Good morning! Happy Monday. I have been so so nervous all transfer because time is zooming by, but I am enjoying every second of my mission. My companion is my best friend; we work hard and we have a blast together. I love the Holladay stake. I love these wonderful members. We are finding new investigators. My testimony is continuing to grow every day! I am growing in different ways each day.
I woke up around 4 AM this morning, concerned about home and visiting teaching. This might seem like a really random tangent, but I feel SO strongly about this. I remember at the beginning of my mission, thinking that missionary work would go SO much better if members were involved. We had a ton of people to contact, both non-members and less-actives, and I thought, if only we could have members keeping up with these less-actives... And then another thought... Home and visiting teaching!!... The Lord has established the PERFECT Church. We are imperfect, and I am okay with that! Buuuut, I think that we are living below our potential as member's of Christ's church.
Last night, we went to a ward party and heard several members say that they don't want to be "pushy"... Two separate individuals were proud to tell us that they were making visits to non-members and less-active members every month without sharing a message...
This cannot be what Nephi meant when he said that we "talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ" (2 Nephi 25:26). We talk of Christ...unless we are home teaching? We rejoice in Christ...but only when those we are talking to do as well?
This cannot be what Abinadi had in mind when he came to the people of King Noah in disguise and then declared, "The Lord has commanded me, saying, 'Abinadi, go and prophesy' (Mosiah 12:1). Was he teaching us to preach of Christ, but only when it is convenient?
And what about Alma? When he said that the covenants we make at baptism include standing as a "witness of God at all times and in all things and in all places," did he mean in all places except the homes of those we love and want to come unto Christ (Mosiah 18:9)?
Missionary work and the Work of Salvation are the SAME THING. We must INVITE others to come unto Christ by HELPING them receive the restored gospel. We have to invite them to act and keep commandments, or else they cannot repent-- they cannot change! If we are under the impression that we cannot share the gospel when under assignment from the Lord, then the devil is tricking us. Surely we are not "ministering" if we are merely visiting!
Tangent about home and visiting teaching over.
Monday: We had dinner with the Robertsons and with an old friend from the MTC, Sister Schneider! She is home from her mission and has a boyfriend living in my area! It was nice to get back together with her.
We had a lesson with our friend in the carecenter, teaching her the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ,
and then we had a lesson with the sisters, where we challenged them to go to Sacrament, pray every day, and read the Book of Mormon, and promised them we could go to Temple Square on the 11th if they did.
Tuesday: Sister Willis and I visited this very wonderful member, Sister Gloeckner, who told us all about her process in coming back into activity in the Church. She is so much happier and she is such a great rolemodel. She has the most beautiful home and it was such a lovely visit.
Then, Sister Willis and I got to go to the Jordan River Temple!!! We got to go with the rest of the departing missionaries and their companions. Sister Zeiner was there, as well as 2 other elders and their companions. I LOVE THE TEMPLE!
That night, we went to the Youngs to correlate with Braden for our mission prep class, and to correlate with the Youngs about the ward. Afterwards, we went out for dessert... I love that family!
Wednesday: We switched drivers! Sister Willis started to learn the area and I started to get really car sick, but that's okay... because she needs to learn in the next week!
We ate lunch with the Colemeres, our previous Ward Mission Leader and his wife. They are so so sweet! They were reminiscing about when I first came into the area.. Saying that they remember thinking, "Uh oh, we are in trouble.." haha.
That night, we did Cupcake Wars with the Young Women! Sister Willis and I were the judges, so we had a lot of fun with it. There were a few non-members there, so we got to know them by name and let them meet us and see that we are not scary!! We went to all of the different houses, watching the girls be inventive and cute. In the end, we got to test 3 different kinds of cupcakes. There were some really delicious ones!
Thursday: We had home inspections. Then we had a district training and interviews with President Eberhardt. He just talked about me going home the whole time! Wahh!
That night, we had dinner with our Stake Relief Society president, a couple from the ward, and a non-member neighbor. The neighbor is SO sweet. I've had the privilege of meeting her before, and she's very very polite and loves to be around members. We taught the first lesson after dinner, and she listened and participated. She still just isn't ready QUITE yet!! She did, however, invite us to eat dinner at her house later this week! So we will see!
That night, we went to correlation with the ward mission leader and the ward missionaries. Our former-investigator, fully active in the Church, NON-member, came to our meeting with her active member husband!! She was even asking who she should tell about referrals... I cannot wait for her to be baptized, but she won't set a date!! She keeps saying that she wants me to come back for her baptism whenever she decides.. Urg! She was saying, though, that out of all her missionaries, I have helped her progress the most.. I can't wait until she's baptized!
Friday: I looked at my White Handbook and said, "Oops! I'm expired!" ... I realized that my Ministerial Certificate expired on February 5, and it was February 7! I am still a missionary though! Maybe "best by" February 5, but not expired!
We had a zone meeting. There was this activity where we had to trace our companions on this giant piece of paper and then write how different parts of the body (i.e. the HEAD, the HEART, the FEET) could relate to missionary work. I am probably the most terrible tracer in the whole world, so the image of Sister Willis turned out spectacular.
Then, we went to LDS Family Services and I waited in the lobby. So many people came in and out. This man and his 14-year-old son talked to me for a little bit. They told me their whole story about his wife dying and their activity in the Church and things. I felt like I was preparing them for their counseling session, a little bit! It was nice to relate everything back to the gospel. It's just such a blessing!
Later, Sister Willis and I visited our Recent Convert, Eva. I just love that lil lady!
That night, we went to an Addiction Recovery with a less-active member. It was very positive and uplifting. I'd never been to a meeting like that, other than the 15-step-program that we did with Eva to stop smoking. But a lot of the people who attended, seemed to have a testimony about the effectiveness of the program. The Atonement is so great!
Saturday: Miracle morning! Sister Willis and I were going to contact a less-active family. When we got out of the car, there was a woman and a young man clearing tree branches off their driveway. We decided to go talk to them. The woman said, "Hi sisters," indicating that she was a member. After a few minutes, the guy walked down the driveway and she said, "My grandson is not a member," (pointing to him), and we asked, "Can we teach him?" She said, "Let's ask him!" So when he came back over, she asked him if we could teach him, and he said yes!! There is this great chapter in Preach My Gospel about "Finding People to Teach." It talks about a time when Joseph Smith was traveling with a group of missionaries on the Missouri River, the Lord told them, "It is not needful for mine elders to be moving swiftly whilst the inhabitants on either side are perishing in unbelief" (D&C 61:3). This was a totally unplanned opportunity and the Lord had prepared his heart! We went back a few hours and taught him the first lesson and it went super well! We are meeting with him again this week! :)
and THEN. We drove by our other investigator's house, who we haven't been able to get a hold of. We opened our eyes from saying a prayer, and they pulled into the driveway!! This happens ALL THE TIME! It is still surprising! But, I remember when I was set apart as a missionary, the (now) MTC President, President Nally, promised me that I would know the very roads to go down, and the very homes to visit. That promise and blessing has DEFINITELY been fulfilled! We went in and had a great lesson with her. I hope we start to see her progress.
Then, we had a gongshow lesson with our investigator, handing her over to the missionaries in her own area where she lives. There were 3 sets of missionaries!! Sister Willis and I, our senior couple, and the elders we were transitioning her to!
Sunday: We went to Ward Council and sacrament. We participated in the Primary ward conference of the 10th ward and had a lot of fun talking about "Fishers of Men" and missionary work. Then we taught Mission Prep with Braden. The youth were pretty shy at first, but it was a lot of fun. We ended the class doing roleplays, which Braden likes to call "Role Parties". A few of the youth came up to us afterward and thanked us for the lesson.
Later, Sister Willis and I did a lesson with another one of our new investigators and then went to Temple Square with him and his member girlfriend. It was really great! He is kind of reserved and quiet, though, so we can't figure out what is holding him back from baptism! He believes that it is all true, and yet, will not set a date! Ahh!
We visited Sister Johns, a member of the Stake Relief Society presidency, and had a wonderful visit! I love her to death. She and her daughter are so amazing.
We finished off the night with a lesson with a less-active, who is just so in love with the missionaries. She is so sweet and really wants to go to church! She works two jobs, but she said that if she can just go to Sacrament and hear the opening prayer before work, that is better than nothing!
In conclusion, I am not sure if this will be my last email, but I am just so eternally grateful for this opportunity to be a missionary. I LOVE the Book of Mormon. I LOVE the Savior. I sincerely want to dedicate my life to Him. I Live to keep my Temple covenants.
Before my mission, I knew how to live by crawling. Now that I have been a missionary, I can run! ...and I would never ever go back to crawling. My testimony is giant; it is infinite. I will always be an advocate for the Lord. I will always be a missionary.
All my love,