"Much of the major growth that is coming to the Church in the last days will come because many of the good women of the world (in whom there is often such an inner sense of spirituality) will be drawn to the Church in large numbers. This will happen to the degree that the women of the Church reflect righteousness and articulateness in their lives and to the degree that the women of the Church are seen as distinct and different--in happy ways--from the women of the world... Thus it will be that female exemplars of the Church will be a significant force in both the numerical and spiritual growth of the Church in the last days" President Spencer W. Kimball

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Give my regards to Broadway!

Hello everyone! First off, all I have to say is "hide your kids, hide your wives and hide your husbands because Im breaking all kinds of social rules on the subway up in here!" Ok, let me explain a few things about New York that I know and have come to know but dont really care to follow. Number A, what is this business about NOT talking to ANYONE on the subway, on buses, or on the street, etc.??!? Number B, dont look at anyone, EVER and C be as short as possible, WhAT!!?? Im super over it. If someone's hair looks cute you know Im gonna tell them about it and then follow that with a "PS, Im a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, is there a time we can meet up with you this week? Have a passalong card...es gratis." Those who know me know that Im not kidding about one word that I just said.
Anyways, everyone always makes people in New York out to be so mean, which I have experienced that but whatevs, again "Have a passalong card." But they really aren't that bad. They just don't care about what you have to say unless its applicable to them which quite frankly that's the best thing ever because then you aren't wasting your time when someone really isn't interested. Not saying that no one is worth the time, but what I am saying is that for them right then might not be the time and Im not even mad. Example: My companion and I were contacting in uptown Inwood until super late. We had zero success as to why we went up there and no one gave us the time, but the desire was there to find someone. After having no luck we get on the subway and head home. As I sit down this young man (perfect because we're the missionaries in the YSA ward) sits down in front of me and breaks out, guess what???? A King James Version of the Bible, booyah! Now of course that had to be a little drop from heaven saying "Im not gonna send you home empty handed." This guy, turns out, has spent his days at the tender age of 23 reading the Bible day in and day out. As I approached him about whether he attends churh he responded with there are too many to choose from, none of which teach the correct Doctrine of Christ. He then learned I was Mormon and was shocked because I was black (he is Dominican), a missionary and that we read the same bible and believe in Jesus Christ. That just goes to show what shinanigans are going around about the Church. Lastly he began to tell me things he had learned in the Bible regarding the Spirit, apostles and prophets, the gift of tounges and the need to endure to the end...so then I hit him with Mosiah 2-3, King Benjamin's address, haha! I love this Gospel and that just goes to show the Lord has a people who are prepared to receive His true Doctrine.
I love it, love it. I love NY... maybe the whole town is in mourning because of the Yankees but hey go Angels right?! (Actually I have no idea how they are doing, someone hit me back with that, jk kinda) Anyways, PDay is coming to a close. You know I love each and everyone of you...especially YOU (imagine yourself). PS Im dying from a gluten OD, I cant find gluten free food that is quick and easy to take with me, wink wink! Dont feel obligated but know its much appreciated :) Loves!

Como Tu Ta!!!!

I cant believe its been a week already, I swear it has gone by in the blink of an eye, but my body and the fact that I am (surprise surprise) bone tired will beg to differ. It has been such a great week!
Im here in NY, living in Harlem and just having a good ol' missionary time! My companion and I couldn't be more spastic all the time about everything, you would never guess we're as tired as we are. The area we are serving in is for the Harlem 3 YSA ward. Its crazy cause we are "whitewashing" (aka starting a new ward) this whole new area, plus we are the first missionaries to do it and obvi we're sisters too, booyah! It has been such hard work! We cover from 125th all the way to the top of the island, which for those of you who are unfamiliar with Manhattan that's about an hour subway ride from top to bottom. I dont know that I have ever walked so much in my life, but its great. My comp and I are just getting things started in this new area and getting to know the memebers and investigators who are here. It is the most amazing thing! Everyone has a story and a reason as to why they are here in the city. You have to ask everyone cause the reasons vary from "just kickin it with my fam" to I live in the Trump Towers and am a young high executive for XYZ or whatever company, talk about all walks of life huh?!
So what's been going on you ask, well this last week really was just tracking the boundaries and getting to know our new area. Though I am serving in English speaking I have been hurriedly learning Spanish cause I basically live in little Dominica. Everyone I contact thinks Im Dominican or Panamanian and just instinctively responds in Spanish, so rather than rushing to find my companion who was pulled from a Spanish mission, I am just learning so as to save everyone the trouble. I have got to say that I have never learned Spanish as fast as I am now (b/c you know I've tried multiple times and haven't been so successful), its incredible. I absolutely love the Dominican culture, they are such great people, and dont think I haven't gained like 500lbs eating their delicious food, mmmmmmmm! Its just crazy, everyone we are teaching is Dominican and they are such a riot! We are teaching this one woman who moved from the DR about 6 years ago. She is an architect and is so rambunctious! Every time we talk to her its like fireworks going off. She is darling, loud and speaks Spanish soooo fast. I just love her cause whenever we go over she has this great list of questions for us as well as a table spread of traditional Dominican food, its absolutely the best. Aside from her we have a few others we are teaching. It was so crazy how I found this one young man. So we were walking back to our apartment and had arm fulls of stuff. We see this guy hanging out on his porch and we just walk by. As we move closer to our apartments I turn to my companion and tell her we have to turn around. As I said that she was like "you're talking about that guy on the porch, yeah?" Haha, she felt it too, after justifying that we should drop off our things first we begin to walk some more towards our house and I just couldn't do it. I tell her if we dont do this now, we fail! So we turn back around and find this guy who obviously saw us walk by the first time. I explain to him "I know this sounds crazy..." but in short I had to turn around and talk with you. It was such a blessing and you could tell that he was touched by what we had to say. Man the Spirit is real! And that is just one example of how I have felt the prompting this week, its nuts.
Anyways as many of you know yesterday was my birthday and I am so happy it was, NY is just one of the greatest places to spend number 25!! Whoa, 25 eke! NBD, so I woke up and was attacked with Silly String and my roomies and comp decorated my desk and sang me happy birthday. It was so sweet. We had so much to do so we got going for the day. We had Mission Conference for the first half of the day which was so great. We talked a lot about the Ammon and Aaron chapters in Alma and D&C 84:88 and chapter 100. It was so uplifting and the reality is, those verses are seriously ones to live by. After that we had some appointments and stuff to handle, but come dinner time we decided to find some delicious birthday food! We stumbled upon WholeFoods which was the best idea EVER! As we were in the store Sister Child kept arguing with me about how she was going to pay for my food. Because we are broke missionaries I insisted that we both just pay for our own and fake like she did. Anyways we run into this member who of course addresses us like "sisters! whats going on here?" so we get to know him a bit then go on to explained that we were just out and about for my birthday, and good thing we did cause he showed me to some delicious Indian food he found. Jackpot!!! Anyways, we go on and grab some desserts to top off our dinner and head out, naturally still arguing over who's paying when out of nowhere, Brother Matthews (the member we just met) comes out of nowhere and with his ninja like reflexes swipes his card first and pays for our food! Holy monkey! He was in and out like a flash. Im pretty sure people around us though he stole something based on our reaction. Haha, what a champion! It was a great day full of service and fun.
Im sad I didn't get to spend it with all of you but Im so happy I got to spend it here. Thanks for all the wishes. I love you all so much!! Being here just continues to remind me how much our Savior loves us. He finds ways to succor us in our greatest times of need, I know this because not only do I see it everyday, I live it! He love us, dont think He doesn't cause He does, ha!

Conference Weekend

So Friday afternoon arrives and I am shocked! The week has flown by so fast and yet each day feels like a week. I am sorry to keep saying this but they say it right when you arrive here, "the days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like days." The MTC is such a marvelous place in many ways. I have has such a great time getting to know my companions as well as many other great sisters and elders from all over the world. Get this, a sister from Pakistan arrived this last Wednesday!!! Yeah, I didnt know there was a mission there either or that the Gospel was opened up in that area of the world. I guess they only have service missions there and those who want the Gospel are welcome to join but there is no prostlyting. Another sister on my residence floor is from Jordan, and there are elders opening up the Greece mission again. Its crazy, the work is fully on its way, Heavens its so neat to be a part of this.
I have made such good friends here. We are in such a condensed state of mind. I feel like I have known all of these people for ages now! They are such good people and I am grateful to be here with them. As far as New York goes I am the only English speaking sister leaving to the mission this transfer. Its wacky! There are 2 elders that are going with me and they are so stinking hilarious! Elder Dozier, from Mesa, AZ and Elder Beswick from Boise, ID; I cant even count the times we have sat around and laughed at ridiculous things...all inclusive Jay Z and Sasha Fierce, the Bronx and TriBeca, and Yankees games...man this is gonna be unreal! Its hard to explain and its hard to think that next week this time I will be packing my bags for the Big Apple. On Wednesday next week I will find myself on an early flight to the East Coast...a place this "West coast 4 life girl" has only seen a few times.
Anyways, this past weekend was such a treat! Conference blew my mind and being here at the MTC just made it that much more enjoyable (besides the fact that I was not in pj's or on a couch somewhere. Also no Sunday Mid-Session Breakfast!!!) Its ok though, the experience I wouldnt trade for anything in the world. I have to admit I shed a few tears as the congregation said Amen to prayers expressing their thanks and blessings on the missionaries. I sit back and think, "wow! thats me!!" It was such a humbling experience.
A few of my favs were those talks by Elder Ballard, Elder Holland, Elder Lawrence and of course President Monson. Pres. Monson always puts things in crazy perspective. I have to say that his talk on gratitude just took my breath away. I love this man and all that he does. He truly is a servant of the Lord! I am thankful for that knowledge.
Anyway, times up! I will tty next Tuesday, aka P Day for n

Last Week In the MTC, WAYooooHHH!

I can't believe this is my last day in the MTC. I cant say enough how fast it has flown. I feel like I have been here for months, but it has only felt like days...too weird. I guess I'll consider it a blessing :) So the itinerary is in and I fly out tomorrow morning around 8:45 am. There is no time to waste I tell you, it is amazing what you can get done before people even consider getting out of bed. This morning for example... I look at my watch and 4 hours have already flown by since waking. Im packed, fed (physically and spiritually - studied and went to the temple this morning), played a couple of departing pranks on our resident sisters and am now about to finish up my laundry and get the day started. Haha, its too weird.
So this last week was another incredible time. It feels like Conference everyday!! The sister from Jordan I mentioned last week spoke for us on her conversion story. It was the most amazing, inspiring thing I have ever heard. So since she lives in a country where prostelyting is illegal the Church is just there with missionaries who inform people who are interested. So she and her brother were walking around town one day and they found a piece of paper on the floor that was a ripped off piece of a note. The paper only included a number and partial name. She said her and her brother were really curious for some odd reason as to who the number belonged to so she called. The guy on the other end answered in English, "You've reached the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, how can I help you?" He brother didnt speak english so he handed the phone to her in a quick hurry and told her to talk to him. The conversation led to an invitation to come to a branch that was only about 13 members strong, 5 I think being missionaries. And of course the rest is history. That was such an inspiring story. Her and her brother are now serving missions for the Church representing their country, she being the first sister missionary from Jordan.
This place is so awesome, you meet people from EVERYWHERE! You also experience some of the greatest examples of the Spirit testifying to you everyday. So a couple of nights ago I was in my bed, thinking of a quote I had heard when I was in high school. I was so sad because I couldnt remember how the entire quote went or who said it, all I could remember is that I loved it and I wanted it for my quote book ;) so I said a little prayer about it. Jump to yesterday, I am in my class and we are saying goodbye to some of the teachers and missionaries in our district. One of the teachers we saw pass by who we really wanted to say bye to. Though he was already dressed in his street clothes and was heading out the door he stopped and came over anyway. I asked him real fast, "Bro. Beshesti, what are some last words of advice?" and what did he say???..." well, I dont have any words of advice but I have a quote." Oh My!!!! I pretty much jumped out of my seat as he recited from memory the quote that I was inquiring about just the night before. That was amazing!!! The Lord loves me, haha! Its little moments like these that testify to us everyday of the gift we have.
Sometimes we may not know it but we are all channels for the Spirit. I have discovered in my time here that some people come to play investigators and help with the training missionaries because they have real life questions, concerns and prayers that need to be answered. It has been amazing the times that I have had the opportunity to be that channel for their needs. I cant say enough how real the Spirit of the Lord is and how He testifies to me everyday that this work is real. I have such a strong testimony of this work. I know that God lives and loves each and every one of us. It is so sincere. He love me, as he does you. I love all of you. Since this is my last day at the MTC switch to the NY address, I will have more time once im there to write you all back.
I love you all, New York is gonna be the best!...PS, maybe I fell asleep kneeling in companion prayer the other night. Those who know me know that that is a hard thing to do because I am not the easiest sleeper. My companions let me sit there for a while before their laughter woke me up! What can I say, Im tired, but have never been more happy in my life!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Hello from Provo MTC

I am alive and well here at the MTC! It has been the most ridiculous week of my life and that is an understatement! Wednesday was such an incredible day. Jenni Jones came through of course (as she always does) and helped me get all of my last ends tied up. She is such a champion! I had a great family of friends with me as I parted ways with the world at the Provo Temple parking lot. The Hansen Family, Bryce Romney, JG, JJ, Trent, Corey, Dave and Zac were all there to wish me well. So great,t hanks guys!
It is so funny to see the different hello and goodbyes that go on at the "strip" as you see Usher Elders waiting to take your bags and see you to the assembly line that begins the most amazing adventure of your life. Unbeknownst to me my companion arrived right behind me and as we made our way up to our room we realized that we would be companions for the next 3 weeks. She is so sweet. Sister Benson is her name and she is from Vernal, UT. Later in the day after receiving our little missionary tags and taking our picture, we were asked to wait in our classroom for our third companion!!! Yup, Im in a tripanionship, haha!! Its one of the greatest things though. The third is Sister Stephenson from W. Jordan, UT. She is awesome!! So darling, lacross player so she's hardcore. It took some getting used to the first couple of days. Being awake FOREVER and having 2 girls attached to your side at all times. It was absolutely odd to me, but I have grown to love it! Its strange when they are not around which has happened a couple of times when we have meetings and such. I almost get freaked!!
The MTC is the most amazing place I have ever been. It is honestly comparable to the temple! The Spirit here is unreal! We have learned so much in the small amount of time that I have been here and I know that these next couple of weeks will be even better. I have such a love for the Savior and for all that He has done for me to arrive at this wonderful time in my life. I know that the call I received was especially for me and that the work I will do there, no one else will be able to complete it because it is solely for me. Thank you everyone for your support!!! Talk to you next Tuesday...unless you DearElder me, we get those everyday! :) Love you lots!!!!