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

Monday, October 11, 2010

Pumkins and Sister Juergen

Happy General Conference!

Happy October and General Conference!!

Wow! Did everyone just love conference?! Maybe it's that I am eating, drinking and breathing the gospel right now but I could not wait for conference to start! We were at the visitor's center during two of the sessions so the only way we could watch it was from our director's laptop. When members of the church came in, it's not like we could say "Uh, HELLO? It's general conference? Why aren't you watching it?". Instead we would put down our notebooks and help others to feel the spirit at our amazing visitor's center. It was funny to see sisters be so calm about saying hello and goodbye to visitors while they were going crazy inside, wanting to soak in every ounce of what was being said. We were able to watch the other sessions of conference with members of the ward. I loved what D. Todd Christofferson said about how life's two best gifts are time and the freedom of choice. We have the choice to use our time as well as we can. Also Richard G. Scott's talk about character and self discipline. I always love hearing from President Monson. His talk on gratitude really helped me to remember that even when times get hard out here, it's living with the attitude of gratitude and prayer that opens up the blessings of heaven. I noticed an overall theme of agency and prophets. We have been giving the gift of agency and can decide whether or not to follow the counsel of men that have been called of God. Agency is definitely a gift and we show our Father in Heaven that we are thankful for that by making good choices.

This week has been great. Sister Juergens and I have been busy sharing the light of the gospel with others. We visited the Ortons, a less active family who has a daughter who is 32 that has a mental disability. I loved listening to how excited she got over even the little things. She talked about her bowling league named "The Power Cats" and how they have a tournament coming up. She talked about general conference and how important it was to listen to those men and women of God. She also talked about how she loved spending time with and helping her mom. She also took us over to their computer and showed us their screen saver of all the temples that have been dedicated. When we were about to leave, I asked if we could say a prayer with them and asked if there is anything that they stand in need of. Sister Orton sat there for a little bit thinking and then just started crying. She said "Peace is coming to my mind right now. I don't know why." We blessed her home with a missionary prayer and asked that she would receive peace at this time. I don't know what they are going through but I am thankful for the opportunity we have to follow the spirit in helping others.

We were able to visit with a part member family, the Tyrers. Sister Tyrer had to have an emergency surgery on her hip and we visited them with another family in the ward. She was in so much pain and we tried our best to comfort her. It was incredible when we said a prayer. The spirit immediately filled the room and there was a tangible peace in the air. Sister Tyrer didn't say anything and afterwards, said she felt better. It was a true testimony to me that prayer is powerful and changes things.

Sarah is getting baptized on Friday!!!!!! We are so excited and she is very excited too! Please pray that everything will go well so that she can experience this life changing event. Andrianna is also committed to baptism for November 2 and we continue to work with her. She is so amazing. We went over to teach a lesson and she brought out her notebook that she keeps all her notes in. She calls it "My Journey". She said she was guided in reading the scriptures and said she found things in the bible that say the church is true. She also said "The more I read out of the book of Mormon, the more I desire to get baptized." Wow! The amazing thing is, she is being guided by the Lord in all of this. At times, we feel like we don't do anything and that it is all the Lord. I hope I am able to serve Him in everything I do and with everything that I have. Thank you for all your support and prayers. Love you all!

Sister Love