Tuesday, December 6, 2016
exchanges with some wonderful Sisters. We saw some amazing miracles.
It's incredible how the Lord always moves His work forward. And what a
blessing that He lets us be a part of it.
My thoughts this week have really kinda mimicked the weather here in
Wyoming. One second it's warm and sunny and 2 seconds later it's 10
degrees outside and there's ice and snow everywhere. That's a little
how my mind and heart are feeling right now. But among all the
thoughts and feelings flying around, my mind has been reflecting a bit
on the past 18 or so months. It's really kinda impossible to compile
all the thoughts feelings, experiences, trials, growth and progression
of a year and a half into one short email. But one thing that has been
on my mind a lot is something Sister Jacoby and I talked about on the
way home from exchanges in Worland this last week. As we pulled off
the highway exit back into Sheridan I just felt a sense of peace,
safety and belonging. I commented to Sister Jacoby as I do every time
we get back into our area "Home sweet home! Feels good". She laughed a
little and we got talking about places that we call home. I realized
that each time we pulled back into Helena for meetings after I served
there, I would say the same thing. And when we would go back to Great
Falls or Missoula on exchanges the same thing would come to my
thoughts. Home sweet home. It's truly amazing how places, smells,
people and sights do become home. At the beginning of my mission,
Matthew sent me a poem he wrote called "My Second Home". When I read
it the first time I had only been out a few weeks, maybe a month. I
kinda though "oh that's really nice! Sounds like he really loved his
mission". Haha but then he resent it again a week or two ago. And let
me tell you, things CHANGE. Reading it now, it perfectly describes how
one feels about a place you call home. It's not necessarily the place
you live the longest but it's so much more about the people you meet,
the experiences you have, the growth that comes about and the love you
feel and give.
I was thinking about this a lot so I found a definition of "home" that
I really liked. It said "Home-a place where something flourishes...or
where it originates". I love the last part of that where it says
"where it originates" I feel like the reason all of the Montana
Billings Mission feels like home is because so much of my testimony
and who I am today originated here during this time to serve the Lord.
Growing up I was so blessed with an amazing family, friends, teachers
and loved ones who I know helped me start my testimony and get on my
own two feet. I am forever grateful for a loving Mommy, Daddy, brother
and sister who set the example. I know I can follow your examples
because you follow the Savior's example. I also know that coming on a
mission, I have been able to take the things I learn from family,
friends and teachers and learn how to apply them and learn how to
learn more. I believe that's truly the process that we seek for, is
learning how to learn and learning how to progress. And oftentimes
it's in these places we call home that we learn and progress the most.
Great Falls was the perfect place to kick start this journey. I
learned what it means to work hard and to love others. I learned how
to put faith and works together and to notice the hand of the Lord in
all things. I learned how to bike through hail storms and run fast
when dogs (and people) chase you. And I learned how to pray, seek
answers and recognize the Spirit. There are incredible people there
that changed my life and changed the way I see others and myself. The
people I met there and companions I served with have changed me and
will be friends for forever. Great Falls truly was my first home away
from home on my mission.
Next came the beautiful Capitol, Helena. Here I learned that bear
spray really really hurts. Haha but it was much more than that. I
learned so much about fear and how to work through the things that
scare me. I learned what sources to turn to when things get hard. I
learned that many of those sources are amazing family members,
companions and friends that the Lord has placed in our lives. I gained
more of a testimony of the priesthood and the power that it has in our
lives. I truly love the people here, the experiences the Lord allowed
us to have and the home that it became for me.
Missoula really kinda became the home of my refiners fire. I learned
how to fall and how to get back up. I learned how to stand up for
things I know to be true. I learned how to be okay having an opinion
and sharing it. I definitely learned that the smell of marijuana is
completely associated with missionary work in my mind and I learned
what to do when someone pulls a gun on my companion and I. Situations
and experiences taught me how to deal with heartache. I learned how to
lean on companions and stand for what's right. I met amazing people
who became family and shared experiences that will tie us together
always. I gained and strengthened my testimony of the atonement of
Jesus Christ. I learned that people can change and become stronger for
it. I learned that our Savior is always there for each of us.
Then comes the lovely Sheridan Wyoming home. I found out that parts of
Wyoming are actually really beautiful! And Sheridan is one of them. I
learned that praying with faith really does bring miracles. I learned
that it's 100% okay to wear wranglers to church and if you want to fit
in, you need to drive a pick up. I met some of the most genuine, kind,
faithful people. I learned that change is okay. In fact it's good for
us. I learned that the Lord is mindful of EACH of His children. And
that He does care about the little things.
The wonderful thing is although I feel like I've been trying to learn
so much these past 18 months, I know that it's just the beginning. I
am so SO far from the person I'm trying to become. I couldn't be more
grateful to the Lord for the time that He has given me to serve Him
and His children. It's been one of the greatest blessings in my life.
Coming on a mission has been the best decision I have made thus far.
As wonderful as it has been, I've also come to know that missions are
not necessarily easy. In fact they're kinda tough sometimes .
Haha but the truth is I have never been happier in my life. Because no
matter how hard it gets, how exhausted we feel, how lonely it gets or
how hurtful people's words and actions are, I have come to know my
Savior. And that is so completely worth every second of doubt and
I know that Jesus Christ lives and He is there for each of us, no
matter when and no matter what. And I love being able to testify of
that to each person we come in contact with. I love being a
missionary. I am grateful for the trust that Heavenly Father has
placed in each of us, full time missionary or not, to help push His
work forward. I know that the church is true. I have no doubt in my
mind that it is. I know that the priesthood power was restored. It is through
that power that my family, and every
family, can be sealed together forever. And that is one of the
greatest blessings and greatest comforts one could receive. I know
that our Heavenly Father answers prayers. He has answered mine
countless times. I have gained such a strong testimony of the Book of
Mormon. It is the word of God. Its another testament of our Savior,
Jesus Christ, and it helps us see who Christ truly is and it brings us
closer to Him. I have felt the power of Christ's atonement work in my
life. He helps me find peace through repentance, He strengthens me
when I don't think I can take one more step, He comforts me when I
don't think anyone can, and He lifts me when I don't know how I got so
low. Jesus Christ is my Brother, my Savior and my best friend. It is
through living His gospel that each of us can recognize that
relationship for ourselves. I testify that these things are true and I
testify that our Savior loves each of us. In the name of Jesus Christ
I love you so much!! Thank you for your examples and love. See you soon.
Saturday, December 3, 2016
Hola mi famila!
What a crazy busy week! It started off with exchanges down in
Burlington. The sisters there are KILLER! Such a great time. Also, the
Sisters serving there habla espanol part time so we got to practice
our Spanish skills. I said a prayer in Spanish! And learned a few
essential phrases like "el libro de Mormon" and "donde esta el bańo"
so we're pretty much Spanish missionaries now. It was an
awesome exchange. It lasted till Wednesday morning and we had to leave
at like 6 to make it back in time for district meeting. But there
wasn't too much snow and we made it there and back alive.
I have bought a few souveniers and money was running low...PB&J on Tortillas.....not ideal.
Once we got back home to Sheridan we saw some awesome miracles. We met
with P. We came by to have a lesson with him and he goes "guess
what. I haven't smoked in 31 days!" Whaat?! So exciting. We asked him
how he was feeling and he said "I just feel like a weight has been
lifted off my shoulders. I feel like I can feel more how Christ wants me to
Thursday was a very happy thanksgiving! Full of lots of food. Lots of
it. We went at 1 to help the Jensens make thanksgiving dinner and
had round one with them! They are such an awesome family our in
Ranchester branch. They had their kids in town from college and work
Round 2 we went to Davis' home. She's a recent convert that just got married and
moved into the 3rd Ward. She is so sweet and let us come
join her and her family.
Gosh I just love her. It was the perfect way to end the night. We had
a wonderful dinner with her and then watched the Cokeville Miracle
together. Such a wonderful inspiring movie! Loved it. If you haven't
seen it go watch it!
My favorite part of that one is at the end it talks about how although this instance
ended miraculously, not every situation turns out like this. Then it
goes on to say how we have to remember that in Christ's time, not
every leper was healed and not every blind person was made to see. But
our job isn't to focus on that, it's to focus on the times when we DO
see the hand of the Lord in our lives; big or small. I'm so grateful
for my wonderful family back home and your support and also a
wonderful home away from home here in Wyoming to spend thanksgiving
with. It's these kind of blessings that help us recognize the Lord's
hand in each of our lives. Also-Leslie is getting her patriarchal
blessing next week! We are so excited for her. She is just doing so
well and is so faithful and incredible.
Friday was a super awesome day. They had the annual Christmas Stroll
here in Sheridan so they shut down Main Street and everyone sets up
booths and the shops are open and they have Christmas music and lights
and everything. So our district got a booth and shared a bunch of Book
of Mormons (or copies of the Book of Mormon as my companion reminds
me;) haha), videos, pass along cards and the new Christmas initiative
#LIGHTtheworld. It's so awesome because literally like the WHOLE town
is there. Even though it was freezing cold, everyone was out walking
around visiting with each other. -fun fact-it was so cold our Book of
Mormons that were sitting on the table froze. Haha gotta love Wyoming
weather it was a perfect way to kick of the Christmas season by sharing our testimonies
of Christ with everyone we saw.
And helping in any way he can. He Shines!
We got to teach primary in Ranchester branch yesterday which
was SO fun. And it was a blast to see Travin in with the other kids!
He knows all of their names and one of the members gave him a triple
combination and he is just SO excited. Every scripture that people
share he's like "do you want me to look that one up?"
Well I don't really understand how this keeps happening but the weeks
just keep going by faster and faster. It's kinda not okay. But I am so
grateful for this time that I have to serve my Heavenly Father here in
Sheridan and Ranchester. I am grateful for wonderful holidays to help
us to remember to be grateful and to remember our Savior. And I'm SO
pumped for the Christmas season. It's one of my favorite times to do
missionary work! Despite the cold. :) also if you haven't watched the
new Christmas video #LIGHTtheworld go to Mormon.org or lds.org right
now and watch it. It so good. It's a perfect way to help remind us all
of the true meaning of Christmas and the true Light of the world. I am
so grateful for Jesus Christ and what He has done for us. I know He is
my Savior and that He lives and loves us. Hope you all have a
wonderful week and start to the Christmas season!
P.S.-family have fun watching White Christmas!! Gotta love Christmastraditions...LOVE YOU! ( Little does she know we are waiting this year :)
FOOD COMA after 3 wonderful Thanksgiving Dinners with Great families!!
My GREAT Zone!! Love these peeps!!
LIFE IS GOOD~