This has been a long week that flew by in a heartbeat.
Renee. One of our reactivated members is this fiery, eighty-year-old lady that I just adore. We had a fabulous lesson with her last week about missionary work and this week about tithing. She has so many questions, and we have a good time trying to figure out the answers together. I also was able to go a temple preparation class with her and Sister Watson (her best friend on the street). She says some of the greatest things and asks the best questions. Her quotes of this week:
"I was born with the instruction book: open mouth, insert foot."
"If you don't believe the Book of Mormon, you might as well jump off a bridge. Because that's as far as you'll ever get."
I always learn something new from Renee because of the questions she asks. I am so grateful that our Heavenly Father promises to answer our questions! We simply need to have the faith to ask and the patience to wait for those answers. I know He does answer.
Julie has been doing amazing! She is being baptizedand I couldn't be more excited!! She loves the gospel and loves reading her scriptures and praying every day. Her parents respect her decision, though they are not the happiest about it. But they all say that she is good to be baptized this week, and Julie has a great desire to stay faithful and do all that she knows she should.
It has been a huge testimony builder for me of our examples in our families. The rest of her family may never accept the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ, but because of her choices, she is inviting the Spirit into their home and helping there be an attitude of love and respect that hasn't been there before. We all have an incredible influence on the people around us, but especially our families. I know our families can be together forever!
We had a powerful lesson on tithing with Anne, one of the first people I met in this area. Tithing truly is a principle of faith, not money. I know our Heavenly Father's promises are certain when we give our all to be exactly obedient to the commandments He gives us. He wants to bless us! We just have to choose if we will let Him do so.
We also went to Temple Square twice this weekend - once with Ben and thenwith the Ballenger family (see attached picture). With Ben, the member who came with us was able to bear bold, powerful testimony of the importance of the Book of Mormon and how our families can be together for eternity. I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know that no matter the questions we have, if we come to know the Book of Mormon is true, then this gospel must be true. I also know that there is no halfway in this. We must either choose the side of God or the other side. I pray that each one of us will ultimately choose the side of God so we may return to live with Him.
Finally, zone conference. We had the incredible opportunity to hear from Elder Mervyn B. Arnold of the Seventy in our zone conference yesterday. I know God speaks through those He calls to do His work. I know we can each receive revelation - meaning, we can each know what our Heavenly Father needs us to know. Just a few key points from the meeting:
- We cannot do this work alone. We need our Heavenly Father's help. But we also need the help of every single member. We must go out and earn the trust of the members, doing all within our power to do so.
- This is the time to drive combines, not to throw around sickles when it comes to the harvest. The Lord is hastening His work, and there are people who ready to receive the message of the gospel, IF we will ask them!
- Talk to everyone. Never leave them without an invitation to do something, because that invitation (or commitment) is an invitation to repent, which we all have to do to return to live with our Heavenly Father.
- Commitments extended are sacred. We must help them become commitment-keepers so that they will one day be covenant-keepers.
- Let everyone feel your love. This is a gospel of love and joy, and when people know you truly love them, they will have a desire to keep those commitments.
We are as busy as ever and doing our best to stay on top of all that needs to be accomplished. We could not do this work without our Heavenly Father's help, and I am so grateful for His hand guiding every aspect of this work. Thank you for your prayers, letters, love, and support. I have the best family and friends I could have ever asked for. This time to serve the Lord is precious, and I will forever treasure the lessons, the people, and the change that I have experienced here.
Mom asked me to share this story about Sister Lwin's family:
Sister Lwin's family was baptized in Myanmar when she was 11 years old. Her dad's friend invited them to come to church - that's the only way they can do missionary work in Myanmar - and they converted from Buddhism to Mormonism because of the Spirit they felt. Her dad had a dream of the Salt Lake Temple and everyone being in white, and so when they saw the picture of the Salt Lake Temple, they knew that was where they needed to be. Sister Lwin's dream is to have her family all together in the Salt Lake Temple. When she submitted her mission papers, she prayed and prayed that she would be able to come to Salt Lake so she could see the temple. And here she is! Her faith amazes me and inspires all around her.
The gospel is true! Our Savior, Jesus Christ lives! I know these things because I have found out for myself. I know that each one of us is a loved daughter or son of God. I know He wants each of us to return to Him. I invite each one of you to begin today in praying to Him each day. I know that as we pray every day, His Spirit and His love will be abundant in our lives, and we will feel of His guidance in all we do.
I love you all! Remember to smile and look for miracles :)
One of the families we're teaching are all band geeks and color guard nerds. So I still got my fair share of band camp this year. I can't escape.
Temple Square with the Ballenger family!
Companionship selfie while we were waiting to pick up some other Sisters. I love these two :)
Missionaries like to have fun, too :)