Monday, October 28, 2013

Well Chris finished the Book of Mormon in two days and is now almost done with the Doctrine and Covenants... it's pretty crazy. Not just that he read that much but the distinct change that has come over him is unbelievable. He is so happy all the time now and testifies of the truthfulness of the gospel at every chance he gets. He's even talking about serving a mission! And he's 25! Never in my life have I seen someone change as much as he has and so quickly. I have gained a testimony of the power of the Book of Mormon. I'm so happy God answers prayers and can purify all that come unto him. Chris is so excited to get baptized this weekend! :)

[ haha! Chris just texted us and said, " D&C 122:8 - The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he? SO GOOD" ]

Tuesday we met with Precious and had an incredible lesson that ended with the spirit so strong. We invited her to be baptized on the 9th of November and she accepted with a smile and emotion in her voice. 
After that we had a random potluck thing with a bunch of members, non-members, investigators and missionaries that was really fun. After eating dinner we watched a Mormon message from Elder Holland's testimony of the Book of Mormon. Sister Huppi and I then bore our testimonies and invited everyone there to read and ask God if the book is true. The Spirit was strong and they all agreed. After that we met with Christina's friend Kate who has met with us a couple of times before. She went to the Apple Orchard with us and we try to meet with her as much as possible but she's super busy. It was a good lesson and Precious was sitting in on it. Kate has a problem with coffee and somehow it came up and Precious was like, "What? We can't drink coffee?!" Then she stopped and was like, "Awe whatever, I know it's bad for me anyway." Haha! It was so great. We taught her more about it later. 

Wednesday the Sister Training Leaders came for exchanges. We had an appointment that day with a new investigator named Christian who is wheelchair bound and very sweet. I knew that since we would be on exchanges only one of us would get to teach him with one of the SLTs. I felt prompted to have Sister Huppi teach him with Sister Woodward and Sister Zundel and I went out contacting on campus. It was fun switching it up and working with another sister. After we came back together the sisters told us about the lesson. They said that Christian had been reading and prayed about the Book of Mormon. He told them he had a dream that the Lord came to him and told him that it was true but that he needed to find out for himself. He knew that this was the path that God wanted him to take. Christian is an amazing spirit and is such a strong individual. He was born three months premature and has very little control of his body. He is very smart and loves to read. He said that he wants to be baptized and has been reading the Book of Mormon. He has a Catholic family and has decided to tell them he is getting baptized when he goes home for Thanksgiving.

Thursday we met with Rayman, read from the Book of Mormon with him and went over the baptismal interview questions. He said he felt ready and we invited him to come to Shannon's baptism on Saturday. He came and was interviewed afterwards. 

Our meeting with Qiuyuan was incredible. We have been meeting with her even though her father and boyfriend didn't approve of her being baptized. We had a beautiful lesson on temples and tithing and families. Her initial interest in the church came from going to temple square and learning about families. In the lesson I asked her a personal question about her boyfriend she speaks fondly of. I asked, "Do you think you will marry your boyfriend?"
She smiled and said yes. I then asked if she loved him. She replied with a very sincere "yes". Then I said, "What would it mean to you to know that you could be with your boyfriend and your family forever?" Her eyes widened and she said it would be the most important thing to her. The spirit was so strong as we testified of eternal families and bore our testimonies to her. 
I read 1 Nephi 3:7 that says, "I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them."
Then I explained how God would not command us to be baptized if he couldn't prepare a way for us. I told her a little about Nephi and the faith he had to follow the Lord even when he could lose his life and how the Lord delivered him. Then I asked her if she had faith that the Lord would prepare a way for her to be baptized and she said, "Half" - I told her that all you need is a little faith. Alma 32 says "if we have but a particle of faith, let that desire work in you." We invited her to set a new date to be baptized on the 23rd of November and she accepted. She said she will pray and ask her father again. 
On Sunday at church she came to us after and was so excited to tell us that she had spoken with her father and "It was like magic" how his opinion changed. She said she is still praying for her boyfriend but she knows that God loves her and that he answers her prayers. 

We taught Precious the rest of the Plan of Salvation with a former less active named Christian. He did a great job teaching and after the lesson he shared with us how he has been considering serving a mission after he graduates! We were SO excited. He has loved helping us teach and it's so great to see members, non-members and everyone grow in the gospel as it is being taught. 
Precious talked to me after church and said how she had shared the plan of salvation with one of her friends. She said she explained it all to her and she really liked it. I told her how when we share our testimonies they grow and I said, "You wouldn't have shared it, if you didn't believe it was true." She said I was right and that she definitely believes it. 

We had one last lesson with Shannon as an investigator Friday night just to get her prepared for when she would be baptized the next day. We went over the promises she's be making and she was able to be shown what it would be like through a video on The next day she was baptized and Chris, Rayman and Precious were all there and were able to feel the spirit and get excited for their own baptisms. 

I can't begin to describe the feeling that comes with watching someone you've come to love so much enter into the waters of baptism. To see them follow the example of Jesus Christ and be fully immersed in the water and come up washed clean from all their sins is the most beautiful thing. The joy that came on her face was priceless. The service was beautiful and two members of our branch did a piano, trumpet duet of the song "When I Am Baptized'. It was really cool. 

After the baptism we had an open house at the institute and gave tours of the building. We chalked on the ground outside and some people came in! It was great! We had some members bring friends and it was a great way to get people to come and learn more. 
That evening we taught Emre (he's from Turkey) and we taught him about the importance of prayer and church attendance. He read from the Book of Mormon and said he could tell it wasn't like any other book. He said he would come to church and he did!! :) 

Sunday we had SIX investigators at church!! Chris, Rayman, Precious, Christian, Qiuyuan and Emre! It was SO GREAT! Man, that felt good having that many people there! :) and the talks were great! They all said they enjoyed church and are moving closer and closer to God! I'm so happy that sometimes I just laugh at how great life is! 

But transfer calls are this Saturday aaand if I get transfered... I don't know how happy I will be. I love the Lord and I know he knows what's best but I just can't leave these people!! They've come so far! Oh I hope Sister Huppi and I can stay one more transfer. :( Gah! I love the gospel!! 

P.S. Sister Huppi has taught me how to do a handstand and a cartwheel! It's so great! Oh and I can play twinkle twinkle little star on the violin! :D

Monday, October 21, 2013

Great things are happening people. GREAT. THINGS.
We met a girl named Precious at our bus stop at the beginning of the week and she was really nice. We sat down on the bus and I proceeded to tell her all about the restoration and showed her how great the Book of Mormon is and explained where it came from. She was hooked. Totally wanted to learn more and we met with her Tuesday and taught her the full restoration and she had great questions and seemed to really like it. She said that she has never been baptized and would love to be baptized when she knows it's true. She came to church and loved it, is coming to home evening tonight and we are meeting with her again tomorrow and will hopefully be setting a baptismal date with her. God. Is. Great. 

Tuesday Rayman showed up to his appointment early. He sat down and said that he had come to tell us that he wouldn't be able to meet with us anymore. Sister Huppi and I were speechless and didn't know what to say. I'm sure we both prayed in our hearts and then somehow, by the grace of God, we proceeded to have an extremely spirit-driven lesson that was exactly what he needed to hear. He shared with us that the night before when he was contemplating not meeting with us anymore, he was translating a Japanese proverb that said, "Don't run from those who come to you."
This experience really impressed him and I asked him if he was going to take the advice or not? He laughed and said he would and we continued to teach him about the story of the  Tree of Life in the Book of Mormon. I don't even really remember all that we taught, I just know that at the end of it he felt much better and wanted to continue to progress towards baptism. 

We had dinner at Momma Shepp's house again and had some leftovers from her little Canadian Thanksgiving... so delicious. We've been trying hard to work with the members more and focused a lot of the week on meeting with them. 

Thursday we taught Rayman again who now is super solid and totally came to church!! Which is a huge deal because he said he always had a rough time coming to his old church. He loved it though and then texted us later that day and said, "It's so weird, I was watching this show and a line from one of the characters stuck out to me and it said "Someone who can't sacrifice anything can't hope to gain anything" Today of all days!"
God is totally speaking to him all the time! It is so cool! 

That day we also taught Shannon about Temples and family history and she and Dominique were interviewed for their baptisms. Elder Locklear is our district leader and he later told us that her interview was a very spiritual experience. She bore her testimony to him and told him that the day that we met her on campus she had been going through a hard time and prayed for help... soon after we talked to her on campus and taught her the restoration. I still remember how matter-of-factly she accepted baptism. The Lord is so great!

We then taught Qiuyuan the lesson that I have been not too excited to teach her... I know how much she likes coffee but we had to teach her the Word of Wisdom eventually. Then God proved my fears wrong again and the spirit testified to her that this law of health made sense and that it was for her benefit. She is doing her best to live it and also came to church on Sunday! 

Friday we got to work in the kitchen this time at the soup kitchen and it was a blast. There is a man there named Rob who is a pastor for his church and he is just so fun! He sings songs we don't know and is always being funny. Right before we left I came to him and said, "Hey Rob, have you ever wanted to see a Mormon baptism?" He responded with, "Of course I have!" and we told him all about Dominique's baptism and he said he would be there. 

Saturday was baptism day! Dominique looked so beautiful in her white baptismal dress and boy was the spirit there! Our zone leader Elder Anderson baptized her and we sang "I Stand All Amazed." It was great and Rob came along with quite a few other non-members! Oh it was great. She bore her testimony at the end and it was just beautiful. 

The next day she was confirmed as a member of Christ's church and received the girft of the Holy Ghost. We had a great turn-out at church but Chris wasn't there... And we couldn't get a hold of him. His girlfriend Ali texted us that he was in North Carolina visiting his dad. Hmm.. this made me worry a little. We didn't hear back from him for the rest of the day. Then today he called us and told us a crazy story. He went to North Carolina to get away and was wanting to abandon ship and not get baptized. Then last night when he was alone he said that he heard a small voice tell him, "Read scriptures." He ignored the prompting twice and when he couldn't fall asleep he decided to start reading the Book of Mormon from the beginning. He kept reading for ten hours and got all the way to ALMA! He told us he's not sure what happened but that he is definitely getting baptized and that we don't have a thing to worry about! He sounded so happy!

I KNOW GOD ANSWERS PRAYERS. We have been so worried about Chris wondering if he would ever really stop smoking and change to get baptized and the Lord is so good. :) I love my Savior so much. I know that God is real. There is no way these things just happen by chance. This is Christ's Church and it is so great! I love it! All we have to do is keep going! Keep calm and Morm-on! ;)

Friday, October 18, 2013

Picture Post

Birthday cleverness

Full to bursting after being fed by some members....

Her zone

The campus where they frequently proselyte 

.... A rabbit... (lol!)

Spending some time at an apple orchard

Remember to write Sister Collett, she would love to hear from you!

Monday, October 14, 2013

This week was a learning week. We had a lot of success finding but I feel like some weeks I just have spiritual growth-spurts! I feel so blessed to be a missionary. 

We taught Rayman about commandments and tithing because he was worried about not being able to pay his tithing and we cleared that up with the guidance of the spirit real fast. He seems committed but didn't come to church on Sunday... his phone is disconnected so we don't really know where he's at at the moment... it's his birthday today! :)

We had a beautiful lesson with Qiuyuan that was definitely led by the spirit. I love being guided to teach just what that person needs to hear at that time. We talked about putting our trust in God and helping her to see the faith that she has built already. It's been amazing to see her testimony grow. She agreed to coming to the first hour of church this week- it was so good to see her there. What a sweet girl. 

We have a new investigator named Josh who is on the wheelchair basketball team. He had a teammate who was in our branch that is on him mission now. We contacted him on campus and have met with him twice now. He is Catholic and very involved in his church. He seems to really enjoy meeting with us and has a sincere desire to know truth. He said that he would get baptized when he knows it is true. 

Shannon and Dominique and both doing great and we taught them together this week since they both have been taught all the lessons. We shared some Mormon messages with them and invited them to share them with their family and friends. 
We had Shannon come with us to the stake center to have a tour of the building so that we could show her what it looks like and explain how her baptism would go. We sat in the chapel and read the sacrament prayers with her and the spirit was strong. She came to church for the first time the next day and seemed to really enjoy it. 
After church we planned Dominique's baptism with her- she is so excited. I LOVE this work! We will be working on putting together a musical number to perform at her baptism. 

Bus contacting is magical! We only rode the bus once to get to the soup kitchen and in the short time we were on the bus I got two return appointments with people! Maybe we will just start bus-hopping instead of street contacting. 

We met with a less-active named Annie who hasn't been fully active since she was baptized seven years ago. We are teaching her the lessons over and is really starting to open up and make progress. 

We have a new investigator named Emre who is from Turkey. He's 18 and quiet but curious. We had a great first lesson with him and are excited to teach him more. 

We had an incredible lesson with Chris this week. The spirit was so strong and a member that I really look up to shared her incredible testimony. Alexis is a convert of three years and loves helping us with our lessons. She shared about how her weaknesses have made her into the person she is today and it helped me understand why I am the way I am and I now have a new gratitude for the trials and challenges I have been given. I love my Savior and I am so grateful for the guidance he gives me daily. I wish I had more time to write but we need to run to the store. :) Have a beautiful week and remember that God know you- he KNOWS you and knows what you need. Never forget how much he is a part of our lives whether we recognize it or not, he is there. 

Love you all!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Last week we set the goal of having four baptismal dates and at the beginning of the week it looked like a pretty tough goal. But we taught Shannon a lot and finished up the lessons with her. I asked her if she was able to pray about the Plan of Salvation and she said that she knows it's true. She believes all of it now and we set a date for her to be baptized on the 26th of this month! She came to conference and really enjoyed it. She's an awesome girl and I am so excited for her to become a member of Christ's Church. 

Regan wasn't making any progress and so we had to make the hard decision of letting her go. We won't be teaching her anymore but I know that we planted a BIG seed and that one day her heart will be ready to receive the message. 

We taught Quiyuan and she had some sad news for us... when she told her family about getting baptized her father did not approve. She will be returning to China at the end of the year and he doesn't want her to commit to a religion that will not be prevalent when she returns. We showed her a website called Mormons and China and it helped her a lot. We taught her about the tree of life and she said she would still meet with us. She came to the Saturday morning session of General Conference and really enjoyed it. We will be teaching her this week.
We are sad though because we had to drop her baptismal date and that was hard. 

Then we met with Chris and he started the stop smoking workshop with us and was well on his way to being baptized on the 12th. Then Saturday night he relapsed. He wasn't following all the steps in the program and realized he wasn't fully committed to it. He came to us wanting to really change and we believe he will be ready. He's made so much progress in the last couple of weeks. 

Dominique is doing incredible. We went over the baptismal interview questions with her and she is excited to make these promises with God. Her testimony inspires me and I have a strong conviction that the Lord is preparing his children. She will be getting baptized on the 19th of this month.

That night we biked home in the POURING rain and it was so funny. We were soaked and I loved it because I felt like a real missionary :) Wet, cold, and happy. Ha ha! :)

Friday we were sitting in the entrance area of the institute, reading scriptures on our lunch hour when I looked outside and a really happy guy that kind of reminded me of that famous workout guy with the poofy hair... came walking across the street towards our building. He had an orange shirt and seemed really excited about life. He saw me through the window and I waved at him. He stopped and started to walk up to the building. I opened the door and he asked me if Elder Loveless and Belnap were around. I told him they moved areas but that he was welcome to come in and have a seat. His name is Rayman and he had met the missionaries a while back but lost his Book of Mormon. We gave him another one and told him about what we do as missionaries- how our purpose is to bring others unto Christ etc.
He said he would love to read it and meet with us some time. We told him about General Conference which was the next day and told him we could teach him after. 

The next day he came to General Conference and loved it. Right after we taught him the restoration with the help of a couple members and he said that he would get baptized when he knows it's true. The next day he came to Conference again and we met with him after to see how his reading and praying went and so we could answer his questions. He said he had read to chapter TEN and had a lot of great questions about conference. Sister Huppi and I had prepared to present him with a baptismal date for the 2nd of November and he accepted to prepare himself to be baptized on that day. 

Great things are happening peopel. :) Just as they said in conference- this is a very important time in the history of the church. The Lord really is hastening his work! Catch the wave! "Join with us!" as Elder Uchtdorf stated. This church is so true and it is the only way to happiness and it is the only way to return to live with our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. My favorite talks in Conference were the ones on missionary work and Elder Russell M. Nelson's talk about how "daily decisions determine our destiny." We need to act now- not tomorrow. Make changes today. "You cannot procrastinate the day of your repentance." I know that we are preparing for the coming of our Lord and Savior. Share this gospel with all those around you. Help our brothers and sisters to prepare to the final judgement when our Savior, Jesus Christ will reign on earth. 
We can turn these perilous times into pearls as we let the truth swell within our hearts and share it will all the world. What a marvelous work this is. I know this Church is the Church of Jesus Christ. He is my Savior and I love him. 

And Happy Birthday Aunt Randy! Hope you know how much you are loved!!! :)