Honestly, I don't know what to write. So many emotions. I never thought I would get here, but here I am.For the past 5 days my companion has been really sick. We've had to stay in because of her sickness. It's been a long weekend to say the least. We weren't able to watchconference ☹️ but thankfully, members we were living with gave us their wifi password and so it worked better for us , and we were able to hear more talks . It's a very interesting feeling, knowing that modern day Apostles are speaking, and unable to hear their words. I never want to miss another General Conference. Ever. Haha. Lesson learned!But, on the flip side, I have finished the Book of Acts and Romans! Incredible books. Last night I was reading in 1 Corinthians and I couldn't stop reading! I am literally feasting on the words of Christ! I love the scriptures!At the beginning of this week, we did lots of service helping at a food pantry. We also had lunch with an investigator, Mary. She took us to a Mongolian grill and she made us eat seconds!! We were so full it was crazy! And then we also painted ceilings for members who just moved into the ward. ;) yup, I never thought I would do that!So 2 weeks left. I am going on the templefor a departing temple trip. Being a missionary has been a great source of joy for me. I have a lot of feelings about it, but this is what I have to say. And I will quote a lot of scripture here because I don't really know how to say what i feel....Mosiah 2:21-2221 I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another--I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants.22 And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you.At the beginning of my mission I thought that I was giving God something back for all He had given me. But I knew, in the back of my mind, that I would never be able to pay him back. I have seen so many miracles, and probably only a few people will know all of the miracles that have happened. So many sacred experiences. I have become someone new, someone better. I literally feel liberated. Saved. I have come to understand more fully the Plan, and the gospel of Jesus Christ, the why of everything. Every question is answered. And so I shall continue to study, to learn, to teach and lead and guide and pray and study some more.I wish to add my voice to that of Paul:(1 Corinthians 2....just read the whole chapter really...)1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.This has been the best experience of my life, for my life. I can't even describe it. I don't think I ever will be able to.Alma 2611 But Ammon said unto him: I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God.12 Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.16 Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel.22 Yea, he that repenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringeth forth good works, and prayeth continually without ceasing--unto such it is given to know the mysteries of God; yea, unto such it shall be given to reveal things which never have been revealed; yea, and it shall be given unto such to bring thousands of souls to repentance, even as it has been given unto us to bring these our brethren to repentance.27 Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success.28 And now behold, we have come, and been forth amongst them; and we have been patient in our sufferings, and we have suffered every privation; yea, we have traveled from house to house, relying upon the mercies of the world--not upon the mercies of the world alone but upon the mercies of God.29 And we have entered into their houses and taught them, and we have taught them in their streets; yea, and we have taught them upon their hills; and we have also entered into their temples and their synagogues and taught them; and we have been cast out, and mocked, and spit upon, and smote upon our cheeks; and we have been stoned, and taken and bound with strong cords, and cast into prison; and through the power and wisdom of God we have been delivered again.30 And we have suffered all manner of afflictions, and all this, that perhaps we might be the means of saving some soul; and we supposed that our joy would be full if perhaps we could be the means of saving some.31 Now behold, we can look forth and see the fruits of our labors; and are they few? I say unto you, Nay, they are many; yea, and we can witness of their sincerity, because of their love towards their brethren and also towards us.35 Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began; yea, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God; for he has all power, all wisdom, and all understanding; he comprehendeth all things, and he is a merciful Being, even unto salvation, to those who will repent and believe on his name.36 Now if this is boasting, even so will I boast; for this is my life and my light, my joy and my salvation, and my redemption from everlasting wo. Yea, blessed is the name of my God, who has been mindful of this people, who are a branch of the tree of Israel, and has been lost from its body in a strange land; yea, I say, blessed be the name of my God, who has been mindful of us, wanderers in a strange land.37 Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever. Amen.I am so thankful to my God for giving me this blessed opportunity. I have been an instrument in his hands, and I have seen so many miracles in his name. And I will continue to serve Him my whole life! Thank you for your prayers and help and all the letters and love and support. ️️
Thursday, April 6, 2017
This week. Was very long. I think it was because we didn't get a full
P-day, and because we had to do a lot of work inside with planning and
getting things ready for the week. We have 7 progressing
investigators, and so it is pretty exciting!!!! We are very busy
keeping up with them!
We had interviews , and it was so wonderful to visit with
President and Sister Russell! They are so great! I love them a lot. I
talked to President about being better at sharing scriptures with
investigators to help resolve their concerns. In the process of me
studying for it, I came across this scripture:
"...that the time has verily come that it is necessary and expedient
in me that you should open your mouths in proclaiming my gospel, the
things of the kingdom, expounding the mysteries thereof out of the
scriptures, according to that portion of Spirit and power which shall
be given unto you, even as I will." D&C 71:1
So, I thought, wow! I guess Heavenly Father thinks it is necessary for
me to use the scriptures! So I have been striving to get better at
that. I am reading in Acts right now, and it is incredible to see how
the church that existed then, is the same that exists now. It is VERY
clear that the Apostles directed the church after Jesus Christ left,
that they had the priesthood and that members were baptized and
received the Gift of the Holy Ghost by that priesthood authority. We
met a woman who is Less active, who said that she doesn't believe that Jesus is
the Christ, or that the apostles directed the church after He was
gone. I am so grateful for the scriptures and the power and knowledge
that we can gain from them. As we read everyday, and pray, and go to
church, those three will build our foundation on Christ so that we
will not become troubled or confused by the philosophies of men.
We had a lesson with Mary. We showed the Testaments movie to her, and
she was in tears at the end of the movie. She believes the Book of
Mormon to be true, she just is waiting for a confirming witness from
the Holy Ghost. She has some things she is working towards, but she is
incredible and is seeking for knowledge and truth. "Just have to be
patient with me girls. And with Him. I guess it's all in his timing."
We had two lessons scheduled at the same time morning, and
so we went on splits. I was with a member named Rita, and she is so
fun! We went and visited with Myrna. She had met with missionaries
before, but had a stroke and forgot everything. Rita was very
surprised when we met with her, Rita had helped teach her before.
"She is more receptive now, she's even reading from the Book of
Mormon!" Very true. Myrna has read 3 chapters in the Book of Mormon,
and loves it! In a very inspired lesson, we taught her about prayer,
the Holy Ghost and the Gift of the Holy Ghost. I bore a strong
testimony of the power of prayer because of an experience I had when I
was a teen. Tears, were flowing down my cheeks as I told her that God
loves her and knows her and that He answers prayers. "I began to pray
and ask God if I should go on a mission. And I waited patiently to
know. And finally one day, I felt the Spirit. I felt a warmth and a
power beyond my own. I knew I was called by God to come here. I am
here to teach you."
It struck me then. I only have a few short weeks left. But I was
called to be a missionary. And I have done everything I needed to. And
the great thing is, I will continue to find people. All my life. A
mission is just the beginning.
Yesterday was a hard day. It is scary to think of the future, and not
really know how I fit into the puzzle of life. I've been struggling to
know who I am, but more importantly of what Heavenly Father needs me
to become and do to help continue to build His kingdom. I am scared
for the future, because I don't know what will happen. But I am coming
to understand that I can trust in God, that He will not lead me astray
or forget me. That He knows my name and does hear my prayers. I need
to let my faith overcome my fear. It is to take a step in the dark,
not knowing if I will make it. But, with Christ, all things are
Sunday, March 26, 2017
This week has been interesting! Out of seven days this week, I only saw
the sun for two days. Gotta love Oregon!! It was pretty funny
though because when the sun came out I was blinded by it.
Anyways, Sister Simmons is so great! She is a great companion to have,
she is wild and crazy and loves to sing and create jewelry. So we are
having a great time together, laughing a lot. She says I'm a lot like
Snow White. Hmmm... they call this area "the valley of the sick." The
Willamette Valley has the highest pollen count in the whole world, and
so in the spring EVERYONE gets sick : including your companion.
We live in a tiny apartment, it's in a small attic above the garage,
our kitchen just has a stove and a sink and a little counter. Then we
have a mini fridge. The mission jokes that it is the Barbie house. The
church building too is weird, it was built by members way back when
and the layout is very different. The sacrament table is in the center
of the upper part, while the podium is off to the side. It's called
the German building because the steeple is built differently.
We are teaching some cool people. One is Mary. She is an aunt to a
member in the ward, she is this sweet woman while a bunch of spunk and
spitfire. She is reading in the Book of Mormon and just loves it!
She is basically a member, but we think she is waiting till she
finishes the Book of Mormon to get baptized. Another is Craig, he is married to a
member, and is interested in learning about the church from us. He
came to church ! It was awesome to see him there! He has had
very little experience with religion and with God in general and has a
hard time with understanding how God can speak to him. During church,
all of the talks were about the Holy Ghost and listening to what God
has to tell you! It was pretty awesome to see!
One person we are teaching is a 81 year old woman. She is so sweet! I
just love her so much! She was excommunicated, and finally after many
years, has come back. She is recently baptized, and we had a lesson at
the church. She expressed to us how she feels so guilty for all of the
things she has done in her past and how she knows she has been
forgiven, but that she can't forgive herself. All the sudden, I didn't
see an old woman, I saw my sister. My heart broke for her as she spoke
of those challenges she was facing. I testified to her of the power of
the Atonement, and read 3 Nephi 9:13-15 with her. "Christ is eagerly
waiting for you, He wants to heal you Cleo!" she came up to
us and said: During sacrament, I realized that Christ suffered for
everything, for all that I have ever done. The debt has been paid."
Tears were in her eyes, but she was glowing. "I am clean." My heart
filled with love for her and for our Savior. He really does love us so
Today we were blessed to go to the temple. I am so grateful that we
are able to have that little piece of heaven on earth. I really felt
of the spirit whole I was there, and gained some more knowledge. Some
people think that they have to know it all before they get baptized,
or before they face a challenge. But in reality God wants us to take a
step forward into the dark, and then he will continue to teach us and
help us learn as we go. There is so much to discover! So why not keep
learning? Eventually you can look back over your life and see the
miracles and the light you have received, and it is glorious!
So tranfsers are upon us! I am leaving Grants Pass and going up to the Trinity! Haha, jk that's just what we call it. The tri-cities in
the Willamete Valley, Eugene, Springfield, and Santa Clara. I am going
to Santa Clara to be with Sister Simmons. I am excited, but I am
really sad to leave Grants Pass and Sister Leavitt. You know, funny
story, out of my 9 companions, 5 of them have been from the same
Anyways, this week was very busy. We went to MLC on Tuesday and went
up to Eugene to learn from the President and the APs. We learned about
prophets, and helping investigators to come to church. It was such an
uplifting experience, I loved it! At the end however, President told
us that this transfer is only 5 weeks long instead of 6, so I'm coming
home one week early! Wow. That's crazy. I don't want to think about that!
Anyways, we had a great lesson with Tom. We taught him for about 10
mins, and he told us how he had always wanted to get baptized, but
never felt that it was right. He said he had read the Restoration
pamphlet we left him, and as he read, he felt something was true, and
that it is right. I invited him to be baptized, and he accepted!!
Yay!! We taught him the whole Restoration, and we gave him a Book of
Mormon. The next day, we texted him, and he had read it on and off the
whole day. We got him church clothes, and on Sunday he came to church!
It was amazing! By the end of the week he was already in 1 Nephi 11.
He is just soaking it all up and is incredible!
Aredelia is in 2 Nephi now, and she loves the Book of Mormon! She is
still praying about baptism, and she was planning on coming to church
on Sunday, but with the time change got thrown off, and so was unable
to make it.
We finally saw Art and Lori this week. Art was really sad to see me
go. He told us that his concerns have to be resolved before he comes
to church again. So we sat for an hour to teach him, but it didn't go
anywhere. He just knows so much. He got really close to kicking us out
at one point because we believe that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost
are separate. What it comes down to really is that he has to
read the Book of Mormon. That is the only way that he will find that
what we teach is true.
On Sunday we fasted. And the Spirit just sustained us all day. I felt
so much peace and love and joy. This gospel is true, and will forever
I have loved serving here. It has been such a blessing. So much
heartache, and tears, but also so many prayers and blessings and
miracles. It is incredible. I love being a missionary.
So this week wasn't as exciting as last week. We had a lot of
investigators drop us and many lessons fell through. So it was a
little rough. But we kept good attitudes still! Last Monday we were
so tired from the awesome week that when we actually had time to sit
down, we were so tired. A mission hangover- it's a real thing! The
crazy thing was at the end of the week we got SNOW!!! So March is
coming in like a lion!
We had one lesson with Art and Lori. We taught them about the Plan of
Salvation, but didn't get too far because Art has a lot of questions
about Adam and Eve. And they are pretty crazy questions! But
it's all good. This has happened before where he had these deep
concerns and questions, but then he overcomes them through study and
the Spirit. Lori really understood it all, so she is coming along
great! The only problem is that they both got really really REALLY
sick. It's kind of ridiculous. So we have been unable to meet with them
the rest of this week. We are praying for a miracle to happen. Art
said it best: "God would just show me the truth then just take me
home! He has a better plan in mind here!" I sure hope so!
On Wednesday, we saw SO MANY MIRACLES!!!! We found four new
investigators !! It was crazy! We just prayed super hard
for miracles. We had set the goal to find 8, and by the end of the
week we found 6 new! One is a guy named Tom (I know I know, we just
keep running into Toms, it's crazy!). But this Tom is super prepared
and awesome! He is dating a girl who is a member and so he is
sincerely interested in learning from us! We are so excited to teach
him this week! Then, on Saturday, we had a lesson with a couple- Brina
and David. We taught them the whole Restoration, and they told us how
they believe in the Godhead (them being separate) rather than the
trinity (all in one). We were shocked. "How did you come to that
knowledge?" "Well, it says it all through the Bible!!" We got some
truth seekers here! I bore my testimony of the Book of Mormon and
David was so happy. "See, you learned from God what is true. I like
that!" Sweet, well did you know the same thing can happen to you?
Just, read, ponder and pray.
We also had zone conference this week and we learned some good stuff!
We also sang for the zone conference.
We stopped by last night to an investigator's home. They just had a
baby, and she is adorable! Super small, but healthy and four days old!
They have a little daughter too and we took some pictures with her!
Sunday, March 19, 2017
I can't even begin to explain this week. The sweat, the tears, thestruggles, the prayers, the Spirit, the miracles, the truth. We saw somany miracles this week. In total, we taught 25 lessons, got 3 peopleon date for baptism, 1 person at church, and did 8 hours of Service.It was incredible!!!! We have been blessed so much by God, and it isbecause of Him that we have seen the miracles!There was one night were we felt to go see a couple- Tom and Joanne.We knocked on their door and they let us right in! Their living roomwas full of Buddhas, and it was kinda weird. They were the firstpeople I met who were Buddhist. We had a really good conversationabout religion in general, and the spirit was very present there. Wetaught them of the Plan of Salvation. They both had many questionsabout our church, and it was very apparent that we were supposed to bethere. We left with good feelings, and even set up a lesson for today,but it fell through, but it's all good!Aredelia is progressing so much!! She said that she listens to theBook of Mormon during work, and as such, she read up to 1 Nephi 7!! Sevenchapters in a week! That is incredible! She loves it, and finds thatshe is understanding the gospel so much more than before. She ispraying about baptism, and is very close to accepting a date. Ourlesson consisted of us read 1 Nephi 8 with her. She was very excitedto commence on the path to get to the tree and partake of the fruit.She is pretty incredible!was our miracle day. and ! After district meetingwe rushed out and headed over to Art's home. We taught him and hisex-wife Lori. He too was right at 1 Nephi 8, so we read it with himand explained it more fully. "Art, what do you think the rod of ironrepresents?" "It is the word of God. Which leads to the tree, toChrist, so that I can partake of the love of God. Incredible. I amjust understanding everything you are teaching me. " And he is justglowing. "Art, will you prepare to be baptized by someone holding thepriesthood authority of God." "Yes, yes I will. I'm not opposed to it,if I need to be baptized again by the proper authority, I will do it.I guess that is what God needs me to do." And then Lori piped in. "Iwant to get baptized too!" Wow! So both accepted to be baptized!!! Wewere so excited!And later at night we met with Sheila, and I think both of us wereexpecting her to have not read from the Book of Mormon and still beskeptical about it. But to our surprise she read 7 chapters In twodays!!! And she loves it!! She knows it's true! And she accepted to bebaptized as well!!!! Incredible! Miracles upon miracles!And it doesn't end there. I can't even describe the spirit, the power,the love....this gospel is true. This week Art has just exploded inhis progression. And to me, it is sacred. He is just glowing. He cameto churchand didn't want to leave. "I have finally foundpeople who believe the same things I do. I have found the truth." Evenas I write this, tears are filling my eyes. He has searched for 47years to find the truth, and it is here.For those of you who are struggling in your testimony or who arewondering if God is there, I want to bear my testimony. As arepresentative of Christ, I know that God lives. Jesus is the Christ,the very Son of God. He lives and with our Father, wish only to bringyou happiness. This church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-daySaints, is the only church upon the earth that has the priesthoodauthority of God. This is our Salvation. This is our foundation. Asyou study and pray and seek, God will let you know by the power of theHoly Ghost that it is true. Because He loves you. God has never let usalone, has never abandoned us. He lives. So ask. Seek. Live. And thetruth will grow within you till you finally reach the tree and fall toyour knees and partake of that glorious white fruit.
This week we were super busy! Literally we would get to the end of the
day and have no idea where the day went! It's awesome! We are working
so hard, and the blessings are coming forth! I can't even explain all
that happened this week, but here are a few thoughts:
we had interviews, and it was so good to see President and
Sister Russell! They love us so much and it is such a blessing to
serve under their direction! President taught us about the Plan of
Salvation and it was really deep, but it was so cool!
We have had some good lessons! We met with a guy named Tom. He is
atheist and has so many questions. He hasn't ever gotten any answers
to questions he has, so he turned to science and philosophy to try to
find sense in the world. We wrote down his questions, and a lot of
them have to do with the Plan of Salvation. He has literally a mustard
seed of faith. He is willing to pray and to read the Book of Mormon.
We met with Art! He invited his wife over and we had a good lesson! We
read from the Book of Mormon and then taught about the pre earth life.
His wife, Lori, has a sincere desire to learn. They are both so cool!
We unfortunately were unable to meet again because of family issues
happening, but things will pan out!
We had exchanges this week! I was with Sister Schroeder, and we had so
much fun! We taught so many lessons, and met so many great people! It
was a rainy day and we walked around in it for two hours or so. But
because we were willing to walk, we met those people. It's so cool how
God can bless us that way. We had a lesson with a woman named Sheila.
She had some misconceptions about the Book of Mormon, so we read with
her from it. She mentioned something about family history and we were
all over that. I think we freaked her out with all the information we
threw at her about it. Gotta love family!
Finally, we had a lesson with Amy, and her daughter Morgan. Amy told
us how she has tried nearly every religion in the world, and none of
them have provided her with the help she wants. But she is willing to
try again. Her daughter on the other hand, is really close to the
spirit. She said how she feels warm and squishy on the inside when she
sees us. We explained that that was the spirit, and that she should
listen to what He says. They are such a sweet family and have a lot of
Satan came after us again. But with the experiences we had this week,
I am again reminded of the power and sacred calling we have as
missionaries. We are on the Lords errand, and as we are worthy, the
spirit will be on our side to lead us. It is amazing!