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!
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. 🙂