Monday, April 14, 2014

Because of Him!

This week was much better than last week. Easy? Not even a little bit! But better. I really do want you to understand that I love training and I love Sister Manning, but it's easily the hardest thing I've ever done. I feel like everything this transfer has been tested. I've had to face homesickness (again). I've faced personal feelings and did my best to pray to know what to do with them and then have followed those promptings I've received. I have a new companion--one that I need to teach and give my best example to. I've never felt more alone in my whole life. But, I have also learned the most about myself and my faith and my Savior, Jesus Christ. I am grateful to be able to celebrate Easter this weekend and reflect on how much we have to be grateful for. Because of Him, we have everything. Anything is possible! The Church came out with a fantastic video for Easter that I would highly recommend. It put my heart at peace with everything that has been going on. Here's the link: Let me know what you think about it! I am very curious to know how it speaks to you.

This week, while still difficult, was a better week than last week. We saw many miracles and a lot happened! First, we were able to see Karla 3 times this week. We got to watch a couple Conference talks with her the first couple of times, which she understood very well and really enjoyed watching. The third time this week we met with her, we brought Sister Vogt with us and we went over the baptismal program and what parts there are to it. We also went over the baptismal interview questions with her again, and it was so powerful to hear her testimony of the different principles and commandments of the Gospel! She is ready to live them! Unfortunately, she was not at Church yesterday and we haven't heard from her since, so we need to discuss Church attendance. 

The first time we went to visit Karla this week, we had Sister Osburn with us for the monthly 2 days we have her due to her comp going down to Rapid City, SD to receive training. We were walking to Karla's door and her next door neighbor was outside his door, unlocking it, and he casually said, "Hey, how are you?" And all in unison we 3 replied, "Good! How are you?" (The missionary in all of us came out at the same time). He laughed and was like, "Woah, that was intense." We then got to talking to him and he asked if we had like a brochure or something or our Church. Ecstatic, we gave him a Restoration pamphlet and made an appointment to come back later that evening to visit with him about it. We got there, and he ran down the hall really quick to grab his 16-year-old struggling neighbor, Scott. Scott came to Church with Danielle and Anthony once, so I had met him before. Chris, the one we gave the pamphlet to, told us he was Southern Baptist and a couple of other things about himself. We didn't get a whole lot of teaching in, because he's a talker, but he has a testimony of James 1:5 already, which is great because we can build upon that when we teach him about Joseph Smith and the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We were able to explain the Book of Mormon, so he should be reading that. Pretty cool story. Our follow-up appointment with him fell through, so we're in the process of getting back in with him and Scott. 

I felt really dumb this week, especially in 2 situations. 1 I couldn't control, but the other I could. But anyways. The first one happened on Wednesday when we went inside to go ask Bishop a question. I was a bit warm, so I took off my coat and put it in the van. It wasn't until we got back to Mo that we found him locked, with the keys still in my coat pocket...which was in the van. So, here we were, locked out of our van (our phone was conveniently in there as well), so we casually mentioned it to a member that then went into his car, got a wire hanger, and tried to get us into our van. When that didn't work, we called President Anderson and he told us to call a lock smith. So we called a lock smith and in 1.2 seconds he had the door open. Yeesh. So that whole shabang took an hour. I guess that's a benefit to not having many appointments: you don't miss them when you're locked out of your car for an hour. The second one happened on Thursday during Weekly Planning. The mailwoman came to the door, and us, assuming that Sister Noel was home, didn't go answer it. When we found that she wasn't and the mailwoman knocked, we went downstairs to see what she needed (because you see, we get very excited about mail, though I don't know why because we only regularly get letters from our parents and sometimes our siblings like once a week), to find she had almost left, so we went outside to talk to her and then we found that the front door was locked. The keys and phone were of course upstairs, and I wasn't wearing shoes, so we went around to see if any other doors were unlocked, but they weren't, so we sat outside until Sister Noel got back. Luckily, it was only like a half hour. And it was warm, so that was exciting. Gee whiz. 

Our lesson with Ashley and her family went very well this week. We taught about repentance and forgiveness, which we were a bit nervous for simply because of their experiences and situation, but it was a very spirit-led lesson and because of that, touched them. Sister Van Bibber came, and she really connected with the family. The first part, repentance, went well, it was simple, nothing amazing or anything, but it was when we got to forgiveness that the Spirit led very strong. We watched a Mormon Message, "Forgiveness:My Burden Was Made Light" (I will recommend it to anyone:, and it touched them deeply. They then started asking the hard questions on how they could forgive people. I felt prompted to share my experience going through the forgiveness process when I was a young girl to mid teen, which surprised me, because that is a very personal thing that I don't share with many people. But it clicked with them, and left them all teary-eyed. If the reason I had to go through that experience was to be able to help Ashley and her family at this time, then it was worth it, 100%. It was what I needed, to be able to follow the Spirit and help someone. The line from Preach My Gospel came to my mind, "You can feel certain the Lord is pleased when you feel the Spirit working through you." I have felt the last couple of weeks that that has been missing, and I needed it back. I was blessed with that opportunity again this week. If I learned anything from this lesson, it is that bearing simple, powerful testimony works! It can touch the hearts of people you interact with and it can change someone's outlook on life so drastically. Don't EVER be afraid to bear your testimony or to stand up for what is right!! By your example, people will be changed if you keep the commandments and live worthily. 

Ashley was at church yesterday. She stayed for all 3 hours and now wants to go to Girl's Camp and maybe even Trek! It is an awesome experience to see someone's life be changed because of the gospel! It is a glorious thing and makes all the hard times worth it! 

Shirley was also at Church this week. She has been off-and-on investigating for about 7 years, and the most consistent she has been with missionaries is with us. She told us in this last lesson that she is ready to learn with real intent now, that she has that true desire to know for herself that this is God's true Church. A big part of her getting to this point is Sister Stockwell, a great member and fellowshipper for Shirley. Shirley has seen Sister Stockwell's example of how she lives her religion every day, not just on Sundays, and she has noticed that pattern with other members. THAT's why she's giving it a chance! The members play such a HUGE role in helping the missionaries! Please: live what you know! You never know who's watching!

I love you all! Remember that Because of Him, we can live again and we will live with our families for all eternity! Remember Him this Easter season!
sister leslie.

The wind was so bad this week we got some Marilyn Monroe pictures! 

ZTM This week: the Minot Zone Sisters! S. Aiono, S. Osburn, Me,
S. Manning, S. Peterson, S. Gogan

Sister Peterson and I with the Jaguar. :)

We served at the zoo this week raking leaves and such! Woohoo!

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