Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Shout out from Zion! So if you go on to, there is a video about a girl named Joy and she won the 2008 long boarding/surfing title for nationals. Something like that. Anyways, she says something that I love and have tried to incorporate into missionary work. She said that she finds that she has to position herself and put herself where the right waves are. We also need to position ourselves in life. Place ourselves in situations that will help us grow the most and live life. While we're talking about waves, I also learned something from the book of Matthew. In ch.4, verse 20, Jesus Christ calls for the apostles while they are fishing and it says they "straightway left their nets and followed him." What nets hold you back in life? What are the things that keep you from fully following and believing in Jesus Christ? Just a thought :)

This past week it got cold. One day, it was sunny and then a huge rainstorm came in. After that, it was only 50 degrees for a couple of days. Basically, I think I am going to die. This coldness out here is different than anything I've ever experienced. It cuts to the bone. We'll see how well this winter goes. But after this happened, it's gotten back up into the 70's and 80's. Missouri has crazy weather but so fun. I love the rainstorms here.

Andrianna had an incredible experience this past week. We met with her again and she said that she still just wants to know that this is what she should do. We asked her to come into the visitor's center here. She came and we walked around some of the things we have there but then a thought came into my head. "Take her down to see 'hope ya know, I had a hard time.'" This is a Mormons message that follows the talk by Quentin L. Cook with that title. He talks about how things in life are difficult. That we all go through our different trials and we, at times, say to our Heavenly Father "Hope ya know, I had a hard time." At the end, it shows a man who has been struggling and that has just lost his job. He goes to get out of his car and sees his elderly neighbor across the street struggling to bring in his trash bin. He runs over to help him bring it in. At the end, Elder Cook says that President Monson said the greatest birthday gift he could receive would be for someone to do something for someone else. We watched this movie and at the end, I looked over at Andrianna and she was crying. I know it's exactly what she needed. At the end, I came out and just asked her "Andrianna, will you read the book of Mormon and pray to know that it's true? Will you also pray to know that Joseph Smith was a prophet?" She said she would. We prayed with her that night and in the prayer, she asked that she might know if this is the true church and that she may receive a strong answer.

The next time, we went over, Andrianna was smiling. She said she prayed and that a peaceful feeling entered into her heart. She said that even though she was closing her eyes, the room around her filled with light. She said she realized she has been the one keeping herself back. She has been hesitant but because of those feelings, she is now ready to do this. To enter the waters of baptism and receive this joy.

We've been working with a less-active older man and his wife, who is not a member. They are the funniest people ever. They make me laugh so hard and she is just being stubborn when it comes to getting baptized. They know it's true and we will keep working with them.

Today is officially my 5 month mark. I can't believe how fast this is flying by. I've realized that this time is precious and that although it's hard, the beauty of serving the Lord can never be replaced. I want to challenge anyone who reads this to step outside yourself this week and do something for someone else. Help someone who is down. Share the gospel. Let your Heavenly Father know how much you love him and your Savior. I know that if you do this, your life will be blessed. Thank you for all the support and prayers! I love you all!

Sister Love

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My beautiful trainee Sister Juergan

Yay for missionaries!!!

Greetings from Independence, Missouri!

The man next to us, just barely said "You all have the most important job in the world, you know that right?" Yep. I love this job. This past Wednesday, I passed my 1/4 mark of my mission. Where does time go? I have no idea. It was only April yesterday. It's incredible how time will pass by when you are serving others. Although it's almost October, Missouri still has 90 degree weather and green trees. We're starting to notice a slight color change though and this area is going to be beautiful around the middle of October.

This past week, Sister Juergens and I went to a dance class with a bunch of RLDS and Church of Christ dancers. They all read and believe in the book of mormon, yet they forget the fact that we still need modern revelation today...which makes me so excited for General Conference! I can't wait for our investigators to listen to the prophet's voice. We were able to dance and share the gospel at the same time, going from pirouettes to prayer and sau-de-chats to scriptures. Quite the adventure but when all was said and done, my heart hurt a little from missing dancing and doing the things before my mission. But then I turn to my companion and say "Let's go be missionaries", slide on my name tag and the world is perfect. In the Lord's service we endure pain and heartache in order to experience miracles. So even though these little ballerinas were not so receptive, maybe the rest of Independence will be. We just keep going to work. Onward, ever onward.

We visited Sister Wood, a less active who we've been seeing for a while and asked her to come to church this next Sunday. The less-actives we've been working with have started coming to church and I love seeing how their lives change even though they've already been baptized. The atonement never ceases to work. Sister Wood said we've left our fingerprints on her heart. She told us to never forget that we leave fingerprints everywhere, even if we don't think we do. In a smile, a handshake, even a hello.

Sarah's baptism is still underway. We really want her husband to be able to baptize her, so he's been working with the bishop and we've set October 8 as the date for her baptism. It's also her birthday and she says it's the best birthday gift she could receive.

Andrianna is also coming along. She has the date set for November 2 but I think she could get baptized before then. She knows it's true but I think she is scared. The other day, she told us she has had some concerns and "if I'm going to do this, I need to be sure it's right." It's better for her to have doubts that end in certainty instead of certainty that ends in doubts. She invited us over for Allie (her 4 year old)'s birthday. She made a cake and we took pictures. We realized she had done that primarily for us after we left. I love this family. She has a brother that is RLDS that is starting to listen in on the lessons. We're going to try to teach him this next time.

There have been several things that the spirit has taught me this week. One of the most important is "Being where your feet are". A lot of times, we look to the past or the future for enjoyment. But it's being where we stand and in the present that will bring the most happiness. I am trying to work on that more and more each day. To love live at this moment in this time. Not just to live from baptism to baptism. Something else I learned is that Satan can mimic or imitate anything EXCEPT the Holy Ghost. That's why it's so important to be worthy to have this beautiful gift with us always. To be led, guided and to learn by the spirit. I hope everyone is doing great. Thank you for all your support and prayers! Love you!

Sister Love

Come to Zion Come to Zion

Monday morning sports at 6:00 A.M. = one of the best things that has ever happened to me :) After I persuadingly drag my companion out of her beautiful dreams, we jog down to the sand volleyball court where 8 other companionships (elders and sisters) are playing volleyball before the sun has even come up. I LOVE it. 1/4 of the missionaries here are Polynesian and tend to get overly competitive (example: every time we score, they chant in Tongan, "Clap Once. Clap Twice. Clap Three Times!" and we clap in unison which makes the other team ridiculously angry) It's times like these where I love seeing the sun rise in Independence, Missouri.

This past week I had the opportunity to go to a leadership conference that lasted all day with the assistants to the president, zone leaders, district leaders and trainers in the Missouri Independence Mission. We were taught so many amazing truths that will strengthen and bless us in this missionary work. It's continuing on everyday even when you think you can't continue anymore. It was so neat to be around all of these other amazing leaders who love the Lord and can't wait to pound out another day as a missionary.

Several times this week, we met with our investigator Andrianna who is continues to learn and grow in the gospel. We will have had a challenging day or have walked and talked all day with no evidence to show that our work did any good and it's like coming home - she is growing closer and closer to the Savior and it shows. It's amazing to see the hand of the Lord in other's lives. The other night we taught her a lesson while her 2 girls colored and then we roasted marshmallows. Best ever. We also watched the rainstorm while eating fresh strawberries and related it to the gospel. My favorite for the week was last night though where we had Family Home Evening with two other families in the ward. After first, Andrianna was apprehensive about going and wanted to get it over with, but as we got there and got talking, she warmed right up. Her kids had a blast playing with the other kids (who are exactly the same age - no coincidence at all!) and we had the best dinner. We ended the night with a lesson on the atonement and how it fixes broken things. Since little kids usually have an obsession with bandaids and using them even if they don't need them, we performed a magic trick and ended with the bandaid analogy.

I never thought I could grow so close to a family I've only known for a month or two. I love them with all my heart. The other night we went over and Allie and Lena (Andrianna's two girls) had painted us pictures and she had them framed. This painting will be with me forever. It's having the opportunity to bring a light to their lives that will always overcome the darkness.

One of the most important truths I've learned from this experience of serving the Lord completely 24/7 is that sometimes the Lord needs to break us down before he can build us up to be who he needs us to be. Elder Eyring said something that I will always remember. He said something along the lines of how being in the service of the Lord and his children won't always be easy and it may sometimes be painful. When the words, "contrite spirit" and "broken heart" include not only those we are serving, but our own lives as well. To truly come to know the Savior and be involved in His work, we sometimes need to suffer and painfully grow as He did. It's the price we pay in order to receive such a priceless gift. I'm so grateful for the chance I have to come to know the Savior. He lives. He knows our pains and our sorrows. Spencer W. Kimball said "No matter how much we say of Him, it is still too little." That will always be the case. I love our Savior and his divine role as our redeemer. I love you all!

Sister Love