"Why are you excited to get baptized?" -me
"Because all my sins will be washed away." - Drew, an eight year old.
Also he's Elder Nelson's great-grandson. More on that later. Should have guessed with an adorable answer like that.
"You'll never know until you APPLY. Whether that be for college, General Conference, the Book of Mormon, tithing, a job, etc." -the wisdom of... ME!
"They're good people so we just love them." - Sister Dixon
In testimony meeting yesterday, a brother was up and expressing his gratitude for me and Sister Juarez, and says... "Just so you know, there's one who likes Disney movies, and the other thinks Disneyland is overrated." Perfectly describes our companionship.
Another one from testimony meeting: "When we came to earth we didn't sign up for a party. We signed up for a test." -Sister Jackson
And this week's title from Sister Dawson.
So you all know: I am down to 3 stamps. So if I don't respond to a letter for a while, please forgive me. I'm buying stamps today, though! So the problem should be solved.
This was one of those very rare weeks that just seemed to drag on forever. Last P-day seems like it was an eternity ago. BUT it's all good because we still had amazing things happen this past week!
Some great hymns and scriptures for you all to read:
Hymn 105, 3rd verse especially.
Hymn 248 - the old mission theme song
Hymn 251 "Behold a Royal Army" our current mission theme song :)
Jacob 5 is one of the most powerful sections on how much our Heavenly Father loves us. Read it. Study it. Love it.
Moroni 8:3 "I am mindful of you always in my prayers, continually praying unto God the Father in the name of his Holy Child, Jesus, that he, through his infinite goodness and grace, will keep you through the endurance of faith on his name to the end."
Basically describes how I feel about all of you. I love when the scriptures so directly apply to your own life.
The First Vision is so powerful. Memorize it. Testify of it. Share it in lessons. The Spirit is so incredibly strong when we bear testimony of the First Vision and Joseph Smith's experience that began the Restoration.
"I saw a pillar of light, exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. When the light rested upon me, I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name, and said, pointing to the other, "This is my Beloved Son. Hear Him."
Do you feel that? That is the Holy Ghost testifying to you that this really did happen. I know that Joseph Smith saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I know that because of that vision, we now have the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ on the earth today. And I will forever be grateful for that.
I LOVE the youth theme this year: Moroni"Come unto Christ and be perfected in Him."
The youth here are so powerful.
We went to a youth mission experience this past week. The youth prepared to teach about the Book of Mormon, then they were put into companionships and sent out to various member and non-member homes in the ward. They came back and shared their experiences - some had been rejected, some bore testimony, some were given cookies, etc. It was really cool to see how that little 20 minute practice really had them thinking about how to be a missionary and what mission life really is like.
We have other youth getting their mission calls right and left - Costa Rica, Australia, Argentina, and all over the world. The power of a righteous mother and father is being felt everywhere as these sons and daughters go out to serve the Lord. I am amazed at their faith, courage, and knowledge of the gospel.
We had amazing lessons with Valerie, Tia, and Angela. Read 3 Nephi 17 and watch some Mormon Messages if you need an awesome date night activity. Or a family home evening lesson. But it works for date night, too. Tithing is a privilege, and I am so grateful for the blessings the Lord pours out upon us as we exercise our faith and obey that simple, yet sometimes difficult, commandment.
We went to a ward chili cook-off where they were playing apostate music... you know, the music that everyone else listens to that missionaries aren't supposed to be hearing for a year and a half. So that was fun. Met tons of people and saw the Bishopric do a beautiful rendition of "Lean on Me." I love ward activities :)
At the Stake Baptisms yesterday, we were greeting people when all of a sudden, in walks Elder Russell M. Nelson!! He was there for his great-grandson's baptism. And he shared a few thoughts after Drew was confirmed a member of the Church. The one thought that really stood out to me: every lesson, every talk, every program, every quorum, every meeting, everything we do in the Church is meant to take us closer to the temple.
Oh, and Elder Kikuchi of the Seventy bore his testimony in sacrament meeting yesterday as well. I love this area so much. I love this mission. I love being able to be surrounded by these men and hear their testimonies on a regular basis. I know they are called of God to do His work.
Family history is a powerful missionary tool. You all should start doing your family history and talk about it with others! People really are interested in finding out about their ancestors, and familysearch.org has amazing resources, as do all the Church's family history centers.
Family home evening with members is the best. You learn so much about how to function as a family and for how to run a family home evening. Usually it's the same way that you always did it with us, Mom :) This past week's FHE was with the Packard's and we had a planning session, song, lesson, and treat :) I love family home evening. Challenge: do family night every single week!!
Again, I invite those of you who are not members of this Church to talk to the missionaries, to ask a member, or to simply read the Book of Mormon. I promise you will see great things happen in your life because of those simple acts of faith. And you can always shoot me an email, too! This gospel is the greatest thing to have ever happened in my life, and I simply want to give others the opportunity to experience that same joy. That is my invitation to you.
Love you all so much! Heavenly Father loves you even more :) Do the little things every single day: pray and read your scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon. I love this gospel. I love my Savior. I know this work is His, and we cannot fail if we turn to Him.
Sister Lauren Holbrook
This Mormon Message is an incredibly powerful lesson for all of us.
Another district picture in our zone T-shirts. Love these missionaries so much.
The new bedroom without the bunk beds! Which means some pictures finally went up on the walls
Exciting stuff :)