Friday, December 26, 2014
The spiritual highlight of the week would have been being able to observe our investigator at church and to be able to witness her drinking in the gospel. She is a young mother of 5 and usually whenever we visit, it is hard to create a spiritual environment so I can see how she revels in the spirit of the chapel and she is reading the scriptures and asking questions in classes and she is a real person with real issues. Some of the things she's shared are just so way out of my capacity to deal with as a missionary and generally as a person... and seeing how the gospel is changing her very demeanor is so great!!! can't emphasise enough. she glows! she smiles! she's such a beautiful person, inside and out.
I don't know how long it will take but I definitely know that one day she will be baptised with her family and I look forward to the day. she's been pressured by missionaries in the past, but we know that as she continues to open her heart, she is going to ask to be baptised, she's been taught all the lessons and it is so cool because occassionally she'll just be like - so what was that about tithing? or what aws that about the word of wisdom? and you can see it clicking in her head that she's going to have to make changes to be a member but she is preparing herself for them! she isn't very opent o change, she was raised an Irish catholic, her family just move d from Ireland a few years ago actually and i LOVE their accent! and it also really helped just pointing out to her that that person was a convert and was taught for 3 months, that person was a convert and taught for years and used to swear at missionaries to get off his property and his member wife would be so ... embarrassed ... but look at him now! It's funny because she looked at him and she was like, I could see how he might have done that - but honestly hehehe the members are so great!
Another highlight would have been the power of asking really simple, direct questions. A less active basically wants to talk to us just whenever she fights with her husband but we were able to meet with her yesterday at the chapel and reestablish boundaries and it was so great, and we've tried teaching her before and it was awful, she wouldn't let us in and i had 10 mosquito bites which swelled and i was feeling almost homicidal because I realised I'm allergic to them and she just wont' stop talking sometimes (sorry to display my flaws so flagrantly but i feel it is apt for you to know what a miracle this was) so we had to gear ourselves up to meet with her and wonder we could be using our time more wisely and we honestly attribute her change of heart and openness to the environment of the chapel because she started committing herself to daily prayer and weekly church attendance to bridge the gap between her and God. and we promised her that if she put her relationship with God first, her relationship with her husband would work out - whether she was blessed with more patience to endure it, or blessed with the spirit to tell her how to voice things. and it was amazing! an amazing day all in all yesterday to finish a long week!
And another note:
The lyrics of "I heard the bells on Christmas day" ( #214 ) I think are beautiful. I encourage you to look them up! The third and fourth verse are my favourite. And when you read the lyrics in the context of the story which perhaps I will tell you about another day, or you could just look it up, really make it poignant.
And one last thing!
He who gives money, gives much
He who gives time, gives more
He who gives of himself, gives all.
Let us all reach into our souls and give from where it matters most this Christmas season.
Love you all!
Saturday, December 20, 2014
I can't remember (again) the last time I updated my blog but Mt Barker has been turning into Zion in the interim. Did I tell you about last fast and testimony meetings and the very many testimonies which tugged at your heartstrings and helped you feel your own testimony lift? Because that was the calibre of last testimony meeting.
And some highlights from church this Sunday,
'deep and meaningful connections is what heals us'
'if you err in judgement, be sure to err on the side of love and mercy'' - both quotes from RS lesson I thought were beautiful.
Í'm feeling a bit scatter brained today - have you ever felt like your body was so hot but then your head and your headspace like there's this block around your head blocking your ears and the rest of the world and it feels like you have a cold, but it also feels like you are so very hot! And that has been me for the past few days this week but as you do, grin and bear it and go on and so on I go with the blog entry.
Thank you Hewie and Cindy for sending me our little mascot for our Christmas tree! 'They sent me a lion because lion's are courageous and so I named him Moroni because Moroni was a grand example of courage and fighting for what is right and I think we could all use a little of that in our day to day life. So Moroni the Lion adorns the top of our Christmas tree in lieu of a star or angel.
We also had our ward Christmas party which Bec attended! I don't think I've told you about Bec yet. Bec is an amazing individual. She can cook up a storm, and if anybody's food could cure cancer, I'd line up for hers. Right now, she is preparing for baptism in March and aiming to read the Book of Mormon before then. I love her because I love her I can talk to her, and she can relate to my life experiences ( we are both avid readers) and just kind of on the same wavelength. And Matt is awesome too! It is so funny because my previous companion who served in this area told me about them but I never thought I'd ever meet them, but here we are. And I talked to my previous companion maybe a month ago and told her about Bec and she said, '' I knew you would be good for Bec!"" as she does. Sometimes you meet people on the mission and you invest so much of yourself in them and you watch them grow and increase in spiritual confidence and spiritual knowledge and they just have your entire heart.
So I really love Mt Barker ward.
One more thought tangent. I realised this week part of the reason why perhaps I had to go through one part of my mission at least with so much suffering. The kind where you spend your moments on your knees and you pray for comfort, for release, for healing, for motivation, for energy, for everything and you get off your knees and cry yourself to sleep because the feeling hasn't lifted... and then you do that for almost two months. It is tough. But I think I know at least part of the reason why I had to go through that. Because when our investigator opened up, and is crying in front of you and pouring out their life story and how they don't feel like their prayers are being answered, they don't feel like they are receiving help, they do not feel loved or listened to and they know God is there but why isn't he helping when they need him the most? When they did that, I remembered my past experiences and well, you know, you cry with them. But then you tell them, and you tell them because you know that God hears and answers prayers. You tell them about the time you got up off your knees and felt the same weight in your heart and didn't realise that perhaps it was his blessing that even enabled you to stand. You tell them of beter days ahead and of a God who can see more than we ever could. And you tell them that you love them, but even your love (and this is why a missionary constantly has a broken heart and a contrite spirit. because some people throw your hearts right back into your face) is not comparable to the love Heavenly Father has for them.
And like I can tell you these things, but like Nephi says, it means more in person - which is strange for me because my medium has always been words. But now I know. You need to speak from the heart, and maybe sometimes we suffer so that one day we can be better teachers, better nurturers, better mothers someday. So you can look at a tearstained face and recognise it as your own and understand and love and begin the healing process.
Anyway, I love being a missionary. It is the best thing I have ever done. It truly is living after the manner of happiness. Nothing compares. And nothing means more to me - even though I used to think that all you need is love - but what is love without service? What is love without God? God is love.
I know these things are true. There are so many blessings all around me, it would take ... a whole other emailing session to mention them all :P
But today I am grateful that God has again reached out in love to his children, and he reaches out to all that read out for Him. And if you haven't found that out for yourself, then I invite you to try! To ask! Ask the missionaries - they can help!
With lots of love from chilly Mt Barker,
WATCH THIS VIDEO on:
It is all about love. (:
Monday, December 8, 2014
Recently, because it is Christmas I have been studying the document "The Living Christ" and after I studied it I felt inspired to record some of my own thoughts and feelings about the Saviour which are as follows:
I know that Christ lives. I know that he lived before, long before I was born and that the holy scriptures and prophets bear witness of Him. I know he lives today, He visited the prophet Joseph Smith with His Father and he entreats us to follow Him, to use his atoning blood, to partake of his flesh and blood in remembrance of Him.
I know he is perfect, He is my big brother and my example, my Lord, my redeemer, the Messiah, The Christ.
I know that patterning my life after His teachings is he only true way to happiness. I know that putting Him first in my life allows all other things to fall into place.
I know He loves you all. He wants to save you all. I know this because I have seen a glimpse of the love He has for all of his children and that I have received because I have sincerely sought after it in prayer. I see beautiful people whose lives are changed or that can be changed through the gospel. Change is hard a lot of the time. But I think that is one of the miracles of the Atonement that I will forever be grateful, that change is possible. That you and I can be lifted out of the Telestial worlds we live in and taste an eternal happiness.
Jesus Christ means so much to me. It is such an honour, a sacred privilege to wear His name on my chest, to represent Him.
And I know by the power of the Holy Ghost who reminds me when I doubt, that I am meant to be here. That you are who I am meant to serve. I know what I gave up to be here - I gave up all I had and all I ever wanted, but I've found while I am here that my all is a small price for His all - and I will forever be an unprofitable servant. But that's okay. It is true. As you lose your life for his sake, you find it.
And you can find it too. You also can know Jesus is the Christ and say it with as much surety as I can. The Holy Ghost is constantly whispering these truths to you - are you recognizing them? Can you feel so now?
In the words of apostles and prophets, God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine son.
Because of Him (video)
He is The Gift (video)
Yesterday was fast and testimony meeting and Missionary Preparation Camp where a YSA from Adelaide stayed with us! The testimonies born were so powerful. And during the Christmas fireside, we had a musical number where we had to stand up in our seats, face the audience and sing to them I believe in Christ the third verse and then the audience were invited to sing the fourth verse with us (we couldn't all fit on the stand so a lot of us were just in the normal pews) and as I was at the very back, when we faced each other I was in the very front. And I looked out into the sea of people and I realised that I loved them. I saw a former investigator who broke my heart when we dropped her - we cried as we sang God be with yout ill we meet again - and there she was! I saw other investigators in previous areas I had prayed and fasted so much for. And I saw members, recent converts, rescued members, members who we have served and who served us and I realised ...... I love Adelaide! I love my mission. These people will always have a special place in my heart.
Running out of time so Sorry, maybe photos next week?
Love from the beautiful city of Adelaide and specifically from the chilly suburbs of the Adelaide Hills,