Week 8

Holy cow! I can’t believe I’m almost done with my second transfer ALREADY. Man time flies as a missionary! But I definitely am loving it.

Our investigators are doing pretty well. Our mission president clarified the definition of people with baptismal dates (meaning they have to come to church), which means we now have zero with baptismal dates. BUT we’re working SUPER hard to bring people to church. We had two last week, but zero this week. Ray is having trouble with his health but he did accept the invitation to be baptized!!! YAY!!!! That was really awesome to hear. πŸ™‚ Ron is continuing to struggle with his addiction, but he’s getting there. We know he can do it!

So this week I went to two district meetings because, since Sister Buxton is a Sister Training Leader, we go on quite a few exchanges. Usually four every transfer. So first we did an exchange with Bedford and I had my first opportunity since the MTC to be in a duo. And we were in my area so that was super scary because I was basically the senior companion. I realized just how much I love and rely on my companions to help me out and I realized just how much I still have to learn…. A LOT. So that was on Wednesday. We went to district meeting, which is fantastic. It usually is. Our district leader, Elder Crockett, is super awesome. He is really good at helping to bring the Spirit to our meetings and when you do role plays with him… Wowzers. He is GOOD. And he always has suggestions on how to improve and what we do well. He’s pretty great. After district meeting, Sister Hoffman (the Bedford sister that came up here) and I went to visit a few people. We didn’t have any set appointments so most of the people we wanted to see weren’t home. Soooo we ended up with an hour or so of time not really planned for… Now beginning my panic mode. That was stressful and if I may say so, I think I handled it pretty well. We decided to go tracting. We don’t usually do much of that because we having basically every minute of most days planned out with set appointments, studies, and travel time. Anyway, tracting = knocking on doors. It’s kind of fun, because of people’s reactions. The first door we knocked on REALLY made me laugh. So we’re standing there waiting for someone to answer. We see someone lift up the curtain and all of a sudden, “No. No no no no! I’ve been baptized, I’m Episcopalian, I know Jesus. I’m good. I’m all set. Thank you. No.” She didn’t even open the door. So then we just said “Alright, thank you! Have a wonderful day!” with smiles on our faces, like usual. As we turn to leave we hear “Hang on. Are you thirsty? Do you want something to drink?” We answered yes, because it was pretty hot that day. So she goes to get something and opens the door just barely enough to hand us two water bottles and then snaps it shut again. Hahahahaha that made me laugh pretty hard. But, welcome to New England. People are “wicked” nice here, but if they don’t want to talk to you, they really won’t. Haha We did find someone with our tracting efforts, though! We haven’t been able to meet her again since then, but I shared 3 Nephi 17:20 – Jesus says His joy is full because of the people’s faith. She took a Book of Mormon and said she wouldn’t mind reading it. So that was pretty sweet.
Our other exchange was with Laconia, north of us. And that was on Thursday, which is when they do their district meetings since they’ve got the Zone Leaders in their area. That district meeting was even better than ours! We talked about the Sabbath day and why it’s so important. Which fit right in with our sacrament meeting from last week. The Sabbath day is special and the reason we don’t do anything on that day is because we’ve been commanded dedicate it completely to the Lord. We are allowed to work on Sundays, but only if it’s the Lord’s work. That sacrament meeting made me want to work a lot harder when I get home at staying focused on the Lord – i.e. studying the scriptures more, reading the church magazines and other articles, spending my time onΒ mormon.orgΒ or other church websites instead of doing homework, watching TV/movies or other things that don’t help me to stay focused on my Heavenly Father and all that He has done for me. So that’s one goal I have for when I get home. I think I’ll have a ton of goals like this since I’ve still got a while. It’ll be GREAT! Anyway, after the Laconia district meeting, we went to meet with a woman who is less-active. That was a wonderful lesson! we talked about the Pre-Earth life and how we’ve lived with God before because He is literally the Father of our Spirits. We had a really good discussion about it and I was able to bear my testimony about my knowledge of the Plan of Salvation. The woman lost her daughter and she still knows that the Gospel is true. So I shared my experience with losing my brother and that even though I’m sad I can’t see him – he’s not here for me to talk to or to be with me during times in my life I always imagined him to be there for, I know that he’s still here, I just can’t see him. I know I’ll be able to see him again relatively soon and that he’s doing the same work that I am. This knowledge is the reason that I’m so happy even though it happened only about 2 1/2 months ago. I can still experience joy and true happiness every day BECAUSE of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I’m happy and excited to continue living my life the way God would have me do. There’s nothing I can do to change the past, so I’ll just do my best to change the future for the better. I’ll take my challenges and trials with joy and happiness because I know that I’ve got God on my side – I can just put all my faith and trust in Him, every day of my life and I know I’ll be perfectly fine. That’s the beauty of the Gospel. Though life is hard, life is also COMPLETELY worth it. It’s worth leaving my Father in Heaven to come down to earth in order to gain a body, gain experience and learn as much as I possibly can in my time here. It’s worth struggling through difficulties, no matter how big or small. It’s worth struggling through emotions of anger, sadness, and jealousy. Why is it worth it to go through a life with so many hardships? Because I know where I’m going. I know that my Heavenly Father is waiting for me to come running back to Him. I know that He and my Savior, Jesus Christ live. They both live and life is worth it because of the opportunity each of us has to work hard and gain eternal life. There’s a scripture in the book of Moses. Chapter 1, verse 39. “For behold, this is my work and my glory – to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” What’s the difference between immortality and eternal life? Immortality: living forever without sickness or other afflictions. Eternal life: Living forever with Heavenly Father. Everyone who has ever received a body will receive immortality. But it’s our decision whether or not we receive eternal life. Heavenly Father is doing His best in giving us the tools we need to get back to Him so that He can have the pleasure of giving us this most amazing gift of living with Him forever. We’ve got the scriptures, prayer, and church. We’ve got the Gospel. We already have everything we need in order to get back to Him. It’s our choice whether or not we accept them and accept Him. I love this Gospel. I’m doing my best every single day to gain eternal life and I’m doing my best every single day to help others gain it, too. That’s the reason that this life is completely worth it. Because I know that as long as I try my very hardest to do the things that I’ve been asked by God to do, I’ll receive Eternal Life. I know that with every fiber of my being, body and soul. And that’s why I take on any trial that comes my way with happiness and joy.Β 

I encourage each of you to take the time to think of something you’re grateful for, thank Heavenly Father for it, and try a little harder to rely on Him so it’s a little easier make it through whatever trial you’ve got going on. Take it all on, one day at a time, one trial at a time. You’ll make it through with the help of Jesus Christ. He is the Savior and Redeemer of the world. I know it, and I love having this knowledge.Β 

Keep on reading and praying. I know that you’ll have even more joy in your life if you do. I love you all very much and hope you’re doing well! πŸ™‚

Love always,
Sister Mayle

Week 7

Hi everyone!

I can’t believe it’s already halfway through August, and also transfers! Time FLIES like crazy as a missionary! So much happened this week. We had Zone Conference on Wednesday, which was pretty sweet – we focused on member missionary work. So we’re trying a LOT harder to include the members in missionary work and get them super excited for it. It’s always disappointing when we’re excited for the miracles we see every day, and we tell a member about it and they’re just like “Oh, that’s cool.” Yeah. PLEASE try to have more enthusiasm and appreciation for the work. Saving people’s souls is the important thing we (meaning EVERYONE) can be doing, because everyone needs the Gospel in their lives and it really is something to celebrate. πŸ™‚Β 
So this week, we got FOUR new investigators! The last one that we got is named Craig. He’s seriously a miracle. So we had a member with us, Brother Shepard, and we were on our way to visit Ron (still not doing so hot with giving up alcohol). As we walked past this yellow house (there are so many yellow houses here, but it’s awesome), a man who was painting it called out “Hey! How’s it going?” He recognized us as missionaries. Once we started talking to him and asked him about what he believes, he was like “Well, let me tell you. We have a very different belief in theology.” “Oh? What do you believe in then?” “Jesus Christ. He is God. Not a god, or multiple gods, but God with a capital G.” We were all really confused. “So what is it that you think we believe?” I don’t remember exactly what he said, but it wasn’t that (which is what we believe, in case you were wondering). We were still confused and then corrected him on it and made sure he knew we do believe in Jesus Christ and that He is indeed the Creator of the world, and that He is God, with a capital G. Now it was his turn to be confused. Well, we come to find out that he thought we were Jehovah’s Witnesses. I don’t even know what they believe, but the more I hear about them, the more I wonder how we get mixed up with them, besides the fact that we are the only two churches (that I know of) that send out missionaries like us. Actually, that’s the reason we do get mixed up. For some reason, people automatically assume that’s what we are, and it’s hilarious to have them tell us what we believe. ANYWAY. So Craig. We got that cleared up and gave him our number and asked him to call us. He said he probably wouldn’t, but we made sure he knew we’d love to talk with him, even if he thought we wouldn’t get anywhere with it. So then we went to Ron’s appointment, which he didn’t keep. We stood in his driveway talking to Brother Shepard for a good half hour and then walked back. Craig calls us over again. He’s decided he DOES want to talk to us after all! Boy were we excited! So we went back the next day and had lunch with him while we talked about our beliefs. It wasn’t really a lesson, just a question and answer session. He kept saying how different we were in our beliefs, but the more we talked with him, the more me and my companions saw how similar we actually are. The reason, though, that he thinks we’re so different is because he doesn’t believe that there is anything more than the Bible. This made me really sad. We asked him if he thought God could put all of His words into one book. He said yes, because it’s God. I disagree. Maybe God could put it all in one book, but I really don’t think He did. There’s a reason, too. Ever heard the phrase “line upon line, precept upon precept”? Well, we use it frequently in the LDS church and basically it means that we don’t learn everything at once. We can’t because we can’t understand it all and it’s like math. There’s no way you’re going to understand how to write a difficult equation if you don’t know the basics first. Math isn’t stuffed all into one book, right? Right. It’s pretty much the same with God’s word. You can’t have one (the Bible) without the other (Book of Mormon). There is so much more to God’s word than just the basics in the Bible. Even though the Bible has the basics, the Book of Mormon adds to it and helps us to better understand the Bible. It’s pretty great. I have to share this with you all. It’s something that my best friend serving in Arizona, Elder George, sent out in his weekly email and I thought it was GENIUS. “the Old Testament is really the book that is there to “prove” the existence of God and his works on the Earth. The New Testament is there to “prove” that Jesus was the Christ. The Book of Mormon is there to “prove” the existence of the Holy Ghost. While all three books prove each member of the Godhead, it really is the Book of Mormon that REQUIRES the testament of the Spirit in order to believe in it.” Elder George, you have an AWESOME convert on your hands. I know that as we read these books TOGETHER, they solidify each other, and most importantly, they ALL testify of Jesus Christ. He is our Savior and Redeemer – there is no doubt in my mind about that. The coolest thing? The Book of Mormon isn’t the end of it. There’s still more to come. Which I’m CRAZY excited for. It’ll be the best day(s) when we receive the rest of the books from the ten tribes of Israel.Β 
Alright. So that’s about it for Craig. We learned a ton from him and are meeting with him again this Saturday. We’re bringing Brother Shepard with us and we think it’s going to be fantastic to have a member there to help us teach and testify of the truthfulness of the restored Gospel (members are PRICELESS in lessons. Please volunteer yourself to the missionaries so they have more members to use. They will love you forever. Especially if you’re enthusiastic about missionary work). Oh yeah! One more thing. At the end of our lesson, Craig basically told us that he thinks we’ve been brainwashed – he read us a scripture in Jeremiah and then asked us to pray about what we believe and see if we don’t get an answer from Heavenly Father. That kind of made me a little upset, but in a good way (oxymoronic, I know) because it made my testimony grow stronger. I KNOW this church is true because it is Christ’s church. Sister Herrick then bore a SOLID testimony about how she’s done that and will continue to do it. She told him she knows it’s true and so she will be a member of the church for the rest of her life because there’s no way she can deny it. It was the best testimony I’ve heard in a while. SUPER powerful and the Spirit is really strong. It was amazing. And I completely agree. It’s the exact same way that I feel and there is NOTHING that will EVER change that. I’ve had it confirmed by the Holy Ghost WAY too many times for me to be able to change my mind on it and I’ve gone through difficult things in my life and the Gospel – Jesus Christ, really, has ALWAYS been here to help me through it. Experiences like this are what help me to keep up my excitement and happiness to teach the Gospel to people who don’t know it, or won’t accept it. Nothing else matters besides our Heavenly Father, our Savior Jesus Christ, and His Gospel. The principles we are taught are the way we can receive eternal life (living with God again). I’m not sure why anyone wouldn’t want that, but I’m happy to have this knowledge and it is my solemn DUTY to share it with every soul I come in contact with. I’m doing my best to do this and I’ll continue it even after I get home. With everything I know, there’s not a chance for me to keep it to myself. No one would benefit from that.Β 
Alright well… that took up all my time. I hope you all are having wonderful weeks and enjoying life (and school starting up!). Life is awesome! πŸ™‚
Challenge this week: Read Alma 7. It’s a FANTASTIC chapter. πŸ™‚
Love and miss you all! You’re beautiful, and each of you is a Child of God. Remember that.Β 
Love.
Sister Mayle

Week 6 (or was it 5?) in Canterbury

Hello!

So I got my pictures out to you…. FINALLY. But now here’s my real email. This week has been pretty good. We have two new investigators. Funny story – one of them was listed as a member. Her name is Debra Adams. We went to her house and she said she’s not a member, never been baptized and her information (besides the address and name) doesn’t match up with the records. “Umm, that’s weird. Hey, well. Do you want to learn about our church and come closer to Christ? No? Well, is there anything you need done? Weeds? Alright, we’re coming over next week to help with that.” So we did. And she’s awesome. She fed us lunch (grilled cheese, chips, cottage cheese and WATERMELON!) and we pulled some weeds (strangely satisfying) and then sat and chatted about the Book of Mormon. She is a wonderful lady who I am very excited to get to know and teach. πŸ™‚

Ron…. He’s our recovering alcoholic. He relapsed on Saturday. It’s so hard to watch someone who wants so badly to do better take a fall like that, especially when he feels horrible afterwards for doing that. His faith is not very strong because he feels so worthless and like he can’t be saved. It’s awful to see him like that. However, I’ve learned a lot from teaching him. Mostly about the love of God. I don’t know this guy very well at all, and I probably wouldn’t talk to him ever if I weren’t a missionary, yet I’ve come to love him so much and I know that it’s because of how much God loves him. He’s a son of God and there is no reason for God to love him any less than He loves me. I wish there was a way for me to be able to show Ron how much love that is. Because it’s so much that we can’t even BEGIN to comprehend it. When we visit Ron tomorrow, we’re going to see if he wants a Priesthood blessing to help.
I know that the Priesthood is an AMAZING thing to have. It can bless people’s lives SO much, and I am very grateful for the men in my life who hold it. The Priesthood is the authority to act in God’s name and is only given to worthy male members of the church (which means it’s not the men themselves). The Priesthood can be used to give blessings of comfort, healing, and whatever else you would need help with. Blessings are amazing because you pretty much get it straight from Heavenly Father. The man giving the blessing is simply the mouthpiece. It is also used to baptize and to give the gift of the Holy Ghost. Man, the Priesthood is AWESOME. πŸ™‚

We have another investigator, Gloria, who is so cute. She’s probably in her 60s and is very open to what we have to say. Which is probably because of her faith – she believes that God answers her prayers (which He does) and tells her everything she needs to be doing. So she says that if He tells her to listen to us, she’s going to listen. She came to the third hour of church yesterday and said she even asked God if she should go to it, and He told her that yes, she should go. How wonderful is that? Holy cow is she prepared!!!! We taught her the Restoration yesterday and she said it all made sense. She agreed to pray about Joseph Smith and to read Moroni 10 (all of you should read Moroni 10 as well, and think about what he’s asking you to do. He wrote it specifically to the reader, not to anyone else). Gloria is such a wonderful example to me because of how much faith she has. I really hope I can get to the point one day where I have that much faith and trust in the Lord – I might be close right now, but it’s definitely easier said than done.
Something I read this week was Alma 26. I LOVE that chapter – it’s all about why we do missionary work. So that’s my challenge to you this week. Take some time to read it. Missionary work is the most important work we can be doing right now because it’s how we can gain salvation – by coming closer to Christ through having faith in Him and His atonement, repenting, being baptized, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. In order to do all of that, we have to learn it first, and how do we learn it? MISSIONARIES! That is our purpose. This is why I’m spending 18 months of my life doing nothing but preaching the Gospel. And it is absolutely wonderful. I love it so much, the good and the bad. πŸ™‚
Alright. I’m out of time. I love you all and I’m so grateful for your love and support. Till next week!
Sister Mayle