Tuesday, May 26, 2015


in the mall

I love hearing from you all!! Will I've been praying for you every day - I hope you know that. I'm sure you did fantastic on the MCAT - you worked hard and studied hard and you will be blessed. I am proud of you! And jake keep being amazing. I'm cheering you on from all the way over here - good luck in your game today!! Leave it all on the court  

We have had quite the week. We found two new investigators!!!! Sam is 18, she requested a free copy of the Book of Mormon on kijiji. She has a strong faith in Christ and really loves our Savior. She asked if we could meet her at the Tim Horton's, she had walked there and it was a little cold outside. When she arrived I offered to buy her something. I hadn't thought about this before but Tim's is a coffee shop - everyone orders coffee there - I was SO worried that she was going to order a coffee and I would have no idea what to do..a missionary buying her investigator a coffee doesn't look too good. We are to AVOID ALL APPEARANCE OF EVIL!! Luckily, she ordered some chocolate thing (that was a major relief). She was grateful for the Book of Mormon and excited to learn more. She was fascinated by the fact that our church is organized exactly the same way that Christ had organized it anciently. We have living, modern apostles and prophets!! A few days later we were knocking and met Shaniece, she is 20 and was excited when she found out we were Mormon. Turns out she lived in Utah for 3 years attending a boarding school type thing in Provo Canyon. She grew up in foster care and has been through a lot of pain and abuse. I could tell as I talked with her and looked in her eyes that she is a special person and that she needs to know that Christ is there. That He loves her and understands her. We went in right then and had a great lesson. She wanted to know mainly about what happens after we die because she felt confused. I love bearing testimony of the Atonement and the fact that we will all be resurrected and given the opportunity to choose eternal happiness in the life to come. She found great comfort in knowing that God does indeed have a plan. 

We also put on a mall booth this week. It was a lot of fun. We came up with several true and false statements about our beliefs {Example - Mormon don't drink coffee - Mormons have more than one wife - Joseph Smith wrote the Book of Mormon - Mormons fast once a month - Mormons dance - Mormons believe God and Jesus Christ are two separated beings - etc.} It was interesting to see how little people understand about our church. And how mislead many of them are. They couldn't believe that we don't drink coffee, "everyone drinks coffee!!". It was a good way to bear simple testimony and to be seen in the community. Hopefully one day all of these people will know the truth. For now, at least a seed was planted. 

This time through the Book of Mormon I have been highlighting every reference to "heart". I am saddened by how often the people "hardened their hearts" against the Lord and how quickly "they were lifted up in the pride of their hearts" Satan goes for the heart. It is the one thing that belongs to us..it is ours to give or retain. Satan does all he can to make our hearts cold and to turn them away from God. On the other hand, God softens hearts, He changes hearts and allows our hearts to rejoice and be filled with love. He teaches us what we must do to have happy hearts, hearts that are clean and pure. Hearts that are full. Hearts that understand and are changed. I have felt the importance of shielding and protecting my heart from temptation, from pride and the things of the world (riches, power, possessions). Our hearts are precious and only when we turn them to God can they be safe. DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS RATHER LIVE WITH CHEERFUL HEARTS and happy faces  

Remember that we have so much to be grateful for. There are people around us every day who are struggling, who are afflicted and burdened. I have witnessed this first hand. We must remember to love more completely, to not judge and not get frustrated or impatient with another. You never know what "crosses" they are being asked to carry. Be grateful for your blessings. I am grateful for my health and my family. I am grateful for the safety and the freedom we enjoy. I am grateful for the power and authority of God - the Priesthood that we have available in our lives. I am grateful for the trees that are blooming and the sun that is warm. I am grateful for the love and support you offer me. Thank you for your prayers. 

I love you with all my HEART!

Until next week 
xoxo Sister G 

Monday, May 18, 2015

"Perfect In Trying"


Sounds like things are going well in rainy SLC. I can't believe the school year is ending so fast and summer is coming so soon. Life is exciting. 

We have had quite the week. I think they call the rain that we experienced "spitting rain" not sure if that is real or made up in my head but it makes sense. Sister Drew used to say that it was like someone was squirting you directly in the face with a spray bottle. It's pretty funny but that is exactly what it feels like. Bizarre misting rain that soaks you and makes it hard to see. LOVE IT!!! 

On Wednesday after district meeting, President and Sister Leavitt came to interview us in our apartment. They are travelling around the whole mission together - visiting all of the missionaries and doing final interviews before they go home. They are remarkable people. During my interview President asked how my 5BX was going (that's the exercise program that we do every morning) I told him that it was going well and he asked for more details. I said that I now do 55 push-ups and a plank (only a minute and a half) every morning and night. He was totally shocked. So..after my interview Sister Leavitt and Sister Tegge came out and President and I got down - in suit and skirt and did a 2 minute plank together as we recited "our commission" and "the standard of truth." It was pretty funny. A moment I'll never forget, President is the best!

Saturday was a HOT day and we were out knocking in the morning. We weren't far from our home which, if you remember, is out in the country. That means BUGS! So many bugs..hornets..gnats (if that's how you spell it)..etc everywhere!! Some even chased us off of the doorstep at some houses. Anyway, around noon we headed back to our apartment for lunch. When we arrived, to our HORROR, there were countless spiders crawling all over the door frame and windows and the siding of our house. It was absolutely disgusting. Instead of opening the door, we got right back into the car and went to buy some spider killer. Then we ended the lives of all of them..I felt a little bit bad but I really didn't want them in our house. I think they are in a better place..we haven't seen one since ;)

We went back to see Wayne yesterday. We woke him up from a nap but he is friendly and a talker so he came out to talk to us. He said that he hadn't read much but he had thought about it and he did want us to come back. He said "don't give up, I promised I would read it." So I'll keep you posted! And it turns out his cousin is a member here. She lives really far away though so it's hard for her to make it to church.

I also got a letter from dad this week that I really appreciated. I loved this part "Natalie made a presentation this week at a meeting I attended and she mentioned a conversation she had with Governor Norm Bangerter who passed away this week. He was asked what accomplishments he was most proud about from his 8 years as Governor and his response was, "I didn't duck." I love that. He met all challenges and difficulties head on, without ducking or trying to avoid or hide from them." That is an accomplishment. Life can throw some pretty difficult, heavy things at us. But we should meet them head on and with faith in our Savior - this is when character is built. 

Ok one last thing. I'm not sure if I have mentioned this quote in a previous letter but this week we had a branch movie night and watched "Meet the Mormons." My favorite quote in the movie is from Bishnu Adhikari - the humanitarian from Nepal. He says, "I'm not perfect, but I am prefect in one thing - I'm prefect in trying." I think that is a significant statement. I used to believe that when I neared the end of my mission I would be pretty close to perfect (oh dear), I thought I would have most things figured out and we would be having immense success...I have quickly learned that this is not the case. I am still so far from perfect. I still have struggles and trials. I still make mistakes. And some days are still plain HARD. But I do believe that I am better at trying. I have a better understanding of why I am here and what Heavenly Father requires of me. I know that if I try my best - He will bless me and help me. So remember that if you are upset because of your many imperfections, all you need to do is keep trying. Be perfect in that.

It is only when we give up or give in that Satan can have power over us. SO I am going to keep trying. Keep moving forward!! 

I LOVE YOU!! I hope you have a fantastic week. 

Love, Sister G 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Choose To Be Faithful

Hi hi hi

Calling home is a little like Christmas (on a much smaller scale) the build up is so exciting. And then it happens and it's great and funny and your heart feels happy. Then you hang up..and it's all over. Back to normal life :) I sure loved hearing your voices but normal life is good too! 

Some of you know but I will re-explain for those who don't (I can't remember if I wrote about this last week or not??). We are reading the Book of Mormon together as a mission over this transfer. We are supposed to read 13 pages a day to finish in time. It's amazing to me how wonderful and beautiful the day seems to be when you read the Book of Mormon. Everything goes better. I can't explain why. I'm just grateful. 

Yesterday we were knocking and we met Wayne, who came out onto his porch to talk with us. He said he was religious but didn't go to church. He also mentioned how he could never change religions. He told us that his wife was sick and that he had a lot on his plate. His understanding of gospel topics was limited. We started testifying of the Book of Mormon. We told him about the role of prophets which is to testify of Jesus Christ. How Christ actually appeared to His "other sheep in ancient america." He read Moroni 10:4-5 out loud. We shared the first vision and told him about a living Prophet. He took the Book of Mormon and said he would read it. He didn't want to set up an appointment but he did say that if the Book was true and if it could bring him peace - he would give it a try. We left him with the promise that it would. 

Mom wrote these words to me this morning and I really appreciated them, "I hope you are able to meet with the man you talked about - that wouldn't set up a firm apt - we all struggle so much with change  - life is so crazy how things that are simple and true sometimes are the hardest for us to accept  - so i do hope he will meet with you again.." 

Nephi wrote words that were plain and easy to be understood and still so many stumble because of them. Sometimes I feel like we like to complicate things..though I have no idea why?? This has taught me about the importance of testifying. We will not always know what to say but God does and when we testify we allow the Spirit to speak. I feel that it was only when we bore testimony that Wayne really felt something stirring in his heart, And so that is a goal we have. Whether the person wants to talk or not - we will leave them with our witness of the truthfulness of our message. I too hope Wayne will experiment on the word (we'll follow up:)) because I know that the Book of Mormon can change his heart and his life!!!

The weather is beautiful. Sun actually makes people happier, I think. One day this week Sister Tegge and I drove out to Alyesford which is about 15 minutes from the center of town. For some reason we were both extremely tired..like past the tired stage. We were looking for former investigators when our trusty GPS led us down and unpaved road with SO MANY POTHOLES. We were going maybe 2 kph and just bouncing up and down (like we were on Indiana Jones - Nova Scotia style). We of course started laughing..mainly due to the tiredness and we couldn't stop. By the time we got to the end of the road we were both crying and couldn't breathe. 

That was a good moment. I also want to tell you about Devon. He is a 15 year old member here and the only active member in his family. He comes to church every week by himself and to all of the activities. He is amazing. He'll text us often to tell us about the missionary experiences he is having. He talks to less actives every week to try to get them to young mens. He told us that his mom said "I think you are obsessed with the church." Last night we gave him fliers to hand out because we are having a branch movie night on Friday, Meet the Mormons, and we want to invite everyone we can. He basically started going door to door to invite all of his neighbours and was texting us to give a play by play of what they said and who he thought we could stop by later. I love his enthusiasm for the gospel. He knows what it is that he is offering. NO FEAR!! I wish we were all a little more like that. 

This week we also had a wonderful stake conference. Something that really stuck out to me was the words of a young mother. She talked about faith and the trials she had gone through earlier in her life as a single mom with a premature baby. She said "I had to choose to have faith every day. Otherwise fear, hopelessness and despair would creep in and take over. The Lord will fight our battles when we honor and keep our covenants." CHOOSE FAITH. It is not a passive trait. It is something that we have to work for every day. We cannot just pray for more faith and then just wait and hope it magically comes. 

Elder Clayton said this in the April conference, "Belief and testimony and faith are not passive principles. They do not just happen to us. Belief is something we choose—we hope for it, we work for it, and we sacrifice for it. We will not accidentally come to believe in the Savior and His gospel any more than we will accidentally pray or pay tithing. We actively choose to believe, just like we choose to keep other commandments." And God in His infinite goodness and mercy will bless us for our faith. He will work mighty miracles in our lives. He will fight our battles.

That is what I am going to try to do this week. Choose faith. And actively work for it!!

Also wanted to tell eli and emma b how excited I am to hear of their mission calls!! Ghana and Oakland California are LUCKY places. I know that God knows us. He is so proud of your decision to serve.

I love you all with my whole heart. Hope you have a happy, faith-filled week!! TTYL

Love, Sister G 

Monday, May 4, 2015

I Love You Mom


It's always interesting as I sit at the computer, reviewing the week and deciding what I need to say to you. The tender mercies we have seen are endless. The lessons I've learned are many and the Spirit I have felt has been strong. I wish I could accurately describe to you the joy that comes into my heart each day the sun rises and I get to put on my nametag. 

But today I would like to thank the person who played such a significant role in my being here. The reason that I have made it this far, the one who has cheered me on, who has laughed and cried with me every step of the way. My hero. My MOM. 

Mom, sometimes as kids..we believe that you are superwoman. That you are not actually human and that's why we believe that you can be in two places at once, that you can survive on one hour of sleep, that's the reason you are able to make posters, while you do a science fair project and plan our graduation parties while planning a wedding shower and feeding us, painting gourds, planning a gift show and coming to all of our games and events - ALL AT THE SAME TIME. Now I see what a big responsibility you super mom's have!! Then, luckily, we grow up a little bit, we serve missions and we realize that we never told you thank you enough. We never thought about how you were feeling or what you wanted. We sort of forgot that you have feelings too, that you have hard days and that you struggle. Then we realize how selfless and how perfect you really are. And we learn that you are still superwoman just in a more real sense of the word. I want to say thank you. Thank you for being at every soccer game. Thank you for hugging me as soon as I walked in the door from school. Thank you for making sure that we had family prayer and scripture study before we left in the morning. Thank you for never complaining and always trying your best. Thank you for believing in me and for helping me become the person I am today. You'll never fully understand the impact that you have had on my life and the lives of Ralph, Will, Lucy, Jake (and Duke and Dad, of course. We are the luckiest kids in the world. I so appreciate and love you. I honor you for your righteous character and desire to do that which is right. I am grateful for your testimony. President Monson said, “One cannot forget mother and remember God. One cannot remember mother and forget God. Why? Because these two sacred persons, God and mother, partners in creation, in love, in sacrifice, in service, are as one.” It is so true. Happy Mother's Day Mom!!

It has been a great week over here in Greenwood!! It's WARMING up finally!!! We have now met 5 less actives that we had previously known little or nothing about all in miraculous ways. One came up and started talking to us when we were looking for volunteer opportunities at the Lion's Club, another stopped by the church randomly while we were having a lovely conversation with her on facebook, we found another while looking for a former investigator..she now lives there (the former passed away), one we facebooked to just say hi - they (a couple) called and told us how excited they were to have us come out and visit because they want to start over and the last came up to us while we were talking to people on the street and asked us for a card!!! It's amazing how well Heavenly Father keeps track of His children. He does know us and He leads us where we need to be to help each other out. We also visited a member named Ethel Caroline Bailey who suffers from polio. She hasn't had visits in a long time and it was a such a sweet experience to see her face light up as we walked in her nursing room door and she noticed us, she practically yelled "sister missionaries!!!" She struggled to talk but still tried for a good long while. She told us that her named was "Ethel Caroline Bailey, Handicap Missionary" She had the biggest smile on her face when I told her that we had the same middle name she bore testimony of how she knew the Savior loves her and that she was going to be ok because He is watching over her. I shared Alma 7:11-12 and added my testimony that our Savior does succor us in our times of pain and sorrow. I'm not sure I have ever seen anyone smile so big (she did a fist pump as I read because she loved it so much). Ethel is an amazing person with a strong Spirit. My heart was full as we sung a few hymns together and we hugged her goodbye. She told us that we made her day. Again Heavenly Father is so in charge of this work. He knows His children.

There is so much more I would like to share but my time is up. I'll talk to you later.. 
LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

HAVE A HAPPY WEEK. Can't wait to see your beautiful faces on Sunday! Woot woot

Also happy birthday to abigail!!!! I love you! (I saw Fred and Barbara Jo on TV at the CES devotional!! And President Bourne - they all looked great!!)

XOXO sister g