Monday, August 18, 2014

"What are you thinking"

Hi - it seems like everyone in Holladay is getting married. That is fun. I hope that you have all had an incredible week. I miss you a lot every day!

The start of a transfer is always great, especially when you know the area. It starts to feel like home. Many of the people we meet are people that we see pretty much everyday because they wander the streets just like we do. We've talked to all of them and now we can just give a friendly "hi bob" as we pass. I think some of them are still a little bit worried that we are going to try and talk with them again but oh well. Your relationships with the members are automatically strengthened with the passage of time. I love the people in this tiny branch. They teach me that we are so blessed to have each other as members (it's like having an extra big family) and that we are all brothers and sisters - we are in this together and life is not ever easy but we must hold fast to our testimonies and hope that our loved ones will do the same.

Along with a new transfer is 
a new start 
a chance to improve and do things better. 
Learn who God wants me to be and let Him teach me. 
It is wonderful to know that God will always teach us the things that we need to learn in order to BE the best that we can be. 
I think that a big way He teaches us is through other people. 

Sara sent me a letter about loving people around us. It is not always easy to have that perfect Christlike love for people who are imperfect but that is what we must strive for. Despite the opposition. And we learn to love people by serving them. By sharing the Gospel with them and by kind of wearing your heart on your sleeve.. I know that the people in my life are teaching and helping me grow and I am thankful for that. 

This transfer I have set some goals to help me change - I want to do something nice for someone every day. Funny I am "serving" a mission but that doesn't mean that I am doing enough service - I need to be constantly looking for ways to show my love for others and for the Savior. The fist great commandment is to love God. The second is to love our neighbors. I want to do that so that I can see the good in others and learn to love unconditionally. I also set a goal to read the Book of Mormon five times before I go home. Seems like that would be the easiest goal in the world but there are so many things we can study and learn yet I become more and more aware every day that the Book of Mormon is truly our most powerful and important tool (along with the Spirit) and I have been reading it like crazy every minute I can - I have learned SO much. I love knowing that all we need to do is trust in the Lord, pray without ceasing and be righteous and we will ALWAYS be delivered from the hands of our enemies. I love the missionaries that Alma and Amulek were. And the sons of Mosiah - NO FEAR. They were fully aware of their calling and their purpose. People are so easily led to destruction because Satan is pretty good at what he does and people often give in to PRIDE but the Book of Mormon missionaries knew that they had to declare repentance in order to TRY and save the lives of their people who they LOVED and cared about so much. They knew that the Lord would provide a way. They felt the joy of repentance and spent the rest of their lives helping others feel that same joy. As I read the Book of Mormon I really do grow so much closer to God. He is my best friend and I am so thankful that He teaches me and blesses me as I simply make an effort to read.   

Sister Christensen is funny. She loves cats and ...whenever there is a quiet moment, whether we are walking down the street or going from one door to the next, she will ask me 
"What are you thinking?" 
I have really enjoyed that question because it has helped me focus my thoughts and think about things that really matter. 
We often have very uplifting conversations following that question 
it's amazing the things you can learn and the testimony you can gain simply about thinking about things that really matter. 
Thinking about Christ and all he did for me. 
Thinking about loving the people even if they are a little bit rude. 
Thinking about becoming a completely new person - changing - in order to align my will fully with God's. 
Thinking about the things I love about being a missionary. 
Thinking about how listening is so important. Especially as a missionary Satan wants to try and use our thoughts to distract or tempt us because that is one thing he can have a great influence over but as we turn our thoughts to God - we feel so much happier. More complete and strong and able to resist the temptations of evil. 

This week Papa sent me a letter - he talked about eye contact. So recently I have worked hard to look people directly in the eye as I bear my testimony to them. Never looking away - holding their gaze. It was interesting because I felt like it was easier to speak the words that God wanted them to hear because it felt like my Spirit was speaking to their Spirit through our eyes - if that makes any sense? It was very could tell when someone was sincere because they would open up. One guy explained that he never ever walked that way but he did that day and he met us. I was able to bear testimony and look into his eyes and though he didn't want to meet he said that we gave him a lot of things to think about. 

Brother Edwards came to church!!! It was incredible, he is doing so great. And alyssia texts us all the time asking what more she can read out of the Book of Mormon and letting us know all of her questions and thoughts. I love them both so much and am so thankful for them. 

Mom you hadn't told me about Genevieve but that is incredible!!! (This week I had the honor of going to the temple with my Mom and Dad and sealing my namesake and Aunt who died at a young age - to her parents!) Oh what an amazing experience that must have been. I am so thankful for the temple and eternal families!

Hope everyone is doing well. Happy Birthday to Olivia this week!!


Love, Sister G

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