Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Email: 29 May 2012

Hey Family and Friends,

So I'm assuming y'all got a call from President Taylor. I'm really sad about what happened and I wish it didn't have to happen. It's really unfortunate that something like this would happen, but I guess the Lord knows what He is doing..............

Sister Record and Sister Buckley with giant arrows

Sister Record and Sister Buckley with Alligator and Ostrich Jerkey

Sister Missionaries with Sister Taylor at Zone Conference

I'm just kidding! Everything is great! No phone calls from President Taylor and you can totally disregard that fist part of my email. Except that part about how the Lord knows what He is doing... because he sure does. :D Before I share my exciting discovery I have to tell you that I have ridden my bike more in the last week than I have my entire mission. It's been great!

Sister Nelson, Sister Christenson
and Sister Record
Yesterday We stopped to help a young man and young woman push their car out of the street (which was really off to the side of the street, not actually in the street) into a parking lot. Well it had been raining so there were a lot of puddles. We helped him push his car into the parking lot and as we were pushing a car drove by and splashed us. Sister Nelson and Christenson got soaked because of were they were standing, I didn't get wet hardly at all. (The three of us could not stop laughing! Good thing we were on our way back for the day) After we got all wet 2 or 3 other guys came to help us push the car into the parking lot. The people we helped were very thankful for our help and felt bad we had gotten all wet. The three of us still thought it was pretty funny that we were soaked. Sister Christenson said, "It's okay! We're missionaries, it's what we do!" and then gave them a mormon.org card. It was a pretty great time and it made us all pretty happy.

OKay! Time for my discovery! I have to give you a little bit of a preface. I've been pondering and praying a lot over some recent events that have happened to me (don't worry... it was just transfers and things that happened in my last area. Nothing major. I PROMISE! It's just part of being a missionary) I got my answer to my question a couple weeks ago. I found my answers in D&C 121:45 and in 2 Nephi 9:39. D&C talks about letting virtue garnish our thoughts unceasingly and 2 Nephi talks about being spiritually minded vs carnally minded. Okay... So I have my answer to my question. I need to be spiritually minded and let virtue garnish my thoughts unceasingly. As a missionary it is really easy to let discouragement get to you. I had my answer but I wasn't quite sure on how to apply what I'd learned. (Keep in mind, I'm trying to describe weeks of experience and studies all in one short email. So there are details that are missing. I apologize.) On Sunday our district leader and his companion came to our apartment to get our goals for this transfer. (No we are getting to the juicy part of the email)

Elder Hansen told us about an interview he had with President Taylor. Since there are Elders serving in this area, which is a college town, President Taylor gave all the Elders words of wisdom to help them keep their minds were they need to be. Elder Hansen asked President Taylor when a thought becomes a sin. Basically President Taylor said it takes 3 seconds for the brain to produce chemicals associated with the thought. So you have that 3 second window to get rid of the thought. Elder Hansen was surprised. I mean, 3 seconds is not a long time at all. So Elder Hansen asked what to do when those kind of thoughts come up. President Taylor told him to think three words. "I choose Christ."

The Elders kept telling us how amazing this technique was. We talked to them about how it doesn't just apply to immoral thoughts. It applies to any kind of negative thought and any kind of negative thought is not of God. These can be negative thoughts about others, about situations in life, about ourselves, about anything. If it doesn't entice us to do good or to think good things it is not of God. Moroni 7:12-13 says,

"12 Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually.
13 But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God."

As we were all talking about this I felt the Spirit tell me that this was my answer to applying the answer I had received from Doctrine and Covenants 121:45 and 2 Nephi 9:39. It was incredible! So yesterday I decided to apply "I choose Christ" throughout the whole day. Guess what! IT WORKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! As I went through the day whenever a negative or discouraging thought would start to enter my mind I would immediately think, "I choose Christ." As quickly as the discouraging thought came it was gone. As long as I thought the words "I choose Christ" within that three second window.

I wish I would have known about this months ago! I was seriously so happy yesterday! We have all heard that whenever "bad thoughts" come to our mind to think of a hymn or a primary song. That never really works for me because I have to recall the lyrics and the tune and by that time, that three second window is gone. Well, I found yesterday that saying "I choose Christ" to myself often led to thinking of hymns.

To be honest I didn't really apply this principle as well today and I can see a world of difference in my attitude and how I feel about things. I challenge each of you to try this for a day. I promise it WORKS! It is incredible! I feel like I just discovered a gold mine!

I love the Scriptures! I love the Book of Mormon as well as the Bible and all the standard works! There is so many wonderful things in there. I have found answers to prayers and questions I've had numerous times. I have such a testimony of the Book of Mormon and this Gospel. I know the Church is true and that it contains the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am so grateful to my Savior for the love he shows me. I love my Heavenly Father and I KNOW he loves me. I wouldn't be were I am today if he didn't. I wish I could just somehow share everything I've been learning about the Gospel and about Heavenly Father and Christ with all of you so you could fully understand how much I love them. Obviously I can't do that. I have only been on my mission for 4 months and I've already learned SO MUCH. If anybody is wondering if they should serve a mission I would say to them "Be Strong and do it." (1st Chronicles 28:10) Being a missionary is the most incredible thing you could ever experience. It isn't easy, but it's so worth it.

I love you very very much! Have a great week and remember to choose Christ. :D

I forgot to tell you about the weird food I've eaten this past week!!

1. Alligator Jerky (delicious!!)
2. Ostrich Jerky (also delicious!!)
3. Authentic Chinese food (very good... but didn't agree with my stomach for some reason)
4. Jellyfish (tasted like seaweed)
5. 100 year old duck egg (it was black inside!)
6. Sister Nelson and I want to swallow a goldfish whole... so that may be coming up soon. haha!


Love, Sister Record

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Email: 21 May 2012

Hey family,

I'm glad you got to talk to Bishop Huff! I love him and his wife! They are just the greatest people ever! I'm sad I don't get to say goodbye to them before I leave the area on Wednesday. Sister Buckley and I were both very shocked about me leaving. We both thought for sure that I would be staying. So when transfer calls came and I learned I would be serving on OU (Oklahoma University) campus in Norman, I was a bit shaken. I went through all the stages of the grief process in the matter of 2 or 3 hours. Denial, grief, acceptance. (there may be one more step... i don't know) I'm good this morning though. I had better get use to transfers and getting new companions because it's going to happen. haha! I will miss Sister Buckley, but I know the Lord needs me in Norman to serve on campus.

Sister Buckley and Sister Record
We just had zone conference last week! That was awesome! I love President and Sister Taylor! They are so inspired and love us missionaries SO MUCH! President Taylor introduced to us what they called "The Heavenly Gift". This is an amazing thing!!! One of the biggest problems about missionary work, especially here in the South is that people view us as "takers" and they don't see us as people bringing them a gift.
So, President and Sister Taylor introduced this "Heavenly Gift." When we go to a door, instead of the same old introduction we get to say, "We are representatives of Jesus Christ and we are going around sharing a gift with people." or something along those lines. Then we get to offer to say a prayer with the person and their family. The great thing about the people in Oklahoma is they love to pray! :D

Sister Record says, "A store that will buy me!"
We are able to offer to pray for people and their families and offer to pray for specific things for them. After the prayer, when the Spirit is strong, we ask them if we can come back and teach them more about how to feel this way and how to strengthen their relationship with God. (or something a long those lines) IT IS SO AMAZING!!! I love it!

Sister Buckley and I tried the "Heavenly Gift" the other day and it was incredible. We were able to pray for a woman and for her family. After the prayer she was very very grateful that we said that prayer for her. She told us that was really something she needed. :) Sister Buckley and I were talking about how even if people let us pray with the, but don't want to learn more, it still has a better impact on them than if we just threw out the regular door approach. I love it and can't wait to do it some more. :)

Sister Missionaries in the zone at the zoo
Sister Buckley and I were talking about how much a mission is like a mini lifetime. You prepare for you mission your whole life and then you go on a mission. Your first area you serve is where you were born. Then you serve a couple transfers and move from an infant to a young teenager (this is the point we decided I was at). You move along in your mission and get older and older. You learn and progress with each experience. Then you get to be Sister Buckley's age were you're about to die. You reflect back on your "life" and think about all the things you have learned, all the people you've met. You have to figure out how to be yourself after your mission.

So, you die. Then you move on to the "next life" (post mission life) and get to apply everything you learned on your mission. Anyway, hope that made sense. I am finding it is just easier to talk about my thoughts than write them down. haha! I love what Sister Buckley told me at the beginning of the transfer. "You have 18 months to live it and an eternity to remember it." The things you learn as a missionary really are things you will use for the rest of your life. I know the things I'm learning are things that will help me when I have a family of my own.... 15 years in the future. ;)

Oklahoma Sunset
I am so excited to see what happens over the next 15 months! I'm excited to keep meeting people and teaching them the Gospel!

Love, Sister Record

Monday, May 14, 2012

Email: 14 May 2012

Oh my goodness!!! I LOOOOVVEEEE THESE PICTURES!! They totally just made my day. I'm going to print them off and put them on my wall. :D When I went to the Aladdin stage show last year and had just drunk tons of water to I had to use the bathroom so bad! It didn't help that I was laughing really hard in the show. :) I would love to see more. Chris is looking so grown up! And so is Eric! Annelise, you still look the same. haha!

So I was reading in the Book of Mormon this morning and was reading the story of Ammon and King Lamoni. I'm at the part of the story when King Lamoni and the Queen and all his servants fell to the earth because they were all feeling the Spirit really strong. This is in Alma chapter 19. What really stood out to me when I read it was the servant of the queen, Abish.

In verse 16 it tells about how Abish had "been converted unto the Lord for many years, on account of a remarkable vision of her father—" first off I want to know who her dad is and what his vision was. haha!

As I read, the next verse more stood out to me.

“17 Thus, having been converted to the Lord, and never having made it known, therefore, when she saw that all the servants of Lamoni had fallen to the earth, and also her mistress, the queen, and the king, and Ammon lay prostrate upon the earth, she knew that it was the power of God; and supposing that this opportunity, by making known unto the people what had happened among them, that by beholding this scene it would cause them to believe in the power of God, therefore she ran forth from house to house, making it known unto the people. ”

I love how this servant of the queen recognized a missionary opportunity and took it! I just love that! I believe Abish was definitely following the promptings from the Spirit. So because of Abish all these people were gathered around the King, Queen and their servants. Some were angry, some were confused, some believed Ammon was "the Great Spirit" and others believed he was sent by that "Great Spirit." (Alma 19:25-27)

Abish, probably being a very sweet and tender hearted woman, was hurt by the contention among the people. (Alma 19:28)

I love the faith shown by Abish in the next verse. She wanted the queen to rise up again. So she went and touched her and the queen arose and started to testify of Christ. Then the King arose and seeing the contention among his people rebuked them but also taught them what Ammon had said. (verse 31)

Finally everybody had arose from the ground and taught and testified to all the people who were there. Many people were baptized and joined the church. The chapter doesn't mention anything more about Abish after verse 28. I have to wonder though if all those people would have even had the chance to hear the Gospel if she had not recognized the Spirit telling her about a missionary opportunity and then ACTED. :)

I love y'all! It was so great to talk to you yesterday! I just loved it! Thanks again for the pictures! I loved them!
Love Sister Record

Monday, May 7, 2012

Questions: 7 May 2012

Eric: How is the weather, and do you like it?
The weather here the past few days has been HOT AND HUMID. It feels like summer time in Utah, just add humidity. I'm not looking forward to summer. Last summer the heat was pretty intense. It was 115-120 degrees outside for 3 weeks straight. I guess July and August here are pretty brutal. haha! People keep telling me that even at night it doesn't cool off. I will be drinking quite a lot of water! :D

Dad: What is Sister Buckley's first name and where is she from?
Taryn from Kaysville, UT

Dad: Did you here any tornado sirens during the storms?
A few weeks ago the sirens went off at 2am. Every Saturday the siren go off at noon as a test, so I hear the siren once a week.

Dad: Please tell Sister Buckley I think she is a wonderful artist.
I think so too. I will tell her that :)

Dad: Does Sister Buckley have a blog?

Dad: What are Sister Buckley's greatest qualities?
Oh where should I start! Sister Buckley is so much fun to be around and always makes me laugh. She is a very powerful teacher. She loves to learn new things. She calls herself a "scripture nerd" she loves the scriptures. She loves to talk about the gospel. Our companion studies are always great! :D

Dad: I posted the 50 questions to your blog and challenged everyone to read the Book of Mormon and find the answers.
AWESOME!!!! I love it! Thanks so much dad! Will you also find on YouTube the song Come See the Light by Freddie Ashby and post the link. Sister Buckley showed this song to me and I LOVE it! It is beautiful!

Dad: Will you please share one of your own defining moments?
I feel like have had quite a few defining moments in my life. The biggest one is kind of personal, so I will share another defining moment for me in my life. I would have to say my decision to move out and go to Snow College was a defining moment. I had to choose for myself if I wanted to keep doing the things I had been taught all my life. I had to choose for myself if I wanted to strengthen and develop my own testimony of the Gospel.
Nobody was around to tell me to go to church, to read my scriptures, etc. When I chose to do all those things because I wanted to and because I loved the Lord. I started to CHOOSE to become the woman God needs me to be. I'm still on that path, and will be my whole life. There isn't going to be an end to learning and growth. Life would be horrible if we weren't growing and learning all the time. I think thats why I love a mission. It is helping me learn so much about myself, about family, about my Savior, about Heavenly Father, about life. Things I wouldn't have learned by staying home. I love y'all so much! Thank for all your support and love! I love you!

Love, Sister Record

Email: 7 May 2012

Hey everybody!! Hope all is well in good ole' Utah! :D This week was another great week! I can't believe how much I love missionary work! I never want it to end! It's definitely not easy and most of the time is just emotionally, spiritually and physically exhausting but I wouldn't trade it for the world. I can't imagine my life if I didn't come on a mission to be honest. To anybody who is wondering if they should serve a mission or not.... SERVE A MISSION! There is absolutely no reason not to. :D

Sister Buckley and I were talking about how a mission is like spiritual boot camp. Its so true! There is no better way (in my opinion) to become the kind of person the Lord wants us to be in such a SHORT amount of time! Of course you have to be willing to let a mission change you. I could go on and on, but I will spare everybody. Just know that I love missionary work. I love the Lord and I love how much I'm learning out here. Tomorrow is my 3 month mark in my mission and it is just flying by! It just keeps going faster too. I realize today it's been 8 month since I decide to serve a mission. crazy!

We are teaching a guy named [name withheld]. HE IS AMAZING!!!!!!! Sister Buckley and I taught him the Plan of Salvation last week. He is just soaking everything and is scheduled to be baptized on May 19th. He has been reading the Book of Mormon and loves it! Each time we meet with him he reads at least six chapters and remembers everything. When he first started the Book of Mormon he told us that he really didn't like Lamen and Lemuel. haha! Brandon is awesome! He has been to church twice now and is well on his way to being baptized.

Keep Sister Buckley and her family in your prayers. She goes home in July and is really really not looking forward to it. If President Taylor let her stay for 2 years she would totally do it. She is an amazing missionary! We joke around that she can just come back to OKC and just come teaching with me all the time. ;)

Mom & Dad, will you send me a letter (snail mail) with your thoughts on the power each individual person has to choose who they want to become despite difficult circumstances in life. Its something sister Buckley and I have been talking about and I'd love your thoughts on it.

Love, Sister Record

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

50 Questions

Sister Record wanted me to post this mission handout about the 50 questions answered in the Book of Mormon. Sister Record has challenged all of us to read the Book of Mormon and write down the reference for the answer to each of these questions.

Oklahoma Oklahoma City Mission
50 Questions Answered by the Book of Mormon

1. Does the Bible contain all of God's word?
2. How can we judge between good and evil?
3. Is there a God?
4. Who are the “other sheep" spoken of in John 10:16?
5. What should I do next in my life?
6. Why should I attend church?
7. How can I avoid sin?
8. Are we saved by grace or works or both?
9. How can I improve my marriage?
10. What will our bodies be like in the resurrection?
11. How can a person know if the Book of Mormon is true?
12. What does Jesus Christ expect of me?
13. What is the Doctrine of Christ and why is it important to me?
14. How can a belief in God and Jesus Christ help me?
15. What should I pray about?
16. How did ancient prophets describe our day?
17. Why should we not put off repentance?
18. How can I avoid the evils that threaten me and my family?
19. How can I strengthen the relationship with my companion and future spouse?
20. Why should I keep a journal?
21. How can I be a better friend?
22. How can desire turn into faith?
23. How can God be both just and merciful?
24. Is there life after death?
25. How can I balance family and career?
26. What is the purpose of life?
27. How should I react when someone is unkind?
28. What happens to our spirits after death?
29. Why does God allow evil and suffering?
30. How can my family be happier and more united?
31. How can the Atonement help me repent and change for the better?
32. How can I fulfill my calling?
33. How can I protect my family from the evils of the world?
34. To what extent are we accountable for our choices?
35. Why was Jesus baptized?
36. How can I turn weakness into strength?
37. What happened in the Americas when Jesus was born?
38. What happened in the Americas when Jesus was crucified?
39. What do we witness to the Father by being baptized?
40. Why was the Atonement necessary?
41. How can I find peace and joy?
42. Does God know me?
43. Does God answer my prayers?
44. Does an infant need baptism?
45. What is the relationship between the creation, the fall and the Atonement?
46. Who is the central figure of the Book of Mormon?
47. Do the Bible and the Book of Mormon refer to each other?
48. Why must “Israel” be gathered?
49. Can a young man with little formal education have written this book?
50. For whom was the Book of Mormon compiled and preserved?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Email: 30 April 2012

Hey everybody!

Oh how I love missionary work! It is the best thing ever! I love the area, I love the ward, I love the bishop and His wife, I love my district, I love my companion, I love the Gospel, and I love my Savior. That about sums things up. Talk to you next week! Just kidding. ;) I want to share as much as I can with everybody about whats been going on. I'm sorry if I repeat myself in the email. I don't remember everything I said in my audio update.

This week started out pretty.... yucky. Especially compared to the week we just had. We keep track of our miracles that happened during the day and on Wednesday our miracle was that we got a slushy from 7/11. (we decided to start a slushy fund. We have been collecting change we find on the street and put it in an empty film canister. We have 25 cents now. haha!) Sister Buckley and I weren't reaching our daily goals and it was frustrating for both of us because we were working so hard. On Thursday we went and knocked on doors for three hours. One of two things would happen. First nobody would be home or second nobody would want to talk to us. After three hours we decided we better go to Walmart and get what we needed for district lunch the next day. 

We were at Walmart and ran into Elder Christinson and Elder Edmunds. We talked for a couple minutes and then a lady started walking towards us. I recognized her as a lady sister Bowles and I had met a month ago. Her name is [name withheld] from Germany. She is atheist. Sister Bowles and I talked to her and bore our testimony of Christ. We gave her a hug and went on our way. Before we drove away, she ran back to us as we were in the car and she thanked us for the hug because she really needed one.

Well here she comes walking past us in Walmart. I said hi to her and her eyes just lit up! It was amazing! I gave her a hug and introduced her to Sister Buckley. We set up a time to meet with her again this week. :) She told us she is still atheist, but wants to talk about it. She told us she only wants to talk about it because she likes us. She is such a sweet lady! Sister Buckley and I left Walmart with goose bumps. It was such an incredible experience to be in the right place and the right time. I can't wait to teach her.

The day just got better! Sister Buckley and I were able to teach three of our investigators and each of those lessons we had members present and it was fantastic! Friday and Saturday were great as well! On Sunday THREE of our investigators came to church. That is the most I have ever had come to church in the 9 weeks I've been in OK! The Lord truly has been blessing Sister Buckley and I with members to come teach with us, people to teach, and people with baptismal dates.

We are teaching another young lady who is so excited to learn about the Book of Mormon. She told us how she knows God sent us to her to teach her about the Book of Mormon. She even told us she wants to learn so she can go teach others about it. She is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G! We are also teaching her neighbor who came to church with us yesterday. Oh man oh man! I can't say it enough. I LOVE MISSIONARY WORK! I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY AND I NEVER WANT TO STOP. :D Its amazing that even though our week from Monday to Thursday was kind of disappointing, Thursday evening, Friday Saturday and Sunday were incredible and now I am so happy those rough days don't even matter. The Lord sure does love each of His children. :)

One thing I've learned in the last three weeks is how FUN missionary work is and should be. Sister Buckley has such a positive outlook on missionary work and life in general. I have a hard time describing what I have learned in the last three weeks with Sister Buckley. I have learned that as we obey with a WILLING HEART the Lord blesses us with miracles, and I don't think applies just to missionary work. As we do the things the Lord asks us to do with that WILLING HEART he will bless us even more than if we just obey because thats what we're supposed to do. It is something I'm still working on, but I know the Lord is really helping me to have the willingness to do the things he asks of me as His servant.

Today Sister Buckley and I read a talk by Elder Holland ("Lessons from Liberty Jail", Sep 2009). I love this talk too stinking much! Elder Holland talks about how "you can have sacred, revelatory, profoundly instructive experiences with the Lord in any situation you are in. Indeed, you can have sacred, revelatory, profoundly instructive experiences with the Lord in the most miserable experiences of your life—in the worst settings, while enduring the most painful injustices, when facing the most insurmountable odds and opposition you have ever faced." It's all about our attitude. We have the ability to choose who we want to be and what we want to learn from each and every experience in life.

I love you all so very very much! Thank you everybody for your prayers and support. I wish I could just share every little detail about how amazing being a missionary is and every single little detail about what happens and how the Lord is using us to share the Gospel with His Children. I love this Gospel! I KNOW it is true. I love the Book of Mormon and I know it is the work of God. :D

Love always, Sister Record