Well hello family and friends!
This week was alright, again. But it’s definitely taking a turn for the better! I will be staying in Ellsworth with Sister Bickel for another transfer, I’m almost halfway done (WHAT?) and I’ve learned some AWESOME things in the last couple of days!
First off, I want to say congratulations to one of my best friends, Ashley, who will be welcoming a new addition to her family in July. That was some weird but WICKED AWESOME news to find out on this beautiful morning!
Alrighty. We had some sweet experiences this week! So on Wednesday at our district meeting, we had the zone leaders, Elder Crane and Elder Badger, and the Sister Training Leaders, Sister Sowards and Sister Cowley there. We talked about the Spirit and His role in our lives as missionaries, as well as the importance of prayer. I learned a LOT and have already seen the blessings as I’ve done my best to change my ways so I can better recognize the promptings I receive from prayers and other experiences. As long as I can keep that going, the rest of my mission (and life) will be fabulous! I absolutely love that we can receive promptings from the Spirit to guide us through life and help us to know what we need to be doing in order to improve, come closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and to become more like Them. It truly brings me greater happiness and is SUCH a blessing to be able to know what to do with my life. 🙂
At lunch, we played “the floor is lava”. Meaning, we weren’t allowed to touch the floor. So most of us just hop on the counters or chairs or tables that were around the kitchen. Elder Badger, however, jumps on the serving cart, which has wheels. He then proceeds to push himself around the kitchen and when he goes by Elder Crane, who is 6’7″, Elder Crane jumps on, too. Let me tell you. The next ten or 15 minutes were the best 10-15 minutes of my life. It was the funniest thing I’ve EVER seen. They took chairs and used them for “oars” to get around. Then they had some troubles getting over the bump when the tile switched to carpet. Then, Elder Crane bails and hops across the kitchen on a chair. BEST. LUNCH. EVER. It really was super entertaining. A couple of missionaries got videos, which won’t be posted until after they’re home, which won’t be until at least July. Soooo, you’ll have to be patient with that. Because it’s hilarious. Elder Crane and Elder Badger are the funniest companionship anyone’s ever seen. It’s terrific.
On Thursday, we taught Shizele the second half of the Plan of Salvation – all about what happens after death. Oh boy. I LOVE teaching her! She understands and she loves it and asks fabulous questions that help her to understand even more! Once we were finished, she sat and thought for a minute, then said “Well. This makes a lot of sense, and it’s really appealing. I like it.” WOOHOO!!!!! I love when they understand. The Plan of Salvation really is wonderful and I’m really really grateful to have that knowledge. I know where I came from, why I’m here on this earth and where I’m going. I love that I know that and that it’s simple and that God wants me, and all of His children to know it. That’s why I do what I do – I help teach people so they can know what God wants and needs them to know. 🙂 We also talked about baptism with her, and she is SO excited to keep learning and work towards baptism! She wants it and she wants to come to church, which is super wonderful! We hope to get her there soon. 🙂
So, we’ve been doing a lot of “heart-attacking”, meaning, we cut out paper hearts and write words of upliftment, encouragement, and words to describe the person we’re heart-attacking. We do that to our investigators, members, anyone we feel the need to bring upliftment and happiness to. 🙂 We did it to a couple of our investigators, Pat and Charlie, an older couple, and they LOVED it! You may not think of doing something like that as service, but it totally is. It brought me a lot of joy to hear the message Pat left us when she saw the hearts the next day. She was so happy and absolutely LOVED our small act of service. I don’t do service for the acknowledgement or praise, I do it because I love to see the happiness it brings to the people that I serve. I’m making it a goal when I get home to be SURE that I do some service every week, hopefully every day. I recommend it to EVERYONE! 🙂
More on service: Yesterday, Sister Bickel had a prompting to go and visit a recent convert, Kaila. We had no idea why, because we’ve never seen her on a Sunday before and we were in the middle of our studies when she told me she felt like that’s what we needed to do. Kaila is wonderful and so sweet, but she has a hard time feeling like anyone loves her. We worried about what we might find when we got to her house, but when we got there, she was okay. But her house was a mess. Her two year old daughter, Autumn, makes HUGE messes, so Kaila is constantly cleaning. When we got there, we made sure everything was okay, looked around, and finally started cleaning the house. We picked up the toys, swept the floor, cleaned the kitchen and organized the cupboard. We were there for a couple of hours and the Spirit COMPLETELY changed and brought peace and happiness to that home. When we first started cleaning, Kaila half-heartedly helped us, then she turned on some music on lds.org (GREAT music by the way), and eventually, she started to see that it wasn’t an impossible task to clean her house. By the time we left, the Spirit was strong, Kaila looked tired from cleaning, but so much happier and comforted. Autumn was happily dancing around and giving hugs and it was an amazing experience. I LOVE to serve. I love to see the joy on the people’s faces. It makes me happy, and I can only imagine how happy it makes Heavenly Father when He sees us serving each other. In this month’s Ensign, the message from President Monson (the leader and prophet of the church) focuses on service. He references Luke 9:24, which says “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.” He then said “I believe the Savior is telling us that unless we lose ourselves in service to others, there is little purpose to our own lives. Those who live only for themselves eventually shrivel up and figuratively lose their lives, while those who lose themselves in service to others grow and flourish – and in effect save their lives.” I can tell you that this is true. While service makes others happy and brings them peace and comfort to know that they are loved by someone, whether they know who it is or not, it uplifts YOU and shows you the kind of love that Heavenly Father has for each of us. Because when we serve, we are serving God. In 3 Nephi 14 (see also Matthew 7) the Savior teaches “…What man is there of you, who, if his son ask bread, will give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” From these verses, He teaches that Our Father in Heaven loves us so much that He wants to give us good things – He wants to bless us. So should we be towards our fellow men – our brothers and sisters. Family. Heavenly Father loves each one of us, and so should we. I love 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon. If you’re hesitant to read the Book of Mormon, start in 3 Nephi 11 (page 427, or go online to lds.org. The scriptures are all online) because that’s when the Savior comes after His resurrection. He teaches many of the same things that He taught in Jerusalem because He is the same yesterday, today and forever. His gospel doesn’t change and it is something that EVERYONE needs to hear. Why wouldn’t He give it, teach it to all the inhabitants of the earth? In 3 Nephi 17, the Savior is about to leave the people in the Americas until the next day, but He sees how much they want Him to stay. It says in verse 5-7: “And it came to pass that when Jesus had thus spoken, he cast his eyes round about again on the multitude, and beheld they were in tears, and did look steadfastly upon him as if they would ask him to tarry a little longer with them. And he said unto them: Behold, my bowels are filled with compassion towards you. Have ye any that are sick among you? Bring them hither. Have ye any that are lame, or blind, or halt, or maimed, or leprous, or that are withered, or that are deaf, or that are afflicted in any manner? Bring them hither and I will heal them, for I have compassion upon you; my bowels are filled with mercy.” I LOVE that. As I read these verses this morning, I sat and thought and pondered them. It amazes me, but also testifies to me that the Savior loves us, each individually. He wants to serve us – He asks them to come forward so He can heal them. He doesn’t wait for them to ask. The reason? Because He loves them and wants to serve them. Though He is the Son of God and the Savior of the World, He doesn’t think of us as less than Himself, or Himself above all of us. He thinks of us as equals. In John 15:9-15 He says: “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.”
Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the World, the Son of God and our Brother, calls us friends. He loves us and He wants us to love Him, His Father and everyone. The way to love one other, is to serve one another. I testify of this, right along with Him and with the prophets and apostles. I know, by the power of the Holy Ghost, that it’s true and that service really does bring us to love everyone. It strengthens us physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally. It helps us in every way to become better, to become like God.
I hope you all have a very wonderful and service-filled week! 😉
PS: We’re going to record the song we wrote and I’ll send it next week so you all can hear it! 🙂 Also, I have pictures of the scripture memorization program that we’re doing to memorize a scripture every day. Let me know if you want it so I can send it to you because I’m not sure who would actually like to have that. 🙂 Thank you!