Friday, July 29, 2011

It's Scorchin' out here!

First off... HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOMMY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I called one of the Assistants this morning for something and the first thing he says to me is "IT'S STORCHIN' OUT HERE!" hahahahah. True story! There is a heat advisory in affect from yesterday to Thursday... the car is reading 105* and that does not include the humidity factor. So... it's really hot here. And unfortunately because of it, no one is outside to talk to us! Everyone is out of town or working in AC buildings or... I don't know. However, we met the coolest 13 year old boys last week! Not exactly what you were expecting, eh?

So, these boys are awesome. Last Sunday (week and a day ago) we met this 17 year old boy on the street. He was working on his truck so we taught a lesson and he said we could come back. Sweet. Went back last Thursday and found these two other boys in his house, and they stayed. They didn't just stay, one said to the other, "Go grab our bibles!" and so they did. Then, one of them offered the opening prayer and in that sad prayer he said, "please bless that my mom will go to church with me". So... they're awesome. We have permission to teach them and everything. Have a love for Christ and think we're all just the coolest things ever. We're missionaries... of course we are! We then ran into them at Wal-Mart and continued to build a relationship. We'll see them again on Thursday. Woot!

Before this excessive heat came into play we were out tracting on foot and went into the local Casey's (gas station) for some water. One of the women that work there came up to us and starting talking to us like we were long lost friends. Apparently Sister Browning and her companion back then worked with this family a while back and they just love the missionaries. We're not sure how receptive the husband is after meeting with them the other day, but needless to say, the Lord is blessing us despite the heat.

Today we are going into Independence with a member, her non-member daughter-in-law and her two girls, and then will meet her non-member husband and non-member son for a late lunch. So, we're giving up a little of P-day, but look at this awesome family we get to go spend time with and fellowship! They are just so nice and caring, too. it's pretty cool. This member is a convert as is her daughter. Her daughter is on a mission in Santiago Chili right now. They are just so cool!! I really like this family... we're going to be friends forever.

I apologize for not writing more last week, too. I planned my time poorly and then got kicked off. Didn't expect that! I don't really remember much of what I was going to write... haha. A couple weeks ago I talked about the mosquitoes on steroids. I found out from a member that I had a couple dozen chigger bites on me... ICK. I invested in Chiggerex and it's the best thing ever! I took a picture of my legs when they were looking like a buffet table. haha. Life of a missionary... seriously. I do remember saying something about passion. So, I'll expound on that. (illegal segway?)

The word "passion" came from Christian scholars. It means "suffer". It must be pure and willing. However, when we are passionate about something is generally relates to being on a path. "Path-" is a suffix meaning "suffering from". Think of doctors called pathologists and what they study. Also, think of the word "sacrifice". "Sacra" means "sacred" in latin, and "fice" means "perform". Passion is a sacred suffering. And suffering is life defining; a very sacred event. If we are willing to suffer a little for a cause, we become a victor. When we know what we are willing to pay a price for, we find our mission in life. I guess what I took from all of this was this: be willing to suffer for what you love. No matter who or what you love, think if you are passionate about it. Blessings come to us that are passionate about righteous things. Christ suffered an incomprehensible amount. Who are we to say we don't need to suffer a little to understand?

I also had many, many prayers answered this week. I was thinking about expectations. Is it good to have expectations? yes. Expectations are spiritually, or divinely, driven. Do not have restrictions on yourself. You will fall but we just get right back up. The Atonement is a gift to every one of us. It is up to us to accept it. Chelsie wrote me and said this and I just LOVE it. She taught me this: You were placed in this life because you're the only one strong enough to live it. She's so profound... I'm glad to call her my friend.

Sister Hawkes wrote me.... I'm so blissful right now. She's having amazing wonderful spiritual experiences in the MTC right now and will go into the field on Wednesday. She's going to be doing wonderful, wonderful things.

Okay, and one funny thought before I close this. Every Friday is district meeting, right? Well, Sister Larson had this idea to buy bandanas, water guns, and aviator glasses and bombard the Elders after the meeting. We took pictures in preparation. However, the spirit restrained us. So... we're going to do it next Monday as a part of our Zone P-day instead. August 4th is transfers again! Already! Where is my mission going?!?! Regardless... I'm sending pictures of our epic war pictures. You can grow and still be a kid at heart on a mission... ;)

Thank you everyone for your updates and support through letters, prayers, and deeds. I'm so grateful to each and every one of you and I can feel you right here with me! Like I've said before, I have the biggest, and BEST, family supporting me and my own family back home. Thank you from the depths of my heart.

I know this gospel is true. As I read through the Book of Mormon and see how God has affected the lives of those people through His son, Jesus Christ, and the miracles and growth in them, I can't help but have that desire grow deep within me. I think of Mosiah 28:3 often. There is so much to do and so many people who need to know about this! This isn't just another church or another religion. This is God reaching out to us and inviting us to find everlasting happiness. Who could deny such a blessing? I know the work I am doing is real. The Lord walks beside us everyday and we are growing. Prayer is real. Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers. He's there just to listen if we need someone to, and he's here, waiting, to bless us. I exhort you to turn to the Lord. Ask the missionaries what they have to share, and ask God yourself if it's true. You will receive an answer. I know this to be true. And I share this with you in the holy and sacred name of our Lord, even Jesus Christ. Amen.

Shall we not go on in so great a cause?

Sister Moore

Monday, July 18, 2011

Hot tamales!!!‏

It's hot out in the Midwest! But, it was a good week. We have found lots of new people and the Lord is blessing us with people to share a message with and with the unity of having the members work with us in teaching. It's actually pretty amazing.

Tonight I get to go back to the VC!!!! We have an investigator who wants to learn more about the history of the church and the restoration, so we're going to go back the new Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration movie. We might even get a chance to go through the new God's Plan for His Family... it's all about eternal marriage.

And I just found out we don't have time to type this email... a few thoughts then. 

Our Ward Mission Leader read to us out of the book Aspire by Kevin Hall about the work "passion". You hear the word passion a lot, how people are passionate. And I don't have my notes in front of me but I do know that passion means in latin, "suffer". Food for thought. When one is passionate about something, they are willing to suffer. Think to yourselves... how does that relate to Jesus Christ?

Well bummer. I will write more next week to make up for lost time. I know that the church is true. I know that Heavenly Father lives and hears each and every one of our prayers. I know Christ lives. He loves us. He is passionate for us...

Sister Moore

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

July 11

Well. This has been a crazy busy week, I'll tell you what. I have a lot I want to write home and share. We'll see how much I type out.
First of all, this church is true. This is the only true and living church as it is guided and lead by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I know this because I've lived it.
Last week was a lot of fun. We had some up days and some down days. I prayed a lot to my Father in Heaven. We had Zone Conference last Friday and that was an amazing experience. I had been looking for answers to prayers for a while. My zone is the Warrensburg Zone, and Warrensburg went to combine with the Independence Zone out in Independence. I got to see a lot of the sisters and a few of the senior couples that I served with in the VC. That was a huge tender mercy!  I didn't hardly sleep the night before because I was so excited!! I had received a call from the Sister Leaders a couple nights before and got some updates on my recent converts and parts of the Independence 2nd ward. That was amazing! One RC has an unsupportive husband which is heartbreaking. She can't even make it to church. I know I am so grateful for my own family and their support in letting me live my faith. Thank you...
Because we have our new mission president and his wife in now, we had interviews with them during zone conference. Sister Keyes is so cute! She keeps saying how she has no idea what's doing but keeps on working. It's amazing, and she does a wonderful, wonderful job. She asked all about my family so I shared a ton about my family and the Claridges. Plus, I bragged about how awesome my home ward is and my support group out in Rexburg. I have the biggest family ever, ha! President Keyes used to be a 70. He served as a 70 for 6.5 years, was released for a week, and then called to the Missouri Independence Mission as a mission president. He served here 40 years ago, too. They shared stories of their lives and how they had an opportunity to eat dinner with President Monson. They shared how they could all go sit down and they would bring the meal. However, onesome has recognized President Monson and started chatting with him. Instead of responding, "Oh thank you, it was great to see you" and contonue eating, President Monson would get up, have a real conversation with them, wish them well, and then sit down. That happened again and again. President Keyes shared with us how he didn't think President Monson ever even got to eat! What a man. What an example. President Keyes is bringing some new expectations, if you will, to the mission. Only 3 things. they were 1. Christ centered. We are to serve for Christ. 2. Love your companion. and 3. Go to work. What more do we need? It's sad to see the Van Komen's gone but the Keyes' have some incredible ideas in store to continue to have the work progress!
The Assistants to the President always give a training. One gave a heartfelt testimony and training about going to work. There was an elder in the mission that was going home. He was at the mission home the night before he flew out and he turned to the AP and said, "I'm miserable. I'm not going to spend the last few hours of my mission here". So they hijacked the mission van, trailer full of luggage still attached, and when tracting for the final few hours. The AP shared another experience like that with a different Elder going home just last transfer. As he took the missionaries to the airport, he embraced one Elder that he really loved and that Elder whispered something in his ear because turning around, not to be seen for a time. He said, "Finish strong". What better advice could one give. The second AP talked about tender mercies. In 1 Ne 1:20, Ether 6:12, and 1 Ne 8:8, it all mentions the words "tender mercies" of the Lord. However, they also describe something else. What exactly is a tender mercy? Is it different than a blessing? This is my interpretation of the scriptures. Take it for what it's worth. In 1 Ne 1:20, Nephi tells how his father, Lehi, has his life in danger. Then testifies of the tender mercies of the Lord. In Ether, the people had been in these boats at sea for who knows how many days. They they reached land they exclaimed joy for the tender mercies of the Lord. In 1 Ne 8, it tells that they traveled in darkness before they received a tender mercy. See the pattern? We need to learn from and watch for patterns. The Lord gives us tender mercies when times are rough. To me, a tender mercy is something given to us from Heavenly Father telling us that he is very aware of our situation and that we are not forgotten. That, is a tender mercy of itself. Our Father in Heaven is very aware of us. Always.
Anyway, the zone conference was amazing. President Keyes and I bonded over small town living. They are from Uintah, UT, about... 2,000 people? And I am of course from our beloved Scappoose. He thought that was neat. Sweet. :)
The heat is getting ridiculous. The other day, it was 103* with 100% humidity. We had planned to go tracting, but we decided we wanted to live. Because of that, we did end up visiting a less-active family. They are just so great! We walked into their mansion and they made us feel so much as home. She had just made homemade apple pie. Good timing? I think so! He had baptized her when they were young adults, about 18-21, and got married 3-4 years after. That's a really sweet story. :)
Before it got 103*, (it was more like 95*) we were tracting the other day, walking up this street in Oak Grove. Sister Tafradzhieva really likes cats. This huge cat runs out of a bush about 100 feet ahead of us and she exclaims, "Fat cat!! Follow the fat cat!!" in her awesome Bulgarian accent. We did, and found a new investigator out of it! Miracles! Random, but miracles!
So... I need to somehow hear from Sister Hawkes! She's in the MTC now, right? Mom, can you forward this email to her? I don't have her mission email though... I could guess. She should be in the field around the 27th of this month... then we'll be really close and she can experience this crazy heat and humidity with me! Awesome! I'm so proud of her.... I could write novels on how great Sister Hawkes is.
I was looking back through my journals the other day. It's getting full... however, there are so many wonderful hidden treasures in there from speakers out at BYU-Idaho (BTW, when I was still at the VC a bus tour from BYU-Idaho came through and I knew one of the girls from over a year ago. We had taken a class on Pakistan together! How cool, eh?) and I realized I need to go back and study those notes. I'm making my way through the Book of Mormon very nicely. I've never read it all the way through, cover to cover (the true comes out...).
Ok, so the mosquitos out here in Missouri are on steroids or something. I have 19 bites on my calves and feet, and they are BIG. I have not experienced chiggars yet (knock on wood), but if anyone ever comes and visits, beware. They are worse than the northwest, if you can believe it. As I write this I keep bending over to itch my feet... haha. Life of a missionary!

We give church tours out here. I have never heard of them before my mission, but this is a way to introduce investigators to the church for those that may be uneasy about going to church with hundreds of people. We also give them to members for practice and to help build their own testimonies. We gave our ward mission leader and his family a tour and they acted as investigators. The boy went by the name "Yuki"... haha. At the end, we were supposed to go to the font and talk about baptism, etc. Well, all these workers came in (the Odessa building is being extended) and we couldn't get to the font. Our WML is hiliarous and amazing... he starts talking to the workers and asked them point blakn and boldly that they need to be baptized. Oh man, it was powerful! Turns out a couple of them are not members so we gave them a couple Book of Mormons and we should see them again. I just love the WML and his family. They have gone through a lot and his conversation story is amazing. He was born into the church.

And! My 3 year anniversary of my baptism is on Thursday, 14 July. My confirmation date is on next Wednesday, 20 July. I'm going to party! or work. What better way to celebrate as a missionary? If you want to help me out, send awesome journals. I need them. :)

I've typed a lot. Must be making up for lost words from last week. Did I talk this much before my mission? I can't remember! ha! I know this church is true. I know that the organization, order, and priesthood restored through the prophet Joseph Smith is real, powerful, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I know he leads this church through a living prophet: Thomas S. Monson. I know the power of the Book of Mormon and I know that it is true. The lives of these prophets and people of old teach us so much about the gospel of Jesus Christ in its fulness. I know God lives and that He is my loving Heavenly Father. I know I am a daughter of God and that through His son, Jesus Christ, we can return to live with Him again. Just as the Apostle Joseph B. Wirthlin taught, "Although we might settle for less, Heavenly Father won't, as he sees us as the glorious beings we are capable of becoming". With Christ, we can do anything. We have so much in store for us... what are we waiting for? Shall we not go on in so great a cause?

Sister Moore

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

5th of July


I don't really have a weekly email this week. I don't have a ton of time. Well, okay I'll write a quick one.

We have had a CRAZY week. A lot of heartbreak this past week and testing of faith. We had this family taking the lessons and really enjoying them. We invited them on a church tour and things were going really well. When we were at the baptismal font, the spirit changed quickly as the head of the household made a comment that really threw us for a loop. He had been asking us questions about things he read when he googled Mormonism. Red flag right there... we're afraid he read some anti material and now won't even give this gospel a shot. Won't open the Book of Mormon, won't come to a church service... and what's even more heartbreaking was that his grandkids wanted to come to church. There's a sister visiting this ward this week that served here when she was on her mission. She had asked me what my favorite part of the mission is. The cliche and honest answer is seeing people change by studying the gospel. Awesome. She also asked what my least favorite part of the mission is. I responded, "seeing people progress and then seeing them not accept the gospel". There is absolutely nothing more heartbreaking. However, we have another investigator, part of a part-member family, who is just on fire. On Sunday he came and for the first time, he CHOSE to stay for all 3 hours. He's never done that before. He comes up to me to tell me what he read in the Book of Mormon. He made a comment that during all of the testimonies, he was really moved. He said he finally felt the spirit. (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) So, in one week (more like a couple days now that I think about it...), I experienced the best and hardest part of being a missionary.

On July 1st, there was a birthday celebration for a young man who passed away a year ago. His family has gone through a lot, and yet are still one of the strongest, happiness, most hopeful families I have met. They put out this birthday idea through facebook and text, and had a huge turnout. For those of you that have seen Tangled, there are floating lanterns. We lit and set off floating lanterns. They are big! As soon as it turned dark, we had to leave... haha, but as we were driving away, we saw dozens and dozens of floating lanterns going up into the night sky with people scattered throughout the park singing "Happy Birthday". What's even more touching was that this young man that passed away, his brother and his wife were pregnant due the 6th. The baby was born on July 1st, healthy and happy. They named him after the decreased brother. I never had a chance to meet this young man, but he and his family had changed my view on life. Heavenly Father's plan is perfect. We know exactly where our loved ones go after they leave this earth. They are still here with us. They are cheering us on. They support us in our righteous doings. I know where my grandfather and cousin are. I know where my classmate is. I know where my friends are.

For the 4th, we had a BBQ at the home of a part-member family. We chatted with that visiting sister missionary and her friends and met several amazing people. No matter where we go, their are amazing individuals that you knew before here. The fact that these people look familiar testifies of that to me.

I'm sorry I don't have more to share. I didn't write yesterday because all the public libraries were closed on the 4th. Because today is still a proselyting day I don't have time to write my little heart out, haha. :) Please know that I love each and every one of you. I know that you love me and I am so grateful for that. I need it. I pray for you every night and I know you are right along with me in this work. 

Never forget who you are. Never forget you are a child of God.

1 John 4:19

Love Always,
Sister Moore

Shall we not go on in so great a cause?