Bells from Belvidere!
This week has been so incredible! There seemed to be a lot challenging moments, but I think that's why I appreciated the miracles so much more. I've been trying to learn charity more than ever, and praying for it with "all the energy of heart". It's a lot harder to love with the pure love of Christ when you are going through hard times and struggles. But I feel like my faith has grown so much, and my determination is even deeper to trust in the Lord, do what I know is right, and endure happily to the end. Something my father always taught me growing up is this simple truth, "If you're going to do something, do it right!" I used to think he just meant to do a good job when I was vacuuming the floors or doing the dishes. But I've used that perspective in so many things in my life; in college, in my callings, in keeping the commandments, and especially my mission.
Yesterday we had a miracle happen at church in the 13th ward! A young couple, Ray and Heaven, with a 1yearold baby came to church because some ward missionaries invited them, and the wife isn't a member yet. They stayed all 3 hours and everyone wrapped their arms around them and made them feel like family. We were already having dinner and a discussion at Brother Lamoureax's house and so everyone invited them too, so we saw them again at dinner and they told us they really needed support and felt like this was the right thing to help their family. We are seeing themas well as again! I feel so blessed to be a part of their journey. Heaven is only 20 years old like myself and I felt like we connected and I'm so excited for them.
"Charity never faileth". I'm learning so much from my mission--suffering long, being kind, not envying others, seeking not my own will or desires, not being easily provoked to be angry or irritated, not thinking of evil things but only of good, rejoicing in truth, bearing all things I've been asked to bear, believing all the promises of God will be fulfilled if I do my part, hoping in the great potential of all people I come into contact with, and enduring ever trial and temptation faithfully to the end of my life. It's a lot to work on, but I am so grateful for my hardships because they refine me into a person who loves with the pure love of Christ. (Moroni 7:45-48)
Have a wonderful week!
It's a New Year!
First of all, I wanted to say Happy Birthday to my Dad! He's one of the greatest blessings I've been given and I feel so honored to be serving in the mission where he served. This week has been pretty crazy! We had an east wind come down from the mountains on Tuesday, and it was 20 below 0 and we were freezing all day! Then the next day I got a cold, probably from exposure the day before. But we had some really great lessons and found a new family to teach! I've come up with some ways to get to know the people here better, since I've never covered 2 stake's worth of people before.
In my personal study this week I was studying the nature of Heavenly Father in the Bible. Some scriptures that stood out to me were Acts 17:27-29 "That they should seek the Lord, if they are willing to find him, for he is not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device."
I love these verses because they describe how God is our Heavenly Father, the literal father of our spirits, and we are his offspring, or children. When we recognize that he is our Father in heaven, we will desire to have a relationship with him. Prayer is the way we can reach out and talk to Him; because He respects our agency to choose, He doesn't force us to talk with Him. And prayer is an exercise of faith; showing that we believe He is there even though we haven't seen Him. I have found so much comfort and peace in prayer, because I have felt and seen my prayers answered and know that my Heavenly Father loves me and is there for me, even when I feel like no one else is.
I invite anyone who reads this to think about their relationship with God, and do a little bit more to be close to Him; whether that is making your prayers more regular or sincere, or even just starting to pray. Study the scriptures; in them we can find great knowledge and treasures of knowledge that are of much greater value than anything money can buy.
Have a wonderful week!
December 29, 2014
Christmas in Farmington has been amazing! We had a "Nativity's from around the world" Display and met a woman from Venezuela who was interested in learning more! So we sent the Spanish-speaking Sisters to go over and meet her and it's been really neat for everyone. Many members reached out to their friends and gave them the Joy to the World video about Christmas. We have been so blessed with all the wonderful people here who invited us over for Christmas Eve and Day.
In our District meeting, we thought about this question:
"What will you do differently in 2015 to honor your covenants and become a disciple of Jesus Christ?" I know that if we all start to or continue to not just read, but study our scriptures daily, pray regularly throughout the day, and make and keep the covenants of baptism, we will feel greater peace in our trials and joy in our triumphs. Why? Because by doing those things, we are inviting Jesus Christ into our lives.
I went on exchanges with the STL's--and I was in Centerville with Sister Holbrook! It was so neat to be in the area where my Dad served for part of his mission; AND with my friend from Chicago! We've never been near each other on our missions, and it was so great to be her companion for a day. We had a lot of fun contacting people and sharing our message of Christ everywhere we went.
We had a surprise baptismnight of a man who used to be a member; and morning he met with the Stake President and was found worthy to be baptized. President Christiansen asked him, "When do you want to be baptized?" and he said, "Tonight!!" It was pretty amazing. Hooray for a White Christmas!
I love this scripture in Mosiahthat says, "..how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those who shall hereafter publish peace, yea, from this time henceforth and forever!" I often think of my friends who are on missions and those missionaries all over the world who wake up the same time as me, study just like me, and then go out and share the gospel with everyone they meet. It gives me strength, excitement and determination to never give up. The only failure in missionary work is when you stop working. I just love being a missionary and representing Jesus Christ every day! I feel the companionship of the Spirit so strongly all the time and it's an unforgettable, life-changing experience to be set apart to do this work. Love you all! Happy New Year!
December 15, 2014
Off to Farmington!
Yesterday, President Hansen called and thanked me for my service as a Sister Training Leader and told me I'd be going to Farmington with a Sister Bennett! I'm covering 2 stakes, which is going to be quite a new experience for me. I've only ever covered one stake, 9 wards; but now it'll be around 18-22 wards. Wish me luck!
This week we had so many great and memorable experiences. We made cookies with our Senior Couple and brought them to many people we've been working with. One of those was Sandra who has been taught by missionaries before but was really busy for a while. We gave her the cookies and gave her the He is the Gift card. She watched it on her phone, and was in tears when it was over. It really touched her heart and she set up a lesson with us for. This video is changing lives!
We went to Temple Square with the Josh and Jessica Dubon and their daughter Jaslene onnight, and had a wonderful time. They saw the God's Plan movie and loved it, and when we were at the temple model and using the touch screens, I showed them the inside of a sealing room. They were so touched when I told them how the whole family kneels together and is sealed, and how the mirrors represent eternity. Josh said he felt like he was so far away from going inside the temple, and Jessica said, "Well, we're a lot closer than we were!" and they got all excited about how far they've come and the hope for the future. Josh kept saying how he just wanted to touch the temple walls, so he actually went up to the wall of the Salt Lake temple and touched it. It just reminded me of how important and special it is to be temple worthy and have those blessings. He could feel the sacredness and importance of the temple.
We also went there with the Jones as well! They loved the God's Plan movie and we had many gospel conversations. The two oldest children, Drew and Ethan are going to the temple for baptisms for the dead this week and were asking all kinds of questions about it. They are also excited for family history which we taught them earlier this week. I love these people and am so grateful I had 3 transfers with them all! I'm also excited for Farmington and the adventures that await me there. I love hearing from everyone and how they are sharing the gospel and reading their scriptures and praying every day. It makes me so happy that those I love at home are feeling the same happiness that I am. Have a wonderful week!