Tuesday, November 26, 2013

November 25, 2013

This week has been full of.. everything!  There is this lady that we absolutely love to visit. she has a daughter on a mission and she has been meeting with missionaries for a few years now. but the problem is we have been kind of stuck, and we didn't know what to teach her or how to help her feel God's love more in her life. so we fasted for her last week, and we fasted that she'd know that the Atonement was for her and that she could realize the blessings of the gospel that she could have NOW in her life. so after that fast we met her a few days later, and it was AWESOME. before we even really started talking about what we had prepared, she shared with us her whole story. she told us all about her witness a few years ago that the Book of Mormon was true, and how she and her daughter were going to be baptized. she told us how her husband didn't agree with them doing that, so they just worked on getting their daughter baptized. (and now shes on a mission!) but the whole time she was telling this story the Spirit was SO STRONG. we then went on to talk about the scripture ether 12:4-6, and getting a witness after the trial of our faith. I asked her what that witness from God would have to be to be baptized. she said she really didn't know, she thinks when an opportunity presented itself after her son graduated and stuff would be a good time. we just bore our testimonies on how it really is hard to show your faith even when those around you don't support you, but God loves her NOW. and doesn't want her to have to suffer without the full blessings of the gospel. the greatest thing that we have is the Holy Ghost. think back to a time when you have felt the Holy Ghost in your life. I read In the bible dictionary that the GIFT of the Holy Ghost is a "foretaste of the joy of eternal life." IT CLICKED FOR ME when I read that. the feeling of the Spirit can be so strong sometimes, and it is the best feeling! FOR ETERNITY we get to feel that. I was so amazed by this definition. anyway, so we ended up asking her in the end to pray for a witness and to be baptized. she said yes. it was such a strong lesson and such an answer to prayers!

We have started this new thing in our ward called member blitz. just kidding its not really called that but that's what the elders said. we are going to start meeting with all of the members in our ward and teaching them 30 minute lessons, so we can improve our teaching but also so the members can know what are in the discussions. so we did that for the first time this last week. we taught this lady the restoration, and at first we were like.. how the heck do we teach a member the restoration! BUT it is truly the most amazing thing. we talked about the first vision, and it was so powerful. hearing Joseph Smith's testimony of the First Vision word for word brings SUCH a sweet and distinct Spirit in the room that is undeniable. after we said it, we just sat there in silence. the lady said, if I were an investigator, I would want to feel this all the time. I would want the gift of the Holy Ghost. again it clicked for me. that feeling that was in the room was so powerful and so strong and comforting, again a foretaste of the joy of eternal life! We then asked her how she came to know that the Book of Mormon is true. She absolutely bore the most beautiful testimony ive ever heard, and it brought her to tears. in her 20s she wasn't very active, and was scared to progress in the church because she hadn't read the whole book of Mormon. this is where I learned a lot. she decided to keep going, and go with what little she knew. she made the decision to start reading it then she said since she was in her 20s she has read the book of Mormon every single day, and she is so thankful for it. it wasnt just a one time thing where she knew it was true, it was over the course of a long time. we left her house feeling on top of the world.

I don't know if I mentioned this guy before, but there is a 92 or 93 year old man that we visit. he lives with his son and his son takes care of him. we always saw his son, but never really talked to him much. we visit him weekly, and THIS WEEK WE GOT TO TALK TO HIS SON! oh my gosh everything about it was so amazing. we started talking to him and learned a lot about his life, and we ended up teaching him the Plan of Salvation by the end of it. he said it seemed 'peaceful', and he kept saying how he was looking for a church that took care of the elderly, or the singles, or the sick, and all of these things (visiting teaching!? home teaching!?) and how he wants to serve others all the time (callings?!) and how he wants to donate but its so sad because so many churches ask for too much money and they thrive on it (tithing?!) and how he believes in God and wants to give his soul to him. he said a lot of other things that I forgot. so we ended up inviting him to church. the next morning was kinda a rough morning and sis Hilton and I were in really bad moods for some reason haha and we really could not snap out of it. we were sad and frustrated for some reason. but we went to church, and HE CAME! we were soooo excited and happy. the talks were exactly perfect for him, one of them was about the plan of salvation! everything that we had talked about yesterday! so it reiterated it perfectly and the speaker ended with one of the most powerful testimonies of Christ and the plan of salvation. he said that it was HE who made it all possible, and talked about a scripture in the Bible where we were all shouting for joy when we found out we got to go to earth. he told us to imagine EVERY single person shouting for joy. he told us to think about a football game and how loud that is, but then imagine every Spirit being so happy about coming here. and then he challenged us all to really sing the last song like we were shouting for joy. it was "I know that my Redeemer lives". It hit me. everything made sense. my Redeemer LIVES. THATS WHY ITS SO IMPORTANT TO KNOW HE HAS A BODY OF FLESH AND BONE! He is a resurrected being that we can have a RELATIONSHIP with because He lives and He knows us and is actively involved in our lives. HE brought our investigator to church and gave us the plan of salvation and He gives us those witnesses after the trials of our faith. it made sense then what it meant when everyone said that you needed to have faith in CHRIST to bring to pass miracles. Christ loves every one of His sheep and if we have faith in Him, He will minister to His people. HE WILL.

Okay after that story, I have one last story that's the complete opposite but probably the funniest thing that's ever happened tracting. we knocked on this door, and a man answered. normal, right? so far. we told him we were missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and that we had a message about Jesus Christ, and asked if we could share it with him. still normal. but THEN hahahhahaha he looked at us, hesitated for a split second, and started yelling, YOUR BELIEFS ARE AS QUEER AS A THREE DOLLAR BILL. (he said this as if it were the biggest insult he has ever come up with) (I accidentally laughed out loud) (but then he kept going) JESUS TOLD ME THAT THERE IS NO MARRIAGE IN HEAVEN, AND THERE ARE NO CELESTIAL WIVES! (what is a celestial wife, Id like to be one) then he said a ton of other things and probably went on for like 5 minutes straight except I forgot what he said except for the end. "I WISH YOU NO SUCCESS." *slam*  hahahahahahahaha it was great.

 It's 17 degrees and snowing HELP!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

November 18, 2013

This week we had  a different adventure every day! Not really because we tracted most of the week and did a lot of service. We have been volunteering at this rehab place every week. and the best thing is happening! The lady that we help called us one day saying that her husband had taken her kids to church and they had homework so they needed some Books of Mormon! and she wants to go to church too but she has to work every Sunday! but just us being there serving has made the biggest difference in the world.

This week sister Hilton gave an AWESOME training on relying on the Spirit at our district meeting. She came up with this analogy that you can't just "flop" on the Spirit and expect Heavenly Father to do everything for you, but you also can't do everything yourself. She did this demonstration where she needed two companionships, and they were going to pick up their companion- one of them would be a deadweight so it was hard for their companion to pick them up, and the other one would stand up with their companion. HAHAHAHA except one elder picked up his companion fully and didn't even give him a chance to stand up with him, and the other elder flopped around like a literal fish out of water and we couldn't stop laughing. BUT, if you think about it, it is a very true message. We cannot do everything ourselves, but we also cannot expect God to do everything for us. We can't just sit there waiting for an answer, because Heavenly Father trusts us, and if we are close to Him in prayer He will not let us go the wrong way.

WE ARE SO LUCKY TO HAVE THE BOOK OF MORMON.  Before my mission I don't think I realized how special it is. It is another TESTAMENT of Jesus Christ. We get to learn more about Him. We get to have this record of so many prophet's testimonies, telling us that they have seen our time and tell us how to stay close to Heavenly Father and endure to the end. Christ and Heavenly Father LIVE. Something I really liked that I studied this week was in 3 Nephi. Every time that I read Christ talking it hits me hard. He TRULY was talking to these people in the America's, and it is the most amazing thing in the world if you really think about it. To learn MORE about Christ and His character is one of the greatest blessings that we have. My favorite part is where He is talking with the people and they cried and didn't want Him to leave He had compassion on them and invited ALL the sick and afflicted to come unto Him to be healed and then blessed each of the children. It reminded me of all of the times that I thought I didn't have time to help or serve someone. Or the times I thought it was too hard to be someone's friend or to do something in a calling. Or to even go to a church event. CHRIST ALWAYS HAD TIME. If we really truly were trying to be more Christlike, we'd give all we had to others. There are so many sick and afflicted people around us, and Christ had enough time to speak to them individually before He went back to Heavenly Father. We are all eventually returning to our Heavenly Father, but before we do, we have time. We've been given the time and strength to help every single person in our paths. It is so amazing to be able to look at every person as a child of God, who He wants BACK with Him.

The best day this week was the day we had exchanges. I LOVED THEIR AREA. We went to  visit this lady and teach her for the first time, and she soaked up every word of the restoration. She asked questions and when we answered them it made sense to her, we bore testimony and she LOVED it, and by the end of it she wanted to be baptized so she could finally give all her burdens and sins to Christ! She kept saying how badly she wanted to go to church and be a part of it and bring her granddaughter along. She talked about how when we came in she just felt so "Spirit filled". Then her son walked in when we were talking about baptism and he was like oh yeah I need to do that, and I think hearing this today is God speaking to me saying that I need to do that! I'M SORRY WHAT?  It was the most exciting thing! I have never seen anything like it. Then we got to teach this other family- we just knocked on their door and they let us in and they wanted to go to church and their 4 girls absolutely loved the message. This all happened before noon and it was just the best day of my life. The sister I was with was so great at just talking to everyone. She made it a point to skip over to everyone person she saw  as fast as she could to share the message of HOW MUCH God loves His children. It made me realize that really, EVERYONE deserves to be "skipped after", because Jesus Christ wants every single one of His sheep and wants them to know of the happiness they could have. God wants us all back and He's given us the Book of Mormon to learn even more about Him and His character. We are so blessed to have the Spirit in our lives and to have the Book of Mormon.   Also, every one of you that know missionaries in your area, go up to them and ask for the names of their investigators and pray for them by name every day. It makes the biggest difference in the world because prayer is a powerful thing, and this hastening of the work is real! I've seen it here in my mission and I know that it is. Elder Tom Perry said that it ranks in church history with the first vision and coming forth of the book of Mormon. WE LIVE IN THAT TIME.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

November 12, 2013

We had a mission fast that we'd all "open our mouth" to every person that we saw, so I really took that seriously this week and we saw so many miracles! We were tracting one day, and I saw this lady with a stroller walking around and I was like we should probably go talk to her. Then I sat there and thought... ehh... but then I remembered the fast and decided that it would be a good idea. We walked towards her and we tried to talk to her but she kinda just brushed us off and kept walking. Then I looked up and saw a house and got a distinct impression that we NEEDED to go there. We walked up to the door and asked if we could share a message of Jesus Christ and the man looked at us and was like, um.. sure! So we went in and his whole family was home! They all sat around and we just didn't know what to do with ourselves because we had never been invited in to teach a FAMILY just by tracting. They didn't end up wanting a return appointment, but I felt really strongly that that was supposed to happen. Every day I am so amazed by the Spirit and how it leads us to people!

I had a really big realization this week about Christ's Atonement. This week it has been so interesting trying to help people recognize and feel God's love in their lives. I've never felt so blessed to be able to say that I do feel it and I am so blessed because of it. I remembered an experience that I had around my sophomore year in high school. there was a lot going on in life and it was scary and I didn't know how to handle it. a lot of my friends and family members were going through hard things and my eyes were really opened to a lot of the scary and serious things that happen in the world. I remember thinking I felt so helpless, like I couldn't do anything. I would sit there and listen to everything they were going through and see their pain and I felt responsible, like I needed to do something. one night when it was especially hard, I remember my parents sitting in my room with me. they sat there, and it was just enough to know that they were there, but what they said to me is what stuck out to me for the first time a few days ago. They said, it is not your responsibility, its ours. You are such a good supporter of your family, and it is great that you care so much and you should, but it doesn't have to all be in your hands. you don't have to take everyone's problems on yourself.   THAT is what Christ did!  He took ALL of our sorrows upon him. As simple as it is, I could not believe my discovery. I finally understood firsthand how He helps us through our sorrow and pain. He does not make the problems go away, because that would take away the learning experience. We wouldn't know joy without sorrow,  but what He does is exactly what my parents told me,  that we don't have to take it all on ourselves. Something sister Hilton shared with me is whenever we hear the scripture about Christ making the burden lighter, He isn't necessarily taking the burden AWAY.  He is strengthening our backs so we can't feel the burden as much. This is the center of our message as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. HIS gospel, the fullness of what He taught has been RESTORED. that is and should be the most important message in the world.  This is not just a "new church" established by Joseph Smith. The Priesthood that Christ had is literally here on the earth again and it has so much healing power.

This week on Sunday, I started feeling sick again, similar to what I experienced when I was first out on my mission. It scared me, because I did not want to leave our investigators alone. I wanted so bad to be better, and throughout the day it got worse. I thought about what I had been teaching our investigators, that the POWER OF GOD was back on the earth. I knew in my heart that in order to be able to get better, I needed to have faith in that. the elders came over and gave me a blessing, a blessing to be healed by my faith. I completely witnessed a miracle firsthand. When I stood up from the blessing, my fever and chills were gone. The pain was gone. I jumped up and shook his hand and knew that I had important work to do this week. Christ loves each and every one of us and He is there always.