Friday, February 21, 2014

Repentance is Change

This week has been really neat because I've had the opportunity to work with members every day, almost all day. I was able to go visit people who haven't been to church in a long time with sisters in the Relief Society and help them to feel the Spirit and want to come back to church. Many of our appointments cancelled, some because of sickness and others because of Valentine's Day, but we just went out and contacted people and shared our testimonies and it was still a very rewarding use of our time. 

I've learned a lot about the meaning of repentance lately in my morning study and as I teach it to people. The Bible Dictionary describes repentance as a change of mind and a fresh view about God, oneself, and the world. It is constant improvement every day. We are all imperfect, so we all have the need to repent. I've come across some people who believe that we can do anything we want as long as we say we believe in Jesus Christ and we will be saved. But we know from the scriptures that repentance is a commandment--without it we cannot be saved, and we cannot be happy. Mosiah 5:2 says that when we have experienced a change of heart, we no longer have a disposition to do evil, but to do good continually. We desire to follow the commandments and to change. Some think that they can't change because there is too much to improve on and it would take too long. But Mosiah 4:27 tells us that we don't need to run faster than we have strength, but that we just need to be wise and diligent, that we might win the prize, which is eternal life. Step by step, little by little, that's how we improve and repent.

The Zone Leaders gave an excellent training last Thursday that inspired us to make our morning exercise more meaningful. We've started going to the church gym in the mornings and it has helped a lot to keep us focused. We went on splits a lot this week with members from the Relief Societies, and I noticed that they all have a hard time switching the conversation from small talk to lessons so I brought it up with the Stake Presidency in the meeting we had yesterday, so we might help with a training for visiting and home teachers soon in how to conduct a meaningful visit. 

I was able to teach Daxton, one of our recent converts, family history the other day and he is on fire and loves it! I can see the Spirit of Elijah in him already and it just makes me so grateful that I am able to share my talents and abilities with people who benefit so much from them. I love being a missionary and a messenger of the Lord right now in Layton and am so blessed every day. 

Have a great week! 

-- Sister Ashley Fluegel

Monday, February 10, 2014

February 10, 2014

This has been the busiest week of my mission by far. My companions and I went on splits every day with members and we taught more lessons this week than I ever have before and found 4 new people who are interested in being taught! It has been so rewarding to share my testimony and invite others to act and see their countenances change as I answered their questions with the Spirit and see it touch their hearts. 

I was privileged to witness Nichole's baptism and confirmation this weekend. The first lesson I ever helped teach on my first day in Layton was Nichole, and I've helped and watched her discover the gospel of Jesus Christ and its truthfulness. I feel so honored to know her and have participated in her learning. It was such a sacred, special baptism, especially because of how hard she had worked for it, testifying to her parents over and over again about how much she wanted to be baptized and finally receiving their permission. The challenges and hard times made that moment when she came up out of the water that much sweeter. 

So many miracles happened this week. Sister Schrock went on splits with a member and Sister Miesbauer and I decided to find places to contact new people, and I kept thinking we should go to the gas station and maybe talk to someone there. As we pulled in, I looked at the gas gage and realized it was on Empty! We prayed that we'd be able to contact someone, and ended up talking to 3 different people there as well as filling up the gas before Sunday

I've been getting much better at organizing our paperwork and working with members and ward councils so we are all on the same page and everyone has fellowship and someone watching out for them. I'm so excited to teach my two recent youth converts family history and help them get to the temple this week! The gospel of Jesus Christ is true and it really does change lives. It continues to change mine every day. 

Love you all and hope your week is amazing!

-Sister Fluegel

Monday, February 3, 2014

You Can't Argue With a Testimony

This week has been incredibly exciting for us. We have been teaching like crazy and finding new people who are ready and prepared to hear the gospel. We have been working on contacting everyone we see or walk past, and as we have born testimony and given invitations, we have touched so many people we normally would have just walked past and never spoken to. We have found and been teaching two new investigators and one less active member who desires to come back to church since he left when he was 15, and they all came to church on Sunday!

I had my first experience with one of those notorious "Bible Bashers" I always heard stories about from my Dad's mission here in Utah 2 decades ago. This old man from New York let us in and talked to us about normal things like the weather and such, but then when he pulled his scriptures out, he started accusing and criticizing our beliefs. Every time we'd try to talk he'd talk over us and not listen to a word we said. He didn't seem to have his own set of beliefs, other than we are all saved by grace and don't have to do any good works to get to heaven. He went on and on about how marriage can't last after death, there can't be another book and testament of Jesus Christ, there can't be any more apostles and prophets. We could tell he'd done a lot of research on our beliefs and he condemned us saying that we won't go to heaven like he will. 

My companions were struggling with knowing what to do, and I just thought, "Bear testimony". It's all you can do in that situation--arguing over the scriptures gets no where. So I did-I told him I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God because I've read it and lived it. I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of the Lord and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the only true and living church on the earth." He didn't interrupt my testimony like he usually did when we talked, but got all uncomfortable and when I finished he just laughed. We promptly got up and thanked him for his time and left. All you can do in those situations is testify-it's the only way to have the Spirit stay with you. He could argue with the scriptures but he couldn't argue with my testimony, and that experience helped strengthen my conversion more than ever. 

Everyone needs to hear the gospel and have the opportunity to use their agency and accept or reject it. By sharing what I know with everyone, I am helping the Lord in his plan, which Joseph Smith Jr. described, “The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.”

I am so blessed and honored to be one of the 80,000 missionaries helping the Lord's work to progress and be heard in every ear. I know it's true because I've seen it change my own life and the lives of so many others for the better. It's my only sure foundation to hold on to when the world around me is always changing.