On Tuesday we got a call from one of the assistants to the president telling Sister Schrock and I that we were needed to train a new sister from the MTC and to pick her up the next morning! She's from Linz, Austria, named Sister Miesbauer. She was waiting for her VISA and served in Berlin for 7 weeks before coming to the Provo MTC and then our mission. So I'm now a trainer!
We have been really busy this week, and battling a terrible cold that everyone here seems to be getting because of the Inversion in the air. All the germs and pollution stay close to the ground and everyone gets sick from each other. 40% of the missionaries are sick in our mission. Everyone keeps praying for rain or snow to come and clean the air out for us. I miss the fresh clean air of Illinois!
Zane was baptized on Saturday and we had a wonderful program for it. He sang a song with the Primary kids who are all his friends now. He asked me to give the talk on the Holy Ghost. I used the comparison that my trainer taught me, how the Holy Ghost is like the sun. The Holy Ghost, like the sun, touches everything but is one being. The sun's light can be seen and its warmth felt by every person on earth. The sun illuminates and helps us see things for what they really are. The Spirit can be felt by every person and can help them see the truth.
I love the scripture Moroni 10:5-7 where he tells us that it's by the power of the Holy Ghost that we may know the truth of all things, and that whatever is good acknowledges that Christ lives. And the Spirit works according to our faith--so the more we follow the commandments, serve others, act like Christ would act, and study the word of God, our faith is stronger and our ability to feel the Holy Ghost and recognize his promptings grows too.
I love working hard, teaching, and serving every day. I've never been so happy with my life or been so sure of something before. I've learned for myself that Joseph Smith truly was called of God to restore His priesthood keys and authority to establish Christ's church on the earth in its fullness again. I learn so much from the Book of Mormon every day and understand my purpose in life better each time I read it. All we need to do is keep growing our faith, keep learning, keep taking the Sacrament, keep praying, and keep repenting. That is enduring to the end.
I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week!
January 20, 2014 Suffering Shame for His Name Hello everyone! (It's a long one this time)
I've learned a lot this week about myself and my Savior, Jesus Christ. I've been getting to know and work with Sister Schrock, my new companion and I've learned so much from her already! We've been trying to make every minute count, work on talking to more people and praying before we go into a lesson.
There was a lot of opposition this week: sickness, investigators going out of town, and even rejection. One woman who was learning from the Elders in another part of Layton moved to our area and we set up an appointment with her. She was really friendly and let us in to talk a bit, and when we came back for the appointment she wasn't there. We stopped by last night to see if she was home and we could try to reschedule, but she opened the door and then slammed it in our faces.
We were feeling pretty down after that, and I said a prayer to help me not be so discouraged, and imagined how that is exactly how Christ feels every time someone rejects His sacrifice he made for them. Being a representative of Christ really has helped me appreciate Christ and feel the way He feels, whether it's with someone who rejects Him or accepts Him. I feel closer to Him, and want to keep becoming more and more like Him.
I love the scriptures, they always give me perspective and help when I need it. In Acts 5:41-42, after Peter and John are arrested and beaten, it says, "And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ." It amazed me that they rejoiced that they could suffer a tiny portion of what Christ suffered for us, for His sake, and made me feel more happy that I am counted worthy as well to suffer shame for his name.
Another scripture I love is 3 Nephi 12:44, that tells us to love our enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you. We taught a lesson on forgiveness, using President Uctdorf's talk "The Merciful Obtain Mercy" to a family who is struggling last night, and I learned a lot from them and from the Spirit as I taught them, about how Christ loves us so much He forgives everyone, and actually did pray, bless, serve, and love those that hated and hurt and eventually killed him. We aren't perfect, none of us are without sin, so we need to forgive and stop casting stones at others, because we need their forgiveness too.
Although we had quite a few instances where we were rudely rejected this week, we had miracles happen as well! We had people ask for lessons that weren't planned ahead of time, and people who never answer their doors answer and speak with us, and we planned for Zane and Nichole's baptisms coming up so everything is ready for them. The hard times really do help you appreciate the good times even more.
I hope you all have a wonderful week!
January 13, 2014 Onward and Upward! This week has been very eventful! We had an inspiring Zone Conference in Salt Lake City, and found out about transfers this morning. I'm getting a new companion tomorrow! Her name is Sister Shruck, and she will be my Senior companion. I've heard a lot of nice things about her, I'm excited to learn from someone new.
At Zone Conference, President Hansen taught us about the constant battle between the natural man and the saint, talked about in Mosiah 3:19. The battle never ends, it's constant for all of us, every day. We are always making choices that lead us closer to one side or the other. There is no middle ground, we can never be still, and our testimonies are never safe. The adversary doesn't sleep, and doesn't give up when you shut the door in his face the first time. He tries and tries again and again, your entire life. That is why we always have to be working on ourselves, increasing our conversion, reading our scriptures, saying our prayers, studying General Conference talks, and attending our meetings. There we can find strength daily to put on the armor of God and protect ourselves in this very real battle against the natural man.
Being a missionary has caused me to see this battle firsthand in the lives of those I come in contact with. It's never been more real to me, and I have every resolution and determination to not give up on anyone, because Heavenly Father loves them and won't give up on them either. As a representative of Christ, it is my responsibility and privilege to bring everyone I meet closer to Him, and leave them stronger in the fight.
We've seen miracles this week--Nicole talked to her parents again and they have finally agreed to her being baptized on February 8th! Things are looking upward for all the people we've been teaching. We cover many apartment complexes, and asked for special permission to start tracting there to find new people who have moved in. We have a saying in our mission that goes, "Improve every day, every week, every month, and every transfer". It's a bit overused but I'm excited for this new transfer with a new companion and for the work to keep going upward!
This week has been incredible! Sister Wright-Carruthers and I have been teaching like crazy and been insanely busy every day. I witnessed my first baptism--and my second--on Saturday!
We have been teaching Ellen, a woman in her 40s who has had a really hard life and her mother took her name off the records of the church so she needed to be baptized again. She has been through divorce and drugs, but since she's been meeting with the missionaries since August, she remembered how it felt to go to church with her Grandpa as a little girl and grew in her desire to be baptized. Her attitude has been inspiring--it was hard for her to qualify for baptism because of her past, with probation problems and such. The whole time she has been patient and persevering, saying, "It's not my place to choose God's path for me, it's just my job to walk it." On Thursday evening, our mission president came to interview her personally, and he gave the okay for her to be baptized! She was so happy she ran out of the interview and hugged us both, jumping up and down with pure joy--President Hansen said at her baptism (which he attended on Saturday) that he'd never seen someone so excited to be baptized in his entire life.
We have been teaching a 14-year old boy named Daxton, who felt the spirit at the 100-year anniversary of Scouting at the conference center and told his uncle he wanted to be baptized. He has a very supportive extended family who have loved, taught, and been examples to him his whole life. He is such a sincere, good boy who desires to do what's right. He reads the Book of Mormon and prays, and he cut his hair (which used to be as long as mine) so he could look the part of a priesthood holder and pass the Sacrament. In his confirmation blessing, his grandfather mentioned that he'd have the desire to serve a mission! He'll be a fantastic missionary, and I'm so grateful to have been one of the missionaries that touched his life!
Both Daxton and Ellen were baptized on Saturday into the same ward, and it was a wonderful experience where the spirit was felt, and families were touched and inspired by their family member taking the step of baptism. Sister Wright-Carruthers and I took care of all the behind-the-scenes stuff, like making the programs and helping the Ward Mission Leader fill up the font, and helping Ellen with her things as she got ready before and after her baptism. I feel so blessed to be a part of these wonderful people's lives, see the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ change their hearts, and learn things from them in return.