Monday, February 27, 2017

Experiment Upon the Word

The week here was good. I think the highlight of our week came on Wednesday or Thursday when we were having a lesson with one of our friends that we are teaching. She loves coffee a lot. We felt prompted to promise her that if she would give up coffee and live the word of wisdom for 10 days leading up to fast Sunday, read the Book of Mormon every day, and then fasted on that day, then she would lose the desire to drink coffee and she would feel the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. She has been doing awesome so far! I have faith that she will be blessed as she "experiments upon the word" like it says in Alma 32:27. 

We had a stake Conference yesterday and the second counselor of the presidency said the same thing about how all he wanted for his kids was for them to come to know Christ and our Heavenly Father. That really is what it's all about is working towards Eternal Life with your family. I think we all need to try and remember how much the gospel really means to us more often so we can allow it to truly change the way we go about our every day life. Nicole, the lady who was baptized out here a month ago, has really thrown herself into the gospel and it has been cool to watch. She is getting prepared to go to the temple to do baptisms for the dead. She has been really getting involved in the ward and everything like that and it has been awesome to see. 

Our lesson last night went really well. Jasmine really felt the Spirit throughout the lesson. We were talking about the Plan of Salvation and how we knew God before this life and how we are actually here for a reason and that really struck home to her. We also showed the Because of Him video about Jesus Christ and why He suffered and died for us, and that meant a lot to her as well. It truly is amazing to think about Christ and exactly how much He loves us and that He was willing to sacrifice Himself for our sake. Sometimes it is easy to not remember Him as we are going throughout our daily lives, but when we do try harder to remember Him and His love for us, then we can find rejuvenation and joy through His love and Atonement. In Preach My Gospel, in the First Presidency message, it promises us that we will find more joy imaginable when we do missionary work. I know this is true.

Other than that, we spent a lot of time trying to find people to teach. We are trying to kind of clean out our teaching pool and teach people who are actually prepared to hear the gospel and are searching for the truth. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Staying in Stayton!

So we found out transfer information on Saturday night and.. we are both Staying in Stayton! We are both pretty excited about that! That means we will be here until that week after General Conference at least. I'm excited to have six weeks more to work here in Stayton. I know that you definitely are in certain areas at certain times with certain people for a reason. 

The week here was good. It kind of flew by. I honestly don't even remember much of what happened. We did a lot of walking this week and trying to contact former investigators. Brother Graham challenged us to make a list of 100 former investigators and contact them and promised us that we would find 10 people to teach from that list. So far we have contacted about 15 and have found 2 people to teach, so that has been awesome! Other than that, our week was good, nothing too crazy though. We had a good day yesterday. It is cool because when you are working hard and being obedient, the Spirit will guide you to people even if you aren't aware that the Spirit is guiding you there. That was the case yesterday. We met a couple of people in areas that we were not really planning to be, but we were trying to be diligent and were blessed for our efforts. 

This week, in my studies, one thing that really stood out to me was in Matthew 7:1. Firstly, it talks about not judging others or we will be judged. I am grateful for Joseph Smith and the Spirit of prophecy that he had though. In the Joseph Smith Translation, it says “Judge not unrighteously, that ye be not judged: but judge righteous judgment”. Something that I think Elder Oaks said was that we are commanded not to make final judgments, but directed to make intermediate judgments. We all have to make judgments every day, but it's important that we don't judge people by one experience or moment, but that we recognize that through the Atonement everyone can change. 

Today we had lunch with Sister

Coleen Copeland. She is an author! You should look up her books, they're kids books I think. We have Elder Radmall with us for a few days because he is going to be training and doesn't get his trainee until Wednesday or Thursday.

Monday, February 13, 2017

I Love Sundays

Our week here was pretty good. We had a zone conference down in Albany on Wednesday, which was good. We talked a lot about planning. We also talked about using the gifts that we have been given to further the work of the Lord. The testimony meeting that we had at the end of Zone Conference was really good. There were a few missionaries that are leaving this transfer that bore their testimonies about what they've learned over their missions and the main thing that stuck out to me was the Atonement. It made me reflect on how I can improve to allow the Atonement to shape and change my life. I think it's important that we always look to Christ and trust Him during any situation. If we truly give ourself to Him, then we can feel His power in our life. As a missionary, I try to do that as much as I can, but I still feel like there is a ton more growth in that area for me. 

Yesterday was awesome. Sundays are truly my favorite day. I love being able to go to meetings with Brother Graham and talking about the work and how we can improve. And then being able to go to our other meetings in the morning and watching people give up their time so early on a Sunday morning, just because they all know that the Savior lives and that the Gospel is true. It is just cool to watch. And then partaking of the Sacrament and trying to truly prepare for that is something that is helping me in my desires to grow. Yesterday Nicole had us and Brother and Sister Graham over for dinner, so that was awesome. She made us some homemade calzones and some dessert. It was all super good and fun. She is continuing to just progress right along in the Gospel. She will hopefully be doing baptisms for the dead here in March, which will be sweet! We also had a lot of people at church Sunday, which was great. It is so important for people who are looking into the gospel to come to church because of the Spirit that is present. 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Sabbath Day, Sacrament, and Priesthood

One thing that I have been studying and thinking about a lot lately is the Sacrament. I am trying to allow myself to more fully prepare for the Sacrament and take advantage of the holy ordinance that it is. When you think about it, you can look up at the stars and see the amazing beauty that is up there. It is pretty breathtaking, and is one of my most favorite things to do, especially here in Oregon because we don't get to see the stars too often with the cloudiness! But then picture the stars, and think about the power that it was all created by. The Priesthood! We are so blessed because that same Priesthood has been restored to the Earth and we have the opportunity each week to participate in an ordinance in which that Priesthood is present. Each week we get to access the powers of Godliness! It truly is an amazing thought. I am so grateful for the Sacrament. I'm still trying to fully understand how I can prepare more fully for it, and allow it to have the effect on me that it should, but it is something I'm working on. I have something that I want you to watch.  It's on the Gospel Library. Go to "Leadership" then "Sabbath Day Observance - October 2015" and watch that training broadcast. I had some free time the other day and watched it. It was so so so so good. 

After church, we had a ward missionary correlation meeting. It was for the purpose of discussing our big event that will take place here in July. We are throwing a big open house for the community where we will have food and games, but also do like a church tour at the same time. We are pretty excited about it. I'm pretty sure I won't be here at that point, but I'm excited for what it's going to do for the ward and the community. After our meeting, we sort of had a mini meeting with Brother Graham, I guess it wasn't really a meeting, but we talked with him for a while and just sat and talked about the gospel and stuff. It was awesome! 

This morning during part of my studies I read Matthew 4. This is where Christ is fasting or 40 days and nights. I'm super grateful for the Joseph Smith Translation. Because at the beginning of the chapter it talks about Christ going to the wilderness to be "tempted by the devil." Bruce R McConkie said that "righteous men don't seek out temptation". Which is so true! Christ didn't go to the desert to seek out temptation and to try to be tempted by the devil. He went out there to commune with God. And after 40 days of fasting, I'm sure he was super exhausted, hungry, and most vulnerable. That is when he was tempted by the adversary. Those are the times when the adversary tries and tempts us. I have seen that on my mission! That's when he works really hard because that's when we are more likely to succumb to his temptation. But as always, we can learn from the Savior. Each time He was tempted, He shot it down. He gave it no thought. He stood true to who He was and to what His Father wanted Him to do. That's how we need to be when temptations come! Just move forward in obedience! The past couple of days have given me some really good insight into the reality of gaining a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father, and what I personally need to do to allow that to take place. 

This picture is from an exchange with Elder Hall: he's the one who knows the Kimzeys. He's from Washington, Utah (St George)