Sunday, December 26, 2010

If Only In My Dreams

Christmas is getting closer. The bright lights, yummy smells and continuing cold without snow doesn't stop here in Missouri. We still see miracles despite people being "too busy" to hear the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. But we keep plugging along. I love the little community college here with all it's lights for Christmas. I love the Shoal Creek Valley Ward that we serve in and all of the members that help us with this work. I love being able to drive past the Kansas City, Missouri temple and see it being completed. I love my sweet companion who speaks Spanish in her sleep :) I love teaching the gospel! All of these things are making this Christmas probably the best Christmas I have ever had.

Lately, I have been able to learn a lot about listening to the spirit and trusting that we can be directed. It's exercising the faith and then seeing the blessings from that effort. In our area the other day, I felt like we needed to go to another part of our area. We struggle with being conservative with the miles and if we are in one part of our area, we try to stay there the whole day. But I kept feeling like we needed to be somewhere else. We got into our car and prayed. As Sister Holbrook said the prayer, into my mind came two words: South and Lia. Sometimes the spirit tells us things that we don't think we can do. The last thing I wanted to do was go back to Lia's home and bother her seeing that they didn't want us to come back. But the spirit continued to nudge. When Sister Holbrook finished the prayer she said "I think we need to go to the South." Gah...sometimes, as a missionary, you can get away without listening unless the other half gets the same prompting. We drove the fifteen minutes to the other side and knocked on Lia's door. Sweet Lia was home with her kids and immediately let us in. We had a neat talk about how she is STILL trying to find the right church and into my mind kept coming the idea that she needs to learn more. We talked about the plan of salvation and I think something stirred inside her. She was very kind and told us even though her husband wasn't interested that she would still listen to us. Hmmmm.....we'll have to prayerfully decide what things we need to teach her that will help her the most. I asked her to read the book of Mormon and she said she had already started out of curiosity and that she is "hooked". She can't wait to hear what happens with Lehi and his family. I asked her to read the whole thing and she said, "I will but don't you dare ask me to pray about it!" Why not Lia? Do you think it could be true? Ha ha It was interesting hearing her say that. She has been deceived in the past by other pastors and is afraid that she will receive a prompting that is not from the spirit. We explained how the spirit speaks with us and she seemed a little less worried. We'll continue to try with her.

The spirit is sometimes like magic. Something that is not there can all the sudden appear. With faith. Like an investigator. We were in an area and I had the thought to pray about which street we could go to in order to find someone ready for baptism. I turned to my companion and said "Sister, do you have the faith that if we pray that the Lord will show us the street we should go to?" She looked at me, thought about it, smiled and then said yes. We prayed a deep heart felt prayer and when we opened our eyes and looked at the map, the street named "Potter" stuck out to me. Sure enough, first house we visited on Potter had the Powers family. They have met missionaries before but were never really taught by them. They have a 19 year old daughter that we started teaching too. The power of prayer and faith. It's so incredible! Like magic!

And yet another case where we prayed again and "Ditzler" street stuck out. We didn't have as much time to tract the whole street so we decided that we would drive and if a house stuck out to us we'd go visit. We drove up to a house with a big blown-up snowman with a snow globe in his belly (ya know the ones?). Either it was the spirit or excitement of taking our picture next to Mr. Snowman that we picked this house. We met MaryAnn and her family and are going to start teaching them. She is really good friends with the Tree family who is in our ward. It's so neat to exercise faith and have it work! I think we have the fear of exercising faith sometimes because we don't trust that it will happen. My faith has been tested through serving a mission and I'm grateful for it. It has grown stronger.

We taught a little family on Sunday. They are wanting to learn about our basic beliefs but nothing more because they already have a church (the same church that investigator Beth goes to). As we taught them the spirit entered the room and we could tell that they felt something different. The dad has read parts of the book of Mormon when he stays in hotels that have them (he travels a lot). When we gave him his own personal copy, he was shocked. "Wait, is this really for me? My own copy?" Gosh! I wish everyone would say that every time we hand out a book of Mormon! We'll see what happens :)

We also taught Margo and Beth again and they both have been reading the book of Mormon. Margo is already to 2 Nephi! It's so neat because you know that as soon as they read and pray, they won't be able to deny the answer they receive of the truthfulness of this record and of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Margo wants the gift of the holy ghost without having to be re-baptized. We explained proper authority and the priesthood in both baptism and confirmation. I testified to her that as she continues to read the book of Mormon, she will come to understand the importance of baptism by proper authority. We asked her how the spirit speaks with her. She said she didn't know. We explained that for some, everything becomes really understandable and their thoughts are clear. I told her that when I feel the spirit, I feel this warmth inside. I put my hand on the book of Mormon and said "I can promise you that if you read this sincerely and with real intent, you will receive an answer. This book testifies of Jesus Christ, proves that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that this church is true. I love this book. It means everything to me." I love being able to feel the spirit of the Lord work through us when bearing pure testimony.

I'm so grateful for this work. I am grateful for the birth of someone who would save us all. Someone who would grant us the gift of overcoming death. I hope this Christmas fills everyone with the spirit of gratitude for our Savior, Jesus Christ. Merry Christmas! Love you all!

Sister Love

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Little update- I am staying in the Shoal Creek Valley Ward in Liberty and have a new companion....Hermana Holbrook! Spanish speaking! I am going to have to learn Spanish but it's so good because we have many Spanish speaking investigators.

Words cannot describe the things that happened to my companion and I this past Saturday at our all mission conference with Elder Richard G. Scott. We arrived and saw our investigator Ben (who was given a personal invitation by our mission president to come to the conference). He was dressed really nice and very excited. We sat down and a little while later, stood as Elder Scott entered the room with President and Sister Van Komen as well as Elder Hillier (of the seventy). We were all able to come up and shake his hand. Sister Card and I had happened to sit on the front row and were the first to be invited up. It was so incredible looking into his eyes as an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ.

First thing Elder Scott said when he got up was "Where would you go in the Book of Mormon to prove the validity of the restoration?" He had us, with our companions, plan out a 5-6 minute lesson on how we would tell an investigator how they can come to know the book of Mormon testifies of Joseph Smith and the restoration. We were given about 5 minutes to plan this and then he would have some missionaries come up and have a practice. Sister Card immediately turned to me and said, "Sister, we're going to get called on! Things like this always happen to me! I have a track record for things like this!" I felt in my stomach that we'd get called on too but Sister Card then said "But, the chances of us getting called on out of all of these missionaries (250) is pretty slim". I agreed with her - nonetheless, we planned that we would talk about
a) how the book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion
b) that we need to ask Heaven-sent questions to find how they receive answers to their prayers
c) we'd bear solemn testimony
d) and we'd be sincere

So Elder Scott got up and said he would choose elders to come up. The first set actually volunteered. They practiced with other 'mock' investigators and were critiqued by Elder Scott. He called on another set of elders and they went up to practice. The first thing these elders heard when they got up to practice was "Now I don't want you elders to fail." ha ha it was pretty funny - ya, try not to fail in front of an apostle. Finally, Elder Scott said "We'll have one more set of missionaries" and he had President call on another set of elders. All the sister missionaries let out a sigh of relief but I could because I still felt an intense anxious this was happening to us.

The third group went up and were critiqued. When they sat down, Elder Scott got up and said "Okay President, let's have some sisters come up." My stomach dropped. Earlier I had seen Elder Scott whisper something to President and he in turn whispered to his wife who looked at Sister Card and I. We were doomed. President Van Komen got up and said "Okay, they might be mad at me but let's have Sister Card and Sister Love." What. In. The. World. are you doing to us President?! I was so nervous and felt like dying ha ha This is being a missionary in front of an apostle of the Lord. We walked up to the front of the chapel and sat. Up until now, members of the church had also been picked out of the audience when it came for them to practice. I was wondering who they would bring up to have as our investigator. As I turned to look, I saw our investigator Ben and our ward mission leader walking up to the stand. In the microphone, they said "We have a real seeker right here!" - My heart was filled with unexplainable joy - I have never felt that much happiness and joy as a missionary before. I felt so much joy and thankfulness for having met Ben and teaching him that I was overwhelmed with emotion. I just started crying. It was the most amazing feeling. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I tried to pull it together. I was no longer nervous and had the faith that the spirit would guide and direct us. And He did. I don't remember a lot of what I or Sister Card said but that's because it was the spirit speaking through us. We bore testimony and told him we loved him. We promised him blessings if he read the book of Mormon and prayed. After we had our practice, I looked over at our mission president and he had tears in his eyes. It was such an amazing feeling to make our president proud and to try to represent our mission well.

When Elder Scott walked back up, he said "It's like being taught by angels." That was priceless. He asked for comments from the audience to say what they liked. One Elders said "No pun intended, but there was a lot of love." I realized that that is what missionary work is all about. Love. If we don't love the people then how can the spirit be there and in turn testify to them. Everyone had really nice things to say and after that Elder Scott said, "I would ask you to tell me what they could work on but I don't think there is anything." What an incredible man. I would have loved to have gotten some advice on what could be better but the spirit was strong because we loved him and had that connection with him. I later talked to Ben and he said he knew that there was no coincidence that he was there that day and that he got picked on to be in the practice. An incredible experience. Being able to be a true missionary, teach a true investigator, one I love, in front of an apostle of the Lord. We are so blessed and I don't know what I ever did to deserve this experience.

Elder Scott asked President and Sister Van Komen to share their testimonies. After that, Elder Hillier got up and talked about how we obtain truth and read Alma 5:45-46. He turned to us and said "Sister Love and Sister Card, I felt something as you were teaching. In 2 Nephi 32:3, it says 'Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore they speak the words of Christ." He pointed out the first part and said "As you were teaching I was willing to do whatever it took to do what you asked because it was by the power of the Holy Ghost, it was the words of Christ. Elder Scott said today that it was like being taught by angels and it was - because you spoke by the power of the Holy Ghost." That was really neat to hear.

We had a 20 minute break and then Elder Scott got up to the microphone and said "Can we have Sister Card and Sister Love come back up to the stand?" Gaaaah. What?! Now what?! Mmmmkay. We're coming Elder Scott. My heart started beating faster - I couldn't believe this was happening again. We walked up and "Make sure you write down your name and address and give it to me before I leave. I would like to send you a copy of one of my paintings for doing this." That was neat but I was thinking "What is he going to have us do.....sing?!!" He had us come up to the microphone and asked us to answer four different questions about why we came on a mission, what the hardest thing about serving a mission is, what brings the most joy from serving a mission, and they he asked us to bear our testimonies. After we had finished, Elder Scott said "These are two very special and beautiful sisters. I can't help think that there are two young valiant men somewhere being prepared for them. Making themselves worthy for them." Sister Card was really cute and said "I'd like to know who he is!"

Elder Scott afterwards, shared some amazing stories with all the missionaries and bore his testimony. We were able to talk with him afterwards and he let us go to lunch with him. What?! I don't even know. We were in shock all day. It was a special experience and I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for allowing Sister Card and I to have the experience of not only spending time with Elder Scott but by being able to have the spirit with us so strongly while teaching.

Afterwards, our investigator Ben got to go up and talk with both Elder Hillier and Elder Scott. Elder Hillier gave him his e-mail address and asked him to e-mail him before and after his baptism. Ben's wife is still threatening to divorce him if he gets baptized. Elder Scott told us to take our time with him. That his wife needs to be brought into the church too. We'll see. Afterwards, Elder Scott gave Ben a hug. Oh. My Goodness. It was priceless to see. I felt like a proud parent watching that.

As we left Elder Scott, he said "Can I take a picture with you two sisters? I will want to remember this. You sister have been an inspiration to me this meeting. It was joy working with you." But it wasn't us. It was the Lord and His spirit working through us. He was such a sweet person. I am so grateful for this experience we had! The church is true. I want to end this e-mail by typing what Elder Scott said at the end of our meeting:

"This I declare with every capacity of my being....I want you to all remember when there stood in your presence someone who does hold keys...Jesus Christ guides His church personally...He is a loving, glorious, resurrected being who can communicate love so intensely. I know He is our Savior, Redeemer, a glorified, resurrected being because I know him."

I know this is true. Thank you for your love, support and prayers. I love you all!

Sister Love

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

"This earth was once a garden place..."

This past week was really special. We were able to go on a history trip with all the sister missionaries and a church historian. We visited Far West and saw towns around there but one of my favorite parts of the tour was visiting Adam-ondi-Ahman. Even before arriving, I could feel something special within my heart as we entered the valley. We went up and heard stories about the early Saints and everything they went through in Adam-ondi-Ahman and Far West. We sang the song, "Adam-ondi-Ahman" and took pictures. It was really a special trip and I feel more inspired and excited to continue sharing the gospel.

Our investigator, Ben, is still learning and we are so excited for him. He came into our lesson the other day and said he stayed up until 3:00 in the morning reading the Book of Mormon. He said once he gets reading he feels like he can't stop. It's so amazing! I love the Book of Mormon. There are times when I wish personal study time would go on for an extra hour or two because I don't stop reading and studying it. The only thing with Ben is that he doesn't want to pray and ask if it's true until he has read the entire Book of Mormon. He is a lawyer and needs facts and evidence to everything. He had a problem when he came to church and saw that we served water instead of wine at the sacrament. We shared with him that the Lord told Joseph Smith in D&C 27 that "it mattereth not" what is served as long as it is done in the right manner and for the right reason. He wanted proof of modern revelation of this. I'm so grateful for the promptings of the spirit because earlier, before our lesson, I was reading about the sacrament and copied a page out of a book that had an explanation of water instead of wine by Elder Bruce R. McConkie. As soon as I gave him that paper and he read it, he said "Oh, okay! I was just confused." And that was it! We were scared we were going to loose him for a second there but as soon as he can read about it, he is fine.

There are always those moments in missionary work that hurt your heart though. We met a girl named Lia who was so energetic and wanted to learn more. We scheduled an appointment with her and told her to look up if she had any questions. I had started studying and looking for answers to some of her questions when she called us and told us that she looked on and has a hard time believing that Jesus Christ is not the only God. She also said she didn't understand baptisms for the dead and other issues. She had even gone on the website and chatted with missionaries about it. She said she was sorry and that maybe sometime she'll want to learn. In the past, I've been able to just let things go but this one hurt. It's so hard when you see someone's eyes light up when they hear about the restored gospel because it's familiar to them! They don't know it, but their spirit's has a familiar ring because they voted for it before this life. It was hard but I'm grateful for those that the Lord prepares and for those who are willing to learn.

This past week, I've been studying about the atonement. I'm so grateful for our Savior, Jesus Christ and his gift. It is life saving...literally! We wouldn't be able to return back to our Heavenly Father's presence if it weren't for it. I love Him so much and am trying to be more like Him every day. Love you all!

Sister Love

Monday, November 1, 2010

Greetings From Liberty!

Greetings from Liberty, Missouri! I think I might die out here. It has started to get cold the last couple of days and it's going to be freezing this winter! But I love this area! Sister Card and I have seen so many miracles. Our investigator, Ben is so golden. We took him to the visitor's center and took him through "God's Plan for His Families". Afterwards, he just cried. We also took him to listen to a talk by Elder Christofferson about how the spirit testifies to our spirit that the scriptures are true. We had to leave early, but our Visitor's Center director, Elder Nelson came over and continued to teach him. Elder Nelson later said that Ben told him every time he gets ready to read the book of Mormon, he reads Moroni 10:4-5 before reading anything else. Wow. Who does that? He is so genuine. We also taught him the word of wisdom and he said, "I get the no alcohol and tobacco. I'm going to have a hard time with getting rid of tea though." He fought us for a little while saying that tea is an antioxidant for our bodies and can be good. After testifying to him that this is for our benefit, he said "Well, I guess this isn't about tea but it's about obedience. If it's what I need to do, then I'll do it." At the end of the lesson, he prayed and thanked Heavenly Father for sending us to him. That is one of the best feelings in the world. Knowing you've been sent to someone needing to hear the gospel. We went to a church bookstore afterwards with him where he bought a triple combination and a book of Mormon study guide. We'll have him baptized soon :).

We met Louis and Kyle, two 18 year old punks who were a referral from a member and we went to teach them. Here walk in these 'too cool for anything' kids with their ears pierced and chains hanging out everywhere. I was cowering in the corner while Sister Card attempted to teach lesson 1. As we started asking questions though, these boys really opened up. They are honestly searching for something. And they came to church! They were really shy at first but then opened up and said they really enjoyed it. I'm excited to teach them about the plan of salvation next.

We are also working with Dannick, an African American guy from England. He's married to Robin, a member and they have two little girls named Lecie and Lexie. They all have British accents and call each other "love". Dannick says he's waiting for a sign to tell him to join the church. We asked him some heaven sent questions including "Do you think Heavenly Father would tell you something that you wouldn't want to hear?", "What don't you want to hear?" and "Do you want the church to be true?" --- All of this regarding him asking to know whether or not this is what he should do. I hope he comes around so this family can get to the temple.

Yesterday, I hit my one year left mark. It's insane! Something I've learned from this is that time is precious. We are only here for a glimpse in eternity and are given the chance to grow and become more like our Heavenly Father and Savior.

We had a zone conference this last week. They are so inspiring and really light the fire to continue in missionary work. Our mission has been given 65,000 pass-a-long cards with the new website on the back which is a great tool. Something else our mission will be doing soon is sharing missionary work through texting and facebook. My mission president said "Somewhere down the road, you will be disobedient if you don't get on Facebook." ha ha Wow...who woulda thought?

President Van Komen also talked about becoming a master of yourself. The world gets scarier and scarier each day and the gray area lessens with everything becoming more black and white. "You can't keep one foot in the mission and one foot in Babylon. You've left your old self," is what he says. I think it applies to almost everyone. Once you decide whose side you're on, there is no turning back. You're either on the Lord's side or you're not. I love that. We also talked about how the spirit is very familiar and ancient and at times, the Lord will prompt us to do things that won't make sense. But we should act on those promptings and diligently seek for experiences (1 Nephi 10:19).

I love seeing the growth of missionaries within the mission. At the end of our zone conference, Elder Childs, who is 6' 9" and looks like he could beat up anyone cried like a baby over the pulpit as he shared his testimony saying "My testimony is firm. I could never say that I had felt a 'burning of the bosom' until just barely. On October 21, at 2:37 p.m. in the Kearny building in Missouri. My chest feels like it's 115 degrees." My sweet companion got up to bear her testimony for the last time at a zone conference and said she has been "illuminated by the word" (Alma 5:7) and will always be indebted to her Heavenly Father. One of the greatest miracles is that Elder Cox, who is deaf, bore his testimony for the first time verbally. Ever. And it happened on his mission.

This work is alive and I am so grateful to be a part of it. Thank you for all of your prayers and support!

Sister Love

So transfer calls come again...most intense day of a missionary's life. (besides hoping and praying your investigator comes to their own baptism). Although hoping I'd stay in the area for another transfer, I was positive I'd be going out full proselyting to either Great Bend or Hays, Kansas. (two cities in the middle of no far away from the mission home as possible) Even President Van Komen has said "Every missionary struggles in Great Bend". Ha ha thanks President. Sister Juergens and I are sitting and waiting for the voicemail to come to tell us where we are headed. Our phone beeps and we tackle each other in the process of hitting the button to listen to the message. We hold hands like we are waiting to hear who will be crowned the next "Miss Independence..." basically. Elder Clayton, one of the assistants goes through the ENTIRE list of where everyone in the Independence Zone is headed before he finally says "And Sister Love will be going to the jail to be with Sister Card." WHAT?! Number 1. It was a privilege to even serve in the Visitor's Center. Number 2. The visitor's center and the Independence 4th ward have been amazing to me and I have felt spoiled as a missionary. Number 3. I technically should be out serving full pros. all the time since I'm not given the call as a "VC Sister". But the Liberty Jail?! Only amazing and special missionaries serve here and I have never felt so inadequate. I had set myself up to never serve here. I am still in shock that I am in this amazing spiritual site where Joseph Smith became the prophet the Lord needed him to be. The spirit here is incredible. I love explaining the history and taking groups in relaying to them that they are entering a place almost as spiritual as a temple.

I love being in Liberty, Missouri. It's this small town with tons of history. It's a lot different than Independence. From what church records say, Independence, Missouri has one of the highest numbers of members of the church with mental illnesses. Not only is Satan bombarding the people there, he is also getting into the minds of the members in that area. The adversary is so strong and beats on Independence. It's a breath of fresh air to be serving in Liberty. I live in this old house right behind the jail with five other sisters. We all have different personalities and ways of doing missionary work. We laugh all the time and grow together during our spiritual and life discussions. One of my favorite parts of this area is our ward mission leader, Brother Freestone. Brother Freestone is involved in working with the government (FBI) and works undercover = best stories ever. I love hearing how he has busted drug dealers by going in acting as one. He is the most humble and spiritual man and helps us so much in this work.

We are teaching so many people right now and many are coming close to baptism. Ben is very intellectual watched the Joseph Smith movie with us. Afterwards, he said he was touched and almost started crying as he said "I think God is trying to lead me to the truth." Something our mission is focusing on right now is asking heaven sent questions. I experienced this when we were talking about knowing whether the church is true. I felt impressed to ask "How do you think God is going to answer that?" He sat back and said "I don't know. How will he?" We were able to explain to him the still small voice and how he can know. He told us that he doubts his wife will be interested in learning. After that he said, "You know what? If it's true, I don't care. I don't care! God is more important than a 25 year marriage." Wow. He has such a strong testimony. We hope he will receive an answer soon.

We had an amazing experience yesterday where we went to visit a referral given to us by a man that just walked into the jail. Sister Card, my new companion, said they had the referral for a while but that they weren't able to see him. The night before, we received a call from the man who gave the referral, asking what time church was. We realized that we needed to meet this referral. His name is Louis and his family is from Mexico. He is really humble and just wants to learn. We have an appointment with him tonight and we'll invite him to be baptized. I love this work!

My new companion, Sister Card is so smart. She went to Boston University for art and graduated from BYU in psychology and art. We have had several occasions where we've been able to ask people questions that make them think and realize that there may be more to the church than they thought. We met Matthew while trying to visit some potential investigators and he said he doesn't agree with baptisms for the dead. We explained that everyone will have the chance to learn about the gospel in the spirit world. He fought that we made up the spirit world in order to justify baptisms for the dead. Sister Card told him the bible talks about the spirit world. "Oh ya? Where exactly does it talk about it?" Sister Card told him in 1 Peter. Silence for a while........"Well, I haven't really read through 1 Peter, but still." It's nice to be able to teach people who need to have their minds opened. I am so grateful that I am able to serve here and learn so much about the history in this area. It's impossible to come here and not leave with a testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith and of the Savior. Love you all!

Sister Love

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I am so incredibly blessed. I don't know what I did in order to feel so much happiness in my heart this past weekend. Transfers are in 2 days and if I end up leaving this area, I am so grateful for how it ended. Sarah was baptized on Friday. And no baptism runs as smoothly as you want it to. We went early to fill the font and pretty soon, opened the door and felt the steam from the boiling hot water that had been running. I felt like we needed to add in some cold water but by that time, we saw that it was close to being too full. We turned off the water and prayed that it would cool down within the half hour before her baptism. The talks and testimonies before the baptism were incredible and when it came time for the actual baptism, we went around with Sarah to the font. She started to climb down in the water and immediately came back up the stairs. "It's too hot!" Words can't describe what I was feeling right then. I seriously thought we had ruined this moment by not being smart about water temperature. But our ward mission leader said "Sarah, just go in slowly. You can do it." We prayed silently as she walked in. Jack, her husband was so cute as he helped her down and said this humble and powerful baptism prayer. Being flustered because of the water and all the billion Polynesian people who showed up, Jack had to repeat the prayer and baptism once more but in the end, she went all the way under and was baptized. Electricity flowed through me as I watched someone make this step to eternal life. Someone I loved more than anything and loved teaching. But of course, it wasn't us. It was the Lord. Afterwards, I bore my testimony of how we started teaching Sarah and how it was an answer to a prayer and also to hard work and service. Sarah got up and bore her testimony. She said they had lost their baby and as we taught her, she felt comforted in knowing that they could be together forever and be sealed. She was crying and so was Jack. It was incredible. Bishop got up next and said "So Sarah, what do you get to do one year from now?" Sarah said, "We get to be sealed as a family. Me, Jack and Bobbie." Right then, at that moment, I can say was the happiest moment of my life. And the never ending joke for that night was that there was definitely a baptism by water AND by fire.

The next amazing event of this weekend was going to the St. Louis temple to see the Andre's, recent converts and people we have grown very close to, get sealed for time and all eternity. I forgot how much I had missed going to the temple. The spirit was so strong in that session and they just cried the whole time. There were sister missionaries there that had been involved in the teaching process as well as continuing to keep them strong to lead them to this point. So many dedicated servants and ambassadors of the Lord, Jesus Christ. So much love between all of the sisters that had taught Sister Andre. It's incredible to be a part of this work.

We are still working with Andrianna. She's had some hiccups lately with quitting smoking. She was doing so well but then slipped after her grandma died with all the stress that came with that. We talked with her about a testimony and she said she has planted the seed and is watching it grow. We had committed her to read Alma 32 that compares faith to a seed and how we experiment in order to watch it grow. She said it's been growing but it's just taking time for God to do some weeding. I loved that. We sometimes have weeds that keep our spiritual trees from growing as big and as strong as they can. "The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field". The parable taught in Matthew 13 also illustrates this point. The tares that keep our seeds from growing are planted by the devil. "I guess I just need to let God into my spiritual garden." She is so amazing and knows it's true.

In 2 weeks, I hit my 6 month mark and have only one year left to serve as a full time missionary. In the 58th section of the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord calls Edward Partridge to serve in Independence, Missouri. Verse 16 says "Behold his mission is given unto him, and it shall not be given again." I brought up this scripture in our district meeting and talked about how we are only given one chance to serve and do the best we can. We may serve other missions but for this time and this time only are we here, in Missouri, to share the gospel. Seeing people change their lives in order to grow closer to Jesus Christ has brought more happiness than I ever thought possible. Go out of your way to share the gospel. I can promise that as you do so, you will be able to say "How great is my joy". I know this church is true. I know our Savior lives. He loves us. He wants us to come to him. It is through following him and his example and striving to become more like Him that we find true happiness. I know the gospel of Jesus Christ was restored in its fullness by the prophet, Joseph Smith. These are fundamental truths that secure my testimony and help me to continue on as a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. Go out of your way to share the gospel and to bring others closer to Him. I love you all!

Sister Love