Monday, May 24, 2010

Like Unto Abinidai

May 24th 2010

Well, I am here in the lovely city of Wenatchee, WA. My trainer, Hermana Naylor, is AMAZING! She has only been out on her mission for 6 months and has been serving in this area the whole time. She is really young for a trainer. Typically, most missionaries don't start training until after a year. But, I know that her being called to be my trainer was inspired. Her spanish is really good and she is helping me with mine. We get along great and are very compatible as companions. She is from Denver, Colorado. Already received her Bachelor's from BYU in Journalism, and has traveled and lived throughout lots of different places in the world. I admire her alot, and already we're becoming very good friends. The Lord has definitely blessed me with good companions so far and I am so very grateful for that.

#1- Ok, the highlight of my mission experience so far started on the very first day. After talking to my fam on the phone, we boarded our plane to Spokane. Interestingly enough, our flight attendant talked with us a little bit about our church. There were 11 missionaries in our traveling group. One of them gave her a pass along card, right before take off. we were sitting there I got the strongest prompting of the Spirit to do something, I myself know I could have never done, had it not been with the strength and courage given me by the power of the Holy GHost and for the cause of which I am here on my mission in the first place. To represent Christ and to testify of Him. I have been called and set apart to do so, so I should have no need to fear that responsibility, even when the spirit prompts me to do something that is far beyond my own capacity and comfort zone.

Well, what was it that the spirit prompted me to do you might ask? Well, truth be told you probably won't believe the story. But, as we were getting ready to take off, my mind reflected back on a exercise we did while in the MTC. They called it the "bus exercise", where we practiced getting on a bus, bearing testimony of the Book of Mormon to every one on the bus and inviting them to hear the message in which we have to share. I'm sitting there, this memory comes to mind, and immediately the Spirit tells me "you need to do this- here". I was completely taken back by the prompting at first at I didn't know how to react. We began taking off, and the prompting came again and stayed with me. I couldn't quite think straight, because the natural man in me was like...."no, thats weird, that's scary." But, then I read a quote I had about the importance of my call and how great my calling was as a missionary. I turned to the BOM and the story I happen to read is of course, the story of Abinidai and how he stood as a testimony to the King, and although they mocked him and rejected his words, one of the preists, only one soul (Alma) believed his words and left the King's reign and ended up bringing many people into the church. Of course as I read this I realized that the Spirit was just reconfirming to me, that I needed to stand up at the end of the flight and bear my testimony to the people on this plane. For what purpose, I need not know, but what I do know is that I couldn't deny the power behind these promptings and I couldn't hide from them otherwise I would reject it the rest of my mission and think "what if". So, with new courage and as I prayed a couple different times for the strenght and the ability to do this, at the end of the flight I did just that.

We pulled into the terminal, and the seatbelt sign went off. I stood up and said something along the lines of, "Brothers and Sisters, if I could have just a few moments of your time I would like to share a quick message with you. We are missionaries of the church of Jesus CHrist of Latter-Day Saints. We are representatives of Jesus Christ and I testify to you that I know He lives and that He is the Christ. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and that we can get nearer to Him when we read it. I know that Christ suffered and died for us and that he loves us. I bear witness that we have a father in Heaven who loves us. I invite each of you the next time you see missionaries to be nice to them, and ask them about their message. I promise you it will change your life. The gospel has changed mine. I bear witness that the church is true! Thank you and have a nice time in Spokane!" Now, I'm pretty sure it came out better than that on the plane. To be honest I cant really remember what exactly I said, but I could feel the spirit bear witness through me. I was scared, so scared, but with the Lord on my side I was able to stand as a witness of Him.

The missionaries afterwards were amazed and thought it was so gutzy, but I told them that had I not prayed for the strength of the Lord to be with me I coulnt have done it on my own. Family I want you to know, that I know I am a disciple of Christ. I am a true messanger of Him. And that everyday as long as I continue to follow the promptings of the Spirit, I will have the opportunity to witness miracles. I know He lives and I know He loves us. I know that God has a plan for each of us, and this short time that I have the opportunity to serve a mission is going to last with me throughout my life and into the eternities. My friend Amber wrote me and said, "This is the greatest work to be apart of. You have 18 months to dedicate everything to the LORD, and then an eternity to remember it!"

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Through His Stripes We Are Healed

May 11th 2010

My testimony of the Atonement has grown so much since coming here. I know that the Atonement encompases everything, including the times when we are feeling very weak and all alone. We can be strengthened and feel of our Savior's love through the healing power of the Atonement. The advesary understands the potential we all have, and that is why he will stop at nothing to discourage us or lead us astray. He uses all sorts of cunning devises; but I know that although he has the power to bruise our heal, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we have the power to crush his head. I urge you that if ever at a moment you are feeling discouraged or dismayed, GET DOWN ON YOUR KNEES AND PRAY. The Lord will heal you, he will lift you, and bear the burden in which you feel is weighing down on you.

Heavenly Father knew this life wouldn't be easy. We knew this life wouldn't be easy. We all fought in the war in heaven, by the power of our testimonies, and we won! We know this because we are here now, with a body, learning and growing every step of the way; and being put to the test. We knew in the pre-earth life that we would face challenges, but we were so excited that by being given the chance to gain a physical body; we could literrally BECOME like our Heavenly Father. We each have divine heritage and divine potential to become Kings and Queens in the Celestial Kingdom; to live in the presence of our God forever and with our families for the eternities.

We are so blessed to have the gospel; to have the blessings of the teachings given to us by our parents, our church leaders, the scriptures, the temple, etc. We are so blessed to be able to know about the Atoning sacrafice of the savior; to know the plan that God has for each and every one of His children. We are all a part of this plan; and by our faith, by our diligence, and our obedience, we will be blessed with eternal life. I know these things are true with all that I have. I wish I could shout it to the rooftops; and that every single person that I LOVE could feel of my conviction in my voice and in my words when I say, I KNOW that this church is true! I KNOW that God lives and that Jesus Christ is thr true and living son of God. The only Begotten who's soul purpose was to make it possible for us, GOD'S CHILDREN, to be able to return to live with our Heavenly Father again.

Every day we have here in this earthly existence is a measure of our determination and our desire to be better. Every day we either live up to our eternal potential or fall short. The beautiful blessing of it all, though, is that even in times when we do fall short, we have been given the gift of the Atonement. I know that through His stripes we can be healed!

I know that me coming on this mission was the best decision I have ever made in my entire life. I know I am here, because I am supposed to be, and I am so grateful for the whisperings and promptings of the spirit that lead my path to here. My entire outlook on life has changed. I am NOT the same person who I was before I left, and I know that. Every day I am being refined, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Everyday I am being perfected and molded into that eternal being I have the divine potential to become. I am becoming a true disciple of Christ and witness of Him. I know that He loves you and understands what you are going through every second of every day. This church is true!

In other good news, I will share with you real briefly the amazing week I have had while here. First, sunday Sheri Dew spoke to us in Relief Society!!!! I LOVE HER!! She is the most amazing woman! And I also got to meet her afterwords and she gave me a hug :) I really feel almost like I met one of my heroes. Then, what an amazing week to go out! last night ELDER HOLLAND came to speak to us at the devotional! OH MY GOODNESS! He is one of my absolute favorites! The way he speaks with so much passion and boldness; ooo I love it! I took like 6 pages of notes in my journal! Definitelty the best talk ever. I wish I had more time to share all what I loved from his talk but I will have to share more either on tape or via letter. He is amazing though! I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to hear from him while I've been here in the MTC. Definitely one of the highlights of my last 9 weeks!

So I leave Monday, 5 am from here to the airport. I cannot wait!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Famine in the Land

May 5th 2010

Happy Cinco de Mayo!!

We might be having a little fiesta later here today, and Elder Swanny said he might bring chips and salsa to class. MMMM, speaking of chips and salsa I could really go for some chip and queso from Chili's right about now. Oh and Cafe Rio haha. The food here is....alright. Lol. I'm grateful for it, but lets just say I am absolutely stoked to eat real food again! I miss Alex's cooking :) On another note, my companions and I are getting 3 new sisters in our room today. We've been spoiled and have had the room to ourselves for a total of 4 wks out of the 7 we've been here, but that streak is now over. We have bunk beds and let's just say, they aren't the most convenient things in the world. Plus having 6 girls in one confined space, that is smaller than my room at home....can sometimes be a little clostraphobic. But, if I can adjust to Hermana Miller's snoring I most definitely can adjust to this haha.

Speaking of Sis. Miller, she loves you guys. And Sis. Williams sends her love as well. I am going to miss them both so much, but we have so much reason to rejoice because we are doing the Lord's work! On Sunday, we had mission conference and the MTC Presidency and wives spoke to us. Sister Smith (the MTC President's wife) talked to us about how there is a "famine of the word" out in the world. That there are people out there, searching for the truth but know not where to find it. We are apart of the greatest work out there! I feel so blessed to be here and to be able to bring the truth to God's children. Missionary work is no joke. It is the real deal! As hard as it might be to understand sometimes, this is the eternal salvation of one's soul that we are talking about! It is absolutely critical that I remain intune with the Spirit at all times and not be afraid to talk to anyone, because realistically we are all God's children and we all need to hear the truth and hear the good news of the Gospel.

I'm so grateful to be serving a mission! It has seriously changed my life! Already, I am not the same person I was before I left. Every day I am being molded into the person I have the divine potential to be. I have learned so much! I have grown so much! In a matter of 2 months, I have learned more about myself and seen clearer from an eternal perspective than I have in my entire life. Wow! This gospel is amazing!

On another note, Shiloh left to the Guat Mtc Monday. It was hard seeing him go, but I know he will do work out there and he will do great! I'm amazed at how close we got in a matter of 3 weeks! Lucky for me, since we're cousins, I got to hug him before he left. Ha, we sure got some strange panicked looks from some of the other Elder's not in our zone who were passing by when we did hug. It made me laugh! So funny!

Monday night was one of the best nights I've had here! My district and my comps and I had an amazing spiritual experience. I cannot go into a ton of detail on here, for lack of time and the fact that it was so sacred and personal that it would be hard to adequately put into words, but it was amazing! At the end of the night, after coming back to the residence, my comps and I locked our door and just talked about so many divine spiritual truths for about an hour and a half! The spirit was so strong! I was litterally overcome by the power of the spirit in our room, that I was physically exhausted. I have never experienced anything quite like it before. I can testify to you that the Holy Ghost is REAL! That the teahings and promptings of the spirit are real and that the Holy Ghost is the true witness of truth. I knew this church was true before my mission, but now there is no way I could doubt! I'm so excited to be able to share this eternal happiness with everyone that I come into contact with.

Let's see, oh a cool complement my district received yesterday from our teacher Hermano Airmet, he told us we were "missionaries like unto Moroni". The conviction in his voice was so sincere and it really touched my heart. I later read in Alma 48:11-18, to see some of the qualities Captain Moroni had. He was a great man who was firm in the faith of Jesus Christ. I hope to aquire the same characteristics Captain Moroni had.

Well, truth be told...I battle with the Spanish language every day! It is such an emotional rollercoaster, but the reason I dont mention much about it is because that is my way of attempting to exercise my faith. By focusing more on the positive than the negative. It is hard, don't get me wrong...but it is just another testament to me that if this church wasn't true then there is no way I could learn the language as well as I have in 2 months, nor could I be fluent in hopefully 6 months out in the field. The gift of tongues is real, and I know that by my faith I will be able to speak the language.

I am getting my hair cut today. Prob short-ish. My comps and other missionary friends are trying to convince me. We'll see how daring I get. I dont think I could cut it past my shoulders. TOO SCARY! But I will send you all pictures!

I leave May 17! A week and a half and I am going to the mission field! Ah I am so excited!

I misss you ALL aton but I know that I am in the right place and the right time in my life right now!

The church is true!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

This is the Last Dispensation

April 28th 2010

Week 6! and counting! I cannot believe I leave in 20 days to the mission field! I am getting so excited to get out there and to do work! It hit me a few days ago, that I've been here for so long and I am starting to get a little ancy (however you spell that). I'm grateful for the time I have here though to learn as much as I possibly can with the language and in the gospel. I have learned so much. Last week we taught all our lessons in Spanish, and from this point on we are going to be teaching solomente en espanol. Its is hard but I have learned aton. Our district has set a goal to have English fasts every day from 1130 to 430 and all day on Monday. So far its been going pretty good, but there is always room for improvement. I've noticed how I can now comprehend alot of what people are saying, even natives, but its the speaking part that is taking a little bit longer for me. It is coming though, and that is exciting to see the growth I've been able to gain. My confidence is waxing strong in the Lord and I know that through Him all things are possible.

Well, my thoughts are kinda scattered at the moment I'm not really sure what to say. All the days here seem to run together. I feel so blessed to be able to have spiritual experiences EVERY day. It's crazy how strong the spirit is here!
Ok top 3 for the week:

#1 On thursday last week my comps and I got to go out into the "real" world. HAHA who would have ever thought I would be calling Provo, the "real" world. Sis. Williams had her cardiologist appointment so we went out for that. Good news, she doesnt have to get surgery! And the cardiologist is treating her condition differently so hopefully that will help and she wont have any more episodes. She hasnt had one since that one week I told you about, but still continue to keep her in your prayers.

#2 So two nights ago, we were all getting ready for bed. My companions and I had just had a fun time doing "Tim Tam Slams" which to my family, I highly doubt you have ever heard of Tim Tams before but they are so good! You can get em in Hawaii and Austrailia, prob other places to. And they are like this chocolate cookie, and its called a slam because you dip it in hot chocolate and suck the hot choco through to fill the cookie up and then eat it. Ok hard to explain. But they are amazing! I think I may be addicted lol. Anywho, so sister Litza's comp was in our room getting one...and then Sis williams was like "where is sis. litza?"....all of us being surprised of course that Litza wasnt in our room at this time of great fun! So, then Sis Miller was like..."she's prob in the closet or something" kinda just making a joke. And I, being the over paranoid self that I am...was like...."Probably!" and decided to go check. Without andy sign of warning as I was about 2 ft from opening one of the closet doors Litza popped out and scared me half to death!! I screamed at the top of my lungs! Anf family you know how hard it is to scare me that good. But it was legit! And so hillarious! Prob one of the funniest things thats happened here! Hey, at least my comps got the chance to see how I may scream like a little girl if you are lucky enough to scare me that good. It was a good time. Props to Litza!

#3. Elder L. Tom Perry came to speak at our devotional last night! It was amazing and I officially think he is the cutest little (big) man ever! I was surprised at how tall he was. He talked about the Book of Mormon, and how we need to study from it daily. Ponder it. Study it with our comps. etc. But then he related that to studying it throughout the rest of our lives. Personally and with our eternal companions and families. He said that "when we prayerfully study from the book, no matter how many times we have read it, that a POWER will begin to flow into our lives and that we will be able to have the strength to endure through trials and the strength to be obedient to ALL of God's commandments." I know that this is true and I have learned so much from the scriptures it is amazing! I am developing a deeper love and understanding for the Bible as well! The Bible and the BOM support each other and it is amazing to see how they relate. I love it!

Ok, well unfortunately top 3 is all I have time to share for today. But I want to close with my testimony like I always do of course :) I want you to know that I KNOW that this church is true! There is not a doubt in my mind that it is true. I know that every one of God's children can come to know this for themselves, if they sincerly ask God in prayer with pure intent and a sincere heart, if it is true. If the BOM is true, if Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God called for this the last dispensation of times before Christ comes again. I know that the Lord will manifest the truth unto them that ask through the power of the Holy Ghost. The Bible testifies of the 7 dispensations and of Joseph Smith. Read Isaiah 29- in there it talks about Joseph Smith and the coming forth of the BOM. I KNOW that we are here now, in the last dispensation. These are the last days. WE are God's Royal army. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. A witness to the world, that I know He lives. I know that He is the life and the way to true eternal happiness. I know that we have a Father in Heaven who loves us and knows are name and all the desires of our hearts. I know that the Priesthood has been restored to the earth, and gives us the power to act in God's name. I am so grateful for the Atonement, and I use it every day. I pray that we all will try a litttle harder, to be a little better, each and every day. I love you all and am so grateful to be serving the Lord and God's children.

Con Mucho Amor,

Sister V