Week 12

Hello hello!

Wowee this week was CRAZY awesome! We taught a total of 19 lessons. NINETEEN! Usually it’s closer to 10-15. And we got four new investigators and another baptismal date. You’ll never guess who it is, either. Remember Debbie from a couple months ago? She dropped us because she thought we were being too pushy with church and the word of wisdom. We’d been stopping by every so often to see how she’s been and she hasn’t been sober for a very long time. BUT then her missionary that taught her in Colorado (interesting, eh?) came for a visit and got her excited to go to church. So this week, she informed us that she wants to get baptized on October 12. She’s been sober this week and we’re making sure we have daily contact with her. It’s been really really great so far and I am definitely looking forward to teaching her more and more. She can make it! 🙂

Let me tell you about the greatest miracle this week. On Tuesday, we went to find a former investigator who was taught a few years ago. We found her house, but she’s rented it out. As we walk up to the door, there’s a huge pile of furniture in the front yard, the door and windows are flung wide open and there’s no sign of anyone. Hmm… So we walk up and say “Hello?” WOOF. A huge mastiff comes running out the door. His owner quickly follows. She’s got rubber gloves and a mask on with cleaning supplies in each hand. “Oh, hello. Excuse me. I’m just cleaning. These people that rented this house completely trashed the place and ran without paying three months of rent. There’s about $25,000 worth of damage to this place.” WHAT? Let me tell you, it’s a GORGEOUS colonial with a wrap-around porch. There are chandeliers in each room and tons of windows. GORGEOUS. Apparently the people didn’t EVER clean and they let their kids use any part of the house as a bathroom/sickroom. After they ran, the other two people living there (they rented out a couple of the rooms) had to go in with hazmat suits and gas masks to bomb the place FOUR TIMES because of the infestation of bugs. Then they had to rip out all the carpets and they’ll have to redo all the wood floors. When we got there, it had already been cleaned quite a bit, but there was still so much to do. So we offered Nicole some help. She was completely blown away that we would just show up and offer to help when we had no idea who she was. So we went back to our car, changed from our skirts to our jeans, each grabbed a mask and gloves and got to it. We spent three or four hours cleaning just one wall in the kitchen and the windows and ceiling of one of the front rooms. I just have to say that THAT is the house I want. I absolutely LOVED it and don’t know how anyone could ruin such a beautiful place. Anyway, once we were finished with those two rooms, Nicole still couldn’t get over how much we helped. She said over and over that we were such a blessing and that we were a total God-send…. :D…. So we taught her about the restoration. She took a Book of Mormon and was way excited to read it. She said she’d do anything after what we did. And she was genuinely interested in reading it anyway. She kept saying how amazed she was at how we just offered to help without even mentioning religion. Let me tell you. That was a testimony builder to me of how great service really is.
So my challenge to you this week: Take some time to serve someone, whether you know them or not. Help them clean. Walk their dog. Pull some weeds. Something, big or small, that would help someone out. Service is a great way to show people that you truly care about them.

Yesterday was finally my time to have a hard time. I’ve been expecting it and wonderful when it would happen. I don’t know what happened, but I was feeling a little off and then just broke down and all my worries and fears came flooding out. Thank goodness because now I’ve got them out of my system. So no worries. I’m just fine. 🙂 But it made me think (along with an experience with one of our new investigators who kept saying how we needed to trick the younger generation into doing what’s right): This work is HARD. It’s definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever done and it takes a lot out of me. But it’s God’s work. We deal with the truth, and so many people aren’t looking for the truth. They’re looking for something easy and fun. Being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is most definitely not easy. It’s hard to always be trying to do what’s right, standing up for what you believe and setting an example, showing people the way Christ lived and how we really should be living ourselves. It’s exhausting and frustrating. It’s hard and upsetting at times. But you know what? It’s the best thing I ever could have. The Gospel strengthens me and brings me joy and comfort. The hard things in life are often the most rewarding and satisfying things. We can have fun, even with all the “rules” that we have. Because the rules are what set us free from all the chains of the world. Obedience is the way to freedom. A lot of people don’t want someone telling them what to do or reigning over them. Well, I don’t either. But because I know the blessings I’ll receive from following the rules are so much better than the consequences of sin, I choose to follow one person, and one person only. That is my Father in Heaven. I will deal with the big difficult trials that come my way and I will deal with the tiny little not-so-important trials that happen every day. The longer I serve, the more I learn and the more experience I gain. The more I learn and experience, the more I come to love the work. The more I love the work I do, the more I love the Gospel and Jesus Christ. The more I love the Gospel and Jesus Christ, the more happiness and joy I have. This Gospel is the key that everyone needs. You can be set free from the chains of the world. The pain and suffering that come with those chains can be taken away. You won’t forget them, but there is that option to not have to feel them. This Gospel is the best gift I have ever, or will ever, receive. I know each and everyone of you can receive blessings by following the commandments God has given us and I know you will be happier and more at ease because of it. I love it. I love the hard, frustrating, exhausting work that I do. I love every trial and every experience I go through. I love my life and everything in it. And I love my Father in Heaven for giving it to me.
 
Alma 5:44-49

One more thing: The General Relief Society Broadcast is this Saturday at 6pm (MST) and I encourage all you women to watch it because it’s always amazing to hear from our women leaders and our prophets and apostles. General Conference is in a couple weeks, which I’m SUPER excited for and I hope all of you have a chance to watch at least one session. 🙂

I love you all. Keep being examples to those around you. Keep loving life and see the positive side of everything that comes your way. It’s all pretty wonderful, once you see it! 🙂

Have a fantastic week and I hope to hear from each of you soon! 

With love,

Sister Mayle

 

 

Week 11

Hello everyone!
First off, I hope everyone is staying safe and I’ll be praying that the weather and flooding in Colorado doesn’t get any worse. All I can say about that is that it’s kind of exciting to live in the last days. As sad as it is to see all this destruction, it’s also kind of cool when you know the signs of the times are happening. But everyone, please stay safe!
This weekend was full of church! On Saturday we went to Gloria’s church again (7th Day Adventist) which was really good. They talked about keeping the Sabbath day holy. I always love that topic. Keeping the Sabbath day holy doesn’t mean going to church and then relaxing for the rest of the day. It means you take a break from working in the world and devote the day completely to the Lord. It’s alright to take a nap, but make sure that anything else you do is centered on serving God. It can mean spending time with your family doing wholesome things, serving people who really need some help, etc etc. As long as you’re serving the Lord, you’re good. 🙂
Yesterday, we went to a Quaker meeting. It was really interesting. It’s very similar to our Testimony meetings. They sit in one room for an hour and are silent. When they are moved by the Spirit to speak, they get up and speak. Only two people spoke yesterday, the rest of the hour was completely silent. They do announcements and socialize after the hour is finished. It was kind of nice to sit in silence and stop moving for a little bit and just think.
While I was thinking about the opportunity we had to go to other churches, I thought about something else. Every church has bits and pieces of the truth. The Spirit testifies of truth. Therefore, you can feel the Spirit in every church you go to, if you’re listening and if they’re teaching true doctrine. It’s pretty cool, actually. And I’m glad to know that. 🙂
Oh by the way. I got the BEST birthday present this week. Seriously. Definitely the top of my list, especially as a missionary. First I want to say that getting mail is awesome. Even better, is when the mission office saves it all up and sends it all together. I received about 15-20 birthday cards all at once on Friday. So thank you TONS to my home ward(s) (Severance and Windsor), to my family, and to my wonderful friends who were part of that! I enjoyed every single one of them! 🙂
Update on the new elders: We have a new one, straight from the MTC – Elder Chavez, and one who’s been out for 14 months, Elder Wikan. Both are pretty cool and I’m excited for this transfer to get to know them better!
Alright, so this week we’ve been really focused on the Atonement. We’ve been doing a lot of member meals (our meal coordinator is awesome. But I’ve also gained about 10 pounds. :P) and with those, we teach a lesson about the Atonement (usually scriptures from Alma 7. Which you all should read because it’s wonderful) and then challenge them to write their testimony of the Atonement in a Book of Mormon and give it to someone who is really struggling right now. So I’m going to teach all of you about the Atonement, and then extend that challenge to you, too.
In case you’re not sure what the Atonement is, it’s when Jesus Christ suffered for each of us. He suffered for all of our sins, our pains and afflictions and our temptations. He knows what it feels like to break your arm. He knows what it feels like to have any type of sickness whether it’s just a cold or it’s cancer. He knows what it feels like to do something wrong and He knows how it is to have any temptation there is. Jesus Christ saw your face in His mind as He suffered. He saw each of our faces, individually and separately. It wasn’t all blurred together. He suffered for each of our individual sins, pains, afflictions and temptations. In Alma 7:13 it says that the Spirit knows all things, but Christ suffered in the flesh so He would know how to succor His people. He cam empathize EXACTLY with how you’re feeling at any time your life. And He’s going to be there when we’re judged to let Heavenly Father know exactly what it was like so that we can be judged by the desires of our hearts, not just our actions. Mosiah 15:7-9 is a great scripture to read while focusing on the Atonement. I read it while the sacrament was being passed one Sunday. I loved when it says “the will of the Son being swallowed up in the will of the Father.” If you really think about that phrase, it can be pretty powerful. Jesus Christ was in immense pain. He cried out to Heavenly Father and asked Him to take it away from Him, but only if it was the Father’s will. Christ was willing to do ANYTHING for His Father. As much as He wanted it all to stop, He knew how important it was to fulfill His Father’s will. Through all the pain, He remembered what it would mean for all of us if He would finish what He had been sent to do, and so His will was swallowed up in the Father’s.
In verse 8, if you look at the footnote next to where it says “victory over death” it takes you to Hosea 13:14 which says “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.” Take some time to think about what that means to you, personally. As you think of that, Read Isaiah 53:3-5. I love the way it words this because it makes you think of all the struggles you have and all the pain that Christ has suffered for you. It makes you feel a little guilty at first, but then the last line of verse five says “With his stripes we are healed.”
Studying the Atonement is one of my favorite things to do. There’s so much in just the one subject and you can learn and gain more understanding if you take time to study all the scriptures, all the talks, everything that talks specifically about it. It’s really amazing to me that my oldest brother loved me so much that He wanted to save me from it all. There’s no way we can comprehend that, but I can feel it. The Atonement is something that everyone can use to escape from the pains of life. The pain you feel when you break your arm… It’s been felt already. The pain you feel when you fail at something you’ve tried so hard to do… It’s been experienced. The pain you feel when someone close to you dies… It’s already been endured. And the pain you feel when you sin… Done. Jesus Christ knows each of us perfectly. He knows why we do the things we do and He wants to help you through it. So let Him. Let Him take you in His arms and warm you with His love, comfort and peace. Let Him take it all away because He’s already done it for you. You don’t have to. If we can give all of our burdens, all of our pain, all our sins to Him, our lives will be so much happier. And if we can do that, we will continue to be blessed and eventually receive the greatest blessing of all: Eternal Life. Living with Heavenly Father.
I’m so grateful to my Savior for what He has done for me. I’m happy to know that I can be saved, as long as I try my best to do my Father’s will. I know I’ll never have to endure anything CLOSE to what Jesus Christ did, but I know that life is hard. Even though it’s hard, I know I’ll be alright. I know my Savior lives and I know that He loves me. I know that He has provided a way for me to get through this difficult life and make it to the end to live with Him again. I know it for myself and I know it for everyone else. This is my testimony to each of you and I know it to be true.
 
Please take some time this week to study the Atonement and find out what it means specifically for you. Then find a copy of the Book of Mormon, write your testimony in it, and give it to someone who is really struggling to keep their head up. There’s always someone who needs it. Have the courage to show them how you’ve made it through the difficult times in life. Many times, sharing your beliefs doesn’t push them away from you, whether they agree with you or not. It usually brings them closer to you.
 
I love each of you and thank you for your wonderful examples and encouragement. You’re all wonderful! Have an amazing week! 🙂
 
Love,
Sister Mayle

 

 

Week 10: Staying in Canterbury!!

Hello hello one and all!
I hope you enjoyed all the pictures! I still have a few more I want to send, but it’ll wait till next week because I don’t want to spam your inboxes with five thousand emails of pictures. 
So transfer calls came this week aaaaaaannnnd…. I’m STAYING HERE! BUT Sister Herrick is getting transferred. No, not to Brazil… Yet. But she’ll be leaving us to go somewhere else in New England. Which means: I get to FINALLY see what it’s like to be in just a companionship of TWO. That’ll be weird. Haha but I’m super excited for it! 

Also, thank you for the sweet birthday wishes. It’s weird being 20. I’m two decades old. Weird. Anyway. It was a wonderful celebration (or two or three) and the members here seem to think we need to eat cake nonstop. We had cake on Wednesday. Friday. Saturday. And Sunday. I love cake. But that was a lot. It’s all good. I’m still eating some when I get back from emailing… 😀

ANYWAY: We stayed busy BUSY this week – we taught a total of SEVENTEEN lessons. WOWEE!!! And guess how many of those were LARCs (AKA: Less-active, recent converts)? NINE. That’s kind of ridiculous but at the same time, not really. Because they’re just as important as anyone else, whether they’re a member or not. Everyone gets a chance at eternal salvation. How great is that? Pretty great, I’d say.

Keith was our first less active lesson. He’s in the Navy and is also an anesthesiologist (wow. Spelled it right on the first try!). When he gets a day off, it’s usually Sunday and he likes to use his time to “relax”. So he goes to his wife’s Catholic church right down the street from him instead of driving 20 minutes to the Concord LDS church. Our lesson with him and his wife was really really awesome. We’ve been focusing on teaching members the Doctrine of Christ (2 Nephi 31 and 3 Nephi 27) and then challenging them to write their testimonies in a Book of Mormon with a specific person in mind. Then give that Book of Mormon to that person. It’s been a lot of fun. By the way: That’s my challenge to you all this week: Read those two chapters, write your testimonies in a Book of Mormon, and proceed to give it to someone who needs the Doctrine of Christ in their life. Anyway, Keith and his wife were stoked to do this challenge, even though she’s Catholic! She still really wanted to do it! Which was pretty sweet.

Gloria is doing well, too! We went to her church (7th Day Adventist) on Saturday and the people there were all really really nice! We loved them! And the pastor did a great job with talking about Matthew 24. We loved that, too. I’m really glad I can go to other people’s churches to experience the differences. Especially since I don’t know too much about anyone else besides the LDS church. It’s quite fascinating, actually. Gloria came to church with us yesterday and she got along great with everyone there and seemed to love being there. She’s so sweet and we love teaching her. Man. The people in this area are WONDERFUL. I’m super glad I get to stay for at least another six weeks! 🙂

Sister Creed continues to amaze us. She had us over on Wednesday for dinner and to celebrate my birthday because she didn’t know if we should have a party on Sunday. It was tons of fun. She also had us over as usual yesterday. We had the best quesadillas EVER. They were like tacos, except made like quesadillas – so we had red peppers, onions, refried beans and cheese. Man. DE.LICIOUS! She spoils us way too much, but we love her for it. She also told us about some cows that they breed especially for eating grass on hills. Two of their legs are shorter than the other two so they don’t have to be at an angle. They’re called Side-Hill Cows. When they’re not on a hill and they look like they’re about to tip over, they’re called Lean Beef……. 😀

Well, sending pictures takes up a lot of time, so I don’t have too much time left. I love hearing from you all and I’m happy to know each of you! Keep writing me and keep enjoying life! Read and study the scriptures, pray and go to church. That’s how you can come to know your Savior (because He IS each individual’s Savior) and become a better person. None of us is perfect, but we all have to try our best at what gets thrown at us in order to live with Him again. You can do it!

I love you all! Have a wonderful week! 🙂

Love,
Sister Mayle

God’s Alarm (Week 9)

Hellooooo everyone!!!

I need to explain what the best alarm clock ever is. I like to call it, God’s Alarm. So imagine this as you read:
 
It’s almost time to get up, ten minutes before your alarm goes off. You’re starting to come out of sleep and can maybe hear some rain outside. You’re almost aware of the fact that you’re awake. When suddenly: FLASH! BOOM BANG CRASH!!!!! Windows are rattling and the walls are shaking!!!! Your eyes pop wide open in a second of fear! “WHOA!!!” Then you realize: BEST. Thunderstorm. EVER. 
 
That was probably the coolest way I’ve ever been woken up. It went on for about a half hour and it was SUPER loud. Especially with the window open. Colorado needs to take some lessons from the east (and also south) about how to have thunderstorms the right way. It was wicked sweet.
 
Okay. This week was pretty rough compared to some other weeks, but it was still really good. I’ve been super exhausted the last few days and for a while I thought I was coming down with something. Hopefully it’s gone now. We had more exchanges with Laconia and Bedford and they went really well. On Tuesday we met with Gloria (the sweetest little lady). We taught her about the Book of Mormon. Actually first, we asked her what she remembered from our previous lesson about the Priesthood. We’d also given her a Joseph Smith pamphlet. She brought that up and said “I read that pamphlet you gave me.” “How was it?” “Oh, it was interesting. And I’d have to say, Joseph Smith is a prophet.” Jaws hit the ground. WHAT?!?!? I don’t know what we were expecting but it sure wasn’t that! Holy COW!!! “Really?” “Well, yeah. He couldn’t have done all that stuff if he wasn’t one, right?” Oh. My. Goodness. She’s wonderful. If only everyone could come to that conclusion so easily. We did ask her to pray about it, though, to know for sure from Heavenly Father that it’s true. She readily agreed to it. After we taught about the Book of Mormon (reading paragraphs 1, 6, 8-9 of the introduction), we asked her to read and pray about it, which she agreed to and then we asked her that if she came to know that it was all true, would she be baptized? She kind of chuckled and she said that if it was all true, she would be! I can’t even express how excited we are about her. She trusts God so much and looks to Him for all the things she needs to know. I’ve learned a lot from her about how important it is to go through life with faith that God will help everything turn out alright. 🙂 
So we have a less active who is probably the best person ever. She feeds us every week and always is asking us if we’ve got everything we need. Sister Buxton’s 22nd birthday was on Friday and the less active had us over to celebrate. We had lentil soup and mashed potatoes for dinner with cake and ice cream for dessert. YUMMY!!!!! It was wonderful! 🙂 She has so much faith and strength. Her life has been hard and yet she does everything she can to help everyone around her. She’s got the Christ-like attribute of Charity DOWN. 
We met with another less active on Monday and found out why she doesn’t want to come to church – she feels unwelcome and thinks the ward is very cold. It was really sad to hear her stories of asking for a Priesthood blessing and nobody coming and her home and visiting teachers coming once or twice, then giving up on her. Even if someone didn’t seem to be progressing at all or appreciative of your visits, they’re still important.  So I ask you, PLEASE, if you have a calling in the church (especially home or visiting teaching) make sure you do it. We don’t want anyone leaving because they don’t feel loved or welcome. We teach about being Christ-like, and we need to make sure we’re doing everything we can to follow through and practice what we preach. You have no idea the impact you have on the people around you. 
We also met with Craig this week and ended up dropping him. He was frustrating. He said he was listening to us, but he most definitely was not. He tried really hard to convince us that we didn’t believe in the Bible and that everything we believed in was from Satan. Even when we told him we believe the Bible (and used scriptures from it), he was still convinced we don’t. He also thought he knew just about everything in the Book of Mormon because of some anti-literature he’d read about it. He kept saying that he didn’t think reading the Book of Mormon was worth his time because it’s not God’s word, even though he was also convinced that it wouldn’t sway his opinion or hurt him in any way. Someone please explain to me how that makes sense? Anyway, I had to try not to talk too much during that lesson so that I wouldn’t end up arguing with him. I did, however, get to bear my testimony to him. Since he’s pretty convinced that we’ve been brainwashed into thinking this is true, I sort of gave him a smackdown of how that’s not why I think it’s true. I told him something like this (which can pretty much be summed up in Alma 36:24-28): 
“It’s true that I’ve grown up in the church and that I’ve had a lot of teachers teaching me about this. I know you think that our mentors and teachers have done a pretty good job of convincing us that this is God’s church, but let me tell you something. I haven’t been brainwashed. I’ve had some experiences in my life that helped me to know for myself that this is God’s true church. My brother died. I found out the day that I started my mission that my brother had died. I was devastated. But do you know the first thing that I said after I found out? I said that I wasn’t going to wait any longer than I had to to come back on my mission. Because I KNOW without ANY doubt in my mind that it’s true. I believe. Actually, I KNOW that Joseph Smith, the Gospel, the Book of Mormon… It’s ALL true because God Himself, through His Spirit, has told me. I haven’t been brainwashed. There’s absolutely no way that I’d be able to get through anything if I didn’t know it.”
So that’s what I told him. And when I was writing about it in my journal that night and kept thinking about it, I realized something (again). His unwillingness to listen to us and to open his heart to the Spirit made me so sad. Because there is absolutely NO WAY that I can deny what I’ve come to know. That’s pretty much what he was asking us to do – to deny it all as true. I can’t do that because that means denying Christ. How can I deny the Man who saved me? The one who suffered for all of my pains, sins, afflictions, anything? I can’t. This church is true. It is Christ’s church restored on the earth again. 
 
Alright. I’m out of time. I love you all! Challenge this week: Read Alma 36 and stand as a witness of Christ – testify of Him to one person you come in contact with. 🙂
Enjoy your week!
 
Sister Mayle