"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, February 25, 2015

"Last shall be first"

This is really strange knowing this is the last email I will write as a full-time missionary. But it's not been as hard as I thought that it would. I think it is because I don't view this as an end. "Last shall be first" was intended to mean that this is a last that will also be a first. It marks the beginning of something new and exciting. Even though I won't have a name tag anymore, I intend on doing most of the exact things that I do now. 

Today we had the privilege of having Elder Don R. Clarke of the Seventy (in the Missionary Department) and Brother Donaldson come and give us an iPad training. Our mission is getting iPads next week, so they came to teach us more about them. After seeing just how much it will impact the work, I'm a little envious that I will never get to experience that as a missionary, but that is why I loved the training so much because it wasn't just about how to use the iPads, but it was about conversion. It helped me to think about the way I want to use technology when I go home. Most of all, it was special because the Holy Ghost was the teacher, and we all learned so much from Him.

This week has flown by but has been so great.

We were able to call and teach Richard, and miraculously, he didn't mention anything about going to a seminary to find information. Not sure if that was because he didn't go, but we had a great lesson. We followed up with his commitments which he was been keeping for the most part. He even set aside an hour and a half today to read the Book of Mormon. He has church penciled on his calendar for next Sunday and has asked his lifelong member friend if he could go with him. The missionaries will come visit him today and are planning on teaching from Alma 32 with him. He is still praying about everything we share with him and everything he reads in the Book of Mormon, and feels that Heavenly Father is really guiding him in his life right now.

We found a new investigator named Lexi this week .She is way cool! We met her on chat and she is very adamant about not getting our hopes up. She is Evangelical and her Grandpa is a member and she has always been very curious. But, lately as she has been learning more she has felt truth and has been doubting some of the things she has been taught.

We had an awesome lesson with her last night and she is going to church on Sunday. She really wants to make sure it is right before she goes open about it to her family, and I think that is way cool.

Briee is doing great! She is getting baptized on April 15th and really feels like Heavenly Father has led her here and this is His Restored Gospel.

Our other investigators are doing great and we are praying that we wil lbe able to help them to progress towards baptism and the Temple. I have felt SO blessed to have the opportunity to be involved in teaching them.

As I near this last week as a missionary, Alma really sums up how I feel. And I choose to end with this:

"12 Behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.
13 Behold, how many thousands of our brethren has he loosed from the pains of hell; and they are brought to sing redeeming love, and this because of the power of his word which is in us, therefore have we not great reason to rejoice?
14 Yea, we have reason to praise him forever, for he is the Most High God, and has loosed our brethren from the chains of hell.
15 Yea, they were encircled about with everlasting darkness and destruction; but behold, he has brought them into his everlasting light, yea, into everlasting salvation; and they are encircled about with the matchless bounty of his love; yea, and we have been instruments in his hands of doing this great and marvelous work.
16 Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory 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 mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel.
27 Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success.
28 And now behold, we have come, and been forth amongst them; and we have been patient in our sufferings, and we have suffered every privation; yea, we have traveled from house to house, relying upon the mercies of the world—not upon the mercies of the world alone but upon the mercies of God.
29 And we have entered into their houses and taught them, and we have taught them in their streets; yea, and we have taught them upon their hills; and we have also entered into their temples and their synagogues and taught them; and we have been cast out, and mocked, and spit upon, and smote upon our cheeks; and we have been stoned, and taken and bound with strong cords, and cast into prison; and through the power and wisdom of God we have been delivered again.
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 joy would be full if perhaps we could be the means of saving some.
31 Now behold, we can look forth and see the fruits of our labors; and are they few? I say unto you, Nay, they are many; yea, and we can witness of their sincerity, because of their love towards their brethren and also towards us
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 power, all wisdom, and all understanding; he comprehendeth all things, and he is a merciful Being, even unto salvation, to those who will repent and believe on his name."

I know this is God's very work. I know Jesus Christ lives and I will serve Him for the rest of my life, and "praise His name forever." I will forever treasure this sacred time I have has as a missionary! The two things I always tell everyone are:

1. Work hard, play harder

2. Always be better today than you were yesterday

It's the key to success.

Thank you for all the prayers and support. I feel them, and they have helped to change my heart. May we all take full advantage of the Atonement so our hearts can be changed to become more like Christ.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Our unique message: the Restoration

Wow, that was a fast week. But a great week!

Our investigators are doing really well. We're weeding out the ones that are really prepared NOW to receive the Restored Gospel.

One of those is Briee! We taught her all about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon and focused on the 'pray to know' part of the lesson. She is doing so good with that. She said that she feels the spirit and she really understands and likes everything we share with her. She is just so sincere it's almost weird. Haha just kidding. She is just really prepared. She's even been to church twice now and is praying to know when she should be baptized. And the missionaries finally came! They also taught her the restoration so pretty soon she can teach us the Restoration. haha.

Jeanne is another that is super prepared. She's only been learning for about a month, but is getting baptized on the 28th. When the missionaries invited her to be baptized on the 28th she said she felt honored and so grateful that someone would invite her to do that. Sometimes as missionaries or member missionaries, we feel that we are pushing people and being awkward by inviting them to do things, but really you just never know when someone has been prepared. They have been waiting for someone to invite them, and when a person does, the Holy Ghost can confirm that it is right. The Holy Ghost cannot confirm that it it right if we never give them a chance!

Tim is doing really well. His Stake President and Bishop came over and told him they think he is ready to prepare to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood and his Endowments! In March he will have been a member for a year. So that's what he is working on. He is still struggling with his health but hopefully it will improve enough for him to be out and about a little more. He's been having to have the sacrament brought to him recently because he isn't feeling so great in the mornings. So hopefully that will improve!

Richard on the other hand isn't as prepared right now....We knew this week's lesson would be a way to know if he is ready or not. We were following up yesterday with his Book of Mormon reading and he was telling us how it follows the bible and he hasn't found anything he disagrees with. But then he started talking about his Catholic beliefs and how the Catholic church was the original church...We knew it was time to teach the Great Apostasy and Restoration. The Spirit was definitely there and helped us to know what to say. We tried to do it tactfully so it wasn't like us saying, 'actually when we're talking about churches being started without Christ's Authority we're talking about the Catholic church' haha. But he just didn't want to understand it. He said that he wants to have better proof he can back himself up with so before next week when we call he is going to go to a Seminary and talk to people so he can find out where he can show us that his church is the original church and has the authority. Over and over again we emphasized the point that he should ask God for truth and confirmation, and that no man can give us truth. So we'll see how it turns out. Even if he decides to not investigate the church further, it's okay because we did our best to invite him come closer to Christ by helping him to learn correct information for himself. Sometimes people aren't ready and they take more time and more good contacts with the church before they really understand. But we hope that he will depend on our Heavenly Father to answer his prayers!

We have been enjoying serving in the Beehive House. It's been pretty busy (haha get it, busy like bees in the Beehive House haha) but we've met some really great people. It's such a neat place to serve because not only did Brigham Young live there, but Lorenzo Snow and Joseph F. Smith also did, and Joseph F. Smith received the revelation of D&C 138 there. I read the section the other day and it was so cool! It takes the famous chapters in Peter about the Spirit World and expounds them. That's what I love about Modern revelation, things are unfolded and we don't have a big mystery hanging over us. Also, it's cool because we can receive our own personal revelation and be taught more things like the scriptures tell us: "For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times to come; wherefore, the course of the Lord is one eternal round." As Joseph F. Smith was troubled by the passing of family members, he sought to understand more about what happens after we die. We too can seek answers to our questions, and God's mysteries can and will be revealed as we trust Him. That's just another fraction of my testimony of how I know this church has been restored. Of course God hasn't left us alone. We had to be in a period of darkness for a while because of the bad choices of those that persecuted Christ's church. This scripture in Amos prophesied an Apostasy: "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord:" We had to have that time so the world could be prepared for the Gospel again, but God has always had the same pattern of calling a Prophet to establish His truths. Why would this time be any different? It's so cool to me that we have the same organization that existed in the Primitive church. We can receive personal revelation, and a Prophet can receive revelation for the church. And it's so neat that the Beehive House was worthy for a Prophet to receive revelation! That just means the statement about only a home can be a sacred as a Temple is true.

Anyway, we had some other great lessons, and tours this week also. It's so rewarding to talk to someone who is so closed and has no desire to talk to you but after you try to open your mouth anyway and get to know them, they leave much happier and the spirit has uplifted them! Oftentimes the first sister to contact someone will find that they don't really want to be talked to. But after a good conversation, another set of sisters will come along and talk to the person again, and with every contact they become more friendly and by the time they leave, they have had a great experience. So we can never think to ourselves, 'someone has probably already talked to them,' or 'someone else can talk to them better than I can' because we never know if something we say will be something that specific person needs to hear!

In District Meeting this week, we focused on Revelation through the Book of Mormon. We discussed how important the Book of Mormon is in conversion and why. We watched Elder Holland's Testimony of the Book of Mormon. It's one of my favorite videos! Here's the link so you can watch it:

click here

Well that's about it! Hope you have a great week.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

(No Title)

It's been an eventful week!
We are teaching great people. We've been really blessed.

Sister Weidmann and I have goals of things that we have realized we need to work on. So we have a goal for every day of the week, so on Wednesdays we focus on asking inspired questions, Thursdays inviting everyone, Fridays asking for referrals, etc., so everyday we are trying to turn those weaknesses into strengths. I think it's been working really well because we hold each other accountable and help each other to remember. Also it improves our contacts because we are not just talking to people, but we are trying to help them come closer to Jesus Christ, which is our missionary purpose after all :)

Richard is doing so good! I feel so strongly that that timing was inspired. We talked with him yesterday. The local missionaries came over on Monday and brought him a Book of Mormon and visited with him for about an hour. He said he just felt so fulfilled. He likes the Book of Mormon and was feeling like it agrees with everything he believes. He kept saying things like, 'it fits with my bible' or 'i haven't found anything that differs from my bible' so we told him hey, we want you to know that the Book of Mormon doesn't replace the Bible. We told him how we use them together and he was so relieved. He said, I'm so happy you told me that because that was the impression I had gotten. Now he is excited to read them together to see how they fit together. In Preach my Gospel, it says that we should invite people to be baptized in the first lesson, and no later than the second lesson. I didn't invite int he first lesson because of his past experience with pushy missionaries, but I knew that we needed to on Tuesday. So we invited him to be baptized and he told us about how he didn't like that he was baptized into the Catholic church as an infant because it wasn't his choice, so a couple years ago he went to Jerusalem and was baptized in the River Jordan. He told us all about that experience and how it was life changing and how great it was and said that he has already fulfilled that and doesn't want to again. We taught him about the Gift of the Holy Ghost and how special it is, and how we don't want to take away from the great experience he had, but that we would love for him to be able to add to it. I think he understood that a lot more and that is something he wants to have. The spirit was there and I know he felt it. He said that he is so grateful that we call him because he learns so much and feels like it's what Heavenly Father wants for him. Oh and on the bright side, we cleared up some of the history with missionaries being pushy...he asked us if Jehovah's witnesses were a branch of LDS and told us a story of when they knocked on his door and after the conversation of him saying he was not interested, they shoved their foot in the door so it couldn't close and kept trying to talk to him. He said he hated that and thought they were our missionaries. We just explained that that isn't our religion and not our missionaries. It lightened it up a lot haha and at least now he knows it wasn't us!

We are also teaching a girl named Briee. She had come on chat asking for a Book of Mormon. Her whole family is Baptist, but she has just had this feeling that it's not complete so she started searching. She actually heard about the church through some news story of a Mormon guy that was killed, so it piqued her interest and she was googling it when she came across Mormon.org and that's when she wanted a Book of Mormon. Well we've been calling her and she is learning so fast. She's been reading and praying and really likes it so far. She went to church on Sunday and is wanting the missionaries to come teach her more in her area. We shared the Book of Mormon promise (Mor. 10: 3-5) with her and talked about the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost. She said she has felt it before so we encouraged her to look for those same feelings as she reads the Book of Mormon and prays about it. We invited her to be baptized and she said yes. It amazes me how people can be so open-minded. It is really a testimony to me of how the Lord is hastening His work! I'm grateful that people are willing to obey those subtle promptings, even when they don't know they are promptings. It really is a fulfillment of the scripture in D&C 123: "For there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties, and denominations, who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it—" We all have to be missionaries to help others know where to find it!

We are also teaching Pascal in Germany. He is doing really well and has a baptismal date. He has some problems with his nasal cavity though so he's been really sick and not able to go to church. We are hoping the elders will come and give him a blessing so he can come to church on Sunday. It's funny because he likes to talk to us after he meets with the elders because they are from America and he can't understand their German so he likes to clarify things with Sister Weidmann haha. But he's an awesome guy. It's cool to see someone who is, once again, open, especially in Germany because most people there do not believe in God and have no desire to do so, but he believes in God and wants to do what's right.

We're also teaching someone named Lyssa who came on chat. She didn't grow up very religious but began praying after her brother passed away. She heard about the Book of Mormon and came on chat to get one. We sent the local missionaries at the beginning of January, and they still haven't gotten there!! Hopefully she will be able to go to church so she can meet them there or at least get the Book....we're not sure why they haven't come yet. We told her about the online version and the free download in the Apple store so she'll use that until she can have a hard copy. Last time we talked we taught her about the Book of Mormon and what she can expect from it, and how she can recognize truth. I think it's all new to her but she really likes it because it gives her peace. Now we just need to invite her to be baptized!

We're teaching more but don't have time to tell you about all of them, unfortunately. But we've had such a great week at the Beehive house and the teaching center and on the Square. We've felt the spirit as we've testified to people. Unfortunately they don't always want to act on that feeling of the Spirit but after all, it does take 7 good contacts on average with the church before someone accepts the Gospel. So we are happy we can be one of those!

We love serving here! Thanks for all your prayers and support.

I attached some pictures from this week in the Beehive House, we open it some days before the guests arrive, so we got to explore a little bit!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

8 Months later...

This week has been so busy but so good!

We've been taking lots of tours in the Beehive House and I think we are actually starting to give good tours haha.

It was actually kind of a weird week. I'm not sure how to explain it, I guess it was just one of those weeks. But for example...

Saturday night we were contacting at the Christus when someone ACTUALLY proposed at the feet of Christ. That's so weird to me that someone would propose there! It was pretty awkward. They had blindfolded the girl and walked her all the way up there and all their extended family members were around filming it as they took off the blindfold except that it wouldn't come off at first. Haha it was really funny to watch!

There's so many other weird stories but those don't really matter. We had some great lessons where the spirit was so strong:

Here is one lesson...Some sisters that went home this past transfer contacted me a guy they had recently met named Jordan. Well we met up with him on Thursday for a lesson, and it went...okay. Haha. He is 28 and lives here to teach flying at the SLC Airport. He lives with a Returned Missionary and had been walking on Temple Square when the Sisters contacted him. He grew up Pentecostal but when he got older, it kind of rubbed him the wrong way and he felt like they were staging the 'speaking in tongues.' So he left the church and became Agnostic. He started to drink and smoke and make bad choices and some years later he got turned to AA, which has really helped him. Now he doesn't use those substances and because of the AA program, he has been praying daily. He feels that it helps him from being tempted to drink. In AA, they are taught to pray to a higher power, but not necessarily God. So he prays to God but isn't sure if He exists. We asked why he decided to meet with the sisters and with us and he said he had nothing better to do. We had a long lesson with him doing HTBT (PMG) and teaching about the nature of God and how we can feel His love and how He reveals truth. We shared the First Vision and the spirit was really strong. He would kinda laugh to brush off feeling the spirit, I think he's afraid of finding what he's been looking for. We talked about how he can read and pray about the Book of Mormon to know if it is true and he thinks that is biased and that he will be convincing himself. The experiment mentioned in Alma 32 is perfect for him. It talks about planting a seed and measuring it's efforts. The previous sisters had him read it, but when we mentioned the experiment, he didn't remember reading that. He really liked that idea and said he would read it. Sorry this is all so scrambled, I promise the lesson went better than this haha. But we just told him that all it will come down to is him reading and praying about the Book of Mormon. We told him that we are not here to try to convince him, but we're here to help him find out for himself. We told him that we could be in a room with no windows and tell him that the sky is green, but it would be silly to take our word for it. He would have to go outside and look for himself. That's what we invited him to do is to ask God and trust Him enough to get an answer so he can know that God exists and that He is there. He said that his level of commitment on a scale from 1-10 is a 5. I think he got a lot more than he was thinking when he came that day. But we're not here to be friends or to offer him the Gospel lightly, this is salvation, and he needs this. We're here to harvest. At the end, we asked if we could meet with him again the next week and he said that before he had just been coming because he had nothing better to do, but now he would actually have to pray about it. I was so happy with that answer, that meant that he was serious about it, and that he was thinking. When we followed up with him this week, he hadn't read Alma 32 and said that he wouldn't be back this week but that he was doing his own 'research.' I asked how he was doing his 'research' and he said Google. No way haha the worst. So I g ave him a quote from Elder Anderson in the last General Conference: "Studying the church...through the eyes of its defectors is like interviewing Judas to understand Jesus." I love that quote. I don't think it really phased him but we have so much faith! I know that Heavenly Father will help him. We are praying for him that his desire will be strengthened and his heart softened. We know we can see miracles because this is the Lord's work, and the Lord works miracles. We also put him on a list of people we all pray for as a District. Someday he will totally be baptized.

Another lesson we had was with a guy named Richard. Actually it's such a cool story!

I found him when I left SLC and went to Columbus. He sat next to me on the plane and we talked for a long time about his religious background and about the church, and he actually gave his information to me to learn more. I couldn't call him while I was in Ohio so I tucked away the old planner. Well the Spirit reminded me this week that his number was in my old planner so I called him and it was a great conversation. At first I was a little worried because the very first thing he said is that he volunteers regularly for his catholic church program that he loves. But the Spirit has perfect timing. He lives in Glendale, and the missionaries have come by many times but he said they are always pushy and it rubs him the wrong way, so he would never take a Book of Mormon. After our conversation of establishing expectations and our purpsoe of missionaries and why we wanted to call him and teach him more, he said that if missionaries came right now he would take a Book of Mormon and he would read it. It was way cool. He said that he was hoping I would call and that he knows it is a sign from God. We called him again yesterday and he is going to read the Book of Mormon online until the missionaries come. We're excited!

This week I have been reading 'The Ricciardi Letter' again. I don't know if you've heard about it, but it's a letter of a Returned Missionary, Elder Humphry, talking about his crazy trainer, Elder Ricciardi. It turns out that Elder Ricciardi was about the boldest and most consecrated missionary in the history of all missionaries. It is really inspiring to read as a missionary, but I bet as a Member it would also be inspiring to apply not only to missionary work but trials that we could be going through, so I will attach it. But two things I like and want to share are:

-One, he tells a story of a previous life lesson he learned that applies to missionary work: "When I was in high school, I worked at a golf course. I became friends with the assistant pro and he started to give me free lessons. I quit after about 10 lessons for one simple reason: I was frustrated by the 55 things you have to think about almost simultaneously in order to have a good swing. The club pro finally advised me to stop taking lessons, go play and do one thing for him, just swing, swing, swing. That’s it. Do not give any care as to where the ball goes, just swing. He told me “Danny, you will enjoy golf better by just swinging”. The same applies to missionary work." And then he talked about how we don't have to be perfect. All Jesus Christ expects from us to to open our mouths, and He promises to fill them. We just have to "swing" and talk to everyone.

-Two, he later gets transferred to an area that was really an armpit of the mission. It was really hard and although he was being exactly obedient and working as hard as he could, he couldn't see any results. Finally he went and let out his frustration to the Lord in prayer. He prayed for a very long time, out loud, longer than he had ever prayed before. The answer he got to his prayer changed the mission for him and I think taught him an eternal lesson. The answer was: "Elder Humphrey, I am here. I know who you are. I sent you to those neighborhoods, the very ones where you experienced nothing but rejection. I prompted your changes in direction to even more difficult neighborhoods. I know where each of the elect in your area resides. I know their names. I could send you to those addresses only, and save you the time and sacrifice looking for them. BUT ELDER HUMPHREY, WHAT GOOD WOULD THAT SERVE YOU? The mission experience is to do what you are told, when you are told, to go where you are asked, and know that the blessing comes from enduring what I ask of you. This is not about you; it is about opening your mouth at all times in all places. Doing my will without thought to the end result or consequence… this is what serving a mission is. " It brings me back to that quote, 'don't be so faithless that you have to see the results of your efforts.' This is our life experience too, we can't pick and choose our trials but God has created a meticulous and specific plan for each of us, and every one of those plans leads to joy because that is God's purpose for us.

That's why we don't care that our weeks was full of strange people and strange events because we don't need to see the results of our efforts. We just simply want to be instruments in the Lord's hands. We are so lucky to be missionaries!

Well that's about all we have time for. We'll write more about the other investigators we have next week. Thanks for the prayers, I feel them and they are so appreciated.

Love you!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

(No Title)

This has been such a great week! I have never been so tired in my life, which means it's the best!

On Thursday, we covered at the Humanitarian Center, where all day from 10-4 we had no tours!! It was lame. So we called investigators and took chats. We taught one of Sister Weidmann's German investigators named Pascal. He's pretty cool. He has some great questions and is open to learning more. Sister Weidmann was telling me that most Germans and Swiss people are all the same, that they don't believe in God and don't really see a reason for believing in God, so it's rare that Pascal would be so interested. He us a little stubborn though, so we have been praying for his heart to be softened.

We also taught this guy named Santiago, who Sister Weidmann and her previous companion were working with. He goes to Sacrament Meeting every week and meets with missionaries. He is extremely stubborn, and anything we try to say he just automatically disagrees with. He kinda just believes that all paths lead to Heaven, no matter which church you're in. Every time we testify of the restoration and the spirit is strong, he just interrupts. So we have been praying for him that his heart will be softened as well, and that he will be open to understanding baptism in the restored church. So we'll see!

Lauren (the truckdriver) dropped us this week. She said that she's at a point in her life that she just can't be open minded right now and that she needs to focus on her family. Ah I was so sad. But it's okay, because I guess it's just not her time right now. I think it will be good fer her to have a little time without the Gospel in her life, so she can feel an absence. Then, when missionaries find her in the future, they will have a gold mine! :) She is such an awesome girl, I feel so lucky I got to be a part of teaching her, even if it was just for a little while.

We were in the teaching center one day when I really felt like we needed to call Kurk, one of the contacts in my online area book. He was just a typical person that had called in for a free DVD, most times they don't really pan out so we usually don't put them on our high priority list unless they are really interested. We had called him before but he was at work and didn't sound interested. Well we called, and asked if he got the DVD. He said that he had, and that his family had watched it with the missionaries! We started talking about what he thought about it, and started teaching him a little. Well we had a great conversation and he actually wants to learn more. And at the end he said, well I am actually at work right now, and we apologized but he said, oh no don't worry, I'm happy to talk. That was such a learning experience for me to not doubt anything! And to take advantage of any opportunity to ask people if they are interested in learning more because you just never know. We had another appointment with him but he was working and couldn't get off the phone with the vendor, so we'll call him this week.

We also found a new Investigator on chat, Kuixie (originally from China). She had come on for some typical questions, but we wanted to teach her about the Book of Mormon because we know it could help her, since she already believed in the Bible. It was exactly what she needed and she is so excited to read the Book of Mormon now.

On Sunday, we met a member Jaime on chat. She said she was really struggling after returning from a mission, and that she was feeling her testimony slipping away. We asked to call her and she gave her phone number. We called and had the best conversation with her. Really, she taught herself. We didn't teach her a thing. We asked her about the mission, and the times that she felt the spirit the strongest the time when it was the hardest, and what she would tell one of her investigators if they were going through what she is going through. She said she would tell them to hold on, and to not stop doing the little things like going to church and praying and reading the scriptures. She taught herself exactly what she needs to do. She has had a hard life but she is so strong. She was going to come to Temple Square for a lesson, but then we found out she lives 3 hours away! And she was just going to come up anyway. We told her not to because that's so far. So we called her for another lesson. It went really well and the spirit was strong. We talked about the scripture in Luke 22: 31-32: 31 ¶And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:

32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

That's one of my favorite scriptures. The Lord is always praying for us, and wants us to be converted. It's so important. The lesson went so well, and she is planning on being in SLC in the next couple weeks, so she will come to Temple Square! She knows that she needs to be converted, and that's what she is going to do.

Sunday night, we talked to this guy Tom outside the Tabernacle. He had met with missionaries and read parts of the Book of Mormon. We talked for a long time, and I know he felt the spirit. But, he didn't want to continue to learn more. He too felt that all religions are right.

We talked to someone yesterday in the same spot outside the Tabernacle and had almost the same conversation. He works for the church and has heard a lot about it, but is not a member. We had a GREAT conversation with him and he really liked learning about what the Temple is used for, because his family is so important to him. We taught about the Book of Mormon and gave him a free download card. He was so excited! He said it was perfect to read on the plane while he is traveling. He promised to read it. He was here for business and waiting to meet someone that was late. Right as we were inviting him to meet with missionaries and to teach him more, the guy walked up. We tried to ask but he said, I have to go. Ah, the timing of Satan. Gosh it was so hard! But we really know that he will get baptized one day because his heart was touched, knowing that he could be sealed to his family for eternity, regardless of what happens in this life.

Today, we talked to these great guys from Brazil! A father and a son. Their English was pretty scattered but we showed them the Temple Model and talked to them for a long time. They don't really like their Catholic religion, and they liked the things we shared with them. They had seen Temples in Brazil but didn't know what they were for. Family is so important to them, and they loved that they could be sealed to their family. They didn't want to give their address for local missionaries (I can't blame them, if I was a visitor in another country, I wouldn't want to give my address), but they promised that when they see missionaries again, they will let them in and listen to them. I know they will be baptized one day! I can just see them being sealed in white.

It's so great to do missionary work, I love being a missionary here. I know that Temple Square is a start to many, many people's testimonies and I'm so glad I get to be a part of that.

Hope you have a great week, love you!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

"Don't be so faithless..."

A new transfer!
This is going to be a good one. My new companion is Sister Weidmann, she's from Switzerland! We will be serving in the Beehive House. That should be interesting since neither of us have served there haha but we're actually really excited. I think it will be a lot of fun! I attached a picture of Sister Ichikawa and I and a picture of Sister Weidmann and I too.

Well we had a great week. It's been filled with pre-transfer things. It's really weird to see these sisters leave because I am so close to a lot of them, and that means that we are the next ones to go. It's a strange feeling. I'm just so grateful I have another transfer I can just focus on missionary work and nothing else!

In one of the Sisters' departing testimonies, she told us something that her mission president outbound had told her. She said: "Don't be so faithless that you have to see the results of your efforts." I think that hit a lot of us hard! Frequently we are told that doing this or that will bring miracles, and so we expect that. We think, if I work my hardest and give it my all, Heavenly Father will reward us. But that's not the case. He has a greater vision for us. On Sunday, I had to give my departing talk (my class is so big we already had to start so we could get to everyone). My topic was about Elder Oaks' 'good, better, best' talk. It was actually really hard to prepare because I felt like I was preaching to the choir. But, it was neat to see how the spirit carried the topic into submitting to and following the Lord's will and how that will lead us to make the best decisions. I believe that we really will be blessed for being obedient and working hard, but it won't always be in the way we want, or even expect.The feeling of peace knowing that I did all I could do is the greatest feeling.

We met a new investigator on chat! I can't remember if we already talked about her. Her name is Brittany. Actually when she came on chat, I was really skeptical. Her name on the chat was Sally Shireman. Poeple never put their first and last name. And when we take chats, we can see what the people are typing as they type it, but they don't know that. So when Brittany was typing, she kept typing and then she would erase it and type something else totally different. Usually, that means the person is just messing around. She said that her friend is a member and when she was asking her questions she told her to come tomormon.org and to talk with missionaries. When we asked if she had ever been to church with her friend, she said, "Well I have considered going to church with her but I am confused about certain beliefs, like the baptism for the dead, why your not allowed to drink caffeine, how can I know that the book of Mormon is true to what God wants" These questions are like typical time-waster questions. Not all the time, but when they're all together like that, it's usually a member who is just messing with us, or missionaries trying to be funny, something like that. Usually when I think it's someone wasting our time I will say something like, these are great questions, could we cal you right now to answer them? And those who are not sincere will always say something like, oh I don't have a phone or, no, I'd rather chat, etc. And when I asked her that, she said, I'm out of minutes on my phone. I knew that was bogus haha. I thought she was a member but we kept responding and trying to do our best to give answers according to the spirit. Eventually the conversation got better and better. I tried to take those questions and take them in a direction where we could teach about baptism. We started talking about eternal families and how her family can be together forever. She said that's what she really wants for her family. We talked about some other things like Prophets and some other principles. She said she was going to have missionaries come over so we just told her that the missionaries will come and share more information with her and that they will invite her to do some things that will build her faith and give her a chance to learn the information for herself. We asked her that when she does that, and she prays about what they share with her and her prayers are answered, will she be baptized? She said she was already baptized. She started asking questions about Adam and Eve, but we didn't want to move on. We asked her, what if you could add to your experience with your baptism? She said it would never hurt to add, but wasn't sure what she could add. We talked about the gift of the Holy Ghost, and how Christ taught that we have to both be baptized by the proper authority AND receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost in order for us to truly be baptized. After we taught about the Priesthood, we explained the Gift of the Holy Ghost and how special it is and what He does, how He can be with us 24/7. She said: "I have felt the holy spirit before, but I know that it's not always there, a big reason I believe it leaves me is because I am a smoker, and I am having trouble giving it up." We talked about how she can overcome that and be worthy of the Holy Ghost. We had to go, and we asked if we could continue to teach her and she said yes, and surprisingly quickly left her number AND said, "also my name is Brittany, I was a little skeptical at first so I used a different name, I don't like to be to trusting over the internet." I think she was honestly seeking, but she was just a little scared. We've been teaching her since, and she really likes the teachings of the church, especially eternal families, she just has some concerns she has to get through. I am still a little skeptical sometimes because it was a little weird using a different name and changing her answers, but I will always give the befit of the doubt because this is important. This is the Gospel, and I want her to have it. I would really regret it if I never talked to her and found out after that she had been sincere. It's taught me a lesson that even if people come online and they change their answers or use a bogus name, I should keep talking with them. You just never know what could happen. I could have lost out on an awesome investigator, a future eternal family.

This brings me to a cool story I wanted to share. Two of the departing Sisters that were in the same zone were previewing the church's FamilySearch Discovery Center exhibit here in the JSMB. It shows your family's ancestry and the converts and how they were converted. Well, these two sisters were checking out their family history. One of them pulled up their 4th Great-Grandfather who was a member of the church and had served a mission. The other pulled up her own 4th Great Grandfather, and as they looked at each other, they realized that the one Sister's 4th Great Grandfather had converted the other. He also helped them come to America. So without him serving a mission, the other wouldn't have been baptized, and the Sister probably wouldn't be in America and certainly wouldn't have come on a mission. I'm sure he didn't think he made that big of an impact but really, we just never know! I think we make bigger impacts than we know as members of the church. You just never know what could happen. That's why we should always open our mouths! Like I said at the beginning, we can't expect to see huge things come from it, but Heavenly Father will reward our efforts in some way, even if it's over generations of time!

So remember that this week and open your mouth because you just never know :)

Love you, have a great week!


Monday, January 12, 2015

Such a good week!


This week was great!

The Square has been super quiet but we actually had time to find and teach and we are so happy about that.

I want to tell you about our experiences this week:

First, we talked to Tim. He is doing better. Last week, he wasn't feeling good and had to be rushed to the hospital because his heart was racing at 270 beats per minute. They ran some tests after slowing it down and discovered his calcium and magnesuim levels were at zero, and when that happens, the heart rate fluctuates. He hasn't been able to go to church lately because he's been so sick, so his ward has been bringing him the sacrament. We talked with him about reading the scriptures daily and continuing to pray daily. He also told us that he just got paperwork for him to be put on the transplant list for new kidneys! So that will be really cool when that happens.

On Friday, we were running around trying to open up all the buildings before 9 AM. A set of sisters had asked us to cover a desk assignment for them that day, or so I thought, so after we opened the buildings, we went to that desk. Right after that, this man walked in to get a map. We talked with him for a little bit. His name is Victor, he's from China but lives in Ohio (ah the best!). He was on vacation with his friends and didn't have a lot of time to talk but he wanted to learn more and became a new investigator. Then he had to go to meet his friends. After that, my companion asked why we were there. I said that we were covering for another set of sisters, but realized there were some already there. She reminded me that we were covering on Sunday, not Friday. I guess I messed up with that because we really needed to meet Victor! Haha

On Saturday, we were taking some chats. We accepted one from a lady named Sally. She told us that she had some questions about the church because her friend is a Mormon and had directed her to mormon.org. We began to answer her questions and ask some of our own. She said she is Christian and that she has a young family. We talked about the temple and how we believe we can be with our families forever. She said that's what I want for my family! Then we talked about baptism and she said she was already baptized in another church. We asked her, well what if you could add to the experience you had? We taught her about the Gift of the Holy Ghost and how Christ taught that we must be born of water and of the spirit, and how baptism isn't complete until we get the Holy Ghost, and how much of a blessing that is. She immediately said that that's what she wants. I was starting to feel optimistic because lately it just seems like everyone we chat with is insincere or anti. We asked if we could call her and teach her more and she said yes! I would love that. She gave her phone number and said, actually my name is Brittany. I didn't feel comfortable sharing my information with someone i didn't know. At first I was like what! But then I thought about it. The internet is pretty crazy and I don't blame her. Then I was super grateful because that meant that she felt so comfortable with us that she wanted to give her phone number and her real name. We actually called her today and thankfully she answered. But she said she was picking up her son from school and we set an appointment for tomorrow. We are hoping it will go well! We want to share about the plan of salvation and help her to start her goal of her family being together for eternity.

We also chatted with a guy named Bruce. He had questions about eternal progression. He had a friend who is LDS and was answering his questions and taught him about the Kingdoms of Glory. He was wondering what decides where a person goes. For some reason we felt inspiried to talk about prophets. We asked him if he thought there could be a prophet today and he said yeah, but how would I know if they are really a prophet? So we asked him, how he expected to know, and he brought up the fruits of the spirit, which is exactly what we were going to share! We then gave him the talk "I Will Not Fail Thee, Nor Forsake Thee" by President Monson to read/watch. He said he would gladly do it, and also said we could call him to see how he liked it. We tried to call him last night to see what he thought, but he didn't answer. We're hoping to get a hold of him this week.

We took these three great people from Ohio (ah the best again!) around on a tour. An older couple and their son. They came for a conference. They weren't very open, but we built a really good friendship with them. We took them to the Tabernacle, showed them the Temple Model and ahd a long talk about the Temple, and took them to the Statue of Christ. I know they felt the spirit! They had millions of questions and we did our best to answer them through the Spirit. We also talked about connections with Columbus and the things that they had heard about the church through member friends years ago. We even shared the experience about the Seagulls the early Pioneers had. After testifying of the Savior and one more time testifying of how it's through Christ that we can go to the Temple where we can be sealed with our families for eternity, we asked them if they would like to have a Book of Mormon and learn more. The spirit was there. The dad blatantly said, 'no. I don't care for that at all.' There was no, 'sorry if this offends you,' or 'thanks for the offer,' or 'no thank you' but straight up, 'no I don't care for that at all.' Later upon reflecting on this, I realized that I have changed. At the beginning of the mission, if that had happened I probably would have been annoyed or upset or even mad that not only did they not want to learn more after feeling the spirit, but they were rude about it. But this time, I just felt calm. We just said okay and expressed our gratitude for them coming and that we were able to take them around. Inside, I didn't feel mad, I just felt it was okay, because either he wasn't ready, or he was choosing not to be ready. But the assurance in my heart of knowing we did all we could do reminded me to be like Christ. It was cool for me to look back and see how I would have reacted before and how I reacted this time. It wasn't that I didn't care now, it's that I trust Heavenly Father, and simply want to do His will. I know I have SO much more changing to do, but that's why the Atonement is so great. I'm just so glad that missions don't end when we go home and get released. Because of the Temple, we've all made covenants that will hold us accountable for being lifelong missionaries. I pray that this family will accept the gospel, and hope this was one step closer for them to do so.

We talked to some really great people this week and hopefully planted some seeds that will grow into trees of life for them :)

This week I re-read the article in the January Ensign about President Benson. I've always wanted to learn more about him. I love this article in the ensign! It's such a cool story about how he and his wife worked together in all things. We learn from the scriptures that unity is a huge thing. It's apparent in the Godhead and we know that our goal is to become like God, so we should also be unified, especially with an eternal companion. If you haven't already, you should go read it! Here is a link for it!

We are looking forward to having some solid days of missionary work in the next few days before we have to make the new transfer schedules (pray for me haha just kidding). But I'm so excited this is the last time I have to do it! I love being in this assignment, I really think it's exactly what I needed, but I'm really looking forward to next transfer being able to focus on finding and teaching and that's all!

Well I hope you have the best week ever, love you!

Monday, January 5, 2015

We're so Blessed!


This week has been pretty eventful.

We finished making schedules! We're so happy about that. But, we'll have to start new ones next week for the new transfer. So we just won't think about that! haha

We have loved being able to go up on the square this week. We've had some great experiences talking to members and non-members, visitors from around the world.

Unfortunately, we had to drop Paul. We kept receiving Anti-mormon material in the form of "questions" from him, and after attempts to answer his questions and to try to get him to start over with the church, learn from the beginning and stay off the internet, he wasn't willing. His heart is pretty hard so sadly we haven't talked to him since. We really pray for him still, and have faith and hope that he will embrace the Gospel in the future. It's just so sad because he has been so prepared! Heavenly Father has been communicating with him but he isn't willing to listen to Him, he would rather listen to man.

Lauren has been in the hospital with her husband after a bad strain of the flu. We're looking forward to talking with her this week though! We hope her baby is doing okay.

On Saturday, we talked with a Chinese family from New York who came to ski. As soon as I saw them, they were just special to me. They said they had had a tour at the Conference Center and they were told they could get a Book of Mormon so they wanted to come get one. I grabbed them a copy in Mandarin and English and they expressed how excited they are to read it. I didn't want them to leave without them knowing how we feel about the Book of Mormon, so we testified of the truthfulness of it, and how we know it can help them as a family because it helps my family. We talked to them about eternal families and how God loves them and wants them to be together forever. The spirit was so strong. They asked questions and expressed how they have never had a religion before and for that reason, they were looking forward to learn more. They didn't want to give their number but they wanted ours so we wrote it down for them and they left. That part of this mission is hard! But that's a part of any mission. Planting seeds is definitely not as great as harvesting seeds, but in order to harvest a seed, someone had to plant it. So the missionaries that get to harvest that seed of that family in New York are so lucky!

Today I was talking to a couple in the North Visitor's Center. They were visiting from out-of-state and were wondering how they enter the temple. I asked if they were members of the church and they said no. We explained how special the Temple is and why, and how even members of the church have to prepare to enter. The spirit was strong. But their response was unexpectedly rude. They were upset that they could go to big churches in other countries but they can't go to the temple here. They walked away angry. At first I was really sad. Sad that they wouldn't listen to the spirit, and sad that they didn't respect the temple. I still feel sad for them, but after thinking about it more, I feel gratitude. I am so grateful for the Temple, and that we don't let just anyone in. I am so glad we take the preparation to ensure we are worthy to enter the House of the Lord. All of us that have been in the Temple know the joy that comes from being able to make covenants with our Heavenly Father. And we all know what we would feel like if we were inside and not worthy. At least I do, I feel that I would feel awful and would want to leave. That's how it is going to be after we pass from this life. The three kingdoms of glory are designed for us. If we make bad choices, we won't feel good in the Celestial Kingdom. We'd be saying, get me out of here. I think that's why we don't just have 'Heaven or Hell.' Heavenly Father loves us too much. In reality, we are the ones that decide where we end up. Yes, there is a final judgement, but I think we will know pretty well where we are going because of the choices we make according to the knowledge we've received. Just like Heavenly Father wants all of His children back in His presence in the Celestial Kingdom, He also wants all of us in His house, the Temple. And He's given us clear guidelines of what we need to do to enter. They're not that hard. All it comes down to is loving the Lord Jesus Christ. Because like one of the most known scriptures says, if we love Him, we'll keep His commandments. And if we're keeping His commandments (all of them, especially the ones that have been restored), we are not only able to enter the Temple, but we'll be more prepared to enter back into His presence. The Temple really is the best place on earth. I am grateful for the experience that I had this morning because it produced this long train of thought. Haha

I'm so grateful for this Restored Gospel! I feel so happy that Heavenly Father can speak with us, and we can clearly know His plan for us, even if the situations aren't as clear. I LOVE being a missionary!! Choose to be a missionary this week, it's the best feeling in the world.

Have a great week!!

P.s. I forgot to send the picture of us on Christmas. Also, there's a picture of our "family tree" of Temple Square coordinators that hangs in our office. It's just meant to be silly haha.