Wednesday, October 1, 2014

(545) FOR OUR JOY IS FULL

                                          29 Sep 2014

Alma 26:

1 And now, these are the words of Ammon to his brethren, which say thus: My brothers and my brethren, behold I say unto you, how great reason have we to rejoice; for could we have supposed when we astarted from the land of Zarahemla that God would have granted unto us such great blessings?

 13 Behold, how many thousands of our brethren has he loosed from the pains of ahell; and they are brought to bsing redeeming love, and this because of the power of his word which is in us, therefore have we not great reason to rejoice?

 16 Therefore, let us aglory, yea, we will bglory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his cmercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel.

 30 And we have suffered all manner of afflictions, and all this, that perhaps we might be the means of saving some soul; and we supposed that our ajoy would be full if perhaps we could be the means of saving some.

 35 Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began; yea, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God; for he has all apower, ball wisdom, and all understanding; he comprehendeth all things, and he is a cmerciful Being, even unto salvation, to those who will repent and believe on his name.

 36 Now if this is aboasting, even so will I boast; for this is my life and my light, my joy and my salvation, and my redemption from everlasting wo. Yea, blessed is the name of my God, who has been mindful of this people, who are a bbranch of the tree of Israel, and has been clost from its body in a strange land; yea, I say, blessed be the name of my God, who has been mindful of us, dwanderers in a strange land.

 37 Now my brethren, we see that God is amindful of every bpeople, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever. Amen.

            I wish I could put it all into words. There is nothing to describe how it feels. How it feels to hear someone pray for the first time in their life. How it feels to walk into a baptismal service. How it feels to not only be a part of someone's conversion, but six months later see them the day they get their patriarchal blessing. To see a family for the first time in six months at their children's baptism, preparing to enter into the temple and be sealed together forever. When a less-active member walks into church for the first time in years and is swarmed by members who have missed them.
            I wish you could experience it all. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the church of Jesus Christ back on the earth. I promise that it's worth it. Reading the Book of Mormon, going to church, saying family prayers....it's all worth it. I've seen enough broken families, broken hearts, broken lives to know that the only true source of peace in this world comes from faithful obedience to covenants made with God, through his priesthood authority that is back on the earth. Jesus Christ lives, He is real, and He loves you. It's never too late to start over and to change what you don't like about yourself, your weaknesses, your sins. The Lord doesn't expect perfection-- just progress. When in doubt, ask the missionaries. Their only reward for their service is seeing someone come closer to Christ. There is so much good in this world, so much light, but there is only one church that's been organized by Jesus Christ and I promise you that this is it. If you have any doubts, get on your knees and ask God. He always answers.
            We definitely went out with a bang this week....full of broken down Malibu's...loaner trucks from the Chevy dealer...ceremonially destroying the sister missionary shoes...crazy contacting adventures...If you are even considering serving a mission, go for it. Just do it. I've never had so much fun in my life. It's taught me that true happiness comes from living the commandments. Missionaries have the most rules of anyone that they are expected to live and I haven't missed a thing from the world. No movie, tv show, music, job, class, can even match one day as a missionary. You learn more about yourself from three weeks with a companion than you did your whole childhood. What I've really learned is that the hardest part of the Atonement wasn't the suffering in the garden-- it was every day of the Savior's life, when he had the choice to choose the right, every moment of every day. And He did it. All for us. If we only loved ourselves as much as the Savior loves us...would we do good? share the gospel? be obedient? If we truly loved our souls, we would.
            I love all of you so much. Thank you to everyone who sent letters, packages, prayers, anything my way this past year and a half. It means everything to a missionary. The only way I can think to give back is to lend you my testimony. If you struggle with your faith, please lean on mine. I know that God is real and he will help you through anything. Please have the faith to ask Him for help, ask Him if he's there, because I know He will respond.

Obrigada por tudo; que Deus vos guarde!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

538) BALUT

                                                         22 Sep 2014

So there is probably going to be a moment when it'll all sink in that this is my last week and everything...but it hasn't hit yet. It's going to be in the middle of something random and then I'll become a depressed, blubbering mess...but so far so good! Still feels like a normal week.

We had a great week last week, it was a bit all over the place again since we ended up going on exchanges twice, we're still teaching the family in French so I've gone up to fremont every week this transfer...I'm so spoiled. Plus I get to work with Sister Monson again, which is always the best day ever. We had a lot of luck this week meeting new less-actives to teach, there is always a point where we visit the same people for awhile but they never progress, so we need to start finding more, and we've seen a lot of success this week. I tend to be better at finding investigators to teach, but we've put a lot of thought and prayer into finding less-actives, and we saw some success this week.
On a lighter note, I totally forgot to tell you about our adventure last week. So I'm sure you've picked up on the nasty habit I've developed of locking myself out of places...especially church buildings....so we had the great idea of staying down at the san jose building after morning sports to study and go down to service, and then come up to fremont to change at lunch. Conserved miles and time, so we made this giant bowl of oatmeal in the kitchen and had a nice hour of personal study, and then went to the bathroom to brush our teeth and locked ourselves out of the classroom that we were in. This time not only our phone and car keys were in there...but our shoes....so the only phone number I could remember was the Fremont sisters so we called them from the ancient foyer phone and got the hermanas' number, who came and got a member to come unlock the classroom door. So. Awkward. It would be funny if it didn't happen every other week...
AND WE ATE BALUT! It's the fertilized egg, baby duck thing that filipinos always eat, and all these missionaries tell stories about eating it and throwing up, so I sort of volunteered us to eat it with Sister Nicolas ("We've never tried it before!" "Oh, sister then I will feed it to you!" *why-did-you-say-that-death-glare from sister neff*). but it was actually really good! We were expecting it to be all gross but it just tasted like egg...with a little baby thing inside. Anyway, it was sort of anticlimactic.

Our investigators are doing well, but I'll miss at least TEN baptisms that are hopefully all happening now next transfer, which is a little sad, but at least they are want to be baptized. It's amazing how the success I can track on my mission has grown exponentially throughout the last year and a half. There are so many indicators for success, but the biggest thing has just been recognizing how many people are prepared to receive the restored gospel, and how many people we can pass by without even knowing it. So. Many. People. We find them every day! We were looking through the area book, and the place where we lose people the most is getting their phone number and they never call back or we never get an appointment. We had pages and pages of potential investigators just in the few months that I've been here, and just to think that all of them said that they'd like to learn more. Just an inkling of interest or curiosity...so then how many people in our everyday lives would say yes if we asked?

(532) as sounding brass

                                                       16 Sep 2014


Good week! I keep trying to remind myself that I only have two weeks left and trying to make everything really dramatic...and everyone asks me how I feel...but I kind of still feel exactly the same as I did four months ago. Missionary work at the end of the day is the same on day 4 and day 137 and day 492....so it's been fun. We are working with SO MANY AMAZING PEOPLE and I'm going to miss SO MANY AMAZING BAPTISMS so that's kind of sad, but other than that I'm pretty good.

We had a bit of a crazy week running back and forth, our new vehicle coordinator "Grandma Ned" has been lovingly restricting our miles, which honestly should have been done a long time ago, but she's actually enforcing it now, and she based it off of my first full month here when we had no investigators and we literally walked around all day looking for people to teach, so we had really awesome low miles. Through all of the car disaster we were kind of exempt with the zone leader's car...so this week has been rough. We had appointments all over the place, exchanges in Fremont, stake conference in South San Jose....so we might have to walk our last two weeks.

That being said it was a successful week! Our filipino family is praying about a date to be baptized, the mom wants to SO bad (she was very concerned about how she should pay her tithing of all things last week). I got to go to Fremont again on exchanges and teach SHIRLEY, the most amazing recent covert ever that we taught 9 months ago, so that was SO neat. She is incredible. Our family from the Congo is doing well too, we are going to teach them English tomorrow, and exchanging today again to teach them. The dad is here for a month so we are super excited to meet him, they'll probably be baptized next week instead just for logistics. She told us of a dream she had of three angels entering her home in Fremont and bringing a light with them, so cool. Especially since two missionaries and the member translating makes three :)

We also got to see how much the Book of Mormon has helped the family that we've been working with who just lost a son. The dad has been reading and he is just drawn to it, even though he is still torn between his Catholic family and what he's been reading, but he knows that it is good and that it's from God. He wants to go to church SO bad, so hopefully the rest of his family will have the courage to come as well. We had a great lesson with the daughter who is a recent convert, and talked about the power of the atonement to relieve our sorrows. We really don't have to carry around those burdens.


During exchanges we had a really great discussion about charity with Sister Stegelmeier. Her and Sister Neff are the exact same person (and previous companions), and Sister Monson and I are the exact same person, so it was cool to talk about our experiences and how we've adapted to our companions needs, and how all of our relationships with others boil down to charity. It doesn't matter if something our companion or friend does bothers us, we have an opportunity to stop and consider why they do what they do, and to assume that it is their way of helping or it's something that makes perfect sense to them. "Let all things be done with charity" really can mean so much if we really try. It's cool to see how things you've heard all your life really can be true for you.

(524) acts 17:27-29

                                8 Sep 2014

            Another long week...by last night Sister Neff couldn't keep a straight face when I would try to pray and all of my words would slur together because I was so tired...but that's okay, it's been worth it!
            We had a pretty standard week, it was a little all over the place since we had to go on exchanges for the french lesson and we had a surpise BAPTISM, so I got to go back to fremont a lot this week! Sierra, who was officially adopted by her family last year, moved out here and we started to teach her before I left, so she's been preparing for a while, but she finally decided to be baptized on Friday! So we got to go back and see everyone from Centerville, which is always nice when people remember you. Sometimes you go back to an old area and you are SO HAPPY TO SEE EVERYONE and they are like...what's your name again? Yeah. Life of a missionary. But everyone there missed me so that was good!           
            It turned into a bit of a zoo though, because to backtrack, we handed off our precious congolese family of eight to the fremont sisters, since they moved into central park (if it was anyone else in any other ward I don't know if I could give them up...). They decided to go on exchanges with the other sisters that day, so it got a little crazy but i ended up going and teaching with Sister Steglemeier, and we set a date for four of them for the 19th! The two oldest didn't set one yet, but they were able to come to the baptism on Friday...which involved a lot of phone tag in french (STRESS) and them showing up with no translator...so I had to translate the baptism into french and there were no empty chairs left...so it was a little crazy but everyone did a good job of going up and saying "bonjour!"
            We finally got to meet the son of our Filipino family that came to church last week, and the mom was so cute and asked us all of these questions about tithing (we're on lesson 3) about how she can pay it on her gross income and all of this stuff. She's so ready, I just keep praying that her husband gets off work so they can come to church and get a baptismal date! We played jenga on Friday with our vietnamese recent converts, who were going to make us pray in Vietnamese again (which I'm sure was hilarious) if we lost...but we forgot the instructions so they made me pray in French instead. but someday I'm going to figure that language out...
            The biggest thing I've been reflecting on this week was definitely the first principle of lesson one: that God is our loving Heavenly Father. We teach it and breeze over it so often, but we had some great lessons with some members who just had lost sight of how important they were to God. So many of us can't see how important we are, and so many of us think that thinking less of ourselves is humility. It's not! God has given us gifts and talents for a reason, and he expects us to love ourselves for who we are. I read a talk by Elder Scott this morning about the transforming power of faith and character" all about how character is woven through obedience, not during hard times in our lives. We become who we want to be by being who we want to become every day.
            #malbuproblem of the week: battery died on Saturday, at our ward mission leader's house, thank goodness. so Elder Arnell came with a bunch of stuff to clean off the corroded battery and we gave Elder Bills a heart attack thinking that he might have to bike for the last three weeks of his mission...but so far so good. Seriously. Ridiculous.


on that note got my flight plans on Saturday, I'll be in eugene at 3:20 on the first! It's weird how normal it feels...guess we'll find out when I actually get there. but so far so good!

(517) "moi, j'accepte"

                            1 Sep 2014

the week in numbers:
1st interview with president mella, they are such incredible people. So sad to leave now.
3 times our appointments have rescheduled this week (on average)
8 languages 
21 mosquito bites
3 times getting locked out of the church
12 hours of service (including cleaning up after a house fire)
9 investigators at church!!
            So our biggest miracles was definitely getting people to church, it was a ZOO yesterday running back and forth between wards to make sure everyone came, but still! it was incredible! It helps to be teaching our favorite family of 8 (six of which are investigators), they moved to the central park ward this week so we'll get to go on exchanges with the fremont sisters again (oh bummer) and teach them this week. We met with them on tuesday ("have you read a bit from the book of mormon?" "of course, every day") and again on Sunday during Sunday School, where we asked them about baptism and the mom said ME, I ACCEPT and then went around to each one of her kids and asked them. Two still want to learn a little more first, but they should (hopefully) be ready before I go home!
            Our other favorite family from the Phillippines came as well, he has been having trouble getting off work but they walked in late and our amazing fellowshipper just swooped in and took them to class, and then we had a potluck after that was literally entirely Filipino food (so good). so they made friends with half of the ward, and they are completely sold (if they weren't already). So we'll get to meet with their ten-year old son this week too! #FAMILIES
            OH and we contacted the cutest Chinese family a couple of months ago and referred them to the chinese elders, she didn't speak any english and her husband's was really broken but he was able to tell us that they were interested and she wanted to do missionary work like us, it was so cute, so we explained about calllings in the church. Anyway, this was back in July, and we hadn't heard anything from the elders, but we were in milpitas sacrament meeting and saw them walk in looking a little lost, so we walked out and then they recognized me! they have a two year old boy too, and she LOVED church, she was so grateful. SO MANY MIRACLES!
            Those were definitely the highlights, we spent a lot of time running back and forth between wards this week...and getting attacked by mosquitoes while an Indian man is teaching us different meditation/breathing techniques while we are trying to teach him about the Savior's earthly ministry...yeah. The vietnamese elders had been helping us teach our recent converts who just moved from Vietnam this summer and started school last week, so english is still difficult for them. We tricked them into praying in english while they were teaching us how to pray in vietnamese...which was probably hilarious, since we don't know any of the tones. But it worked. 

            It was definitely a rougher week getting people to teach, but we saw a lot of progression with the ones we are teaching, so that was really exciting. Sunday itself...we went to church, taughtsunday school in french, then I translated for a Spanish baptism that Sister Neff played the piano for, and then we found a BRAZILIAN that we have an appointment with on friday! Any more and my head might have exploded, but it was fun. and we hiked mission peak again today with the fremont zone, except we woke up 15 minutes after they left so we got to hike all the way up by ourselves until we caught up at the top. but we basically get to hang out with both zones so it's been really nice. anyway, it's been a good week!

(510) are you sleeping through the earthquake?

25 Aug 2014

So there is probably going to be a moment when it'll all sink in that this is my last week and everything...but it hasn't hit yet. It's going to be in the middle of something random and then I'll become a depressed, blubbering mess...but so far so good! Still feels like a normal week.

We had a great week last week, it was a bit all over the place again since we ended up going on exchanges twice, we're still teaching the family in French so I've gone up to fremont every week this transfer...I'm so spoiled. Plus I get to work with Sister Monson again, which is always the best day ever. We had a lot of luck this week meeting new less-actives to teach, there is always a point where we visit the same people for awhile but they never progress, so we need to start finding more, and we've seen a lot of success this week. I tend to be better at finding investigators to teach, but we've put a lot of thought and prayer into finding less-actives, and we saw some success this week.
On a lighter note, I totally forgot to tell you about our adventure last week. So I'm sure you've picked up on the nasty habit I've developed of locking myself out of places...especially church buildings....so we had the great idea of staying down at the san jose building after morning sports to study and go down to service, and then come up to fremont to change at lunch. Conserved miles and time, so we made this giant bowl of oatmeal in the kitchen and had a nice hour of personal study, and then went to the bathroom to brush our teeth and locked ourselves out of the classroom that we were in. This time not only our phone and car keys were in there...but our shoes....so the only phone number I could remember was the Fremont sisters so we called them from the ancient foyer phone and got the hermanas' number, who came and got a member to come unlock the classroom door. So. Awkward. It would be funny if it didn't happen every other week...
AND WE ATE BALUT! It's the fertilized egg, baby duck thing that filipinos always eat, and all these missionaries tell stories about eating it and throwing up, so I sort of volunteered us to eat it with Sister Nicolas ("We've never tried it before!" "Oh, sister then I will feed it to you!" *why-did-you-say-that-death-glare from sister neff*). but it was actually really good! We were expecting it to be all gross but it just tasted like egg...with a little baby thing inside. Anyway, it was sort of anticlimactic.
Our investigators are doing well, but I'll miss at least TEN baptisms that are hopefully all happening now next transfer, which is a little sad, but at least they are want to be baptized. It's amazing how the success I can track on my mission has grown exponentially throughout the last year and a half. There are so many indicators for success, but the biggest thing has just been recognizing how many people are prepared to receive the restored gospel, and how many people we can pass by without even knowing it. So. Many. People. We find them every day! We were looking through the area book, and the place where we lose people the most is getting their phone number and they never call back or we never get an appointment. We had pages and pages of potential investigators just in the few months that I've been here, and just to think that all of them said that they'd like to learn more. Just an inkling of interest or curiosity...so then how many people in our everyday lives would say yes if we asked?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

(503) our useless cares from us to drive

18AUG 2014

goodness. last transfer.

We had quite the week. the best moment for me when I looked at our list of investigators and realized that all those progressing are families. Mom, dad, kids....I don't think that has ever happened my whole mission. Pretty sure all I did was say a half-hearted prayer/wish that we could teach more families...and they just came. It's no coincidence that the Lord says more often than anything else in the scriptures, "ask and ye shall receive." Miracles upon miracles.

As missionaries we read from Doctrine and Covenants section 4 all the time...where it compares missionary work to a field ready to harvest. Two transfers ago, I got plunked in a pretty barren desert, if you will, but the seeds of the gospel will take root anywhere, even if you have to dig deep. I keep talking about how hard we've worked..but we finally are seeing all of it grow. Time to harvest! We have so many people who are SO prepared and could get baptized this next transfer. 

We had a good week, our new family is from the Philippines, we met the mom a couple weeks ago, one of those contacts where we were late to dinner with the bishop so we were speedwalking and kinda sorta contacting, but we were late, but we stopped to talk to her anyway and set up a time really fast to come back the next day. Most times they tend to fall through, but we met with her that weekend and taught her the Restoration, and this week we met her husband! They have a new baby and a 10 year old boy, and they worked so hard to come to the States and they have seen the Lord bless them so much already. We talked about being sealed in temple the first lesson that we had with them, and she prayed that he could get off work on Sundays and that we wouldn't get tired of visiting them! They are amazing!

We didn't get to meet with the family from the Congo, but the kids all came to church and I translated...ish...for sacrament for the 14 year old....So bad.

*giant long story about getting trapped by an octopus that related to the gospel*
"A man...went to the beach...and got stuck underwater by an (octopus)...so we should always read our scriptures"


Yeah it probably went over really well. Better than nothing I guess.Sister Savila is going back to Samoa tomorrow, SO weird, so I'll be getting a new companion for my last six weeks! we'll find out tomorrow...