Monday, January 26, 2015


Good morning sunshine(s), I am so happy to hear from all of you. I hope you have had a good week!! Yes we are bracing for the storm..the winter has been so unusual and pleasant so far but I am afraid that that will all change this week - SCARY!! :)

First I want to wish Dad a HAPPY BIRTHDAY on Thursday! I hope you know how much I love you. You never waver - you always know what to say and how to say it. You have taught me to love life and learning. To believe in myself and to trust in God. I am grateful for the way that you honor your Priesthood, the way you magnify your calling, the way you love mom and the unfailing support and opportunities you have provided for me, ralph, will, lucy and jake. Thank you for praying for me and for doing your part as a member missionary. You are changing peoples lives. I love you to the moon and back dad. I hope you have the best day. 

So the transfer is drawing to a close and I found out that I get to stay in Amherst!! I am grateful - I really do feel like this is where I belong (for now anyway:)) but Sister Coleman has been transferred to Newfoundland so i am getting a new companion! Her name is Sister Renda, she is from Utah and very sweet. She seems like a hard worker. I think she even went to Utah State - go aggies! She is an amazing violinist and I am looking forward to serving with her. 

We had a really great week. It seems like we are beginning to see some of the fruits of our labors. It is incredible. These are some of the miracles we witnessed. 

1. One night we went knocking and every single person answered their door!!! Not everyone was interested but at least we got to talk to them! We knew that we were meant to be there. 

2. Melinda is a member who has recently started coming back to church and while we were visiting her, her friend Walter showed up (who she had invited to a branch activity the week before - he loved it) and we asked him if he would be interested in learning about the church. He agreed!!! So we are going to teach him this week. 

3. Sister Coleman and I were asked to present a family history workshop to the genealogical society of Amherst. We were to teach them how to use, the features and all that it offers, etc. I am sad to report that before my mission I was completely oblivious to family history and did not do my part. On my mission i have learned more but we are not given much time to do family history so my knowledge is still VERY limited. The meeting that we went to was the most official meeting I have ever attended. People had to call the meeting to order and approve the agenda and "second that approval" - and so on..There were 18 experienced genealogists there and I was to teach them how to use our website!!!!!!!!!!!! That was definitely the most intimidating thing i have ever had to do in my life. Luckily, Sister Coleman knows much more than i do and we were able to do some research in advance. Plus, we prayed really hard and Heavenly Father helped us answer the really hard questions that they asked. It was a good experience. Oh how the mission helps us grow!! It was truly a miracle that we made it through and in the end they were very pleased with our presentation! 

As I have reflected on the past transfer I had this thought - we as humans often have such a limited perspective. We don't see too far ahead of our present circumstances, however, this transfer has taught me that even if we can't see the outcome of our striving to help build and lift and strengthen those around us. Our striving to become better, more useful instruments - GOD CAN. When we are patient, God will reward us. After all, 

"[His] thoughts are not [our] thoughts, neither are [our] ways [His] ways.." The Lord tells us, "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8-9) 

That is why it is so important that we move forward with faith, that we do the right things for the right reasons and that we patiently wait for the promises of God to be fulfilled. Because they will be. I am grateful to know that.

Thank you for being the best family in the world. I love you SO much! 
Grace and Jeff Homecoming her Sophmore year 2010
You make me happy.
Love, Sister G 

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Blood Clinic, The Book Of Mormon AND The Bridge

Bridge to Charlottetown, PEI
Hiiiiiiiiii I am so happy to talk to you today. It is positive degrees out which is crazy, eh? But again - I can't complain. This winter has been sooooo up and down, freezing then cold, rain and snow and wind. But ohhh well. We just go with it :)

On Tuesday we decided to go to the blood clinic to donate blood as a service opportunity plus there are always a lot of great people to talk to while you are donating.. Sadly, my iron was too low so Sister Coleman went ahead alone. Everything went well, we chatted with the friendly workers and ate cookies and drank juice boxes when she was done. No problems - so we left. As soon as we sat down in the car (she was in the drivers seat) she whispered "I feel a little light headed" and then her head fell, I lifted her up and saw her eyes rolled back while she made weird gurgling noises. That was one of the scariest moments of my life. Going against all I had ever known (STAY WITHIN SIGHT AND SOUND OF YOUR COMPANION AT ALL TIMES) I said to my unconscious companion "wait here, I'll be right back" because that is what fell out of my mouth..and I ran back into the clinic for help. I was shaking more than Sister Coleman but everything worked out ok. Sister Coleman rested that afternoon and was ready to work by that evening. 

We have seen great success with the members and less actives over the last few weeks. It seems that everyone is so excited to read the Book of Mormon and their testimonies are growing. One member, Debi joined the church a few years ago and never seemed to make it passed(past?) 1 Nephi - she struggles with the unfamiliar words and has a difficult time understanding the story line so we have begun reading with her a few times a week. She loves it!! She wishes we could come EVERY DAY. It is amazing to see her love for the Book of Mormon grow and the light that enters her eyes as she understands it better and feels the love of God through it's pages. It was exciting for her when she found out that Christopher Columbus is prophesied of by Nephi. There is no denying that the Book of Mormon is true if only more people would READ it with REAL INTENT and PRAY about it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Missionary work would EXPLODE. I love the Book of Mormon - I know that through it God speaks to us and can strengthen us in our individual and unique trials.

We got to go on an unexpected exchange this weekend with the Charlottetown sisters!!!! The 10(ish) mile bridge stood beautifully in contrast with the white frozen water underneath. I stayed on the island while Sister C came back and worked in Amherst. It was a wonderful experience. I was in ward again for church yesterday which was very different, it has been a long time since I have seen that many people at church! They were all so friendly. I have grown to love meeting new people and witnessing the difference the gospel has made in the lives of all who live it. The church really is true no matter where you go - what a blessing it is. I worked with Sister Aslett who is from England so I got to listen to her accent all weekend!! AND I got to see Sister Turner again which always makes me SO HAPPY!! 

LAST THOUGHT - I read a talk that my aunt Natalie sent me this week - it was about HOPE (link). President Uchtdorf says - "There may be times when we must make a courageous decision to hope even when everything around us contradicts this hope. Like Father Abraham, we will “against hope [believe] in hope.”  Or, as one writer expressed, “in the depth of winter, [we find] within [us] an invincible summer.” 

What a beautiful thought. "An invincible summer." I believe that HOPE helps us be HAPPY even in the depth of the cold Canadian winter. I believe that God want us to have HOPE in Him and our Savior and to allow that HOPE to change us and propel us forward. I am so thankful to share this message of HOPE with the world. 

Never give up. Never get down. SMILE. Work hard and you will be happy!! Love you with my whole entire heart <3
Love, Sister G 

Monday, January 12, 2015


Hi everyone,

Hope you all had a happy week - we sure did. 

I learned a valuable lesson on the power of simple and specific prayer.  It was Thursday  and we had been unsuccessful in receiving any referrals for the entire week despite our asking almost everyone we saw. In desperation we prayed that Heavenly Father would allow us the get a referral that afternoon and we bound ourselves to do everything in our power to receive an answer. Our first plans fell through so we moved on to our backups. We went and visited a lady who is so kind, she absolutely loves the missionaries but she is not exactly interested in joining the church. We were not sure why we felt prompted to go and see her but it soon became clear......After a short visit we stood to leave. Before we had even asked, she said "You know, I have someone that I would like for you to visit..." We walked to the car AMAZED. Heavenly Father is so good to us. We couldn't believe how clear the answer came and how quickly. I know that as we promise to do everything in our power - God will provide the miracles. 

Sister Coleman and I have been reading the "Power of the Everyday Missionary" again as a companionship - there are such valuable lessons contained in it. Clayton Christensen writes, "Sharing the Gospel does not require that we have the power of God unto the convincing of men. He gives us this power...He doesn't demand purity. He will help us be pure. For those of us who struggle with sadness, sharing the gospel will give us great joy. He will make us become holy men and women who have great revelations and are borne up from our burdens as on eagles' wings, begetting glory and honor to ourselves and unto the Lord's name." I think those statement are so important for us to realize. God works through the weak and the simple. When we share the Gospel we receive greater blessing than we could have ever imagined. 

I have experienced that reality time and time again. I have sat with older, more experienced people who have looked into the eyes of my companion and I and have said, "But you are so young. How do you know all of these things? How can you speak with such conviction?" That is the Spirit of missionary work. It is not us (the young missionaries with little life experience) it is the power of God working through us and it is incredible. 

It was Sunday night and the week was almost over, we still hadn't found a new investigator but we were not ready to give up. We finally found MacDonald road and went out to visit a former investigator that we knew little about. She invited us in and told us about the many questions she had never found answers to. She has faced immense trials in her life, trials that I cannot even imagine yet she has a strong faith in God and her greatest desire is to find peace. She told us that she was unsure of who she was, she wanted to be able to leave her house with her head held high but couldn't because of the terrible things that people said about her - they tore down her confidence. As we answered questions through the Book of Mormon and bore testimony of her divine potential as a daughter of God, tears filled her eyes. She knew that God had sent us. She knew that her prayers were being answered and she was so grateful. It was a beautiful experience. 

I spoke in church yesterday and shared this quote from President Uchtdorf's talk, Living the Gospel Joyful - 

"Yes, God loves you this very day and always.

He is not waiting to love you until you have overcome your weaknesses and bad habits. He loves you today with a full understanding of your struggles. He is aware that you reach up to Him in heartfelt and hopeful prayer. He knows of the times you have held onto the fading light and believed—even in the midst of growing darkness. He knows of your sufferings. He knows of your remorse for the times you have fallen short or failed. And still He loves you.

And God knows of your successes; though they may seem small to you, He acknowledges and cherishes each one of them. He loves you for extending yourself to others. He loves you for reaching out and helping others bear their heavy burdens—even when you are struggling with your own."

I am so grateful for the love of God. I am so thankful for the knowledge that I am a daughter of God - that we are all children of God - with a divine nature and destiny. I am thankful that God gives each of us the power to do His work. Let us be anxiously engaged!!

Have the best day ever, I love you!!

Love, Sister G

Monday, January 5, 2015

we are few but we are MIGHTY

Happy January 5th everyone!!! I sure love you. 

We had a harder week but miracles still came every day. I think it is important that we don't dwell on all of the things that went wrong, or all of the areas in which we fell short but rather we focus on the good - look to the future - and choose to be better. That is what I am striving for this week - TO BE SO MUCH BETTER. On January 1 (one year since I embarked on this incredible adventure) we had a deep cleaning day!! We were asked to spend the first three hours of the day cleaning our apartments. We worked hard and made our wood floors SHINE. It was so nice to be in a clean place, an environment that was conducive to the spirit and to see the hard work pay off. 

The temperature has dropped and the snow has finally come. I am reminded, each moment we spend in the bitter cold, of last year in Fredericton when our mouths were so cold that we could no longer form sentences and the lovely wind that pierces to your very center. You can't cry or scream or run away - you just have to laugh and keep going. People don't exactly want to talk so we have to adapt our finding, talk to people in stores or knock on their doors because at least they are a little warmer. We also are trying to work through the members and less actives because that is when we find the people who God has truly prepared. We don't have any investigators right now so we are working hard to contact people and not allowing the cold to slow us down because the Lord's work cannot be stopped - it doesn't matter the temperature. 

I learned a few very valuable lessons this week - most of them yesterday at church. There was a large snow storm and so when we arrived at church there was no one else there.. Soon the Lockheart's came with two other members. There were 6 of us when the meeting started, 4 of those being missionaries and only 1 priesthood holder. I was so grateful for Elder Lockheart and the reverent way he blessed and passed the sacrament to us. It was such a special experience. Three more members trickled in and we had our fast and testimony meeting. The Spirit was strong and pressed upon my heart. I shared the account in Matthew of Christ suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane - this is the story i shared in my farewell talk thought it didn't mean as much to me then as it does now -

Matthew 26:
36 ¶Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.
37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.
38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?
41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.
43 And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.
44 And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.
45 Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.

All Christ asked was for His disciples to stay awake and wait for Him as He went to suffer for the sins of the world. But His disciples were tired and they feel asleep so Christ the greatest of all suffered all alone. Christ says in verse 41 " Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." I believe that each of our spirits are so willing to do what God asks but our flesh is weak and we often give in to our flesh. We do what we think is right, rather than what God knows is right for us. The natural man is an enemy to God and I know that as we strive to keep our eyes on the Savior, trust in Him and stand for Him - we will be so much better off. I am also amazed by Christ's humility and His willingness to do all that the Father asked. He suffered the pain of every person who had lived and would yet live on the earth and He asked if there was another way but in the end He submitted His will to the Father's and suffered patiently. We need to turn our lives over to God and accept His will. He knows what's best and He really can make of us much more than we can make of ourselves. Those are lessons I needed to learn this week. 

We conclude with the hymn - "I Need Thee Every Hour" tears were in my eyes as we sang. I was so aware of how much we need Christ. We truly do need him every hour - in joy or pain - and the amazing thing is that He is always there.

This week I will strive to overcome the natural man and do all that God wants me to do. I will have faith in my Savior and remember that we do need Him every hour. 

I love you all. Thank you for those who sent me your favorite scriptures with your testimonies -they encouraged me and inspired me. You are amazing people. 

Love you!!!
Love, Sister Gochnour