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.