|"Missionaries are awesome. Y'all are the sun!"|
Tuesday, July 4, 2017
Monday May 30, 2017
Obviously I need to be writing more, since a lot has happened! I had the opportunity to participate in my first convert baptism, work with a new companion, and go the the Atlanta temple, all one after another!
Bridget's baptism was a couple weeks ago, and it was pretty great! She scheduled it for the day before Mother's Day, so Sister Anderson and I were running around trying to get organized for the baptism and Skyping our families the next day. Plus, we were also itching to know what was going to happen with transfers on Sunday night,since Sister Anderson had been in the Braselton area for 6 months which is usually the maximum amount of time before you get transferred to another area. It all turned out all right, though. Our new branch mission leader actually came to the baptism and helped us set up and he seems really excited for this new role in missionary work! And of course, Bridget was so excited to be baptized. It has been such a neat experience to watch her learn and grow in the gospel. She is only 9, but I know she will make a great member and has already made the promise to read her scriptures and pray every day to show that she is following Jesus Christ.
The next day she was confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and welcomed into the branch. And that night, I got to talk to all the family! It was so hard to keep it short, especially since we also got calls from the assistants that night about transfers. Sister Anderson left to become a sister training leader in the Sugarhill zone, and Sister Otukolo came here to Braselton! Which meant that I got the chance to lead out the area by remembering all the people and places here and planning out the days. Sister Otukolo was in a bit of a shock when she first got here, since she had only ever been in one area here o her mission for her first 6 months, and it was in a very rich, city-like area while Braselton is the opposite - more country and open fields and trees with smaller houses and nicer people at the door. :) It has been hard to say goodbye to Sister Anderson, but Sister Otukolo and I are getting on well now. She is from Hawaii, and has the laid-back, friendly attitude to go with it. I am learning even more how to be a focused, obedient, confident missionary from her. We are working right now on reactivating some of the less-active and part-member families in the branch, and as always, tracting. I am excited to get to know her in the coming weeks and for the work we are going to do here in Braselton!
The temple trip was last Tuesday, and it was so fun! We and another companionship of sisters all rode up together to the Atlanta temple with a member to attend the 10 am session. It really gave me such peace to be in the temple again! We even meet a couple of girls there preparing to go on their missions! It was such an amazing experience to be there with the other sisters from the zone.
Until next time!
Love you all!
Sister Lauralee Yount
Georgia Peach 2
|Bridget's Baptism just before Sister Anderson was transferred|
|Me and my new companion, Sister Otukolo|
Posted by Rebecca at 9:50 PM
Thursday, May 4, 2017
Monday May 1, 2017
As in, it's the first day of May! I can't believe that I have already been out that long.
Anyways, it has been way too long since I have sent out an update on the work here in Braselton, GA. To make a long story short, Easter Sunday was amazing, and I was really able to feel the spirit of the season, and it was a great opportunity to really get out and share the gospel because it all points back to Jesus Christ and His resurrection. Because Jesus Christ lives, He directs the Church today through living prophets and we can have the chance to return to Heavenly Father's presence one day when we follow His gospel through faith and repentance.
This week, we have still been busy at missionary work. We have been teaching a lady named Charlotte, who is ready for the gospel! From what we have taught about the Plan of Salvation, she says it makes sense to her and answers a lot of the questions she has always had. It is so cool to see her faith grow! We are also teaching a man named Abel who is a lot different than that because he has a solid background in the Bible and likes to search things out for himself on a basis of knowledge. I am beginning to see that everyone really is different in the way they learn and believe in God. The most we can do is offer the gospel that can change their lives and allow them to build a personal relationship with God and His plan for them. I am so glad to be a part of that!
Thank you all for your continued love and support and I will update you all again soon!
Sister Lauralee Yount
Georgia Peach 2
|Sister Anderson and I coloring Easter eggs|
|Sister Todd - the grandma - is leaving |
to go live in California with her sister for
a year this Thursday, so we had to
take a picture!
|Georgia is getting so green!|
Posted by Rebecca at 9:37 AM
Thursday, April 20, 2017
April 10, 2017
So I made it through one whole transfer - 6 weeks in the mission field! I don't feel a whole lot wiser, but hopefully that will come with time! (Sister Anderson and I celebrated by trying BOILED Peanuts for our first time! I guess it's a Southern thing! They didn't even taste like peanuts, they tasted like salty beans, it was so weird! ) And everything changed in the zone this transfer, too, so I have to learn all the new leaders' names in the Zone! This Tuesday is Zone Meeting, where they will all present a training on how we can improve our finding and teaching skills, so I will get to meet them all then!
This week we have been contacting a lot of former investigators to see if they would be interested in learning about the gospel again. We were actually able to meet with one guy, too - Abel, who recognizes there are inconsistencies in the Bible and is willing to read the Book of Mormon and even come to church! He really has a lot of potential, I think. He says that he has a problem with "blind faith," though - like believing without proof, so we may have to work on that with him! The really cool thing is that faith isn't blind just because we can't see it - we know it is true because we have personally felt a witness from the God of all and seen the way it can bless our lives as a source of peace and comfort and joy through the fulness of Heavenly Father's plan for each of us! And as we act on that faith by living the gospel, the faith grows and we know!
It kind of reminds me of one of the conversations we had with a apologetics door contact this week. Apparently, he used to be Atheist, but since he discovered evidence that Jesus Christ lived, he had to be saved...he kept on asking us how we can believe in the Book of Mormon or any of our doctrine without seeing physical proof! I couldn't believe it! Because that is NOT the way faith works, bud...I wanted so bad to tell him that we walk by FAITH, not by sight! That is how we come to know God - by believing in Him and then seeking to follow Him and live in His ways! There are no shortcuts, no proof because God wants us to learn for ourselves! It just confirms to me how important it is for us to have a firm and growing testimony built upon our faith in Jesus Christ.
Thank you all for your love and support! I love you all! I will report on our investigators next week - I am excited to start teaching two new people this week!
Sister Lauralee Yount
Georgia Peach 2
Posted by Rebecca at 1:43 PM
April 3, 2017
Yes, we found our first new investigator this week! It was actually on exchanges this week on Wednesday, and Sister Mitchell and I were tracting in the evening on or last street. She serves on the University of Georgia campus, came to Braselton and we did a lot of good tracting. She taught me a lot about believing in myself as a missionary and being happy and excited (which she constantly is, so it rubbed off!) to meet people because even if they aren't interested in the gospel message, they will see that it is important to you. I directed us via maps to the places we were going, and on Wednesday evening during our last tracting street, we knocked on the door of a lady named Charlotte and she let us in! We were able to teach her about the Book of Mormon after she told us that something she is searching for right now is to have a more real connection with God as she studies the Bible. She wants to feel him there the same way she does when she looks at nature, which is where she feels God the most. We promised her that if she would pray earnestly before reading, she could feel what she is seeking and also testified of the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. She accepted a copy to read and even said, "Maybe this is the missing piece I am looking for!" God definitely works miracles in tracting! Just when I was not feeling as if anyone would listen on the doorstep and a lot of our follow-up appointments fell through, we were able to reach out to someone who really needed to hear our message! This is what being a missionary is all about, and it feels so good! We are meeting with her tonight to talk about the Restoration and I am so excited!
|Enjoying lunch in between Conference Sessions|
General Conference was also really great! My companion and I went to the church building both days for all the sessions, and we got to spend the time with the other missionaries serving in wards and branches who share the building. It was really cool to meet all of them and hear different stories from their missions. We had a late lunch and studies in between sessions, then fed our souls the rest of the time!
I really liked Elder Rasband's talk about following the promptings of the Spirit. Although I doubt I will ever have the courage to stick my foot in the door, it was an excellent reminder to act on the first prompting so that God can accomplish His will through us. I will definitely be improving upon that this week! I need to recognize and act the first time and I know that miracles will follow!
I also got asked to sing Easter Sunday by the branch president - "I Know That My Redeemer Lives." My companion and I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to get in with a less active family who is very musically inclined, as well, so wish us luck! Transfer calls came last night, so I am now officially 6 weeks out! Sister Anderson and I are both staying so we know that we have good work to do here in Braselton still! We know that the Lord will be able to work in and through us as we make goals and plans to accomplish His will.
Talk again soon!
Sister Lauralee Yount
Georgia Peach 2
Sister Anderson treated me to my first gatorade - it just tastes like flavored water I guess haha
planting flowers in Sister Stavron's yard - in our skirts!
Lunch with Sister Henderson - she is less active but always willing to lend us a helping hand - this time, it was a ride to the store to get groceries last week.
Visiting with Sister Fife, who is recovering from a hip surgery. She always brightens or day! Sister Anderson found a fancy hat Sister Fife's granddaughter left there and decided to wear it!
It was Elder Hernandez's birthday at our last official district meeting before transfers, so the birthday banner and cat ears are in our district picture!
Posted by Rebecca at 1:11 PM
March 27, 2017
This week has been a crazy one - a lot happened, and I'm not sure how to cover it all, but I will try my best! It has been really busy, and missionary work has been moving forward. In particular, we have been able to see a lot of the less-active families that usually aren't home or don't really talk long with us.
In one such family - a part-member family, actually, the mom let us in and we were able to talk with her about the trials that God gives us. We may not always understand why, but we just can't question: we must be believing and put our faith and trust in God, that He will heal us and we will be able to move forward with peace and joy. She shared some of the trials her family has been through lately, and my companion and I were glad to be there to help her get it out and assure her that Heavenly Father is aware of this trial, and He knows what they are going through! It was really a miracle to be there, and to comfort and testify of the Plan of Salvation, which ended up also being something I would need later in the week.
Not one day later, a big storm rolled in on Tuesday night, which is crazy since it had been a perfectly sunny, warm and calm day! Nonetheless, around 8:00 that night, we started to hear thunder and wind at our dinner appointment. We quickly said our goodbyes, and RAN out to our car in the pouring rain. They bid us farewell and a safe drive home, and we went on our way. I could not BELIEVE how hard that rain was coming down, not to mention the thunder vibrations and gusting wind or the lightning forking through the sky all around us. We were very grateful when we made it safely home. And looking back on it now - it really was a miracle. I could feel God's protection that night, almost as if we drove in a bubble that night as the storm raged all around us.
Come to find out, not all were so lucky. A member of the branch - a young dad - was killed when a huge tree was uprooted and fell through the house on top of him. I couldn't believe it - why, how could that happen??? The whole branch was in shock, Sister Anderson and I were too. And yet, it had happened. It was sooo sad. I am so grateful to know about God's Plan of Salvation. We can see those we have lost again as eternal families, and we know they are happy now in their new calling as missionaries. It definitely mirrored the experience from earlier this week. We may not always know what to expect from this, life or what God plans for us. We simply trust in Him and have the faith to follow His plan for us. That was what brougt me peace this week, amidst all the grief. I know that God is aware of all we may be going through, and Jesus Christ has felt. That is why this gospel is for everyone!
I continue to pray for that family and the faith that we all must exercise to rely more on our Savior and His Atonement in our everyday lives. This week has definitely been a testimony-builder to trust in God and His plan for us. He is aware of what we are going through and provides for our needs when we trust Him. He has clothed the grass of the field and so He will clothe us. What a miracle is His great love for us!
Love you all! I look forward to this next week and the experiences that will bring! I continue to improve in my faith and in teaching all the time and look forward to sharing the gospel, even when people may not be ready to hear it. I know there are those prepared waiting! Sister Anderson and I continue to knock on doors and improve together in our teaching together. Transfers are in a week, and I really hope to stay here in Braselton and strengthen the branch here, but I guess we will see!
Sister Lauralee Yount
Georgia Peach 2
Posted by Rebecca at 12:55 PM
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
March 20, 2017
So...to answer the title question...we saw about three cockroaches this week, one day after another. I am definitely NOT looking forward to the summertime. Coackroaches are nasty little bugs - well really, the ones we found were pretty big and fat. It is reasons like these why I could never live forever in Georgia! I still don't know how the bugs survive around here when the weather fluctuates within about 20 degrees every other week!
|Sister Anderson and I found the tulip tree!|
Anyways...it was a pretty good week. the weather is starting to warm up, so this week will be really good for tracting. It was so nice yesterday to stand in front of doors with the sun on my back and no wind nipping at me! We ended up doing a lot of tracting this week as well (missionaries are always in the finding business!), but not really any new investigators. We are trying harder every day to listen to the Spirit and talk to everyone. And so far, everyone really has been pretty nice to us - they're just pretty content with their own faith and church.
We attended zone conference this week, which was really cool. The mission president - President Bennion - and his wife got up and spoke to us about how we can improve our finding efforts through different methods and goals as a zone. We focused a lot on appealing to the youth of the church to share their knowledge and testimony through social media, since most people who join the church end up doing so in their teens and early adult years because that is when they are really looking for a purpose in their lives. President says that the social media is such a fast and broad place to share the gospel, as well, so we have been focusing on that a lot as a new way to encourage member missionary work. During the meeting, we also did a lot of roleplays encouraging us to use different door and street contacting approaches like family history, prophets, the Book of Mormon, etc. We made a whole list and are now competing as a zone to see who can use all of them first and find new investigators from it!
I also went on exchange for my first time this week with a Sister Hansen (not MTC Companion Sister Hansen), who is also one of the STLs (Sister Trainer Leaders). She was really friendly and encouraging as we got to know each other and learned to apply different door approaches. I went to her area the day before zone conference, and it was kind of cool to get to know a new area and companion if only for a day. In some ways, it felt like I was completely green all over again, even though that will doubtless happen when I get transferred- just trying to take in all the new information all at once! When I was out with her, I finally got in to a house - a couple actually, and we were able to share our testimonies of the power of prayer and the Atonement of Jesus Christ, respectively. They were both Christian, but also very open to discussing Jesus Christ and religion with us, which was nice (for a change!)
I am so glad to be here in Georgia learning new things and meeting new people every day! I know that the work is definitely going strong here, and I hope that I will continue to trust in the Lord's guidance and timing to meet those who are willing and prepared to receive the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Love you all and I look forward to talking again next week!
Georgia Peach 2
|ice cream at Brusters on Sisters preparation after our self-defense class|
Posted by Rebecca at 10:02 AM
Sunday, March 19, 2017
March 13, 2017
Third week in Georgia! I can hardly believe it! The weather still can't decide what season it is, but I love it here all the same! It's good to be here teaching people - and finding people - who are ready to know the truth of our Heavenly Father's plan for them. My companion Sister Anderson and I are officially in the "finding" business now, since we have so few investigators at the moment! We keep praying and looking out for unplanned opportunities to share the gospel, so I know it will come! As long as we listen to the Spirit and trust in the Lord, I know we will be led to those who have "ears to hear." Sometimes it just feels like Hide and Seek though!
We just gave talks on Sunday about member missionary work, so hopefully that will help our little branch grow! We have been doing a lot of work with strengthening members, so I know it will all work out eventually!
All my love,
Sister Lauralee Yount
Georgia Peach 2
Posted by Rebecca at 11:32 AM
March 6, 2017
So...I thought last week's weather here was crazy, but I was wrong. This week has been unbelievably cold and windy, then one day it was humid and rainy - we got a lightning storm Thursday night, I think it was - and now it is back to warming up again. Slowly but surely, I guess I will warm up (haha no pun intended) to the crazy weather here.
This week something really cool happened though, rainy weather and all. The same night that it started to pour on us, we were able to contact who we thought was a potential investigator. As it turns out, this was a different guy, so we introduced ourselves and started talking about the Book of Mormon with him! He said that his father was a pastor, but that the two of them had never really agreed on how to interpret different passages from the Bible. In his own practice, he said that he followed what the Bible said and everything else just kind of fell around it because the Bible is the word of God. We explained to him the backstory of the Book of Mormon and how it is Another Testament of Jesus Christ - we believe that through God, a prophet named Lehi and his family were led to a promised land - America - where they continued to keep records of their dealings with the Lord in the land, and how they were able to build their own faith in the Savior.
Since he seemed so open-minded as we talked, we invited him to read the Book of Mormon and pray bout it and testified that if he would, he could feel whether it really way God's word. And then he agreed to it! By this time it started to really pour outside, with wind, lightning, and all. Sister Anderson and I absolutely booked it to the car, but we both were glad to be there because he needed it. That was the best experience this week because even with the dampening weather, I felt so good inside at sharing the light of the gospel with him. Now THAT's missionary work - sharing the gospel to those who are open and prepared to receive it!
Another cool thing this week - one day when we were out tracting, we ran into TWO different young mothers who had grown up in the church and are now once again searching for God in their lives, especially for the sake of their families. They were both very friendly and open with us, and we invited them to come to church. We hope to go back and see if we can share more. As Sister Anderson said, It's not every day that you find less-active or former members, especially in the same neighborhood.
Even though this work is hard when I don't know how to talk to strangers and share with them how wonderful the gospel of Jesus Christ is, I am grateful when Heavenly Father puts those in our path who are willing to listen. I am still learning to open my mouth and rely on Jesus Christ in this work, and as I do, I am seeing the blessings. I have gotten frustrated a couple times this week, but I know that as long as I rely on the Lord, I can have the confidence and the strength to carry this message to all those who will receive it! I am growing and changing each day to share Christ's message of love to the world!
Love you all,
Georgia Peach 2
Posted by Rebecca at 11:30 AM
Monday, February 27, 2017
February 27, 2017
I finally made it to Georgia and it has been quite the adventure. I never expected it to be warm already, for one thing. It's February, but we already have 70 degree weather some days, like it's summer or something. My trainer, Sister Anderson, says that summer heat is about three times worse, so I'm not looking forward to that. And then on some days, the weather can be cold and windy, so I really don't know what to think or how to dress in the morning - it's just always a surprise! There are also lots of trees and green grass here, similar to Maine. But there are also lots of big bugs and different plants that I have never even seen before, so I guess that's the South!
I have been transferred to the little town of Braselton, and my trainer is Sister Anderson. She is really nice and caring towards everyone, so she is teaching me everything I need to know about the area and missionary work in the field. She is from Moroni, Utah, and has been here a little over a year, so she knows the ropes! We both have missionary work and our faith in this gospel in common, so I know we can be a good team. She has been introducing me to many of the members - active and less active - here in the area and they are all so caring and friendly! A lot of them struggle going to church all the time, because there are a lot of part member families, and also because I believe our ward building is in Commerce. But they are all good people and it's all about getting to know and love them. I think that's a lot of what I learned this week - just being a friend and understanding with love all of the people here, member and nonmember alike, because when it really comes down to it, that's what this gospel is all about - loving people the way Jesus Christ loves us.
I also got to teach the two progressing investigators we have this week - Avery and Bridget. Avery is a high school senior who was dating the branch president's son before he left on his mission to Africa and Bridget is from a returning less active family.They are both so excited to learn and earnestly follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, and that's what makes me really love missionary work - just seeing the changes people go through and making the gospel a part of their lives! Avery is reading the Book of Mormon and praying every day, and Bridget, even though she is only 9, really wanted to pay tithing right after we taught her about it! I know this gospel is such a joy and a blessing, and when we give our lives to the Lord, we can experience that joy and happiness and peace in our lives that can only come from Him! Even as a missionary, I have experienced that faith continuing to grow and develop. It's been a bit of a transition to the mission field, but I am loving it! (So far no weird food or unintelligible accents, so I think we're good, :))
Talk to you again next week,
Georgia Peach 2
Posted by Rebecca at 8:12 PM
February 20, 2017
|Sister Bennion, Sister Yount, and President Bennion|
Georgia Peach #2
Posted by Rebecca at 8:00 PM
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Thursday February 9, 2017
|Georgia Atlanta North Mission!|
|Cool badge pic|
|Sister Hansen and I pointing to our mission in Georgia on the World Map!|
I made it through one week here at the MTC! A lot has happened this week, so I will try to describe it as best I can.
You already know about that cool role play with the investigators as all the new missionaries had a chance to rotate and switch through teaching three different people. It reminded me a lot of the Stake Missionary Conference back home! Apparently that's what it's really like. I was able to feel the Spirit so strongly and really testify that these people are children of God! Heavenly Father wants them to be happy and have the wonderful gift of Jesus Christ and His Gospel in their lives! Everyone also said "Welcome to the MTC" when us newbies walked by since they out an orange sticker on our badges. Also, I LOVE the new magnet badges! They are amazing!
|Sister Hansen and I on our second day here|
|Sister Hansen and I|
That same day, I also met my companion and district! My companion's name is Sister Hansen and we hit it off right away! She is a huge Harry Potter geek like me (plus Doctor Who, Sherlock, Avatar, you name it). She told me she is from a tiny town called Joseph City in Northern Arizona, which is mostly made up of a huge extended family...kind of like how everyone is related in that show Once Upon A Time. We are both going to serve in the Georgia Atlanta North mission and we are so excited to share the gospel together despite being two introverts who don't normally talk to complete strangers. She and I have already taught some lessons this week, too. They get you started right away here at the MTC! They are mostly members role playing, but it is still good practice for me and I feel like I am learning so much every day that I spend here...how to teach people, work in unison with my companion, and learning the gospel better and how to grow my faith in Jesus Christ and feel His Spirit.
|Our district in the classroom we spend most of our time here in studying|
Our first lesson took place on the third day. We were able to teach our teacher, Brother Hooper as an investigator he taught (Wayne). Sister Hansen and I did our best to teach him about the restoration. We fumbled a bit in working together in unison, but I think we are figuring it out. Our class is composed of our entire district at the MTC, which consists of all three companionships of Sisters who bunk in our room and two companionships of Elders. The Sisters are: Sister Reynolds & Sister Gifford, and Sister Hurd & Sister Chappell. The Elders in our district are Elder Tolman & Elder Stokes, and Elder Reeves & Elder Miller. After sharing our testimonies with each other on our first day together, we are a pretty tightly-knit group now. We are also all going to Georgia. Some are going to Macon, (like you, Mama!) but we will all be pretty close to each other for the duration of our missions, which is pretty cool.
Basically, our schedule every day has become a pattern of studying (Book of Mormon study, personal study, companion study) for investigators, class time learning skills for teaching, eating, exercise time (which is so great to have as a break from sitting down all day!) TRC teaching for investigators, and sleep. TRCs (I'm actually not sure what the real name is!) are basically teaching opportunities that are set up for one week. So this week we teach Marcus, who was raised Catholic, but is now going to BYU is taking the lessons very well! Sister Hansen and I like to call him our golden investigator because our other investigator, Leah, is very strong in her religion in which she believes that Christians simply have to accept that they are weak and Jesus is the only one that can save them - we only try to show compassion to others because of Jesus' perfect grace for us. Sometime I feel so frustrated that she is so CLOSE to the truth, but she will only listen to us when we agree with her (meaning not anything that requires us to do things). My companion and I have agreed that we simply have to love her and there is a reason that Heavenly Father wanted us to have that challenge this week.
It's a pretty crazy schedule, and pretty busy, too, but I have been enjoying it so much! I have never felt the desire to serve or the Spirit stronger in my life, and even though it is hard to leave for a year, I know that this is my calling in the Lord's work.
I love all of you and want to thank you so much for your love and support in my mission! I am so excited to serve, and even though I have a lot to learn, I know I can do it. I miss you all and would love to hear from you! Please feel free to respond any day of the week since I can read emails any day.
|Our district in front of the Provo temple|
P.S. went to the temple today to do endowments and Sister Hansen and I did some family names :) It was amazing to be there!
Posted by Rebecca at 4:07 PM
February 1, 2017Today was the big day. Sister Lauralee Yount enters the MTC in Provo, Utah to serve as a missionary in the Georgia Atlanta North Mission. She will be at the MTC for 20 days as she studies, learns, and grows. We have been so blessed as a family to have her serve the Lord. She will be missed so very much, but are so grateful for her dedication and service. Her farewell was on Sunday January 29, 2017. Her talk on agency was powerful, and fitting as she has chosen to serve the Lord for the next 18 months. God be with you till we meet again, Sister Yount!
|Sister Yount and all her luggage|
|Brittany already missing her sissy|
|She is all smiles now, but wait until she moves all that luggage around|
|Sad to see our daughter go, but what a great missionary she will be|
|When she returns there will be no snow!!!|
|Last family picture for 18 months|
|One last goodbye|
|How do I carry all of this?|
|See you in 18 months!|
After dropping her off early in the day, she sent a quick email later that night. It read" I am so excited to be here. We did an investigator teaching experience with three different people today and it was kind of similar to stake missionary activities in the way that the whole group got to respond to the investigator. I was really able to feel the Spirit during the second one when he was unsure whether God loved him. I know that God loves all of us! I love and miss you all!"
Posted by Rebecca at 2:02 PM