Monday, August 29, 2011

August 29

Hola Friends and Family,

Things have been going well. We had interviews and a specialty training on Friday and that was awesome. The zone got together and we are so close as a zone I just love it. However, Sister T and I are the only sisters so in that aspect it's a little odd. We are also the only converts. I thought that was cool. The Assistants gave a training on organizing the area book and ward roster. Very tedious and I've discovered the paper work is my least favorite part of missionary work. However, it is inspired and helps the work progress. The Assistants sure know what they're doing, too. We went to go visit an "unknown" on our ward roster and it turned into us finding a part-member family. The dad fell away from the church at 18 and never had his own conversion. However, the kids want to learn about church (11, 9, & 8) and the mom is open to us teaching them and coming along with them. The dad is okay, too. We will be praying and fasting for them so they can become an eternal family one day. Neatest people, too.

During the training, President Keyes said we'd most likely start to stay in areas longer. They used to move the missionaries around a lot, but I think I'll be staying in Odessa for a while, which I'm perfectly fine with. They are becoming apart of my family. I love this ward!

We were trying to contact another less-active member and when she wasn't home, we knew we were supposed to be there so we started knocking on doors. We found this awesome lady and tried to go back at a later date when she wasn't home. Back to tracting again. Then, we hear a "hey girls!" and as I turn my head, I see an older lady sitting on the grass with a black retriever waving for us to come over. We taught her the restoration and made a connection with her. Miracles happen every day, even when you're not a missionary.

Things have been great. I'm starting to really get to know my companion. On our way home we had a 30 minute drive. In the dark, on the road, we just talked about TV shows and movies we saw before our missions. She may be from Bulgaria, but she has seen more movies from America than I have in my whole life. It was refreshing to just strengthen that connection. I love that.

The church is true! I will live it forever! A lot of people say they would die for Christ, but it's even harder to live for it. I'm grateful for the sacred trust of being called as a servant of the Lord to bring the truth to the people of the Missouri Independence Mission. Someone brought up how going home will be more painful than coming out here... I can't even imagine. But that's ok... I have 1.5 years left! ;) Or that's what I'm telling myself.

I love you all. Thank you for your constant support. I feel your prayers strengthening my companion and me. There are angels here. Shall we not go on in so great a cause?

Love Always,
Sister Moore

D&C 115:4-6  - Arise and shine forth

Monday, August 22, 2011

August 22

There have been a lot of storms going on in Odessa!! A couple nights ago there was one so bad the sirens went off in Oak Grove for extreme weather warning. I woke up at 3AM by a flash of lightning of all things... Parents, why am I able to sleep through anything and everything?? But no tornadoes, so that's good.

I've been having lots of spiritual experiences left and right and I just have to come out and say "THE CHURCH IS TRUE, PRAYERS ARE HEARD AND ANSWERED". There's this girl that I wrote about a couple weeks ago, and she was just on fire. She disappeared for 10 days... a lot of prayer and fasting went into Heavenly Father bringing her back to us. Lo and behold, she calls. She had moved over in Lee Summit area so unfortunately we won't get to finish teaching her, but she's anxious to continue the discussions and enter into the waters of baptism. She's definitely one of those people missionaries go out and were supposed to find and meet... just, for me.

We took another one of our investigators up to the Historic Liberty Jail to the Mission President's Devotional, where recent converts bear their testimonies and the mission president and his wife give short talks. I feel like I was bawling through the whole thing. I've been brought low this last week and I've been able to feel the spirit through all of my experiences. I am relying upon Him more and I'm seeing more of His hand in my life. Our investigator, who has been investigating for what seems like forever, finally said "I think I felt the spirit again". He was really hesitant to setting a date for baptism, but after the Jail experience, he talked again asking Sister Larson and myself to sing at his baptism and started asking questions about how it will go. Prayer answered. This work is true. He testified how he could feel the power behind the testimonies of those who spoke. You can't deny someone's testimony. We're excited for him to continue to know his Father in Heaven even better. I did get to see the Blackers, a missionary couple that has been serving at the VC and Jail. They go home in a couple weeks and I wasn't going to be able to see them. Tender mercy! Got to see them! Even got a picture!

So, Sister Tafradzhieva (Sister T) LOVES riding bikes. I really don't. At least not the ones that we have at our house. The bike that I ride had about 25% of its brakes intact. We took them out last week and I had my life flash before my eyes... consistently. The Elders have been coming over after district meeting to work on them every week for a couple weeks. They are so good! Ladies at home... there are lots of worthy young men serving in the Missouri Independence Mission.... ;) Speaking of district meeting, we are to prepare for "5 minute talks" about a certain topic and are called impromptu to talk. We have to memorize a scripture and don't get any notes. Guess who got called this week? It was kind of ironic, actually. Sister T had been preparing for it for the past 2 weeks and I was really nonchalant about it. Funny how that works, eh? But it went well. 

This week has been really good. I find that we tract a lot more out here and I really dislike it. I'm still learning patience, but after knocking doors for 2 hours, we did get to teach a lesson to someone who says he's "seeking for truth". How often does that happen?! Heavenly Father knows us and blesses us for our diligence and obedience.

We came out of a dinner appointment the other day and saw this HUGE spider in the driveway! Picture attached... Brown Recluse? Harmful? I think so. The other picture is what I do on P-days. I don't really have any justification for my face. But last district meeting we had car inspections. We inspect the Elders' car and vice versa. Well, one of the Elders thought it would be funny to drive our car up on the ledge for us. I had memories come flooding back about my first transfer when Sister Browning and I popped the tire on a different Corolla back in Independence... silly Elders.

I'm so grateful to have heard from so many friends and family these last couple weeks! I hear a lot from Sister Hawkes and she's having some incredible experiences down in Oklahoma. She's been inspiring to me. My parents are amazing (as if we didn't already know that), and it's so good to hear from Will, Derek, and Trish. Your support feeds my fire. You are a part of the Lord's work when you support the missionaries. I invite each and every one of you to pray for a comfortable missionary opportunity. They are all around you. We've been inviting members to do the same and to start praying about who to invite to this Fall Festival the Odessa ward is having. Being out here in the country, we get a lot of western folks. We're having a festival with food, games, and costumes! I suggested something called the "Puddin' Plop" where one team member lays on the ground on their back with mouth wide open, and the other team member stands on a ladder above them trying to pour pudding in their mouths. Awesome? I think so! We're preparing for a good turnout. 4 days after this event there is a youth fireside that the missionaries get to speak at, too. I LOVE THE YOUTH. I miss my seminary students. Unfortunately, transfers is the week before these events. Talk about awesome timing....

Things are good. The mission is hard, but so rewarding. Kind of like salvation. I know that Christ lives. I know that he leads and directs this church through his chosen servant Thomas S. Monson, the prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I know the Book of Mormon was inspired and saved for our say to help us understand more about our Heavenly Father. I want to share a quote with you. I have tried my hardest to take this to heart and will continue to do so for a remainder of my mission.

"I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed. The dye has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I won't look back, let up, slow down, or be still. My past is redeemed, my presence makes sense, my future is secure. I am finished and done with low living, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, worldly talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals. I no longer need preeminent positions, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don't have to be right, first, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk with patience, am uplifted by prayer, and labor with power. My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven. My road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few. My guide is reliable, my mission is clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, divided or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity. I won't give up, shut up, or let up until I have stayed up, stored up, and paid up for the cause of Christ. I must go until he comes, give until I drop, preach until I KNOW. And when we returns for his own he will have no problem recognizing me. My banner will be clear." -President Henry B. Eyring

Shall we not go on in so great a cause?
Hebrews 13:6 - The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

Sister Moore

Monday, August 15, 2011

15 August

This week has been interesting to say the least! I don't remember much that has gone on. Last Sunday we had an investigator at church who was just eating up the gospel. having spiritual experiences left and right at church and in the scriptures, and wanted to get baptized soon! We were so excited! Then... she ran out of minutes on her phone and we have no way to contact her. One reason why I really don't like technology sometimes. We are praying that she calls us because she has our number. Dang... it's rough sometimes. But, we did have an investigator set a date for baptism. That was a HUGE step for him. We're fasting and praying for him. We know how much this will bless his life.

Things at home have been crazy form what I hear. People getting married (Congratulations Brother and Sister Anderson!!!! :), people getting pregnant, people serving missions, people graduating school, people getting jobs, people partying,... okay so I ran out of cool things to say. Partying is always fun. If you're not having fun in life you're doing it wrong. ;) It's great to hear from everyone.

Funny story... we had a dinner appointment last night who have 4 kids from ages 12 to 5. The oldest almost choked on chocolate syrup, and the youngest got his tooth kicked out by his sister all in 20 minutes. They are so funny! I love that family! They act like what we would define "an old married couple". I will never forget when Elder Seppi said that about me and a good friend 3.5 years ago. SO FUNNY! What ever happened to Seppi? Anyone know? And Mr. Huppi... you owe me correspondence. Don't make me disown you. ;)

We were out tracting and knocking doors and we ran into this RLDS lady. She was telling us she doesn't believe that women can hold the priesthood (YEAH!) and how she really appreciates what we do. We ended up talking to her about the sacrament and covenants. Who knows what might come out of that. We meet some of the most random, awesome people out here. The world is full of amazing people and we are missing golden opportunities in learning from them.

Scary thought... my release date is a year from today. Where in the world is my mission going...

And because I'm always good for a thought about my studies, I will share what I have been thinking about this past week. I have been trying to study deeper into the Sacrament and then even more about Eternal life, exaltation, spirit world, etc. As I pondered on these matters, I made a lot of parallels in life to the gospel. Which makes perfect sense. I know some of you are going to be going "Duh, Sister Moore." As I read about the Judgment Day, it tells that we will be judged according to our works and the desires of our hearts. In Relevations it tells that we will be judged out of the books, both on earth and in heaven. Cool to think we have our life recorded in heaven. Also, in Romans 2:15, it describes how we will be stand as our own witness, able to recite and describe everything we did in this life from memory. I thought of something... and this is not doctrine, just my own thoughts... but they say that we only use 10% of our brains, for whatever reason. Maybe the other 90% is the memory of our life that we will one day stand accountable for in front of Christ? I think that's so cool! Take it for what it's worth... I also read that in the Spirit World (which is all around us according to latter-day revelation) that the church is organized and that Priesthood holders will go right to work after they pass over. That... is cool.

God is a god of order. Everything must be done in order for otherwise there would be chaos. That is what I think the Christian world forgets. Think about it in our everyday lives. Our country has a President. A Vice President. Other areas of leadership and laws so we can be safe and successful as a nation and in our communities. In marriage, it is not valid until it is legally documented and signed by one having authority. Everything in this world witnesses that there is a God. We have laws in our lives that we must follow otherwise there are consequences. Why would God be any different? These traditions have been passed down by our ancestors because they work. They got it from God. The church was organized when Christ came. Like I shared in marriage, it's not valid unless signed by someone with that proper authority. We are asked to follow Jesus Christ to be blessed and rewarded spiritually, including living with our families together forever. We can't have those things until we do those things we are asked to. Like baptism... by proper authority. Or being sealed as a husband and wife and family... by proper authority. We don't get tax benefits from marriage until it's official. ;)

Yes, God is merciful. But He is also a God of order and justice. If justice was not served, God's words (Bible, Book of Mormon, prophets, etc) wouldn't be valid. We aren't just going to be rewarded for being God's children. We have to act on it. We have to receive ordinances by the proper authority of God... found in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, because the keys were restored to the prophet Joseph Smith.

Through the blessings and sanctifying power of the Holy Ghost, I know that Joseph Smith was indeed a prophet of our living God. That Jesus Christ restored His church through the prophet to bless our lives now. I know that the priesthood is real and that the work we do, the ordinances that we perform, are valid and please our Father in Heaven.

I LOVE my mission. I LOVE Missouri. The skies go on forever out here. Here's a couple pictures from this past week. I know that I am apart of God's true and living church. I know that I am helping in His work. I know I'm where I'm supposed to be.

Sister Moore

Shall we not go on in so great a cause?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

August 8

So, I made a profile! I can do that as a missionary! :) it's still a work in progress.

Things have been crazy. Transfers was last Thursday and Sister Larson left us. It's just Sister Tafradzhieva and myself here in Odessa. It was pretty overwhelming at first, but the ward has been supporting us and the Lord has been blessing us. Especially with referrals and people to teach.

Last Sunday, the 31st, we received a phone call from a LA member who won't even let missionaries in the house. Her husband was investigating at one point but that was a while ago. Anyway, this lady calls and says, "My husband is interested in taking the discussion and possibly being baptized. Would that be possible?"

??!!!?!?! Of course it would be possible! We ended up seeing them and they are a really awesome young couple. Another phone call came Monday evening, the 1st, from a member who is just getting back on his feet. His girlfriend was interested in learning more. So we go down there and start talking. She's been raised Seven-Day Adventist, had a lot of questions or concerns that she hasn't been able to find answers to. However, the member told her that he will only get married in the temple, which sparked her interest. She loved the idea of families being sealed forever. When we got there, she told us how she rented a Book of Mormon from the library and read 30 pages or so before we got there. We shared the first discussion with her and she loved everything we shared with her. Before we could invite her to read from the Book of Mormon, she asked for reading assignments... and she kept asking. We ended up giving her several of our favorite chapters and left. She asked us to come back 2 days later where we find out she had read EVERYTHING we gave her and then some, taking notes in a notebook and markings in the actual scriptures. She shared what seemed like a dozen favorite scriptures and why she could relate to them. Discussed lesson 2 about the Plan of Salvation and about the Word of Wisdom. She loved it. Asked about church, said she'd go find church clothes, and showed up to church yesterday 1/5 hours early. She is just unreal and I just LOVE her!

We found this guy who's next door neighbors to our EQ president. He has some awesome Italian last name and he's a real family man. He wasn't way interested at first, but as we started telling him about the application of the gospel in the Book of Mormon and how Nephi is in the wilderness, his bow breaks, and he has to follow his faith and the spirit to find a solution, he sparked right up! That was AWESOME just seeing that interest appear in his eyes. The Holy Ghost making contact with his spirit... best thing ever!!

On Sunday our Bishop spoke.. again... but this time in a combined meeting. It was hard to take notes... again. He felt that this was something that needed to be addressed. he spoke about Priesthood. The Priesthood is inseparably connected with the family. I liked what he said next... Women are the power behind the priesthood. I have the influence on the priesthood holders around me. I am the influence for them to progress. if I am neglected, the priesthood will lose great power. A wife is to support her husband is his duty in the Kingdom of God. And if husband's don't treat their wives with the respect and love they deserve, the priesthood is taken from them. There would be no power. He just went on to talk to the Fathers that they have the power of the priesthood directly from the Lord to protect their families. All that stands between the adversary's mischief and us is the Priesthood. The priesthood is important and here for our benefit. Use it. Understand it. If ever in doubt of "abusing" that power, heir on the side of generosity. It was something that I really enjoyed and have been studying about for a while now.

It finally cooled down in Missouri! There was a storm that came through and blew down a ton of branches throughout the neighborhoods. Last weekend there was something called "Puddle Jumper Days" which was basically the Fall Festival for Odessa. We walked through it on our way to a potential and saw some other potentials! One got a job with the local police and I'm so grateful that we saw him again because we didn't really have any information. The Lord will provide a way and he will find the gospel when it is his time. I'm really being tested to trust the Lord lately. It's something that takes a lot of faith. But I'm grateful for my trials. I'm grateful for the person Heavenly Father is shaping me into. I'm grateful to be a missionary.

The Lord is very aware of his people. He is aware of the covenants that we make and he will bless us for our faithfulness. I'm grateful to be apart of the Lord's true and living church where these blessings and understanding is secure.

Shall we not go on in so great a cause?

Love Always,
Sister Moore

Monday, August 1, 2011

August 1


The library is packed today and so I'm not sure if I'll get my whole hour on the computer or not... But things have been going well! Today is our zone P-day down in Warrensburg. We're going to meet all of the Elders there and sneakily call them to come outside when we arrive... I'm so excited to finally use these silly water guns! Pictures to come, I'm sure.

This ward is a lot of fun. I was thinking about it... because this area is so wide we rely on the members for help in a lot of areas. Back in Independence that didn't always happen. We have a sister driving us down to Warrensburg today and then a different sister coming to pick us up... and she even offered to feed us as our regular dinner appointment fell through. They are just so awesome! Transfers are on Thursday... we get transfer calls tomorrow night.... President Keyes had told us that they wouldn't have us in a trio. I guess that's not exactly "for sure" but I'm secretly kind of hoping. I LOVE my companions, but being in a trio as a missionary is very difficult. However, just like Nephi said, "I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded me".

Sister Larson, our RS president, and I sang "The Olive Tree" in Sacrament yesterday. It was a missionary themed day. Our Ward Mission Leader spoke and it was AWESOME, and then our Bishop spoke and it was AWESOME. Bishop's talk was so riveting that I couldn't even take notes! I couldn't keep my eyes off of what he was saying! I told that to one of my Zone Leaders and he replied, "Oh no! I spoke in church today and everyone was taking notes!" ;)

in Bishop's talk he relived his mission days over in The Netherlands. He talked about this little women coming out of the doors of the Catholic church all frustrated and angry. The Elders approved her and found out that she had a lot of questions that this church couldn't answer. The Bishop goes on to say "I've never been more excited to see someone angry!" Seriously... as missionaries we want people to ask us questions. It's the best thing ever. After meeting with this women, she was baptized and the Elders started teaching her daughter. After a while, the daughter still wore a Catholic cross around her neck that had been a family heirloom for generations and was confused about what church is the true church of Christ. The Elder asks, "Did Jesus Christ set up apostles when he was on the earth?" ..."Yes" .... "Did he give them authority?" ... "Yes" ... The Elder then asked this inspired question: "Where are the apostles today? Where is the authority?" 

Bishop then testified of how at that moment she hung her head, took a deep breath, and was silent for a few minutes. Then, she took off her beloved family heirloom and then said "I know this is Christ's true church today". At that moment, it wasn't anything the Elders had said or did. The only thing that testified to this women was the spirit working in her. The only way one can know of the truthfulness of the gospel is through the Holy Ghost. I thought that was so powerful. The entire Sacrament meeting was very, very strong.

I also read a talk that Brad Wilcox just gave at BYU on July 12, 2011 (KYLE!! Did you hear this talk in person?!). It's titled "His Grace is Sufficient". It explains grace. There are a lot of people nowadays that believe that as logn as they have accepted Jesus as their Savior they are saved. I know I get asked that question a lot... "Have you been saved?" The way Brother Wilcox describes grace is incredible. The Atonement wasn't performed to fill the gap to where we don't measure up, but rather it is to help us change and to learn heaven. This gospel of repentance is not to save us. We will all be resurrected, but the question is what glory of body will you receive and where will you be? It's an incredible talk that I would invite any and all to go read or listen to. It's powerful and perfectly defines grace. There is a difference between grace and mercy. It only took me this long to find it.

Things are good. Still hot. And I'm out of time. But I know this church is true. Christ stands at the head of this church and he's always here for us. We are to use his atonement to change, to become better, to inherit the Celestial Kingdom. We aren't earning our way to heaven, we are learning heaven.

Sister Moore