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Hello one and all!
Things are well in Missouri. I am emailing on Thursdays now because P-day changed. Apparently, the sisters at the VC have their P-days changed every transfer just to be fair and mix it up. So for the next 5 weeks I'll be emailing on Thursdays at least. I am still in Independence 2nd ward and serving at the VC. My new companion is Sister Stoker from Henderson, NV. She had previously been serving in Hays, KS, the most western part of the MIM. She's only been out a few transfers so we have a couple babies in Independence 2nd ward right now. What were they thinking? She's awesome though - so on top of the work and organized. Makes life easy for me! ;) Because of that I have taken over the area and am learning a lot FAST. I am seeing the Lord work through me and continue to be amazed at how this truly is the Lord's work; we just get a front row ticket to see it.
I have come to love the VC. It truly is a home away from home. I consider it my temple. Because we don't get to go to the temple, I crave that spirit and I find it in the VC. The spirit is abundant and peaceful, and we truly have a family there. I'll tell you a crazy story...
Yesterday we were in the VC and a man came in. Was not a member but wanted to learn more. Awesome! A new sister in the VC (4 of the 6 brand new sisters in the mission are in the VC now. They are all so amazing. You have to be amazing to come to Missouri, apparently. How'd I get in?) and I took him into God's Plan for His Family and started to introduce the presentation, a basic summary of our beliefs on the family, introduced the spirit and how to recognize it, and then asked him about his family. He continues to tell us some crazy things. He says he was going to go sing on Friday night at some bar and asked if he could sing some "gospel" to us. Before we could answer he starts singing. We made our way through and started the presentation for him. He sleeps through half of it. He woke up and continues to talk about a few things that weren't gospel related. It was definitely an experience. I've never had someone do that. Only in Independence! The Elder of the senior couple of shift saw him out for us because he could tell we were a little overwhelmed. We are taken care of by those people around us and the Lord himself.
It's been such a long week I'm not even sure what to write about. I did get to met Sister Browning's family. They are going to get ahold of Mom and Dad one day. Henry will have to cook for them because I told them how amazing my family is when it comes to the kitchen. I like to brag about my family. ;) It was sad to see her and Sister Young go home, though. The bonds you create on a mission are really strong. When you have relationships centered on Christ, they mean more.
Oh yeah! So my wonderful companion just reminded me to tell you about Elder Nelson! Last weekend, we had an All Mission Conference out in Lenexa, KS, where Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Twelve spoke along with Elder Clayton, a president of one of the seventies, and Elder LeGrand R. Curtis. We were supposed to have seen Presiding Bishop David Burton, but he was not able to make it. The entire mission got to shake all of their hands. What wonderful men they all are. I learned a lot and cried a lot during those talks, specifically Elder Nelson. Let me share what I learned. Elder Curtis read to us D&C 76: 113-116. He pointed out that they were commanded not to write while in the spirit. We all receive personal revelation for ourselves at different times, based on our preparedness and faith. Some people are not ready to hear what we've learned. We are only able to be understood by the power of the Holy Ghost. When we teach as missionaries and church leaders and teachers, we have to be led by the Holy Ghost and have faith that as we strive to do what's right, the Holy Ghost will witness the truth of what we say to the other person. This is why faith is important. D&C 8:10 starts out saying, "Remember that without faith you can do nothing..." And I testify of this to you all. There is a reason why faith is the most foundational principle of the gospel. Just like I shared a couple weeks ago, faith is believing. Without believing in Christ, how can you know his love for you? We all can know this, but first we have to trust him.
Elder Deschlur (I believe he is an area seventy. I didn't actually catch exactly his role in the church. Whoops) spoke as well and talked mostly about Christ-like attributes found in PMG ch. 6. Remember this: We reflect our relationship with our Savior. Charity is truly the most important of them all. Just like in Moroni 7:46 - ...if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth... What do people see in you? What is your relationship like with the Savior? What are you doing to strive to become more charitable? Charity comes through faithful commitment, diligence, and devotion. Never underestimate the power of devotion. In General Conference, Elder Oaks spoke of desire. As long as we have a desire, we can do anything. I am inviting all of you to go re-read/listen to Elder Oaks talk about desire. And think about what you truly desire most in life.
Elder Clayton spoke about communication through eyes. I have a few people at home that we can look into each others and know exactly how they are feeling. Even have conversations. I am starting to see that relationship with the sisters and senior couples I serve with. He then went on to talk about angels. Hey guess what, I'm an angel! He shared with us how we as missionaries are angels and that we are to declare repentance and redemption through Christ. D&C 29:42. He then challenged us by asking "when I look in the mirror, do I see an angel? What would an angel do?" We should render service anywhere and everywhere. Keep our thoughts clean and pure and focused on the Savior. We have also been given a gift. 2 Ne 32:2-3 tells how we speak with the tongue of angels with the power of the Holy Ghost. That theme has come up a lot the last 2 weeks - the power of the Holy Ghost and angels. Also, here's something interesting. Elder Nelson shared that they were watching 4 different missions, and one mission was out baptizing the other 3 all put together. Elder Nelson asked the mission president how that was done. The Mission President then responded: "I do not allow my missionaries to ask for referrals". Que?! He wanted his missionaries to EARN the trust of the members, be those hard working young men and women, and to earn the referrals from the faithful members around them. Because they raised the bar they saw the fruits thereof. Awesome, eh? That;s an example of desire.
And I learned a ton of Elder Nelson, too. I feel that this email is getting to be lengthy, but that's okay! We're talking about Christ! And I'm running out of time...
Elder Nelson showed this to us which I'll share before I close this note. We as missionaries are to weed out the weak and find the prepared continue to prepare themselves for the coming of the Messiah. In Judges 7:2, is told of 300 good vs. 150,000 Midianites, or bad. That is a 1:500 ratio. He then compared that to us. For we to liken the scriptures to us for our benefit, yeah? 1 Ne. 19:23. There are 7 billion people on the earth approximately. There are about 14 million LDS members. Guess what the ratio is? 1:500. In Judges, the 300 won the war. Guess who's going to win the war now?
The Lord is going to accomplish His work. It is our choice if we want to be apart of that or not.
Elder Nelson then spoke of marriage. Yeah, he told us to think about marriage. As missionaries. Weird. Because I'm out of time I'll just share this about what he said. Do not propose/say yes to someone in a proposal for marriage until they love the Lord more than you. I had said something about the strength of relationships centered in Christ. It's because both parties love their Savior more. That is how we find pure happiness.
I love my Savior more than ever, and I know that that will grow. I see Father's guiding hand in my life daily and know that I am blessed. And one day, I will marry in the temple to that son of God who loves Christ more than me. And that will be a dream come true.
My mission is for me. I am blessed and honored and humbled to help others along the way, but this is for me. The church cares about their missionaries because they want us to be the more faithful children of God we can be. As Elder Wirthlin once said, "Although we might settle for less, Heavenly Father won't, as he sees us as the glorious beings we can become". And I am here because of my family. my family now and my family to come. I want to give my all to them. My mission will help me achieve that.
Thank you, everyone, for your love and support. I pray for those at home daily and know with all surety that you are watched over, blessed, and protected. I know this church is true. I know this work is real. And I love our Father in Heaven loves us.
Shall we not go on in so great a cause?