Tuesday, February 19

#59


What-ho?  It is COLD.  :D  Haha, this morning the Hmong Elders came over to take some pictures (they both have Ukeleles, and so does Sister Brady, so we had to take a Uke picture before Elder Hang gets transferred) and I had forgotten to grab my earmuffs and within minutes I was pretty sure I had frostbite because I couldn't tell I even had ears anymore. 
 
So now I have my earmuffs.  ;) 
 
Hmm, what to tell you... we are being so blessed!  It seems we always have things to do and people to see.  We are starting to work with a few of the families in the ward whose parents aren't both members of the church.  As we've invited them to take the lessons, they have been very receptive!  So hopefully we will be able to continue teaching them. 
 
Thank you for your prayers.  They are so essential!
 
This week I was reading a talk by Elder Nelson about Celestial families, and he talked about how the purpose of earth is to form, perfect, and bind families.  It really struck me, especially since lately we've been talking a lot with Rob (one of the people we are teaching) about the purpose of life on earth.  Forming Celestial families is definitely not the first thing I answer when you ask me what the purpose of life is.  But it is.  I guess that'll be a little clearer to me when I have a family of my own, but I think I will need to have a clearer focus on this principle when I teach... 
 
We had a baptism yesterday for an 8-year-old named Josh.  :)  It was a sweet experience!  Rob came with us, and we were grateful he got to see how the ordinance is performed.  Afterwards, we talked with him about the priesthood, and about what a blessing it was that Josh's father got to baptize him... it brought up some good questions about the priesthood and about the absolute importance of God's authority. 
 
Cool stuff.  Anyways.
 
I don't have too much time and I don't have my drive so I cannot upload pictures for you.  :(  Next week should be better.
 
This week I've been focusing on hope.  :)  Let me just say, it is essential to have when you are knocking doors...
 
Weekly Challenge: Learn something new about the quality of hope.  Seek to recognize what you hope for and where your desires are.  And then adjust accordingly.   

-- 
-Sister B.

Monday, February 11

# 58


Oh man, I really cannot think of what to write today.  Some days are just like that, you know?  You just feel a little too lazy to come up with something worth recording.  On days like that my journal might say the following:

So and so came to church.  It was good.

or

Today I wasn't at my best.  I don't really want to talk about it.

or

Awesome day.  Tired.

I'll probably disappoint my future descendants with the dry quality of my entries anyhow.  But what can you do?  

This week is went well.  We've been having icy rains and freezes so everything looks like it should be warming up but it really isn't.  There's probably an inch of frozen slush outside our house.  We really need to get some salt... :)

We've also found some new people to teach.  We are so excited!  

Anyways, how was studying virtue?  This week I studied CHARITY, because who doesn't need more charity?  In Relief Society last Sunday, we discussed what it means to be charitable.  You get the usual ideas, to give unto others and to love unconditionally.  But as we discussed what charity really MEANS I began to feel that, perhaps, it's a whole lot more than we think.  I mean, we know God loves us.  He loves us no matter what we do!  But it suddenly hit me that he loves us that much NOW.  He loves us the way we are!  

So why is he asking us to change?  I mean, I think about the reasons I ask people to change--in my not-so-distant pre-mission life, and in the mission itself.  Sometimes we want people to change because it makes things more convenient for us, or it makes it a little easier to be patient with them and love them.  

But what is Heavenly Father's motivation to ask us to change?  I mean, he already loves us.  Sister Jones, our mission president's wife, always reminds us: "we love you, but the Lord loves you more!"  None love us better or more than our Father.  

So why?

Because He wants us to be happy.  Pure and simple.  He sees what we can become and He knows how we can get there.  So he asks us to experience hard things and to make changes in our life.  

So I ask myself.  Why do I ask people to change?  Why do I teach them in the first place?  Is it because I love them?  Is it because I love Heavenly Father and I know that is what he wants for them?  Or is it for other less-pure reasons?  

Hmm.    

Anyways, on that note, this Mormon Message is really cool if you haven't seen it yet: http://www.lds.org/pages/mormon-messages?lang=eng#earthly-father-heavenly-father

So... charity.  :)  Lot of work to be done there.  What is charity, besides the character of Christ?

Weekly Challenge: Study charity this week and find a way that you can consistently apply what you learn.  

Here's a picture from forever ago, when I was doing exchanges with Sister Jones in Appleton.  We found a horse.  :)  
-- 
-Sister B.


Monday, February 4

# 57


Hello all!  Life is good here in Wausau.  :)  We are back in the positive degrees.  It's odd to look at the thermometer, which reads 10, and think "Oh good!"  But I'm told Utah has been FREEZING so perhaps you understand what I mean.

This week has been going well!  We have found some more people to teach-a man and his two sons, all of whom are interested and accepted a baptismal date.  We are having some trouble keeping appointments with them though...

We also met a little old woman who has been taught by the Elders in the past.  She likes to "mess with them" as she says, with her "maybes" and "perhaps" and lack of commitment.  But we read in the Book of Mormon with her on Saturday, and we struck a chord with her.  So... we will see.  :)

I've learned to bear my testimony in Spanish!  Sister Brady knows a little Spanish, so she is teaching me.  Add it to the list of languages I can't really communicate, but can say some phrases in.  (German, ASL, French, English...)

We began service this week!  I am going to be tutoring a Hmong girl in English, so that's a little crazy!  The woman asked us if we had any teaching experience and we were both like... "no..." and then she said, "Isn't that what you do as missionaries?" and I realized that, yeah, I guess that's teaching experience...

It's funny how far along you get into something and suddenly you realize that your capabilities have enlarged.  And you don't know when it happened, but you are comfortable sitting down with someone and helping them understand why they shouldn't be living with their boyfriend just after you meet them, or you know how to explain to a 40-year-old man WHY exactly he needs to be baptized again by someone who holds the priesthood.  (All because you have the Holy Ghost with you, of course.)   It's incredible!  I guess that says something for living continually outside of your comfort zone.  :)  And especially for how we learn to follow the Holy Ghost.  Line upon line...

Anyways.  This week I was trying to think of challenges to leave, and I decided that perhaps it would be fun to study the Christlike Attributes.  :)  So, I am going to start studying one a week and then challenging YOU to do the same.

So this week I studied virtue.  I chose virtue because, frankly, the closer I get to the end of my mission, the harder it is to stay focused on what I'm doing.  I asked Sister Brady how I could get better about that (I mean, she goes home in 2 months and she is SO focused) and she suggested I study virtue.  I didn't really make the connection at first, but as I studied virtue, I realized that virtue is all about being in control of yourself--your thoughts, actions, etc.  Being an agent.  :)  So I set some serious goals to control my thoughts--to steer them away from myself and my future and towards those we are teaching.  And it's been a wonderful week.  :)  So,

Weekly Challenge: Study virtue.  Set goals to increase your virtue.  I suggest looking in Preach My Gospel, Ch 6.  If you don't already know, there is an assessment there about the Christlike Attributes, so you can look at the questions under virtue and ponder what you personally can improve on.  :)  Something else I did was to read conference talks about virtue, and about priorities.

Well, I love you all!  I am so grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  And I am overwhelmed by how much I needed to serve this mission.  It has saved my life.

Thank you for all you do for me... for the prayers and for the influence you've had in the past and through your letters now.

Love,

--
-Sister B.

p.s. Pictures:
1-Sister Brady thawing out dirt.  (We didn't want to buy any soil, and my forget-me-nots are getting to big for their little tiny pot!  So we dug it out of the ground and thawed it out on the stove.  Worked great.  :)
2-Another pic from zone conference.  Sister Brady, me, Sister Huber, and Sister Campbell.  I look like I'm snorting.  Promise I'm not...
3-This is right outside our house.  We left the Hmong elders some food hanging on our garage door and when we came back, they'd left us a lovely bundle of sticks... So kind of them.  :)





Saturday, February 2

# 56


Monday, January 28th

Hmm.  Hello again.  :)  What-ho? 
Let me begin by saying that it has been a cold but AWESOME week.  We have finally been able to contact some of the people we've been trying and trying to see, so that is good.  Hopefully we will begin to see greater progress. 
 
We also had zone conference.  :)  Sister Huber and Sister Brady gave their "dying testimonies", as all missionaries who are leaving before the next zone conference get to do.  They were wonderful.  :)  I cannot believe that they are almost done. 
 
Our ward is making a HUGE push to spread the gospel by means of family history.  We are given a few packets a week to deliver to people who requested some of their family history be researched.  It is a wonderful chance to get them excited to do genealogy, invite them to the ward family history center, and to invite them to learn more about the gospel.  :) 
 
Uhm... I'm feeling super boring this week.
 
Oh!
 
We signed up to volunteer at a food pantry/service center.  As we were waiting to talk with the volunteer coordinator, a woman walked over to us and asked "what church are you from?"  We told her and she said "oh, ok," and went to stand by the opposite wall.  After a moment, she came back over to us and asked "would you say a prayer to me?"  We said yes, of course we would, and Sister Brady asked her what she would like us to pray for.  Then she sat down and began to unfold to us her life's story, including a long history of prostitution, sexual abuse, stealing to support her children, etc.  She just cried and talked about how desperately she wanted to find a new path and how much she wished God would direct her life.  
 
It's always amazing to me when people come up and ask us to help them.  We offered to come see her in prison (where she is currently serving time.)  And we will see what happens... we told her that what we could teach her would create the path she needed.  I hope she is willing to try.  :) 
 
We will see.
 
Time's up!  Best of luck this week! 
 
Weekly Challenge: Read "The 4th Missionary" by Lawrence Corbridge, given June 22, 2002.  If you are preparing for a mission, you DEFINITELY want to know these things.  If you aren't, you still want to read and understand the concepts in here.  It's excellent.  :)  Reading it has changed everything about my mission.
 
Pictures:
Zone conference.  Sorry my eyes are closed... 
Rib Mountain.  (Yep.  Mountain.  Right there.) 
-- 
-Sister B.