Monday, December 29, 2014

Welcome to Autumn. December 29, 2014

Well, the holidays have been fun.  I am certainly not in UT.  I am sitting here in my sandals and without a jacket and there is a slight wind in the world, but it is only December because the calendar says so.  I feel like Autumn. 
Something that I have loved about this Christmas season was that we got to go caroling almost every night! haha because most people have gone home, we have just been doing what we can to talk to people.  I have really been enjoying this time, even when it's a little different and sometimes harder.  I even got a tamale Christmas this year even though I am not in a Spanish area right now.  The bishop's wife is Hispanic and we went there for Christmas eve (: Yes. It was the best!
Somebody that has been home is our Chinese friend.  His faith has been growing incredibly and he has been teaching ME so much lately! We will teach him a principle and then he will turn around and make it into a beautiful analogy.  He loves poetry and so he connects things to that a lot.  It is perfect and I learn so much from him. I am blessed to be able to talk with him. 
Heavenly Father is so good to us all!
I love repentance.  I love the fact that when we have the desire, and are willing, we can have a whole blank page.  White.  I think sometimes we don't realize how instant His forgiveness really is.  Sure, the consequence might be a moment, but I do believe the forgiveness is instant.  I love mercy.  I love my Savior's mercy.
I have been reading the talk from the last women's conference: Living the Gospel Joyful-- by President Uchtdorf.  It is uplifting. Give it a read...But I do wish to share just a small quote from that.
"He wants you to achieve your destiny--to return to your heavenly home in honor.
"I testify that the way to accomplish this is to place selfish desires and unworthy ambitions on the altar of sacrifice and service.  Trust in the saving power of Jesus Christ; keep His laws and commandments.  In other words--live the gospel joyful."
Two things stuck out to me as I read that. #1. it is possible to be ambitious (which is a good thing), but to have unworthy ambitions.  If we are truly following what the Lord would have us do, this might mean that we follow a different course than we have previously desired, in hope and in faith that it will lead us to the correct place, a better place, which God has designed and prepared for us individually.  So follow your dreams! If they are worthy of you and your godlike potential.
#2. When we give away our selfish desires, when we trust in the enabling power of the Atonement of our Lord, when we keep His commandments, when we serve, we truly DO find joy.  And we are able to live the gospel joyful.  What a concept.  You might learn this your entire life, but until you put it to the test, and do these things out of the sincere desire of your heart, you will not know what it is like to have true joy.  What if sweet really could be sweeter? 
Well, it can! And I know it. 
There is no greater joy than this.  
I love you (:

Monday, December 22, 2014

JOY. December 22, 2014

I love people (like the man next to me laughing hysterically...). (: I love them so much!!  I feel it deepen and my heart has been so full lately! I just desire everyone to feel loved and happy-- The joy of the Gospel of Christ.
We have been having a lot of fun! Our area is tough right now because we work with mainly college students and they have all flown north for the winter...we have a few investigators still here, but most of them are off! We have been "blitzing" in other sister's areas (just finding with them in their areas), caroling/ handing out cards about 'He is the Gift,' and we even have been knocking (which is something that we are the first sisters to do in this area apparently haha).  And it is so joyful! Even though it is different than usual.  I have met a lot of people over the last couple days and I have been feeling so lead by the Spirit.  I am really striving to follow exactly and to seek out that Spirit and it has brought sheer joy to my heart.  I am in love! (: My motivation is increasing and so is my tiredness haha but we go on joyfully! (: And how perfect, because that is what this season is all about: joy!  I love meeting new people and hearing their different (and sometimes crazy) stories! I love listening to them and watching their face soften and their cynicism melt away as we come to really understand their place and view of God as our Heavenly Father and what they have gone through in their life that will lead them to eventually believe in our truthful message.  I know that what President Monson said in this last conference when talking about walking AS the Savior walked is true! "Nothing else, no other choice we make, can make of us what He can." Just give it up to Him! He knows best, after all.
Ohh my favorite friend (okay, I say that about them all...) But our friend from China, he is just teaching me so much!  The other day he closed our lesson with a prayer and he said something in his prayer which touched my heart so deeply.  He said, after talking about seeing some of our friends bear testimony and be brought to tears, "I've never seen people so touched by what they have that they are brought to tears.  Most people are brought to tears because of what they have lost."  I felt a sudden wave of gratitude for what I do have and a re-commitment to myself to greater appreciate the gospel blessing I today enjoy.  

It is very different to be here in the Summer heat of December!  They have this event called Winterhaven every winter and it is a block of houses that agrees when they buy a house there to put up lights every year so they can hold this event. People go all out (: It's super fun.  We got to go the other night and there was a house that had fake snow blowing in their yard.  It brought a smile to my face (: haha I kind of thought it was funny, but I guess I'm just used to real snow...Although I hear there isn't much this year? hmm. 
Well, one tender mercy we had this last week:  we were driving to visit a less active and we took a wrong turn somewhere...somehow! And we ended up driving like an hour through Saguaro national park hahaha! Ohhh but it was beautiful! The desert has its own beauty and a new place in my heart. 
Happy CHRISTmas! Love you (:

Sunday, December 21, 2014

CHRISTmas is coming! December 16th, 2014

Whoa.  So the transfer is already over! What.  Mi compa ): she leaves
tomorrow and I had to say goodbye to my best friend! I even cried! haha I
wasn't planning on that! I only knew her for 5 weeks and I just love her so
much! We had SO much fun, the time just flew.  This next transfer will be 7
weeks because of the holidays...I am now a single sister training leader
haha well...of course I'm single (; ...but I no longer have an stl as a
comp! Just me over these sisters in the zone.  I'm not sure how that works
out! Sister Ah Sue and I gave our first training last week and that was
nerve wracking haha but I'm not sure if I'll have to do that alone now!
Hope not.  I don't know why...I normally don't get too nervous, but in
front of other missionaries and the President's wife, I just get so
nervous! ...anyways. My new compa is Sister Stewart.  At first, it was
going to be Hermana Lundquist and I was stoked! She and I were in the CCM
together! But last night they called and told me they need me to do
something else that will be better.  So I will be excited and this will be
so fun (: I love coming to love always do when you put in the
effort! (: Can't wait.

Hmm. I got to go biking again last week.  All day this time! It was
wonderful! We talked to eeeevvveryone (per usual, but it's even better on a
bike!)  And we had so much success that day because of it.  I had never
been happier to leave an exchange.

Something that is beautiful is that our investigators have been better
about sharing the gospel lately than some of us! Our fun friend from China
brought a friend to the FHE activity and also a friend to church on Sunday!
He is the best! He wrote us a poem for Christmas because he knows how much
I love them and he likes to write them, too! I want to testify that the
spirit of Christ is real.  If someone who has never known Christ can come
to know Him so well, then anyone can. And this IS real. And this is true.

Quick thought.  I saw an incredible sky the other day.  A rain storm was
just clearing and the brightest, setting sun shone through.  How
interesting, I thought, that the sun overpowered the entire sky, even
though more than half of it was gray.  It pierced through like a beacon in
the fog and I thought to myself, "no wonder the darkness cannot comprehend
the light." can't even look that amount of brightness in the
eyes...but you can face the darkness with confidence when you possess that
kind of light because it penetrates and brightens.
(sorry I always go off about light...but I love it!) Christ is the light of
the world and we are His vessels.  Let His light shine through you this


Monday, December 8, 2014

Life on the UofA December 8th, 2014

I am loving the spirit of Christ that can be felt all around (: The Christmas Devotional last night was wonderful! I was filled with a new desire to be better, and you have to love moments like that.

I went to my first Mission Leader Council...we call it MLC.  I really enjoyed that! Being with all of the other missionary leaders that I have always looked up to...I felt really inadequate.  Surely I would not be grouped with all of those wonderful missionaries.  Yet somehow I found myself in that meeting ha. Hopefully I can live up to that example that these missionaries set for me.

The friends we're teaching are wonderful (:  We set a baptismal date with one of them and there are a few others praying about dates as well.  That is joy to me.  My favorite Chinese friend that we are teaching is just doing so well! He shares these "glad tidings" with his friends and family! He even made all of us missionaries in the ward (5) an authentic dinner the other day.  And we have another friend who is sharing the gospel with her friends, too!  People will ask her what ward she is in and when she tells them that she is not a member yet, they can't believe it!  (: Ohhh still softening the parents' hearts, but I know it won't be much longer now.  

The other day we were running the track at the nearby high school.  This morning was particularly dark and I felt like lead trying to run those laps...I just was not feeling it!  At first, I was fine and as time went on I just felt heavier and heavier.  Then, in my head, I said to myself, "What! You cannot stop here, you cannot slow down.  You're approaching the end of this race and, sure, you still have some time left.  But now is not the time to give in to exhaustion.  Now is the time to run!" And so I kept running.  And as I approached the end of my last lap, I ran faster, despite my tiring mind. As I crossed the finish line, I thought to myself, "See, you did it. And that's exactly what you'll keep doing throughout the rest of this mission experience." 
1 Corinthians 9:24 "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize?  So run, the ye may obtain."  The only way you will ever win is by actually moving.  (:

We had a Spanish conference on Wednesday! That was awesome.  It was just the Spanish speaking missionaries gathered together to learn what we could do to improve ourselves as Spanish speakers in the states.  It was awesome!  (:  I love speaking in Spanish...since I am in an English area, I often pray to have experiences where I can used what I am learning.  
It's great! I love it!  

Well, I hope all is well...I hope the spirit of Christ is kicking in (:
Love.  Keep shining!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Too Much Fun! December 1st, 2014

I feel like last week was a month because of all of the things that
happened haha.
We went to another funeral...Sister Ah Sue and I have had quite these
couple weeks together! I don't know why these things have been happening so
often it seems.  It was very good, though.  I am learning the difference of
what it means to have an understanding and hope in the Plan of Salvation as
opposed to not having one at all.  What a sad thing to not have that

We had a good Thanksgiving.  It started out with a little turkey bowl
between the missionaries in our zone.  That was know, I'm
not a very good catch (; We were able to go to a member of the bishopric's
home and have Thanksgiving dinner with them!  We also got to do some
service and some weekly planning haha so that was our day!  Not too bad,
not too bad.

We went to the zoo the other day to do some service! We swept and raked a
lot of like hay and dirt and stuff.  We moved things around and then we
mulched a pathway and I weeded for a couple hours.  It actually was very
satisfying to see how nice it all looked after (: Maybe working isn't so
bad after all, eh? ha and THEN we got a rhino!!! Yes, in real
life!  I was mostly terrified of it haha but it was cool!  We fed some
giraffes, too!  I left feeling kind of cool (:

Our friend from China is progressing well!  He is just way too cool!
Heavenly Father is so good to us to allow us to know him and to teach him.
We were talking about the Book of Mormon because he had some questions on
the things he's been reading and he said to us, "this all sounds so
familiar like perhaps I have heard it before."...ah! That was
incredible...If you ever want to hear someone talk with God...there is your
best opportunity.  This man just came to know of a loving Heavenly Father
and he speaks to Him in the most spirit-filled, faith-filled, loving way.
He always thanks Him for sending him, "my new friends Hurst and Ah Sue."
haha oh I love this work!
I love working on campus, too! Although that last game here the other day
sure had us running in circles trying to find alternative routes because
all of the streets were blocked off and crazy!

What a great place to be and what a great thing to be doing! (: I hope you
all continue to find the happiness of the Gospel of Christ.

Things are fun (: