Tuesday, March 29, 2016

week 62

I feel like every week I have no idea to say, but this week especially, I seem to be drawing a blank.

To start: Sister Huber was sick from Thursday to Sunday. So we were inside a lot. Let's just say there was a lot of cleaning and a lot of reading Jesus the Christ. I love that book! I learned a lot and I especially learned, that I am NOT an inside body. 

We spoke in church on Easter Sunday, which actually went super well. I talked about the atonement and the story of Easter. I can't even explain how much I learned this week. Every single day I was saying to Sister Huber, "Did you know this........?" I have been amazed as to how little I knew regarding those three days in the Savior's life.

One of the days while I was cleaning, I relistened to the most recent Face to Face event for YSAs. If you haven't seen it, you should go watch it! But there is a quote from Sister Carole M. Stephens that says, "Study the life of the Savior long enough to love Him". As I listened to this devotional again, it struck me, as all week long I had been seriously studying the last moments of his life. I was able to recognize that my own testimony of the resurrection has grown and of the reality of His life. I'm not sure if there will ever come a time where I love the Savior "enough" to stop studying his teachings and his life. There is so much to be learned.

While we were sitting on the stand yesterday, two of our investigators, who are sisters, ran up to us to give us Easter cards. I don't think I have talked about them very much. Their names are Priscilla and Mariah and they are super good friends with some girls in the ward. They have come to church and activities for over a year. They attended a baptism last Sunday and at our lesson this last week Priscilla said, "I just want to be baptized already!" Their mom wants them to be able to fully understand and know for themselves before they make the decision. We are hoping that she will give consent sooner, rather then later. They are amazing little girls. I'll send pictures next week.

Anyways- back to these easter cards. They were literally the sweetest things I have ever received. It was basically them bearing their testimony to us about how grateful they were that we have been able to help them learn about God and prophets and the Book of Mormon. One of them talked about how grateful she is that we taught her how to repent and helped her to truly be able to feel of God's love. Sister Huber and I both teared up. It was the perfect little card to get on Easter and helped me to better understand MY purpose as a missionary. Christ lived and died and was resurrected for each one of us, but unless we know how to access the atonement, we aren't taking full advantage of it. The restored gospel is people's access to the atonement. 

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter. I am especially looking forward to conference next weekend and I hope you are too!

Sister Mal

p.s. sending extra prayers to mom this week! LOVE YOU!

week 61

I held a gator and I ate a gator this week. I feel like I have officially truly experienced Florida now!

Now on a completely unrelated note... here's my little spiritual insight for the week that is going to be all over the place.

It's March. A year ago, I had the privilege of going to the temple, just 5 weeks into my misison. Most missionaries at the time, didn't get to go until their last transfer. I felt like the luckiest lucky duck around. Well, they've changed things around and now missionaries go at their half way point, but you only get to go once, and since I went at 5 weeks, I don't get to go until I'm back home. 

Over the past couple weeks I have REALLY wished that I could just go to the temple. It's been a full year since I got to feel the peace that comes upon walking in those doors. So I've been praying lately that either a miracle could happen and President would let me go again :) OR I would find that peace in another way.

As a missionary, you feel the spirit, A LOT. It comes in a lot of different forms and manifests itself at different times of the day all day long. It's wonderful, but honestly in the past year I have not had the joy of feeling the spirit through that overwhelming peace that normally comes with a temple. We were in a woman's home this week and we shared the new easter video with her. I can't even tell you how many times I've watched that video this past week. We have been sharing with members, investigators and people on the street- anyone and everyone.

But something was different this time. We sat in her family room and the spirit came in SO strong. I literally looked around the room, because for a second I thought I was in the temple. The peace that I have been searching for, for the last year, came. It came at the most unexpected time and not in the way that I thought it would. From that moment on, every time we have shared the video since then, I feel that same sense of peace come over me. 

If you haven't seen it, you need to go watch it right now! (www.mormon.org/easter). I feel like one of the biggest reasons that I feel the spirit so strongly through this little 2 minute clip is because it reminds me of where my testimony all began. I just read Log's blog letter and it made me think of when I gained a testimony of the Book of Mormon. 

When I was 14, I read this scripture. Alma 24:14, "And the great God has had mercy on us, and made these things known unto us that we might not perish; yea, and he has made these things known unto us beforehand, because he loveth our souls as well as he loveth our children; therefore, in his mercy he doth visit us by his angels, that the plan of salvation might be made known unto us as well as well as unto future generations. Oh, how merciful is our God!"

I have NEVER felt greater peace in my life then when I read that scripture. I think it was in that moment that I knew this book had to be from God. God loves every single one of us and didn't want to leave us alone, so he gave us the Plan of Happiness. He helped us to see that this life really isn't the end but there is just so much more to come. This is truly only a blink of an eye. He will never leave us comfortless. I love this Easter season because it helps me to remember where my testimony all began and it reminds me that what brings me the most joy is knowing that we can be with our loved ones forever. It's not too good to be true. It's true, and I know it with all my heart. I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter!

love you
sister mal

p.s. prayers for mariah and priscilla- that their mom will let them be baptized! 

week 60

So two little miracles for this week: notice they are not coincidences. These are miracles straight from the Lord. There are no such things as coincidences, God doesn't work like that!

Miracle #1: Sister Huber and I were out working in a neighborhood and decided to go and contact some of the formers that neither of us have ever even heard of before. We found this one lady in the area that was a Headquarter referral (meaning she requested something from mormon.org), but she had never been contacted. It was from back in 2010 and we had no clue what she requested.

We knock on her door and she tells us that she requested a Book of Mormon 6 years ago and it never came!! We aren't sure what happened, but she was super curious about it and has wanted to know for the last six years, more about the church. She's also super big into family history and was amazed when we told her about everything the church has access to. It was a little miracle straight from heaven. We are going to meet with her next week.

Miracle #2:Back in October, they took the missionaries out of the area that we now cover. We were given instructions to cover any solid work that the elders left behind. They told us of a Samoan man named Peter who had a date set for baptism, but moved to Alaska a week before his baptism. Well the week the elders moved, Peter moved back to Florida. We tried getting in contact with him, but had no address and no such luck. It was sad, but we prayed that missionaries would find him one day. 

Flashforward to last night: We were in a neighborhood knocking on doors around a less active and about three doors down, this woman answers the door and starts talking to us all about the church. Turns out her dad was a bishop in Samoa and she was raised in the church. Since she was married, her husband often reminds her that she "is no longer mormon" but she loves the church and still has faith. It was really sad. We continued talking with her and she told us that the elders use to come by all the time. We were confused because we had no record of any members living at this house.  We keep talking to her and she tells us that her cousin use to meet with the elders. We ask for her cousins name and she says, "Peter". I felt like everything flashed before my eyes. We compared notes and turns out it was the same Peter. You better believe we're going back this week to get him back on board. We aren't sure what happened, but we're going to find out. And hopefully get the husband of the Samoan lady as well :)

Don't let a miracle pass you by and just think it was a coincidence. God is working wonders in each of our lives, make sure you thank Him for all that He is doing for you. 

Love you!
Sister Mal

week 59

Well family. Things changed... A LOT this week. I am blaming Dad because he told me that I needed to be transferred. Well dad, your wish was granted (kind of).

Sister Huber and I were on an exchange out in Clearwater on Tuesday this week when we got a call from the assistants. We are now companions. I am sad to leave Sister Felt, but the whole situation is better for all involved. She's off to great things and I am so proud of her.

But wait, the excitement doesn't stop there! We've known for weeks, but on Sunday our ward officially split. I really can't even begin to explain the roller coaster of emotions that I have felt over the last week. Sister Huber and I have officially been "transferred" to the Land O Lakes ward, a brand new ward that is completely starting from scratch. The only people that have callings are the bishopric. We have a meeting with the bishop tonight, and I am actually really excited about it.

Monday marked 10 months since I have been in the Tampa 2nd ward. It's one ward, but there are kind of two sides to the ward because of how it is geographically laid out. For the last 10 months I have lived in Wesley Chapel and that place has literally become home. Anytime we leave area, I always feel a sense of relief when we get off the freeway and drive back to our little apartment. I am so sad to leave that area, the people, the members, and everything else that is so wonderful over there. I feel very blessed to be keeping a portion of the ward the same, but I don't think I'll ever be able to fully describe how much I love that ward. 

A lot of things have changed since I got here 10 months ago and I think a little bit of my heart will always be there. I can't decide if this is better than or worse than an actual transfer. This is honestly the first time I've actually thought about it. This ward is home. I will miss it so much.

For happy things-- we are pumped to start working in the Land O Lakes ward. The Bishop and his family are incredible and we are expecting big things to come over the next couple weeks. The Lord has a plan, like always, and I know it's time for a bit of a change. 

This quote has been the back screen on my ipad for the last week and I am really believing that it's true. It's from President Gordon B. Hinckley,  "Do you want to be happy? Forget yourself and get lost in this great cause. Lend your efforts to helping people... Stand higher, lift those with feeble kneeds, hold up the arms of those that hang down. Live the gospel of Jesus Christ."

Sending love from the land with lots of lakes,
Sister Mal

P.S. A ward member told us that Land O Lakes is the nudest capital of the world. Cheers!
P.P.S. My new address is 23410 White Magnolia Place #104 Lutz, FL 33549