Monday, February 24, 2014

This week was crazy! So much happened! Let's see if I can fit it all in this email in the little amount of time that I have...
Monday we had Zone P-day and FHE with the branch. Sister Smith and I put it on and did minute to win it. Everyone had a really good time. 
Tuesday morning the Sister Training Leaders, Sister Felt and Sister Woodward came for exchanges first thing in the morning. Sister Felt stayed with Sister Smith in our area and I went with Sister Woodward back to O'Fallon, Missouri. It was so fun to be with her and see how we have changed since we were companions a year ago. She has grown so much, it's really amazing. She has always inspired me and helped me when I've needed her. I am so grateful for the people I have met on my mission. We got to teach a lot of their investigators and it was really fun to spend a day and a half with her. We met up with the other sisters that afternoon to exchange again. 
That night Sister Smith and I had a lesson with Jake where we watched the Restoration movie. He really liked it and the spirit was strong. I love sharing my testimony about the Prophet Joseph Smith. I love that I can say that I know he was a true prophet and that God has called Thomas S. Monson to be the current prophet today. He gave a great closing prayer and we set up to see him the next day because he has a lot of questions about his Book of Mormon reading. He's in Mosiah now!!! He said he can't put the book down. :) He loves how it makes him feel. 

After dinner that night we were going to go with a member to a lesson with Crystal but she rescheduled at the last second. So we decided to have a lesson with the member. Sister Smith and I were talking and I asked her what she thinks God would need the member to hear. Right then, a clear thought came to my mind. The Word Of Wisdom was what I thought. I was confused because this member is very active in the church and is really healthy. We both wondered why we would need to teach her that. So we prayed about it and asked if it was right. We both felt that it was and proceeded to teach her. 
We taught the lesson like we would to an investigator and she answered everything like an active member would. We still wondered why we were teaching her and wondered if we were really helping her. Then after expressing our love for and telling her how the Lord impressed us to share this with her, she told us about her past and how she had treated food as something she could control and that she had an unhealthy relationship with food. We were then able to help her set goals and make plans to improve. 
This was another testimony to me that the Lord loves us so individually. He knows exactly what we go through and if we are doing what is right, he can guide us in the ways that we need. I can't even express how much I love being a servant of the Lord. I love being guided by him to bring help to those in need. I absolutely love this gospel and am so grateful for the experiences I am having as a missionary. 

Friday we did service at the food pantry, which I love doing!! The best part was meeting Michelle- a sweet Taiwanese lady that was helping us in the kitchen that day. I asked her about her family and her kids. She expressed some worry about her 15 year-old daughter. I told her about how when I was fifteen, it was the programs in my church that made me want to be a good person. I told her about how I was that age when I prayed to know if the Church was true. She said that she had known Mormons before and that her husband was against religion. She felt like she needed guidance though and was being lead to people that could help her. She felt like God let her meet us to learn more. She asked about how you get answers to prayers and I taught her. We talked the whole two hours that we were there and she was so grateful. I told her about and how she can talk to missionaries online. She was so excited and asked when we would be coming back to do service again. I told her we would be back next week and could talk again. 

Then Saturday we met with our new investigator named Qing (pronounced ching) who is from China! She is so cute and has only been in the United States for a few months. We taught her the restoration and she seemed to like it and had a lot of questions. We had to go slow and explain a lot of words but I love doing that. :) 

Then Sunday they all came to church!!!! Well, Jamie didn't come. She has been struggling a little bit. But Jake and Crystal and Qing came!! :) I was so happy! Aaaand now I'm out of time. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Well, I have officially been on my mission for a year now. Crazy, right?? I wish I could do a nice recap of the last year and all the things I've learned but there just isn't enough time. AND I have so much to tell you all about this week! 
Thursday was my year mark and it was the most exciting day I have had in this area! We met with Crystal and set a new baptismal date with her for the 22nd of March. We had a great lesson and she seems to be doing really well. Then we met with our NEW INVESTIGATOR Jake. :) He is golden. He's been taught before and so he has already finished the first Book of Nephi in the Book of Mormon. He says he loves going to church and loves how he feels when he reads the Book of Mormon. He also said that his family is strong Catholic and how it would be really hard for them to accept him being Mormon. But he already has a testimony of it and just needs the courage to act. He's a really good kid and has a lot of friends that are Mormon. We are excited to meet with him again this week. 
The other university sisters made us dinner that night for my year mark, which was really nice. Then we had a lesson with our other investigator Jamie! She is so set to be baptized and really wants it. We went over the baptismal interview questions and she was really excited that she believed it all to be true. We are so excited for her to be baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 

I love holidays. Thanks to my mother and the wonderful packages she sends I'm able to go all out and decorate the apartment and celebrate to the fullest. Our apartment is so decked out in hearts it's crazy. And we had all the things we needed to have a wonderful day. In the morning we heard a knock on our door and our District Leader and his companion brought us our favorite cookies from hot box!! It made us so happy!! 
Sister Smith and I decided to make dinner for the other set of sisters. We made red velvet pancakes along with eggs, bacon and sausage. Oh and I made cupcakes :)

Then I got sick and the rest of the week I have not felt very good. But a member came and brought me stuff to make me feel better and that was really nice. :) Oh and I burned a pair of leggings to celebrate my year mark. They had holes in them. Sorry if this email sounds kind of weird, I'm still not feeling well. But hey, the sun is out and it's p-day :) All is well.

Monday, February 10, 2014

This week went by the fastest it's ever gone by since I've been here. It was awesome! Last Monday our investigator Jamie came to Family Home Evening with us to do service at the Food Bank! We bagged hot dogs aaand I will never look at hot dogs the same. Especially the cheese-filled dogs.. ew. Haha! Wednesday night we met with Jamie at the institute and we set up the couches and projector to watch the Restoration movie with her and another sister in the branch named Hannah. The spirit was strong and she really liked the movie. She said that the whole time she was watching it she just kept things, "I need to pray and ask". And so that night she went home and she did just that. We told her it would be good to try kneeling and praying out loud. When we met with her again on Friday she was excited to tell us about her experience praying. 

She said she went all out and prayed kneeling at her bed-side and offered up the desires of her heart. She said that she felt like she just needed to keep talking and so she talked to Him about her family and everything. She said it felt so good that she cried. She was so happy to tell us and said it was an amazing experience. I was so proud and happy that I got up and hugged her! She's been doing so wonderful praying and reading and she said she would definitely be at church this Sunday! We also invited her to come with us to a baptism the next day and she came. It was a great experience and she said she really enjoyed it. She seemed excited for when it would be her turn. 

She also told us that her boyfriend that lives in Utah surprised her and is flying here for Valentine's Day! She was so so so happy and that of course made me very happy. Sunday came and we were waiting to see if she'd really come. I kept looking at my watch as we listened to the prelude music. I started to get nervous as it became closer to 10 o'clock. "Jamie's here!" Someone said. I looked and there she was coming through the back door. Sigh of relief! Oh it was so good to see her there finally! And she was even wearing a dress! She looked so nice!

Sacrament meeting was absolutely amazing. The talks were based on the gospel of Jesus Christ- which is the foundation of our Church. Baptism and confirmation were the key points and we also were blessed to see the young man get confirmed who was baptized the day before. He looked so happy and Jamie said she could feel the spirit. The talks were so powerful. Oh and I was even quoted in one of them! That made me feel really good and that I have been able to help people grow in their knowledge of the gospel. When sacrament was over I was surprised to see a completely filled room behind me! But added more to my joy was how many people I didn't recognize! There were new faces and many people had brought friends! 

Sister Smith and I noticed that there was a familiar face that really surprised us. It was Jake! The really nice Catholic guy who had shown up a couple of weeks ago with some friends. Turns out he wanted to come back because of how good he feels when he is there and he said he had already taken three of the missionary lessons back in St. Louis!!!!! Wha!?? So we got his number and he said he would love to meet with us but that he needed to check his schedule and get back to us. Oh I was so happy. I can't wait to teach him!!!! He's so golden! Then before he left church at the end he thanked us and said he loved being there! The Church is so true!! Haha, I love it!

One other quick thing. There is this girl named Sam who is the Relief Society President and she helps us with everything. I mean everything. If we need a ride, she's there. In fact she'll be the one taking us grocery-shopping today! :) One morning she said she was having a not-so-good day and asked if we could meet for a bit. Of course we were happy to and Sister Smith and I prayed to know what to talk to her about. We planned what we felt she needed and met up with her to talk. The spirit was really strong and I didn't know at the time but she later texted us and said that it was EXACTLY what she needed to hear. I love moments like that where I know without a doubt that God loves his children so individually and knows just what they need. :)