Sunday, August 27, 2017

Squashed Lavender plant... (Week 63)

"Random things from this week:
-the other Russian sisters' apartment got broke into which sucks but good news Happy Valley DuValley is the 3rd safest city in the nation (I think that's correct) so no exciting robberies or crazy hiests will be apart of our week.
-Also we went and did service for the lady in our ward we bought a treadmill for and I taught her how to use a smart phone. She is a sweet lady. Also I demolished her lavender bush.... I repented.
- We met this couple that was more than happy to talk to us about how we need help finding the truth. ("You're such sweet girls, we really appreciate what you're doing, but you need to look more into it, but we love what you're doing, but look into it. ) twas a grand convo full of much testifying. -9:20 PM, we recieved a knock at our door and a member in our ward was there with two containers of Ben and Jerry's ice cream.
-We discovered the miracle of bleach and other chemicals in our cabinets as we tried to erase an elders push up chart from one of our only white boards. Sister Anderson worked on this for like an hour
- We planned a zillion exchanges for the next few weeks.
-We were out tracting in the woods and met a man. It was a creepy encounter but we came out on top with a bag of blueberries, tomatoes, and a zuchinni (with more potassium than a banana) so all is well. Again remember Duvall is the 3rd safest city so even when on a creep dark road at night one needs not worry!
-We were nearing the end of our night and we didnt know what to do. It was 8:30 and we had visited all the people we had planned for. So we said a prayer and felt prompted to go to a certain apartment complex and the second door we knocked we found a new investigator!
-We had costco muffins for breakfast with the Stake presidency
-We had an AMAZING lesson reading the Book of Mormon with a guy. He had the perfect questions and the spirit was there. At the end, he shook our hands and told us that he knows God sent us because he is at a point in his life where he is looking for spiritual guidance.
-We had a member call and set up discussions with his 9 year old son so that he can get baptized
-We were on the side of the road and a member pulled up with a plate of cookies and some info on his neighbor as a potential referral
-We ate much Mexican food and it was the best


We are going to be doing a 40 day fast with our ward over the next 40 days. It starts today. Because of this, I was studying about when Jesus fasted for 40 days in Jesus the Christ. I love how it says "Our Lord was sinless yet peccable; He had the capacity, the ability to sin had He willed to do so. A thoroughly faithful man cannot culpably lie; nevertheless, his insurance against falsehood is not that of external compulsion, but of internal restraint due to his cultivated companionship of the spirit of truth. His honesty is an armor against temptation; but the coat of mail, the helmet, the breastplate, and the greaves are but an outward covering.The man within may be vulnerable if he can be reached." We can put on the armor of truth and righteousness to deter Satan. He will still be there, but we don't have to let him in. Will power is strong.

In D&C 64:14 it says "Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days." Then, in Nephi 15:24, it says "Whoso would hearken unto the word of God, and would hold fast unto it, they would never perish; neither could the temptations and the fiery darts of the adversary overpower them unto blindness, to lead them away to destruction." Something awesome about the Book of Mormon is all of the prophecies that we see being fulfilled. I especially love Nephi's vision in some of the chapters of 1st Nephi. 1 Nephi 14:14 says: "I Nephi, beheld the power of the Lamb of God, that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant people of the Lord, who were scattered upon all the face of the earth; and they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory."

Here, we learn a couple of things...Satan is powerful and capable of tempting us. However, we are capable of resisting him at all times. But, we are more likely to be successful in our attempt to deny all ungodliness when we have put in the effort to protect ourselves.

"Living the gospel does not mean the storms of life will pass us by, but we will be better prepared to face them with serenity and peace." [Joseph B. Wirthlin] The covenants made at baptism and in the temple are that preparation. Luckily, keeping covenants does not mean begrudgingly checking off the list of to do's every night. It's not quite like remembering to brush your teeth or wear your retainer at night. Being a covenant-keeping people is a lifestyle.

 Our relief society president was talking about how when we carry something heavy, we begin to start shifting to one side, and our body becomes croooked and sore. We are in need of an adjustment which usually includes putting down the heavy thing that we were carrying and stretching out a bit to straighten ourselves. In this earth life, we will never be physically or spiritually 100% upright by ourselves. There's always small things tugging this way or that. "We recognize the multitude of tests, temptations, and tribulations that could pull us away from all that is virtuous and praiseworthy before God...we become a Zion people, of one heart and one mind, a pure people who dwell together in unity and righteousness. 'For Zion must increase in beauty, and holiness.'" [Carol McConkie]

 Holiness is in keeping our personal promises with God. Then, I know that we will be ready and prepared to stand before him and hear the voice, saying "Come unto me ye blessed, for behold, your works have been the works of righteousness upon the earth." We are called to serve others. After all, "the spiritual power that Jesus possessed had not been given to Him for personal gratification, but for service to others."

When you find it difficult to love or serve someone, ask yourself what encouragement might this person need?

I love you ALL! have a fantastic week :)"

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Staying in DUVALL (Week 62)

"If this is too much just let me know, but I thought I would try going day-to-day in my email this week!

After emailing, we got a call from President Schofield saying that we needed to be in Bothell at 4:30 to pick up Sister Hamon and be her companions for 1 week. Whaaaat. Craziness. So, we go and get some ice cream really a result of trying to eat it fast while walking down to the river beach, I dropped mine on the trail. It became rocky road/full of gravel instead of Chocolate PB cup :( And then we got another call saying nevermind, be in Bothell at 8:30. That was a relief, but I regret dropping the ice cream. But anyways, yes, I was in a trio with Sister Hamon for the 3rd time! As we were picking her up, we found out that a main road was closed. The GPS wanted us to go out of mission to get there, so we just drove around until it found a different route. And then, on the way back home it took about 45 minutes. So we got home late. it was weird to be having to worry about night construction.

District meeting and the RZAs! District meeting was huge because we combined 2 districts. It was basically a zone training. There were 14 missionaries in there and so each companionship got up and accounting took forever. Almost a whole hour. Then we had a training where they had us throw a hacky sack at a mad looking guy (he represented a mad bible basher at a doorstep or something) and then they took away his picture, and there was a picture of Jesus behind the lesson was that everyone is a child of God, of course, and when we are rude or annoyed by these people, we have to remember who they actually are. Sister Anderson always says that if we knew everything about everyone, we would love everyone unconditionally. If we understood their perspective and their situation.
Something that the Redmond Zone does is the RZAs (Redmond Zone Awards). All of the district leaders stand up and present each missionary with a certificate. Elder Jacks got up there and basically said "This missionary is from Alabama and she like boiled peanuts" well, that's obvious. Then, I made the whole zone try boiled peanuts. Most of them tried to eat the shell's really sad that they haven't had this experience.
We had a lesson that was really long, but also enlightening. It's interesting when people actually understand that God will answer, and because they know that...they're a little bit scared to ask. They know that a big change will come into their life if they receive the answer that the Book of Mormon is true, and they think they aren't ready for that change or that trial.

I said that last week was service week, but I just think that every week is service week in Duvall. We always go to the food bank and clean the City Hall and Visitor's Center and help a recent convert and then something else always comes up. We poured out gallons and gallons of chunky expired milk. I've enjoyed being out in the sun and working hard, but it's exhausting! We had a member lesson where we role-played the Restoration; the spirit entered the room almost immediately and confirmed to me the truthfulness of the simple message that we take so much for granted.

We had dinner with a member family and their inactive grandpa. We had a really good conversation with them. They both talked about how they found the church. She was a convert and then helped him the quit smoking and alcohol. Sister Anderson shared Alma 19:6 "...the light of everlasting life was lit up in his soul, yea, he knew that this had overcome his natural frame and he was carried away in God." It really touched them. We were in an ADD lesson on the beach, and I was flipping through the BofM. The guy we were talking to was just randomly like "what's that verse?" and I read it and he was like "whoa that applies to me so much" which was awesome just to see how much the BofM is so personal.

Our whole district came to Duvall, and Helen told us exactly what to do. She gave us all jobs and advice like always. After 2.5 hours of that, she took us (in our sweaty/stinky clothes) to a really fancy sandwich shop where we sampled fancy bread dipped in oil and vinegar. We drew the plan of salvation on the sidewalk right next to some girls doing a bake sale for their church...awk...and then we wrote the quote "We may not see the silver lining on our clouds, but God can and He has a plan." -Holland & wrote our number. No one has called yet though. Another cool experience..we prayed and Sis Anderson felt like we should go to the gas station, so we were getting gas and I wash washing the windows and then we struck up awkward conversation with the guy next to us. Not always something we do. He didn't become a new investigator, but we were able to increase his faith. It's always a victory to follow a prompting.

We had a lesson with a member couple and us 3. 5:1 is a weird ratio, and it's hard to get things done because everyone wants to talk at once. But, our investigator really liked the members..that might be the most I've ever laughed in a lesson. Russian class was interesting; Sister Hamon, Sister Christensen, and I worked together to do some role-playing and it was just like old times. Super weird. On exchanges (I swear I go on 100s of exchanges...), we needed to leave in 10 minutes, but we knocked on one more door and then that turned into a 45 minute discussion. Basically, this guy was just talking about how there are so many differences between our religions. So we tried to highlight the similarities, but he wasn't having it. One thing that he said, I thought was interesting. So he was taking about how it's weird that we believe in the Bible because if we believe that the church became corrupt after all of the apostles died, then why would we want to read a book that was assembled by a corrupt church. (So I guess that the Bible was assembled by the Catholic church, after the apostles all died, according to him). But anyways, the point is, he was trying to dissuade our testimonies with all these random facts, but when he was talking about the Bible, it just strengthened my testimony so much in the Book of Mormon! He's right, we can't 100% trust the Bible. It's not 100% correct. It's been changed. Yeah, it was originally written based on what the apostles wrote, but..the Nicean Creed happened...We need the Book of Mormon. We need that clarification. We ate some cheese. We were so excited. We put it in our mouths, and it tasted so gross. Then, we looked at the package and it expired on June 25. I don't know how we didn't get sick or die.

Sunday: So we went 54 days without rain here. On Sunday morning, we realized tht it was raining! It's a miracle! The drought is over..and maybe some of the horribly hot weather as well! At church, I felt a strong prompting to focus on the baptismal covenant of "[comforting] those who stand in need of comfort." No idea why, but I decided to think about that during the sacrament and afterwards. We got transfer calls and Sister Hamon will be leaving us, and Sister Anderson got some sad news as well...let's just say that I got to follow the prompting of comforting. It was seriously an answer to prayer. God was actrually preparing me for something that would happen just a few hours later. I was a little awestruck based on the fact that he cares so deeply.

This is incredibly long.
Hope it's enjoyable, though! Feel free to skim :)

Love you all
Cectpa Jenne"

I need to eat more beets (week 61)

"At the close of this 5th week of my 10th transfer in the mission...I've started to wonder what's so darn special about being a missionary. Why does every member of the church freak out when they see a missionary? Why does everything seem so much more miraculous when we are involved? What makes missionaries different? I actually have a ministerial card...It reads:

This certifies that the bearer, Savannah Leigh Jenne, who is in full faith and fellowship with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has been duly called and set apart as a missionary of the church and as such has authority to preach the principles of the gospel. We invite all people to heed her message.

Then it is signed by President Monson.

Ephesians 3:8-Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.

Who else gets this opportunity? All people! Who else actually has a certificate saying that they are "set apart" to preach the gospel? Well...just missionaries. Missionaries are given a whole new standard of obedience and truth. Not only are we to remain in full fellowship with the church and keep all of the commandments, we are to sacrifice our whole heart for other people. PMG says: Virtue originates in your innermost thoughts and desires. It is a pattern of thought and behavior based on high moral standards. "Virtue encompasses all traits of righteousness that help us form our character...virtue is our safeguard and our guiding star." [Faust] As missionaries, we learn that there is something more important to focus on. We have to learn to control and guide out own minds to the important task at hand. We are bringing to pass God's work and glory. Because His work is one eternal round, He is being glorified in us as we are becoming glorified in Him. The gospel is beautifully simple and simply beautiful in that way.

There is an activity in PMG that I do monthly. It says to review my ministerial card and record my thoughts as I am reading and pondering the words. In May, I said: what crossed my mind was Ephesians 3:8...and how the apostles in Jesus' time reacted to their calling. They were willing to die because death is better than the fate of one who denies Christ after having known him. If someone saw my ministerial card and abused or even tried to kill me because of it, would I stand true to what it says that I am "in full faith and fellowship with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints"? Or would I shrink? Whosoever loseth [her] life for Christ will find it.

I don't think there's anything that makes missionaries different. Ministerial certificate or not, we are still imperfect; we still make mistakes. However, we aren't given the option of not progressing. I believe that it would be completely impossible to be in the mission field, even if only for a day, and not progress. If we are doing life right, and if we are doing the gospel right, it will guide us to a knowledge that what are doing is enough...not that we are not enough. I have learned that the path is different for everyone because the rate of progression and acceptance is different for everyone. But, the way is always the same. It will always be the gospel of Jesus Christ. Some of us might keep out covenants differently than others; some of us might not even make covenants in this life, but we don't have to worry so much about where we are at in this moment.

This week we did a ton of service work. Each time, the people with whom we were worked expressed such gratitude. There is one lady, here in Duvall, who has made it her personal mission to keep the sidewalks  clean from weeds and cigarette butts. She literally dedicates her life to grabbing trash along sides of roads, making "butt" buckets, and hanging out with LDS missionaries. I found a quote that I think would be her life motto: "Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don't turn up at all." I love getting outside and cleaning things up. I'm getting 'tan', too.

Some of the things that I am learning from [her] include:
1) fabric softeners will give you cancer
2) cigarettes have over 5000 chemicals, and they're affecting baby boys
3) plastic that is hot will leech into whatever is being contained in it
4) beets cure iron deficiency
5) all you have to do to get more napkins is ask if they've just stopped giving out napkins or if they've run out...passive aggressiveness...
6) being 3 minutes late is a sin
7) you can strike up a conversation with literally anyone, and it won't be weird unless you make it weird
8) it's okay to speak your mind because most of the time it's not going to make any difference
9) date someone who works for the vice president, and then you'll get to sit in his office chair 10)make whoever is near you like your adopted family
11) there is absolutely no excuse for littering

I truly have a lot of respect for [her.] Everyone in this town knows who she is, and sh is proud of who she is as well. She will stand up for what she believes, but she still reserves the right to change her mind.
You could say that this was a week of service. We helped someone unload their moving truck, worked at a food bank, spreaded mulch for old people, and worked with [her.] We also met several people who want us to come back and do service for them. Things like chopping wood, weeding gardens, feeding animals, etc. The best part is that people will give us farm fresh eggs or watermelon in exchange for our labors. And they'll usually consent to a gospel message! With the drought going on in this area, we always get asked what on earth we are doing out in the heat (it's only like 80 degrees....) and people tend to be quite nice when they realize how dedicated we are to be out in such "oppressiveness."

Another awesome part of this week was...ZONE CONFERENCE! I learned countless things; however, I will only explain the most awesome things. Sister Schofield was on point this time. She talked about how Jesus Christ is the only way. Now, a little background...on my mission, it's always been hard for me to understand why people talk about having a different path to God and that's why there can't be just one religion that's right. I just don't know what to say in reply to that! In a's Linda right. Not everyone is going to worship in the same way! BUT, I also know that there's only one way back to Heavenly Father's presence and that's through Jesus Christ's atoning sacrifice. Herein lies the importance of a difference between the words "path" and "way." This is what I wrote down in my notebook-"We don't have to worry about where we're at. The [path is different because the rate of progression and acceptance is different for everyone. But, the way is always the same." And, I really do think that it has a lot to do with how we lived our life in the pre-mortal realm. A path can even be different after someone is baptized--they might keep their covenants differently. But, the core commandments are the same for everyone. There aren't exceptions. Dang. God's plan is 100% personalized. Sister Schofield really hit the nail on the head. During President Schofield's training he goes "There are 2 sister training leaders in the audience who haven't had to do a training today...why don't you sisters come up here and do a role-play with me" soooo we go up there...microphones in it. He was the investigator, and we had to teach him about Joseph Smith and the 1st Vision. As Sister Anderson recited it in English, the spirit was strong! Then he goes "if I told you that I had a Russian mother-in-law, could you do the same thing in Russian?" so then I had to recite it in Russian in front of everyone. It's been a long time since I really used the 1st Vision in either language, but I felt the spirit of it, and I want to use it more.

Then, we go home and meet a babushka! She was from Romania, but knows Russian. It rekindled my love for babushkas <3 They're simply the best. I haven't had much opportunity to use my Russian here, and it's always a treat to meet someone who will speak Russian to me.

We had a big miracle at church! It seems like the ward is really starting to trust us! A man from the ward walked up to us and said that he wanted to schedule us to start teaching and baptize his 9 year old son! it was awesome:)

Shoutout to Jade & her brother & other cousin (I'm the worst because I already forgot their names.....) for coming to visit me! It was so fun to see all of you!

I love you all, and I hope that you have a wonderful week!
Sister Jenne"

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Do you believe in aliens? (week 60)

"My talk from sacrament meeting:

"Recently, I was looking at a box of crayola markers when I noticed that the slogan on the box reads: "Washability You Can Trust" in big bubbly letters. In small print on the back, it says: "Wash promptly in hot wash cycle. Repeat laundering may be required."

In Moroni 10:32-33 it reads [paraphrased a bit]
Come unto Christ and be perfected in Him and deny yourselves of all ungodliness. If ye, by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not His power, then ye are sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins that ye become holy, without spot."

So, how can we know that the Atonement of Jesus Christ offers the same promise of "Washibility You Can Trust?" We know that our Good Shepherd and Brother, Jesus Christ, finds joy in seeing His sheep progress toward healing. The slogan is clearly stated in the scriptures that we will become "holy, without spot" through Christ's grace.  However, the path to perfection might require some "repeat laundering" before we reach it. Here in church, we celebrate victory; we celebrate the completion of our own search for peace. But, we didn't simply read a slogan, repent, and become perfect overnight. We learned from experience that becoming is a lifelong process. I don't know about you, but I've had to have my own experiences with ink stains to know that it can, with a little effort, be washed away.

The Lord has asked us to "Go forth from Babylon. Flee from the Chaldeans and with a voice of singing, declare: the Lord hath redeemed His servant." Heavenly Father doesn't speak in secret. He has spoken to all. I know that if you sacrifice the time and effort to pay the price of revelation and to know with a surety that the Lord hath redeemed you, then others around you will begin to trust the power of the Atonement to wash away their fear, doubt, shortcomings, guilt, and regret.

Missionary work beings with our own conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that greater light has entered my life through testifying of Christ. To become a shining star in the kingdom of God, we must first allow our own light that is inside of us to shine. As we try to repent daily and purify ourselves, we can trust that the Lord will be there when we don't know what to do or what to say. President Nelson said: "When you reach up for the Lord's power in your life with the same intensity that a drowning person has when grasping and gasping for air, power from Jesus Christ will be yours. When the Savior knows you truly want to reach up to Him-when He can feel that the greatest desire of your heart is to draw power into your life-you will be led by the Holy Ghost to know exactly what you should do. When you spiritually stretch beyond anything you have ever done beofre, His power will flow into you."

Sister Anderson, I and the WML all gave talks in sacrament meeting yesterday. We all left the ward with the commitment to "share goodness." It was a cool experience to talk in church. I actually haven't given a formal talk in church my whole mission. I've borne my testimony, but that's not the same. It's interesting how much I have changed when it comes to talking to a group of people. The goal is more to actually help the audience FEEL something, rather than just fill time.

We had a miracle this week! We met a man a few weeks back who was interested, but he was going to move to Bothell. But, he texted us and told us that he's probably going to be staying in Duvall. We took a walk with him yesterday and we talked about the Book of Mormon and what it would mean to him to become Mormon. It was such an interesting conversation. He is concerned for his son's future, and he wants to make sure that he has answers to his questions when he grows up. I feel like he is sufficiently humble, and I'm sooo excited to see that these people with whom Sister Anderson and I have made relationships are starting to be more solid. I love being here in Duvall!

I had my second Pioneer Day on the mission. This time last year, I was in the MTC. This year, I'm trying to memorize the Rapstoration. I've come so far. Yes, we do have a recording of someone rapping the message of the Restoration.

We met a man who told us he ws a preacher and doesn't agree with us and then sat there, pouting with his back to us while we made friends with the rest of his family, but we could tell that he was listening the whole time...intently.

We were having a lesson with a Finnish man who was embarrassed that his house wasn't "neat," so he and a member sat on the porch steps while we sat on the concrete in the hot sun, in skirts. I'm really glad that I shaved my legs. As we were discussing the beauty of the Restoration of Jesus Christ, he would suddenly ask questions like "So where are the gold plates now?" "Do you believe in aliens?" "What do you do if you pray and the answer that you get contradicts the prophet?" "What if someone does something that hurts someone else and then they say that God told them to?" "Can't I just find revelation on my own, in my own house?" "Why didn't God just let Laban drown instead of asking Nephi to kill him?" "What happens if a prophet is disobedient?" In moments like these, we missionaries like to do something that blows minds. We find their answers in the Book of Mormon. This guy has already read through 1st Nephi, and he definitely has a questioning soul. It's a good thing that the Book of Mormon answers questions of the soul.

I got called a racist by my district leader because I told him that we grow cotton in the south. I need someone to send me a list of cool things about Alabama because everything that I say ends up being used against me.

That's about it folks. Love,
Sister Jenne"

Morning Glory (Week 59)

"Morning Glory; by: Sister Jenne and Sister Anderson

"His words were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart. His words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords."

Imagine big, glorious, white buds popping through the emerald green. Hundreds of them cutting through a sea of leaves. As the golden afternoon sun glimmers through the petals of the flowers, a feeling of peace fills the hearts of the pedestrians. The shadow of the Duvall visitor's center coats the ground, and the only break in the monotonous darkness is the pure snow-like blossoms. The average passerby doesn't even consider the fact that these lavish flowers are slowly sucking the life out of all remaining vegetation. Rhododendrons shrink and shrivel in the suffocating grip of curious curls of luminous vines. The strips of scarlet roots tangle and twist just beneath the surface of the other leaves, slowly cutting off all nutrients. Hands grasp and gut out the twist of twigs from the bushes. The gardener disrupts the virus from spreading. But with each pull and tug; leaves tear, vines break, and the once magnificent bush is left tired and slightly toppled over.

One might venture to ask, "why wait til right before suffocation to rescue the bush?" "why not just cut the weed off in the beginning to save the branches of the Rhodies?"

Nephi counsels us: "He [the Devil] is the founder of murder, and works of darkness; yea, and he leadeth them by the neck with a flaxen cord, until he bindeth them with his strong cords forever." Just as Morning Glory sneaks small tendrils of vine along stems of healthy plants, Satan patiently guides many, even believers, far from the straight and narrow. Rather than shooting up overnight, like other weeds seem to do, it creeps up, unbeknownst. The thriving nature of this plant is completely parasitic. Without other plants to wrap around, growth would be stunted. Without a gardener, there is no hope to overcome.

How often do we fail to recognize our own complex vines and traps, twisting slowly and steadily around our feet and legs, working their way toward our very soul?

We need to do like Elder Andersen counsels and "beware of the evil behind the smiling eyes".  "Temptation will fall in our way without our seeking, and evil will present itself even when we desire to do the most right." (Talmage) When the tangles of the devils binding cords slither towards us we will one day be strong like Christ and be able to say "Get thee hence, Satan..." The prime protection comes from the fervent repetition of pulling the weeds while they are young. Stopping the temptation early on. No matter what dirt you plant it in, or what weed killer you spray, the weeds will come; but we are promised: "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." (1 Cor. 10:13)    "The very moment you begin to seek your Heavenly Father, in that moment, the hope of his light will begin to awaken, enliven, and ennoble your soul. The darkness may not dissipate all at once, but as surely as night always gives way to dawn, the light will come." (Uchtdorf)

So, friends "what shall we then say to these things? For if God be for us who can prevail against us?"

Thanks to the counsel of modern day prophets and apostles, we know that "however many chances  you think you have missed, however many mistakes you feel you have have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love. It is not possible to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ's Atonement shines." (Holland) When the sheer blackness seemingly distinguishes the light, when hopelessness creeps into the corners of our testimonies, when it seems the sun will never shine in Seattle, the adversary grins. Of course, we will face injury and trial. Of course, we will experience numbness and pain.  When "the temptation to evade sacrifice and suffering and to follow a more comfortable way," (Talmage) presents itself, faith overcomes obstacles and endures through discouragement.

Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal. No matter how many weeds grow, Christ, the perfect gardener, can, in fact, destroy every one, allowing flowers to take root and blossom, unhindered by the suffocating kiss of the Morning Glory.  

The End.

Yes, Sister Anderson and I wrote an essay together this week. We were discussing Satan as we pulled out morning glory from among the Rhododendrons by the Duvall visitor's center. See if you can guess which parts I wrote and which parts she wrote. We have different styles of writing for sure. That's about it, folks!

I discovered that there is a restaurant here called "Pickletime" and anyone who comes to Washington with me after my mission will be eating there with me.

I love you all!
-Sister Jenne"

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Missionary Work=Giving Trainings (Week 58)

"This week we planned and gave 3 separate trainings. One was at district meeting, one was at new missionary training (with all of the new missionaries and their trainers) and one was with our whole zone. Some of the things that I learned from all of that planning and stressing is that being in a position when other missionaries are going to listen to you and try to receive personal revelation from the Holy Ghost as you are talking is seriously one of the most pressure-ous things on the planet. But, it's also pretty rewarding. To be able to know that there might have been someone in the room who felt the spirit when we talked and received a confirmation of their testimony is a priceless blessing. We also had 3 separate exchanges. We had exchanges with our STLs and then 2 other sets of sisters. It was like Sister Anderson wasn't even my companion for half of the time and the other half, I was sleeping.

Bite Sized Goals
We learned in general conference from Elder Ballard that our goals and Heavenly Father's goals are aligned, as long as we are trying to follow His will (to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man)...a goal is a motivation. It's something to get us up out of our seat. It gives us an optimistic outlook on the activity that we are about to do for an allotted amount of time. However, if we have no plan on how to reach that ultimate goal, we will never get there. I love this quote from Elder Hartman Rector Jr: "We are permitted, even encouraged, even commanded to assist in bringing to pass the eternal life of man, which is, of course, the continuing part of His great mission. His promise to us of things which I do, ye can do, and greater things than I do, ye can do [see John 14:12], rings loudly in the ears, stimulating the amazement of everyone who reads the holy scriptures." How could we possibly reach our potential when our flesh is weak and we are susceptible to the temptations of Satan? I believe that we don't have to be susceptible to him. It's a choice. God is God and I am Sister Jenne and you are you, but isn't that the beauty of it all? Even though we are all different, we are all connected to each other. We can encourage, inspire, lift, and bless each other. This week didn't turn out (big goal-wise) exactly how Sister Anderson and I had planned. But, we set small, bite-sized goals and we found small ways that we were assisted from Heaven in our work

I love Duvall to death, but sometimes it's hard for me to feel like I know what I am doing sometimes. White-washing takes longer to get going that I had anticipated. However, I am able to receive some revelation, and I know that it will continue to come as long as I am trying hard and have righteous desires to help the people in this area. Sister Anderson definitely needed to be my companion. I am learning so much from her about having deepening relationships with all of the people around me. I am learning to be more vulnerable and just be myself. I think I have a fear of opening up too much to people because then they are more likely to hurt me. It's going to be a slow process, but it's coming. It's really hard to give your whole self to someone when you know that 6 weeks later, you might have to start over completely again. But, then you aren't being authentic. You aren't being yourself. In holding part of yourself back, you are limiting your own growth, as well as the growth of those who surround you. I like the quote that says something like "When you let your own light shine, you are unconsciously giving others permission to do the same." God won't protect us from something that is going to perfect us.

A couple nights ago, I wrote in my journal: "to me, feeling like I am where I needed to be, when Heavenly Father wants me to be there is the definition of success."I wrote this after a hard day, which I hadn't considered very successful. Good thing Heavenly Father knows how to pick us up when we are down. The very next day, we just happened to meet a member that was really needed a spiritual boost. He didn't live in our ward...he didn't even live inside our mission boundaries. But, God sent us there to help him to feel the spirit. All in all, we came out of that conversation with a referral for his good friend that he has been thinking needs the gospel that lives in our area. We weren't at that trailer park to meet a new family that's ready to read the Book of Mormon and get baptized, we were at that trailer park, because we weren't even supposed to make it out of the parking lot! We were supposed to meet him. And, it all came from talking to everyone in our path.

Sometimes we just need to open our eyes and see that life is dang beautiful! God is our loving heavenly father. The gospel is true, and it does work. If you are scared, if you don't know what to all of the things that you've been taught. Read your scriptures, pray and ask your family and friends for help.

Sister Jenne"

Nowhereland (Week 57)

"This was actually my first time leaving the Bothell ward in my entire mission. I mean, I've been to other wards, but I'm actually assigned to a different ward, and we go to their ward council and everything. Basically, it's pretty trippy. Partly because we are also in a really small town, and it reminds me of a mixture of Utah and Alabama. Sister Anderson, my companion, is from Logan, Utah, and she says that it looks like Cash Valley with a lot more trees and some bigger mountains. We stand in the middle of our area and look toward the rest of the mission, and there's just this giant wall of trees on a hill. It's like we are completely cut off from everyone else and they're just having a party over in Redmond, Bothell, and Kirkland. The name of the town that we are covering is called Duvall. It has a huge population of Mormons. It's about 10% LDS. So, everyone and their dog has a Mormon friend...we have to get creative and go a different route than typical missionaries. The area has been tracted many times.

The other cool part, though, is that we are the first sisters in the area in a couple of years. There are some things about "pink-washing" that are really dang fun. The Elders that were leaving weren't told that sisters were coming, and so no one in the ward knew. We keep getting texts that say "Hey, Elders, welcome to the ward!" And then we get to reply and tell them that we are sisters. And then we get texts back with no small amounts of exclamation points and promises to sign up on the dinner calendar. It's awesome. It's not only with members, though, we'll be looking through our area book and just see a bunch of formers that say something like "dropped us because they liked the sisters better" or "needs sisters." Those people are at the top of our list.

A little bit about my companion, since I know mom and dad will want to know. First of all, she has a "NEO" board where I can type out experiences and then just plug them into the computer and email them. Basically, it's like we are iPad missionaries and emailing becomes way way less stressful. It's what I'm using right now. So, that's helpful and legit. Sister Anderson is about 9 months into her mission. She has served in way different parts of the mission than me, and so I didn't really know her. But, she was companions with Sister Bell too! Basically she's hilarious, and we were instant friends. I'm so pumped to work hard and build up the Lord's Kingdom in this area together. It's kinda nice to be with someone who has been out a while and we are both pretty used to being missionaries. There's nothing holding either of us back from just working really hard.

Here are some reasons why I know that we both need to be here with this companion in Duvall.

1) We were looking through our area book and writing down people who were sticking out to us that we thought we should visit on our first day here. Basically trying really hard to get our feet underneath us due to the lack of information that we had due to white washing in. We wrote down about 10 people. Then, on Saturday, we were at a pancake breakfast that the stake presidency was putting on for all of the missionaries. One of the counselors was talking about working with the youth, and he was talking about a girl that had almost gotten baptized. We recognized that it was one of the girls from the area book that we had written down. So of course we talk to him afterwards, and find out that she is going to the same college, playing softball where Sister Anderson's sister is currently playing softball. Connection. Then he tells us that she is really good friends with his daughter. And then he tells us that his family lives on a farm. His daughter rides horses! Connection. There are a lot more details involved in the situation that are proof that we are meant to meet this girl. God's hand is so obviously involved in His work.

2) Being a sister training leader is weird. And scary. Sister Anderson and I are both completely new at it, and so it's definitely an adventure. We have to account (call our sisters on the phone) every other night. At first it was pretty awkward, because we hadn't even met half of them face to face. (We are over 3 brand new sister missionaries and their trainers). We're learning as we go. But, we ended up having to do an emergency 2 hour exchange with one companionship. It was really interesting to see how both of us were able to do and say exactly what we needed to do and say. We've never been trained to be STLs, but it was almost like an instinctive thing. It was one of the strongest times I've felt the spirit working through me on my mission. It was like I knew exactly what I was doing. All of the sudden, I felt confident. The power of God working through His missionaries is pretty cool. I was nervous about being a sister training leader, but I've figured out that it's exactly what God needs me to be doing.

Random observation: Americans and Russians are more different than I had previously thought. You can just be a lot bolder with Russian people, and they won't think it's weird. Why can't you just tell someone to do something and they'll tell you whether or not they will do it? Why is it so hard to just be honest and say "yes" or "no?" Hm.

This is easily the longest email I have sent since the MTC. And, there are 400 more things I could say. I could write a book about this last week. Luckily, I have a journal for that very reason!

I love all of you! I hope that you are having a wonderful summer. Don't overheat. Take it easy. Drink water. Don't forget about me (even if I'm in the middle of nowhere). Don't forget about Jesus either.

Sister Jenne"

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Tttttransfers!? (Week 56)

"Yep. real transfers this time. I actually won't be staying in the Bothell ward. It's so sad. :( I've been called as a Sister Training Leader and will be transferred to a city called Redmond. It's a different zone! I don't even know what to do with myself because I have ALWAYS been in the Bothell zone. This is a new adventure, and somehow I just feel completely calm. I'm excited! I know I'll come back to Russian work eventually, so it's not a good-bye, only a see ya later! I'm going to go and visit Brother Slava (my favorite Russian grandpa!) one last time tonight, though. It's almost like I am leaving home again.

Missionary work is the same work, no matter the ward or the city, we still have to trust in the Lord and serve with all our heart, might, mind, and strength.

Cool story:
One of my old investigators who was supposed to get baptized a while ago, came back from his trip to Ukraine this past week, and he was at church on Sunday! It was awesome to see him already building more relationships with members of our ward and with Sister Piddubba. While he was in Ukraine, Sister Piddubna and Elder Karpunkno's (an elder in the mission) parents were able to help him attend church and to see the temple there. It's so evident that there is a network of people just waiting to help each other in the church, and that's what the church is all about. I cannot wait to go to his baptism!

With the close of another transfer, I try to reminisce on some things that I have learned.  Something that I learned about Jesus Christ this transfer was how when we have experiences that are from our past, and then we meet people with a similar struggle, we are able to sympathize with them. Because we somewhat understand what they are going through, we can grow closer to them and also help them to overcome whatever it may be.

The cool part is that Jesus Christ understands everything completely perfectly. He had every experience. He experienced temptation, pain, suffering, joy, love, peace, and many other emotions. He was a human, physically, but he was also the only Begotten Son of God. It's something that never has nor ever will nor ever can be replicated...the Atonement and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. I feel like I can taste a little bit of what it must be like for him to see people from God's perspective.

To see them as something bigger than just this little trial they are going through right now...because I've been through it too and there is an end! There is always, always an end. There is always hope for something better. God places people in our lives for specific reasons, and we are placed in theirs for specific reasons.

With love,
Sister Jenne"