Coming Home

I served for 18 months in the New Hampshire Manchester Mission. I served in Canterbury, New Hampshire for 7 months, Ellsworth, Maine for 6 months and Lebanon, New Hampshire for 6 months. So far, I can say they were the best 18 months of my life and some of the hardest, but I’ve come to the conclusion that there are better times and probably harder times to come because, in essence, those 18 months simply were the MTC for the rest of my life. Everything we do, and everything we’ve ever done is really just preparation for what is to come. The missionary training centers around the world prepare full-time missionaries for missionary work in the field. The Pre-Earth life prepared us for mortal life. This life prepares us for the next life. The Law of Moses prepared the people for Christ’s higher law. The Aaronic Priesthood is in preparation to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood, and so on. And so, I can honestly say that I know my mission has thoroughly prepared me for the rest of my life. Elder Holland once said something along the lines of “When you go on your mission, and it gets tough, you had better make sure that you have at least one convert, and that convert better be YOU.” Well, before my mission and even a few months into my mission I had a bit of a pompous attitude and thought: “That’s not me. I’m already converted. I already know this is all true!” Often times, when you start to have a prideful attitude like that, the Lord will cut you down and show you how much you have to learn and grow. And He did just that. Every week, when I emailed my family and friends, I would look back and see all the miracles, all the blessings, all the change and progress I had made simply because I was learning to listen to my Father and what His will was, not mine. I had to learn to let Him shape me into what I needed to be at that time. I had to be willing to change my attitude, my habits, my thoughts in order to even begin to fulfill my divine potential.

Here are just a few of the things that I learned throughout my mission:

I learned just how important family is to me and to Heavenly Father. That’s why it’s such an important and big part of the Church. When families are willing to work together to change themselves and help each other to become stronger and better in a kind and loving way, amazing things happen – the Spirit is more abundant in that family’s home, there is greater joy, love and happiness between them, they are closer to the Lord and more willing to do His will than they are to do their own, and there is a greater ability to teach and testify to one another. A family that is centered on the Lord can make their home, truly, a heaven on Earth.

This is my family, Christmas 2014 after I returned home.

Family 2014

A Gospel centered home is a place where we can safely learn Heaven. While being out on my mission, I recognized just how much I love my family and how much I want to be with them forever. And I know it IS possible for us to be a family for eternity. I also learned how important my future family is to me and what I can do now in preparation for them to come and be in a home where they can feel safe, loved and happy, a place of refuge, and a place for the Spirit to stay. Along with learning about family in general, I learned that people are totally right and it’s not a joke: Being a full-time missionary with a companion 24/7 is definitely a good marriage prep! There were so many times that I was so grateful I’d gone on a mission because there were things I was learning that I did NOT want to learn for the first time as a newly-wed. Communication was a big one of those. I’ve never been great at communicating what’s on my mind in the right way for people outside of my mind to understand. I’m still not great at it, but at least I think I’ve improved a small amount. I had a few companionships that gave me a glimpse of what a good marriage should be like – when you love one another enough to actually say what’s bothering you and then you still love them even after an argument, disagreement, tears shed, frustration, selfishness, and impatience. When you learn to actually say what’s on your mind, and more importantly, you learn to listen to what they’re saying and put yourself in their shoes, then you learn the lessons of patience, selflessness, charity, honesty, kindness, service and so on. You see them in their good times and their bad times, and still all you want is for them to be happy, to know that they matter, that they’re important and that what they do and say doesn’t go unnoticed by you or by the Lord. You care enough about them to want to help them understand the Gospel, to help them change and become more like the Savior, to help them see their potential and what they are capable of doing. You love them unconditionally.

Which leads me to one of the more important things I’ve learned – God’s love is real. Many times when I was contacting on the street, knocking on doors, teaching lessons to non-members, less-actives and active members, or even just preparing a lesson that I could feel God’s pure and unconditional love for each and every one of His children. These were people I’d never seen before in my life, knew absolutely nothing about. They could have been drinking, smoking, gambling, making crude remarks, just about anything and yet, I felt our Heavenly Father’s love for each of them. It always amazed me that I could feel it so strongly. But once I felt that love, I knew three things: First, Heavenly Father will never stop loving us. He will never stop trying to give us chances to change and follow Him, as long as Judgment day hasn’t happened yet. Second, these people who have made some mistakes, big or small, which is all of us, have great potential and importance in the sight of God. I NEEDED to share what I knew with them in order for them to reach that potential. And third, if what I was feeling was how the Lord felt about those people, no matter what their mistakes were, whether they were a member of the church of not, then it MUST be how He feels about me. Once I understood those three things, the love I felt from God started to become my own love for those sweet people of New England.

Because I learned how to love these people, I loved to serve them. It didn’t matter what it was – anything from working in a library, to carrying groceries, to sharing my music, to splitting and stacking wood, to pulling weeds, to shoveling snow, to repairing roller skates… No matter what it was, I found a lot of joy in service because I could see how it blessed them and I knew that it was making them happier and it was helping me to see their potential. Service softens the hearts of just about anybody, the server included. I saw that a lot as a missionary. It made them happy. It made me happy. And it made Heavenly Father happy.

I also learned, truly, what it means to have an eternal perspective. Being a returned missionary is probably one of the coolest experiences because I have learned so much about the Lord, the Gospel, and the Spirit that now, that’s how I relate to things – my English class, my friend when she talks about music therapy, even movies that I watch. I sometimes even find myself praying for the characters when they’re in distress – and they’re not even real! The best advice I received was that I needed to let my mission change me. I think the quote goes “Don’t go through your mission. Let your mission go through you.” If you allow your mission to change you, then, when you get pushed back into the world, it can continue to change you and keep you centered on the Spirit. It allows you to have an eternal perspective, meaning you understand that the choices you make have consequences, good and bad. Those consequences can reach into the life after this one. The best way to live with that perspective in mind and not be afraid you’ll do the wrong thing, not worry that you’ll be kicked out of heaven, so to speak, is that you just need to know who the Lord is, what He’s all about and what He wants you to do about it. He loves you completely and perfectly. He knows you’ll make mistakes, but that’s why we’re here – to make mistakes and learn from them so we can improve ourselves each day. Because of that love He has, He wants you to succeed and be happy. He knows us inside and out way better than we know ourselves. The way I understand that is that He knows what will make us the happiest and give us the most success. If we can learn to listen to His Spirit, His commandments and desires for us, then act on what we hear, with His will in mind and not our own, then I KNOW that it will bring us an amount of blessings and miracles in our lives that no man could ever count. I’m not saying we won’t have hard times, because those trials and tests and difficulties and times we just want to pull our hair out are there for a reason. They help us to grow, to learn, to change, to repent. They bring us closer to Heavenly Father if we let them. Being human is the hardest thing we will ever do. But I know if we learn to apply the Atonement in our lives, we CAN change. Heavenly Father knows it, I know it and I’ve seen it work in my life, in the lives of my friends, and in the lives of those I served in New England. I learned how to apply the Atonement – if we live the five steps of the Gospel of Jesus Christ  (Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost and Enduring to the End) on a daily basis and we can honestly say that we feel the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, then we are applying the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The Gospel is here to help us change, or repent. It is here to give us a way of becoming like our Father in Heaven and our Savior Jesus Christ. It IS possible to become like Them. But it takes some work, diligence, and willingness on our part.

The people of New England are pretty set in their ways and most will shut the door in your face if you bring up religion. It’s hard to find people to teach. It’s really hard to share the Gospel there, and I’m sure in many other places in the world. But it’s worth it. One of my friends sent me a quote from Elder Holland during the first few months of my mission that I thought was just a cool quote the first time, but when I reread his letter towards the end of my mission, I was amazed and inspired because I realized that I had those times. I had times where I didn’t understand why people wouldn’t want what I and 15 million people throughout the world have. I had times where I wanted to just throw my hands in the air and declare that it was their funeral. And I had times where I even questioned that what I was doing was really doing any good to anyone. Elder Holland said:

“Anyone who does any kind of missionary work will have occasion to ask, Why is this so hard? Why doesn’t it go better? Why can’t our success be more rapid? Why aren’t there more people joining the Church? It is the truth. We believe in angels. We trust in miracles. Why don’t people just flock to the font? Why isn’t the only risk in missionary work that of pneumonia from being soaking wet all day and all night in the baptismal font? You will have occasion to ask those questions. I have thought about this a great deal. I offer this as my personal feeling. I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation never was easy. We are The Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and He is our Great Eternal Head. How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? It seems to me that missionaries and mission leaders have to spend at least a few moments in Gethsemane. Missionaries and mission leaders have to take at least a step or two toward the summit of Calvary. Now, please don’t misunderstand. I’m not talking about anything anywhere near what Christ experienced. That would be presumptuous and sacrilegious. But I believe that missionaries and investigators, to come to the truth, to come to salvation, to know something of this price that has been paid, will have to pay a token of that same price. For that reason I don’t believe missionary work has ever been easy, nor that conversion is, nor that retention is, nor that continued faithfulness is. I believe it is supposed to require some effort, something from the depths of our soul. If He could come forward in the night, kneel down, fall on His face, bleed from every pore, and cry, “Abba, Father (Papa), if this cup can pass, let it pass,” then little wonder that salvation is not a whimsical or easy thing for us. If you wonder if there isn’t an easier way, you should remember you are not the first one to ask that. Someone a lot greater and a lot grander asked a long time ago if there wasn’t an easier way. The Atonement will carry the missionaries perhaps even more importantly than it will carry the investigators. When you struggle, when you are rejected, when you are spit upon and cast out and made a hiss and a byword, you are standing with the best life this world has ever known, the only pure and perfect life ever lived. You have reason to stand tall and be grateful that the Living Son of the Living God knows all about your sorrows and afflictions. The only way to salvation is through Gethsemane and on to Calvary. The only way to eternity is through Him—the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”

Christ was rejected and despised of men… People tried to find every excuse to arrest Him, persecute Him, find Him guilty of some great crime so they could kill Him. But He was perfect. He never did anything wrong in the sight of God. Well, as a returned missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a disciple of our Savior, I’m here to tell you that this IS His Church. It is His kingdom established on the Earth once more. It is set up by Him. It is run by Him. Everything about it is because of Him. Everything about life is because of Him. And how do I know this? Well, for one, because I’ve prayed and studied the scriptures to know for myself what the truth is. But I also know it’s all true because it’s hard. Because there are people trying everything they can to tear it down. People have persecuted Christ and His people from the beginning of time. While people make mistakes and aren’t perfect, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, run by Jesus Christ Himself, is perfect. It does no wrong in the sight of God. Devils can’t even deny the Christ. Satan knows this is true. He will do anything He can to get people to fall away, to reject it, to turn against it and try to turn others against it. But Satan’s power is nowhere even close to the Power of God. I know that I hold some of my Father’s power because I have a testimony and a conversion of the truth. My faith leads me to act – to do something about what I know. To apply the Atonement and CHANGE. Change is possible no matter who you are, no matter what you’ve done, no matter anything. I can do anything through Christ, who strengthens me. As Joseph Smith once said: “I know it and I know that God knows it and I cannot deny it.”  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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President and Sister Stoker on my last day in New Hampshire

Week 24: My Golden Truth

December 15, 2014

Good Morning! (Or afternoon or evening!)

Well, I just had my last week of my mission… it’s kind of crazy and a little unreal. But I am SO excited! And I’ll get into the reason why in a minute.
We got a ton of snow this week, but it was mixed with a lot of rain, too, so it’s kind of all washed away. I’m grateful to know that I can drive in the snow! And if I get stuck, I have a fantastic companion who will push me out! At least until tomorrow… Sister Crook is getting transferred to Lindon, Vermont and she’s going to be senior companion! She’s kind of nervous but she’ll be fantastic! 🙂
Here is our wonderful district. They’re awesome, and a little crazy, and I’ll definitely miss them all, but they will do wonderful things during the rest of their missions!
Here is the Arnold family. Oh my goodness, I just love them! They’re super amazing and I’ll really miss them! Sister Arnold is a ward mission leader and they feed us every week. We’ve gotten pretty close with them and they are really sad for us to leave.
It has been so hard to say good-bye to all these wonderful people here in Lebanon. We have grown close over the past few months that I’ve been here and it has been such a privilege to serve in this amazing ward! There were some tears shed and lots of hugs at church yesterday. I think the hardest part is knowing that there aren’t any sisters coming into the area again. But I’m so thankful to know these people and be able to continue to communicate with them in so many different ways! Technology is awesome that way! 🙂
Just for grins and giggles, here’s Sister Crook and I. We’re wondering how we were allowed to stay together for three transfers… Because we’re super crazy.

​And one more for grins and giggles. This is O’Rion. He’s a fantastic dog. We love him very much, as you can see by Sister Crook snuggling him! 🙂

Okay that’s enough fun for now! Haha just kidding, but I wanted to share something with all of you. When missionaries go home in the New Hampshire Manchester Mission, they share one golden truth they’ve learned on their mission. So here’s mine:
My Golden Truth that I’ve learned on mission that will change who I am forever is Moses 1:39. In that scripture, God says “For behold, this is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” I’d like to change it to: “For behold, this is our work and our glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” These eternal truths are things that everyone needs to know and because I have that knowledge, and have been learning it throughout my whole life, I now know my purpose as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and as a Daughter of my Heavenly Father: It is my responsibility, my duty, my privilege and my JOY to help the Lord bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of EVERY man – which means I’m helping others to come HOME. Because I know this, I will do EVERYTHING I can to bring as many souls to Christ as I can. I have a lot of years left in this life, and I will continue to be a full-time missionary, 24/7, every day of my life for the rest of my life. I may not be set apart as an official representative of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but because I have been baptized and because I have a testimony, I will always be a full-time member missionary. This is who I am. This is who I’m supposed to be. If I’m not focused on myself, I’m so much happier. I’ve found that when my life isn’t about me, I love it so much more!
I want to be my Father’s Daughter. I want to be like Christ – so unified with my Father that to know me is to know Him. To become one with God, you have to use your talents and gifts that He has given you. You have to magnify your callings that you receive throughout your life, wherever you are. Every time you receive a calling whether it be as a mother or father, wife or husband, daughter or son, ward music coordinator, bishop, visiting teacher, Relief Society president, Primary teacher, seminary teacher, full-time missionary… Whatever your calling is, no matter how many callings you have, whether you’re a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or not, you have that calling because that is where Heavenly Father needs you to be for that time, no matter how long or short it is. And because that’s where He needs you to be, you have to put everything into that calling that you can – use all of your time, talent and effort to consecrate it to the Lord. I want so much to bring others Home that I’m willing to give my life for it. Wherever the Lord needs me, I will go and do!
I have learned to serve and to love. I have learned the value of family. I’ve learned who my Savior and Father in Heaven are and how I can come closer to them. I’ve learned what the Gospel and Atonement of Jesus Christ truly are and why they’re important to me. Once you know these things, there’s no going back. You can’t go back to who you were before you knew it. You HAVE to keep moving forward. You can’t just stop, either. You have to keep moving. The Gospel changes you if you let it. My mission has changed me. It has made me a better person. It has shown me who I want and need to be. My mission has given me a great knowledge and vision of what I’m supposed to do throughout my whole life. I’ve come to see that there are two things besides my Savior and Heavenly Father that are the most important to me: First is my family. Being away from them and only being able to communicate through email and letters once a week and actually talking to them twice a year, I’ve come to realize how much I need to work on my relationships with them and what more I can do to be a better daughter, sister and friend, as well as what I can work on and prepare for for my future family.
The second thing that is most important to me is sharing the Gospel. The reason I’ve come so much to love the Gospel and sharing it with others is because I know how happy it makes me – without it I would be miserable and I wouldn’t be who I am today, nor do I think I’d ever become who I am today. The Gospel of Jesus Christ helps me to be better and points me towards my Savior. It frustrates me when people refuse to even listen to what this Gospel (and this Church!) is all about. It makes me sad – really, really sad, to the point of tears – when they won’t even give it a chance and they’re not open to changing themselves to come to know Christ more through His Gospel. Sometimes people think they know what we’re all about, but they didn’t take the time to go to the right sources, so all they hear are rumors and false doctrine. Even if people decided not to follow the things we teach once they’d heard it, I would still be sad, but at least they listened. At least they now have both sides to choose from and can make a fully informed decision based on truth, not rumors. All I want is for everyone to take the time to listen. But I don’t want them to do it for me, or for a loved one who is a member, or for anyone else but themselves and the Lord. I want them to sincerely want to know truth. If they don’t sincerely want to learn, there’s no point in teaching them because they can’t see why it would be good for them. They would be biased and then there’s no point in learning about it in the first place.
Elder Bednar gave a talk this last Conference that was specifically for people who are not members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He’s explaining why members of the Church try so hard to share the Gospel. If you are not a member of the Church, I encourage you to read it, because he explains very clearly the reasons why I love to share the Gospel. Even if you are a member, it’s a fantastic talk to study.
All I want is for people to be happy, and I know that the thing that will make EVERYONE the happiest is the Gospel of Jesus Christ and following His teachings as best they can throughout their lives. This is something that is for everyone – it’s not just for me or for the lady next door. It’s not just for people who need a life change. It’s not just for those who struggle. It is for every single one of God’s Children. It is for YOU. It’s never too late to start, so if you’re searching for happiness – TRUE happiness – try out the Gospel. Ask questions and search yourself, the scriptures and the Lord for the answers you’re looking for.
I’ve always had this saying that I try to live by, even more-so now that I’ve learned all these things. It goes something like this: “I want to change the world and I’m going to start by changing someone’s life because if I can help them change their life, then I’ve changed the world for them.”
Someone once told a story about a little boy who was on the beach throwing star fish into the ocean. A man went and asked him what he was doing and why. The boy replied “The tide is going out and the sun is high in the sky. If I don’t throw them back, these star fish will die.” The man told him it was hopeless, that he’d never be able to make a difference. The boy looked at him, then silently bent down, picked up a star fish and threw it into the ocean. “It made a difference for that one.”
What kind of a difference are you making in the world? What more can you do to help others find happiness and peace? What do YOU do to find happiness and peace?
So that’s my goal in life: To change the world by bringing happiness to one person at a time, which means that I’m striving to work and help my Heavenly Father and my Savior ‘bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.’ No matter what my calling and no matter where I’m at, I will always strive my best to complete the Lord’s work in the way He would have me do it.
I love this Gospel. I love the Lord. I love the work that I’ve done for the past 18 months and I would never trade it for anything because it has taught me how to be me. I love it all and I hope that someday, everyone can feel the same way as I do, or even better!
Thank you everyone for all you’ve done throughout my life, throughout my mission for me and for my family. I hope to be able to see those of you in New England again sometime in my life. And I’m excited to see everyone back home again in a few days or maybe weeks!
Love always,
Sister Mayle

Week 23: Changes and Challenges

December 9, 2014

Well hello everyone! 🙂
This week was pretty crazy. We had a ton of member meals in Lebanon, which is the Elder’s area, which means that we can’t do much finding there otherwise we call that poaching. Which MEANS, we spent a ton of time with members! We visited families, did some service, studied with people and enjoyed delicious food. It was wonderful! I’ve come to really love and cherish the members here. They love the missionaries and more importantly, they love the Lord. They want to help in any way they can to help others come unto Christ and they’re willing to make sacrifices to do it! It’s amazing to be able to SEE their testimonies, not just hear them. I really love to visit with each of them and hear the ways the Gospel has changed them and hear about their studies and what they’re working on. I love having Gospel discussions with them! Just yesterday, we visited Sister Ward. Wow. She really gets you thinking about things that don’t necessarily matter as far as our eternal salvation goes, but yet are quite fascinating. It’s like she’s Gospel oriented ALL THE TIME. We walked in and she was listening to a lecture from Yale on the New Testament. Apparently she does that often. She has discussions with her husband all the time about Gospel topics like what our bodies will be like after we’re resurrected or how we can become like God. Her example is amazing and I definitely want to be like her in the way that she seems to constantly be thinking about spiritual things and finding ways to get rid of all the negative and bad things in her life. She told us that she’s learned that she doesn’t have time for those kinds of things so she tries to avoid them as much as possible. Even that simple thought – not having time, even when you’re thinking about eternity, for negative things – got me thinking. I LOVED it and I’m still thinking about it!
We were able to do some service at a roller skating rink in Enfield, which was SUPER fun. At first, she wanted us to clean this nasty fridge that has been sitting there for who knows how long, unplugged. We started to clean it, but then realized that there may possibly be some black mold in there. Soooo, we stopped pretty quick. They’re now planning to chuck that appliance. Instead, she had us change wheels on the skates. Interestingly enough, that was quite fun! I really enjoyed that. So when we came back yesterday to do more service, I was happy when we got to do more of that. Haha! But we also painted, swept, vacuumed and hung up decorations. We had an interesting conversation with the manager, Gayl. She’s Wiccan and it was kind of fascinating to learn that she’s really not that different in her beliefs besides the fact that she’s an eclectic witch. I don’t know exactly what that means, but what I do know is that she still believes there is a God and she believes in being kind to people and doing good and serving others. She truly is a very kind hearted woman. Now, I don’t judge people based on their beliefs because first of all, that’s not my place. Second, the members of the Church of Jesus Christ have always been persecuted for what they believe, even way back in Old Testament times! So, why would I persecute someone else? It’s not right. But I will admit that whenever I heard about Wiccans or Pagans, I definitely thought that it was a strange religion. Now, I’m quite interested to know a little more about them so that I can better understand rather than sit and think they’re crazy. It’s little lessons like this that drive home the fact that no matter how many things we hear about other people, religions, beliefs, etc, you never know until you talk to the source. I’m glad that I can continue to find examples of that in my life and recognize how much I still have to learn!
On Sunday, we had dinner with the Amundsen’s. I love that family! They’re super cute and she makes DELICIOUS dinners. Definitely the kind of dinner that my mom makes for the missionaries! The best part, though, was that I got to practice with her for the duet we’ll be playing in church this next Sunday. I am SO excited for that. It’s wonderful to be able to play still as a missionary. I just love to play the piano! 🙂
Also on Sunday was the Christmas devotional! It’s AWESOME! I loved some of the points that the auxiliaries mentioned and talked about. You can watch it here:
I sure hope you take the time to watch it and remember the reason for the Christmas season! It’s truly quite wonderful! 🙂 Also, you can visit christmas.mormon.org to watch a short video about Christmas and learn how Christ is the Gift! #SharetheGift
Some challenges that we came across this week: Well, first of all, on Saturday, we found out that our area is being closed. There won’t be any sisters in Lebanon for a little while because there just aren’t enough missionaries to let every area have two sets anymore. There’s a total of 10 areas being closed throughout the mission and since there are 18 sisters going home next week, and none coming in, there are more sisters areas getting closed than elders. It’s really sad, even if I am going home and would’ve been leaving anyway because the ward is so upset. There are quite a few sisters who can’t have the elder’s over because they’re not married, their husbands are usually not home, or things like that. Plus, now it’s a GINORMOUS area that the elders have to cover, so I’m afraid some people are going to fall through the cracks. And that, everyone, is what home and visiting teaching is for – to make sure that everyone knows that they’re loved, watched out for, cared far and wanted. The missionaries can’t do that job since we’re always changing and there’s always the possibility like this of us being pulled out. The members who live here HAVE to be the ones to make the connections and show the love of God to their fellow brothers and sisters. Not only is it a commandment for us to love God and our neighbors, but as you learn and live the Gospel principles, you come to WANT to love those around you and serve the people that you come in contact with. I have a HUGE testimony of visiting teaching since being out on a mission. I know how much it really does for people – I’ve SEEN what happens when it doesn’t happen and I’ve seen what happens when it does. There are some pretty drastic outcomes when it doesn’t get done. Because of my testimony of this, I am SO excited to do visiting teaching when I get home – I already love those people that I know I’ll visit SO much, and I don’t even know who they are yet! THAT is the miracle of God’s love that can change your life forever. If you can feel God’s love, even just once for someone, you can feel it all the time for anyone in the world. Charity is the pure love of Christ. It’s the only thing that never fails, and truly, it brings us to know the true nature of God even more when we can have charity for others. 🙂
Another challenge has been snow. Actually, that’s mostly just today. The ride that Sister Crook and Sister Keown had for the temple today decided not to go because of the storm that had been predicted. Which means they’re not going at all this transfer. Sister Crook was really sad about that, mostly because her hopes got dashed twice in a row. I hope she gets to go soon!
My studies almost all this week were fabulous. I really loved being able to learn and find ways to apply, but sometimes, it wasn’t always for my mission. I was learning things that I can apply when I get back home. Which is great, but I still have a week! So I wrote a list of things to do when I get home down so that it won’t be distracting this week. Yay! Most of the amazing things I learned this week came from my Book of Mormon studies. I’ve been reading through the Book of Mormon and highlighting any name that refers to a member of the Godhead (Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ or the Holy Ghost/Spirit) in pink and anything about the Atonement in blue. In the Book of Mosiah, chapters three and four are basically a “How To…” guide for applying the Atonement. In order to apply the Atonement, we need to be striving to live the steps of the Gospel – Faith, Repentance and Baptism/Sacrament. If we do those three things continually, we are promised that we’ll have the Spirit with us always, which means something else we need to do in order to fully utilize the Atonement in our lives is to listen to the Spirit and yield to Him. If we don’t do that, then we’re essentially rejecting the gift of the healing power of the Atonement that’s right in front of us when we worked so hard to have it placed in front of us in the first place. In order to yield to the Spirit and accept the gift of the Atonement, we need to be humble and become as a child – humble, patient, meek, submissive, full of love – because without those qualities, we’ll never realize that the power of the Atonement comes BECAUSE of the love of God for all of His Children. Along with that, we need to trust in the Lord and His timing, which means we need to be diligent in keep His commandments, otherwise, are we really showing faith and trust in His timing if we’re impatient and wishing relief would come NOW? We have to REMEMBER who God is and all that He has done and will do for us if we’re willing to let EVERYTHING be in His hands at all times. Of course, what always follows when Heavenly Father or the Savior command us to do something? Promised blessings! Here are some promised blessings of applying the Atonement and allowing it to change who we are: we receive forgiveness and a remission of our sins, our hearts are purified and we are filled with joy and a peace of conscience. We receive salvation where we can always rejoice, be filled with the love of God and continually grow in the knowledge of the glory of Him who created us and the knowledge of that which is just and true. We will be blessed with the desire to live peaceably as well as the desire to teach and share the Gospel – AKA what we know to be true! We will be blessed with the desire to serve, love and succor those that we come in contact with.
My oh my, those promised blessings sound mighty delicious to me! I testify to you from the very bottom of my heart that those blessings truly are sure if we can learn to apply and live the Atonement in our own lives. I know it because as I’ve learned to change and use the Atonement to help me get to where I am today, I’ve received so many of these wonderful blessings and miracles! The last ones that I listed, about being blessed with desires, are absolutely just wonderful and amazing. The more I use the Atonement and have my testimony of the truth of it and other parts of the Gospel strengthened, the more that I want to share it with others, help them to feel God’s love and know that it’s possible for them and everyone to change and become who Heavenly Father can see us becoming. I have such a desire to serve and love and succor those around me. I want to live peaceably and just bask in the love of God all the time! But I don’t want to do it alone – I want everyone to know the truths so that they can feel these joys as well. That’s why I’m sad to leave my calling as a full-time missionary next week. I’ve learned so much about serving and loving others. I am so sad to go back to normal life where I won’t have all day to spend serving and teaching others about Jesus Christ. But I am SO happy to have learned these things because now, it will drive me to MAKE time to do what’s truly important to me. I’ve learned what’s important – I know now better than ever what my priorities are. I HAVE to share the Gospel and there are so many different ways to do it – service, love, testimony, my example, etc, etc. And I can’t wait to do it every day for the rest of my life. A mission really is the “best two years” (eighteen months). I have a stronger testimony of who my Father in Heaven is, who Jesus Christ is. I know better than ever what my purpose is. I have a testimony that God lives, that He loves each one of us, and because of that, He has blessed us with prophets to direct the world today. He has blessed us with more scriptures to continually teach us and testify of His Son, Jesus Christ. He has given us commandments and covenants that bless our lives so immensely that we can’t even recognize all the blessings we’ve been given. One of my favorite quotes: We aren’t obedient because we are blind, we’re obedient because we can see! I love it because it’s true. I love to be obedient because I know obedience is how I will improve and become who I know I need to be – a wonderful and divine Daughter of God.
I invite each of you to find out for yourself these things – what’s true and what’s not, how to apply the Atonement, who God is, who YOU are, what your purpose is, etc. I know that as you find the answers to these things through prayer, scripture study, and applying the principles you see there, you WILL come to know of a surety these things I’ve testified of. You WILL be able to better know your Father in Heaven and your Savior and Brother, Jesus Christ. Your life will be happier and you will find greater joy today, tomorrow and forever. I’m not saying tough times won’t come, but you’ll have a better understanding of why they do come and you’ll be able to get through whatever comes your way BECAUSE of what you know. I know that and I am SO grateful for it. Life is hard, but everything is worth it. 🙂
Have a fantastic week! 🙂
Love,
Sister Mayle

Week 21: Prayers and Gratitude

November 24, 2014

Well hello everyone!

Before I forget, here’s some things I need to remember to tell you: Next week, we’ll have P-Day on Tuesday because Sister Crook and a sister serving in the Hanover ward will be going to the temple. I’ll be with Sister Harper for that day since we’ve both already gone in the last six months. Also, keep those inspiring emails coming! I’ve only got a few more weeks left and I’ve loved the ones I’ve received so far, so keep them coming!
1:Your testimony
2: What you’ve been studying
3: Missionary experiences
4: Your favorite scripture and why
Another thing: I’m sorry that at least some of you couldn’t see the pictures I sent last week! I’ll resend them… if I have time and hope it works this time. If not, someone let me know again so I can try to figure it out. 🙂
I feel like there was something else…OH! Also, here’s a wonderful website to visit:christmas.mormon.org that has a great video about Christmas on it. It’s called “He Is the Gift”. The video won’t be up for another couple of days, but it’ll be there soon. The church bought the banner thing to advertise it on YouTube on December 7th, so it’s kind of a big thing! Remember that Christ is the reason we have Christmas, so keep the Spirit with you always as you think of the upcoming holidays. 🙂
Alrighty. Well. I had some great things to share with you (still do), but I accidentally forgot my notebook with all my notes in it at the apartment… So hopefully I can remember everything I wanted to share! Otherwise, you might just get it next week. 🙂
First of all, here’s the fun stuff:
We had dinner at the Shelton’s last night. They call it a fun dinner – 

This pretty much means that you get random utensils and bowls and cups to eat with/off of/out of. So I got a pair of tongs to eat with, which was great until I got to the rice and vegetables. And Sister Crook had a ladle to eat with, which was fun to watch her eat the chicken (you don’t get a knife to cut it up. Just whatever you’re given!). Some of them had a flipperdoodle thing (what you flip stuff with… a spatula might be the correct term) and some had wooden spoons. It was great and TONS of fun! Definitely a tradition I’d like to have in my family. Haha!
On Saturday night, we went down to Concord for the evening session of Stake Conference. The meeting was fantastic, but I’ll get to that later. After the meeting, I saw a few people from the Canterbury ward, but then I saw someone that I’m pretty sure caused me to shriek from excitement. Sorry it’s sideways. Sometimes I’m technologically challenged.

This is Cheryl Bastarache. I haven’t seen her since I left in January. She got baptized in July and I was SO SO SO happy to see her again!!!!!! She was excited to see me, too! Oh, she’s doing so well! And she has a calling. And she’s doing missionary work. And she’s just awesome! 🙂
Last Tuesday, we went to visit the Barlow’s. Their little daughter, Emery is the CUTEST. She’s about 2, I think and gives the BEST hugs. Here, we had a tea party with her! She kept putting it all in my cup so the whole saucer was overflowing onto the table. It was great fun! 🙂

​Oh, I just love little children! They see the world in a way that’s sometimes so difficult once you’ve been tainted by its opinions and everything. This is why Christ commanded us to become as a little child. They’re so simple minded, loving, caring, humble, meek, and wonderful! 🙂

Alright. So I think that’s pretty much the fun stuff I wanted to share for this week. On to the also wonderful yet more spiritual side of things! 🙂
As I said, we had Stake Conference this weekend and it was absolutely wonderful! On Saturday night, it was basically all about missionary work. We heard from a recently returned missionary and we heard from a lot of people who are converts and we also heard from our wonderful mission president, President Stoker! So the people who are converts were basically just sharing their conversion stories and testimonies. It was amazing to see how much their previous beliefs and lives had prepared them for being ready to receive the fullness of the Gospel in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Most who spoke, funnily enough, had previously been Catholic. President Stoker, though he didn’t share his conversion story said he was a Southern Baptist before he joined the Church. One woman, as she told her story, referred to the term “Jack Mormon”. It’s a term applied to those who only live the principles and standards of the Church when it’s convenient for them. The next woman who spoke said after telling the beginning of her story, “Well, I guess I was a Jack Catholic”. Hahaha! It was great. Anyway, I really just loved how all of them spoke about how their basic foundations on Christ, whether they were active in their churches before or not, prepared them to receive the Gospel. That was just wonderful to me! The more I hear about other faiths, the more I know that there is truth to them, but the more I also know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has the fullness of the Gospel and the authority necessary to perform required ordinances (sacred acts, like baptism) to receive eternal life. I’m so grateful for that knowledge and it truly brings me a lot of joy, which is why all I want to do is share what I know with others. I never want to force anyone to do anything, but if they (you) will just listen to what I and others have to say about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and if you listen to the Spirit, what Heavenly Father Himself is telling you about the words we’re saying, I KNOW that, if your heart and mind are open to it and you’re ready to receive His words specifically for you, you WILL come to know the truths in the scriptures, in the words of Christ’s disciples, and the truths that are being taught wherever you go. If it’s truth, Heavenly Father will let you know. You just have to open yourself to it all.
In light of the upcoming holiday of Thanksgiving, I also wanted to share some thoughts about gratitude. Last week in district meeting, this was the topic we discussed. The biggest thing that I learned about it was that gratitude opens the doorway to becoming like Christ. If you’re grateful, then you recognize the many blessings that you have and you also recognize where they come from. This brings you to be truly humble. If you’re grateful, you can see the joy that serving others and giving what you have brings to them and to yourself. This teaches you to serve. If you’re grateful, you can see the good in others and you come to love them. It teaches you charity. If you’re grateful, you know who God is and where your blessings come from. This is faith. If you’re grateful, you don’t expect more, but you recognize that the blessings will keep coming if you continue to have gratitude in your heart. This teaches you to hope. If you’re grateful, you recognize that the blessings you receive have come through your being obedient to God’s commandments. It shows you diligence and obedience. If you’re grateful, you know all these things and where the source of it all is. This is knowledge.
I may not have worded this very eloquently or understandably, but I do know that have an attitude of gratitude helps us all to see the greater picture. It truly helps us to love unconditionally and charity, the pure love of Christ, is what we all need to be successful wherever we are in life.
My challenge to you this week is to have an attitude of gratitude. Regularly write down what you’re grateful for and the blessings and miracles that you see each day. At least twice this week, have a grateful prayer – everything you say in those prayers are simply thanking Heavenly Father. Don’t ask for anything. Just simply thank Him. And be specific. It’s great to be thankful, but if you’re not specific, it’s hard to see what you truly are grateful for. I know as you do this, you will receive more of Christ’s image in your countenance. You will find great joy in your life and you will have a greater desire to serve your Father in Heaven by serving others. There’s nothing that brings me greater joy in this life than that. 🙂
Happy Thanksgiving!!!!
Love,
Sister Mayle

Week 19: Come Unto Him

November 10, 2014

Well hello!
It seems like we didn’t do much this week, but we actually did quite a bit! We had a media blitz and visited a lot of members, which is great because that meant we weren’t tracting every day! Unfortunately, though, we weren’t able to meet with any of our investigators (not for lack of trying though!).
So this media blitz was pretty awesome. We were able to help out five members – we cleaned dishes, baked cookies, ironed some clothes, made some Brazilian food, and did an impromptu Family Home Evening. It was super fun and I LOVED getting to know more of the members! This ward is absolutely fantastic and I am SO glad to be staying here for the rest of my mission. YAY!
We also baked some cupcakes one night this week when it was after 8:00 and we didn’t have anything to do, or miles to go anywhere (welcome to the dark hours of winter in New England where people think 6:00pm is late and everyone goes to bed as soon as the sun goes down before 5 and we live in an unlighted area where we aren’t comfortable walking around in the dark) and delivered them to members with the super cheesy saying: “Adam fell that men might be and men are that they might have joy. (2 Nephi 2:25) Your family brings us joy, so we thought we’d bring you some joy. Here’s some cupcakes!” Yup. Super cheesy, and probably a total sister thing to do, but they loved it.
Anyway. It was a great week. I also realized that I never said ANYTHING about Zone Conference a couple weeks ago! It was great and all about the Book of Mormon again! I loved every bit of it! We learned more about how to sort of combat questions using the Book of Mormon (why do I have to go to church? Do children need to be baptized? Why do I need to be baptized in your church if I was already baptized in mine? etc, etc.) It was SUPER fascinating and made me want to work even more on getting better at that. I just LOVE that really, any question can be answered using the Book of Mormon. It’s quite wonderful and I love it all! We also go to watch Meet The Mormons – it’s an awesome movie about six people around the world who have different lifestyles and occupations who are all mormon and they tell their story. It’s SWEET and I highly recommend that you all go see it if it’s still in theaters. If not, hopefully it’ll be on Netflix or something because it’s definitely a good movie!
Here’s a gentle reminder of my request! I received some great emails this week with experiences, testimonies, thoughts and scriptures. I thank you for those! They were definitely what I was looking for! 🙂
I don’t care if it’s mail or email, but my request for the next five weeks, is for at least a few of you on a weekly basis to share one or more of these things with me:
1:Your testimony
2: What you’ve been studying
3: Missionary experiences
4: Your favorite scripture and why
Because I want at least a few every week, this doesn’t mean you have to write every week. It just means I want a couple of you (out of 58) to write at least once within the next five weeks.
Now, why am I doing this? For a purely selfish reason: I go home in 5 weeks, and I would like some boosters every time I read my emails or look in the mailbox to keep me going strong until I finish. Like in a race, everyone stands at the end and cheers the runner on the last little while. Same thing. But I have a restriction: Don’t tell me how excited you are for me to come home or anything like that. Just talk about the Gospel, Christ, missionary work, etc. I have to stay focused for this short amount of time I have left and I need your help to do it! Thanks so much! 🙂
Some of these emails I got just blew me away. They testified of how much the Gospel truly blesses our lives and changes us if we let it. There are five steps of the Gospel – Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End. While they’re all equally important, I think that faith and repentance are first because they’re really what get everything started. Faith is an action word. It’s a strong enough belief in something that drives you to act on that belief. If you have faith in Christ, it means you believe in Him enough to do as He did and strive to become like Him. As the desire to act on your belief grows enough to make you act, repentance comes next. The action that faith drives you to is change – to become like Christ. In order to be like Him, we have to take away everything in our lives that is not like Him. We have to change ourselves and be willing to turn away from our selfish desires and turn towards Christ. The definition of repentance is change, turning towards God, away from sin. Without that change, we can’t be made clean – without repenting, changing, turning towards God, we’re not using the Atonement. My mom wrote to me about Moroni 10 and the last half of the chapter. The entire chapter is amazing and I recommend it all (I mean, I recommend the whole Book of Mormon, too – https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/moro/10?lang=eng ), but the last half is basically the entire point of the Book of Mormon – it’s an invitation to come unto Christ, to accept Him in your life, let Him change you, and become like him. Now can you see why I love it so much? As I’ve exercised the Atonement in my life, as I’ve studied the scriptures, the word of God, as I’ve applied the teachings of Christ in my own life, I’ve felt myself change. It’s hard. It’s painful sometimes. It’s not always pleasant. But the more that I’ve turned to Him, and done my best to repent, a desire has filled me to the point where I feel so much peace and joy that I can’t seem to keep it in. That desire is to change and be like Him. Before I understood the Gospel and really tried to apply it in my life, I didn’t have a strong desire to change my ways. I’ve always wanted to be like Christ and Heavenly Father. I’ve always loved the Gospel. But I never realized just how much I needed to do my part before Heavenly Father would do His. You can’t just change on a whim. You can’t just say “I’d like to change” and be changed. You have to work. You have to exercise your faith. You have to start. My focus in my studies this week was repentance and humility. The more I’ve realized how much I really need my Savior and how much I won’t progress if I’m not willing to change little by little, the more I’ve come to see that Heavenly Father loves me no matter what I do. There’s a quote I love, but I don’t know who it’s by. It says: “Heavenly Father doesn’t care how fast you move on the path to eternal life. All He cares about, is that you’re moving towards Him.” This came to be more real to me this week as I recognized the little baby steps I’ve taken to change my desires, who I am and who I want to be. And while my steps are baby steps,  when I look back on how much I’ve changed in just realizing these simple and small things in just one week, boy does it feel like I’ve taken giant leaps. The Lord truly helps us along the way. He loves us all. He knows us completely and perfectly. I know it. I’ve felt it and I hope that each of you can come to know and feel it, too.
This music video was the youth theme last year, and I believe it still is for this year, too. I LOVE it. Watch it once because the video is fantastic and shows the different ways we can use the Atonement, the different ways we can come unto Christ. But then play it again, only this time, just listen. Close your eyes and focus on the words. If you just do that, I can promise you that you WILL feel the Spirit. You will feel Heavenly Father’s love for you. And you will know that it IS possible to change if you are willing to come unto Christ. I know what the Gospel, what Christ can do for me. I know what He already has done. And I will be forever grateful to Him for that. I hope to never forget what I’ve learned, because it’s changed who I am… forever.

32 Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.

 33 And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.

(Moroni 10:32-33)

http://www.mormonchannel.org/youth-theme-2013?v=3358025312001

Love always,
Sister Mayle

Week 18: Transfers and Eternal Truths!

November 3, 2014
Hey hey everyone!

Good news about transfers and kind of surprising, too: I will be dying in Lebanon! This will be my fourth transfer here and my third transfer with Sister Crook. YAY! I think the entire ward was praying for it. There’s too many exciting things going on. 🙂 It’s strange to think I’m on my last transfer.
ANYWAY. Something else that’s exciting today: It’s been 13 years ago today that I got baptized. I realized that this morning and it was pretty cool. Crazy how time flies! 🙂
Here’s a gentle reminder of my request! Please help me out here! A few of you have already done it. You know who you are! 😉
I don’t care if it’s mail or email, but my request for the next six weeks, is for at least a few of you on a weekly basis to share one or more of these things with me:
1:Your testimony
2: What you’ve been studying
3: Missionary experiences
4: Your favorite scripture and why
Because I want at least a few every week, this doesn’t mean you have to write every week. It just means I want a couple of you (out of 58) to write at least once within the next six weeks (starting this week, November 3).
Now, why am I doing this? For a purely selfish reason: I go home in 6 weeks, and I would like some boosters every time I read my emails or look in the mailbox to keep me going strong until I finish. Like in a race, everyone stands at the end and cheers the runner on the last little while. Same thing. But I have a restriction: Don’t tell me how excited you are for me to come home or anything like that. Just talk about the Gospel, Christ, missionary work, etc. I have to stay focused for this short amount of time I have left and I need your help to do it! You’re all great and I hope you choose to help me out here. 🙂
Wow. A lot happened this week. Good and bad. Frustrating and wonderful!
I’ll start with the bad and frustrating so we can end on a good note!
On Tuesday, we had a lesson with Roland and Anne. They were nice enough, but they are very set in their ways and not interested in changing basically AT ALL. So it was a rather frustrating lesson. It’s really hard to teach people who say they’re open but really are not. We also were pretty uncomfortable almost the entire time we were there. After praying and thinking and talking about it all week, we finally decided not to go back at all. We’d set up an appointment for this Tuesday, but we just didn’t feel good about going back. We were uncomfortable while we were there and we were rather creeped out by the place and the people. So yesterday, we called and told them that we didn’t see any purpose in visiting them if they were so set in their religion. We did encourage them to keep reading scripture and continue strengthening their faith. That was quite an interesting experience. But I’m thankful that Heavenly Father lets us know when we need to stay away from certain places. He really does watch out for His children, as long as we’re willing to hear what He’s telling us!
On Wednesday, we saw Dody. We had a fantastic discussion about the Plan of Salvation. It was a rather long one, too, and pretty in depth with all the questions he was asking. He seemed very interested and happy to discuss things. Sister Crook and I felt really good about the lesson when we left. But about 10 minutes down the road, he called us and told us that he wasn’t interested in meeting with us anymore. Sister Crook took that really hard. It was the first time she’s experienced someone dropping us and it was definitely not expected. I was really sad, too. As much as I don’t enjoy having people reject the Gospel because I know how much it will help them and bless them in their lives, I’m so grateful for the experiences because it helps me to recognize how much I have felt Heavenly Father’s love for these people. It never ceases to amaze me how much He loves these people, and if He loves them that much, He has to love me just as much. And THAT is mind blowing. I think that along with feeling the Spirit, feeling Heavenly Father’s love is the best feeling in the universe! 🙂
We’ve had a lot of rain, still, but no snow quite yet. It’s tried, but hasn’t happened. It’s cooling down a lot though – I brought out the winter coat and tights this week! With the time change, it’s already dark by 4:30… Not sure I’m a fan of THAT. And today, I pulled out all my thick socks in preparation for boots. I hope it comes soon because I really love it! Although, this area will be RIDICULOUS to drive in. We drive on so many back roads that we’d need increased mileage during the winter to stay safe while driving, or at least to keep ourselves from getting stuck! We even drive on some roads that are closed in the winter.That’s how far out in the boonies our area is. I love it!
Yesterday was another great experience at church! First of all, it was Fast Sunday again. The past few months have had marvelous testimony meetings! I’ve enjoyed every one of them since getting to Lebanon! But one brother, Brother Chacone, got up to bear his testimony and I LOVED what he said! As you all probably well know, I just love truth. Because truth is truth and it doesn’t change! Brother Chacone was talking about eternal truths (like God is our loving Heavenly Father, Christ died for us, the Book of Mormon is the word of God, the Church of Jesus Christ is the Lord’s kingdom on the earth, etc, etc.). He made the point that those are eternal truths. They will never change. And it doesn’t matter if we believe it or not. It’s truth no matter who believes it. And it reminded me of President Uchtdorf’s talk about being the Lord’s disciples. He said something like “God does not need us to love Him or worship Him. He will still be God whether we acknowledge Him or not! But OH! How WE need to love Him.” And it’s true! We need God. Truly, we do. I know that my life would be completely different without Him, and if I didn’t have the Gospel, or God, I would be most likely a very sad and depressed and lost individual. I would feel no purpose to life and THAT is not a good feeling. Without purpose, it’s difficult to do anything. And God, my Father in Heaven, gives me purpose.
The closing hymn for sacrament meeting was number 134: “I Believe In Christ”. It’s always a good one, but I tend to overlook it because it’s so popular. That could be one reason why it spoke to me yesterday. Here’s some of the lyrics that really stood out to me:
“I believe in Christ; he is my King! With all my heart to him I’ll sing.
I believe in Christ; he is God’s Son.
I believe in Christ – my Lord, my God! My feet he plants on Gospel sod. I’ll worship him with all my might; He is the source of truth and light.
I believe in Christ; he ransoms me. From Satan’s grasp he sets me free, And I shall live with joy and love in his eternal courts above.
I believe in Christ; he stands supreme!
And while I strive through grief and pain, His voice is heard: “Ye shall obtain.”
I believe in Christ; so come what may. With him I’ll stand in that great day…”
I love the whole song, and that’s practically all the lyrics, but those are the ones that just really were clear to me. And it’s exactly how I feel. I Do believe in Christ. I know who He is and I know what He can do for me. Do you? What more can you do to find Him in your life and truly come to know Him as He knows you?
Here are some of my suggestions: Pray. Read the Scriptures. Go to church. Talk with others who know Him. STUDY. Be sure to take time out of every day to learn about Him, His word, and what you can do to be like Him. That’s my purpose in life – to become like the Savior, like my Father. That’s a goal I’ll be working towards for all my life and even beyond. I know that if I keep striving for it, if I continue strengthening my relationship with Christ and my Father and learning more and more of what I can to improve and be better than I was yesterday, I’ll be able to reach that goal. I will be made perfect, like my Father, like my Savior and Brother. I know it’s possible for me if I continue on the path I’m on now. Is it possible for you if you were to continue going how you’re going?
Another suggestion, which actually came up in Relief Society yesterday. The lesson was on Gifts of the Spirit. I LOVE studying about those.
(Here’s a link to where you can learn more about them and study them! https://www.lds.org/manual/gospel-principles/chapter-22-the-gifts-of-the-spirit?lang=eng )
The Gifts of the Spirit are truly amazing. I’m so thankful that Heavenly Father blesses each of us with at least one of these gifts. One of the main points of the lesson in Relief Society was: “How does the Lord speak to me?” He gives us gifts to help us bless others, but also to help us know when He’s speaking to us. We all have different talents and gifts, which means we all hear the Lord a little differently than the person next to us. A suggestion that Sister Gunnell made as she taught was that we ask the Lord to show us all the ways He speaks to you and then… PAY ATTENTION. Write down when He speaks to you and how. If you pray and ask this question in faith and sincerity, you WILL be able to find the answer, as long as you’re paying attention.
I know that everything we’re given in this life, especially our talents and gifts, come from Heavenly Father. He really does want us to be happy. He’s sad when we are and He’s happy when we are. He expects us to use what we’re given to help ourselves and others to be happier. If we don’t use them, they will be taken away.
I’m so thankful to know the way the Lord works in my life. I’ve found, little by little and with a TON of work, at least one way that He speaks to me. I’ve learned so much about Him and who I am and can become. I’ve learned a lot about what makes me happy, what I want in life and how it relates so perfectly to what the Lord wants. I had a friend write to me last year and tell me an experience she had – she said that the Lord had counseled her to keep her body healthy by watching what she puts into it. She found that the reason for it was to keep herself spiritually strong because your physical and spiritual bodies directly relate to each other. The counsel she received, she said, was simply Heavenly Father letting her know what would make her happiest. The more that I find out what Heavenly Father wants me to do, the more I realize that it’s because those are the things that bring me the greatest joy. I know that if I ignore His counsel, my life will spiral downward and I will go farther and farther away from Him. But if I heed His counsel, I will continue to grow closer to Him, and one day, achieve our goal of becoming like Him.
I’m so thankful for this knowledge and I’m thankful for the eternal truths I know, and even the ones I don’t! I’m happy to be a disciple of Christ and I’m so grateful to be serving Him day and night. This is HIS work and I’m so happy to have dedicated this time completely to Him! I hope to be able to dedicate my whole life, even when I have a family and am going to school, to Him.
Have a fantastic week, keep studying and keep close to the Lord! 🙂
Love,
Sister Mayle

 

Week 17: My Request and Revelation

October 27, 2014

Hey everyone!

My week has been pretty great, so I hope everyone else’s has, too! 🙂
First off, before I forget. I have one request from everyone, that I hope you choose not to ignore. I didn’t get a lot of testimonies for my birthday (basically only 1 or 2 out of 53 email recipients…) but that’s okay! However, this time, I think it’s more important. Which means, I don’t care if it’s mail or email, but my request for the next six weeks, is for at least a few of you on a weekly basis to share one or more of these things with me:
1:Your testimony
2: What you’ve been studying
3: Missionary experiences
4: Your favorite scripture and why
Because I want at least a few every week, this doesn’t mean you have to write every week. It just means I want a couple of you (out of 54) to write at least once within the next six weeks (starting next week, November 3).
Now, why am I doing this? For a purely selfish reason: I go home in 7 weeks, and I would like some boosters every time I read my emails or look in the mailbox to keep me going strong until I finish. Like in a race, everyone stands at the end and cheers the runner on the last little while. Same thing. But I have a restriction: Don’t tell me how excited you are for me to come home or anything like that. Just talk about the Gospel, Christ, missionary work, etc. I have to stay focused for this short amount of time I have left and I need your help to do it! You’re all great and I hope you choose to help me out here. 🙂
Hahaha! Also, I’ve tainted Sister Crook. She’s becoming like me – the more she does things that I do, the more she freaks out and says something like “Oh my goodness Sister Mayle! Look what you’ve done to me!” It just makes me laugh and encourage the behavior. 😀
Alright. On to sharing about me week. YAY! First of all: I love rain. But when you have a week straight of it and having to walk around all day in it, it’s a little discouraging. I had a few days where I wasn’t sure I wanted to leave the apartment because it was so wet outside. Thankfully, I still did go out and because I chose to be obedient (not that I was thinking to be disobedient), we found…. FIVE NEW INVESTIGATORS! YIPPEE!!!!!! WEEKS of walking, tracting, and talking to so many people finally paid off. We were getting disappointed on a daily basis with nobody being interested, numbers being zeroes constantly, and doing nothing but trying to find people to teach. But now, we’ve got investigators that will keep us busy enough that we don’t have to knock on doors or walk around the streets all day. We’ll only have to do it for half the week now! 😉 Haha I do love meeting new people, but I love teaching and sharing my testimony and watching the change in people as the come to know truth and come to know who God is. The happiness that overcomes them as they learn more and more is wonderful and I love it so much that I’d much rather teach all day than talk to random strangers who aren’t interested all day.
One example of that beautiful change is Sister Lyon. She’s a less-active woman who is so wonderful and sweet. I didn’t know what to think of her when I first met her because she was quiet and didn’t seem to want us to come and visit her. A few weeks ago, we asked Sister Arnold if she would invite her over one day for dinner while we were there so we could share a message with her. She happily agreed. Since then, we’ve met with her there three or four times. And she has changed quite a bit. It may not seem like a huge change, but wow. I can see it. And I have no doubt that it’s because I’ve come to be able to see her the way Heavenly Father sees her. She is beautiful, and quiet, but she is happier, she is closer to the Lord and she has come to see so many blessings from involving Him a lot more in her life. Her son, who is not a member and hasn’t quite made the best choices in his life, came to church with her yesterday after much prayer on her part. Bishop Jones pulled us out of third hour with him standing there and introduced us, saying that he wanted to learn about the Gospel and find a way to apply the Atonement in his life. Again, I have no doubt that it’s because of the way our Heavenly Father loves His children and listens to our prayers. Sister Lyon has to be even more happy to hear the choice her son has made! I know I’M happy about it because it means that one more soul is searching for a way to happiness, a way back into the fold of God! 🙂
At church yesterday, I had the opportunity to play a piano solo, arrangement of “Master, the Tempest is Raging.” It’s a beautiful arrangement that I’ve played plenty of times before. I always get nervous before a performance no matter where it’s at because I worry about what other people will think and if they’ll notice any mistakes I might make. As always, I said a quick prayer before starting because that shouldn’t be my focus – I have to quit worrying and think only about the gift Heavenly Father has given me to share my testimony and bring the Spirit to those listening. I stopped shaking when I first started playing, but as I got further into the piece, I started worrying again about what people were thinking, especially since there are a lot of musical people in this ward who know a lot more about music than the average person. That fact just made me more nervous and the more I worried, the less satisfied I was with how I was playing the music. I finished the piece and sat down again, thinking how many mistakes I made and that I could have done much better, almost wishing I could go back in time and try again. But the more I thought on it, the more I realized something: I didn’t trust enough in the Lord. Everything He has given me, especially my talents, aren’t mine at all. They’re His. So when I’m thinking so much about how people will think of me based on my talent, I’m not recognizing that it isn’t actually my talent. I’m not being humble, nor am I putting faith in God that He will give me strength to accomplish His purposes. As I said a few weeks ago, I feel that the music I play is the best way that I can share my testimony. But just as it is with speaking, I can’t bear my testimony completely and fully with the Spirit if I’m not relying on Heavenly Father to give me what I need to do His work. The more I thought about THAT, the more I was reminded of Elder Lynn G. Robbins’ talk from Conference a few weeks ago: “Which Way Do You Face?” with the central message being: “Are you more worried about what the Lord thinks, or are you too focused on what the world thinks?” All too often, I find myself worrying too much about the world and how people see me and what they think of me. I’m afraid to do or say things because I’m not sure what people’s reactions will be and I don’t want anyone to hate me. But what I really need to do, is not care what anyone’s opinion of me is. As long as I do the Lord’s work and try my best to accomplish His will, His approval is all I need to keep going. And that will be my lifelong struggle. But the more I learn of the Gospel, the Atonement, my Heavenly Father, myself and my potential, the more I change and become better than I was before. It’s an ongoing, painstakingly tedious process, but as I always say: “The things in life that are worth it are always the hardest.”
Sometimes it may not seem like we’re making any process. It may even seem like we’re going backwards! Sometimes, it feels like we’re disappointing God and everyone else with the way we do things, even if it’s not bad. For me, if I’m not being exactly obedient, I know it, and it makes me feel like a horrible person. But I have to keep reminding myself that I’m not perfect, God doesn’t expect me to be perfect right now. He knows I’m learning. He knows it’s a process and not an overnight change. He knows that it takes time, energy, patience and love. And He does all of that perfectly. We just need to learn to do it His way, to learn to forgive ourselves, to be patient and continue pushing forward no matter what comes our way.
I love that. I love that He gives us so many chances to learn. He loves us perfectly and because of that, He will never leave our sides. He will always be right there, encouraging us and leading us and helping us to keep going. I love my Heavenly Father. I know that He is there for each of us on this wonderful journey called life! And I love everything about my life – even the hard times because it’s how I become better and learn to progress! 🙂
I love you all. Thank you so much for all your love and support! Don’t forget to write at least once in the next six weeks! 🙂
Love always,
Sister Mayle