Tuesday, July 22, 2014

extraordinary sunsets

SO the highlight of my week is hearing that you threw a birthday party for the world`s cutest dog. Those rolls or whatever are so unbelievable. They look yummy!

Thank you mom for sharing about Sarah's sweet grandpa - i love that motto. That is all we must do. Life is simple, the gospel is simple, Heavenly Father doesn't want to complicate things or confuse us. He simply wants us to live to - "WORK HARD, KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS, HAVE A POSITIVE ATTITUDE AND SHOW GRATITUDE!" It`s simple and complete.

The rest of this month consists mainly of missionary work. We are so excited about it!! We have to work so hard - transfers are on the 14th of August and there are 16 elders coming out so they will probably put elders back in New Glasgow but we have no clue what will happen. Just trying to live every day to the fullest! 

This week has been all about ENDURANCE. The word endurance in the dictionary means the ability to put up with strain, suffering, or hardship. Our numbers were low, our investigators few, we walked long hours in the hot sun (and even were sweating while it rained because it was so humid haha), we faced opposition but so it is with life. We must endure. Every day, no matter what, keep going, have patience. The Lord has given us a great promise. In Doctrine and Covenants 63:47 "He that is faithful and endureth shall overcome the world" and again in Doctrine and Covenants 101:35 "And all they who suffer persecution for my name, and endure in faith, though they are called to lay down their lives for my sake yet shall thy partake of all this glory". The blessings of the Lord ALWAYS outweigh our hardships. 

"shall we not go on in so great a cause" 

 Yesterday we sang in church again. " If the Savior stood beside me" I like to think about what I would say and do if the savior really were standing right by me everyday. We must live like He is - it is possible but it takes great discipline, obedience and faith. Sister Drew and I also taught primary - there are only five kids. So small but still a sweet experience. I love learning to teach with such simplicity. It helps you better understand the simple way we must live. 

This week I had a dream that I was teaching someone a lesson. I was testifying of Jesus Christ but I seriously felt like it was real, like I was talking out loud. The dream was so clear to me. I woke up pretty happy that my thoughts were that focused on the work and explained to Sister Drew what I had dreamt (sp?). She said, "No Sister Gochnour you were actually talking out loud. I had to shush you in the middle of your testimony because I was tired!" Oh dear! Later that day she also commented - "yeah you have definitely been out longer than me - I don't dream about that stuff." hahaha

The word extraordinary means - so unusual as to be remarkable. Exceptional. Sometimes when we are driving home after a long day I just look at the sky and it truly takes my breath away. There is something about the sunsets here in Nova Scotia. The sky is so big and deep and wide. So vast. So full of light. So beautiful. So colorful. It is truly extraordinary to live under it. We are so small in-comparison to the sky but still so important. I am thankful that we have beautiful sunsets that help us recognize that God really does exist. I am thankful for my Savior. His Atonement is so personal and real. I am thankful that He suffered for ME because He wanted to provide a way for ME to return and live with God again. He wants ME to be forgiven. He cares about my personal salvation. I simply can`t comprehend it but I am thankful. I am thankful that Heavenly Father calls ordinary people to be involved in His extraordinary work. I fell so blessed to be here. 

I love you all sooo sooo much! I am so thankful for your love, your testimonies, your examples. Thank you for inspiring me and encouraging me. Hope you fun on your trip. Be safe. Love you.
I`ll see you soon
Love, Sister Gochnour

Monday, July 14, 2014

r e m e m b e r

HIIIII amazing amazing people. I L U

This week consisted of a zone conference, an exchange with our Sister Training Leaders, interviews with President Leavitt, a branch potluck, a little bit of rain but mostly sun, a letter from nana and papa, sara and adelide!!!! It has been wonderful. 

In zone conference we learned about how we, as members, are more likely to join in the work if we have to sacrifice for it. We learned how we must love the members into being effective missionaries. We must serve them and encourage them and help them feel the joyful spirit of missionary work. On Sunday we went around to each of the members, offering to help out in any way we could - we are helping one member who is moving to PEI on Friday and they offered us dinner in return. Simple and exciting!!

During exchanges we worked hard, I stayed in New Glasgow and Sister Drew went to Cole Harbor. Sister Pizzey (STL) and I worked very very hard. We hardly even stopped to eat. We talked to lots of people, received tons of referrals, and found a new investigator, Samuel. He is from Mexico and has been living here for 6 years. His wife can't speak any English and sadly my 4 years of High School Spanish do me NO good - sorry mom. But his English is great. We gave him a church tour and taught the Restoration. He loved it, his questions showed that he really cared about and believed the words we were saying. He is humble and very sweet. Those two days were satisfying and fun! 

President Leavitt took the four of us out to dinner and then ended up just spending the whole hour talking about our area books. The importance of thinking. And balancing our efforts. We cannot be fanatics and we certainly cannot be lazy - we must simply be diligent in all aspects of the work. He is wise and always inspires us to improve. 

Sadly this week elaine called and told us that she has too much going on and is not interested in coming to church anymore. We felt heartbroken because we know how much she needs this message but when the time is right, she will learn. And we finally got in contact with anthony - he got a job and is able to stay in his home as long as he pays rent but sadly he can't recognize that those blessings came from God. He too is not ready to walk by faith rather than by sight. I just hope one day he will realize that the Atonement can heal him. I hope he finds happiness. 

Sara sent me the talk Lillie gave at Henry's farewell. I laughed and cried as I read it. I loved when she said (talking about the people Henry will meet), Lillie writes, 
"I am sure they will all listen and want to change for you Henry (pause for laughs-- 
(hahaha I was dying - I sort of thought this would actually be the case for me)) 
but in case they don't, just remember...the more you try to understand and accept those you teach as equal partners in the confusing and challenging game of life, the greater capacity you will have to love and empathize with them." 

Thank you Lillie for your wise words. I too am grateful that our Heavenly Father made us all different so that we could learn patience and compassion toward each other. 
I love you Lillie - you are my sunshine.

Being on a mission teaches you new things everyday. Sometimes every hour of everyday but often the lessons we learn are the same lessons..just repeated. Why do you think that happens? President Leavitt wrote a letter to us a few weeks ago that shed some light on the idea. He said, 

"In life I think it is fair to say that all people don't do as well as they know how to. People know that it is important to pray but we do not always pray. We know that the scriptures build us up and make us stronger but we do not always read the scriptures. We know that being kind and generous makes us feel good and in unity with our savior but we are not always kind and generous.

Reflecting upon this situation we may ask ourselves why. Are we just weak, do other things get in the way, do we get confused and lose our bearings? I think all of those things at times may accurately describe our situation. 

I think one of the most common and simple reasons is we just forget. We just get so caught up in what we are doing that we don't think about those things. There is a saying that the devil does not need to cause us to commit some great sin for his plan to succeed, all he needs to do is to have good people do nothing." 

Heavenly Father is patient with us and consistent - He does not want us to forget. He will find a way to teach us the lessons he needs you to learn even if He has to repeat himself over and over again. I'm thankful for that because sometimes I think I have short term memory loss..

So I am going to work harder to REMEMBER.
Remember to share the gospel. 
Remember to smile. 
Remember to speak kindly of others. Remember to pray. 
Remember to bear testimony. 
And remember that I love you!! 
Never forget it!

Tell duke happy birthday - give him a big birthday kiss from Sister G, 

Tell Johnny that I love him and am praying for him, 

Tell Nick and Gus that they are an inspiration to me and that I am thankful I get to follow in their footsteps.

I love you and miss you every day. I hope you have the greatest week ever! You mean the world to me. XOXO
Sister Gochnour

random TV found while tracking

my new rain coat - this week will be rain everyday!

Monday, July 7, 2014

search PONDER and pray


And the twins are home!! They are so so amazing. Wow, I would love to just sit down with them for a few hours and hear about their adventures and get their advice on how to return home with no regrets! 

SO hello everyone. Canada Day was good and HOT. Surprisingly not that many people were out so that was a little frustrating and we were in bed by the time the fireworks went off but we got to listen to them - so that's cool too!! Then it was a little bit hard to celebrate the 4th of July in Canada but we shot of a mento rocket...that's about it. Oh and we sang The Star Spangled Banner during companionship study - SO GOOD and so proud to be an American. But Canadians are great too :)

Basically this week was just REALLY hot and HUMID. I thought last week I was on fire - there is no comparison for the heat we faced this week. And our apartment is actually hotter than it is outside. Constant sticky skin and sweat but I shouldn't complain..we had one awesome fan and took two cold showers a day!! And drank lots of water so it was ok. And it's kind of funny when you are talking to someone and sweat is just dripping into your eyeballs and you can fill it crawling down your back - so good. Then I get those weird hives and I'm so itchy but it's worth it when you get to share the Gospel all day! Nothing can stop the work from progressing, Heavenly Father can still work through two sweaty, stinky sisters - thankfully. We now have some lovely tan lines :) hooray. And don't worry - we totally survived the tropical storm. It didn't even rain which bummed us out because I really wanted to wear my cute raincoat!! It was just crazy windy and a bunch of branches were all over the place and our power went out for a time and everything was closed down but we are safe and sound. People in the maritimes exaggerate things sometimes.

We taught Elaine the Word of Wisdom which is a challenge for her. She loves her coffee and smoking is the only way that she can relax but she wants to quit. She wants to do what is right so we all have faith that she will overcome her addiction. She is funny, during the middle of the lesson just as we were bearing testimony her phone went off, she apologized and checked it..she then threw her hands in the air and excitedly shouted; "FINALLY, she assepted me, she assepted me!!" Ummmm ok who accepted you? We learned that her cousin had finally accepted her friend request on facebook :/ hahaha it was pretty funny.

This week I have been trying to ponder more - sometimes deep thinking is a challenge for me. My mind easily wanders but I have realized the importance of pondering on eternal truths. It can build testimony and solidify our faith. 

So today I was pondering about God - our loving Heavenly Father and how the Gospel blesses families. The first two principles of the Restoration. I have been praying lately to feel God's love. To get a confirmation that I am doing His will. That I am being a useful tool in His hands.

Today as I pondered my prayer was answered and 
I felt powerfully - GOD'S LOVE. 
This is what I recorded in my study journal -

"I like to think about God in all His greatness and glory and power and then to think about myself..a simple soul among billions, with blond hair and blue eyes - 
who loves to learn and laugh. 
Who loves God and His son Jesus Christ and 
His perfect plan for me. 
Then to ponder on the fact that God knows ME..
Grace Caroline 
He knows my heart and soul. 
He is familiar with my blue eyes and blond hair. 
He knows what I love, what I am afraid of and He sees who I can become. I can't believe that my simple soul is GREAT in the sight of God. That he loves me, more than anyone on earth can and that He does indeed have a specific purpose and plan for me. 
To say that makes me feel special is an understatement - my heart could burst with love and gratitude for that knowledge. For my perfect Father in Heaven. 

I want each of you to ponder in that too. God knows and loves you just the same. 

I'm thankful for the simplicity of mission life. Everyday is simply a chance to try harder, to improve. Then Sunday comes (faster than you can imagine) and we get to partake of the Sacrament, repent for our mistakes and shortcomings and start again. We don't have to worry about things of the world. I love it. I am thankful for trails because we have been given the resources to overcome them. Some people in the world - who don't have the Gospel let their trials beat them. But we can't and don't have to let that happen. We have family and friends and scriptures and church and Prophets and prayer and the Savior of the World. We get to have trails - learning opportunities that strengthen us and allow us to help others. I'm thankful for the Prophet Joseph Smith - that he never gave up. That he was completely consecrated. That he did everything that the Lord commanded Him and that he asked a simple question. I am thankful for all of you. Your love and support and prayers. I am thankful to be a missionary - I love this message with all my heart and I know that it's true. 

Have a good week!! Miss you love you bye <3
Love, Sister G 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


OK so yes it rained the entire week and I even wore my puffy winter coat and snow boots YES ON JUNE 26 - I did wear my full on winter gear 
and it was pretty cold. We were sooooooooo wet. Then I got my package and raincoat on and since then I have LITERALLY been 
on fire! It has been so hot! 
Hahahaha oh nova scotia, can't figure this whole weather thing out. 

It's Canada day and my 6th month mark! I'm excited! Thank you thank you thank you for the rain coat and package. I'm the luckiest sister missionary in the world. And I got two letters from papa and nana - they are so inspiring. Papa is so bold, so strong and faithful. So full of light and love. I will be writing them today. And a letter from dad - which always makes my day 10X better. Miss you dad. And luce thanks for the goofy sours - almost made me cry :)

This week we walked A LOT because we didn't have enough k's (kilometers) for the month. Through the pouring rain and burning fire humidity we were walking and knocking and I LOVED IT!! People looked at us like we were a little crazy but we didn't mind. 

One night after knocking for about an hour it was almost time for us to go home but there was one more door and I knew we needed to knock it even though the house looked a little run down and sad. So we knocked..twice and finally a man came to the door. He had pain and sadness in his eyes. After introducing ourselves he explained that he was having such a hard time, that he was sick and sad. I told him that we have a message that will free him from his pain and sorrow. I told him that God loves him. He invited us in immediately - sadly we needed another female so we asked if we could return the following night. He pleaded with us to do so and thanked us. The next day we returned with Tyria - she is a convert to the church and so sweet. Anthony was waiting for us. We taught him the Restoration. We taught him about the Atonement and the power that it has to save him and to comfort and strengthen him. Anthony explained that he was so depressed. That nothing had ever gone right in his life. That he didn't think God was there anymore. He didn't love anything anymore. He didn't know the purpose of life and he didn't want to be here. We spoke softly but powerfully about prayer and about God's unfailing love. About the joy that can come from turning our lives back to God. We told him that life is never easy and that he will have to have faith in the Lord's timing. That he will have to work hard and trust but he is willing to do anything - and I know God is willing to do everything to help him. Near the end of the lesson he shared an amazing thing with us - he said that less than an hour before we knocked on his door he sat on his porch and asked God - why is this happening to me? are you there? if you are, please send me some help? - then we showed up at his door. Heavenly Father is aware of His children and He always sends help. We testified that God lived and loves Him. That we were there for a reason and that he needed the message we have. He has such a desire to learn, reading is hard for him but we explained that there is power in the pages of the Book of Mormon if he will simply look at them, pray and try to understand. He wants to be baptized, he wants to do everything that he can to change. He is sweet and my testimony was strengthened by the fact that Heavenly Father led us there. I am so thankful to be a representative of the Savior and to tell people that Christ can SAVE their lives. It was powerful and unforgettable and I will be forever grateful that I met Anthony. 

We spoke in church yesterday - I got to speak on the first principles and ordinance of the Gospel. One of my favorite topics. 
Faith - believing in something you can't see. Working hard when you don't see immediate results. Trusting in the Lord and His timing. Faith must be centered in Jesus Christ in order to produce Salvation. 
Repentance - changing. Turning our lives back to God. We must repent daily so we can be clean and worthy enough to live with God again. 
Baptism - the gate that leads to eternal life. The way we turn a new page and covenant to bear one another's burdens and stand as witnesses of CHRIST at all times and in all places. 
And the Holy Ghost - one of the greatest gifts from God. The power to know that things are true. Peace that comes on the hard days. Strength to know that you are on the path. Those are the four simple steps that will lead us HOME and I am so thankful.

After church we had another incredible experience. We went to visit a less active who is in a nursing home because of her MS. She took us straight to Vivians room. Vivian is a sweet old lady who is about to leave this earth to live with our Heavenly Father. She is suffering from bone cancer. She can hardly talk but we told her that we were going to sing a few hymns (we sang for the nursing home before when she was healthier and she loved it - she called us angels) So Sister Drew and I sat by her bed, holding her hand and sang to her. As we were singing How Great Thou Art neither of us could hold back the tears. There was a strong Spirit in that room - we knew she would soon be in the presence of our Savior and our loving Heavenly Father and it was a beautiful experience. She was so grateful. We then prayed with her and told her that she doesn't need to be afraid. That Heavenly Father is waiting to welcome her home with open arms. I won't forget those feelings or that Spirit. 

This week has been incredible. I can't thank you enough for giving me this unforgettable adventure. I am SO thankful that I have knowledge of the plan of salvation. I know who I am and I know that Heavenly Father loves me. I now that this Gospel is true. I know that our Savior lives. I know that this life is not easy but it is so important - without it we could not change or progress. We could not become like God and we could not be worthy or strong enough to live in His presentment. I am so thankful for every beautiful day that I get to live. 

I love all of you. And miss you. I can't believe six months have already passed..totally freaks me out. 
HAPPY CANADA DAY - it is a HUGE deal. 
Enjoy the summer sun.
I'll see you soon 
Love, Sister Gochnour 

Oh and I'm staying in New Glasgow to finish Sister Drew's training!