Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sacrifice Brings Forth the Blessings of Heaven

Hello Fam and Friends. This week marks a turning point for me (just like every other week in my mission but hey waddyado) and I have felt a sincere change in heart concerning somethings, hence the title of this email.
First, YIREN GOT BAPTIZED. He is seriously the cutest little asian boy ever, I just wanna hug him. His baptism was wonderful. He was grinning from ear to ear and he kept saying how he felt such peace. He said he even spent the rest of the day telling his family and friends all about his baptism. We could definitely tell something changed within him when he received the Holy Ghost! It was a fantastic moment! I am so stoked to see where he goes in life and how much this gospel will bless him.
This week we had Zone Conference and the theme was "Raising the Bar." We received trainings on how we need to raise the bar as missionaries if we want to reach our goal of 521 baptisms and if we want to see miracles. We also received some devastating news, which actually ended up being a blessing, that our new music policy is strictly Mormon Tabernacle choir and that we can't read any talks unless they came from Conference or the Ensign. I was at first angry, then heartbroken. But as the trainings went on and I prayed and pondered the rest of the week, I realized how selfish and prideful I was being. If I sustain President Morgan as a man called of God and if he feels inspired by the Lord to have this policy, then who am I to disagree or disobey. I realized that because Christ made the ultimate sacrifice for us, He will never ask us to make too great of a sacrifice. So I purged. I have a pile of things ready to send home. 
Those miracles include, we received a media referral this week of a woman who is blind. When we called her, she didn't answer, but she called us back and left a voicemail. In the voicemail she elaborated on how she came into contact with the church and how she wants to get baptized asap. For those of you who don't know, THIS IS EVERY MISSIONARIES DREAM!!!!!! So we visited her and set a baptismal date for March 1! She is so sweet and so receptive to the gospel! Plus, she came to Church yesterday, brought a friend, and they both LOVED church! It was great! Man the church is true.
Last story, so we picked up an investigator a couple weeks ago and he has been attending church and reading the Book Of Mormon. He is a super sweet and spiritual guy, but really critical and analytical of the Book Of Mormon. So we had him pray to get his answer a couple of weeks ago. So this last lesson we had with him, we finally asked him if he prayed and received an answer. He said he believes the Book Of Mormon is not true and that Joseph Smith isnt a prophet. I was heartbroken. He said although, he was do further research and give us a chance to prove it to him. I told him that that wasn't our purpose and we don't have to prove the truthfulness of the Book Of Mormon. I testified to him with my whole heart and soul of its truthfulness and that if he sincerely asked, God would tell him. I felt myself speak with more power and authority then I though possible. I realized how we have such a special calling as missionaries! But after that, it sort of was like a goodbye and he cried. I am unsure why he cried, but he wrote us a note and said what we testified of truly touched him and that he will keeping reading the Book Of Mormon seeking its truthfulness. I don't know what will happen to him, but I eally truly felt the Lord working through us. I know the Lord has His own plan in His own time though.
Well the Church is true. I love being a missioanry and I love my Savior. Thanks for the support and love.

Ice Ruins Lives

I know the title is super dramatic buts its sooo the truth. I am over the cold and winter! AHHH. Thats me screaminga bout it. hahaha
This past weekend we had an intense freezing rain storm and all the roads were covered with an inch and a half of ice. So missioanry work was super hard to do. Plus, our baptism got postponed to next week. Lame sauce. haha I know I sound bitter, I am not really though. It was a good time for me and my companion to bond and clean and get some things done.
So we saw an awesome miracle this's the quick back story:  A couple weeks ago Sis. Firestone and I were walking down the street and we stopped to talk to this girl who was out with her dog. We asked if she was interested and she said no, but then we asked her for referrals for a chinese place to eat downtown. (Which we actually went to that same night and it was super sketch but super delicious!)  Then a couple weeks later, we were walking out of our old apt and into a member's car, and we ran into her!!! So we were like coincidence, no way, so we told her we loved the Chinese place and we wanted more recommendations but next time she should come with us! So we exchanged info and she was already in our phone!!! She was a former investigator!!!! Crazy huh! So just this last week we went to Indian food with her, the other sisters, and some members.! Well, institute was right after, so we invited her to come. SHE LOVED IT! The members totally fellowhsipped her and invited her to stuff, we gave her a Book of Mormon, and she said she would read it and wanted to come again! The Church is true guys! I couldn't beleive how amazing of a night it was. We are in the process of trying to see her again and talk about the Book of Mormon.
This week we actually met with some other referrals and it went so well. One we actually picked up as an investigator and the other just totally loved us. She was actually a media referral and said she wasn't interested but she would love to grab lunch. So we grabbed lunch with her and a member and it was great. Come to find out, she has like a million friends on a mission and they were the ones who referred her. As we were meeting with her, I just kept thinking "You would except the Gospel if you knew what it was!" I could see the influence her friends had on her and the seeds that were planted! So Sis. Firestone and I are not giving up! We are going to see if we can help those seeds grow!
That last story ties into another story I want to share. So there is a recent convert in our branch. He said all of his friends were Mormon and so when they shared the gospel with him and he knew they loved him because they shared something they cherish so dearly with them. He bore his testimony on Sunday about how he is the product of member missioanry work! So this is my quick shout out and push for the importance of introducing your friends to the gospel! They will never know if you never invite!
So due to the ice storm, all wards were cancelled...except ours!!!! It was sooo amazing to see the dedication of some of our members to come to chuch despite the dangerous roads. And because of the weather, and the Super Bowl, no one wanted to see us. So we got together with some branch members and we made cookies and delivered them to people! It was a beautiful Sabbath Day yesterday!
I love serving in this Branch and I love the members! I have grown and changed so much while I have been here! The only way to true happiness and joy is through the living the gospel!

Moving, But Staying

We got transfer calls and all the sisters serving in the YSA are staying!!!! Hallelujah!! I am so stoked. I feel like I have so much to do here and so much that I need to learn here. I honestly love serving here. It's so amazing. But, we moved!! So my companion Sis. Firestone and I got a call Tuesday and told we were moving into our new apt on Wednesday! So we had 24 hrs to pack and move. It was nutso. But when we moved in the apt was disgusting, we had no furniture, no water, no heat, and no electricity. So we had to get all of our utilities going, but we had no cleaning supplies and when the elders brought our furniture, that was gross too. But then our favorite member in the whole world literally saved us! She brought us cleaning supplies and we went to work. So my week was eventful concerning moving, but not so eventful concerning missionary work. I really miss living with the other sisters but it's nice to finally have our own place. We are going to start a posterity banner and have everyone who lives there after us sign it! 
Anyways, this week we rocked the member lessons. So the mission encourages us to meet with the members and get referrals and avoid tracting and contacting! So we meet with the members a lot! But they are so amazing. It's wonderful to meet with people your own age and being able to connect with the same experiences and concerns that they have. There is one girl who told us as of late that she has decided to go on a mission. So to help her, we are doing a weekly Preach My Gospel study. The first time we did it, we focused on the how the purpose of a missionary is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receieve the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receieving the Gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. We really went through and disected the word choice. Something that I loved was the word others. Others is all inclusive of nonmembers, less actives, and members. And that's what I realized here. That this area needs help with all of those. Anyways, the spirit was so strong during our discussion that when she gave the closing prayer she cried. It was amazing to see her so touched by the spirit. I Love that we get to love people and help them change and come unto Christ.
Our chinese investigator is doing great. He gets more and more tender everytime we come over! He really embraces the gospel and wants to be a better man! His baptism is on Saturday so it's rad how much success we have seen!
The mission is wonderful. I hope all of you are finding ways in your life to come unto Christ. I know as you do, you will desire to bring others with you!

Visiting Teachers on Steroids

I LOVE COLUMBIA. Not as much as Indiana, but still it's getting there. We are finally starting to really get to know the members and see the work grow. Yesterday was our second time attending the Branch and it was so fun!! Hard work pays off, that's all I got to say. You think attending the Branch we wouldn't know anyone right...wrong. We already knew everyone because we have been making such an effort these past couple weeks. People already love us and never want us to leave. It feels wonderful! I love being here. I pray that I will stay another transfer.

Now that school is back this week, we hope to see the work flourish! Although, we did find an awesome investigator this week. When we go contacting, since we do it so much now, our instinct is to talk with everyone. So we stopped this guy, had a convo and he said he never says no when people invite him to church, so we invited him! The Friday before church though, we showed him the building and taught him the Restoration. He had some issues with Joseph Smith seeing God and Jesus Christ, but when he came to church on Sunday, all the talks and lessons totally addressed his concerns! The Church is true!!!!! 

Our other investigator is progressing well to baptism. We thought maybe he would have a problem with the word of wisdom, but he loved it so much, he wants all of his friends to live it!! 

We are also working really closely with some brothers in the branch. 1 is active, another is semi-active, and another is inactive. We work closely with the inactive one and it has been amazing. We can see that our efforts our truly changing his life. We have only been working with him for a couple weeks, and I already love him a ton. I know Sis. Firestone and I were sent to this area to be his missionaries. How marvelous the Lord is!

Yesterday, a member of the Branch asked us what the highlight of our missions has been thus far and I have been really reflecting and pondering on that. I feel like mine has been how much change I have seen in myself. I never thought that I could make such leaps and bounds. The Lord has sincerely lifted me and molded me into the person I need to be. But the most amazing part is is that I still have so much growing and becoming to do! And also, seeing the change in others. My job is I get to just love love love people. Sis Firestone refers to us as visiting teachers on steroids! hahaha So appropriate. 

Anyways, I just wanted to share my thoughts about this and how also my mission has helped me love and appreciate all of you so much more. Thanks for the endless love and support! Miss you all a ton!


The funniest thing about the Midwest is that no one says Missouri, they all say Missourah

So our week was..... AMAZING. I know the Lord tried us so he could show us success because we sure had it this week. We picked up plenty of  new investigators and found a ton of potentials. we even set a baptismal date (the elders passed him on to us but still) It's been wonderful. The Lord answers prayers and His hand is in all things. I couldn't be more appreciative to Him and all he has done for me. Although we did see success, we also had discouraging moments. But you know what's great, through these past struggling weeks, I have learned to faith and rely on God's plan. So amazing, huh?
s all about. Being a missionary is so rewarding, nothing can compare.
My highlight spiritual moment. We just picked up this guy as an investigator. I don't want to reveal too much about him so this will be kinda vague. But when we met with him, he told us his whole life story. At the end of it all, I felt really inspired to shared 3 Nephi 11 where the Savior has everybody come one by one to touch the nail prints. Then I cross referenced it with Isaiah where the Savior talks about how He engravens us on His hands. By the end, all of us were crying. It was amazing how through the Spirit, we were able to help our investigator feel the blessings of the Atonement. Ah so wonderful. After the lesson, I was like this is what it's all about!
So my companion and I have started a scripture reading club with a Less Active. We are all reading the Book of Mormon again but we have picked an inspiring question and as we read we will look for the answers. This week we read 1 Nephi 1-5. Oh man was that awesome. I loved it. My inspiring question is "How do I know Heavenly Father Loves me? I found sooo many answers in just those 5 chapters. The Book Of Mormon is the word of God. I know it with my whole soul. It is one of the greatest evidences that Heavenly Father loves us.

Man being a missionary rocks. I love my companion and I love being here in Columbia. The Church is true.

Minus 3 Degrees!

The temperature here in good ole Missouri is -3 degrees! Can you believe it!! Crazy huh? They predict that the wind chill is supposed to be harmful to all of us humans so we are supposed to avoid the outside. This is unusual for my AZ-ness.

As for my week it was pretty good. We tried to stay busy as best as we could. There are more people on campus so we have been able to talk to more people. We were also able to meet with a lot of members so that was great too. Yesterday, they cancelled church, due to snow, so we haven't met the whole branch yet, but those we have met are super, super awesome! It's great to see some of the fruits of our labors! Plus, I feel like the Lord has already helped me grow so much. When I first got here, I had anxiety that I wouldn't be able to talk to people. Weird I know, but it's hard to just go up to random strangers and talk to them. But after being here for 3 weeks! It's a breeze. I can talk to anyone with ease. I LOVE being able to just talk to people about the gospel.

Funny story! So we have been looking for a place to volunteer and we finally found one at the food pantry! We started volunteering there on Saturday and it was super fun. While we were there though, a woman who was also volunteering came up to us and was super secretive and asked us to tell her our "mormon secrets." Then she went off about passwords and stuff.  It was soooo strange and soo funny! Definitely a highlight of the week.

Because the work is slower I have had a lot of time to ponder and such. Some of the things I have realized that how much of a human I am. The natural man is killer. But luckily we have the Savior. Because it really truly is all about Him. I have realized how much I rely on Him. The only way for us to be happy is if we come unto Him and have faith in Him. He is the only name by which we can obtain salvation! And I have realized how amazing Heavenly Father is. Although He is the God of the whole world, I am able to have my own personal relationship with Him. How awesome is that! How awesome is it to be a missionary. I love this work I get to be  apart of!

'Tis the Season

I was able to skype my family on Christmas! AAHH So wonderful. Thanks everyone for your love and support this season. I appreciate all you have done for me. It was humbling to be able to celebrate Christmas while being on a mission. It made me realize that if we focus our lives on the Savior, we don't need anything else.

Other than Christmas, this week has been slow. Because of the break, we are currently in a ghost town. But, hey that's missionary work for ya. I have been struggling I won't deny it. But struggles have truly humbled me. These are rough times, but I had a companion one time tell me that your hardest day on your mission is better than your best day at home. This is not to say anything about home, because I do miss my family terribly, what I mean is that there is nothing better than serving the Lord. I know these hard times are the Lord blessing me with the opportunity to grow. How grateful I am! I love this gospel so much and it means everything to me. Something that Sis. Firestone and I do is that we write a miracle that happens to us everyday. Since I have been doing this I have seen a change. Although we are in a drought, miracles are still happening every day! 

I know the Savior loves me because he allows me to be imperfect and  change and grow. Thanks for all the support and love!

From Cornfields to the City...

So here is the background on my new area! I am literally serving at the University of Missouri Campus. But I have already told everyone I am a Hoosier for life so I will never become a Tiger. I may consider reppin some Tiger pride...maybe.... My new companion, Sis. Firestone, and I are whitewashing...which no one told us so that's been exciting. We took the Zone Leaders area and they moved to a family ward. We live with another set of sisters whom we share the area with. We don't have a car so we walk everywhere. It's actually been super great. And the University just went on Christmas break and will be on break til the end of January- unusual I know. SO we are basically opening the area because there is no one here! So it;s been quite the adventure!

The campus is beautiful! It;s weird to go from cornfields to the city but its been waaay fun! Sis. Firestone and I have been working our tails off and I know this place will become on fire once everyone comes back. 

Something cool this week though, our investigator, Dong, who is chinese, we finally met him and taught him last night. The Elders were teaching him at the Stake President's home and so they were there and so were some other missionaries too. We taught the lesson and all we did was go through the Christmas story! It went soo well. I was really nervous about it but the spirit was soo strong it didn't even matter. It was amazing to see someone with no idea of Christianity come to a point where they know they have a relationship with the Savior.

That's really what I want to talk about. This season is amazing because Christ's birth is a miracle. This week has been a struggle, but I truly feel like the Savior has picked me up and helped me keep working hard. I don't know where I would be without the Savior. I feel His love everyday and I know He lives. This gospel is beautiful and amazing and I can't believe I get to see it change people's lives! Ah man the Church is true!