Thursday, November 28, 2013

Transfer Week and Happy Thanksgiving! Letter dated November 25, 2013

Oh, hey there :)
This week has been pretty good. Lots of time in the Visitors Center and some awesome opportunities! Let me tell you about it! (Again, these are never in any particular order...)
·  I love serving in DC: So last Tuesday night, we were invited to accompany President Cooke to a forum down at Georgetown University (a campus we are required to stay FAR away from)! The forum was on scriptural authority, and they invited a Protestant minister, a Rabbi, and President Cooke. So you had a Catholic (because it's Georgetown), a Methodist, a Jew, and a Mormon talking about scriptural authority! So cool! And a once in a lifetime opportunity! Sadly though, I fell ill that evening right before we were supposed to go, so I spent my evening in the Visitors Center while my companions went with President. They said it was really cool though! I wish I could have been there!
·  Second chances: Back on Thursday, we got a call from a member in the Chevy Chase ward, inviting us to come to the Georgetown Law campus for yet another forum. This one was more in the style of Why I Believe (Law School style). There was a panel of 3 members from different backgrounds, but all law students or Georgetown Law alums. Super cool. We started the meeting off by teaching both the Restoration and the Plan of Salvation in 5 minutes, then the panelists told their conversion stories, and then it was opened up to the audience for questions! It was so cool to witness (I was able to be there, hence the title of this paragraph). I LOVE people :) And I love when the Spirit is teaching someone. It's so cool to watch!
·  Tory: I love Tory so much! I have loved meeting with her and working with her. Sister J and I met her at the endish of last transfer, and we've been meeting with her ever since. The thing I love most about Tory, is her ability to think deeply. She asks the best questions! And yet, she doesn't let her thoughts get in the way of what her heart (and the spirit) are telling her! It's so cool! I love hearing her thoughts or her perspective. I love how she interprets some scriptures that I've read all my life, but she opens my understanding more! She's basically the coolest person ever.
·  Weather report: So last week, it was 68 outside while I was emailing you. Now it's 30. Not cool, DC, not cool. (No pun intended.)
·  Detroit?: I felt like I was in Detroit again! Only because I watched a guy get arrested the other day. Took a good number of cops to do it. It was just kind of awkward to watch really... But I must admit, I did laugh a little bit. Don't really know why, but I did :)
·  Sister J: AH! My heart! It's a little broken today. I thought I told you this but she got her visa about 2 weeks ago. It came to the Visitors Center and I sat there and stared at it for probably 15 minutes. I despised the mailbox that day. But she left today. Like, 30 minutes ago. It's so sad! I loved (and still love) her so much! The mission and the Visitors Center just won't be the same without her! I miss her so much already! :( I guess Brazil needs her or something like that...
·  Thanksgiving: It's this Thursday. The day after transfers. Should be cool. I'll be working at the Visitors Center starting at 3:30, but don't worry, I will still be taken care of. I'm making the turkey cookies for the sisters and senior couple that have to be on shift with me, and Sister Petramalo (the senior sister) is bringing pumpkin pie! So it will still be a party :)
·  Festival: It starts a week from today!!!!!!!! I'm so excited. My dance is not even close to being choreographed. I don't have the music for it. It's Silent Night, but it's a unique arrangement... That makes choreographing a little harder. But that's okay. We'll figure it out. I'm more excited about festival itself though :) Bring on the crowds! Bring on the concerts! Bring on the lights, the trees, and the nativity! Ah! I'm so excited!!
·  Current companions: I love them so much! They brighten my day, everyday! I am so lucky to have them! Sister Naka is doing better. She gets stronger everyday, and I hope that continues to be true from here on out. Sister Robert is wonderful. She sings like an angel :) They both work so hard and I'm just amazed by them! I have so much to learn from the Sisters around me! I am so blessed!
·  Deep thinking: So yesterday, during church, I enjoyed some deep thinking. I thought about 2 things mostly. One was inspired by a talk, and the other was part of our Sunday school lesson. The one from Sacrament meeting, I would love to share with you, but it takes a TON of explaining and it creates a very long conversation! So if you want to hear my thoughts on "true happiness", message me and I'll tell you. But I will tell you my other thought. I titled it "I am who I am who I am". I am who I am and I can choose who I am. Therefore, I should never not like myself, because I can CHOOSE who I am. Or, if I don't like myself, I can change because I have the ability to choose who I am. This is kind of like, "duh!", but it blew my mind yesterday! I have struggled off and on my whole life with not liking myself or feeling inadequate or just wanting to change, and now I finally realize that I CAN change. I have had 2 gifts given to me: agency, and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. If I'm truly applying these things in my life, and using the correctly, how can I not change? How can I not become the person I want to be? Ah! I just love thinking about this! It's so empowering :) Anyway, I'm just in a thinking mood still, so I could go on forever. But I'll leave it at that for now. (But seriously, hit me up about "true happiness".)
·  Transfers: Oh, by the way, we got transfer call outs last night. They told us if we were staying or going, where we were going, and who our companion(s) would be. JUST so we could tell you :) Isn't that nice? So are you ready for it?
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·  Okay. I'm leaving DC2nd. I'm not quite over this yet. For the first time n my WHOLE mission, I'm not excited to go to a new area. I'm not ready to leave! DC2 is THE best area, and my favorite ward so far! I've made so many friends, and had so much fun working with people my age, but I guess the Lord has other plans for me. But I'm still really sad about it :( Sister Leben (from Germany) will be my replacement. Sister Naka and Robert are staying here. I don't want to go :( Ha, both my converts in this ward left before I did, so I guess it's my turn.... But! I'm going to New Carrolton. It's out towards Bowie, so that will be fun. I'll be companions with Sister Holland (from a little town in Idaho. I don't remember where, but I know it's in the middle of no where). This will be her 2nd transfer, so I'll be finishing her training. She just BARELY turned 19 right before she entered the MTC. But I don't really know much else about her. I'll have more for you next week, I'm sure.
Sister Holland
Alright, I think that just about sums up my week! Next time I email you, it'll be just hours before the first night of Festival! I'm so excited! Thank you so much for all that you do! For all your love and support! I'll see you soooon! Love you all!

Love, Sister Bullock
Photos from Arlington visit November 2013

The group going home in Feb 2014

Sisters Bullock and Clement

The sisters that will go home in the next 6 months

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Training with Elder Zwick...Letter dated November 18, 2013

What a week it has been! I haven't had anytime in my area, really, but I have had plenty of training with Elder Zwick! So cool! List time?
·  Companions: I love them :) They are so great. We're always laughing and just having fun together! It makes the work so enjoyable (not that it was hard to enjoy the work before...) Love them! 
Sisters Nakatsuka, Bullock, and Robertson

·  Naka news: Sister Nakatsuka is doing better. She's out and about a lot of the time. It's been awhile since she's been down. She just can't eat meat or raw veggies and she's good... Usually. It's so strange!! Also, her father has been called as a Mission President! They are just waiting for their assignment :) Exciting, eh? It will most likely be in Japan!
·  Nils: He's our new ward mission leader. He's pretty much awesome. Very action minded which is exactly what this ward needs! He's reforming the ward mission plan and redefining the ward missionaries calling. Could be really cool :) Actually, I know it will be really cool! I'm excited for all these changes. But I was wondering, how many of you have read or have a copy of your ward mission plan? It would be cool if everyone knew and was a part of the ward mission plan! You should find a copy! Missionary work can bless your life just as much as it has blessed mine! Help your local missionaries out! :)
·  Jordan: Please send some extra prayers his way. He needs it :(
·  Transfers: We didn't have our transfer meeting with President! So now, I really have no idea what will happen this transfer! I'm so excited about that! I love the surprise of it all! :) I'm so grateful though, that I have at least another week in this area! I love DC2nd! It's pretty much my favorite!
·  Self reflection: I've been doing this a lot lately (self reflection or whatever). And I've come to realize just how terrible I am at living in the moment! I'm downright awful at it! I'm always looking ahead to the future! Which isn't always a bad thing, but I've made a goal for myself that I will live more in the moment and less in the future.
·  Christmas: The above being said... I AM SO EXCITED FOR CHRISTMAS! It's almost here :) 39 days until Christmas day! Oh shoot... That means I have 38 days until I dance in front of the whole Mormon community in this area... Ha, I should probably get serious about choreographing this thing. I worked a little bit on it today. I'll keep working on it. (And mom, I promise I'll get someone to film it. You might be the only one to watch it though... I'm SUPER rusty. So it's kind of embarrassing)
·  Weather: So Christmas is in 39 days... And it's 68 degrees outside! What happened to fall and winter? It's like summer out there (not that I'm complaining!) It's just strange.
·  Stake Conference: The Saturday session was soooo good! I heard Sunday was good, too. (I was there, but talking to Jordan after one of the roughest nights of his life, so I didn't hear any of it.) But I'll share some of my favorite quotes with you from Saturday, if you don't mind! (The whole conference was on missionary work) "Faith will overcome doubt" "we need to sign ourselves up for the missionary marathon! Don't let it pass you by" "Where is heaven, is it very far? When you're with those you love, it's right where you are" "What more could I have done?" "The work of salvation started way before we came to this Earth" "Save yourself, save your family, share the message" "We must unite" I know these are all out of context, but apply them how you'd like :) Hooray for missionary work <3
·  Philippines: Oh my goodness, the typhoon! Guess what, Elder Zwick is in charge of that portion of the world, so he was getting updates about it in every meeting we had with him. Kind of weird to hear breaking news as a missionary. But he showed us pictures of the first 20 missionaries coming into the MTC in Manilla from Tacloban. Wow. I can't even describe what it was like looking at those missionaries who had just fought for their lives only 36 hours before we viewed those photos. He told us many of their stories and there was a certain reverence as he did so. What is truly amazing though is that all 206 missionaries in that mission survived. And now they have all been reassigned and are back out in the field! I have a great respect for those missionaries. May our prayers continue to be with them and their families.
Elder Zwick
·  Elder Zwick: Incredible. I loved this week just because of him. I was with him all day Thursday, all day Friday,Saturday evening, and Sunday morning. I loved every second of it! I would go so far to say that it was life changing! He has completely changed my mission! I have learned so much about teaching, about listening, about loving, about questions, about the work in general. And I learned a little about post-mission stuff, too. But that's not important. I think my favorite lesson I've learned from him was the difference between work, and work. Let me explain. So in Spanish, there are 2 translations of work: Trabajo and obra. He said that usually, when we talk about missionary work, we use obra, which is more a passion for the work. But he said we need more trabajo, which is the physical, or manual labor. I couldn't agree more. I'm tired of just having passion and love for the work! I want to get down to hard work! I want to be able to say I'm truly giving everything I have to this work! Trabajo!!

Okay, enough of my ranting! I love you all! So much! Thank you for your love and support! You all have really helped me through these past 14 months! You are the greatest!! I love and miss you! Continue to be happy and safe and healthy! See you soon!

Love, Sister Bullock

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Letter dated November 13, 2013

November 13, 2013

Oh my goodness, it's been a busy week! Monday and Tuesday were swamped, so here it is Wednesday night and I'm finally getting my email out! So sorry about that :/ I promise I'm okay, just busy! Goodness, I miss you all! Okay, since time is short (and I feel weird being on the computer this late) we'll get on to the report :)
·  Zone activity: Monday was our zone activity!! (Which is why we had no time to email...) But it was super fun :) We all were 8 years old again and went to play Lazer Tag. I'm still really bad at it. I died a lot. But I didn't come dead last! Only 2nd to dead last... Both times. But it was still fun. And after that, all the sisters in our combined zones went to eat at Sardi's! It is a Peruvian chicken place, and it is my favorite restaurant out here :) I love it so much! You'll have to try it next time you're out here! All in all, it was a fun day. 
·  Secret life: So apparently, I have a secret life. One of the sisters had a dream about me that was just hilarious! In her dream I was sent home because I was pregnant (Don't freak out, just read on). Later, all the sisters found out that I was actually married, and that I had somehow weaseled my way into coming on a mission. It was the biggest mystery how I had managed to get married AND come on a mission. I guess I just wanted to be extra blessed? ;)
·  Little victories: I fit into my winter coat better this year than I did last year. It's the little things in life.
·  Coolest musical number in sacrament ever: On Sunday, the entire elders quorum (which is all of the men in the ward) performed a musical number. They sang The Battle Hymn of the Republic in honor of Veterans day. Also, since we have a ton of military people in the ward, half of those up front were in uniform. It was pretty much the coolest Sunday ever.
·  Eye why cue: Mad Gab time! Say the underlined portion out loud to yourself and see if you get it. If you don't get it, keep trying until you do. If you get it, congratulations! You can move on to the next round: sen cue.
·  Packages: Packages are fun :) thank you for all the kindness and love. (Tell Jessie I'm waiting for those pictures she promised to send me, please! I'm dying to see them!) Highlights: all the pictures of Maddux, Beckham and Berkley! I just about died...
·  Travel plans: It's so weird that they are doing travel plans already! It's still so far away... Right? They don't need to do that yet. I'm going to be a missionary forever. (But I am secretly really excited to see the family again! Ah! I love you guys!) But February 23rd is the day I'm speaking, eh? Okay great :) I'll probably write my talk the night before... If I write one at all. I have no idea what I'm going to say.
·  Arlington pictures: Okay, so the sisters with me in the February departing group! So Sister Nakatsuka, obviously, because she came out with me. the other 2 sisters are Spanish speaking. they entered the MTC the same day as me, but came out a transfer after me because they had to learn a language. So the 4 of us go home together. And 3 of the 4 are VC trainers. Funny, eh?
·  Elder Zwick: He is coming to our mission this weekend! I have a loooong training meeting with him tomorrow, an all day mission conference with him on Friday, and then a Stake conference with him on Sunday :) So I'll be best buds with him by my next letter home. Should be good stuff. I'm excited to hear what he has to say! 
·  Festival: It's pretty much around the corner, and although I'm overly excited about it, I'm not ready for it! There is so much to do still! It's different being a sister in Festival, and being a leader in Festival. I didn't think it would be so different! But it will be great :) Brother Brewer is a member that lives in the area. He sits outside every night, with out a coat no matter the weather, and greets people-welcomes them to the festival, talks to them about the lights, here's about their experiences inside... basically he is the most beloved fixtures on Festival :) Everyone loves him. It wouldn't be festival without him. But he's also very sick, and so there was concern that he wouldn't be able to come this year. But he's coming!!
·  Ballet: Again, I have gotten much younger these past few weeks... Ever since they told me I'd be dancing for Festival this year, that's all I've wanted to do. I'm dancing around my apartment, around the Lazer tag arena, around the VC, around the VC kitchen... Anywhere and everywhere. Just like the good old days! I'm sure I would drive daddy crazy if I were home!
·  Changes: We have a new ward mission leader! Sean got released! It was crazy! Sean was such a great ward mission leader! He held that calling for 16 months, and it showed. He was the best ward mission leaders I've ever served with! But this is tradition for me, I guess. In every ward I've been in, they have changed the ward mission leader on me right before I leave. So maybe this means I'm leaving?? I sure hope not! I love this ward too much!!
·  Speaking of transfers: How is this transfer almost over?? That can't be happening! We decided transfers for the sisters back on Tuesday, but we'll see what President and the AP's have to say on Saturday. So, of course, nothing is set in stone... AH! These transfers stress me out. But oh well, I know that Heavenly Father knows what He's doing and it's all in His hands (Mormon 5:23). I'll just have to trust in Him. :P
(Mormon 5:23
 23 Know ye not that ye are in the ahands of God? Know ye not that he hath all power, and at his great command the bearth shall be crolled together as a scroll?)
·  Companions: I still love them. Both of them. They bring such joy and  happiness to my life! Hooray for good companions!
Okay, I think that's it for me this week. I'm sorry it's short and boring, but such is life :) I love you all so much! Thank you for your love and support all throughout my mission! I really appreciate it! i can't say thank you enough! Thank you, thank you, thank you! I love and miss you, but I'll see you soon! Have a great weeeeeeeek!

Love, Sister Bullock

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Arlington National Cemetery

Sisters Natkatsuka, Bullock, and Robertson

November 4, 2013

Hello, my dearest friends!
I don't even know where to begin this letter! So much has happened, and yet I feel like I have nothing to report! I will try my best, but you'll have to forgive me if this is kind of a wimpy letter :)
·     Naka and Robert's Son: Heavenly Father truly blesses me in the way of companions each and every transfer! And that definitely includes this transfer! I love my dear companions so much! Sister Nakatsuka is coming out and working more and more every day, and Sister Robertson is growing and helping me grow! Even though she's so young, she is such a great example for me to follow! I feel like the mama bear in this companionship :) It's kind of funny.  We never, ever stop laughing and that's what I love the most! As Charlie Chaplin says, "A day without laughter is a day wasted." We do not waste any day!
·     Cold: How cow! (That was supposed to be 'holy cow' but I'm too lazy to change it... And I thought it was kind of funny) It is so cold out here all of the sudden! Our days have been up in the 60's, or high 50's... And then today -BOOM- We're in the 40's and high 30's! We did sunrise pictures this morning... I just about died! Way too cold for my liking! But, I guess I can live with it :)
·     Night of Music and Inspiration: So my dearest Naka is in charge of this months Night of Music! She is pretty much perfect for this calling and she has come up with something super great! She invited me to sing in her Night, and the music is super cool! It's I'll Go Where You Want Me To Go, but the arrangement is beautiful!! I'll send the music home later so you can see! I don't know why they keep asking me to sing (I don't sing), but I can't ever say no!
·     The crazy life of a Trainer: Life for us trainers is crazy this transfer. I feel so disorganized and so out of my mind! We are trying to fit so much into our training meetings before Festival starts and we have no time to do anything. And there are a lot of extra things we have to do for Festival this year... Like make a completely new schedule because we'll now be in companionship's at the Visitors' Center! No more teaching solo! So that has to be reworked, and we also need new training on Ambassador's Night and Diplomat Night because that's changing also... And Brother Brewer is coming again this year! It will be his 34th Christmas working with us :) He is truly amazing :) I'm so excited for him to come and share his miracles with us! But, it has us trainers running around like crazy women trying to organize things... It will all work out! (Somehow)
·     Thanksgiving: It is that time of year! We should soon be having our Annual service day, and then we will stuff our faces with some sort of food! Last year, I have super salty ham, turkey pizza, and some stuffing. It was delicious! The fun fact, though, is that Thanksgiving is the day after transfers! But no fears, we will be taken care of. If we aren't eating with members, we'll eat with a senior couple. I love Thanksgiving as a missionary! It's a time to really reflect on all the blessings we receive on a daily basis, and as a missionary, I feel like I notice these blessings even more! Something that I have started doing has really helped me see even more beauty in life: a gratitude journal! You should give it a try :) Every night, write 10 things you're grateful for. Tell me what happens :)
·     Trees: This kind of has 2 parts. 1) The trees this fall are absolutely gorgeous! I love all the colors and varieties that are all over! But I think the prettiest trees,and the most colorful trees are those around the temple grounds! 2) The Christmas trees are up in the Visitors Center! They aren't decorated yet, but they are up! Ah! It just makes me so happy every time I come to work here :) My favorite time is coming, and it's coming fast!
·     Speaking of Festival: It's almost here!!!!!! I cannot wait for it to come! this year, it starts kind of late! Ambassador's Night is the 4th of December, and then we open to the public on the 6th! I can't even begin to tell you just how excited I am for festival! It's going to be so much fun! The trees, the lights, the people, the concerts, the food, having all the sisters in the building all at once and working together, the stress and high energy, and just the atmosphere! I love everything about Festival! I wish you all could be here to experience this with me! I wish you could experience it as a sister missionary! Ha! It is the best thing of my life, and I'm so grateful I get to have it twice on my mission! I am so blessed!
·     Arlington: Arlington was completely amazing! It was everything I had hoped it would be and more! There's a lot I want to tell you, but I don't know how to put it all into words! We started the day by going to the Mall and taking sunrise pictures! It was a perfect day for this! It was clear, and the sun was beautiful... It was freezing but it as perfect! after pictures and breakfast, we went down to Arlington National Cemetery! It was weird to be outside of my mission boundaries! I felt somewhat disobedient, and then I remembered that this was put on by my mission president, haha. We first gathered in the cemetery visitors' center, and President Cooke talked to us a little bit about how sacred this ground was and what we would be doing that day. It was really sweet. Our first stop was the tomb of the Unknown. This was probably my favorite part of the day! We watched the Old Guard walk his 21 steps back and forth in front of the Tomb, and at the top of the hour, we were able to watch the changing of the guard! it was really cool! Then! We were also able to watch the changing of the wreath at the Tomb, which has it's own ceremony! So that was awesome. then we went down below the tomb to the barracks where the Old Guards live! There, we learned all about the centennials that guard the Tomb and what they have to do to earn such a high position and the honor of guarding the Tomb. It sounds pretty hard core. It was so cool :) After that, we took pictures in the groups we'll be leaving in. My group is surprisingly large! From there, we went over to the Arlington house, which is the Lee's property. It was so cool to be there and to see the house that they lived in and to hear their stories. Knowing that I'm somehow related to General Lee made it even cooler! Then we went over to President Kennedy's grave with the eternal flame. Can you believe that was 50 years ago? It seems like it's so fresh in every ones mind still! And I wasn't even thought of when it happened! It's just amazing how history can stay in our hearts and minds no matter the length of time. After this, and a lot of walking, we took one last group photo on top of the Women in Military building. And then it hit me just what this trip meant. I have just over 3 months left as a missionary. It's just so weird that soon, all of this will be coming to an end! It feels like just yesterday I was opening my call, or being set apart, or driving down to Provo. I feel like I just met Sister Jarrett and my district in the MTC! I feel like I just go here. I can't be leaving in 3 months! But I wouldn't trade the experiences I've had for anything. This was the best decision I've ever made in my life. I'm so grateful I've had the opportunity to serve my Lord full-time. I am so blessed to be able to work and give everything I have to His work. And those 3 months might fly, but I'll make them the best of my mission. I promise to work harder than I ever have.
Okay, this email turned into a rant. I didn't mean for that to happen... Sorry about that. BUT! It's been an eventful week and day. I love my mission, and I love you all. thank you for all your love and support. Thank you for just being awesome! Thank you, thank you, thank you! I love you all! Please have wonderful weeks, and know that Heavenly father is mindful of you and He hears your prayers :)

 Love, Sister Bullock
Sunrise on the Mall


Metro station

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

The group of missionaries leaving in Feb 2014

The sisters leaving in the next 6 months