Monday, February 26, 2018

"I am very thankful before God this day that I am yet alive, and am permitted to speak" (November 23, 2017)

The title of this week is "A Series of Unfortunate Events as well as Many Mighty Miracles: The Hermanas Got Run Over by a Reindeer"

This might be a little long, but it's been a crazy week and a half. 

This past Saturday and Sunday we got to translate Stake Conference into Spanish for our members. The only words I can think of to adequately describe it are "baptism by fire."  You have to listen to and comprehend the talk in English, then figuring out how to say it in Spanish in about a half a second, and your brain goes into overdrive. And sometimes the speakers start quoting scriptures or a conference talk and you have to look it up faster than the speed of light, then try to to catch up with them saying it. It really gives you an adrenaline rush though, and it is so exciting. You're rushing to finish the talk up as the person closes, then literally throwing the headset and the person who is going to translate the next speaker. Definitely my new favorite sport. I am so grateful for the aid of the Spirit we had as well, looking back on how much Spanish I spoke 9 months ago, which was none at all, and now seeing how the gift of tongues has so greatly helped me and how Heavenly Father has given me the opportunity to learn this language. 

We have seen so many miracles this week, as we rely on the Spirit in our planning, then seeing God put us right where he needs us. Last week we were driving through a trailer park to see an investigator we had planned to see, and we saw a less-active member outside hanging up Christmas lights, so we immediately pulled over and got out to help her, and we were also able to teach a lesson. We also were able to stop by a potential another day, who is usually really hard to meet with, who immediately let us in, and told us that day was the only day she was home at that time because she usually has work, but had gotten sick the day before so wasn't in that day. 

Ok, then yesterday was the most insane day I have experienced on my mission, which is saying a lot, because there have been some crazy moments. 
Yesterday morning we were driving back from an appointment on the freeway, and a huge deer jumps right in front of us from out of no where and crashes into the side of our car. Yes, I will say the deer hit us, because it really did. We're ok. The car isn't, and the deer isn't, but we were just a little shaken up. Time kind of slowed down, and Hermana Hanson didn't slam on the brakes or swerve, but we just hit it, then were able to safely pull over to the side of the road. There was an emergency response vehicle just a few cars behind us who pulled over to help, and we got in contact with the mission office and we were able to safely get the car towed really quickly. Our car is in pretty bad shape, and the whole drivers door is dented in from where the deer hit us. We feel very blessed that we didn't sustain any injuries considering how bad it looks. And we met a lot of really nice people. The Lady at the bodyshop was so sweet, she saw we were so shaken up and offered to go get us coffee to help calm us down. We politely declined and told her we didn't need any coffee. 

There was a joint effort throughout our zone for the rest of the day getting us to everywhere we needed to be, as the other missionaries tag teamed getting us to the appointments we could still get to without ruining their schedules as well. We went to an appointment with a member, who has recently been struggling a lot, and told us yesterday she doesn't believe that our church is true anymore, and doesn't ever want to go back, because of doubts and the ways others of treated her. This was about 2 hours after the accident, and we were still visibly shaken, and I was praying with all of my might that we would be able to help her. We just listened to her, and Hermana Hanson and I listened to the Spirit, and we were lead us to the exact scriptures and stories and words we needed to share with her, things I never would have thought of on my own, that I know the spirit put there. She was so grateful we had come, and she told us she felt so much peace. One thing we talked about was in Matthew 11:28-30, how the gospel doesn't make our life easier because it takes away our trials, but it makes them easier to bear because we have the Savior. I learned something really important in that lesson. God uses his imperfect servants to bring about miracles. We may be a little bruised and broken, physically (in this specific case) or spiritually, but when we rely on Him, and have desires to serve, He can use us to bring about His divine purposes and work many mighty miracles. 

As we left that appointment, we were calling everyone, our members, the other missionaries, and no one was answering, so we felt like we should just start walking to our next appointment, about 6 miles away, and trust that God would get us there somehow. We had gone about ten minutes, and we were walking up towards an intersection, and see a car with a bike rack pull up. That is the universal sign of a  missionary car, and we see that it was the Apple Valley Sisters! We start waving our hands frantically and literally sprinting to their car, and they gladly let us in were able to get us a little closer to where we were going. We don't have a car now, and won't for at least a few days, but I know that we don't need worry, because I know that God will continue to provide for us. 

A few more funnies from the week:
We got mailed the wrong vehicle registration, so the mission office made us drive to St. Paul last week to deliver it to the correct missionaries. 
We were talking to one of the deacons from our branch about missionary work at dinner last week. He didn't know that missionaries couldn't fly home whenever they wanted to see their families, and he got very upset and told us he didn't want to go on a mission anymore...he's still got a few years to decide. 
We were visiting with one of our members who lives in a nursing home, and when we told her we wouldn't have sacrament meeting because of Stake Conference, without missing a beat she shouted, in Spanish, "The Devil! He's trying to get me!" No one appreciates sacrament meeting quite like Hna Leonor.

Hermana Hanson and I found this scripture during studies this morning and we thought it was very applicable:
"O king, I am very thankful before God this day that Iam yet alive, and am permitted to speak; and I will endeavor to speak with boldness" Mosiah 7:12

I am so very thankful for so many things. One of them definitely being that we survived the Deer Attack of 2017. I am also so thankful that I get to be a missionary, that I get to open my mouth and share the gospel with the world by the power of the Spirit. I am thankful for my family, I am thankful for my Savior, I am thankful for temples, I am thankful for the Book of Mormon and ice cream, and peanut butter, and snow, and wool socks, and classical music, and all of the little things that make life just oh so wonderful. 

Happy Thanksgiving!! 

Hermana Meredith 

1. Sad day :(

2. Translating!
3. The Lakeville Zone is really excited for the #LighttheWorld Campaign!!

4. Carlos is just the cutest little baby 

5. Service at the Bishop's Storehouse

"Because of the gift of his calling unto me" (November 13, 2017)

Dear Family and Friends,

This has been a GREAT week! There have been so many crazy, random things happening, and so many miracles, and so many laughs, I can't believe what a joy it has been. So sorry this email is going to be all over the place with the stories. Hope you enjoy!

So that awesome new referral app I told you about last week, on LDS tools, where you can refer your friends anywhere in the world, IT WORKS!! Last Monday, one of our members, Hna Osiris, called us and told us she had a friend in Mexico who wants to go to church, but doesn't know anyone, so Hna Osiris wanted to know how she could send her friends information to the missionaries. We told her about the app, then on Wednesday night, we saw her at the church, we were able to download LDS tools and get the referral sent, just with her friends phone number and the general area of where she lived. We still weren't sure exactly if the system was running yet or how the missionaries would get it. But on Thursday morning Osiris texted us and told us the missionaries had already contacted her friend, that they had an appointment for that night, and that her friend would be able to go to church with them on Sunday! It was so exciting! Technology is so amazing, and it's so cool that we all can be involved in missionary work all over the world. 

We were at the church on Wednesday for a family history class, that we're helping one of the members in our ward teach. This was only the second week, but a bunch more people came, and everyone was able to find a family name! A lot of members weren't doing family history because they just didn't know how to get started, but now they have and they are so excited. On Saturday we got to go to the temple and do a session with them, and take our own family names as well. On Wednesday night we were running around like crazy, trying to help everyone, and we needed to grab something from the chapel, so as we hastened, not ran, out the chapel doors, we nearly ran right into President Barney, our mission president. He was at the building for a meeting with our Stake President. We must have looked awfully disheveled in the rush we were in. So that's the story of how we literally ran into our mission president this week. 

This week we were out doing visits with our Branch President. We had stopped by a couple of families who weren't home. And as we were going to stop by this less active family, it was a little late, so we were afraid the kids might be asleep. We were able to get into the apartment building, and we decided we might as well give it a shot, but when we got to their door it was dark and when we knocked no one answered. On our way down as we were walking back to our car, a van pulls into the parking lot, and a little girl leans out the window and shouts "MISIONERAS!!!!" And they pulled over and she jumped out of the car to come give us a big hug. The family we had stopped by to see, was just getting home, and we were able to catch them at exactly the right time as they got home and share a message with them. God's timing is perfect.

This week we were visiting with a member, Hno Leo. We asked him if he had seen the movie Nacho Libre, and it turns out he loves that movie, and he was telling us about his favorite scene and he started CRYING he was laughing so hard. Usually we can barely get a chuckle out of him and it was so hilarious we were also crying, so that's the story of how we cried about Nacho Libre this week.

I've been in this branch for 5 months now, and for approximately 98% of those sundays, every week in relief society we sing the same two songs, Jesus es mi luz (The Lord is my Light) and Cuenta tus bendiciones (Count your Blessings) Every. Single. Week. I don't think they do it on purpose though, every Sunday we're there they ask "What hymn do we want to sing" And someone will say "Oh I really like The Lord is My Light" and everyone says "Oh I love that song!" And we end up singing those same two songs. And it's even more funny because no on in our branch sings in the same key. We'll all start in one key, then by the second measure we have split into two different keys, and it keeps getting more dissonant as the song goes on. But they love those songs, and these Hermanas love the church, and they love to sing, so it is beautiful. 

There is a newlywed couple in our branch who we eat with almost every week, just celebrated their 4 month anniversary, and when we were eating with them Hermana Hanson and I realized we have been companions almost as long as they have been married, only 22 days short. Haha, and we're still going strong #eternal 

George has been looking for a job the past few weeks, because he has been getting hired out for landscaping, but as the weather keeps getting colder, there will be less and less opportunities. We have been praying that he will be able to figure out his job situation, and have his life a little more settled so he can focus more on the gospel. On Tuesday morning we texted him to ask how he was doing, and he video called us back, in the car with one of the Hermanos in our ward! Hno Jose had met him at church a couple of times, and just felt like he needed to text George and see how he was doing, and George told him he was looking for a job, and Hno Jose was able to offer him a job at his work starting that day. It was the craziest miracle! God oftens answers our prayers through other people. 

Last night we were stopping by a less active to share a message with the relief society president. They both talk a lot. And I mean A LOT. So it was hard for us to get a message in. But we were able to share Mosiah 2:17 with her. We had felt inspired to share that scripture because we thought she needed a message about service, but she ended up getting something totally different out of it when we read it, but she said it was exactly what she needed right then to help her overcome some of the struggles in her life. Thanks Spirit for the inspired planning. 

Missionary work is so incredible. It's amazing what the Lord is able to accomplish with young adults as his messengers. Yesterday in our Sunday School class we had a class about missionary work. At the beginning our teacher asked everyone to raise their hands who was born in the church. Only Hermana Hanson and I raised our hands. Then she asked everyone to raise their hands who was a convert. Every single member raised their hands. And they were all brought here by missionaries. Missionaries who probably didn't know what an impact their service would have on this person's life. Families who have been brought into the gospel, and generations that have been affected now because someone was willing to open their mouth. Because a missionary knocked on their door, because a friend introduced them, because they came to a church activity. It was so amazing. Sometimes it's hard to see results, because we are here for such short time, and people's conversion processes take so much longer than the short time you spend in an area. But so many people are brought into the gospel. I feel so privileged to work with this amazing group of Saints, who found the truth and have stuck with it. There is no way this work is being done by 18 and 19 year olds alone. 
"And now I, Mormon, speak unto you, my beloved brethren; and it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, and his holy will, because of the gift of his calling unto me, that I am permitted to speak unto you at this time." Mormon 7:2. Truly, what a blessing it is to be here. I am officially over 9 months into this amazing journey, and I can't wait to see what the next 9 have in store. 

Have a fantastic week!

Hermana Meredith 

1. Happy 9 months!

2. Skyping with George and Hna Carlotta

3. Family History! Everyone holding up the names they found to take to the temple.
4. Temple trip!
5. Yes, we did sing the "apples and bananas" song in English class

6. The view from outside our chapel. Minnesota is beautiful. And go read the Book of Mormon!!

"Bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success." (November 6, 2017)

This has been quite the week. 

First off, when I first got my call to Minnesota, everyone told me how cold it was gonna be, and I thought it was just a stereotype. But no friends, it's good. It's so cold. And it's not even winter yet. We're looking forward to bundling up and sharing the gospel the next few months! 

We had an amazing mission conference week, with Elder Michael T. Ringwood from the seventy. It was an incredible day of spiritual enlightenment. We were reading a lot in the scriptures, and talking about missionary work, and about how we accept what the Lord says he "shall command us" before we receive the commandment, and promising to be obedient for the sake of being obedient. Then later in the day we were talking about the Brother of Jared, and how missionaries plan, and he tied it all back in to that idea of obeying what the Lord shall command us to do this wonderful package of spiritual goodness and inspiration with a great big bow on top. I wish you all could have been there, because it was amazing. 

We had an amazing experience with George this week. We had a lesson scheduled with him, and when we got there the power was out. Our zone leaders were there with us too, and he told us he hasdn't read in the Book of Mormon at all this past week, and about all the distractions he has been feeling. We talked about how the Book of Mormon gives us the answer to how to overcome temptation and recognize the distractions that the devil tries to throw at us. He went to grab his Book of Mormon, and sat down with us again, and I kid you not, no sooner had he opened the Book of Mormon to start reading the power and the lights came on. If that is not a Book of light, I don't know what it is. There was also a powerful moment in the lesson when he told us, holding the Book of Mormon in his hands "I know it's true, I know this is the word of God. The way I feel when I read it, I can't deny that." All we can do is read it, and feel it, and know for ourselves that this is the truth. Those moments make everything worth it. All the praying, and planning, and teaching, and rejection facing, to hear someone say "I read it, and I know it's true." It's truly incredible. 

We're really focusing on sharing the Book of Mormon right now, we have specific goals as a zone and as companionships to better use the Book of Mormon in our teaching this month, and it has been so cool, and made tracting and contacting and finding new investigators so much more exciting because of this amazing message that we bring, and to try to share the Book of Mormon with everyone. 

One of the new people we met this week, Cristian, is a referral from her sister in Mexico, who is a member. Have you all seen the new referral app on LDS tools, because it is amazing. Go refer all your friends to the missionaries! I feel like we have gained a lot of insight this week about why people are so nervous about giving referrals and don't want to hurt friendships or risk offending anyone. If the least you can do is tell the missionaries where your friends live, that's a  start. Even if you don't want them to use you name, we have a fraction more of a chance of sharing a message, because they know someone, to have a friend who is LDS, because then when we knock on someone's door, they already have even the slightest connection to the church to begin with which can make a shockingly large difference. Even better if you let the missionaries use your name, or introduce your friends to the missionaries in person, but we all need to start somewhere and every little effort is what makes the difference. 

Quote of the week
Me: "Yeah, the Astros won the world series"
Sister Grover: "Honestly, don't know anything about football" 😂😂

I have been thinking a lot about two groups of people this week, the sons of Lehi, and the sons of Mosiah. With the former, Laman and Lemuel especially, because I just can't figure them out. Receiving sign after sign, witness after witness, and miracle after miracle that bring them to remembrance of the Lord, then 3 verses later they forget all over again. It is so frustrating. How can they not look back to just moments ago when they REMEMBERED. And I know this is a lot how the Lord feels about us sometimes, because it is so frightenly easy to forget. I had a moment like this this past week. We had been trying to see so many people, and diligently follow our plans and the spirit, and nothing was happening, and I was getting so frustrated, and angry that we were not being guided and felt completely and utterly forsaken. Reflecting on this moment, a scripture came to mind, which is where the sons of Mosiah come in. "27 Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success." Those moments, of completely and utter despair, as we bear them, are always followed by success. Always. Maybe not success as we may see it, or as the world may see it, but as we bear those trials and bear those moments, the Lord has promised that he will deliver us as he needs to. Thinking on the ministry and work of the sons of Mosiah, none of the trials I have gone through on my mission can begin to compare to them. That does not mean that things haven't been and won't continue to be difficult at times, but this promise goes for all the Lord's servants. I know the frustration I sometimes feel reading about Laman and Lemuel, is the same behavior I manifest at time, and I am so grateful that the Lord lives perfectly by the command "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you" because I know as many times as I may have forgotten, he is infinitely patient in helping and waiting until we remember again. I'm not sure if that makes any sense, but that's what I have been thinking about this week.

Love you all! Have a great week! 

Happy Mission Conference! And mission president approved special visitor ❤❤

Hermana Meredith