Monday, June 23, 2014

Where To Even Begin?!

Seriously this week was crazy! So many experiences that were new and different and at times, freaky! But the gospel is true and God loves us. He never EVER gives us anything we can't handle through Him. I love that!
Well, my allergies have been killing me here. My allergy-less time is over and done. Dang. Haha but I've been getting into a good schedule with allergy meds, so it hasn't been too bad. Just enough to cut down our tracting a bit...gah. Lame allergies ruin everything. Haha.
I will just warn you now, my grammar this week has truly been awful because my brain has been fried, so I apologize if this email doesn't make any sense.
We got 10 lessons this week, more than they've had in this area in 1 week for the past 2 months! Woohoo! The Lord is blessing us as we are going out and finding people to teach. We are getting out and working hard and are being blessed. We have so many part member families in our ward (meaning families where not everyone is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints), and so we have been trying a whole bunch of them and are slowly being able to teach more of them! The Lord is blessing us!
We have a super solid investigator, Chris. She is preparing for baptism at the end of July! It is so awesome to see her strong testimony and to be able to work with her. I still don't know her very well, but I know that she knows this gospel is true and this is Christ's true church on the earth. She was feeling awful yesterday, but she still came to Church! She doesn't make excuses for herself and does what she knows she needs to. It is awesome. I am so excited to keep working with her!
We found 2 new investigators this week, which was GREAT! One of them, Lucas, is 12 years old. He is in a part member family and was at one point going to be baptized. He is now currently praying about if baptism is something that he needs to do. We, Sister Burt and I, are confident that the Holy Ghost will let him know that baptism is important and is essential. It is awesome how the Spirit works! I have full trust in the Spirit, He has never led me or anyone astray, nor will He ever. We are excited to hear about his experiences.
Our other new investigator is a man named Austin. He is 20, and because there is a Young Single Adult (Ages 18-30) ward here with a set of elders in it, we won't teach him again. But the elders will be best for him. It was very interesting to teach him because he believes that we are a cult. There are other aspects of our religion, such as the Book of Mormon modern-day prophets that he disagrees with as well. We brought an awesome member with us who was super bold and wouldn't let Austin go back on what he said. Sister Burt, Elder Wilkinson, Elder Telford and I are going to Church with him on Saturday. He goes to a non-denominational Christian church, and Austin told us that if we went to church with him, he would go to church with us. So we got permission from President Anderson, our mission president to go if we had elders with us. So that will be a fun experience! I am excited, just because going to other churches always strengthens my testimony that I belong to Christ's true Church on the earth.
Sister Burt and I got to teach Relief Society yesterday on the talk, "Be Ye Converted" by Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, the Young Women General President. It's from the October 2013 General Conference. (Look at it here: Our lesson went really well! We were bold, yet loving with the sister there and helped them to understand how doing missionary work helps us to strengthen our own conversion. We had some Relief Society sisters share their testimonies of this and the Spirit was so strong. One of the quotes we shared was from President Spencer W. Kimball, who was the prophet on the earth from 1973-1985: “Now is the moment in the timetable of the Lord to carry the gospel farther than it has ever been carried before. Many a person in this world is crying, knowingly and unknowingly, ‘Come over and help us.’ He might be your neighbor. She might be your friend. He might be a relative. She might be someone you met only yesterday. But we have what they need. Let us take new courage from our studies and pray, as did Peter, ‘And now, Lord, grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word’ (Acts 4:29)” It turned out well and the sisters were inspired because they were able to feel the Spirit. That's what I love about missionary work: I as a human being with mistakes and rough edges can try my hardest to do good and to be good, and when I share my testimony of things, the Spirit will come to testify of the truth of it, which can then help other people. It reminds me a lot of the scripture Ether 12:27 from the Book of Mormon: "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."It's such a huge comfort to me to know that I don't have to be perfect, I just have to have a willing heart and a willing mind. :)
This week, I hit my NINE MONTH MARK! I can't believe how fast it came and that I am already halfway through my mission. You think that 18 months is a long time, but it is not!! In the spirit of missionary work, President and Sister Anderson (our mission president and his wife) came up with a list of 10 things youth can do today to prepare to serve a mission.  I thought it was so good, I wanted to share:

HOW TO PREPARE FOR YOUR MISSION (President and Sister Anderson’s top ten picks)
1. Learn how your family works. Discover the blessings your family has received because of the Restoration of the Gospel. (Hang out with your dad (Boys). Hang out with your mom (Girls)
2. Learn how to be courageous and "do hard things". (Get a job)
3. Know what it feels like to feel the Holy Ghost in your life and learn how to sustain it.
4. Read and have a testimony of the Book of Mormon.
5. Know how to pray, not just how to say a prayer.
6. Be able to “Go and do” on your own initiative.
7. Know how to keep the space you occupy clean.
8. Develop a personal fitness plan and be responsible for your own health.
9. Learn to be obedient and how to repent and how to help your friends be obedient and repent. (In other words be a missionary before you are called as a missionary)
10. If you are afraid to inform people they need to repent, Get over it.
That's most of our week! It was awesome and full of great things that helped to strengthen my testimony of missionary work and the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ! I know this Church is true, I know God loves us and wants us to be happy. :)
This week, I have pondered a lot on the quote, "Authority is given, power is earned". As a missionary, I have the authority to preach the gospel, but the power behind my words and the degree that the Spirit is with me depends on my personal conversion and obedience to the Gospel and mission rules. That is something Sister Burt and I are focusing on. Obedience brings blessings, but exact obedience brings miracles and I know that to be true. There have been a lot of disobedient missionaries here and I have seen the damage it has caused. I will not do that to the people I am here to serve, my companion, myself, or most importantly, the Lord. This is my time to serve Him and my personal obedience and adherence to the Gospel shows Jesus Christ how much I love Him and cherish His Atonement.
I love you all! Thank you for the continued support and prayers! I feel them and it helps me so much!

sister leslie.

Sister Miller and I on our 9 MONTH MARK! YIKES!

How cool is that??! I found a line allll the way back to Adam and Eve!!

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