"Wherefore, whithersoever they shall send you, go ye, and I will be with you; and in whatsoever place ye shall
proclaim my name an effectual door shall be opened unto you, that they may receive my word."
- Doctrine & Covenants 112:19

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Merry Christmas!

This will be my Christmas email because p-day is on Christmas so I won't get to email. But we'll get to talk on the phone so even better!

This week was crazy....and it is only Wednesday!

So Sunday we spoke at a different ward, it was fun! We ended up with only about 2 minutes each to speak, but it was good. It was nice to experience that.

On Monday, we got to.....drumroll.....eat at a members house! One of the couples in my mission President's ward had my district over for a Christmas Dinner! (Different couples had other districts over, so all the sisters get to do that, it wasn't just our district) Oh man was it good. We had roast beef on rolls with a ribbon salad, fresh vegetables, funeral potatoes, and all types of deserts....I had thirds I was so stuffed. Then we talked about our Christmas traditions, the food we eat, and got to play parts in a narration of 'The Best Christmas Pagaent Ever' It was great! It was such a treat to be fed!

So we were going to go straight home, but then we found out that some people from my companion's ward in India were here with some friends and wanted to see her so we ran (literally) to the square to see them. Well, as it turns out, the friends that the people from India were with were my cousin Megan and her husband Eric and his parents! So crazy. So we are talking to thm and guess who I see.....my entire YSA ward from Ogden was there! So we ended up staying and talking with them, it was so fun to see everyone.

Yesterday morning, all the sisters had the opportunity to go on an organ tour. We got to go behind the scenes and see what the organ really looks like from behind, in both the Tabernacle and the Conference Center!

The Tabernacle has 11,623 pipes ( i feel like i am giving a tour) and the Conference Center has 7000 i think, and we got to see them! Some are 32 ft. tall, and some are just 1/4 inch tall.

But when we were in the conference center we got to go on the stage, play the organ, go in the choir seats etc., and so I went and sat in the Prophet's chair! (I hope that isn't sacrilegious haha) but i had to do it.

Today we got to go to the Temple! It was so great, I really miss being able to go once a week...but I am so blessed to be able to go every six weeks, most missionaries do not get that.

It's been weird getting used to live sessions but good too. I love the SLC temple. I actually got to do a name for someone who brought some sisters some names for his family that he couldn't do since he is male. So it was really cool to be able to help someone do their family history (not that temple names aren't helping but you know what I mean).

So this week has been a week of miracles, we have found several new investigators and had multiple less-active lessons, which are a little harder to come by.

One of the less actives, Alisa came to Temple Square by herself a couple nights ago. She moved from Michigan and hasn't really gone to church but she acted like she was all happy. We could tell it was just a front though. She wanted to see the presentation God's Plan for His Families so we ended up taking her through it by herself, which is rare with all the people. I know that that was the work of God though because we needed to get to know her needs and we couldn't have done that with 10 other people in a big group. So at the end, we really just felt like we should tell her how much God loves her. We said, you know, we don't know what you are going through, but there is one person that does. Christ has felt what you are feeling, and has gone through what you are going through. She started crying and said that she is going through a lot. We invited her to pray and to work towards the temple, and she gave us her phone number so that we can continue talking to her and helping her get there.

We also found a new investigator on chat! Her name is Nan, and she lives in London England. She came on chat and had some questions. We taught her the Plan of Salvation in depth, and she really liked it. She found it really interesting. She is not religious at all, but lately has been really interested, and when she tried asking questions about where she is going after this life, why she is here etc., no one could ever tell her. So she liked that there was a solid answer. She committed to pray that night and we called her the next day. she prayed! She said she enjoyed praying. We got to teach her the Restoration and Priesthood. A lot of people get overwhelmed so we try not to teach as much at once, but she is so hungry for information, she wants to learn about it all! She said she will pray to know if it is true and committed to start the Book of Mormon. She is a student, and just finished the semester so she is going home for the holidays and said that we can call her when she gets back January 6th (I know so long time :( ! ) But she gave us her email so we could email until then. She is really willing to keep commitments, it is refreshing.

Toni, the lady we have been teaching for a couple months is still doing well. We have an appointment with her Friday, and we are hoping to set a baptismal date.

We have some other new investigators from chat too, Miracles come from chat! But this week we have had a lot of pranksters and antis too....but it is worth it.

One thing that I think is cool are our zone challenges. Each day, our zone leaders text out a challenge that we complete. We have a Christmas tree cut out of paper that we have hanging up, and if we complete the challenge, we get to put a "light" (colored dot) on the tree! and it is lighting up so fast! The challenges are so fun. Like this week some of them were to commit a couple to do companionship inventory, sharing our testimony of Christ with 2 pregnant ladies, testifying to someone in a white scarf, getting a RM to be a member present in a lesson, or committing youth to start preparing for a mission by using PMG. It's so fun because we usually by some miracle find someone to help us complete that challenge every day! It's really cool.

Some sisters were down in the tunnels last Friday and saw 10 of the brethren at once going to a meeting.....I am so mad. I haven't seen any yet....but my time will come! :)

Tomorrow for Relief Society, it is being held in the Relief Society building, so I am pretty sure we will have a "special" speaker! Man us Temple Square missionaries are so lucky!!

That is what I have really realized this week. How much I love the mission I am called to. I am sad that I wasn't more excited before because it is the best place to serve! Heavenly Father really knows me and knows what is best for me....I love being here!

I cannot believe it is Christmas next week and already time to call home....it is going to be weird but really cool. I know Christ lives, and He was born in a manger, the Prince of Peace. He is why we celebrate Christmas, and I love Him. He is our Savior!

So Merry Christmas, I hope you enjoy the celebration of this last special week before everyone gets excited for the next holiday. This is the best!


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!

The Sister in front on the left taking the picture is Sister Simons
 who was on her outbound in our (Adam & Kami's) ward!

Well this week was a pretty busy one. We also got about a foot of snow dumped on us it's great! The best part of snow here is that it is constantly sliding off of the tabernacle and I can't wait for the day when it just nails someone! haha it almost happened to my companion and I.

Well I guess I will start out with my experience with Temple Service!

I was so excited to be able to finally do it!

So there were 10 of us sisters, and they grouped us with a stake from Tooele that was there for service as well. They had us change into all white and then they took just the sisters up to....................The Assembly Room! Holy cow, that was so cool! The Assembly Room was originally used to dedicate the Temple, but now is used for devotionals, meetings etc. for church leadership (a.k.a. the Prophet!). We got to set up chairs in there, and then dust. Then we were able to see the Talmage room where James E. Talmage wrote Jesus The Christ. There is even a little bathroom in there haha. Then we went down and cleaned the baseboards of hallways, etc. It was really cool to be able to clean in the Temple, it is pretty meticulous, but it is the Lord's house after all. The Pioneers did 800x the work I did daily, so I can scrub baseboards for a few hours. They gave us popcorn and cookies too. Temple Service is the best!

We also got to go the the First Presidency Christmas Devotional. All the Sisters! A YSA ward covered all our assignments for us. We were seated in Plaza 11, which is the middle front section! Not really close, but real good seats. Man it was so good, I loved Elder Nelson's use of media, I had never seen that before, it was really neat. Especially the part of his grand kid's singing!

So on Sunday at church, we actually arrived really early, so we were just quietly waiting for it to start when all of a sudden I look up and Elder Quentin L. Cook is sitting on the stand!! I was like what the heck that's Elder Cook! Turns out my Mission President saw him in the elevator, and he mentioned that he wanted to attend an early church because he is always going to Stake Conferences and wants to be able to take the sacrament. So my Mission President said, well, you can come to ours, we meet at 7:30. So he said he might do that then he did! And he might come back more! He didn't get to speak to us though. what a surprise for the sisters that were speaking that day! It was so funny because one sister was giving her talk and she goes, I wanted to share this story about Elder Holland. I just love Elder Holland so much, He is my favorite-- and then she turned around to Elder Cook and everyone busted up while she tried to make up for it. Then all the other sisters quoted pretty much every apostle except him haha. But one sister spoke about Elder Cook's visit to the Philippines where she is from and I think that really meant something to him. I really wish we could have heard him speak though!

So Elder Don R. Clarke of the Seventy is doing our mission tour this week. For three days he comes and talks to us with his wife, basically helping us to become better missionaries, and more purpose centered. It was really good. My group got to go yesterday and it was from 8-3:45 so very long but it went by really fast and we all learned so much! He is a really intense guy...Also, I had to say the closing prayer. I have a cold and everyone thought I was crying, I guess I sounded like a turtle or something haha but he shook my hand after. hopefully I didn't give him my cold...

So the Sisters that speak in our Sacrament meeting are usually in their last transfer. Only sisters that are going home soon have to speak, so I thought I would be in the clear until I found out that every week, sisters get sent over to local wards to go speak and give musical numbers. And guess who is speaking in Riverton this Sunday.....yep! we are. So not only do I have to give a talk sounding like a turtle, but I have to sing like it too! Those poor people in the congregation. It will be good practice for outbound though.

I will tell you about one tour that we took this week. They were 4 men from China. We started talking to them, and took them to the Temple Model. For some reason I just started teaching about the Temple as if they already knew who God was, etc., when my companion asked them what their religious beliefs were. Turns out they are all Atheist! Well of course, they are from mainland China, where that is common.They believe there is no God. I guess my belief in God is so strong, I forget that's people even believe differently. So after that point, we tried very hard to focus on testifying and bringing the Spirit, so that they can know that God is real. The whole time I was thinking I have to help them feel of God's love for them, I have to help them know that God is there. We took them to a few places and ended at the Christus where were talked about Christ. They said they felt peace. I know they felt God's love! We were able to give them Chinese material, and Chinese B.O.M.'s however there is a strict policy with China. We can teach them while they are here, and give them material, but we cannot contact them after they go back to China. So we just have to hope and pray that they will remember the spirit they felt, and read the B.O.M. and gain a testimony of it.

It has been fun to be able to talk to lots of people with the lights. Each night is distinguishable too, like Mondays are Family Nights and YSA FHE nights,Tuesday and Wednesday are mutual nights, and Friday Saturday and Sunday are date nights, which mean awkward couples! That's always fun. But I love talking to the youth and talking about future missions with them. It's really fun to take big groups like that through God's Plan to be able to show them why they should serve a mission. It's not about Baptisms, but it's about the Temple, and it's really neat to be able to show them that.

So I have been teaching a lady named Jennifer for a couple weeks. She is from Virginia and was a former investigator until she heard some false information about the church and decided to drop her baptismal date. Anyway, she decided to call in for a free Bible, and I decided to try to help her. She became interested again, and when we called her this week, we were able to teach her about the Word of Wisdom. She knows all the lessons, and reads daily from the Book of Mormon, She is halfway through Mosiah. She says she knows it's all true, the B.O.M., Joseph Smith, Modern Day Prophets, all. But she is a chain smoker and drinks coffee. We talked a lot about the W.o.W. and explained how the Atonement makes anything possible, and we invited her to live the W.o.W. and she said yes. Then we invited her to be baptized on January 4 and she said yes. So we texted her last night to see how she was doing and she said good. Then out of nowhere, she said she didn't want us to contact her anymore. So we call her and she says that she decided it's all false and that she doesn't want to change. she is happy in her religion and thinks that our church is false. Man that hit us hard! She went from being so ready to dropping us. We think that she might have some mental disorder or something because it has previously happened with the local missionaries. But we were just really sad because we wanted to see her change. But we let her know that we love her, and that we will always be here. In the end, everyone has their agency....

Well, it has been an exciting week! Today for p-day we are going to get free scalp treatments (free for missionaries yipee) and clean our apartment. It'll be great!

I hope everyone is having a great week and is getting ready for Christmas!!

Have a great week,

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Well yesterday it snowed all day up here in Utah, and I think we got over 7 inches of snow, it's the best!

This week has been pretty insane....the lights bring in so many people! There are people everywhere. It's funny to have come from Ogden because I have bumped into so many people that I know, and people have come looking for me but never find me (I hear from other sisters). I think my companion is tired of seeing people that I know haha

So I would have to say that the highlight of the week was seeing Grandma & Grandpa, Kyle & Cynthia, and Jordan & Loren! I was totally not expecting it and it made my day! I was so shocked though I was speechless, I had no idea what to say. And I had to go to an assignment but I just wanted to tell them THANK YOU so much for coming and spending time looking for me! It was great!

So the lights turned on last Friday. It changes things a little on Temple Square for us missionaries. We actually do not take tours after 5 PM anymore because there are just too many people. It is crazy, people are shoulder to shoulder, and it takes a lot longer to walk places. But it is a great missionary tool. We get to contact so many people. Our schedules change, too. Our dinners are cut in half and we have new assignments (I'll tell you my favorite next!), and the square is open later. So a zone is in charge of being on the Square until 10 PM twice a week, so that at least 1 zone is there every night until 10. So it makes for long days! Like yesterday we got up to do van maintenance at 5:45 AM and didn't get home until after 10 PM. But I actually like it, I like being there for the extra hour. It is a good tired.

So my favorite assignment we only get to do once a week, but it is the Christus. There are so many people that want to see the Christus that they have to rope off the ramp and people wait in a big line. They let about 50 people up at once. So we rotate jobs like being the ones that let people up, directing people where to go, or being the ones that play the Christus. We got to be the ones that play the Christus this week. It is my favorite because for an hour, every 3-4 minutes I get to testify to groups of 50 about Christ. I get to share my testimony of Christ with hundreds of people in an hour! It is so great. And even though there are a lot of screaming kids and rude people, I know that there are people who feel the spirit and that is all that matters.

I really try to listen to the Spirit when I testify so I can be able to know what I should say that people need to hear from the Spirit, and one particular time I was testifying, I felt like everything I said didn't make sense and that no one was listening. But as soon as I finished and people got up to leave, a man came up and shook my hand and said 'thank you for the Spirit that you brought, i have several non-members with me and i know they needed to feel that' I was really surprised! and really humbled...I felt bad for doubting that what I said was from the Spirit. It sure taught me a lesson!

So our investigators...With my new companion, I have gained a lot of investigators from India! They are really hard for me to understand with their accent haha but I am working on it.

It's been really hard to teach investigators in the Teaching Center (TC) because we try to be on the Square as much as we can, and sometimes we go days without having time in the TC. And a lot of my investigators are in different countries, so trying to find a time that works for both their schedule and ours is really hard too. But it will all work out.

I have had bad luck with anti's lately, it seems all the chats I take are anti, and we even had a request for a 1st lesson in the North Visitor's Center (we thought they would be golden!) but it was too good to be true, they were just anti's trying to ruin our testimonies. Heavenly Father is definitely helping my weaknesses (like in Ether) because anti's are really hard for me not to be rude! I am learning to deal with them with patience and not arguing. I just say thank you for helping build my testimony. I know this is true because I prayed about it, and you can too if you will pray about it. Have a great day. They are so hard to love though....

Well that's about all that is interesting here, I would just like to share one of my favorite stories that I think of often when times get tough, I am sure many have heard it! It is the Refiner's Fire:

Malachi 3:3 says: 
"He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." 
This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God...One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible study. 
That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process. As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities.
The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot; then she thought again about the verse that says, "He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver". She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time. The man answered that he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was on fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.
The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, "How do you know when the silver is fully refined?" He smiled at her and answered, "Oh that's easy-when I see my image in it."

I hope you can think of that when times get hard! The Lord is purifying and refining you, and he is watching you carefully. And when we have endured the trial, He will see His image in all of us!

I love you all, hope you have a great week!