This has been my first week in the Layton Holmes Creek Stake! I'm technically in South Layton but in the Kaysville Zone. It's so strange to be back in Layton but I'm loving every minute! My new companion Sister Blankenship and I have had so many miracles happen this week that I can't possibly write them all down! But here are a few of them.
In my previous area of Layton I taught the Dubon family, a young couple with a little girl who wanted to come back to full activity in the church, but they were moving and told us they promised to meet with missionaries in their new area and start going back. Well, turns out they live in this very area that I cover now! I am so excited to teach them again and I know I was sent here specifically to help them more!
More cool things that happened was that we shared a message at dinner with a family who had invited their neighbor over, and the scripture was 1 Nephi, that says, "Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me." This scripture is where Christ is telling us that He can't forget about us, just as a mother can't forget her child, and even if she does, He still can't. Christ is with us through all of our trials, He is walking beside us and never gives up on us. Why? Because He has paid the price, and graven us upon the palms of His hands. He truly did suffer and die for each one of us, and that is why He understands us perfectly, better than anyone else.
The man they invited over had been less active for years, and told us that he really needed that scripture and the part where it talks about the walls he took as the walls we put up between us and the Lord, and He is continually trying to get through to us but we are the only ones who can let Him in. Then the next day we found out that he told his neighbors he wants to learn more about the gospel from the missionaries and get back to church and eventually the temple! I almost cried I was so happy and surprised and amazed that our little spiritual thought, something small and simple, could bring to pass such a great and marvelous change in someone else!
This area is incredible! Sister Blankenship and I have so much work to do every day, and the members are so supportive. We get referrals almost every day, and found 3 new investigators last week. We currently have 9 progressing investigators who are all working towards baptism. I've already got most of the area down and am now working on memorizing the grid system here. I love how easy it is to find addresses in Utah. We have a car but we use bikes in the evening when it gets cooler so we can contact more people and it's cooler outside. It's the first time I've biked in a skirt in my life, so that's been a fun adjustment! We've made so many exciting contacts with people on the sidewalk that I have a strong testimony that God directs you exactly where to go to find those that need you. We passed a woman waiting at a bus stop and gave her a book of mormon and as we biked away I glanced back and saw her open it up and start reading as she waited for the bus!
Also being a STL has been a growing and learning experience for me this week. I've been to a few leadership meetings and we are starting exchanges this week. Last night one of the Sisters in our zone needed a blessing, so we were present for that as a new Elder gave his very first blessing! It was amazing to see his faith, though he was very hesitant and nervous at first, as he trusted in the authority and power of the priesthood he holds and that the Spirit would direct his words. And the Spirit did just that! My love for people has grown so much on my mission, and my love for the Sisters in my zone is just growing more and more too! I am grateful for my new calling as an STL because it is helping me to stretch myself and giving me more opportunities to serve others.
Hope you all have a great week!
August 11, 2014
Wow this week has been so full of surprises! I received a phone call from President Hansen Saturday night and he asked me to be an STL, or Sister Training Leader. It's like being a Sister Zone Leader. I am so excited and feel honored to serve the Sisters in my new zone, the Kaysville Zone! My companion is Sister Blankenship from Tennessee, who was my STL in Layton a few transfers back.
I'm a little sad to leave Bountiful; but the people will always be in my heart and I've had so many amazing sweet experiences here that have helped me grow. We started a Book of Mormon Study and it's becoming a success!we had about 17 people there from 3 different wards, including a recent convert and a woman who hasn't been to the church building in 20 years but she came to support us because she likes book clubs and I think she sees this as something like that. We had so much support from the members who came and participated and I felt so edified afterwards.
Other things that happened this week: We ran into a couple at a ward activity who had Sister Missionaries like 8 years ago and they told us to stop by sometime. One night it started raining like crazy (almost rivaled a midwest thunderstorm!) and we were not sure if we should wait out the rain or go try to contact people...I suggested we just go see this one family that told us to come by, and we ended up meeting their 18yrold son who has all his high school friends on missions and was really friendly to us. I loved working in the rain, it felt like Illinois a little bit. Later when Sister Holt and I were on splits she stopped by again and they talked at the door again and he expressed his views on religon and the Book of Mormon, and he said he'd read Moroni 10:3-5 and give the book a chance. All his missionary friends email him every week so he has a lot of support.
There is so much I've learned this week, but one thing in particular that stands out in my mind is that when you start feeling insecure, inadequate, stressed, or unhappy, you just need to stop thinking about yourself and think about the people who you can serve. Serving others is seriously the answer to all our problems. I learned that lesson when I was 16 and my grandma helped me through a hard time by making it a goal to do a kind act of service every day for someone else. I found that by the end of the first week, I wasn't sad or down on myself anymore, but felt happy and like I had made a difference in someone else's life. There is nothing that brings greater joy than serving someone else out of love. If everyone put aside their own fears, worries, and insecurities, and went out and served others, the world would be a much happier place. The phrase, "Forget yourself, and go to work" is so liberating to me because it's so much easier to forget my own fears and just trust in the Lord and focus on the needs of others. I am so grateful for all the people who have served me and lifted me up when I was struggling, and I am even more grateful for the opportunity I have now to be a missionary and lift others.
August 4, 2014
This week has been full of amazing experiences that have strengthened my testimony and proven to me how when we press forward with faith, everything works out right. A couple of weeks ago we came up with some ideas on how to find more people to teach, and Sister Holt thought of something they did in Rose Park, which is to hold a Book of Mormon class where a group of people get together every week to read it and talk about it together. We started it this week, and as we get the word out more and more people will come, participate, and bring their friends. Other churches often have Bible Study classes open to the public for anyone who wants to come, so we have been so excited to start this and some of the people we work have committed to coming as well. We've been teaching like crazy lately! We have so much to do every day there's hardly enough time for it all. The members are supporting us with coming to lessons, inviting others they know to listen to the missionaries, and introducing us to people they know that we never knew about!
I know and have experienced that when members and missionaries work together to help the lost and struggling ones, they are hastening the work of salvation. Heavenly Father has a plan for all of us to be happy, and I'm so grateful for the missionaries who found my Great-Grandma Betty in Freeport Illinois over 60 years ago so I could have the knowledge of that plan and share it with others. There is no greater joy than lifting and bringing others unto Christ because you are helping Heavenly Father with what makes Him the most happy too. I love being a missionary and being privileged to work with this small but precious portion of His children in Bountiful Utah.
Love you all and hope you have a wonderful week!
July 28, 2014
This week has been quite the busy week in Utah! The 24th of July is Pioneer Day, a state holiday, and it's celebrated 100 times more than the. Normally when you've got such a huge cultural event happening, people are more busy and missionary work slows down. But not for us! We were blessed with back-to-back lessons all evening , , and all day . We met this future-missionary Rylee who has her call to Romania who has been coming with us to lessons all week too and we've been helping her with preparing for her mission. My birthday was and it was the best birthday I've ever had! I woke up to balloons and a big sign on the garage saying Happy Birthday. Between and I got about 4 birthday cakes and a lot of cookies. It was pretty cool. The best part of my birthday was the lesson we had with this part-member family and the parents finally opened up about how they felt and it was just a 5 star lesson and the best way to end the night! I got a package from my family back home too and somehow they all knew what I needed the most.
I've learned that when you work your hardest and trust in the Lord, miracles happen! Last night we prayed again before walking down Bountiful Blvd and we met 3 people who weren't members and one of them was from Nashville Tennessee and she and Sister Holt connected over the south. She told her, "If you're in town for anotherwe'd love to see you at church!" and she said thanks and that she was a Southern Baptist but "I'll think about you ". It was so exciting because up here it's so hard to find people walking in a public area, and yet our prayers were answered and we were led to those we needed to talk to! I've had so many amazing experiences this week, but there's too little time to tell them all! I just want to let you all know I'm happy and I'm right where I'm supposed to be. Being a missionary has changed my perspective on life and on the gospel for the better. It's amazing how putting into practice what I've learned all my life really solidifies the truth into my heart.
(Picture-Rylee and us the night of the 22nd)