Note: Ya Eh Na Pa Doh (yah enna pah dough) means "I love you very much" in a Burmese dialect called Karen (kur ren) that Sister LeSueur is now teaching me. Good times.
Very little time again this week, so enjoy the scatterbrained email from today :)
P-day is actually on Thanksgiving this week. And we have three dinner appointments that day. It's so awesome how nice everyone is here.
Transfers are NEXT WEEK! So please send all mail to the mission office address! I should be staying, but there are no guarantees.
MarLeice and Mike are getting married on FRIDAY!!! In my area. Just saying.
Seriously though, CONGRATULATIONS to you two.
Happy 50th Birthday Shauna!!! Tomorrow's going to be a good day :) It's also Sister Beeton's birthday so if anyone wants to send a birthday card to my fantastic companion... Just a thought :)
Dad, you were the greatest Bishop EVER. I am so grateful for your example to me and for all the blessings and miracles I was able to see because of your service. Mom, enjoy the extra bajilion hours with your husband home :)
Lots of good stuff this week. We had an AMAZING Temple Square tour with our investigator Russ last night. The Joseph Smith movie is seriously the best movie on the face of the planet. We've built up our teaching pool a bit with lots of less-active members in the area. It's amazing how this gospel truly is simple - going back to the basics to build testimonies is what we get to do as missionaries and I LOVE IT!
On Sunday, President Eyring bore his testimony in his ward conference we were attending. I feel so blessed and honored to be surrounded by so many General Authorities in this area, and especially to have been able to hear two prophets of God testify of Christ in the past two weeks. This Church is true, and those men are each called of God to serve and testify.
I got to go on exchanges this week with my big sister, Sis. Schrock!!
Note on mission family trees: your mom is your trainer, your dad is your district leader. Therefore, the other Sisters that my trainer has trained are my sisters, etc.
She is so sweet. so fun, and we had a blast in this area visiting people and meeting with the ward mission leaders at correlation!
Mission life is so fun. It's really really hard... but it's also a lot of fun.
"When I consider the tremendous consequences of little things, a chance word, a tap on the shoulder, the wink of an eye - I am tempted to think there are no little things." -Emily Dickinson
It is through the small things - daily obedience, knocking on a door, planning your day - that the Lord allows miracles to happen. It is truly amazing to see those little things happen every day that bring about great miracles in the lives of the people here.
"Our mission is to preach the doctrines of salvation in plainness and complicity as they are revealed in the scriptures." -Joseph Fielding Smith
This gospel is SO SIMPLE! Always stay true to the simple basics of the gospel, and your testimony will grow each day, and you will be able to see your heart changed by the Atonement.
Brother Rubow - I met President Dietrich!! He used to be the Stake President years ago over in Buffalo Grove and he said to tell you hello! So, hello from President (now Elder) Dietrich! He's working in the church office building and we ran into him during lunch in Salt Lake.
The youth "Come Follow Me" program is such good mission prep!! How often are you youth teaching for that? We get to teach a lesson on December 1st - any suggestions?
We have really been trying to reach out to the youth here. They are so incredible! One night this week we were able to have dinner with the priests' quorum in a ward, then we taught them the first lesson - the Restoration. The Spirit was so powerful there! I had a good discussion with one of the priests afterwards about getting ready to go out on his mission. It was an amazing experience for us and for the youth in helping them get excited about missionary work!
Mueller Park has become a sacred place for me. I seriously love the people here and the place is just beautiful. I hope I get to stay here for forever. Obviously that won't happen, but I want to make the most of every second I have here. The people are so loving and kind and willing to reach out. I love it, and I wouldn't change this experience for anything else.
Heavenly Father loves you. Each one of you. It's amazing to feel of that love that He has for each person as you serve a mission. It breaks your heart when someone rejects the message of the gospel, because all of this is done out of love.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church of Christ here on the earth today. Joseph Smith truly was called of God and restored the fullness of the gospel back to the earth. This gospel is true. I know it, and I can never deny it. Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer, and He lives! He loves us, and He is the way for us to return to our Heavenly Father. I pray that each of us will turn to Him more fully and rely on Him.
I love you all! Stay amazing, keep smiling, and look for the miracles!
Sister Lauren Holbrook
Notes from Elder Bednar's visit 2 weeks ago
Act in faith. He shared how Joseph Smith didn't just ask what church was right - he asked which church to JOIN. When we ask with the expectation of acting, miracles happen!
Agency. We are agents, we are not to be acted upon. That goes for our investigators as well. We can study in faith and take action because of our study. And so on.
Ether 12:6 Sometimes the trial of our faith is something as small as having the courage to take action.
Get yourself out of the way of the Lord. This work is not about me. It's about the people here. It's about Heavenly Father and His children and the love He has for them. It's been a humbling and wonderful lesson to learn these past few weeks. Basically, Elder Bednar told us to get over ourselves and let the Spirit teach.
Prayer is a privilege. Elder Bednar asked us if we were walking into a room to be introduced to and talk with President Monson, how would we feel? With prayer, we are essentially doing the same thing - we get to go talk with our Heavenly Father. And we get to do it multiple times a day. Prayer is a privilege, and I am so grateful to know that He answers every single prayer.
Line upon line. This keeps coming up on my mission, so it must be important :) He talked about how everything is line upon line - understanding, improving, developing faith. Take it one step at a time!
Understanding comes with the heart. Knowledge comes with the mind.
Let your mission completely change you. He asked: will you let your mission go through you, or will you go through your mission? If Elder Bednar came and talked to you after you came home and you answered that it felt like you never left, then you never really did. If he came and asked you six years later and you responded that it still felt weird, well then you let your mission change you in the best way possible.
I want my mission to completely change my life - I want to be a LIFETIME not just a full-time missionary.
D&C 88:122 Teaching pattern This is basically how Elder Bednar taught us - he asked us questions, we asked him questions, we all came prepared, and the Spirit taught everyone. It was incredible.
FAITH: acting in accordance with God's will. That is acting with power. Faith is expecting everything will work out, then taking action to see if it really will. That's what we get to do every day and it's the best.
D&C 59:21 Look for God's hand in your life. Do it.
You are called to serve as a missionary; you are assigned to serve in a place. There's a saying "You are not called to serve in a place; you are called to serve in place of the Savior." Elder Bednar basically backed up that saying. The assignment can change by revelation, but the calling is to be a full-time missionary and bear witness of the Restoration of the gospel and Jesus Christ.
LOOK TO THE TEMPLE. In the waters of baptism, we should always be looking to the temple. Baptism isn't the end goal - the celestial kingdom is. And there's still a lot to do between baptism and that point.
Repentance is a turn to Christ. Sin is a turn to self. Repentance is a wonderful, beautiful gift from the Savior, not a scary thing. As we choose to turn and align ourselves more fully with the Savior, that is repentance.
How the Lord sees us: He sees us both today and in 30 years from now. He knows our potential. Specifically, Elder Bednar said: "The Lord sees you as a man and a woman sealed in the temple happy at home." It really is that simple.
Representative agency. Something really interesting Elder Bednar talked about was how our agency becomes representative agency when we choose to take upon us the name of Christ. Every action we take is now done as though Christ himself were doing that. That thought really made me think about all that I do and making sure that it is in line with the Savior and His work. Always representing Christ is far more important than anything you want.
Ether 12:27 talks about weakness, not weaknesses. We each have the same weakness to overcome: the natural man. Just an interesting thought to point out.
Our testimonies should be spiritual exclamation points! Declare what you know to be true and always testify of Christ.
Time is a concept specific to mortality. Therefore, as eternal beings, time is really awkward for all of us. The closer you get to eternity, time recedes into the background and seems to pass by in an instant. That explanation made it so clear how the time I spend at the temple, in Church, and here on the mission seem to go by far too quickly.
"We can only teach what you are prepared to receive." He shared how he and President Packer were teaching a group of Stake Presidents, but they couldn't share all that they had prepared because the group wasn't prepared. Before the meeting, Elder Bednar gave us 4 talks to study in preparation for the meeting. That experience has inspired me to more fully prepare for any meeting, lesson, appointment, etc. that I ever attend. We all could gain so much more if we would prepare our spirits more fully to be taught, not just our minds.
I've noticed I'm already becoming awkward as a missionary. Which is totally fine by me. I'm ok with being weird the rest of my life - Elder Bednar told me it was all good :) Just kidding.
It was such an incredible experience to have been spiritually prepared for the meeting and have the Spirit teach each of us exactly what we needed. He truly is called of God. At the end of the meeting, Elder Bednar blessed us with the gift of submissiveness, then bore his testimony of the Savior. The Spirit was so powerful. You could tell that he knows that every last bit of this gospel is true and that Jesus Christ lives.
The shelf of wedding announcements - The Shelf of Shattered Dreams
We are very happy for you all :)
The biggest bowl of soup I have ever seen
This is Bryan. He is the son of one of our Ward Mission Leaders. And he plays tuba in the band with RACHEL. So yeah. That was awesome to meet him. And get an update on Rachel :)
Cucumbers from the Zone Leaders
Salt Lake Temple