Dear Loved One's,
Merry Conference and Happy April! Ha ha...I just LOVE general conference! I would like to submit that it is better than Christmas! God spoke through His prophet this weekend! How amazing? Remember how the early saints traveled miles and miles and gave everything they had to be able to come and listen to a prophet's voice? Now, we can pull him up on our hand held devices in a second! How blessed we are! I loved conference and all of its messages of hope and happiness, it's warnings, and especially, how much they talked about the family. I know often times we take questions we have to conference with a prayer in our hearts that they will be answered or we will receive guidance as to what we can do. I did that this conference and felt the Lord's love as many of the talks contributed to the answers I was seeking. They are truly inspired and truly called of God and I am so thankful to know the Lord love's us so much. Ha, funny moment was Sunday morning session...we were watching at our Stake Center with the other missionaries from our zone, and during Elder Whitney Clayton's talk about how to have a successful marriage...all the missionaries were scribbling away on their note pads...including me! Afterward everyone said that was the best talk ever and the one they took the most notes on. I laughed and said, "ugh-oh...trunky!" It is just so funny to hear the Elders talk about how much they want to get married...I never would have guessed! I am understanding why missionaries come home and just want to get married! Ha ha....there's a quote I read that says, "Missionary: someone who leaves their family for a time, so other families can be together forever." It's so true! ...and while serving and helping these families...we just get so excited to have one of our own! Ha ha...I am not going to lie...after conference I turned to Sister Rasmussen and said, "I'm just so excited to get married!! I love everything they said today and I just want to be able to practice it!" Ha ha...I must have been under conference euphoria ...what crazy talk ; ) Anyway...what a powerful spirit felt throughout this whole weekend. The conference issue of the Ensign can't come fast enough!
Speaking of being a good companion...ha ha...I had a neat experience this week. I have been studying in Alma during personal study, and something really stood out to me that hadn't before. While reading about Alma and Amulek, I caught hold of these verses..Alma10:4:
And behold, I am also a man of no small reputation among all those who know me; yea, and behold, I have many kindreds and friends, and I have also acquired much riches by the hand of my industry.
So this is who Amulek was before he decided to give it all up to go and serve the Lord. Do you think that was easy? Well, we learn that it wasn't later in Alma 15:16:
And it came to pass that Alma and Amulek, Amulek having forsaken all his gold, and silver, and his precious things, which were in the land of Ammonihah, for the word of God, he being rejected by those who were once his friends and also by his fatherand his kindred;
18 Now as I said, Alma having seen all these things, therefore he took Amulek and came over to the land of Zarahemla, and took him to his own house, and did administer unto him in his tribulations, and strengthened him in the Lord.
As I read that I thought, "Wow, the support of a loving and understanding companion." For some reason that really touched my heart...maybe because of the experiences I have had on my mission from loving companions who have strengthened me...maybe also because I felt I could relate to Amulek a little as far as what he gave up to serve the Lord...well later that day my Zone Leaders asked me to give the spiritual thought in Zone Meeting...I really didn't want to but they told me not to deny the inspired call...ha ha...and as I tried to think of what I would share, these scriptures were literally the only thing I could think of. I tried to think of a thought about the Atonement or Resurrection since we had just had Easter...but that was it...so I thought, "Ok, Heavenly Father I am going with this, please let it be what needs to be heard." I'd like to share the few other thoughts I added, but go ahead and put yourself in it because it applies to everyone...we as missionaries have a lot of hard days. Missionary work definitely isn't easy, especially when you are fighting a battle against Satan every day! We need a lot of comfort! Our companions can be the greatest tool for that. When we have a loving companion, it makes all the difference for us. Alma understood where Amulek was coming from, what he had been through, and the righteous desires he had, and Alma took the time to administer to and strengthen him. Oh how grateful Amulek must have been for that. We have the opportunity to do that for those we are around...remember the talk in conference about being accepted by those we love?? Totally true! Then I went to Doctrine and Covenants 84:88:
And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will gobefore your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.
I asked them to share who they felt their angels were...some said literal angels, some said family, those we teach, ward members....then from our white handbook I shared: "When you have questions or concerns your first source of help is your Father in Heaven. ...Your companion, district leader, and zone leaders are your next sources of help...For special needs...or confidential matters, talk with your mission president." I pointed out how right there...already we have a circle, a handful of angels round about us to bear us up. We are known by the Lord, and as we support one another, and strengthen and comfort one another we then can become powerful and rise to who the Lord needs us to become...we will astonish! Just like Alma and Amulek did Alma 10:12:
And now, when Amulek had spoken these words the people began to be astonished, seeing there was more than one witness who testified of the things whereof they were accused, and also of the things which were to come, according to the spirit of prophecy which was in them.
I know that if we will comfort one another, we will truly be able to bear our burdens and lift other's burdens....and miracles will happen not only in our companion-ships, but in our work.
I didn't really know why that was all that came to mind...but then, later in our instruction from the Zone Leaders, we talked about the importance of companionship inventory and how throughout the mission, companionship relationships are struggling.....I felt a hug from Heavenly Father, and felt grateful His spirit had taught me and lead me to say, "not knowing beforehand" why...what needed to be said. That is where I get my high as a missionary!!! Not knowing why I am doing something other than I feel like it's what needs to happen, and then having the Lord confirm and show me that it was because He was using me as His instrument! Oh my goofy gummies! It is just the best!
I don't know why I felt to share that with you all...but I hope it touched your hearts = ) We can be that for everyone around us, we all have companions (family/friend) to help!
I just want to share one quick experience that happened last week that was amazing...I was on exchanges with Sister Miller, and we went about our plans. There were a lot of miracles along the way...but at the end of the night, we were in a lesson with Raquel, our Jewish investigator we have been teaching who wants to get baptized but won't set a date because she is afraid to tell her parents. We had 2 members come, one who we invited because her story was similar and she wanted to share it with her, and another who actually saw us teaching and wanted to join. I sat back as the lesson went on and we talked with her about the testimony she had gained and her desire to be baptized, how right and important it is, and how to overcome her fears...I was in awe as our members testified...they both had things that Raquel needed to hear and it was their personal experiences that she related to and that were most powerful. I literally was just enjoying it all thinking, "Wow...let's just let them teach! It's perfect!" The spirit was there in abundance and Raquel cried through it all. As I testified in the end...the words started to flow and I related how scary it was for me to make the decision to come on a mission....how I worried the reputation I had built with Disney would be ruined and how I took that step of faith and turned down the contract and decided to serve....then how even after showing my faith, a bump in the road came...and I had to strive and sacrifice and toil with my health to be able to receive my mission call...even after I knew it was right and I had taken that step of faith...I had to keep enduring and keep trusting. Tears came to my eyes of how clearly I saw the Lord working miracle sin my life to bless my faith...that it wasn't easy....but He never let me down. I firmly testified that He too, would never forsake her or let her down. Sister Miller immediately bore testimony that the spirit was there because all that was going through her head was, "Tell her I won't forsake her...Tell her I won't forsake her..." She told me after in the car that the Spirit was our 3rd companion in that lesson. It was so humbling...and an experience I will never forget. She still hasn't told her parents or set a date...but I know when she chooses to fully trust in the Lord, she will see that He always keeps His promises!
I love you all so very much! This is the greatest! Don't think you can't have these experiences too! Just stop and listen for that still small voice...he will lead you to your friends and classmates and associates who are ready to hear the gospel! And YOU will be an instrument in His hands!
Go and Do!!!!!
All my love,