Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Place the Book of Mormon in your Heart... (Week 54)

"Not on your bookshelf.

This week was so great! We had Zone Conference! Seems like yesterday when we were having Zone Conference in May...but, time is flying here in Bothell. The topic for zone conference was the Book of Mormon. I learned some really interesting facts about it. First of all, I learned how quickly it was translated! Incredibly, the Book of Mormon was translated in about 70-ish days. That's about 10 pages/day. Modern translators using computers and modern technology translate about 1 page/day from one language into another. Furthermore, it would take even longer to actually compose a 500 page book teeming with literary and Semitic complexities... so the notion that Joseph Smith somehow wrote the Book of Mormon is an interesting one.... If the Book of Mormon wasn't translated by the gift and power of God, I don't know what was! Notwithstanding all of the miracles associated with the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, people still have a really hard time believing that it's true. Yesterday, we watched a talk by Elder Holland called Safety for the Soul with one of our investigators. We were teaching him about the Book of Mormon and figured that Elder Holland could do it a little better than we can. I love this part of the talk:
I testify that one cannot come to full faith in this latter-day work and thereby find the fullest measure of peace and comfort in these, our times until he or she embraces the divinity of the Book of Mormon and the Lord Jesus Christ, of whom it testifies. If anyone is foolish enough or misled enough to reject 531 pages of a heretofore unknown text teeming with literary and Semitic complexity without honestly attempting to account for the origin of those pagesespecially without accounting for their powerful witness of Jesus Christ and the profound spiritual impact that witness has had on what is now tens of millions of readersif that is the case, then such a person, elect or otherwise, has been deceived; and if he or she leaves this Church, it must be done by crawling over or under or around the Book of Mormon to make that exit.

Not sure why the spacing is weird, but you get the point...The Book of Mormon is important. It gives us a better understanding of the mysteries of God. It testifies of Jesus Christ and it literally helps us in our lives when we read it every single day. I know that's true! I love the Book of Mormon with all my heart because I feel closer to my Savior Jesus Christ when I read it. I learn of Him. I learn to be like Him.

This week, we ate ribs for dinner from a member...ribs for lunch the next day (leftovers) and then steak for dinner that same day. After not eating much red meat for the last little while, my body felt a little weird, but it was so yummy! The men in the Bothell ward really know how to cook some great bbq.

Most exciting news! Our investigator is hopefully getting baptized this week! Her family has become so much closer to Jesus Christ and learned how they can become active in the church again. It's amazing to feel a bond with someone so strongly through the spirit of Christ. We heart-attacked them for the father's birthday, and a couple of days later they said thanks...we asked how they knew it was us and the reply was "because one of them said Jesus Christ on it." it's amazing to know that just a few months ago [her] and her parents didn't really know much about God or Christ. Now they are taking steps to become more like Him every day. I love this family!

Light and knowledge is given unto us by the Lord. If we lose that, it's our own fault. I challenge all of you to gather more light! He will give it to you.

Sister Jenne"

Monday, June 12, 2017

Coffee or Hot Chocolate? (Week 53)

"I'm emailing later than usual because we hit up Seattle for P-day today! It was cool. We went to Pike's Place Market and the Gum Wall.  It's been a while since I walked around in such a crowded area. I just felt really kind of lost and like I didn't belong there. At the same time, I felt like a normal person. It's hard to explain but over-all, I just don't think I'm the type of person who feels at home or comfortable in big cities. Fresh air and trees speak more to my soul than any tall buildings. Plus, one-way streets and paying for parking is never a fun experience. Don't worry, I didn't turn the wrong way down any one-way streets or hit any pedestrians...I'm becoming capable of driving in just about any type of traffic without incident, which is a miracle.

Sister Piddubna loves Starbucks. Their hot chocolate with mint is her favorite thing. I guess in Ukraine it doesn't exist or something because I think we went there like 3 times this week to get her hot chocolate. Today she wanted some, but guess what? Those darn heathens gave her coffee instead of hot chocolate. She drank a little bit and then we were like "That smells weird" and so she was like yeah it tastes weird, so then I tasted it and it was definitely not hot chocolate haha oops I drank some we went and got another one for free.... it was gross.

Something that I have been doing on my mission is keeping a "revelation journal." Basically, when I pray before bed, I take a notebook and pen and write down anything that I feel like I should do or goals that I should set. I was pondering that this week as we were teaching investigators about recognizing the spirit. When we show God that we are listening and then actually write down the things we feel and then follow through and do them, it makes sense that he would trust us with more promptings, yes? yes. So, we learn from listening, we act, and then we become a person who is "in-tune" with the spirit. It's a process. So many times we get frustrated because we aren't getting the guidance that we need in that moment. Remember that it's a process. A relationship with Heavenly Father is just like any other living grows based on what we put into it. He is the perfect half, always putting everything into it's up to us to try harder always. So what is a relationship? I thought of 7 things:
1) communication with [the other person/being]
2) feelings about
3) knowledge about
4) Acceptance of
5) Appreciation of
6) Actions toward
7) Understanding of
A relationship can be healthy or unhealthy based on how we do these 7 things. And, there are probably a million more, but these stuck out to me. There are a couple things that I think life is made of...relationships with other people/beings and decisions that we make. That's kinda what defines our life. So that must make relationships and decisions pretty darn important. Good thing the gospel helps with both of those things!!

I have a goal to finish the Book of Mormon this transfer, so I have been reading it pretty fast. Might seem like I wouldn't get as much out of it, but I found something that I never thought about before! Isn't it interesting how that works? I was studying the story of Alma. In chapter 4, he talks about how he had to give up the judgement seat and go out, preaching by himself.

18 Now Alma did not grant unto him the office of being high priest over the church, but he retained the office ofhigh priest unto himself; but he delivered the judgment-seat unto Nephihah.

19 And this he did that he himself might go forth amonghis people, or among the people of Nephi, that he mightpreach the word of God unto them, to stir them up inremembrance of their duty, and that he might pull down,by the word of God, all the pride and craftiness and all thecontentions which were among his people, seeing no waythat he might reclaim them save it were in bearing downin pure testimony against them.

20 And thus in the commencement of the ninth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi, Alma delivered up the judgmentseat to Nephihah, and confined himself wholly to the high priesthood of the holy order of God, to the testimony of the word, according to the spirit of revelation and prophecy.

That was probably pretty hard for him to trust the judgement seat to another person, but he did it! He gave it up because he knew no matter what good He did in that position, the Lord needed him somewhere else. The Lord needed him to bear pure testimony, and he wholly committed himself to his calling. How often do we get caught up in the "prestige" of a calling? Or we get comfortable in our current situation to the point where we don't want to change. But, God might have something better. That's why it's so important to listen to Him.

Sorry for not sharing many experiences, but I just had some good pondering time this week that I thought I would share! I love you all! Have a wonderful week,
Sister Jenne"

Friday, June 9, 2017

Big Conversations (Week FIFTY-TWO)

"To explain the title...Sister Piddubna told our district leader as we were accounting with him on the phone that we are giong to start eating popcorn when he calls because it's a "big conversation." Actually, we've been having a lot of conversations worthy of popcorn, this past week. For example...
-We participated in a conversation where a Romanian Christian man was arguing with his Romanian Muslim son, half in English, half in Romanian.
-We talked about the phrases that we have in English with our investigators.. "I am pooped" and "Oh, brother" turned into them saying "I pooped, oh brother" in a cute little Russian accent. I'm not sure if we should have taught them to say that hehe, but now they (kinda) know two new phrases
-We found a lady who had met missionaries a year ago and read the Restoration pamphlet. She said that she just felt the spirit so strongly after she read it, and just wanted to be able to feel that again! It was an awesome referral for some other sister missionaries in our zone. What an incredible experience to be able to meet her!

Anther experience, we were driving in the car, and we saw 2 ladies that we really wanted to talk to! But, they made eye contact with me, and we decided that it would be really weird if we parked our car and walked after them, so we kinda followed them(ish) and were trying to decide what to do when they walked into a park...perfect! Parks are the best place to go talk to people! We walked trying to find them for 15 minutes until finally we did. They weren't interested, but it's interesting because we met another person in that exact place who was interested and wanted us to pray for his sick son. It's interesting how God uses us!

Anther time when disrupted plans turned into a miracle: we had planned to contact a referral in the evening, because that's when most people are home. Those plans went wack, and we ended up driving to contact this referral at about 2pm. We saw a man walking, and it turned out to be the right person! He had just returned home, and realized that he left his he was about to start waiting for someone else to get there and unlock it. It was Godly timing for sure. He was having a really hard day and struggling with cancer and other health problems. God needed to use us to talk to him right in that moment. Not in the evening, but right then! This man told us that God sent us and that we were like angels coming to rescue him. It was such a sweet experience. Our plans are not God's plans, and He has a perfect plan! I know that's true. I see it over and over!

Miracle!! We had FOUR investigators come to church yesterday! It was such a miracle. The Lord is trusting us with a lot of wonderful people to work with. I just hope that we will be able to do so as He would have us do!

Feed My Lambs
At service this week, the first thing that [the farmer] asked us was "Who wants to FEED THE LAMBS?" UMMM.. We are missionaries! Of course we want to feed the lambs! If that's not the most perfect thing I've ever heard, then I don't know what is. All we want to do is feed lambs! So we got to play with them, and we affectionately named them, "Matthew, Mark, Luke and John" It was awesome.

Love all of you people! Sorry for a scattered email...a lot of awesome things happened this week.
Sister Jenne"

So she made it to ONE WHOLE YEAR ON THE MISSION!!! I am so unbelievably proud of my beautiful sister and her commitment to her mission. <3

Friday, June 2, 2017

Trio Training... Again! (Week 51)

"'If we're humble, we will be surprised by goodness in unexpected places, and we may create opportunities to grow closer to someone, who, like us, is not perfect.'

When loving people, we don't have to find those who are perfect. In fact, if they're perfect, then they're actually an imaginary friend. Love is the greatest commandment!

I apologize in advance, because this is going to be unorganized and probably short because I forgot to bring notes from this week, and we are also emailing as a zone in the church because the libraries are closed on Memorial Day...let's just say that everyone is being very loud and distracting. It's hard to focus. Happy Memorial Day! I am grateful for the opportunity to live in this wonderful country and to have freedom to be a missionary and to share the gospel and the believe what I know to be true! It's such a wonderful blessing. I've realized this a lot more as I have worked with people who didn't enjoy those freedoms for a large portion of their lives.

My companions are Sister Hamon and Sister Piddubna. If you recall, Sister Hamon is my trainee from a few transfers ago, and Sister Piddubna is my new trainee! So we get to be a little family! I just hope they don't revolt and combine against me ;) No, it's awesome. We are already great friends. We were able to have such spiritual lessons this week with some new investigators. We are covering the Bothell ward and the Russian area now, so we have the privilege of taking over the Elders' investigators and teaching in English! It's awesome. We are working on reactivating some less-actives and get their daughter baptized. They're such a great family and are right now working on learning how to pray every single day and bring the spirit into their lives. We are also working with a man who is trying to find faith in God and realize that he is a son of God. As we were teaching, we all felt the spirit so strongly that tears began to fall. Through the tears, the power of God was so obvious and so manifest.

I am so grateful to be here.
I love you all!
Sister Jenne"