Dear Family,The first week of this new transfer was a week that will lead us to many new adventures. We saw the blessings of being obedient to the Elder Ballard's council for each missionary to talk to 10 new people every day. Last week we made it to 7 each a day, on average. This week we taught 17 lessons, 5 more than the week before! We were so excited to see the fruits of our labors, and we are inspired to revamp our efforts and talk with as many new people as we can. Missionary work is quite rewarding, but it can be heartbreaking to meet some of God's children who need Him so badly but who are so caught up by the world they feel they have no escape. Some see no need for an escape from the world. Others are ashamed or discouraged and aren't ready to face it. It's hard to see people choose to reject what would be the best thing in the world for them, living the gospel and accepting Jesus Christ as their Savior. I can't imagine how the Savior feels when we choose not to make changes (in other words repent) to come closer to Him when he has paid the ultimate price for us. This week I was reading in Alma 34. I feel a renewed drive and inspiration to teach people about the amazing gift of repentance! I love verse 32: "For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors." When I read this I started thinking about all the people in the world who are making no preparations to see God. They are going to be tormented when the day comes to face Him. They need someone to tell them! And that's where missionary work comes in. Doctrine and Covenants 88:81-"Behold I sent you out to testify and warn the people, and it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor." I never want to forget the amazing gift I have been given, and I hope to never forget to share it! Alma 34 also got me thinking about my own preparations for meeting God. Just like I only have so much time on my mission to be a full time servant of the Lord, we each only have so much time on the earth to prepare to see our Heavenly Father again. I am pondering what more I can do to be prepared.
Monday, June 30, 2014
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Dear Family,"The kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it." Matt 13:45-46. I was just watching the Bible Video called "The Kingdom of Heaven." It hit me as I listened to Christ's words, that the kingdom of Heaven is worth the sacrifice of anything else we could obtain in this life. It is worth more than our worldly comforts, our bad habits, and our wasteful luxuries. It is even worth more than the good things we do in order to have fun or entertainment. Any sacrifice we make in order to come closer to our Heavenly Father is worth it. And in the end it ends up not being a sacrifice at all, because we are all the more blessed for it. That is how I think about my mission. of course, I do feel as though I am making sacrifices. It's not an easy task at all to be a full time servant of the Lord. There are moments that are quite the opposite of "easy." But this is really no sacrifice at all in the eternal scheme of things. I came here to serve the Lord, but really He is doing me a service by allowing me to be here. I only have 6 months left, which is crazy! And I've been contemplating more what I want out of the rest of my mission. Yesterday, 2 missionaries from our zone went home, Elder McDonald and Sister Loyd. It was so hard to see them leave! It was a weird feeling to think that that day will come for me as well. And it made me think about, as I often do, what I want to think and feel at the end of my mission. And really the most important thing to me is to make sure I am right with my Heavenly Father, to make sure that I am connected to Him spiritually, and to never lose that connection! Just like Christ taught about the kingdom of Heaven, our connection to our Heavenly Father is worth more than all the world can offer. I am so grateful to have the tools I need in order to build that relationship: prayer, scriptures, my baptismal covenant!, the sacrament, the temple, and the list goes on and on.
"Come unto Christ: 2014 Theme Song (4:48) | Come Unto Christ"
Also at the fireside, one of my dear friends from Maple Valley came-LaChelle! She came with Sister Peterson. It was amazing to see them! A part of my heart still lies in Maple Valley-I love that place! I am so excited for the day when I get to see the many people that I was able to meet there accept the gospel and be baptized and be happy from all these wonderful blessings!
Yesterday, we got to be in a trio companionship, because Sister Walker's companion, Sister Loyd went home. It was a most fantastic day. Sister Walker is one of the most bubbly, exciting, and absolutely wonderful sisters I have met. We spent the day in laughing fits. She really brings out my goofy side. Sister Walker just has an excitement for life! We had some awesome lessons yesterday, too. My favorite miracle of the day was when a less active young woman told us she loves it when we stop and that she would like us to come more! And we thought she hadn't wanted to talk to us! During that visit we sang "Lead Kindly Light" and the grandmother was in tears. Sister Walker brought an awesome harmony. There was just such a beautiful Spirit in their home as we visited with them. I am so excited to get to know them better and to teach them about the gospel. Sadly, I don't think Sister Walker and I will ever be companions, because we would always be in laughing fits, and we'd just want to shop for our entire P-day. But that's ok, we will be friends after our missions and we can shop and laugh all we want then! Also, I forgot to say that Sister Evans-Bottoms and I get to stay together another transfer in the White river Ward! We are so excited! Auburn is just a most glorious place to be! I love the people here, and we are expecting many miracles this transfer!
So time is up as usual. I love you!!!! Have a wonderful summer week!
Monday, June 16, 2014
Dear Family,Sadly, we don't have a whole lot of time to email today, because we had choir practice today and we have a dinner appointment in 20 minutes! So I'm sorry if my email isn't very long this week. But it's been a great week. We talked with a lot of people! Every day I get more comfortable with awkward situations as we truly try to talk with everyone we see. In fact, some of the best moments come as we stop and talk with people who are riding by on their bikes or who are way across the street or who are out gardening or who are up on their balcony. I am learning to love talking to strangers! People's lives are very interesting!
Monday, June 9, 2014
Dear Family,This morning I read a talk by Elder Christofferson called "The Resurrection of Jesus Christ." It was a powerful witness that he bore that Jesus Christ truly did live, died, and then lived again, that He truly is the Son of God. Then I watched a video that was up on the lds.org home page about the Saints and missionaries in Europe, where Elder Christofferson again bore that Same witness that Jesus Christ was Resurrected and that He is our Lord and Savior. I am so grateful to know that we have Special witnesses of Christ-the Apostles and our dear prophet, President Thomas S. Monson. Their testimonies strengthen me and help me keep the most important things in sight. I was thinking "what does the resurrection mean to me in my daily life?" Well, I know that We all will live again once we die. I know that without a doubt. And I know I can repent daily, be reborn spiritually, even for the little things that bring me down and farther away from Heavenly Father. Christ's sacrifice and resurrection help me every day!
We've still been trying to talk with everyone we see! It can be intimidating at times, but we see miracles as we do it! (We also have some interesting stories to reminisce about later, because we run into some interesting situations!) There was one moment this week where the Lord really taught me a specific lesson this week. We felt prompted to go visit a sister who might have needed some service from us. She ended up not being home. We were both so disappointed, because we felt we really needed to go there. I felt a determination to find the reason why Heavenly Father wanted us there. So I really tried to talk with literally everyone as we headed back to our car. In one instance I hesitated-there was a young man up on the third floor, and I didn't really want to have an awkward moment, but I decided to shout up to him anyways. He was polite, but didn't want to hear a message about Jesus Christ. After our conversation with him, a young woman and her baby passed by us. We said hi, but she kept going. Not feeling that that was enough, I asked if we could share something with her. She said yes. We introduced ourselves, talked about our message, and ended up finding out that her best friend is LDS. We were able to set up an appointment to come back and teach her more. This experience helped me realize that if we are diligent in all situations and just give our best, the Lord will not let us fail. We will be able to find those He wants us to find.
Monday, June 2, 2014
Dear Family,It's been quite an interesting week. If there is one thing I know, it's that my skin will be thicker when I return home! And hopefully my heart will be softer. I am grateful for the trials that have helped me to grow. One sister shared a spiritual thought this week in church about how adversity is meant to make us stronger. In the last conference, Elder Anderson gave a talk called "Spiritual Whirlwinds." Here is an excerpt from his talk:
"In nature, trees that grow up in a windy environment become stronger. As winds whip around a young sapling,forces inside the tree do two things. First, they stimulate the roots to grow faster and spread farther. Second, theforces in the tree start creating cell structures that actually make the trunk and branches thicker and more flexibleto the pressure of the wind. These stronger roots and branches protect the tree from winds that are sure toreturn.4
You are infinitely more precious to God than a tree. You are His son or His daughter. He made your spirit strongand capable of being resilient to the whirlwinds of life. The whirlwinds in your youth, like the wind against ayoung tree, can increase your spiritual strength, preparing you for the years ahead."
So this week hasn't been awful or anything, but it was a bit rougher at times, and I know that Heavenly Father has made us so that disappointments and trials will not tear us down but make us stronger as we rely on the Savior. He is continually preparing us for the future and aware of us and the things we go through.
Possibly my favorite miracle from this week: one of our investigators prayed after refusing for weeks to do so! His wife is a member, and we absolutely adore her. They have been going through a rough financial time, and so he decided he would turn to God, because there wasn't much else he could do. He is praying and hoping for a miracle, and we are praying that he will recognize the answer when it comes. One of the most important parts of missionary work is to help people become connected with their Heavenly Father through prayer. When that happens, the Spirit can come into their lives, and they can experience the peace of the gospel for themselves. I know that trials are not always taken away, but it kind of goes back to that principle I was just talking about. When we pray in our trials and when we rely on the Lord, we are made stronger for future experiences and we can gain a greater conviction that God loves us from the peace that He gives us! (John 14:27-Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth give I unto you...)
Another wonderful miracle: we have been teaching a less active woman and she is considering coming back to church after many, many years. She is such a neat woman. Just some of her talents include cake decorating, quilting, sewing, book writing. She is just awesome. She's having a hard time picking up the Book of Mormon and reading it, but we are getting there! She once had a beautiful testimony of the Savior that she shared with us, but she feels that she has lost it. I know reading the Book of Mormon will help her to come to know her Savior. I am so grateful for her humble attitude in wanting to come to know Him again. I just love her!
This week in my studies I was reading in Mosiah 24. Verses 13-15 talk about how the Lord eased the burdens which were put upon the backs of His people because of the covenant they had made. But what stood out to me most this time when I read the chapter was verse 21: "Yea, and in the valley of Alma they poured out their thanksto God because he had been merciful unto them, and eased their burdens, and had delivered them out ofbondage; for they were in bondage, and none could deliver them except it were the Lord their God." This makes me think about how many of us are in some kind of bondage-we all are! We all sin and fall short of the glory of God. We face spiritual bondage, emotional bondage, physical bondage. Whatever it may be we all have weaknesses and trials to face. And we cannot be delivered from it without Jesus Christ, "the Lord [our] God." Sometimes I just wish I could make people understand! They can't be free without Him. What wonderful message we have to share, that Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, lives. Here is a wonderful video about the Savior that I invite all of you to watch-I love it! http://www.mormonchannel.org/bible-videos?v=3595397361001 All the bible videos are awesome!
I love you all so much. Have a great week!