Monday, February 17, 2014

Becoming Consecrated

Zone Conference this week was probably one of the longest day of my life, but in a good way. We woke up at 5am, left by 6:10 (we had to pick up the sisters and elders) and got down to Bismarck by 8. All the trainings were so inspired and so awesome! They hit me to the core, they were all about how we can become converted and need to repent and be better. The Assistants to the President (or the APs) did a powerful object lesson in which the point was to show that when we as missionaries have fears or distractions or anything that is personally holding us back, it holds back our investigators and makes it virtually impossible for them to progress. A lot of missionaries were crying and it hit us all that we need to be better, to consecrate ourselves to the Lord. They taught us that to be consecrated, we must give up all of our bad things, and good things, that are not in harmony with our missionary purpose to the Lord and when we do that, the Lord will be able to mold us into the best missionaries we can be. All of this just hit me like a brick wall and I immediately started of things I needed to change. I was scared at first to have to face the things I needed to resolve, but I was determined to figure them out, so for the whole rest of the day I was thinking to myself about how I could help myself let certain things go. I was like an emotional wreck inside myself that day. We drove home that night with the 6 of us in Mo, and I was driving, which already had put me on the edge for it was dark and there was a lot of people in the car and I was just plain scared. But we made it back safe, we got back to Minot around 9:15 at night. I t was a very long day and Sister Jensen and I were emotionally and physically done. But still, before I went to bed that night, I gave everything up to the Lord. It was one of the hardest moments for me on my mission, because I loved these things and I thought I could still carry them with me on my mission, but I realized that I can't. I can look at them every once in a while, but can't pick them up, which is what I had done. So I gave it all to the Lord and told Him that He needed to help me, because I loved all these things so much. I fell asleep very fast that night and when I woke up in the morning, I felt better. I felt peaceful about it all and I have noticed ever since then, only 2 days ago, that I feel the Spirit more. I have a bigger desire to go out and share the gospel with others, I have more motivation to do the work. I wasn't a bad or disobedient missionary before, I'm just deciding to make the step now to becoming a consecrated missionary. Saturday night, we taught Jose and I had the prompting to share my experience with Jose, and so I did, among tears. I bore my testimony of the Atonement and how we can be forgiven and cleansed again. I wanted him to know what I now know, that the Atonement works and there for all of us. It was cool to see that change in my motives that soon after I had made the decision to become consecrated. I KNOW the Atonement works and that God and his son, Jesus Christ love us so much! They are willing to do ANYTHING to help us, we just have to reach up and ask them for Their help.
Zone Conference was the highlight of my week for sure, but we did have some other great experiences with some awesome new investigators. We were able to teach Karla again, and she is recognizing the Spirit so well! It is so cool to see her already recognize that. We watched The Restoration video with her and she said she felt the Spirit so strong when the First Vision happened. It's so cool because so many people don't recognize the Spirit or understand the good feelings they have when meeting with us! It is so cool to get to work with her, and to help her progress. She has been practicing praying and is doing so well! She now feels much more comfortable praying when we come. She has a sweet heart and is strong in her desire to learn! 
Debbie is another great investigator we have who actually knows a lot about the Church and had a lot of questions for us. She was so excited when we gave her a Book of Mormon and a chapter to read. She was like, "I was hoping you would give me a reading assignment! I've wanted to read in this book for a long time." She is pretty much Mormon without being baptized. Growing up when her friends wanted to go to a bar, she'd be like, "Can't we stay home and scrapbook?" There are many more examples from her life that she is prepared to receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ.Our area is picking up again, slowly but surely.
It always makes it worth it when recent converts or investigators tell you that you've changed their life for the better and have helped them grow in their faith. A few mornings ago, we woke up and checked the phone like we do every morning to find a text from Jose. Part of it read: "Sisters, I know it's late but I just wanted to tell you that I wish I could have met you a long time ago. I wasted so much time away from God and it makes me so sad...know that you two girls mean so much to me, I know all you left behind just to teach people like me and I truly appreciate it!" Jose helps us so much in boosting our confidence in our teaching and in our motivation that we can prepare people for baptism and that they can be active, life-long members. It is so cool to be a part of this great work. Yesterday, we watched "Legacy" with him, and it was cool for him to see a bit more of Church history. Next we're going to watch the Joseph Smith movie. In the next 2 weeks, the plan is that he will be given the Aaronic Priesthood and ordained to the office of Priest. It is so cool to watch him continually progressing in the Gospel! Having converts is the greatest, they help boost you, you help boost them and it just makes life so much nicer. :) 
Word has gotten out that I am an interior designer major and so last week Elder Kirton employed me to decorate a letter for him so it would be "much cooler". And then yesterday, he told me and Sister Jensen and he and Elder Larsen want us to decorate planners for them using our "skills". So that's funny. The Elders are becoming friends with us now, which helps us to trust them even more and helps us as we further the ward with them. 
Those are the highlight of the week. Know I love you all and have a strong testimony of the Atonement! It works! I know it with all I am. The Lord can make a better person than we can make of ourselves! Ether 12:27!
sister leslie. 
Sister Miller and I at Zone Conference

Me in yet another snow storm with HUGE snowflakes yesterday

Me in front of "Mo", our glorious minivan. He's a big dude. 

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