1) Did you get to watch all the sessions of conference?
2) Did any investigators come to watch too?
3) What were your overall feelings about conference?
4) Did you have a favorite talk?
5) What did you learn in conference that will immediately help you in your calling as a missionary?
- Yes, we did watch all the sessions. However, we watched both morning sessions in Spanish with our one Spanish speaking Hermana who came. It made me realize just how much my Spanish ability has grown over the past year. When i first arrived in the field I could speak Spanish pretty well but understanding what was being said was such a struggle for me. But now, I feel like I not only understand the gist of what is said but I also get a lot of the details. Granted, it helps that they talked about gospel related things because my "worldly" vocabulary leaves something to be desired... But anyway. Yes we watched all the sessions (minus priesthood session of course) and oh boy was it amazing. Exactly what I needed.
- Unfortunately we had no investigators there. Two were planning on coming but then didn't so we're thinking they may have had to work. And then two told us they might come if their already-made-plans fell through--but they didn't fall through. Ah well. Next week, someone will be at church. I'm going to do all I can to get people there and THEN hand it over to the Lord.
- Overall feelings about conference? How do you sum up eight hours of a spiritual marathon? I don't think it's possible.... But I suppose if I were to put it into just a few words, it would be this: I know that God is so aware of each and every one of us, particularly me. But I know He doesn't love me anymore than He loves you, whoever you may be, reading this. I know He hears and answers our prayers, but He answers them in His way and in His time. If we are too focused on doing things our way, then we will surely miss the answers and blessings He is trying to give us. The two biggest obstacles of life--death and sin--have been taken care of, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The next biggest obstacle keeping you from reaching your eternal potential is you. But if you will let God direct you, if you will give your will to Him, He will make far more of you than you could ever make of yourself. So the questions that remains to be asked is this: will you let Him?
- My favorite talk was President Uchtdorf's from the Saturday morning session. Now, I honestly can't tell you why it was my favorite other than the fact that it was exactly what I needed to hear in the moment that I needed to hear it. Perhaps it was simply because it was the first talk of this semiannual general conference, because all I really needed to know was that God was aware of me, that my Father in Heaven was thinking of me, looking out for me. And from the very moment that President Uchtdorf began speaking, I knew He was there. And that was the only thing I needed to know then.
- Again, how do you expect me to sum that up? Well, I'll begin with my notes from the talk by Elder Bradley D. Foster. Near the beginning of his talk, he said something to the effect of "Children are just like really young investigators". The very first thought I had from the Spirit was "If children = investigators, investigators = children." So literally everything He said is applicable to missionary work. I loved his example of Helen Keller. Although she was majorly impaired, she was still able to learn--but her teacher had to figure out how to teach her so that she would be able to learn. The way I see it, some of our investigators (the people we teach who are investigating the church) may be more like Helen Keller than a child who can see and hear. Not because they are impaired, but simply because we, as their teachers, have to figure out how they learn so that we can teach to their needs. Some of the people we teach need more guidance while others may come to their own conclusion of what is the truth with us only teaching the doctrine of truth. But however a person may learn, it doesn't matter. Because "it is never too early and never too late to begin the process". As their teachers, we want them to trust us and know that they can come to us with doubts and concerns they may have. We may not be able to answer every question right away, but we know that the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ has all the answers. We also don't want to be too much a part of their lives, but we do want them to know that we are on their side. And when it really comes down to it, it doesn't matter when we're ready to teach; what matters is when they're ready to learn.
In response to the question from LeeAnn about Fit for the Kingdom, literally all I know is what is contained in that newsletter. Maybe I'll hear something more this week at zone training but I don't know. Sorry I can't be of more help.
Also, at zone training, our cars will be getting a TiWi system which will help our mission be a little safer. So that's gonna be fun!
As for this last week, let's just say it was really stressful and really funny all at the same time. Here is a brief summary of the not-so-spiritual points of my week:
- we left a note on every single door of a house because we're not exactly sure if someone actually lives there. We'll go back this week and see if anything has changed
- we taught the friend of our investigator and her name is Rita but she goes by the nickname "Guera". For all you gringos, that basically means "white girl". Based on the color of her skin, you'd never guess she's Latina, but she is. Hence, the nickname. (Also, Guera and Gloria both added us on Facebook. We're totally gonna be best buds for life.) (: Also, our investigator was totally doing missionary work, telling her friend that she should read the Book of Mormon. She's the best.
- On Wednesday we did our weekly planning and to begin we asked Heavenly Father to PLEASE help us finish in the time we had, and he did. Final time: 2 hours and 15 mins. All 13 steps. #likeaboss
- We met the cutest old lady this week--named Eva--who didn't want to let us in at first because we weren't from her church but then she did and basically begged to give us coffee or tea. (we said no thanks, in case you're wondering.) So she gave us a granola bar instead. Then, at the end of the lesson, when we asked her to read the Book of Mormon, she exclaimed (I literally mean "exclaimed") "Of course!" She's the cutest abuelita of all time.
- One of our members has been totally AWOL for a week or two now and we haven't been able to contact her. But then we just happened to tract into her daughter, so we found out she's just been playing grandma for a niece who was having a baby--in Kansas.
- Because we awkwardly waited for a man to get out of his car, we were able to teach him about the Book of Mormon (he was pretty excited to read it) and then he gave us each a tamale! (Best day ever! Well, maybe not EVER, but it was pretty awesome...)
- We were asked to give a training in district meeting on preaching the gospel two by two, particularly in door approaches. Man, I don't know what we said but I know we said what the Spirit wanted. It was awesome.
- We prayerfully sought which member we could ask to go with us to an appointment and we found the perfect Amulek for this couple we're teaching--we can't wait for the Brother to go with us too. Also, this couple, in response to the baptismal invitation, said, "We hadn't really thought about that." But then you could just tell that they were definitely thinking about it then. They didn't commit to anything in that very moment but I know they will soon. They are so prepared--they met the missionaries about a year ago and had known missionaries before that--and we are totally going to get them baptized and on the path to eternal life. I love them.
- Had one of the greatest finding lessons of all time this week--I could just feel the Spirit guiding my words and then testifying to them of my words. If they accept our invitation to invite someone to be taught in their home (after praying about whom to invite) I know they'll see miracles.
- We were tracting late at night (about 8:30) and found a young man who basically asked us if he could come to church. We weren't able to teach him much but I have a feeling that the Elders will be able to help him progress quickly and soon.
- I got my flu shot and the pharmacist who shot us was the most funny person with a needle I think I've ever met. It was awesome. When she asked us about if we were pregnant or planning on getting pregnant she said, "I know, with the whole mission thing, but I have to ask." So funny.
- we reached our member present lesson goal for the week--the first day of the week. And then, by the end, we had exceeded it. Heavenly Father is so good to us.
- Elder Renlund, one of the newly called Apostles, was totally in our mission just last month for a mission tour. And he basically told us the same things then that he shared at Conference. So cool. (I am SO excited for these three new Apostles. They're going to be amazing servants of the Lord, as I'm sure they already were.)
- one of our members gave us an early Christmas gift: she knits/crochets (?) and made us both ear headband things and scarves. Oh my goodness she is so good to us. (She asked us if we've ever been to a session of general conference and how we get tickets, and one thing led to another, and I told her she can go with me next Conference since I'll be home. She said okay.)
- Took a member to a lesson and she totally asked for a referral for us--and we got one! "Ask and ye shall receive..."
- for dinner one day we had mac n' cheese and cheese-covered cauliflower. It was so delicious.
- We met an elderly couple who told us right away they weren't interested and, when we asked if we could just give them a card with a picture of Jesus on it, the hermana said, "Where's Mary?!" almost at the top of her lungs. It was probably a good thing I didn't have time to say "In Jerusalem" before they closed the door. They made our day.
- we talked to a couple of people standing on their porch (about the wind chimes hanging) which led to them asking us about this crazy greenhouse light that illuminates the entire sky when there are clouds and then we were able to give them both a card. They were really nice. The man said that anytime he sees missionaries, especially during the summer, he always gives them a water. On behalf of all the missionaries in Illinois, thank you!
- We sent a reminder text to our new investigator couple between sessions on Sunday and at some point during the afternoon session, this was the response we got (which took up five text messages): "Thank you for reminding us!!well we left Freeport at 2:10pm and heading home but weren't sure were to get something to eat!! So when we got to the outside skirts of Rockford we decided to go home!! Poor Ida she is dead tired! After you guys left she beginning getting all her stuff ready for the sale today from 8am till 2pm!! But she didn't finished till 2:30am and we had to get up at 5:30am! Since she wouldn't get up i slept till 6am and then we were rushing to eat breakfast (I cooked) and loading the truck with 5 big bags of Tupperware and 4 small bags and we get there at 8:40 am! But I think we will both be going to sleep very shortly!! Good nite! Jose & Ida!" This text message literally made my entire week about 18 times better. All day Sunday we would crack up, laughing, because this was just so perfect. Love this couple.
So that's that. And then I just wanted to share a "brief" summary of what I learned from conference this weekend and last. I wrote out about a one sentence summary of what I learned either directly from the speaker or through the Spirit. I hope and pray that something that I learned will be beneficial to someone else who reads this. I know that our Heavenly Father loves us and wants to help us, but He usually does so through the people around us.
- Live life (including mission life) one day at a time.
- Doing what God wants gives us the strength and power to face any and all trials.
- I am a part of the cause of Christ. I am bringing people to Him and it is my responsibility to be prepared to receive all the blessings God wants to give me--including eternal marriage.
- Don't dwell on the sad and disappointing things. Look for the good and then focus on it!
- Starting with where you're at now (now where you used to be), look at your life with an eternal perspective and then simplify. It is then you'll be able to become the person you want to be and God wants you to be.
- Be loyal to Christ and all His chosen servants (prophets, apostles, stake presidents, bishops, mission presidents, zone and district leaders, etc.)
- If we want to make our lives something of value, we must center our lives on Jesus Christ, the Master Crafter.
- If there is something "ungood" you're holding on to, it will inhibit you from spiritually progressing if you don't let it go--this includes wanting to do things your way instead of Christ's way.
- I must be humble enough to ask "What lack I yet?" and then faithful enough to change and act according to the response.
- True repentance--true change-- requires consistent diligence in each and every step toward eternal life.
- I must learn to exercise self-control now, as a missionary, in order to be better prepared for whatever curve balls may come after.
- The choices I'm making now are shaping my eternal destiny; I need to be the kind of person I want to marry.
- Although our "nature" may not change, our heart CAN change, and I'm doing better than I think I am.
- The people who sincerely investigate the Church may be compared to children: they're all at different levels but all are capable of learning the truth for themselves (if they want it bad enough and are willing to work for it.)
- Even if I'm stressed or depressed, if I smile, I'll be able to help those who are more stressed or depressed because I have the Gospel of Jesus Christ and a smile. (:
- Sometimes we take on challenges and realize we weren't as ready as we thought, but as we hold fast to the light of Christ, He will sustain us through any and all darkness.
- My motivation as a missionary can't be the equivalent of an investigator's curiosity--it must be pure and simple love; if it's not quite there right now, I can feel to sing the song of redeeming love again as I "bear with patience [mine] afflictions" and turn to the Lord.
- Death and sin are not the only challenges of mortality, but Christ's Atonement covers all that--and everything else.
- Does it really matter where you serve? You can find people to help and teach no matter where you are!
- My call came from Jesus Christ Himself.
- Sometimes we may receive callings or assignments we don't feel qualified to fulfill but remember: the Lord qualifies those whom He calls.
- We cannot fulfill our baptismal covenant unless we learn to see others through God's eyes.
- My job is to keep the vision God has for me at the forefront of my mind, and then to help others do the same. When others lose sight of it, I will be there to comfort them and then to help them remember too.
- Those who cannot withstand the mocking of the world while on the path to eternal life will fall away and then join the mockers and the nay-sayers.
- As we always remember Him, we will be better able to act like Him; it is then that we will have His Spirit to be with us--both literally (because of our baptismal covenant) and figuratively (because we are living like Him).
- It is very possible to have the Spirit with us always, not just occasionally, if we live worthy of it.
- All roads lead to immortality, it's true, but not all roads lead exaltation.
- Don't be deterred; hard can be good!
- There may be times when I will ask if there's no other way, but if I will just keep moving forward, obediently, one step at a time, one day it will end, and one day I'll be exalted with Christ.
- Trust that everything God does is for MY good.
- Things of eternal significance are rarely easy.
- Some followed Christ "for a season" and then "walked with Him no more". I will NOT do that. I will always center my life on Jesus Christ, even after the name tag comes off.
- I need to look for what I can learn from each test and trial, for each has purpose and meaning--I just have to find it.
- God does not spare His chosen servants from afflictions--rather He strengthens them in the midst of them--that includes me.
I'm excited to take on the challenge to "ponderize" a verse of scripture each week for the next 20 years. I'm excited to develop the attributes of a believer and better represent my Savior Jesus Christ. I'm excited to testify of the First Vision and all that followed it, for I know it to be eternal truth. I'm excited for the challenges ahead, for I know that I truly can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me (see Philippians 4:13 and Alma 26:12). I'm excited to stand as a witness of God at all times, even and especially when it's hard. I'm excited for this life on earth and for all the opportunities that are provided me by a loving Father in Heaven. I love Him. I serve Him. And I invite each of you to ponder how you can better serve Him, and then do it.
Con Todo Mi Amor,
Tu Hija, Hermana y Amiga,
We've been trying to catch a family at home that is SUPER busy, but they have three labs that are super friendly, so we took a picture with one. He just wanted to shake my hand. (:
Us with our tamales from Jose! Best free food ever.
Monday morning, after 10 am, with our breakfast food from McDonald's. Oh what a joyous moment it was.
So we live right next to some train tracks right? Well, this is what was driving (?) by this morning: John Deere tractors up the wazoo.