Monday, February 23, 2015

Talking To God


I'll here are some pictures that give you a glimpse of what happened when the sun finally came out after the storm. It's pretty cool to see the HUGE mountains of snow every where. When you walk down the side walk it's like you are actually walking through a tunnel of snow :) 

Yesterday was a sad day because we had to say goodbye to the Lockhart's...they are driving home to Utah this week. Mom you will have to go see them when they get home!! They served so faithfully and are such great examples to me. The world needs senior missionaries!! 

We had some incredible lessons this week!! Walter is doing so well. We taught him the Plan of Salvation and he wondered why more people don't know about it!! He was so amazed at the way it made him feel. He kept telling us that he has a strange feeling about everything. And then he clarified. "It's a strange GOOD feeling. I can't describe it, it's just the way I feel" I am so grateful that the Spirit of God works through us and all people to testify of truth and to help us recognize that we did live before we were born and that we can live with God again someday! We also taught Paul the Restoration. It was the last lesson that the Lockhart's taught on their mission and it was so powerful. I am not sure a lesson has been more smooth on my entire mission. My favorite part about the Restoration is testifying that Joseph Smith did see God and Jesus Christ. That God CALLED HIM BY HIS NAME "JOSEPH." God knows our names and He loves us. I am thankful for the statement that Joseph made "For I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it; at least I knew that by so doing I would offend God, and come under condemnation." Each of us can receive our own divine witness from the Spirit of God and if we do WE CAN NEVER DENY IT. I know that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God. I know that He did see God and Jesus Christ and I know that Christ's church, it it's fulness has been restored to the earth. I know this because I have asked and God has answered my prayer.

I recently read in Mosiah 5:13 "For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?" I have thought a lot about this question. How can we know God unless we serve Him? How can we know God if we do not keep His commandments? How can we know God if we do not strive to learn of Him and become like Him?

This week I have learned a little bit more about HOW. HOW we can come to know God better. In mission leadership council we discussed miracles and faith. I love when Nephi teaches us that the "tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen" God works miracles in each of our lives every day but it is up to us to notice them. When we do - our faith increases. After district meeting my impression was that I need to "talk to God" when I pray. I need to visualize seeing His face. And focusing enough to counsel with Him and listen to Him. As I have tried to do this, my prayers have become more sincere. I really mean what I say and I feel humbled and grateful that God, the creator of heaven and earth, allows us to talk to Him. In turn I have gained a stronger desire to serve Him so I can know Him better. When we serve others we learn to love them. 

Sister Renda and I have been waking up early every morning to run OUTSIDE. I am grateful that she encourages me and motivates me. It feels so good to wake up and run - the best way to start the day!! I am grateful for my health. I am grateful for this beautiful place that I get to live. I am grateful for the privilege to serve God and to know Him better every day. I am grateful to teach others about our Savior Jesus Christ who makes everything possible in our lives. I am grateful for all of you and pray that you will feel happy and loved because you ARE. 

Even amid the business of the world and our daily lives, take time to serve and take time to pray. When we lose ourselves for the sake of the Savior - we find true JOY. I love you all so much.


Saying goodbye to the Lockhart's
I love Sister Renda - she makes me run!

Monday, February 16, 2015


Hi family!!! I'm sure you are all wondering how we have survived this historical blizzard or noreaster or whatever they are calling it!! 
27" of snow fell yesterday and more to come today!!!
This is our story - On Sunday morning we were studying when President Lockhart called to tell us that four people called and wanted to come to church so we were going to move forward with a brief sacrament meeting. We shoveled out of our driveway, wind and snow were already blowing hard and fast in our faces. With very limited visibility we made it to the church. There were four missionaries, two members and two non-members there who wanted to say goodbye to the Lockhart's (they go home next week). 8 in total. 

It was a great privilege to partake of the sacrament. After that, each of the missionaries were asked to bear testimony of the Restoration. It was a sweet moment for me to reflect on how my testimony of the Restoration has grown over the course of my mission. The restoration is the greatest evidence we have of God's love for us. He loves us so He put us in families, He loves us so He sends Prophets, He loves us so He sent His son to die for us that we might all live again, He loves us so He restored His church, He loves is so He has taught us the importance of prayer, He loves us so He provided the Book of Mormon to guide our lives. I am so grateful for His perfect love. So grateful to know that God and Jesus Christ did appear to Joseph Smith and that the keys and authority, essential to our salvation, have been restored to the earth. I'm thankful that we are lead by a living Prophet still today, so we do not have to go astray. I am so grateful for my testimony. After our testimonies, Sister Renda, accompanied by Sister Lockhart, played "Nearer My God to Thee" on the violin. I can't explain the feeling that I had when I heard that beautiful music. Something started in my heart and spread through my whole body. It was like God really was with us - nearer than we could imagine. I felt so happy. 

The meeting ended and we headed out into the life changing blizzard. Immediately it became apparent that there was no way we could even get our car out of the parking lot. The snow was too deep. But the Lockhart's needed to take the two members home so for the next two and a half hours we shoveled and pushed and waded through much snow to drive his car down to the main road (not even block away) Luckily, a plow truck passed and offered to take Brenda and Jonathan home because there was really no way we would make it. We walked to the Lockhart's apartment because it was much close then ours and here we are now!! We spent the night with them watching documentaries and eating chocolate because there wasn't much else for us to do. The snow and wind continued ALL night. Sister Renda and I slept in our skirts on the couch (my couch was a little small so I moved onto the floor in the middle of the night). We woke up a 6:30am and proceeded to do our 5BX (exercises) in our Sunday best..that probably would have been funny for anyone to see :) But we are so grateful that we have a warm house and good company!! 

Elder Lockhart just went out to see if he could get to our car and said that "only if our lives depended on it..could we make it there" The snow drifts on the road are literally five feet high ALL THE WAY UP!!!! We may be staying here a day or two...

Previous to the storm we had an incredible week. Chantal came to young women's on Tuesday and LOVED it. She was so happy and grateful to be there. They are going through a difficult time but they know that God is helping them and that things will start looking up. And Walter is on date for baptism!! He tells us that he feels so good when he meets with us and he knows that this is the path God wants him to be on. I was thinking about how I could describe him to you and realized since he loves Elvis Presley I think he kind of tries to look like him. He has the sideburns and wears glasses with a clear rim and a shirt buttoned all the way up and a leather jacket. He has such a good heart. We love him and have already seen a great change in him. There have been many other miracle this week finding new investigator and less actives that are not even on the Branch list. We went heart attacking on Valentine's Day and a former investigator posted it on his facebook page and told us how we made his whole day!! Every day is busy and we feel so happy and grateful to see the hand of Heavenly Father in every moment. 

The closing hymn in our sacrament meeting yesterday was "Do What Is Right" I love this verse - 

Do what is right; be faithful and fearless.
Onward, press onward, the goal is in sight.
Eyes that are wet now, ere long will be tearless.
Blessings await you in doing what's right!

In a general conference talk that Sister Renda and I read this week, Elder Lynn G. Robbins said, "The Savior, the only perfect being who ever lived, was the most fearless. In His life, He was confronted by scores of accusers but never yielded to their finger of scorn. He is the only person who never once forgot which way He faced: “I do always those things that please [the Father]” (John 8:29; emphasis added), and “I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me” (John 5:30)." HIs talk is called, "Which way do you face?" It is so important that we always try to "do what is right" and that we never forget "which way we face." HOW can we do this? Follow our Savior. Do what Jesus would do. It is important that we live worthy of the Holy Ghost. It is important that we choose the good and hate the bad. It is important that we love God more that man and that we diligently live His commandments. BE FEARLESS. No matter what.

I LOVE YOU ALL!! We are safe and making memories that I will never forget. Elder Lockhart is making us laughing a lot :) 

Miss you. I hope some of this snow finds you eventually!! IT'S FUN!
Love, Sister G by the SNOW

Monday, February 9, 2015

Not sure what to call this? Happiness..miracles..ANOTHER AWESOME WEEK!

YES we have SNOW! and meet Sister Renda she is Awesome!
Hiiiiiii I just wanted to start by saying thank you. Thank you to all of your for loving me and believing in me. Thank you for your prayers - i want you to know that they are being answered. Thank you for supporting me and encouraging me to move forward with faith. Whitney Back reminded me of a quote that I love so much from, 
Elder Holland "some blessings come soon, some come later and some don't come until heaven but for those who embrace the Gospel of Jesus Christ they come!" 
I testify that this is true. Great blessings come from living the Gospel. You each are such a blessing in my life. 

This week we listened to conference talks as we drove in the car. We started with the April 2014 conference - my first in the mission field. They are so powerful - I love hearing the Prophet and Apostles testify of Christ and His divine mission. This week from Preach my Gospel I have been studying pre-earth life. It stood out to me that it is important to understand where we came from so that we can know where we are going! I also love learning about our Savior's willingness to take the role of SAVIOR. Because of Him we knew we could make it back home - we knew He would be the way. Satan said this, "Behold, here am I, send mewill be thy son, and will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely will do it; wherefore give me thine honor." Me, me, me. He was so selfish, totally encompassed in his desire to receive the glory for himself. Christ said this, "Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thineforever." (Moses 4:1-2) He wanted God to have all the glory. He was submissive and humble and willing. We must be more like our Savior. We must submit our will to the Father's. We must seek to glorify Him, not ourselves. It's not about what the world thinks that matters - but what God thinks of us. 

On Friday we had a lesson with Crystal and it was one of those lessons that make all of the hard days on your mission worth it. It was so incredible. Her daughter Chantal finally sat in with us. Chantal is 16, she has also been through a lot - she has so many questions and is ready to find her answers. We reviewed the Restoration and showed them the Joseph Smith movie. Afterwards we were having a discussion and Chantal told us that we had answered all of her questions. They told us that they know God is real and that He loves them because the night Crystal was about to give up - when she no longer felt like holding on. We knocked on her door. We brought the light and hope of the Atonement of Jesus Christ into her life. She said that since she has been meeting with us everything has been going better and she has felt truly happy for the first time in forever. Chantal said, near the end of the lesson, "We did it mom, I think we found our path." I know that this is the path. I know that this is the path to eternal life and eternal happiness. I know that the Gospel changes people. It strengthens them and brightens their countenances. I am so grateful that I get to be a missionary and get to witness that change - in  myself and the lives of those that we meet. I will let you know how they progress!

We also had a wonderful zone conference this week. My favorite part is always the testimonies of the missionaries who will be returning home at the end of the transfer and to hear the testimonies of President and Sister Leavitt. The theme was about God's love and divine plan for our lives. We can not understand or comprehend all of the great things that God has in store for each of us. He wants to bless us with all that He has. 1 Corinthians 2:9 "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." This is just the beginning of the rest of our lives. President's counsel to each of us was this. "WORK HARD. THINK. TAKE COURAGE. BE CONFIDENT. NOW IS THE TIME. JUST DO IT - THAT'S FAITH." This applies to each of us - no matter where we are in our journey of life. Time is short, we must prepare and live the way God would have us live NOW. So that we can make it back home. Stand confidently in His presence. And inherit all that He has. 

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love you to the moon and back.

Love, Sister G
I beat President Lockhart in an arm wrestle!!!..but that's not me in the picture :)
AND Sister Renda...

Monday, February 2, 2015


saying "goodbye to Sister Coleman"
 Hello, I'm happy to be writing to you despite the winter weather that has finally made it's way to Eastern Canada...and we are expecting another 40-50 centimeters (about 20 inches) tonight. It was -20c degrees when we got in the car this morning - we could definitely see our breath. It was one crazy, amazing week. I hope I don't forget anything!!

On Tuesday the first big storm came and we were asked to not take our cars out on the road, therefore we spent an ENTIRE day inside. Calling random strangers out of the phone book and doing area book work until my hand hurt so bad I couldn't write another word :) I was standing on my chair eating an apple and doing headstands by the time the day was ending...However, President Leavitt's motto is "we cannot be stopped" so we still had our mission leadership council meeting - it was just over the phone. As well as our end of transfer sister training leader skype call. It's a good motto. It inspires us to never give up, no matter what. Where there is a  will there is a way! Another thing President always says is "necessity is the mother of invention" SO TRUE.

Wednesday was the day before Sister Coleman left and there was much to be done. It seemed like everyone wanted to feed us, which is so nice but a sister missionary can only handle so much food! We did make it everywhere we needed to be and we were able to teach Melinda's friend Walter so he is a new investigator - I'll explain more about that in the next section. 

Thursday - my valentines package came early in the morning!! It was amazing mom - thank you so much. That was the cutest banner, cards, etc and I of course almost died that there was such a thing as "diet candy" until I opened the bag and saw a large amount of almonds...YUM!! Then we experienced our FIRST incident getting stuck..we were on our way to Moncton but we hadn't even made it out of the driveway when our wheels started spinning. Lucky for us, as sister Coleman was out trying to push, a neighbor who lives a few doors down saw us struggling and ran to help. We made it safely and I said goodbye to Sister Coleman. We had a great companionship -she taught me a lot, especially about being a good communicator and I was forever be grateful for the experiences we had together. Then I picked up Sister Renda and we headed home!! Sister Renda is from Herriman Utah, she did go to Utah State for 3 years studying food science. She is an incredible violinist and i know we are going to have an amazing time together. She makes me want to be better, she has a strong spirit, she is thoughtful and kind. As soon as we made it back to Amherst we had another lesson with Walter. He explained how he knew he needed to meet with us because the night before he had taken a sleeping pill and didn't wake up until 12:30 (our appointment was at 3) and he had a lot to get done before the lesson so he said a prayer and asked for help to stay calm and get get everything done that needed to be done. He told us that everything fell into place perfectly after that. He got his haircut, called Halifax for an appointment, ran some errands and at 3 o'clock sharp he met us at Melinda's door. It was such a miracle for him, he couldn't believe it. Later, we had a powerful lesson with Crystal, we read 2 Nephi 31 and talked about Baptism and enduring to the end. She explained to Sister Renda how much Sister Coleman and I had helped her find hope and a desire to live. Though it wasn't us at all, but God using us as his instruments - I'm grateful that I got to be a part of it. 

On Friday we needed to take out car into the Canadian tire because of our tire pressure that refused to stay full no matter how many times we filled it up. Turns out we needed a new tire so as we sat in the waiting room we started up a conversation with the only other person in there. It started as small talk - what happened to your car? where are you from? where do you work? what's your family like? Then we started asking more profound questions like "are you religious?" He told us that he wasn't used to talking about things like that and that we were asking hard questions that made him think (that's a good thing - we like when people think!!) He was friendly but reserved. He told us that he had a lot of unanswered questions and our small talk turned into a fantastic missionary moment, He began opening up and we were able to bear testimony about life after death and why we decided to serve missions. In the end he still wasn't interested in meeting with us but we saw the light in his eyes and we know that we did what God expected of us. We gave him a card with our phone number in case he ever changes his mind. Before he left he asked us again where we are were both from - we told him Utah and he said "that's so strange because you both look so familiar. I feel like I have seen you before.." We had never met Peter before but we told him that it wasn't a coincidence, we were meant to meet him. It was a sweet experience for me . That is what missionary work is like - you don't have to wear a name tag to have an experience like that. And oh what joy those moments bring! 

Saturday - it had snowed all night and it snowed all day. We left at 10 and again got stuck in the same place we had just days before - you'd think that i had learned..After an hour of digging, rocking, pushing and doing everything we could possibly think of to get unstuck we knelt down on the side of the road and prayed for a miracle. After that the car budged a little bit more but wouldn't move. So we went and got our neighbor - he is such a friendly man who is always teasing us. He of course was able to help us out - an answer to our prayers (that came after hard work and thought and humility recognizing we were powerless on our own)  We made him biscuits while we were stuck inside again and he brought us homemade soup for dinner that night. I am so grateful for him. Saturday we also did a LOT of shoveling. My whole body is sore but it is such blessing to be able to serve and help our those who need it. 

Sunday - there were only 9 people at church again but the Spirit was just as strong in our testimony meeting - it even lasted the full hour again. Sister Renda has been reading talks to me as we drive - they bring a wonderful spirit into our companionship. Later in the day we were discussing what we feel has been the hardest part of our missions so far. These are some things that have been hard for me. 1. Knowing God's will and doing it. 2. Developing unshaken faith - to fight discouragement an the powers of Satan. 3. Being out of my comfort zone all the time. 

As we discussed these things I came to this conclusion - I remember when i played soccer there were games that Chris would yell at me a lot and I felt that i kept making mistakes and wasn't doing anything right. But I didn't give up - I tried my best and fought hard. After those games mom would always say - Chris yells because he knows your potential. HE EXPECTS A LOT OF YOU - because he knows that you are a great player and that is why he is hard on you sometimes. She was right. At the end of the game Chris would always grab my head, look me in the eyes and say "Good game grace. Awesome." I knew that he meant it. I knew that he loved me and I knew that he was proud when i tried my best. That was the best feeling in the world. And i believe it is the same in our lives, God expects a lot of us because He sees our divine potential. He knows how great we can be. So He expects much but only because He loves us. I am grateful that I have this chance to prove myself - to struggle so that i can grow - and improve - and strive to live up to His expectations. 

Love, Sister Gochnour

valentine's package to gg
PS - sorry this was so long..