barb, who is progressing very well.  We watched The Testaments with her, and she really REALLY enjoyed it.  She had been having trouble connecting with the Book of Mormon, as God’s Word.  She read it as a story, but watching the movie really helped her to connect with it as a Testament of Jesus Christ.  She cried through basically the whole thing.  Then we invited her to come to church.  She said “In the past, I would have said ‘Don’t hold your breath…’  but now I’m going to say…. MAYBE… maybe hold your breath…”  We really hoped that she would have the courage to come to church, but sadly she wasn’t there.  So this week we are going to focus on the importance of church attendance, and how we can access the Atonement through baptism and taking the Sacrament.  She also told us that her husband is softening ever so slightly towards the Church and her interest in it.  So that’s a huge step in the right direction!
We also taught Betty Lou.  Last week she really talked a lot about original sin and how we are all doomed because of Adam.  So this week we taught part of Lesson 2, Pre-earth through Our Life on Earth, with a big focus on agency and the Fall.  She seemed to take it well, and she had no questions at the time, but then when we talked to her the next day, she expressed some concern that she doesn’t believe that we existed before this life, and she had a really hard time with that, and she is STILL questioning the validity of the Apostasy.  I asked her very bluntly, “Betty Lou, have you prayed about this specifically?”  And she said no, she hadn’t.  So I said, “Betty, no one can know of spiritual truths without prayer.  And to get that specific answer you want, you need to pray specifically for that question.  Will you pray to know about the Apostasy and the pre-earth life tonight?”  She said she would, so we will be following up with her on that this week.  She also was not at church this week, which was very frustrating.  Her date is set for November 10th, and we really believe that if she prays and gets her answers, she can absolutely make it.  It’s all up to her.
We also taught Mandy McPherson!  We watched Finding Faith in Christ with her, because her teaching record expressed that she wasn’t really sure about WHY we need Jesus Christ.  She said she believes He is the Son of God, and the Savior, but she doesn’t really understand what that means exactly.  So that was the main focus of our lesson with her.  It was really good!  We had dropped by a few nights before, in the POURING rain, right before we headed home for the night.  We just felt we needed to drop by her.  When she came to the door she was rubbing her eyes and we thought we had woken her up.  Then at our lesson this week, she said that she wasn’t asleep, but that she was crying.  She said that she felt alone, and abandoned by all her friends who claimed to care about her.  She said she had been feeling totally invisible.  Then we dropped by.  She said that was a HUGE thing for her.  I bore testimony then that she is NEVER invisible to Heavenly Father and that it was because He guided us to her house that night that we dropped by.  We helped her to see that He is aware of her and knows her personally.  I think it was really a great lesson!
We also taught the Wedels.  We taught them about temples, eternal marriage, and family history work.  It was kind of all over the place, because they had SO many questions.  We tried to keep it focused on the temple questions though, and we wrote down the other ones and said we would address them next time.  Then yesterday in church, we watched “Between Heaven and Earth” with them, and it answered all the remaining questions they had had about temples.  The main ones were, “what is the next step in preparing for the temple?”  “Is there some kind of class I can take to get me ready?”  etc.  They REALLY are excited.  They are planning to make a “pilgrimage” to Salt Lake next April for Conference, and so they can see Temple Square and show it to their boys, and all that.  I think they are really coming along!  Such a neat family!
We also taught Matt the law of tithing, the word of wisdom, and the law of chastity, just kind of as a review/see how he’s doing.  He is solid on all of them, and he is just such a great member!
This week in my personal study, I studied Jesus the Christ a lot.  It REALLY has helped me understand just how much we need the Savior.  How central He TRULY is to the work.  I have gained a much stronger testimony of Him this week, and a much deeper love and appreciation for Him.
Every week, President Tilleman sends out these amazing emails, and I want to share something he quoted in last weeks.
“Anyone who does any kind of missionary work will have occasion to ask, ‘Why is it so hard? Why doesn’t it go better? Why can’t our success be more rapid? Why aren’t there more people joining the Church? It is the truth. We believe in angels. We trust in miracles. Why don’t people just flock to the font? Why isn’t the only risk in missionary work that of pneumonia from being soaking wet all day and night in the baptismal font?
You will have occasion to ask those questions. I have thought about this a great deal. I offer this as my personal feeling. I am convinced that missionary work is not easy, because salvation is not a cheap experienceSalvation was never easy!  This is  the Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and He is our Great Eternal Head.  How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him?  It seems to me that missionaries and mission leaders have to spend at least a few moment in Gethsemane.  Missionaries and mission leaders have to take at least a step toward the summit of Calvary.
Now, please don’t misunderstand. I am not talking about anything near what Christ experienced. That would be presumptuous and sacrilegious. But I believe missionaries AND investigators, to come to the truth, to come to salvation, to know something of this price that has been paid, will have to pay a token of that same price.
For that reason I don’t believe missionary work has ever been easy, nor conversion is, nor retention is, nor that continued faithfulness is.  I believe it is supposed to require some effort, something from the depths of our souls.
If He could come forward in the night, kneel down, fall on His face, bleed from every pore, and cry ‘Abba, Father (Papa), if this cup can pass, let is pass’ (see Mark 14:36), then little wonder salvation is not a whimsical or easy thing for us.
If you wonder if there isn’t an easier way, you should remember you are not the first one to ask that.  Someone a lot greater and a lot grander asked a long time ago if there wasn’t an easier way.”  –  Elder Jeffrey R. Holland (quoted in Pres Tillemans email)
That really hit me hard.  This is not supposed to be an easy work.  At times, I really feel like what I’m doing is useless, that no one is listening.  Then I stop and look at the people that ARE listening, and the seeds that I am planting.  And I feel so much better.  Missionary work is a work of miracles.  Without the hand of the Lord, none of this would be possible.
Boss and I were reading in the stake handbook this morning, about the different callings.  The ONLY calling in the entire church that needs the approval of the President himself, is that of a missionary.  Not even bishops need that approval.  Missionaries are the ONLY calling that have to be approved by the Prophet.  Pretty heavy stuff, eh?  I thought so.  It makes me take my calling much more seriously.
I’m loving your letters!!!  Keep them coming!!!  LARSEN FAMILY!  It was so great to hear from you all!!  Sister BRONSON!!!!  Girl I’m so proud of you!!!  You’re amazing!!  Let me know where you get called!!  Sister Stones, shout out to you!  My mom sent me some prints of pics we took at the mtc. I love you! you are amazing.
the end.
I love you all!!!  Have an amazing week!
Love Sister Arbon

Amazing week!

Hello my amazing family and friends!

This was a really awesome week!  We had a lot of really good lessons and I think our investigators are pretty solid.  We had a lesson with a girl named Crystal this week.  She was in our formers list, but she didn’t even really remember meeting with the missionaries.  She was very interested in prophets.  She really liked the idea of a living prophet to guide and direct us.  We had planned on just doing how to begin teaching and a first lesson overview, but it ended up that she was very interested in the Restoration.  So we followed the Spirit and taught her that instead.  It was great, and we have another lesson with her tomorrow!

We also had a REALLY great lesson with our investigator, Barb.  She mentioned last time that she didn’t really remember how Joseph Smith became a prophet, so we looked back at her teaching record and she had only received more of an overview of lesson 1.  So we went and retaught that, using the Restoration dvd.  She REALLY liked it and was connecting with it very well.  The lesson was really good and the Spirit was very strong.  She still has a problem with coming to church.  She’s just afraid that she’ll be rejected like she was at her old church and doesn’t want that to happen.  She said to “keep asking, and the answer might change.”  So we keep asking.  She also said at the end that she knows Joseph Smith was a prophet!  So now we are just trying to help her really gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon.  She’s read to Alma 60!  She’s cruising through.  Really a great lady.

We also got 3 new investigators this week.  Nicole, and Lucy.  Nicole is the mom, and Lucy is the 10 year old daughter.  And also Nicole’s sister in law, Amanda.  We found Nicole through tracting and she was very interested in what we believe.  She invited us to come back, more for a learning experience for her daughters, but when we came back, she had her sister in law there as well, and we taught the Plan of Salvation.  It was a GREAT lesson!  Nicole and Amanda both said that everything just “rang true” to them.  SOOO wonderful!  We are going to try to meet again on Thursday, but it may fall through because she’s in Vancouver this week and was hoping to get back to Port McNeill by then, but if not, she wants us to call her and set up something next week.

Our investigator Betty Lou came to church yesterday!  We talked to Sister Wedel (lady we went to San Jo with), and she said that she came, stayed for the whole thing, and then hung out for 2 hours with the members afterwards just talking to them about the church, and about her life!  Such a miracle!  Her baptismal date is set for November 10, and we really think she can make it if she does her part.  She really wants to know the truth.  Right now we’re kind of worried that she’s reading non scriptural material that talks about Jesus as a little boy… I think it’s mostly false information but she’s taking it as scripture.  So we are just really telling her about our standard works and teaching from them.  She’s coming along though.

We had a lesson with a lady named Susan. Sister McCrae’s (Vicki’s friend who got baptized and lives in Port McNeill) friend.  We taught the Plan of Salvation, and it was a GREAT lesson!  Sister McCrae told us afterwards that she overheard Susan talking about the lesson to the janitors the next day at work, so it really left an impact.  It was probably one of my better lessons that I’ve taught.  I was really able to follow the Spirit and it was great!  I just need to always remember to trust the Spirit over my own knowledge.  REALLY awesome lesson.

Okay, so that’s all the housekeeping about the investigators.  This week, we’re doing exchanges with the sisters in Campbell River and the sisters in Courtenay.  I’m taking over Port McNeill, and Sister Nuttall from Courtenay is coming up with me.  We are currently still in Courtenay, and we’re gonna have an awesome p-day! We have 6 lessons crammed into 2 days.  It’s going to be great!!!

On our way to Courtenay the other night, we stopped in Campbell River for dinner.  And after dinner we stopped by the Bordeleau’s just so I could say a proper goodbye to them.  I love them so much!!!!  SOOO much.  Seriously.  Sister Bordeleau is amazing.  And Marcel was good natured as usual.  But then we said a prayer with them and he just started to cry,  He can’t deny the Spirit any more and he is SOO sick all the time, and everything just compounded and he broke down and cried.  Said how much he loves me and thinks of me as a granddaughter.  I love those 2 sooo much.  So so much.  I was talking to Sister Bordeleau about his cancer, and she said that doc’s have given him “months, but not years.”  So we’ll see…. Pray for their peace.  And pray that Marcel will continue to feel the Spirit.  Who knows, maybe he’ll get baptized before he passes.  That would be amazing.  If not, Sister B is planning to get his work done asap.  Oh man, I love them.  I can’t even express how much.

So funny story about this week…. I woke up with a TON of red bumps all over my arms and legs and neck.  I had NO clue where they came from.  They looked like bug bites.  So I asked Boss is she had any and she did too.  She’d been sleeping on a 40 year old army cot, and I was on a 10 year old mattress on the floor.  So we started looking at the beds…. and lo and behold, we had bed bugs.  GROSS!!!  Sooo gross.  We called the office, and they said get rid of both things.  We then went and bought 2 new mattresses, box springs, frames, new sheets, pillows, comforters… the whole shebang.  And we washed ALL our clothes, and we baked our own blankets from home (my quilt) at the laundromat.  It was quite an adventure.  So yucky.  BUT!!!  It REALLY makes me appreciate the people who pay their tithing and donate to the mission fund.  Because 1500 dollars later, we both have new beds.

We are so blessed to have a church that is so financially sound!  Honestly, it’s such a blessing.  2 missionaries with bed bugs can just go out and buy new beds.  It was a miracle.

This week I was thinking a lot about Pres Eyrings talk.  It made me think of an umbrella….  So let’s say God’s blessings are the rain, and we use our little umbrella (or pavilion) to block the rain.  It’s never God hiding from us, it’s us hiding from Him.  So if we just take that umbrella and flip it upside down, we can catch all the blessings He has for us!  So awesome!

Well everyone, I love you all!  You are wonderful.  Thank you for your love and support!

And mom, can you add aaron.wahlquist@gmail to the email list?  thanks!!!!!!!  Love you!!!!!

Hope you all have a wonderful week!!!!!  Pray for me, because I’m praying for you!!!!  Miracles are happening!!!

Love always, Sister Arbon

Pic is of my amazing comp. Boss. LOVE  HER!!!

Happy Thanksgiving eh!

Mi Familia y Mis Amigos!!!

18 for the boys and 19 for the girls, eh?  Can you say….. SISTER BRONSON?!?!?  Seriously, Cassie, I’m waiting for you to let me know when you get a call.  Haha.
What an amazing thing to hear from our prophet.  The minute he said that, I was ASTOUNDED!  That was a direct revelation given to our beloved prophet from Heavenly Father!  Otherwise, the change would not be made.  I hope you all see the amazzazzing-ness of that.  WE HAVE A PROPHET!!  He talks to God!  Heavenly Father leads and guides  this work.  I testify that Thomas S. Monson is the mouthpiece for our Great Creator!!!  Only he has the power and authority to speak for the whole of God’s Children on the earth.  How amazing of a call!
A couple of things I really liked from conference (there were a lot), were how much missionary work and families were talked about.  Quentin L. Cook’s talks was marvelous!  I love what he said about how we MUST promote spiritual maturity in the home.  It is NO LONGER enough to just faithfully observe the Sabbath and do our duty.  We have to make SURE our families can withstand the hail and the mighty storms of the adversary.  That BEGINS at home.
Another thing I loved was Ann Dibb’s t-shirt idea.  “I’m a Mormon.  I know it, I live it, I LOVE it.”  I hope that none of us will EVER be ashamed to say so!
And how about Russell M. Nelson, eh?  “Ask the missionaries!!!  They can help you!!”  How great!  (Although I hope no one asks me some of those questions… cuz I don’t know the answer.. haha)
But one of my favorite things was something President Uchtdorf said.  “Resolve to be happy, regardless of the circumstances.”  How beautifully put!  We have to RESOLVE to be happy!  It is a choice! In my short 21 years, I have honestly always CHOSEN to be happy.  That in no way says I’ve had it easy.  It TRULY all started with a song.  “Always look on the bright side of life.”  Mom, you said that that song reminded you of Papa, because that’s how he always looked at life, and I decided from then on, that I wanted to be like him.  So I’ve chosen to be happy.  Choose to be happy!  I PROMISE that it makes everything better!
How about Jeffrey R. Holland!!!!  He did it again!  Wow!!  What an amazing talk!  FAVORITE!!!  I hope that when I get home, I will never “go back” to the way I was before.  Oh man.
I just loved every talk!  Boyd K. Packer’s was great!  I love that song, “Brightly Beams Our Father’s Mercy”, but now after his story, I love it more.
President Monson said something very profound.  He said “The Lord is in the details of our lives.”  How amazing!  Even when the details, to us, seem trivial, the Lord STILL cares!  I want to solemnly testify to that fact.  I have so many things to be worrying about on a mission.  Every soul I come in contact with, in fact!  But despite that, my family is always numero uno.  I pray to Heavenly Father for each of you, often individually.  Dad, I pray for you constantly to have success at work and to be able to support our family.  Heavenly Father IS IN THE DETAILS!!!  I was praying so fervently one night for you, and then 3 days later, I got an email saying you’d gotten a check in the mail!  That was a miracle to me.  It may seem trivial and worldly to some, but Heavenly Father ALWAYS cares.
The last thing that I really loved about conference was all the prayers.  Just knowing that you were (hopefully) all bowing your heads for the exact same prayer that I was, was very powerful to me.  We all prayed at the same time, under the same voice.  LOVE IT!
Okay.  That’s all I have to say about that.
This week was great!  Boss has REALLY helped me improve my teaching skills!  I feel much more knowledgeable in a week than I have my whole mission!
Sadly, she is not doing great health-wise, so please keep her in your prayers.
Today is Canadian Thanksgiving!  Weird!  We’re going to a place called San Josef Bay with a couple families from our branch!  It’s gonna be great! (and cold)
I cut my hair!  It’s chin length now and it tapers up in the back.  MUCH easier to do in the morning!  5 minutes to wash, 15 minutes from wet ’til styled.  Love it!  I’ll grow it out when I get home, but for now, it’s perfect.
So funny story…. This place has MONDO burger sized spiders.  I don’t know what kind they are, but EW they’re yucky.  We found one in our living room on Saturday night.  Boss and I both had a really girly freak out.  Picture “She’s The Man” when the tarantula is in their room…. yeah….we were worse.  Boss is braver than I am though so she killed it. Haha.
It’s amazing all the bald eagles I see on a daily basis!  Crazy!  The wildlife in this area is beautiful!  Every dumpster has a chain over it though, so the bears don’t get to it.  We were tracting and saw one scamperin’ down the road and into someone’s garage, where he proceeded to eat their garbage.  Then last night we were out in Hyde Creek and saw a cougar, needless to say, we jumped back in the car and sped away. Haha.  That particular cougar has been known to attack people, so we “peaced out”.
We almost hit a MASSIVE elk the other day!  It was beautiful!
I’m amazed at this gorgeous place.  It’s really on the rough and rugged side, but oh,  is it pretty!
Orcas live in the bay.  We see their fins and half of their heads from time to time.  There are a lot that supposedly migrate through here, but there’s a resident pod that lives here all the time.  They’re not always in our part of the bay, but we see ’em when they are.  How cool is that?!
Well, I better be headin’ out!  Time for San Jo Bay and a Thanksgiving on a beach with Pb&j sandwiches. Hahahaha!!!  I love you all!!!
Love Sister Arbon

Surprise!

Hello!

So um… surprise!!  I got transferred!  Hahahaha.  We didn’t think that we would be transferred, because we didn’t get a call on Monday.  So we packed up and went across the ferry to Richmond for training and our 1st annual Sister’s Conference, and once we GOT there, (Wednesday night) we got a call from Elder King ( the AP).  The conversation goes as follows.. :

“Hello this is Sister Arbon.”

“Hi Sister Arbon it’s Elder King.”

“Oh heya!  How’s it goin, eh?”

“Oh not too bad.  Well this call is in behalf of President Tilleman.”

“Alright cool.”

“There has been a change in your transfer plans.”

“…….. Eh?”

“Yep.  Sister Arbon you will be tranferred to the North Island area with Sister Bosshardt, and Sister Vallejo will be training our new sister, Sister Brown.”

“You’re joking, right?”

“Nope.  You’re expected to get your stuff on your way home and head up to Port McNeill with Sister Bosshardt.”

“Alright…. thank you for the call.”

“You have a great night.”

“Yep… you too…”

WHAAAAAT?!?!?!
New Address is…..  PO Box 1586, Port McNeill, BC, VON 2R0, Canada
It’s crazy because on our very long drive to Nanaimo to catch the ferry to Richmond, V and I were talking about how much we’ve grown to appreciate each other.  We had a great time on the drive rocking out to guitar versions of hymns. We were finally becoming friends as opposed to just companions.  And then I guess that’s all we needed to learn, and so they whisked me away to the beautiful bush of North Island.  (seriously… the city has 2000 people… it’s itty bitty, but the area covers all the surrounding islands.)
I already loved Sister Boss.  We met the first day I was here, and she is just amazing.  She has the greatest personality, and she is a POWERFUL tool in the Lord’s Hands.  Her capacity to love is absolutely astounding!  I’m ALREADY learning so much  from her! And we just barely got back on Saturday night.  We call her The Boss.  Because that’s much easier to say than Bosshardt. (pronounced bo-shard).  We are going to be great together!
President explained to me why he transferred me.  He said that sometimes the transfer board just doesn’t quite look right, and he had a very strong impression to send me to Port McNeill with The Boss instead of sending Sister Brown here.  Then he went on to explain that the North Island area is THE HARDEST area in the mission.  It is so sparsely populated that you already KNOW everyone who lives in town, and so you ALWAYS have to be on your “A” Game, so that you are always “on purpose” and being “that light” that the people need to see.  He then said, and I quote, “we ONLY send our very best up there.  And Sister Arbon, from your emails to me each week, I truly think that once you get there, it’s just going to be like popcorn waiting to pop.  You are up there with our best.  Don’t let me down.”
No pressure…… hahahaha.
This week was SO amazing!  Monday was pday, Tuesday was great, then Wednesday, we left at about 11 to drive to Nanaimo for the ferry, then the ferry is about a 2 hour trip across to Tsawwassen, then we drove to White Rock for the night.  Then Thursday morning, we went to our training and it was SO great!  President Tilleman is one of the most incredible people I’ve ever known.  His faith in miracles is absolutely unshakable.  I love him and Sister T so much!  One thing that he said is that when God has promised us miracles, there is no other option than to have a miracle.  So when our families pray for our success, and He has promised us miracles, it is OUR job to MAKE SURE that those prayers come true and that God is not a liar.  Once again… no pressure. =D
Then we had the first ever Sister’s Conference!  All 26 of the Sisters, both young and senior, gathered together on Friday for the entire day!  It was SO powerful!  President and Sister T love us and they absolutely want us to succeed.  It’s been made so clear!  They talked a lot about the divinity of women, and then Sister Tilleman said this about motherhood, (mom this is for you!) “There is NOTHING more God-like than being a mother.  Heavenly Father has us as Spirit children and He has raised us up in the way we need to go, so we chose to come to earth.  Now, it is the role of MOTHERS to act as that steward to continue to raise up those spirits in the way they should go.  That is absolutely the most God-like thing a woman can do.  Raise righteous spirits.”  So thank  you Mom. =D  I love you!
RS Broadcast was AMAZING!!!  I LOVED the analogy of the woman in the pit.  For the men who don’t know what I mean, there was a woman who fell into a deep dark pit and couldn’t get out on her own.  So Christ lowered a ladder.  But then not only did He lower the ladder…. He came down INTO the pit WITH her to help her climb out.  So Christ knows our suffering, and we can’t do it alone.  He has come down into our pit and He is there to help us climb out.  I’m so grateful for my Savior.  I love Him so much.
I love you all!!!  I hope you have a wonderful week!!!  And thank you SO much for the letters!!!  I was bombarded by them this last couple weeks!!!  I LOVE hearing from you all!!!  I promise I’ll write back, just be patient with me. =D  Love you!
Love Sister Arbon