Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Now is the Perfect Time!

Sister Bustillos and I tracted in the rain again, met up with a few more people who might be potentially open to lessons, and enjoyed an amazing zone conference. I also had the opportunity to finish the Book of Mormon and try out Moroni's promise: to ask God with real intent if the book was true. I prayed and felt a simple, warm feeling, one that I already felt throughout reading.
And I started it over the next day! In Zone Conference we talked about the Doctrine of Christ, the principles of Faith, Repentance, Baptism/Covenants, the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End as a way of life. It's a continuous circle, and with Christ at the center we continually become better than we ever could have been without him. I decided this time reading the Book of Mormon, I'm going to focus on these principles. So far, so great!
Another thing I learned about this week was the difference between guilt and shame. Guilt is when you feel sorry about what you've done. But the word shame derives from the idea of "covering oneself," to want to hide away something you've done to avoid disgrace. We use them interchangeably at times in English, but they both come from very separate sources. Guilt could also be termed "godly sorrow," a feeling that often motivates you to fix what you have done wrong. Shame encourages you to hide it up away forevermore.
To put it simply: Guilt is a tool of the Lord. Shame is a tool of the devil.
We were teaching a young man and his girlfriend, who had a baby together very recently. The young man was LDS, but he told us plainly he couldn't come to church right now. He said he'd taken a step away from those beliefs and now was not a good time. I felt, as he said those words, the exact opposite. Now is always the perfect time! Every moment is the perfect time to reconcile yourself with God, with your guilt, and find peace and happiness. We were able to teach him and his girlfriend the first lesson, and I could see something small spark in both of their eyes. I firmly believe it was hope, for that peace and happiness in their own lives and for their barely-born daughter. I know that is what the gospel brings, and its available to each one of us, no matter what we think we've done that would discount us from those blessings.
I love you all so much! I hope you all got the chance to read a chapter from the Book of Mormon as I challenged last week. If not, its on lds.org! Now is always the perfect time!

Sister Fluegel 🐦

Picture Time!!: Sister Bustillos and I were born about two weeks apart, so the Monday in between was our "Birthday P-Day" and we proceeded to behave like children. We went to the St. Louis City Museum (Family, we're going there, it's happening) and climbed around, then we went to "Fitz's" and had rootbeer floats for dinner. We didn't take a picture of this, but some windows in the parking lot where we parked got busted in!! "Welcome to St. Louis," haha. 
We also posed in random places, met a friendly lizard that I forced myself to pet for two seconds, and saw Illinois! "I can see my house from here!"  


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Reading the Book of Mormon March 20th 2017

First of all, thank you all for your birthday wishes and presents and messages of love! I'm very lucky to have so many people supporting me while I'm out here. Know that I pray for you daily and appreciate all you do and have done for me.
I'm also lucky to have a fantastic ward full of loving families and leaders who make me feel home away from home. Sister Miskin is one who Sister Bustillos and I have really grown close to, and our lesson with Amanda (which happened to be my birthday) she surprised us with a fruit and pie party! So I got to get sung to and blow out some candles! Amanda gave me probably the best gift I might ever get, or at least it's been the best so far in my life. A simple letter, but I cried right in front of her reading it! I am so grateful to have gotten to teach her and be an instrument in the Lord's hands to help her. What an amazing thing it is.
Throughout this week and the people we've taught I've noticed a trend that occurs: those who read the Book of Mormon and pray about it seem to comprehend, understand, and believe the lessons we teach. Those who don't, either don't continue the lessons or can't understand them. I never realized, I don't think, until now how important the Book of Mormon is to our conversion. People hear about it and often wonder, "Why do we need another book? Isn't the Bible (long) enough?"
The Bible definitely is very long! I completely understand why it seems strange, or even daunting, to have another book of scripture. But I think, even if some things in the Bible hadn't been lost in translation, Heavenly Father would still want us to have this book. Through all scripture, we learn of and grow in faith of Jesus Christ. Through it, we feel the Spirit daily, and better see God's hand in our lives. Through it, answers can be found to our modern day problems. But only through the Book of Mormon can we gain a testimony of Joseph Smith and the church in these latter days. He was either a fraud, or a prophet of God. The authority to lead Christ's church was either lost, or it wasn't.
As I've read recently, "Every man eventually is backed up to the wall of faith, and there he must make his stand." I can promise you that if your wall of faith is the Book of Mormon, you will never fall. If you haven't read it in a long time, if you haven't read it at *all,* I can promise everyone you will find answers, direction, and ultimate happiness by reading it for yourself.

Just try the first chapter!
 The foundation of my faith is in Jesus Christ, and the Book of Mormon brings me closer to him like none other book. 

Pictures: A beautiful dress Elizabeth sent me!! An AMAZING quilt Ashley made me!! Me wearing said quilt, eating a cookie dough concrete mixer from Culver's below Sister Bustillos's adorable banner she made for me! Blowing the candles out of my birthday pie! A selfie with the adorable Miss Amanda Lucas! And all of these wonderful photos were taken with my NEW CAMERA from Mom and Pops! It was so great to get all of your wonderful letters and thoughtful gifts. I'm truly blessed.
I hope you all have an amazing week! My challenge: read a chapter from the Book of Mormon!! I don't care who you are, do it!
Sister Fluegel 🐦

I'm Dreaming of a White...Birthday? March 13th 2017

It's my last day as a teenager! That's right, folks! I always heard the twenties are the most fun, though, so I'm looking forward to it.
Our dear, dear, dear friend Amanda got baptized on Saturday, March 11th, and she looked absolutely beautiful in all white. Her best friend-turned-boyfriend Brady Johnson baptized her! Needless to say Sister Bustillos and I ship them so hard (although I first had to explain what 'shipping' is to her, haha). Amanda was smiling so much, and when we showed her the pictures of her yesterday she told us you can tell she wasn't just smiling for the camera, because her eyes get 'all squinty' when she's that happy.
To contrast such a happy, care-free morning, we had a HARD week this week. What's new? Haha. Sister Bustillos got sick, the rest of those we've been teaching we haven't been able to get in contact with, and it snowed! Twice! We walked around the temple grounds with Amanda on Thursday when it was a gorgeous 70 degrees, but ever since the temperature plummeted! Just when I though my birthday would be on a pretty day for once...got to love Midwestern weather.
We are so glad, however, to be together for another six weeks! Transfers happen every six weeks, so there was a small chance Sister Bustillos or I would be leaving tomorrow. Luckily, she's with me a little longer. And the elders in our area are also here to stay, which is awesome. They've both been teaching me how to solve a Rubix Cube, and I'm SO CLOSE!!

I bought the Bible Videos on dvd, and have been watching Jesus Christ's life. I also am in 3rd Nephi where he comes to teach the people in the Book of Mormon, and reading 'Jesus the Christ'! So this whole week has been about understanding him better and his amazing mission.

He definitely went on a mission, and it was much harder than mine. He was spit on, mocked, driven out, and viewed as a blasphemer. Even his disciples, who followed him, didn't really become converted during his ministry. I struggle, and then I see how he struggled, and how even the moment before he went into the garden to suffer, he prayed to the Father in his disciples' behalf. Jesus Christ is the example of a perfect missionary: bearing all things with patience and love, thinking of himself very little, having the welfare of others always on the forefront of his mind. I have put aside my self-filled life and dedicated myself to his work, and yet I still struggle to stop thinking about myself!
That's the point of being here, though, on this earth. The best way to find yourself is to first lose yourself in the service of others. Any of you who struggle with a weakness, a trial, a doubt or three--let's be honest, that's every single one of us--and find yourself unable to overcome it, I would recommend the same cure Christ does: love. The more we help others, and love one another, the better we're able to overcome. That is why love is the first great commandment--through it, all good things are made possible.
The more I serve others and forget myself, the more of myself there is to find.
Other cool things: I have a billion pictures!! Our STLs came to our baptism and brought me a cake! It was really sweet of them, even though I'm not a big fan of cake...Sister Bustillos had some though :D Also, did I say snow? I forgot to mention it also RAINED and we went tracting and talked to a cool guy! That was the picture afterwards. Elder Cardiff made some absolutely delicious sweet potato muffins for our last District Meeting before transfers. Last, Sister Bustillos likes to take awkward pictures of me. There are tons more, but these ones of (me) studying and blowing out candles were the least offensive to my ego.
Have a blessed week!
Sister Fluegel 🐦

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

March 6th, 2017

Hello folks. I hope you've had a great week, whether it was easy or hard! 

First of all, I wanted to share a scripture that Amanda (who is getting baptized this weekend!) found during a very hard day and shared with us:

D&C 24:8 Be patient in afflictionsfor thou shalt have many; but endure them, for, lo, am with thee, even unto the end of thy days.

She is getting kicked out of her house, and we're helping her move out the day before her baptism. But Amanda sees this as just another sign that she needed the gospel in her life right now, not that it's too hard or she'll be too busy. She is an example to me of what it means to truly have faith. Needless to say I love her very much, and I've only known her for a month now!

A whole month and more out here in Missouri, can you believe it? I'll admit, I've struggled. Just on Saturday we got yelled at and harassed by a woman who threatened to call the cops on us unless we left the whole apartment complex. I almost wish she would have so we could have shown them our proselyting licenses!! But we couldn't feel the Spirit around that, so we left. Another lady told us to leave her neighborhood . . . we didn't, and just a few doors later met a woman named Jessica who is very open to learning more and reading the Book of Mormon. As the Gambler once said, "Know when to walk away; know when to run."

What I learned most this week? I have the capability to be an answer to someone else's prayers. So can you. When we pray or just plead to the sky for help, it almost always comes in the form of our family member, our friend, our neighbor. Which is why it's important for us to be that neighbor, ready to help and let the Spirit guide us as to where we need to be and what we need to do. As the Book of Mormon prophet Alma once said, "This is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God." That's where I've personally found the most joy.

Sister Bustillos and I were able to be instruments when we picked a street and started knocking on doors on a very, very cold night this week. Missouri's weather is bipolar. No one was home or opening the door, much less rejecting us, and we felt pretty discouraged--it was a loooong street. But we kept going, and finally a woman opened the door and as Sister Bustillos introduced us as missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the woman finished her sentence for her! She led us inside, gave us water and a slice of cake, and proceeded to tell us that she grew up LDS but lost her faith until very, very recently. 

She used to go out with sister missionaries, and would always catch up with them to give them lunch money when she saw a pair throughout her life, but this was the first time missionaries had found her. She's had a hard life of tragedy and loss. She told us she knew Heavenly Father had waited to send us to her until she was at a point in her life where she could listen. 

But if we hadn't listened, none of that could have happened for her. It makes me look back on my life and wonder about the times I felt like I should do something but 'chickened out' or brushed it off. Could that have been a missed opportunity to be an instrument in the Lord's hands, to be an answer to someone else's prayer?

I'm working hard to be from here on out. 

Other things that happened: The Wolf family we're teaching are progressing and understanding the purpose of the Book of Mormon! Sister Bustillos and I got monster headaches after weekly planning for so many hours straight. I took a picture near Arnold's roadside splendor (AKA trash). We got a lot of miles taken away for this month, so we're borrowing bikes from our ward! I'm going to get so fit! But we also got Girl Scout cookies from three different people, so maybe one will cancel the other out ;) 
Regarding the random pictures: Spring; Someone really didn't want us to ring their doorbell...haha and Missouri doesn't like to give us sidewalks :(

Sister Fluegel🐦

Uncomfortable in the Faith February 28th 2017

Hello lovely people!! I hope you've had a great February. This is the warmest February I've ever experienced and I'm in the Midwest...my expectations were definitely thrown out the window the first time it hit 76 degrees here. I guess St. Louis gets a little Southern breeze, unlike Belvidere IL!
This week I had the amazing chance to hear Amanda's testimony. She bore it to us during our last lesson. Sister Bustillos promised that her anxieties and concerns would be washed away when she came up out of the waters of baptism, and I could feel the Spirit testify of that promise.

When the member we had at the lesson then cautioned Amanda about not getting too hyped up on her baptism in case it wasn't all that she thought it would be, Amanda interrupted her. She's not the type to speak up often, but she did. She told us all she used to go to bed every night, and wake up every morning, knowing something was missing in her life. Even though she had everything she could want, there was a hole. And Amanda had this feeling it was God. So she started searching; she read the Bible, she watched videos, she researched religions, and when her friend told her about our church she wanted to give it a try. Ever since, that hole in her life has slowly been filled as she understands more, comes closer to God, and gets ready for baptism. That makes everything worth it, to her.
I'm paraphrasing, but needless to tell I had tears in my eyes witnessing such faith and conviction. I can't say I never have doubts, that I never need to pray and ask, one more time, if this church is God's church, but hearing such a strong testimony from someone who's only learned about the gospel for a month? That was another testament to me. That's why church is so important I think--when we go, we are edified by each other and can build our testimonies up off each other's.
Going to church weekly is hard, though, and so is all that we're asked to do as Latter-Day Saints. I think it's important to remember who is truly asking us: not our parents or bishops or prophets. Our Savior is. Jesus Christ has already paid the price for our sins, and he's set the conditions for repentance. And what I've found: when you get comfortable in your faith, Satan makes his move. But the strait and narrow path never lets us get comfortable in our faith. After all, Jesus Christ did not say in the scriptures, "Come, sit down with me" or "Relax, kick your feet up." He said, "Come, Follow Me."

The gospel is active. The way is uncomfortable. But as Amanda pointed out, it's worth it.
Other awesome things:
We are now teaching a whole family! They are really sweet and open and want their three boys to grow up going to church.
We rescued a DOG that Sister Bustillos almost ran over, and took Stella (who I named) around the neighborhood seeing if anyone recognized her. She had a limp leg :( So we ended up taking her to Arnold's Animal Hospital, and her family picked her up the next day :) Pictures or it didn't happen!
I got to see my old MTC homies on Friday during a training meeting! They're all doing swell. According to them, my hair has grown a lot?? I can't tell, it's just short to me!
Last but not least, Sister Bustillos and I have created our 'comp handle': CC2! WHATITDO!
...it's an MSLM thing.
Love you all!
Sister Fluegel 🐦