Monday, October 29, 2012

The Work of the Lord Shall Roll Forth!

Hey Y'all!

This week has been an interesting week. We didn't get any new investigators, but we have faith that miracles will happen this week. In reality, we did have a lot of miracles, just maybe not in the way we expected. We were able to teach the Plan of Salvation to our neighbor. We have been teaching her for a month now. It was a really good lesson, but holy cow! Satan didn't want us to teach that to her. The opposition that was coming at me, Sister Fraire and Sister Allgood was intense all day last Wednesday. We knew we needed to teach [Name Withheld 1] the Plan of Salvation. We ended up having a really good lesson with her. She really liked the concept of the three degrees of glory. We were surprised that the biggest problem she had with the Plan of Salvation was pre-mortal life. We have a lesson with her this evening to talk more about how she is a daughter of God. We are really excited about it. :) 

Last night we had our only investigator with a baptismal date tell us that he has been praying and he doesn't feel like Mormonism is for him. He told us he felt like God was telling him he needed to go a different way in his life. It was a heart breaking moment. He hasn't completely stopped meeting with us yet, he agreed to read 3rd Nephi 11 & 17 and keep praying about the Book of Mormon and meet with us at least once more. [Name Withheld 2]'s biggest problem is that he can't wrap his mind around modern day prophets. He has grown up being taught that the Bible is it and there is no more that God had to say. We told him that as he prays he must be open to the idea that all the things we teach him could be true. 

After he and our member left, the three of us said a very heartfelt and sincere prayer. We prayed desperately that He receives some kind of answer and keeps meeting with us. He will be such a great member of the Church. However, all three of us felt the Spirit tell us that Heavenly Father is in control. He is aware of him and what he is going through. We want to do all we can to help him receive the restored gospel but also realize that this is all in the Lord's hands. It may not be time for him yet, I don't know. We love him and really only desire for him to find the joy that the gospel brings. We all have felt strongly that "all flesh is in [the Lord's] hands" (D&C 101:16). [Name Withheld 2] may not accept the message of the Restoration at this time in his life, but I'm confident that he will at some point in his life. The Lord is working with him and will continue to work with him throughout his life. Regardless of what happens, at least we have grown closer to Heavenly Father and as a companionship through this experience. I know the Lord knows everything and is aware of what each of His children needs. I know he is very aware of me and my needs. I have learned and changed so much since I've been on my mission. A lot of the times that learning and growing is painful, but I know I am becoming the Woman that God wants me to become because of it. 

I am thankful for all the wonderful things I'm learning from Sister Fraire and Sister Allgood. I am thankful for Sister Allgood's ability to play the piano. Yesterday after our lesson with [Name Withheld 2] she played the Hymns, "Saviour, Redeemer of My Soul", "Sing We Now At Parting" and some other ones. It brought the Spirit and really calmed my troubled heart. 

Thursday we talked to Jeff about starting his family history work. Jeff is the ONLY member of the Church in his family. Not only is he the only member of the Church in his immediate family, but also the first in 100's of years. Jeff committed to start his family history work and prepare names to be taken to the temple! :D I can't even describe the feeling that came over me after we were done talking with him! I feel SO BLESSED to have been one of many instruments in the Lord's hands in bringing Jeff into the Church of Jesus Christ. It is an indescribable feeling, but my heart was overflowing with gratitude and joy. Even as I talk about it now I feel so happy! It is amazing & humbling to know that the Lord is using me, an imperfect person, to accomplish his purposes. (Moses 1:39

I have learned that each of us has a far more reaching effect on other people than we realize. I love being a missionary because the work we do reaches far beyond what we see. As we fulfill our purpose and help others come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and Enduring to the End we effect generations. Jeff is sharing the gospel with his mom and brothers and soon will take names of his family who have passed on to the temple. His conversion to the gospel will affect generations in the future as well. And there are tens of thousands of people like him! This work truly is marvelous! 
Oklahoma football is insane!

I love what Elder Holland said "Contrary to the parlance of the day, this is about you. No, don’t turn and look at your neighbor. I am talking to you! I have struggled to find an adequate way to tell you how loved of God you are and how grateful we on this stand are for you. I am trying to be voice for the very angels of heaven in thanking you for every good thing you have ever done, for every kind word you have ever said, for every sacrifice you have ever made in extending to someone—to anyone—the beauty and blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ."- Elder Jeffrey R. Holland (“Because of Your Faith”, Ensign, Oct 2010)

I have thought a lot about the scripture in Alma 26:27 over the past few weeks. "Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success." I know that things in life are hard. It doesn't matter at what stage in life you are at, things are hard. However, I do know without a shadow of a doubt that this gospel WILL help you overcome any of the challenges you face in your life. The Gospel of Jesus Christ heals the wounded soul (Jacob 2:8) and brings comfort when all seems lost. I know this church, which teaches the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, is true. I know it, I live it, I love it! 

My pumpkin.... I didn't know what to
paint, so I just painted whatever came
to mind. So, this is what I came up with.
I found this scripture this morning which gave me a lot of peace. 1st Corinthians 15:58 "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord." 

I want to thank all of you for all you (and like Elder Holland, said "don't look at your neighbor, I'm talking to you.") have done to help me become converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Thank you for teaching me by your example. I am so blessed to be given the opportunity to be here in Oklahoma serving the Lord. I thank all of you for the role you have played in getting me to this point in my life. I will forever be grateful to you for you love and sacrifice. :D 

Love, Sister Record

Monday, October 22, 2012

I Never Want to Leave!

Oh where do I start this week? Last Monday we went and played soccer on campus. It was so much more fun than the usual pday activity of going to the church, writing letters and playing scatterball. The weather is cooling off (it's in the 70's & 80's haha!) so we are enjoying going outside. Allergies here are the worst. The nicest thing about summer was the fact that there were no allergens. Every time my allergies kick in I think of Elder Record and think to myself, "it's a good thing he didn't get called here to Oklahoma." haha! :D Monday evening I had a killer headache and I felt like I was going to throw up. It was terrible. However, we had lessons to teach and I couldn't just sit in the apartment. Miracles happened that night though! We taught 3 fantastic lessons with members present and got 1 new investigator. All that happened in just over an hour!!! To make things even better, each time we were in a lesson teaching I didn't feel my headache. As soon as we were done teaching though, it came back in full force. The Lord provided a way for us to do those things we needed to do. I have such a testimony of prayer. :)

All the Sisters at Sisters Conference

Sister Nelson, Sister Christensen, Sister Ellingson,
Sister Record, Sister Bowles
Tuesday was amazing! We had Sister's Conference and I got to go back and see Sister Bowles (my trainer) and Sister Nelson and Sister Christensen (my last two companions). It was wonderful to see them! It hit me that was probably the last time I would see them here on the mission. Sister Bowles leaves in 2 weeks and Sister Christensen and Nelson leave in December. I would be lying if I said it wasn't a tearful goodbye. Those three sisters are so amazing and I love them so much! They were all there my very first day in Oklahoma and made me feel so welcome. I have learned so much from each of them and I will miss them, but will definitely be seeing them next summer. :D

I learned a ton of great things at Sister's Conference! We talked a lot about how important it is to be patient with ourselves. We tend to be harder on ourselves than the Elders so President Taylor wanted to stress that we were all doing a great job and that the Lord loves each of us. (This isn't just a problem with us as sister missionaries, but for women all over) There are so many thoughts I have been having, I'm not sure how to express them. I am so thankful for President and Sister Taylor and how inspired they are. Always remember, if you are feeling discouraged and are beating yourself up that IS NOT of God. A loving Heavenly Father wouldn't say those kind of things. However, if you are feeling empowered and have a desire to be and do better than it IS FROM God. Remember Moroni 7:13! :)

My district: Sister Fraire, Sister Record, Sister Allgood,
Elder Dewey, Elder Pugmire, Elder Appedale, Elder Orellana
(District Leader)
We have a new investigator who is AMAZING! We love her so much! She is in the Elder's area, but she requested Sister Missionaries so we are teaching her. We have been trying to contact her for months! She has just been really busy with work, I guess she is really involved in the elections coming up. We finally met with her Wednesday and man were we so happy afterward. First off, she reminds me of you mom. :) This woman is incredible! She has known members her whole life. Everywhere she has gone she has been friends with members of the church. She told us that she doesn't know why, but she has always been drawn to people of the LDS faith. (that comment made us smile of course) She has always been impressed with how members of the church live their lives. She told us it was because of the members that she was now seriously considering joining the church!!! ahhh!!! My whole mission I have wanted to teach somebody like her. :D As we talked to her we each felt such gratitude for all those members of the Church who had been examples to her throughout her whole life. I gained a stronger testimony of the scripture in 1Timothy 4:12 "Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity." Thank you everybody for how you live your life! You never know who you are affecting!

Which leads me to another point. She LOVES relief society. She hasn't been to church yet, but she has been listening to conference (thanks to a member friend) and told us, through text, that she wants to get involved in relief society. After our first meeting with her we got a message telling us thank you so much for the Book of Mormon we gave her. She started reading it that night and already feels like this is a "good and right path". I wish y'all could have seen how excited she was to learn about the gospel! She loved the First Vision and was so happy to be hearing the message of the Restoration. We are so excited for our next meeting with her. :)

I feel I have grown a lot in the last three weeks. I have learned a lot about love & charity, about patience, about humility. It hasn't been easy, but I am so grateful the Lord gives us trials and moments that send us to our knees. It is in those moments that I have really come close to my Heavenly Father and my Savior, Jesus Christ. I have become more converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ. I have really been hit hard with the fact that serving a mission is preparing me to be a wife and mother one day. The things I learn and do as a missionary are fantastic. But, all that is preparing me for something even more important. That is to raise a righteous family who is converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am so thankful for all the experiences I have had the last 9 months and I am excited for all the experiences I have yet to have. Thank you for all you have done mom and dad in helping me become converted! Thank you Grandma Record for joining the church! I can't even tell you how your decision has blessed my life and many others. :D I love y'all!

Love, Sister Record

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ponies and Camping

Hello everybody!

Sister Allgood, Sister Fraire and Sister Record camping
It has been a good week. It is all kind of a blur though to be honest. I can barely remember what has happened. Wednesday was Sister Fraire's birthday. We went camping. Don't worry, we didn't break a single rule to go camping. We camped out in our living room. We even made a tent that would put the boy scouts to shame. ;)

We bought sweet calendars for the Zone Leaders. They came into our apartment while we were gone. (We needed them to pick something up for us. So we gave them permission to go inside. don't worry.) They rigged our sink so when we turned on the water it got us all wet. It was pretty funny. Later that week they asked if we had a blank calendar, so we went to the dollar store and got them this calendar. We thought we were pretty clever. :)

Pony Calendar
Saturday was our stake conference and Elder Bruce A Carlson of the seventy was there. He spoke in conference, check out his talk about obedience. It's great! In stake conference he talked about why the age for missionaries to serve was lowered. He listened a few reasons.

1. It would save many young people of this generation. There won't be that gap of time between high school and a mission to hang around.
2. The church needs more missionaries
3. It will have a positive effect on marriages. Young people will be more prepared for marriage.
4.The fabric of the home will be changed. Gospel teaching and learning will be central to raising a family
5. To hasten the work of the Lord.
Elder Carlson said the 5th reason was the biggest reason for the change. As a mission each fast Sunday we fast for a list of things and for the Lord's work to hasten in this area is one of them. That prayer will be answered in the next few months. President Taylor sent us an email. Here is an excerpt from that email,

"As I write this letter to you I am filled with great love for each of you. Sister Taylor and I think of you constantly and you are in every prayer offered by us and our boys. Please know of our trust in you and our admiration for each of you. We are privileged to be here with you as you learn to develop and exercise faith in Christ and His Atonement and repent. We respect you for the choices you make that lead you to Christ and result in you becoming “converted unto the Lord” and a more “consecrated missionary.”

With you, Sister Taylor and I were thrilled to hear of the announcement in General Conference regarding the new minimum age for missionaries. I am confident this announcement will lead to a further expansion of our mission and an increase in sister missionaries. This will be a great blessing for our mission. We must accelerate the development of our missionary skills so we can train these new missionaries in the months ahead. They will be spending less time in the MTC before coming to the field so the responsibility to train these missionaries will fall to us......

What we are doing is greater than we can now see and understand. We do not always see the hand of the Lord in the lives of the people we meet each day. We often do not see it in our lives but it is always there. This is a spiritual work and God’s labors in our areas are best seen through spiritual eyes. He is “mightier than all the earth” and can accomplish all his purposes in us and the people of our areas. If we have faith in Christ we “shall have power to do whatsoever is expedient” in Him (Moroni 7:33). Of this I testify in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."

What a blessing to be a part of the Lord's work! Its an amazing thing! I am so thankful for President and Sister Taylor. They are so kind and loving and want what is best for each of us.

Yesterday we got a solid baptismal date! :D We did finally get a baptismal date though! He was taught previously by the Sisters. It has been a year but he is ready to be baptized. We had our first meeting with him on Sunday. He came to stake conference and really enjoyed Elder Carlson's talk. He told us that when he heard him speak he felt a peaceful feeling. It gave him comfort to a concern of his. He told us that spark he felt lasted for just a moment.

We talked to him about the Holy Ghost and that when you are baptized by proper authority you receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost. We told him that he could feel that peaceful feeling always. We told him he could have the Holy Ghost as his constant companion. He replied rather shocked, "I didn't even know that was possible!"

We invited him to be baptized and he said he would, but that he would be a lot of hard work to change. He grew up in another denomination but isn't working for him. He had questions about the authority of the church. He wanted to know how we know a man really has authority. The member we had with us explained that he had the priesthood and that he got it from his dad, who got it from his dad, etc. He explained that he can trace his authority all the way back to Christ in an unbroken line.

Then, unexpectedly, [Name withheld] exclaimed "Well then! Lets schedule the baptism for next Sunday!" We were all surprised but very happy. We explained that we had a little more to teach him and that he needed to come to church. [Name withheld] is so eager to learn and already has a testimony, we need him to have conversion though. :) He trusts the member we had with us 100%. He had been talking to him about the gospel over the last year.

I'm telling you, its only through the members that the church is going to grow at the rate it needs to. Keep doing missionary work! We are doing a great work and we cannot come down. :D I love you all so very much! I am deeply grateful for all your love and support. Have a great week!

Love, Sister Record

Monday, October 8, 2012

General Conference

Well howdy family and friends!
Wasn't general conference amazing? :D I absolutely loved it. I was spiritually fed and found answers to questions I had. I am especially excited with the announcement of the age change for missionaries. As I heard the announcement I felt so much joy in my heart. The Lord needs more missionaries. He is calling out more troops! :)

Me, Sister Esau, (from Kirabati. She went home last week. I love her! She is one of the most loving people I know! amazing!) Sister Allgood (the new missionary) Sister Fraire
As I have reflected on my mission (I hit my 9 month mark 1 month from today! scary! The time goes way too fast!) I have felt like I am being prepared to be a wife and mother. I had that impression especially strong throughout General Conference. Everything I go through as a missionary is teaching me how to be a better wife and mother one day. Being a missionary is the hardest thing I have done in my life up to this point, but it has also been the best decision I have made. I am so grateful to have this opportunity. It has been amazing to see people change as they have accepted the message of the restored gospel. It is also amazing to see how much I have grown emotionally and spiritually in the last 8 months.

Dana and Sister Record
By the time you are 21 you will be a returned missionary and be so ready to have a family of your own. I think this announcement with the age change (especially for the young women) will, in the long run, improve gospel teaching and learning in the home. At 21 girls will already have a mission experience under their belt which will be a huge asset to strengthening the family. I am so excited for Annelise to go on a mission! I can't think of anything better to do with my time than to serve the Lord here in Oklahoma. I love this state, I love the people and I love the missionaries I am surrounded by. I still have a lot to learn and I feel like I should learn it all in the next 10 months, but I know I won't learn everything by then. I need to learn to be more patient. :)

Sister Fraire and Sister Record
We were talking to our recent convert, Jeff last night. He told us about how grateful he is for all the missionaries who taught him. He told us how he can't adequately express in words that gratitude he has for those who taught him and helped him join the church. He mentioned how happy he is to be a member of Christ's church and thankful he is for the covenants he made at baptism. On the flip side, I don't have the words to express how thankful I am to have been blessed to be a part of Jeff's journey into the church. I have learned SO MUCH from him and from the struggles he faced as he made the choice to be baptized. You develop such a love for the people you serve. It is a love I don't know if I have ever really experience before. You start to see people, in a very real way, as Christ see's them. You see their potential to become a strong member of Christ's church. It is amazing!

Well, I love you all very very much! Thanks for all your prayers! I have felt strength come into my life from them. James 5:16 is my favorite scripture about prayer and I have seen it first hand on my mission. Wow guys, I love you! I love the Lord! I am grateful for prophets and apostles on the earth today. I am grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I am only were I am at now because of Him.
Love, Sister Record

Monday, October 1, 2012

A New Companion, Now a Trainer

Hey everybody! This week has been an interesting one. We got our new missionary, Sister Allgood. She really is Allgood. :) She is a very dedicated, obedient, faithful missionary. I feel like she has more to teach me than I have to teach her.

Hunter received the priesthood on Sunday. That was amazing! :) I have loved to see Jeff and Hunter and their progression in the gospel. Anytime I get sad or discouraged, I think of those two and how their lives have changed in the last 3 or 4 months of knowing them.

To answer your questions:

What is a common question you get from investigators?
A lot of people have questions and concerns about the apostasy. A lot of people don't see the need for a restoration. There are a lot of different questions that arise from that concern. That is probably a very common thing.

What is the biggest fear that holds investigators back?
I don't really know. I think it is different for everybody because each person is so unique.

Tell us about your new companion. What is her name and where is she from?
Sister Michelle Allgood from Hyrum, UT. I told you about her at the beginning of the letter.

What are your new companion's strengths that you have noticed so far?
She is fearless. She will talk to anybody and everybody. She takes missionary work seriously. None of the time she has is her time. It is all the Lord's and she works hard to use every minute of time wisely. She is going to work miracles in this mission.

I am so excited for conference!! I have been looking forward to this for weeks!! :D Sorry the letter is so short. But I am sending pictures. I love y'all so very very much! Have a good week!

Love, Sister Record