"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

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Once Around The Sun

It just dawned on me that any day after today I will be home on your next year's calendar! That's nuts! The next time I use the phrase "once around the sun" will be when I have taken that trip in New York, and will only have six months remaining. Oh wow!

So whats been going on huh?!

Well, I finished the Book of Mormon right on cue and will be beginning it again tomorrow. I always gain such a respect for the scriptures when I conclude my reading. I have found that those mysteries that are spoken about begin to unfold with the desire and will of searching through them for answers. I also have accomplished carrying my large print quad with me everyday since I have been out, without even a whimper of wishing I bought smaller ones, haha! I mostly threw that little bit of information in to let everyone know that it can be done :) anyways...

I have had two companions, one being my trainer, Sister Child who has now finished her mission and has returned home (we were together one cycle), and the other is Sister Fuimaono, who I have been with since. They have just added to my friend pool and I know that I will love and cherish them putting up with me everyday all day, for the rest of my existence.

I have been in the Harlem 3 Young Single Adult (YSA) Ward for all of my mission life! Honestly, the best thing ever! I love the work here in Harlem and I am so lucky to be serving in such an amazing place! I have made beaucoup friends and have met people that wouldn't have been possible anywhere else. It has been a great opportunity!

I have lived in a 2 bedroom apartment on the 17th floor with 6 sisters total and have loved every second, every mouse, every roach, every long strand of fill-in-the-sister's hair on my coat of it and wouldn't change a thing.

I have had the opportunity to learn, teach and grow in all ways (and yeah, it has been delicious!) Haha! My shoe bottoms are disappearing faster than I have ever seen and I truly know what it means to be tired.

Anyways, along with many other things that have been going on, I have ultimately learned that there is no other way I could have had these experiences except by this coming out to serve the Lord. I just love it and appreciate every moment! Thanks for coming along for the ride! I just love you love you! And so it is...

Corned Beef and Cabbage!

So another St. Patty's day is fast approaching so you know that I'm making corned beef and cabbage for the Zone this week. I love it! Its the little bit of normalcy that I get as a missionary; everyone knows how much I love to cook! But let's talk about normalcy for a second, its definitely not sleeping in anymore, going to class or work, listening to music, going to the movies or being frivolous with my time, so maybe this is a privilege rather than sinking back into what's normal considering the shift my life has taken.
This week in the field has been real good. We are just so blessed with the opportunity to teach such great people. I'm a bit saddened though because it has taken us out of the usual grunt work that would normally occupy our schedule, like contacting! And I almost hesitate to say grunt work because contacting on the street is some of the best work there is here in New York, besides teaching of course. Maybe I'm sad purely for the selfish reason that I am no longer out on the streets as much as I used to, getting to know the people of the city. Nonetheless, I came across a great scripture in Alma 62 early last week that helped me with this conflict: 4. "...and he did raise the standard of liberty in whatsoever place he did enter, and gained whatsoever force he could in all his march towards the land of Gideon." Amazing right?! Sometimes we don't have as much time as we used to to contact on the streets but in whatsoever place we are headed we can still lift the liberty of the people, aka contacting along the way. I know this sounds dumb because that is ideally what should be happening all the time, but sometimes running in and out of trains is so busy, stopping to talk with individuals as you run, already late, to your next appointment is the furthest thing from your thoughts. Nonetheless, I have made a better attempt at it this week and I have to say that I am thankful that I did. Going back to the basics!
So let me tie this into the normalcy of real life. Life is busy. I don't know that that can be over exaggerated more! So, slow down, at least for a second to get back to the basics. I have found that they are truly what I need in the week to help me stay grounded and focused. Soon we will run out of busy things to do and we are left with nothing. Now back to the Gospel and life (I sound like an Old Spice commercial, "now back at your man" haha), keep on the basics, ie reading scriptures, praying, going to church and service. I have gained such a testimony of service both on and off the mission. I have found that the people that we are serving benefit from the service provided, but it is we as the one's who are serving that get the better end of the deal. I have true testimony of that. As with the work I am involved in here in NY. I love this! I love all of you and hope that you all are having a great week. I am thankful for all that I have and at a time of disaster for so many, my heart and prayers go out to them and their families. Thank you for everything! Love you love you!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Why The Silence?

Ok, so now that everything is said and done let me just tell you that I had the best week ever!!!! I didn't update anyone last week because I was sure to go against everything we had been told, which was to not let the world know that Elder Bednar would be visiting us! Haha! Yes, Elder Bednar visited with our mission and it was such a great experience. It was such a day of learning, so let me just start spouting off some of the things I learned.
  • Every church meeting should be looked at as a revelatory experience. Before he came we were asked to study his talk "Ask In Faith" which of course is about sincerely asking the Lord in faith knowing that until now everything that we NEEDED has been provided for us and by living righteously we can have a hope, and faith that what we will need in the future will continue to be provided for us when we ask. In addition to that he explained that the questions we have may not always be answered of course right away or on a large scale like hearing a voice, or having a vision. What he counselled us to do was to approach every event that is accompanied by the Spirit with our questions readily available because in this "Revelatory Experience" we can receive answers to our prayers. I have to say that that day definitely proved that for me!
  • Be a good girl. In the talk given by Elder Packer, "20 Mark Note" an experience is shared regarding an elder on his mission. That elder, who turns out to actually be Elder Bednar serving his mission in South Germany at the time, recalled in this story that what he was doing was just being a good boy. He then reminded us that we should continue to just be good boys and good girls because sometimes revelation doesn't come knowingly, but as long as we know that we are doing what is good we will have the support of the Spirit. He also related this to big decisions that we sometimes need to make. We may be left to our own good judgement to make big decisions because the Lord trusts us with our choices.
  • Foundational Knowledge of the Gospel is a must. Being on a mission it is hard not to agree with this, but when I speak with the members and also remember instances when I was not a missionary I would say that this notion is very hard. My schedule now promotes at least an hour of scripture study each day, helping me to build a foundation of gospel principles. Everyday I am faced with people looking to me for answers so my efforts are to be able to provide them with inspired answers that I have built through inspiration and study. This however is something that can only be borrowed. What I know and what I share is only on loan. I am not able to give my testimony to others so for a short moment they feel validated but soon enough will have to find that inspiration for themselves. It absolutely is so amazing to be able to provide that light for others.
These were just some of the things that I left knowing. I am so thankful for this experience. It is rare to counsel with an apostle of God. To know that he is a servant of the Lord and has been called to hold the Keys to the priesthood that provide for us opportunities to make and keep sacred covenants. In his talk "Seek Learning by Faith" he stated that "the soles of their feet were already wet before the water even parted." I am thankful to know that through the action of faith we can see miracles! I just love you all so much and am glad you are sharing these experiences with me. Thank you for everything! Love you love you.