What a great time of year this is! Spring is arriving and with this beautiful time of year comes the message and reminder that our Savior lives! I love having the chance to bear my testimony daily about my Savior Jesus Christ, His infinite love, and testifying of what He overcame! Just think about a time you stood up in sacrament meeting to bear testimony of how the Savior helped you overcome a trial you never thought you could make it through...how the tears flowed and the spirit burned within your heart...what an amazing feeling and what an amazing gift. I know that what the Savior suffered caused Him to "tremble because of pain" and I know that He asked if the bitter cup could pass from Him...which I am sure we all ask in the middle of our deepest trials...but He overcame! And because He did and because on that bright and glorious morning of the Resurrection the tomb stood empty...WE...CAN...OVERCOME! And because He was willing to bear all the burdens and the weight of the world alone, we do not, He can take our hand...and we will never walk alone. Because He lives, we will live! I love my Savior with all of my heart...for He alone, made all things possible. HAPPY EASTER!!!
It has been a great week and we have continued to see the tender mercies of the Lord. Even though some days we felt discouraged, the next day we would see small miracles here and there that assured us that Heavenly Father was aware of us and our efforts were not wasted. I got the best e-mail EVER from one of my investigators on Friday...you remember Michelle? All the way back from the MTC? My first on-line chat contact who's first question was, "I'm interested in being baptized and was wondering what the steps are?" Well...I have been keeping in touch with her through e-mail and over the phone throughout the past 9 months and I have come to love her so dearly and have had so many sweet experiences as I have talked with her, read the scriptures with her, answered questions, and tried to help love and encourage her along her way as so much has been happening in her life and as she has constantly had the desire to work towards her baptism. Well, last Friday...I wasn't in the best of spirits because I was having a day where I was feeling pretty inadequate and like I never seem to be able to do everything I should be or could be doing as a missionary....even when I feel like there isn't more I can do, there always is...and I constantly feel I am falling short or must be missing something...and just wonder if what I give is enough or pleasing to the Lord....(common feelings for missionaries)....and I went into our call center to check my online area book to see if anyone e-mailed and this is what I saw:
"Ralynne! How are you have? It's been a couple weeks since I have talked to you! I have A LOT to tell you! I started a new job at KSL Your not going to believe it! I'M GETTING BAPTIZED THIS SATURDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes it's true! I have finally decided to take that step in my life! I am so excited! The missionaries and my husband said the adversary would try and get me to change my mind. I have to say they have been trying! But I am strong and I can make it to Saturday! I told everyone in my family. I have a lot of support with friends...I am excited! The missionaries said I could have my patriarchal blessing in about a month or as little as 2 weeks. AND the BEST PART! They said in a week or so after my baptism we would be able to go into the temple for the Baptisms for the dead! How exciting is that?? But I am so glad my Husband is able to baptize me!"
MIRACLE!!!!! I was so overjoyed and I couldn't hold back the tears. I called her right away to tell her how happy I was for her. I talked to her yesterday to hear about her baptism and it was wonderful and she had some sweet spiritual experiences that have confirmed her step of faith...turning her faith to knowledge and now she KNOWS that she has made the right decision for her and her family! I cannot wait to meet the Morgan's someday after my mission. I am so thankful to have been the lucky one to answer her first question 9 months ago on our on-line chat on mormon.org, and thankful the Lord trusted me with one of His sweetest daughter's journey to baptism and to eternal life!!!! Yay! I love being a missionary!
Our investigators here in La Jolla are doing well. We have four solid people we are teaching and I love them all. Jackie and Rachell (the sisters) are doing great. We are teaching them about the commandments now and it's kind of funny, their outlook on things, which is "well I don't think a little of this or a little of that is bad..." and answering a lot of "why's" but they are both loving The Book of Mormon and they always talk to us about what they are learning and how it helps their day go better and to feel peace even though they are stressed. They love the lessons they learn in gospel principles and always say things like, "I was thinking about what they said in class and I tried doing..." this or doing that and it just makes us so happy! The spirit is really working in them and as we have explained every time...what it comes down to is..."Do you believe in God and that He loves you? Do you love Him? Do you want to be blessed and be happy now and in the future? Keeping the commandments is how that is made possible. Jesus said, 'If ye love me, keep my commandments.'" They are the cutest though, they even saw mine and Sister Rasmussen's CTR rings and asked if you have to be a member to wear one. When we told them where the store was and that they could get one, they texted us an hour later and said, "We got our rings!" = ) Ha ha...they bought them together before going home for spring break! Love them! Raquel is wonderful and we had a great lesson with her this week too...inviting her to be courageous. We asked her all of the baptismal interview questions (without her knowing that's what they were) and she answered them all perfectly, with great understanding, and a willingness to live by the standards she would need to to be baptized. We then told her what the questions were and that she was completely ready to be baptized...it just would take her telling her parents...which brings tears of fear to her eyes every time she thinks about trying to tell her father. (She is from a strong Jewish family). We showed her the new Mormon message about Esther's courage and reminded her of the talk she read by President Monson that she loved about having "Courage to Stand Alone" to stand for what is right. She admitted that she hasn't shown any courage. We invited her to set a date with Heavenly Father through prayer...a date she'd promise Him she would be baptized. We are praying for her and her courage to stand while she is away with her family for spring break! She is so awesome! Arthur is great too and LOVES meeting with us...we meet 3 or 4 times a week and when we first start his spirits are always down and he says he feels depressed and he doesn't know why...then by the time we leave he is smiling and then texts us later to tell us how happy he feels and can't wait to meet again. We let him know that was because of the spirit = ) manifesting the message and the messengers are true! In a lesson we had with him just yesterday, it was kind of funny because he actually cussed because he was so astonished at what we were saying because it was exactly what he was feeling and how he was thinking about one of the commandments he is struggling to keep....he said "you seriously are hitting it right on the nail...wow...my mind is blown." Evidence that there spirit was there teaching! Thanks for the help! He is progressing toward his baptism in April.
We found and added a new investigator this weekend through another tender mercy...remember how sad I was that we had to drop the Ghana's? Well, we were going back by their apartment to give them my CD they asked for, sing a song, and bear our testimonies one more time....and as we got out of the car there were two guys and a couple of kids in the parking lot with a telescope. They asked if we knew how to work it...then one of them saw Sister Rasmussen carrying the guitar case (yeah...we are quite a team..she plays guitar and I sing so sometimes we put a little special arrangement together to sing in lessons = ) He asked about it and we got talking and seriously we didn't have to ask any questions. He asked them all! His name is Casmier and he is 25 and needs direction in his life...we invited him to church and promised a ride...he spaced it and told the ride he couldn't make it but we had an appointment with him last night and brought a ward member. We planned to show up and say, "Hey want to come with us to a fun activity?! Here's your ride! Let's go!" = ) ha ha...and that's what we did and HE CAME! It was perfect too because it was at a member of the bishopric's house and they had a lasagna dinner, candy, and egg coloring! Everyone was so kind to him and he said there was such a good vibe there and he liked it...that most the times at parties he just feels inadequate (he has some trouble communicating and with social anxiety a little) but that everyone here was so nice. He looked up at a sign hanging in the home that said, "Families can be together forever." He just said, "Wow...that's what it's all about." Our Bishop walked right up to the poor kid and said, "So have these sisters talked to you about baptism yet?" We were like, "BISHOP! We just met him!" He smiled and said, "Well cut to the chase sisters this is missionary work!" We had a nice laugh...he he...= / We then sat and had a great lesson about the restoration of the church and it was wonderful. We taught him how to pray and he said a sweet and sincere prayer. Afterward, he texted us and thanked us and said that The Book of Mormon was his top priority now! MIRACLE!!!! A heartbreak with the Ghana's turned into finding someone who's heart is open and ready! I love Heavenly Father! = )
We had Zone Conference this last Friday also and were trained by our mission president and assistants. I always love training meetings the most. It is so wonderful to be instructed by our inspired leaders and then to be instructed by the spirit. Our President focused on using the Book of Mormon more in our teaching...reading with investigators early on and teaching them how to fish and find answers for themselves and not to just be the fish hander-outer-people. He talked about having a vision for ourselves, our investigators and our areas. Visions are so important...we have to see the end from the beginning, then make those plans and take those steps to get there! With no vision in mind though...it's hard to take steps towards things. And when we teach our investigators we need to see them as an eternal family in the temple...all in white...baptism isn't the end! It's the beginning! Our assistants had the newest missionaries that just got here this week come up and talk about what they did to prepare for their missions and the feelings they had when they were set-apart. What's amazing is that it wasn't just that we started preparing after we decided to go....we took further action and had greater focus, yes...but we have been preparing, and the Lord has been preparing us for this work for our whole lives. It also made me reflect on the promises I was given as I was set apart as a full-time servant of the Lord. What sweet promises. I truly am exhausting my energies striving to do all I can to receive those blessings. What an honor, and what a privilege I have here...and I wouldn't trade it for anything. I had this conversation with some sisters just yesterday....how there are many things I was doing, and many things I could be doing with my life right now...but I am doing what is most important, of most worth, and what will bring not only me, but my family, and those I meet here the greatest blessings. I am so thankful...
I love you all with all of my heart. Thank you for your service, your sacrifice, and your faith in my behalf.
All my love and faith,