Well that was fast.

Dear Everyone:

It's official. I'm getting transferred.
Here I thought I was going to be in Augusta for forever. I love Augusta. But President Stoker called us Saturday and said otherwise. Sister Cloward is going to stay in Augusta for another transfer, and I'll be going somewhere new and follow-up training someone who came out last transfer. I was pretty disappointed. I really hoped Sister Cloward and I would be together for another transfer. But I guess the Lord has other plans.
This week was a pretty good one though. Ken has a new baptism date! And he had his baptism interview yesterday and he passed! His new date is August 10th. He told us that he hadn't smoked since that day we visited him and he had picked it up again. So we were pretty excited about that. He gave us a pretty good scare though. We showed up with Brother Maschino, all ready to teach Ken about the joys of daily scripture study. He tells us, in a very serious tone, "I've got a lot of questions today. And they're serious questions. I'm not sure if you can answer them." Then he starts bringing up all these questions about events in church history. The ones that anti-sites just have a hay-day with. Polygamy, mountain meadows massacre, mis-quoted things that Brigham Young supposedly said. The works.
Luckily, Brother Maschino is retired and spends his days crochetting and studying church history/the scriptures. So he knew about all the events and what really happened. So we talked about them all and then, after we talk about them all, Ken tells us that he knew that most of the things were false. That most of the stories and accounts weren't completely true. He just wanted to test us and see if we would tell him the truth about them, or if we would brush them under the rug or not. So we apparently passed his test.
He's such a punk.
Another fun event from this week. I went into a mental institution for the first time! There's a woman in the mental hospital here, Eliza. She's apparently met with missionaries before, but dropped the Elders for some reason. Then someone stole her Book of Mormon. So she referred herself on mormon.org and we stopped by. She's a sweetie. The only problem is that they keep her so medicated that she isn't completely coherent. But she apparently is going to hopefully upgrade to a group home soon. And she told us that she would like to work towards baptism someday. So that was great. Kind of weird, but good.
So that was this week. I really am going to be sad to be leaving this area. The ward here is amazing, I love them all so much. They're just great people. Really humble, really sincere, and just doing their best to share the gospel. And eventually get a temple in Maine. That's the goal.
So the picture this week is Hussey's General Store. Their sign describes Maine in a nutshell. Gah, I'm gonna miss it here.

That was this week. I'll let ya know where I end up tomorrow. Maybe I'll get Vermont this time? Or our mission also covers Dartmouth college. That would be fun, being on a college campus. Guess I'll find out tomorrow!

Love you all!


Sister Lindsey Berg


Change is hard.

Dear Everyone:
This week was a rough one. More than half of our lessons feel through, Sister Cloward was sick most of the week, and the worst of all, Ken started smoking again. So he no longer has a baptism date.
Satan is the worst.
First, Ken. He had a family tragedy this week, so it's sort of understandable that he relapsed. It's just so disappointing. Because he has to have stopped smoking at least 2 weeks before he is baptized we have to change the date. Right now we haven't set a new date yet. I want to wait until he has completely quit before we set another one. A baptism date is meant to be a goal for the investigator to work towards. It's not going to work if there's no motivation to make it, if they know that they can just keep pushing it back. And it's just so frustrating to me how Satan can have so much power over people. I can't blame people when they relapse with things like smoking - I've never had to give it up so I don't know how hard it is. I just want to help them understand that they can't blame their relapse on their surroundings or allow themselves to even consider starting again when it gets too rough.
And that goes for everything, not just smoking. When someone has something to overcome or accomplish they need to start with the belief that they will not fail. That it's not acceptable to fail. Rationalization is of the devil. Maybe a little harsh there, but seriously.
If someone can manage to stay strong through the hard times, how much easier will it be to stay strong in the good times? It goes with everything! Quitting smoking, reading the scriptures, going to church, paying tithing, etc.
And lets face it. Life is hard. If we keep waiting for the easy times to come to make any changes, we're never going to actually change. Because life will never be easy enough. Change is hard. People don't like doing hard things.
This is another thing that I've realized this week. Change is hard. I kind of feel like I've been fighting against change for a while. I decided to go on a mission because I wasn't happy with where I was, with who I was. I wanted to change and become better.
Yet, I think I've been fighting against it my whole mission so far. I'm worried about changing because I'm worried that if I change, I'll lose who I am. I won't be the same person I've always been. So instead of changing for the better, I've been changing for the worse.
This isn't a stagnant world or a stagnant gospel. If you're not moving forward, you're moving backward. We can never stay in the same place. It's not possible.
So we might as well just suck it up and accept it.
That's my project for the week. And hopefully it'll last for longer than just this week. I want to accept change. I want to allow the Lord to change me. I need to stop being so stubborn and accept it.
I hate giving up.
Then again, I guess it's not really giving up. Right? It's more of just giving in. Letting the Lord take over.
Which is still hard.
But missions are supposed to be hard. And I've never been a quitter.
So much self-reflection this week you guys. Sorry if you feel like you're reading my diary or something. To be honest, you kind of are. But it's all good.
I can't believe this is the beginning of week 6 of this transfer! We'll find out on Saturday if Sister Cloward and I are staying together for another transfer or if either of us is leaving.
I really hope that we stay together. I love Augusta. The people here are wonderful. And I really like Sister Cloward. We have our differences, but we get along well. I feel like I've grown more with her as a companion than anyone else so far.
And I would really like to have a companion for more than 6 weeks.
But I guess we'll see what happens on Saturday.
Love you all. Don't quit. Ever.
Sister Lindsey Berg
P.S. Have I mentioned that Augusta is the capitol of Maine? Well here's a picture of me in front of the Capitol building. Enjoy.



Dear Everyone:
This week was an amazing one. Seriously. One of the best weeks of my mission, by far. So many miracles - or as we say it, 'Muracles'. It's like 'Murica, but not.
First thing that made this week great? My parents sent me a package! With nothing but cheese in it! Juustoleipa cheese to be exact. Which is the best cheese in the world. They even sent me maple and brown sugar flavored juustoleipa. It was delicious.
Second thing. We had interviews with President Stoker this last week. So great. President Stoker is so easy to talk to, so personable. And it's amazing how well he seems to know each of us already - especially considering this was only the 2nd time I had ever talked to him. You can tell he really cares for each of us missionaries. I don't know what it is about mission presidents, but I felt like I started bawling everytime I talked to President Wilkey, and President Stoker has the same effect on me. Gah, it drives me crazy. Interviews were perfect though, President Stoker seemed to know exactly what I had been struggling with without me even needing to tell him about it. Even things that Sister Cloward didn't know I was having a hard time with. He is called of God for sure.
Third thing - we had one of the most amazing lessons ever this week! We're working with a less active - Shelby - and teaching her 9 year old daughter, Mo. Shelby had been talking to a distant cousin of hers who had been going through a really rough time. Shelby's cousin and her husband had both starting trying to find their way back onto the right path and they had started looking for a church. Shelby set up a dinner with us and this couple, who are now living with Shelby. The dinner/lesson was AMAZING! As soon as we walked in Eric, the husband, started asking us all these questions about the Bible and the church. We sat down to dinner and started talking about what our church is like, about the Book of Mormon and how it relates to the Bible, and things like that. Unfortunately, Eric and Kristie (his wife/Shelby's cousin) had to leave after about 45 minutes, because Eric had a karate class. He considered skipping his class and staying because he really liked talking to us, but felt like he needed to go. So they left and Sister Cloward and I stayed and talked to Shelby. 10 minutes after Eric and Kristie left they called Shelby and told her that Eric had written down the times wrong - his class had started earlier and they missed it. Then they asked if we were still there and if we could keep talking! They came back and we started having a discussion again about what has been going on in their life and how they knew they needed to start doing the right things and start following Christ. They had just been telling us all about how they had felt so judged in their old church and how they never really felt needed or cared for when all of a sudden someone knocks on the door - it's Bishop Dawbin with boxes and boxes of food from the Bishop's Storehouse for Shelby. She broke down into tears. She told us after that she had been talking to Kristie the day before about how she had been struggling yet was too proud to ask for help. It was PERFECT. Eric and Kristie were both so amazed about how the Bishop knew that Shelby had been struggling and how he came with everything she needed, without her even asking for it. After talking to us, Eric told Shelby after that he hadn't felt so spiritual in a long long time. And Kristie asked Shelby the next day how they can be baptized! They came to church yesterday and loved it as well! We have another lesson with them on Wednesday and we're excited for it!
The Lord truely does have a hand in this work - and it's amazing how he lets us know about it.
Fourth thing - Ken is getting baptized! We're pretty stoked about it. I had a lot of people in Bedford who had baptism dates, yet none of them seemed to really be working towards it. Ken is pretty dedicated to it though, which is awesome! His interview is tomorrow. He quit smoking last week, so we're pretty much set to move forward.
Quote of the week - Ken has a really REALLY bad back, so the actual act of baptizing him might be a struggle. We asked Ken who he wanted to baptize him. Ken's response? "Let's go straight to the top and have the Bishop do it. If I'm going down, I might as well drown with authority."
Isn't he great?
Fifth and final thing that made this week great - coconut ice cream. If you haven't tried it, go get some. It's divine. Serious.
You guys. Augusta is getting really to explode. There's just so much potential in this area! I love it.
The church is true. The Lord is preparing people. Our job is just to go find them. It's like the best scavenger hunt ever.
I love you all. Read your scriptures!
Sister Lindsey Berg


So stoked to meet the Stokers!

Dear Everyone:

This week was a hot one. Not only was it like 95 degrees everyday, there was like 90% humidity. At least. I'm not completely sure, because we can't check the weather, but it felt like a ton. That's the problem with the east coast. You feel like you're constantly sticky. Gross. And we didn't get an AC until Friday night. But it's all good, we're surviving!
Anyway, we met President and Sister Stoker this week! They're awesome. They are definitely different than President and Sister Wilkey were, but not necessarily in a bad way. Just different. Nothing has really changed in the mission so far, but we have Zone Interviews this week, so we might find out some stuff then. I'm really excited though, because in interviews we'll actually have the chance to talk to President Stoker one-on-one. So it'll be great to get to know him a little more.
That was how we spent the 4th of July. Meeting the Stokers. Then one of the less-active members in the ward took us out to lunch and out to get ice cream. Then we tried contacting some people, and no one was home. Then we had dinner at another member's house. So we were well taken care of.
As a side not, being in an area where everyone likes to feed us (and feed us a lot) together with having a companion that doesn't like to run is not a good combination. On the bright side, we get fed so much that we have to buy hardly any groceries each week!
Ken should be getting baptized on the 27th! He came to church yesterday! He told us that he has a lot of questions now, but he seemed to really like it as well. He was supposed to quit smoking last Saturday, but we aren't sure if he's completely dropped it or not. We have a lesson with him on Wednesday and we'll double check everything then. Hopefully none of his questions are too major though, and we'll be able to handle them all. He's pretty solid though, I don't think there's much that'll shake him. We do Book of Mormon classes every Tuesday with the Elders and he came to it this last week. We were discussing the chapter and he said at one point the best thing I've ever heard: "I told my sister (who is a very strong, devout Catholic) that I was gonna be a Mormon..."
Sister Cloward and I just looked at each other. Elder Flake and Elder Neilsen just looked at us. Then we all did the Napolean Dynamite "Yesssss!", with the arm pump and everything. Really subtly of course.
Our ward family missionary plan is going really well too! I love this ward! We were at a family's house, the Houstons, last Monday presenting the mission plan to them. They have 4 kids - a boy and 3 girls. The girls all told us that when they play Barbies they like to make their Barbies go on missions. They're adorable.
We've also been getting a lot of ward members to go out teaching with us. We had a picnic in the park this week with a young woman in the ward - Courtney. It was supposed to be with an investigator as well, but he didn't show up. So we just had lunch with Courtney instead. We even took a picture!
This week was pretty good. Sister Cloward is great, we're getting along really well. Maine is awesome - I actually really really like it here. We've met a few people who really seem like they have some potential. I'll update you if they end up going somewhere! But for now we're just working on getting Ken baptized and strengthening the members!
One other exciting thing - President Stoker told us that we're going to start using the internet and technology a lot more in just a few months! We don't know for sure when, but soon. Which would be really nice. I can handle knocking doors in the heat, but I would really appreciate not having to knock doors in the middle of a Maine winter. Hopefully we'll find out more about what's to come at Zone Interviews!

That's all for this week. Hope everyone is doing well! Love and miss you all!

Sister Lindsey Berg


Augustar and Mexican Food

Dear Everyone:
This week was a busy one. Lots and lots of missionary work getting done out here in Augusta! Or, as the Mainers say it, Augustar. Gotta add that extra 'r' to everything.
Well I guess I should mention that I wasn't in Augusta the entire week. We did exchanges again this week and I got to go up to Yarmouth, Maine. I was with Sister Brown, who just came out this transfer. It's always fun to go somewhere different and work with someone other than your typical companion. It helps to find ways to be more effective in our own area. Although there are few things more discouraging than tracting for 4 hours, especially when we were told 2 days before by an apostle (namely Elder Perry) that tracting is just not effective. Little bit of a downer. But it was really fun, we taught some great people. The work is going great all over the mission!
One of our Investigators, Ken, is progressing really well! He actually set a baptism date this last week, but he didn't make it to church Sunday, so it doesn't count. Ken is great guy. He's very blunt, very honest, and very sincere. He asks questions in weird ways that we don't realize are questions. He loves Mitt Romney, Rush Limbaugh, and Glen Beck. He's a treat. His biggest problem though is that he has a lot of health issues. Specifcally with his back - he's constantly in pain. That's why he didn't come to church this week. He ran out of pain meds and could barely get out of bed. Which is frustrating. He also promised to come to church the week before, but fell off a roof that morning, so he didn't make it then either. No shortage of excitement when it comes to teaching Ken. But we're going to try and line up a priesthood blessing for him this week to help with the pain, and he's planning on coming to church for sure this Sunday! If all works out we'll be able to set a new baptism date for him then!
So every Saturday we do what we call 'Bishop Business'. We meet with Bishop Dawbin on Saturday mornings for brunch and to discuss how we can help him and the rest of the ward. It's really good, because it helps us to get to know the ward members better and we also can ask for Bishop's advice on the people we're teaching and how we can best spend our time. This week we did lunch instead of brunch. Sister Cloward and I went over an hour early to help cook it (service!) and we made mexican food! Homemade Cafe Rio! It was soo good. They have no Mexican food in New England. I'm actually pretty surprised that I missed it, considering I rarely ate Mexican food back home. The things you crave on a mission.
The 4th of July should be really fun. We're meeting President and Sister Stoker! I'm really excited to get to know them and see what changes they'll bring to the mission. President and Sister Wilkey were amazing, and it's strange to think that they're no longer here. But change can be good. Especially when it involves helping people change for the better!
Missions are a blast you guys.
Love you all!
Sister Lindsey Berg