Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Because I have been given much, I too must give.

Last week, Tyler Morgan wrote me and asked, 
"What do you think the biggest lesson is that you have learned on your mission?" 
My email today will answer that question...

I will never forget the promise that I made to Heavenly Father October 31, 2013; that for the rest of my life, I would not only turn to him for guidance, but accept whatever he would want me to do in this life. President Kahnlein had just called me and told me that I was going to be staying in Chile for the surgery and that it would be a 2-3 month recovery in the mission home. I was....devastated, to say the least. I remember just falling on the ground, crying like a li'l baby and then remembering Matthew 26:39.

"And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt."

I knew that if the Lord wanted me to stay in Chile, I needed to accept it and trust him. So, I regained my strength, just enough to get on my knees. Instead of asking him to help me find a way to go home for the surgery, I asked for Him to help me understand and give me the strength to accept His will. That was a rough time thinking that I was going to be in Chile for the surgery, but I accepted it. What a relief. Then, I later found out that there was a doctor (who is in our STAKE back home) that would be able to do the surgery and that I'd be home for the holidays to recover! As as many of you know, when I got home, I was home for good. I felt good about the 10 months I had served and was content with staying home and going back to school.

After being home for a few weeks, I felt that I hadn't really turned to the Lord 100% in this decision. I knew I needed to ask him if he wanted me to go back out and finish my mission. Long story short, I'd never received such a direct answer that my mission wasn't over and I needed to return back to finish my calling as a missionary. I was happy when President McKay (our Stake Pres.) told me that I was only expected to go back out and finish my last 4 transfers, 6 months, and that it wouldn't be necessary to add the time I was home for surgery if I didn't want to. I knew I would be able to serve strong and faithfully with a return date of June 24.

Back at the airport headed to the San Diego California mission.

My first transfer was more than a success. It felt so good to be back in the mission, healthy and happy! I loved my district and I'm in a perfect area.The night before transfers last week, President Clayton called me and asked if I would be willing to stay until October. Like I told you, Mama, my first reaction was H no! (Didn't say it, but thought it!) Then when he asked if I would stay until September, it was another H no! But when he sincerely asked me if I would consider August 5, I told him I would pray about it. I didn't want to extend. I came out here to finish and in my mind that meant June 24. It was hard enough to decide to come back out for a SECOND mission but I didn't want to have to decide to extend or not. I felt really guilty all week that I didn't have a desire to stay longer...and I wanted to feel proud of my work that I would have accomplished from now until June. 

On top of that stress, my dear sweet, new trainee has really been struggling with anxiety and other personal problems. She met with President Clayton yesterday to figure out what is going to be best with her. She doesn't think she can do this and wants to go home. I'm trying my best to love her and work with her. We don't have a car or bikes so we've been walking like crazy and are still waiting for my background check from the DMV in Utah. It's been a long week to say the least.

After my companion met with President Clayton yesterday, he asked if he could talk with me. He told me that it would be an easy procedure for President McKay to write a letter to church headquarters, asking for permission for me to have a release date of June 24th. Ughhhhhh! Now, I was back to being able to go home June 24th without any problems. But something in my heart told me that by the time my return date would come, I would regret not staying for as long as I could. Without me asking, President Clayton asked me if I would like to call my mom and talk it over with her. Like I said to you Mama, NEVER would President Kahnlein have let me do something like that; but it was the best thing for me. Talking to you helped more than anything and I felt really clear about my thoughts and what I needed to do.

I have remembered my promise that I made to Heavenly Father, "Not as I will, but as thou wilt." I asked him if He would like me to serve until August 5th and I feel really good about it. Even though I would like to come home for summer time, road trips, friends, fun, work, etc., I feel like this is what I'm supposed to do. Six more weeks will fly by and what a blast to be able to get released here in SD and go straight to the beach house in Newport to be with the family!!! I have faith that all will work out and that I'll never regret the opportunity I had to serve a bit longer. 

I know that if we humble ourselves, leave our nets and follow our Savior, we will be blessed and constantly guided by the spirit This mission has been FAR different than what I had planned, but I wouldn't change any of the experiences that I've had for the world.

I wish I had more missionary/investigator updates but nothing new has really happened this week. My main focus right now is helping my companion understand why she is here and get her going. She is incredible and has so much potential! She is an amazing missionary and has a beautiful testimony. Her family is from the Dominican Republic but she was born and raised in Queens, New York. She is a native speaker, 23 and has a beautiful spirit.
We get along great and I love her dearly.

Congrats Tay Tay on getting accepted to USU!! That will be such a great experience for you! I hope you have a Happy Birthday this week! I sent you a little something today. :)

Thanks Mama for helping me yesterday! You are wonderful and I hope you and dad enjoy your Cancun get away this next week! Love you cuties.


Hermana Pendleton

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


I love singing Changes my David Bowie every time we have transfers. It's always stuck in my head for the entire week and the words really do speak the truth of how changes are.

Valentine's Day was the best day of my entire life. We had a District picnic in the park and a double date with the sisters at the Cheesecake Factory. I then threw it up on the side of the road when we were driving home :-/

Yesterday we did service for German (yes, German from the BYUtv reality show called "The District") and his mom. Their house was DISGUSTING. It could have been on one of those reality TV shows where they go around and clean nasty houses. It took 8 missionaries, 4 members, 3 hours and a lot of cleaning supplies. As we were cleaning, I got really sad thinking about changes this week. I have become so close with every member of our district and wish I could serve with all of them for the rest of my mission. It's been an amazing first transfer- so much fun, so much work, so much success. Our goal as a district was to get every companionship to have 3 investigators, consistently coming to church every week by the end of this change. We worked hard and we did it!  :) AND, all four companionships in our district had a baptism this change. #blessings 

But, sad to say, every companionship in our district is being broken up. After 7 months of Chula Vista, Hermana Kelemen is leaving....and guess who is training a brand new, gringa?! MEEEEE! hahaha. YES! I am so excited to have this opportunity. I trained three times in Chile but never a gringa. It'll be so cool to watch this little, white girl, assuming she doesn't already know Spanish, progress, change, grow and see the blessings of the mission. I can't wait to be her Mama and take good care of her. I am so blessed to be staying here in Chula Vista. Aka, "the promise land" of the San Diego Mission. I am in the district from "The District". This is the place where miracles happen and I thank Heavenly Father every single day for the blessing to be here. He is taking such good care of me. I am happy.

Sing it with me. It's stuck in my head:
"Strange fascination, fascinating me. Ah, changes are taking the pace I'm going through.....Pretty soon now you're gonna get a little older. Time may change me. But I can't trace time."

Socorro is amazing. I feel like she is the reason I came here. We get along so well. We still aren't sure if she is married to Enrique papa. She was married before but her son, Enrique (5), says they are married :/ hahah. so. I'm not sure why we've waited so long to ask her.....but we are just going to be brave and talk to her this week. She wants to get baptized end of March/beginning of April when her LDS brother is here from Arizona. She has committed to keep all of the commandments...except Law of Chastity....which we are teaching her this week. PLEASE PRAY FOR HER.

All of our other investigators are............good? They are fine, just not really progressing. Our district planned a Noche de La Familia that we are putting on tonight. All members, less actives, investigators are coming. I think it'll be a good way for our investigators, who haven't come to church yet, to get to know the church and how it all works in a fun, friendly way.

Okay. Don't really have a cool spiritual thought today. Just happy to be a missionary. I know this church is true. I love Heavenly Father and I love my family. :)
Make it a great week!

Love, Hermana Pendleton

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Happiness is only real when shared.

Imperial Beach, baby!

Wow! What a busy week! I don't know how you and dad do it every single day, week after week, month after month! I am so jealous you got to go to that concert! Paul Cardall is one of my LDS favorites. What a neat opportunity to meet both Josh Wright and Brother Cardall after the concert!

I'm sure those who visited this week were truly grateful for your love, time and counsel. You and dad really are great missionaries in the sense that you follow the promptings of the spirit in all that you two do and say. Something that I really enjoy is getting to know other people through helping them in ways like you did. I love asking questions to try and figure out why people are the way they are. 

Pink mustaches in honor of Uncle Dick.
Hermana Kelemen loves stories about him.
This week, our district took the color test. With every one's results, each person had a dominant color and a secondary color. After being together as a district for a transfer, it was fairly easy to guess every one's dominant color--but it was interesting to see how off we were at guessing every one's secondary color. Except for me.... :/ I think it's fairly easy to see the Blue/Yellow in me.

A lot of times, people don't show or express how they're really feeling or what they're really thinking.  Almost every time I share with someone new that I struggle with depression and anxiety--almost always--their first reaction is "I would have never guessed!". There is nothing more frustrating than the term, "I can't. I have depression." I don't want to EVER use that as an excuse to not be able to do something.  I still don't necessarily feel that I've 100% accept it. I don't want others to see that side so I let the yellow side of me shine and the blue part of me serve and lift others. It's a matter of learning to accept it and live with it. [And that means getting help if needed.]

Here in California, I feel like the goals are more focused on getting to know your investigators...Really trying to find what it is that they need to progress and have that desire to read, pray, come to church, keep the commandments....AND THEN, baptism. In Chile, all I ever heard was baptism, baptism, baptism. Sure, the number of baptisms were higher in Chile, but it's incredible to see the difference in retention here in San Diego.

With my dear friend, Hermana McBride.
I have such a more personable relationship with my investigators and the members here. It's easy to see their dominant color just by knowing them--but it's amazing to see their secondary colors come out as we ask them questions directed by the spirit. We find doubts, fears and concerns that we never would have guessed were there.

In my patriarchal blessing it says, "I bless you with the ability to create beauty for others. As you reach out to help others, you will also be lifted. It will be important that you bless the lonely, sad, disaffected, hungry, cold and tortured. These are they were have reason to believe that there is no God." I know, that as a representative of Jesus Christ, I can help reassure these people that they are loved by ME and a loving Father in Heaven. I see the promised blessings of myself being lifted as I truly get to know and love the people here. I forget about myself and feel happier when I can see others progressing and receiving the blessings of heaven.

Whether someone is a yellow, white, red, or blue, all anyone wants is to feel is love and acceptance. With an understanding of this gospel and the plan of salvation, our love for those around us increases when we remember that we really are all children of God. Another thing that I've learned this transfer is...Treat others the way THEY would like to be treated. When we really take the time to get to know those around us, the things they need to feel loved, important, and accepted will be known unto us and we will develop more Christ-like attributes and be more accepting of ourselves.

"A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, 
if ye have love one to another." 
John 13:34-35.

This week was great! We finally got to spend lots of time with Socorro (who came to church with her husband and is getting baptized in March!!!!) and Areceli. We have still yet to see Sandra so if you can continue to keep praying for those three, that would be awesome! 

We got to go to Imperial Beach last week for p-day! SO fun to be out on the pier and enjoy a beautiful sunset over the ocean! Today we get to the amazing opportunity to go listen to Clayton Christensen give a conference to the entire San Diego Mission! Wahoo! Stoked! 

Life is soo good! I'm so thankful for all of you. Keep being amazing. Always remember how important you are. I'm cheering for y'all out here in Cali!!!! 

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!  Thanks for the package, Mama. I'm pretty sure you've sent me one almost every week! You ROCK! xoxo

Love love love,
Aunt Kath

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Go BIG, or Go Home!

What a week! I am so thankful to be here and the opportunity I have to get to know the people of Chula Vista!! That doesn't mean that the hard times don't come, but it's just so much more enjoyable to grab a diet coke when your down :) I keep thinking about how all of this fell right into place...My mission, my area, my companion, I get to RUN and eat what I want...I get to do everything I love here in the mission field! I doubted for a second if I was really happy I came back out...it was difficult. But now that I see how fast time is passing, I've realized I need to do what Caleb always told me while running and rock climbing, "Go big or Go home!"

This morning we had the opportunity to go to the temple! And yes! I saw the new, NEW temple movie. It was awesome and kept me awake :) I think I like other new one better...but still, so good. You see pictures of the San Diego temple everywhere, but it was so much better in real life. It was overcast when we went in to the 10 o'clock session, but the SoCal Sun was shinning and the temple grounds looked beautiful as ever!

As I sat in the celestial room, I thought a lot about our temple covenant...the law of consecration...and how I could apply this law to becoming a consecrated missionary. It's pretty intense that we've promised to submit our will 100% to God's will. Always trusting in His plan and not ours. That was something I definitely had to learn while being so sick in Chile. I never understood why all those things were happening when I was trying to do HIS work. I wanted to give it my all, but physically couldn't. I'll never forget, a couple of days before I left to come back home, I really tried applying Matthew 26:39,
"And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt."

King Benjamin said, "And now, if ye believe all these things, see that you do them." I believe that this is God's work and that I am only his servant. I know the things that I need to do and what I need to do in order to have success. When people ask my why I decided to serve a mission, I don't really know how to answer. But when people ask me why I decided to come back, I know it's because I now have a better understanding of the The Atonement. I feel like I truly not only understand the Lord's sacrifice for me, but I FEEL IT. I feel His love and mercy all the time. I decided to come back because this five month sacrifice is only but a small way I can show my love for him. It is insignificant for what he's done for me.

We are busy planning Bertha's baptism for Saturday! She passed her interview on Sunday and is really looking forward to making her first covenant! This lady is so sweet and has all the faith in the world. It's awesome to be her missionary and help her understand this gospel. She is a single mom and works like crazy to provide for her family. We are working with church to try and find her a better job. We found a two other potential investigators and trying to juggle 15 others! Haha, it's crazy busy, but totally awesome! We are definitely being blessed and watched over all the time!

All right, I love you all! 
Thanks for your love and support. 
You're beautiful.

P.S.  Dad - Hahaha, yesterday, while contacting, we were trying to decide on new and interesting converstaion question starters that we could ask people as we contacted them. We decided that we should just start asking people if they like donuts. The story you sent, Do You Want a Donut? will be perfect for us if that is the question we use!

Do You Want a Donut?
There was a boy by the name of Steve who was attending seminary in Utah. There, seminary classes are held during school hours. Brother Christianson taught seminary at this particular school and had an open-door policy. He would take in any student that had been thrown out of another class as long as they would abide by his rules.
Steve had been kicked out of his sixth period class and no other teacher wanted him, so he went into Brother Christianson’s seminary class. Steve was told that he could not be late, so he arrived just seconds before the bell rang and sat in the very back of the room. He was also be the first to leave after the class was over.

One day, Brother Christianson asked Steve to stay after class so he could talk with him. Brother Christianson pulled Steve aside and said, ‘You think you’re pretty tough, don’t you?’

Steve’s answered, ‘Yeah, I do.’

Then Brother Christianson asked, ‘How many push-ups can you do?’
Steve said, ‘I do about 200 every night.’
’Two hundred? That’s pretty good, Steve. Do you think you could do 300?’
Steve replied, ‘I don’t know… I’ve never done 300 at a time.’
’Do you think you could?’ Brother Christianson asked again.
’Well, I can try,’ said Steve.
’Can you do 300 in sets of ten? I need you to do 300, in sets of ten, for this to work. Can you do it? I need you to tell me you can do it,’ Brother Christianson asked.
Steve said, ‘Well… I think I can… yeah, I can do it.’
Brother Christianson nodded, ‘Good! I need you to do this for me on Friday.’

Friday came and Steve got to class early and sat in the front of the room. When class started, Brother Christianson pulled out a big box of donuts. Now these weren’t the normal kinds of donuts, they were the extra-fancy BIG kind, with cream centers and frosting swirls. Everyone was pretty excited. It was Friday, the last class of the day, and they were going to get an early start on the weekend.

Bro. Christianson went to the first girl in the first row and asked,
‘Cynthia, do you want a donut?’
Cynthia said, ‘Yes.’
Bro. Christianson then turned to Steve and asked, ‘Steve, would you do ten push-ups so that Cynthia can have a donut?’
Steve said, ‘Sure,’ and jumped down from his desk to do a quick ten.
Then Steve again sat in his desk. Bro. Christianson put a donut on Cynthia’s desk.

Bro. Christianson then went to Joe, the next person, and asked, ‘Joe do you want a donut?’
Joe said, ‘Yes.’
Bro. Christianson asked, ‘Steve would you do ten push- ups so Joe can have a donut?’
Steve did ten push-ups, Joe got a donut; and so it went, down the first aisle. Steve did ten pushups for every person before they got their donut. Then down the second aisle, till Bro. Christianson came to Scott.

Scott was captain of the football team and center of the basketball team. He was very popular and never lacking for female companionship.
Then Bro. Christianson asked, ‘Scott do you want a donut?’
Scott’s reply was, ‘Well, can I do my own pushups?’
Bro. Christianson said, ‘No, Steve has to do them.’
Then Scott said, ‘Well, I don’t want one then.’
Bro. Christianson then turned to Steve and asked, ‘Steve, would you do ten pushups so Scott can have a donut he doesn’t want?’
Steve started to do ten pushups.
Scott said, ‘HEY! I said I didn’t want one!’

Bro. Christianson said, ‘Look, this is my classroom, my class, my desks, and my donuts. Just leave it on the desk if you don’t want it.’ And he put a donut on Scott’s desk.

Now by this time, Steve had begun to slow down a little. He just stayed on the floor between sets because it took too much effort to be getting up and down. You could start to see a little perspiration coming out around his brow. Bro. Christianson started down the third row. Now the students were beginning to get a little angry.

Bro. Christianson asked Jenny, ‘Jenny, do you want a donut?’
Jenny said, ‘No.’
Then Bro. Christianson asked Steve, ‘Steve, would you do ten pushups so Jenny can have a donut that she doesn’t want?’
Steve did ten, Jenny got a donut.

By now, the students were beginning to say ‘No’ and there were all these uneaten donuts on the desks. Steve was starting to struggle a bit. He had to put forth a lot of effort to do pushups for each donut. There began to be a small pool of sweat on the floor beneath his face, his arms and brow were beginning to get red because of the physical effort it required 
Bro. Christianson asked Robert to watch Steve to make sure he did ten pushups in each set because he couldn’t bear to watch all of Steve’s work for all of those uneaten donuts. So Robert began to watch Steve closely. Bro. Christianson started down the fourth row. 

During his class, however, some students had wandered in and sat on the heaters along the sides of the room. When Bro. Christianson realized this; he did a quick count and saw 34 students in the room. He started to worry if Steve would be able to make it.

Bro. Christianson went on to the next person and the next and the next. Near the end of that row, Steve was really having a rough time. He was taking a lot more time to complete each set.

Steve asked Bro. Christianson, ‘Do I have to make my nose touch on each one?’
Bro. Christianson thought for a moment, ‘Well, they’re your pushups. You can do them any way that you want.’ Then Bro. Christianson went on.

A few moments later, Jason came to the room and was about to enter when all the students yelled, ‘NO! Don’t come in! Stay out!’

Jason didn’t know what was going on.
Steve picked up his head and said, ‘No, let him come.’
Bro. Christianson said, ‘You realize that if Jason comes in you will have to do ten pushups for him.’
Steve said, ‘Yes, let him come in.’
Bro. Christianson said, ‘Okay, I’ll let you get Jason’s out of the way right now. Jason, do you want a donut?’
’Steve, will you do ten pushups so that Jason can have a donut?’ Steve did ten pushups very slowly and with great effort. Jason, bewildered, was handed a donut and sat back down.

Bro. Christianson finished the fourth row. He then started on those seated on the heaters. Steve’s arms were now shaking with each pushup in a struggle to lift himself against the force of gravity. Sweat was dropping off of his face and, by this time, there was not a dry eye in the room.

The last two girls in the room were cheerleaders and very popular. Bro. Christianson went to Linda, the second to last, and asked, ‘Linda, do you want a doughnut?
Linda said, very sadly, ‘No, thank you.’

Bro. Christianson asked Steve, ‘Steve, would you do ten pushups so that Linda can have a donut she doesn’t want?’
Grunting from the effort, Steve did ten very slow pushups for Linda.
Then Bro. Christianson turned to the last girl, Susan. ‘Susan, do you want a donut?’

Susan, with tears flowing down her face, asked, ‘Bro. Christianson, can I help him?’
Bro. Christianson, with tears of his own, said, ‘No, he has to do it alone, Steve, would you do ten pushups so Susan can have a donut?’

As Steve very slowly finished his last pushup, with the understanding that he had accomplished all that was required of him, having done 350 pushups, his arms buckled beneath him and he fell to the floor.

Brother Christianson turned to the room and said. ‘And so it was, that our Savior, Jesus Christ, plead to the Father, ‘Into thy hands I commend my spirit.’ With the understanding that He had done everything that was required of Him, he collapsed on the cross and died. And like some of those in this room, many of us leave the gift on the desk, uneaten.’

When everyone in the classroom heard what the teacher meant by it and realized everything. Steve smiled on the ground where he laid in his own sweat and began to cry.