Sunday, October 25, 2015

"there is no more precious friend than the savior"

I believe that every time we transition to a new stage of life, whether that is leaving high school to begin college, or leaving college to go on a mission, or returning home from that mission, or getting married, or having a baby, or just growing old - some things always accompany us. One) Fear of the unknown. It is difficult to embark on a journey not really knowing what to expect because you have never experienced anything like it before. An 18 year old teenager can't even comprehend what it will be like to leave home and family, to live in a foreign place, to interact with and learn to love people they've just barely met. From personal experience I know there is a lot of fear associated with it. So how do we combat this fear of the unknown?

Elder Anderson said, "Fear and faith cannot coexist in our hearts at the same time." Elder Ballard, "Remove any of your fear with faith. Trust the power of God to guide you." Elder Cook, "We must live by faith, not by fear."

The answer is clear - FAITH. Faith will enable us to overcome our fears of the unknown. I know that faith can light the way as we travel into the unfamiliar. Sometimes we may feel like doubting, our faith may be weak, we may be distracted or unsure but I can promise that when we strive to center our lives on the Savior, have faith in Him. He will be you anchor. Today in stake conference one of the speakers said, "There is no more precious friend than the Savior." I pray that each of us will cling to this fact. There is no one who has fought for you like He did and does still. There is no one who loves you more. There is no one who knows more personally how you feel. There is no one who can help you more than the Savior. HAVE FAITH IN THAT and I promise your fears will be hushed.

Two) Another companion to transition is loneliness. I can honestly say that the past few months since I have been home and moved up to school have been some of the loneliest of my life. However, I wouldn't trade the struggles I am facing for the world. Sometimes I even wish that I had experienced them earlier in life because one thing is certain, they have strengthened my desire to help others and given me the empathy to do so. I think I would have been a better missionary - thankfully I can start now. Loneliness is a feeling like no other, it seems like it's just you against the world and there is no one to back you up. Indeed we ARE never alone but sometimes it really feels like it no matter what we do to remember there are people there. As I have thought and prayed about this loneliness I have discovered something interesting. If you feel lonely, REACH OUT. There are people who love you, they may be far away or unaware but I promise they are there. Talk to them. The light of Christ provides us all with the innate desire to help. To me it's clear that when I think of myself I am miserable so I'm working hard to think of someone else in those moments. And again, most importantly, remember this - "THERE IS NO MORE PRECIOUS FRIEND THAN THE SAVIOR" He is there. He is your best friend. Say a prayer and you'll feel Him there.

I want to thank the people who have helped me remember this, who have listened as I've cried, who have reached out and reminded me that they are here, that they love me and that God has a plan. You people are the ones that are saving me.

Three) The last thing I want to talk about for now..learning or in my case, re-learning, the importance of patience. Through these transitions we face a lot of uncomfortable growing pains, we wonder if everything is going to work out. Are we where God wants us to be? Are we going to succeed? What should I study? Who am I going to marry? When will I not be lonely and afraid? For me the answer to all of these questions is "BE PATIENT." I was reminded by a missionary who I love very much that, "These trials are only temporary. Our Savior will never let us break. You will be stretched to the point of breaking, but I know for 100% certainty, HE WILL NOT LET US BREAK." In Doctrine and Covenants 67:13 the Lord teaches us "Ye are not able to abide the presence of God now...wherefore continue in patience until ye are perfected." We can find answers, we can become perfect - all in time. We must trust in the Lord, rely on Him and never forget that HE KNOWS YOU.

Be patient. Every day remember, "there is no more precious friend than the Savior." I do know that to be true.

Love, Grace

THESE are the PEOPLE that make life so much SWEETER.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Final Days...then HOME

There seemed to be too many goodbyes. The first picture is Sister Hardy and I out knocking in the rain on my last night as a missionary. I can't describe how I felt during those final moments, a sense of urgency but also heartache..I never thought I'd actually miss the doorsteps but I do. The members made sure I ended with some Nova Scotia Lobster and a personalized ice cream cake. I AM SO LUCKY.

This was a special moment. Elder Holland happened to be at the airport when we arrived. Elder Erickson and I shook his hand. He was in a rush but said this before he left, "Welcome home, thank you for serving."

 THEN I GOT TO SEE MY FAMILY. I hadn't cried that hard for 18 months. It was such a surreal moment. I sure love them.

It was nice to have my homecoming over with..I was nervous, my mouth was so dry I could hardly talk! But then I got to see some of my favorite people. Sister Lewis, Sister Renda, and the Hendricksons. 

 Sister Gochnour’s Homecoming Talk - Humility and Diligence (July 26, 2015)

Good morning Brothers and Sisters. I am so happy and grateful for this opportunity to speak to you today. As I pondered and prayed about what I might say I had a million thoughts run through my mind. How do you sum up who you became, what you learned, felt and experienced over an 18 month period in a short 20 minute talk - it’s challenging!! However one of my favorite things about the Book of Mormon is the amount of times the Lord says “REMEMBER.” It appears in the Book of Mormon 136 times - so I would like to talk about two attributes that I know Heavenly Father wants me to always remember because they keep coming up. That of HUMILITY and DILIGENCE. In Doctrine and Covenants section 4 which we recited every morning as missionaries - verse 6 says “Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence.” I love that humility and diligence come at the end of the verse - the last two attributes. I think that they are the crowning characteristics of ENDURING TO THE END. Which is the most important, and sometimes overlooked, principle of the Gospel.

I’ll begin with humility --

In a talk called “The Empowerment of Humility” Richard Edgley teaches this...”Humbly submitting our will to the Father brings us the empowerment of God—the power of humility. It is the power to meet life’s adversities, the power of peace, the power of hope, the power of a heart throbbing with a love for and testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ, even the power of redemption.”

I learned over and over again on my mission that ONLY if we submit our will to God’s will can we find happiness and success. There are times when it is awkward or uncomfortable to talk to people, but the Lord’s will is that we declare the gospel to every living creature. One sunny day my companion and I were knocking on doors. At the last minute we felt prompted to knock the street right next to the street we had originally planned to knock. No one was interested. Finally we approached a house where loud music was coming from the back porch. There was a large unleashed German Shepherd and three people outside. In order to get to them we had to walk around their house and into their yard..that was a little uncomfortable. We were about to pass them by thinking “we can come back later” but thankfully we humbled ourselves and remembered our calling. I thought of that quote from “We Bought A Zoo” -- “You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.” so our 20 seconds began. They turned out to be amazing people. The mother of the family was going through a very difficult time with her mother being terminally ill and she was angry at God and wanted us to explain why that was happening. The Lord is able to do amazing things through His servants if we humble ourselves and listen to His voice. We ended up sharing with them a passage from the Book of Mormon - the account in Alma chapter 14 of Alma and Amulek watching the innocent people who had believed in their words suffer death by fire. Amulek wondered why they couldn’t use the power of God which they possessed to save those people, his friends and family members, from the fire. Alma told him that it was not God’s will that they should save them but that those people would be taken up to dwell with God in glory. The spirit and those verses completely softened her heart. Tears streamed down her face as she hugged us and thanked us again and again. She turned down the page of the Book of Mormon that we had read from and promised us that she would read it, all of it. It was a miracle and had we done what WE wanted to do..we would have failed Him(Heavenly Father).

Humility is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of spiritual strength and confidence in the Lord. Think of our Savior. He was the perfect example of complete humility and submissiveness to the will of His Father. He did not die to bring glory and honor to himself. He died to be obedient to His Father, to do HIS WILL and to save each of us from our sometimes prideful and self-centered selves. I had a companion who taught me the importance of humility in a simple yet profound way. At first I struggled with her, she worked at a slower pace and I found myself getting easily frustrated. She was so kind and sweet and patient with me. I don’t think she really even noticed that I was getting tough with her but I knew it and I knew that God knew it. However no matter how the day went, whether I had been upset with her or whether the work was frustrating that day, even if I was in bed after she was, she humbled herself and said GOOD NIGHT, I LOVE YOU. Every single night. That may seem like a small thing but it changed me. I’m sure each of you have been angry at times, or annoyed with those that you love but I think that being able to say I LOVE YOU. Even when it’s hard is a sign of humility. It is a sign of becoming like a little child and I feel it is so important for each of us to remember that. I’m so grateful for that companion. I truly learned to love her and see her as Christ does.

Now I’m home and I realize that I still have so many weakness. I still need to rely HEAVILY on the Lord every single day in order to overcome the natural man and do what is pleasing in His sight. I love the quote in “Meet The Mormons” by the man from Nepal, he says “I’m not perfect, but I am prefect in one thing, I’m perfect in trying.” I love that. None of us are perfect but as we are humble we can keep trying, keep going despite setbacks and trials. Humility is trusting in God and His timing. He has a perfect plan for each of us. The Atonement can make us SO much better than we could ever be on our own but we have to USE it. That is where humility comes in..accepting the Atonement and applying it to our lives. Pray for humility. Learn of Christ and follow His example. That is how we can be truly happy.

And diligence -

In Preach My Gospel it describes diligence as “...a steady, consistent, earnest, and energetic effort in doing the Lord’s work.”

And Ezra Taft Benson teaches, “I have often said one of the greatest secrets of missionary work is work! If a missionary works, he will get the Spirit; if he gets the Spirit, he will teach by the Spirit; and if he teaches by the Spirit, he will touch the hearts of the people and he will be happy. There will be no homesickness, no worrying about families, for all time and talents and interests are centered on the work of the ministry. Work, work, work—there is no satisfactory substitute, especially in missionary work.”

A few days ago my mom asked “When your were outside knocking on doors in a freezing cold ice storm how did you keep going, day after day??” I liked that question. I’ll tell you first that it wasn’t always easy. Luckily mom you always said “WE CAN DO HARD THINGS.” And also I feel that diligence is why and how. When you remember your purpose and try to be where the Lord needs you to matter the weather. You can be certain that He is proud of you and pleased with your efforts, whatever the outcome. In a letter I wrote home in my first few weeks in the mission field (it was January and very cold) I said, “Just want you to know that when times are tough I remember that I am not alone. My Savior needs me here and he is blessing me for my efforts. So many people are working together to build up his kingdom and I am thankful that he is allowing me to be part of his army. With him - we cannot fail. Reach out and be an example to everyone you see. AND ALWAYS SMILE EVEN WHEN YOUR FACE IS FROZEN. I love you all. Love, Sister G”

I still feel that way. It is a privilege to stand as a representative of Jesus Christ, despite the freezing rain and endless amounts of snow - we must diligently move day at a step at a time because that is what we are called to do. One of my favorite scriptures in the Book of Mormon is found in Mosiah 28:3. This is after the conversion of the sos of Mosiah, they are pleading with their father, King Mosiah, to allow them to go and preach to the Lamanites. The scripture reads, “Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble.” The sons of Mosiah had felt the power of the Atonement in their own lives and so badly wanted to share that with their brothers and sisters. They had charity and as you know, their mission was not easy. They were spit upon, they got beat up and thrown into prison, they served in cities where NO ONE wanted to listen yet they never gave up. They were diligent and faithful. And oh how the Lord did bless and prosper them.

As we have just celebrated “Pioneer Day” I thought I would tell you of the diligent “Pioneers” who I met while serving in Atlantic Canada. In September I was transferred to the small Summerside Branch on Prince Edward Island. I soon met Gerda Waugh. She told us the incredible story of how she and her husband Ralph, who had recently passed away, were the first members of the church on the Island. I found this article about them in the church news archives..

“The Waugh’s were among the first members to meet on the island in the 20th century. Brother Waugh had moved in the 1940s to New York, where he married Gerda Wood in 1951.

"We joined the Church in New York and then a year later moved here in 1964," Brother Waugh explained. "There were no missionaries here, but we made contact with a woman who was a member of the Church and began meeting together for Sunday School.

"I can see now that we were supposed to move here," he continued. "I think the Lord wanted us to help establish the Church. It was almost two years before we had missionaries again on the island."

Elder Boyd K. Packer, then an Assistant to the Twelve, was president of the New England Mission at the time, which included Prince Edward Island. Elder Packer visited the Waugh home with missionaries in July 1966. About two weeks later full-time missionaries were transferred to the island and missionaries have been here since then.

Brother Waugh was called as the first branch president of the Summerside Branch on Dec. 21, 1969.

"Our children were quite young when we came, but I think the experience here has been good for them," Brother Waugh noted. "We were very few in numbers and our children knew that they were a little bit different in their beliefs than a lot of people. It made us a stronger family unit. Family home evening did a lot for us as a family. At first about all we had was each other."

Sister Waugh continues to attend church faithfully, she has a sweet, strong spirit and love for the Lord. It is amazing to notice the difference that just two people can have on the lives of so many who follow. I know she is anxious to see her Ralph again on the other side. Like the article described, the church is not very big in Eastern Canada. Almost all of the members are converts to the church. In most of the areas I served the youth (and there were only two or three of them) were the only members of the church in their entire school. Each member has many responsibilities and callings to fulfill, they don’t simply come to church because that’s what everyone else does. They each have powerful, undeniable testimonies of the Restoration. They know that Christ’s church is here upon the earth and they are so grateful to be members. Another letter home reads, “I think that my whole life I have taken for granted the fact that church is only a few streets from our house and the fact that all of my friends attend with me. Here it is much different, their testimonies have to be strong because their situations are much more difficult than mine was. 

One member (convert) told Sister Lewis (my companion), "There comes a point of no return..when it doesn't matter how hard it is to make it to church, no matter if everyone hates me or is mad at me, no matter what is going on in my life - i will go to church, I will follow the teachings of the gospel because I am past the point of no return. I will not turn my back on what I know for any reason."

I am so grateful for their examples.

In closing I would simply like to invite each of you to think about where you are on the path of endurance. What can you do to develop greater humility or to be more diligent and valiant in your testimonies? We must remember that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love us. They are anxious to help us and to be involved in our lives. We just have to let them in! I will be grateful every day for the rest of my life that Heavenly Father loves me enough to have allowed me to serve.

My testimony -
My mission helped me gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon. When I was attending Utah State for a semester right before I left on my mission I didn’t do much besides homework and reading the Book of Mormon. I believe it is there that I gained my testimony. There is so much power in the Book of Mormon. I have seen it change people. I know that the Book of Mormon is true because every time I read it I am filled with unspeakable joy, everything in my life seems to improve.

I can not deny that it is a divine Book and that Joseph Smith was indeed a Prophet of God. Called to do a marvelous work. I am so grateful for the Restoration. That God loves us so much that He provided a way, a plan, to help us make it safely home to Him.  And I know that our church is lead today by a living Prophet, Thomas S Monson. I know that especially in the tumultuous times we are living in - The prophet is our anchor. If we listen to and liv His teaching, we do not need to fear. He will protect us.

I know that prayer is essential in becoming who God wants us to be. I know He hears and answers our prayers.

I am so grateful to have a better understanding of the nature of God and Christ. That God is our LOVING Heavenly Father. That He has a body of flesh and bone. I know that the love of God changes people. It is the greatest power to heal and save in the world. We had an investigator once who was skeptical. He didn’t really know who God was. There was one lesson where he asked so many questions that we could hardly even teach anything. Finally at the end of the lesson we asked him to do one simple thing. We said, “tonight we want you to pray and ask God one very simple question - DO you love me? - we told him not to say anything else, no ifs ands or buts. Just to listen. When we went back the next day his entire countenance had changed. He was smiling. I’ll never forget the moment when he told me that he got an answer, that he knew God loved him - I almost screamed. From that day on he was a different person.

I know that true joy comes from living the gospel, every day, every aspect of it. I know that the commandments really are what set us free. Free from temptation and evil influences. God loves us and that is why He has asked us to obey.

I learned for myself that the little things are the big things. Little things like daily prayer and scriptures study, family prayer and family home evening - those are what keep us safe in the world of shifting values that we live in.

I learned that we can choose to be happy..I’ve had to be reminded of this since I’ve been home.

I know that my mission was meant to change me forever. And I hope that I can show through my actions that I have been truly converted. Because I do know that the greatest convert a missionary can have is himself or herself.

I am thankful above all for my Savior Jesus Christ. For the power of His Atonement. I am grateful for answered prayers and that God has a plan. I am grateful for my family and friends who love me for ME and who are my greatest support. I’m thankful that through humility and diligence THE LORD CAN MAKE WEAK THINGS BECOME STRONG UNTO US. I know that to be true.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

I'm happy to be home, with the people who loved and supported me through every day of my mission. They are my best friends and biggest fans. I feel so blessed to have them in my life.
God is good. I can't wait for the adventures to come.
Love, Grace

Monday, July 13, 2015

Humility and Diligence

So this is it..
HI family! At the beginning of my mission it was hard to imagine that this day would ever come..but time is a funny thing. Before I knew it the months were passing like weeks and the weeks were flying like days until there were none I am.

It's hard to think about leaving this life behind. I'm really going to miss it. I'm going to miss being on a schedule (having every minute of every day accounted for . I'll miss having two hours to study every morning and not having to worry about anything BUT STUDYING. I'll miss going to bed at 10:30 every night. And I'll miss putting on my name tag every morning. I'll miss the people - the way they say "yous" instead of "you". The way they can talk and talk and talk without us even having to respond. I'll miss hearing the testimonies of so many converts at church. I will even miss all of the cats..I'll miss the insane amounts of snow in the winter and having to shovel the car out every morning. I'll miss the sensation of having my mouth literally freeze making talking to anyone a real challenge. I'll miss the awkward and uncomfortable moments that don't seem as awkward or uncomfortable any more. I'll miss being so close to the sea..

Yet I'm excited for the adventures to come. President Pratt told me in our interview this week that he couldn't believe it but each phase of life really seems to be better than the last. Lucy sent this quote today that I loved (from "Hope Floats") "Beginnings are scary. Endings are usually sad, but it's what's in the middle that counts. So, when you find yourself at the beginning, just give hope a chance to float up. And it will." I just need to have hope. 

This week I have been reminded of a very profound and simple lesson. That of humility and diligence. When I got to the MTC I learned very quickly that my mission wasn't going to be easy. I felt weak and inadequate and I wan't sure if I could succeed. Then Sister Purcell reminded me of Ether 12:27 - God wanted me to work on my weaknesses but not be immobilized by them. He wanted me to be HUMBLE so that WITH HIM I could become strong. That night in the MTC I knelt by my bunk bed and prayed that He would help me put everything "on the alter", my fears and frustrations, my homesickness and all that I struggled with. It is amazing to look back on that day and see how He helped me. Some of those initial weaknesses have become strengths to me through diligence and hard work. Now I'm entering the last week of my mission and the Lord is reminding me of that very profound and simple lesson. One night this week I was sitting on my bed with my scriptures. I was pondering on what kind of an offering my mission has been to the Lord. I let my scriptures fall open and when I looked down of course I saw Ether 12:27..with the words "MTC experience 2014" in the margin. I wrote about this in my study journal the next day. I said, "I've been studying humility because something I've realized coming to the end of my mission is that I STILL have weaknesses. I was able to hand a lot of my weaknesses over to the Lord and I have seen some become strengths but now I realize that this is in ongoing process. It will never end until we reach perfection in the next life. And some of my weaknesses have been with me my whole life and through my whole mission, I'm still struggling with them. Studying Ether 12:27 again gave me HOPE. Even though I'm not going home perfected..I know how to work toward perfection. I know that I will continue to NEED to rely on my Savior every day of my life. In Doctrine and Covenants section 4 (which we recite every day) it lists several Christlike attributes..verse 6 says, "Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence." I love that humility and diligence come at the very end because that's what the rest of my life (our lives) will require - HUMILITY AND DILIGENCE - humility to turn to and trust in the Lord. Diligence in working to overcome the natural man and our weaknesses. I know that the Lord loves us despite our weaknesses." What a wonderful reminder!

I'm grateful that God knew I needed to serve so He provided a way. He knew I needed to come so that I could learn the importance of obedience. I needed to learn the importance of honoring the Sabbath day. I needed to learn what actually matters in life, what is actually important are the things that are important to God. The way we keep our covenants and the way we treat PEOPLE is WAY more important than getting 300 likes on instagram or having the nicest clothes and car. I needed to come so I could learn how to live the Gospel. What it means to HAVE FAITH, how to repent, the importance of our baptismal covenants and the sacrament, listening to the Holy Ghost and ENDURING TO THE END. I needed to learn patience and how to love unconditionally. I needed to learn how to listen. I needed to learn the importance of living by the Spirit, of planning and setting goals and of working hard. I needed to step outside of my comfort zone so I could gain greater perspective. I needed to learn what true conversion meant. I needed to lose myself so that I could, in the end...find out who I'm meant to be. 

I'm sorry this is getting kind of long. I just want to end with my testimony. I know without a doubt that God loves us. I know that He loves us because He provided a way for us to be happy. Happy on earth and happy in the eternities. Happy living in His presence again someday. I know He loves us because He sent His only perfect son to earth, to suffer and die for my sins, my sadness, and my imperfections. He sent Him to SAVE US! I know that He loves us because He has called prophets throughout history to guide His children home and He still leads ustoday through a living prophet. He loves us so He reached out to a 14 year old boy in the 1800's and called him to be a restore Christ's church and Christ's authority to the earth. So each of us could have access to personal revelation, access to the fullness of the gospel, and access to the Priesthood power which power can bind our families together forever!! Exaltation is possible because He loves us. God loves us so much that He has provide scriptures, particularly the Book of Mormon to guide us in our journey here on earth. I know the Book of Mormon is true with every fiber of my being. It is the "keystone" of my testimony. I know that as we live its teaching we will COME CLOSER TO CHRIST. He is the only way. 

I am so thankful to have been able to spend 18 months in His service. It's been the happiest time of my life. 

Thank you for loving me. Thank you for believing in me and praying for me. I couldn't have made it here without your examples and unfailing support. I LOVE YOU ALL VERY VERY MUCH!!


Love, Sister G ...saying goodbye to the sea

PS - I'm eating LOBSTER tomorrow!!

Monday, July 6, 2015


I can't remember if I've already used that title for a different email but even if I did..I'm still standing here all amazed..I am amazed by the goodness of God. I am amazed by His tender mercies and the miracles that NEVER CEASE. I am amazed at the love Jesus offers me.

We have been focusing on miracles this week as a zone. Miracles that will help us fortify our faith. As a companionship, instead of praying that we would see miracles in our own lives, we prayed that we might be the means of bringing miracles into the lives of others. And oh how Heavenly Father answered our prayers. I want to just name a few. 

1. We felt inspired that we needed to teach our recent convert about tithing. She hadn't been paying a full tithe mainly due to a lack of understanding (which we didn't know before the lesson). As we taught and bore testimony, the spirit touched her heart. She was so excited to begin paying a full tithe. She knew it would be difficult because her job was recently eliminated and she didn't have much money coming in. But she realized that paying her tithing "was the only intelligent thing to do." Yesterday she bore her testimony of the miracles she had seen because she paid a full tithe. A check came in the mail from her previous job that she hadn't expected! She was glowing with the Spirit and was so happy.

2. Kaitlin is an investigator that we haven't been able to see for a long time. We sent her a mormon message this week and she told us that it made her cry. It was exactly what she needed to hear.

3. We were knocking one afternoon and saw some people outside (down a different street) - I recognized the house as a former investigator's who we had never been able to make contact with so we went over to talk to them. Paulette is suffering through cancer right now but told us she would love to meet with us. She has strong faith and wants to know how she can live with her granddaughter (who means everything to her) forever.

4. We went to visit another former who was running out the door and needed help carrying food out to her car for a supper she was hosting SO WE WERE ABLE TO HELP! She had a great experience with missionaries in the past but they had suddenly stopped coming and she didn't know why. She said she would be open to learning more.

5. We met a single father named Mitch. We knocked an entire street and he was the only one who answered (well actually he was outside so he couldn't escape but he would have answered had we knocked)..he has a five year old daughter and it was easy to tell that he had a lot on his mind. He was struggling. We told him who we were and what we do. We told him that we share a book of scripture called the Book of Mormon that has all the answers to the deep questions of life. He is so excited to meet with us on Tuesday!!

6. We were able to teach Sylvia and her friend Tammy, whose mom is dying of cancer. The Spirit was very strong in our lesson. They are both amazing people. We helped them understand that God is not simply an energy in the universe but our Father with a body of flesh and bone. That He loves us and will answer our prayers through the Holy Ghost. We texted them later to follow up and see how they were doing. Sylvia told us that we opened her eyes to a whole new perspective. She enjoyed our visit so much that she can hardly wait to see us on Tuesday.

7. We are working through the branch list and trying to find/contact all of the people that we know nothing about. Last night we decided to message one on facebook - all we knew about Stefan is that he moved to Kentville. Long story short he told us that he hasn't been to church in 3 or 4 years but that he still has a strong testimony. He felt bad going to church because he hasn't been living the word of wisdom. He said that he really wants the elders to come over and teach him and his non-member fiancĂ©e. They both want to stop smoking. Then they want to get married and one day go to the temple. He thanked us for reaching out and said that he knew his prayers would eventually be answered. MIRACLE OF A LIFETIME!! 

I am so happy. 

It was a good week to say the least. We had zone conference on Thursday and met President and Sister Pratt. THEY ARE SO CUTE!!! They are the most kind, gentle people in the world. They both grew up in Utah but have been living in Florida for the last 30 years. It is amazing to see how the Lord works - I know that all of our leaders are inspired and they are given the strength and Spirit that they need to fulfil their calling. 

Canada day was strange...there were NO people out. So it just felt like a normal day but we had fun!! 

I just want to bear you my testimony that "the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom He hath chosen because of their faith.." As we seek to draw closer to the Lord we truly can be instruments in His hands. The joy that will come into our lives is overwhelming. I know that in order to overcome the evils of the world around us we must wake up every morning and put on the whole "armour of God" - we must fortify ourselves through prayer and scripture study so that we can have the power of God on our side. Without it, we will crumble under the pressures, temptations and evils of the world in which we are now living. I testify of the light and joy and hope that fills our hearts as we learn of the true nature and character of God, that He is our loving Heavenly Father. I know that this is Christ's true church - the only true church on the earth and the only church with the power and authority to save us. This is the road to eternal happiness, God knows us..each of us..He loves us and therefore leads us through a living Prophet and 12 Apostles. I know that their words are the anchors we need to stay secure in the world of shifting values that we live in. We are blessed beyond comprehension. 

I hope you feel my love and prayers. I hope you know how grateful I am for my family and friends. And how grateful I will be for the rest of my life for this mission - it has my heart.


I'll see you next week!!! Love you! 

Love, Sister G 

July 1st Canada Day

"went out to work in my slippers" - ?

Sunday, July 5, 2015

It Is Almost CANADA DAY! July 1st, 2015


It continues to rain here..but that doesn't stop the work from progressing!! 
We had a good week..and laughed a lot. Sadly many of the people we were teaching have slowly faded away for several different reasons but Heavenly Father has opened new doors! One day we were driving around for too long trying to find some former investigators. After stopping by several who were not home we re-evaluated where we needed to be. We said a prayer and felt like we needed to go knocking. There was a street that had been on my mind for a few days but I didn't actually know how far away it was - we had already been driving around a lot and I just wanted to get out and talk to people, my patience was wearing down..we put the name of the street in the GPS, it said we would arrive about 15 minutes later. So we took off, our precious little GPS took us a very scary, long, interesting way (on dirt roads and up large hills covered in massive potholes - remember our road trip mom? HWY B hahaha) but we finally arrived. We prayed again before we left that though we had been driving too much we were ready to work as long as we needed to to find someone prepared. We pleaded for the Spirit and went to work. The second person we talked to knew some members of the church, his wife had been given a Book of Mormon years ago and she had read the whole thing, We had a great conversation with him and each of us had the opportunity to bear testimony. In the end he told us he was happy where he was at and we said goodbye. About a half hour later we knocked on another door. A woman was leaving (the mom) and we started a conversation up with her and her son (who she had been visiting). As we talked about our message, how it helps us understand the purpose of life and can strengthen us to deal with the problems and challenges we all face - they just looked at each other, amazed. It was as if we were an answer to his prayers. He explained that he is going through a difficult time and that he'd love to learn more. We are going to teach him tonight!! I know that we needed to be there at that exact moment to talk to him. "All things [are done] in the wisdom of Him who knoweth all things." 2 Nephi 2:24

We had a few very funny moments this week, we were trying to prepare an object lesson on how the scriptures can protect us from Satan. Sister Lund told us that if you put your finger (completely straight) on the edge of a Book of Mormon and then slam it with a soup won't hurt!! We thought that was cool and interesting so we decided to test it out and make sure it worked before we slammed a can on someone's finger..Sister Hardy volunteered her finger and I filmed it all. I'll show you all the video someday but we quickly learned (the hard way) that IT DOESN'T WORK!! Sister Hardy had a throbbing finger for the rest of the night. It was hilarious..and sad. (missionaries are so trusting!!)

Today President and Sister Pratt arrive!!!!! We get to have another zone conference this week! I am excited to meet them and to hear their testimonies. President Leavitt told us that during the MTC and the beginning of our missions it's like we are trying to drink water out of a fire hose..haha I thought that was a funny image and SO TRUE! He asked us to be patient and kind to the Pratt's as they are adjusting. I know they will do an incredible job. I can't believe that the Leavitt's are actually leaving. This week I was able to have an exit interview with President. It was great to be able to talk about my mission, my companions and all that I've learned. He asked me...

"What 3 pieces of advice I would give to a new missionary..
it's difficult to choose but this is what came to my mind - 
1. The Book of Mormon is the most powerful tool in conversion - it changes hearts. 
2. We can choose to be happy. 
3. The little things are really the big things. "

I am so grateful for President and Sister Leavitt - I learned so much about hard work and faith from their examples. I'll never forget the powerful testimony I gained of fasting and prayer as we did so as a mission when President Leavitt's health was failing. I am grateful that they both made me laugh..A LOT. Today in President's final letter he talked about NEVER GOING BACK TO WHO WE USED TO BE. Our missions are meant to change us forever. He promised us that they will not go fishing (like Peter did after Christ had died) that they will still be missionaries, that they will still be constantly reaching out. That's the wonderful thing about our missions - they never really end! 

I hope you know I love you. I hope you know that you have strengthened me and helped me feel happy. Your constant love and support means the world to me. 

Have the best week!!
Love, Sister G 

PS - Happy Anniversary (yesterday) to Mom and Dad - 31 years! And Ralph and Abby - 2 years..that went way too fast. Thanks for being examples to us all. I LOVE YOU!

And also Happy Birthday to Grandpa and Laura last week..sorry this is late but I hope you both had a very special day. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Born As On Wings Of Eagles

Threesome - Sorry Sister Hardy closed her eyes
 Hi everyone. 
I sure love hearing from you. 

It raining it's pouring, the old man is snoring...I think we are in the middle of a tropical storm!! We had a great week though!! We found three new people to teach!! A couple, Wayne and Michele are on date for baptism - July 18. And Arnold, he is an older man with a lot of questions about the Plan of Salvation. His wife and youngest son died three weeks apart both suddenly and that is still very hard on him. We continue to see great progress with all those that we are working with, especially the less actives. We are focusing on getting them to read the Book of Mormon because the reason that most people go less active or just stop progressing in heir spiritual growth IS THEY HAVE SIMPLY STOPPED READING THE BOOK OF MORMON. It is the key to continuing conversion and I feel that so many people forget that. Don't ever stop reading. And if you have stopped - start again today!! We have seen great changes in those who have committed to read every day. I love being in a trio because we just have more fun!!!! We crammed the third bed in our room last Monday so now there is basically just one HUGE bed and it's fun to stay up and have deep, awesome, conversation about life and the gospel. We are getting along well though we are all very different. It seems to work. And I get to drive the big red van - so you can't miss us around town!! 

Today I want to leave you with something that has been on my mind lately. One of my favorite hymns is number 72 "Praise to the Lord, The Almighty" (I didn't know it before my mission but now it's my favorite 

These are the words of the second verse:

"Praise to the Lord! Over all things he gloriously reigneth.
Borne as on eagle wings, safely his Saints he sustaineth.
Hast thou not seen, How all thou needest hath been
Granted in what he ordaineth?" 

I would like you to think about the second line. What does it mean to be "borne as on eagle wings"? How do you think that would feel? The Lord will sustain His people. He will strengthen and uphold those who love Him. He will keep them safe from the temptations and evils of the world. 

I read a powerful, life changing talk by Sheri Dew this week. It's called, "You were born to lead, you were born for glory." She ends the talk by explaining how we can access the sustaining power of God in our lives to help us fight the last and greatest battle against the adversary --

"My dear young friends, I repeat that these are the days in which a true leader wants to live. These are days when opportunities to change lives and even destinies are nearly endless. You are running the anchor leg of the relay because you were born to lead. You were born for glory.

In conclusion, in the words of Moroni, “I would commend you to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written” (Ether 12:41) so that you experience for yourself the power in Jesus Christ to strengthen you, to sanctify you, and to help you run this leg of the relay. Don’t ever underestimate the power of Jesus Christ to help you. Isaiah said it this way:

Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? . . .

He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. . . .

. . . They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. [Isaiah 40:28–31]"

Again Isaiah talks about eagle wings   

"..SEEK THIS JESUS.." It is when we put in the effort to develop a personal relationship with our Savior. Specifically through heart-felt prayer and taking the time to listen - that we access this sustaining power in our lives, divine guidance, hope. Strive to have this relationship with Him, it is so important. 

I know that though the world would bring us down, Christ can lift us higher.
I know that though we all face moral appetite and weakness, Christ can make us strong.
I know that though we all face fear and regret, Christ can forgive and keep us safe.
I know that when we face heartache and loss, Christ will bear us up - as on eagle wings. 

He won't let us faint. He won't let us fall. 

I love you all. I hope you have a happy week - you deserve it!!!

Love, Sister GG

YM and YW service project!

here is the big red van we drive!
everyone sees us coming!