Sunday, September 25, 2016

week 41: "I didn't come this far, to come this far."

Monday, September 12, 2016

Well, I have to say, this transfer has been crazy, like I say every week. But this was the craziest of them all. I literally felt like a chicken with my head cut off running around. Clearly, I didn't involve the Lord as much as I should have, but it was still really good.

To start off, we had an AMAZING pday. Honestly best yet! Never thought anything could beat my Pdays in Redding, but this one did. A member in the first Ward rented an 11 passenger van and took all the missionaries in the zone (some sisters drove with his wife) to a hike by Donner's Pass. I think it was called Independence Trail. It was absolutely beautiful. I love being in nature and exploring and discovering Gods creations. The hike was an hour way and he came late so we're doing this activity from 9 am to about 5 pm so we were exhausted and really didn't have time to do any of our shopping because we needed to eat and go to our lesson with Justin. So it was super fun, but not very productive.

Tuesday was another exciting but exhausting day. We got dressed in our service clothes and headed to Penn Valley (about a 45 min drive) to do service with some elders and sisters. We went to non members house and helped clean out their swamp filled cattail a and other deeply rooted weeds. I don't think I have ever been that dirty in my entire life. It was hard work too. I worked with the wife named Eva. We became good friends and worked really well together. She would dig with the shovel and I would pull it out and hand the root/cattail thing to Sister Dee who would put it in a pile. We were covered in swamp water and mud! We got stuck in the mud up to our thighs multiple times. But we had a BLAST! They even fed us a home cooked lunch after! Apparently they aren't at all interested in learning the gospel, but I know one day their hearts will be softened to hear it.

We were so dirty and exhausted after. We came home, showered and headed to dinner. We ate with the B family and boy do I love that family! It is a young couple with a 16 month old daughter who is the cutest (besides Ella of course). We shared the Mormon message by Jeffrey R. Holland called "Good things to come." This is one of my favorite Mormon Messages of all time. Elder Holland encourages us to keep going, keep trying, keep trusting. Heaven is cheering us on! He reminds us that some blessings come soon, some come late and some don't come till Heaven. But to those who trust in the Lord, they come. That just brings me so much hope. I like to see the results of my hard work; I like to reap the rewards. But often in missionary work we will never know the fruits of our labors, but we trust in the Lord that those blessings will come. But it’s the Lord’s work, not mine!

We went over to see the P family. They are from Hawaii. On our way up to their apartment we met a lady named Patty. She has a beautiful garden that she tends to often. We got to know her and she inquired of who we are and what we did. We explained that we are missionaries that teach the gospel. She thought that was great and said that if we are ever in the area we are welcome to knock on her door and say hello. 

Well, going to visit the P family was truly inspired because not only did we meet Patty but, we learned that two of the daughters sell for Lularoe. Anyone knows about Lularoe you know it's super cute, comfy modest clothes but it is very expensive. Like seriously ridiculous. So, they offered to give us free what?! So Sister D and I each got a dress and a pair of leggings. I also got a top and she got another dress! We are so excited and grateful for their kindness!

We had a really great lesson with Justin that night. The Hansen boys came and so did McKenna and Brother M. We taught the Law of Chastity and went over the baptismal questions. He is just so excited to be baptized and has no hesitation is sharing his testimony! It's been such a blessing and joy to watch Justin grow in the gospel.

Wednesday we had zone meeting and President and Sister Marston came! We discussed goals and set new goals for the next month. We talked about the importance of prayer in teaching and particularly in receiving revelation. My prayers have fluctuated over my mission. I can recall times where I was on my knees for a long time pleading with God for help and guidance. While some nights, it's a check off the list. I have noticed a huge difference, as I take the time to communicate with my Heavenly Father. Once we think we made it, that's when we have the most humbling and growing to do.

Oh a wonderful thing happened on Thursday! Chick-fil- a opened!! Previously, the only chick-fil-as in the whole mission were in Granite Bay and Roseville, so this is a miracle! But also a curse because I'm sure most of my allotment will go to there.

That night we had a lesson with one of my favorite families in Foresthill. The C. family. They have three little girls and a boy. They are the sweetest, cutest family and I just adore them. We taught them the Restoration and I was able to recite the first vision and testify that I know it is true. It was tough to get through, the spirit was so strong I choked up and had to pause multiple times. I have become quite the blubber baby on my mission. 
Justin's mom 

At Justin's baptism

Friday was a blessed day, well actually I was stressed up to the roof but JUSTIN was baptized!! He is a quite serious young man, so he didn't smile, but he glowed! And he sang the closing hymn, which was "I am a Child of God". It made me so happy to see him enter the waters of baptism and make this beautiful covenant with our Heavenly Father. The Spirit was so strong and after his father baptized, he hugged his dad and said "thanks dad." It was a sweet moment I will never forget. I know that God’s hand is in the details of our lives and that He knows our hearts and will place people in our path who need us and we need them.

Saturday morning the stake Relief Society held an activity. The theme was Come Unto Christ. It started with a reader’s theater and musical presentations, which were beautiful. Then 5 classes were held but you were able to go to 4 of them. The first one we went to was all about continual conversion and that's where the title comes from. The Sister spoke about how there is never a point that we made it, we learned everything about the gospel and that the rest of life will be a breeze. But, that we are continually learning and growing and we should always be seeking truth. That was probably my favorite class.

That afternoon we went to a funeral. So far I have attended a funeral or memorial in all of my areas, I wonder if that streak will continue...anyways, our Branch Mission Leaders father passed away this past week. We never had the opportunity to meet him, but could tell by his children that he was one of the sweetest, funniest men you'd ever meet. It was evident that the family had a firm knowledge that they would see their relative again. For the majority of the funeral they were celebrating his life and many of the tears were from laughter. How grateful I am for the knowledge of the plan of happiness. That we can be with our families FOREVER!! It's all made possible in the gospel of Jesus Christ, because of His infinite Atonement.

Sunday was a great day! I love the Sabbath, especially when we feel productive and useful at Church. There were two farewells for missionaries leaving in October and Justin received the Holy Ghost! We were walking down the hall, when the primary President came up to us and asked if we could share our experience in deciding to serve a mission in Primary! I LOVE being in Primary, this little ones have such a sweet Spirit. 

We had another tender K. family moment. Their daughter, (Justin's sister) came up to us and said "I just wanted to say Thank You for helping my brother get baptized." Tears filled my eyes. I could tell she loves her brother and sees a difference in him. I am grateful for the day that they can be sealed as a family for all time and eternity.
10 month mark!
On Sunday, guess what happens?! I hit my 10 month mark! What?! I feel like I tell y'all every month, but 10 months is just weird that I am now in the double digits...this is going by waaaayyy too fast (and so I am not going to bring this up again).

I love y'all! I invite each of you to pray for missionary opportunities and then have the faith and courage to act on the promptings you receive! I know you can do it and I know that God will help you!!

Love y'all 

Week 40: "Israel, Israel God is calling."

Monday, September 5th, 2016
       Well another crazy week! I don't think that these weeks will ever stop getting crazy because everything is new and exciting and fresh;  which is actually kind of stressful because, although I am very ‘go with the flow’, I like routine and so I'm still trying to get into that (wow that was the longest run on sentence ever (that my mom probably fixed)). This week we were actually able to contact a lot of people which I am super excited about.
      Tuesday was again just a powerhouse day. We drove around Newcastle trying to find a whole bunch of people. We ended up getting lost a lot and having to make a lot of U-turns which is pretty normal for me. But we were able to contact some people and leave notes
on people’s doors. Newcastle is so cute and just so beautiful so we didn't mind getting lost a few times.
     Wednesday was such a great day, too. In the morning we did a bunch of 12 week and we practiced door approaches!
So if I haven't explained it before, or since I was being trained myself, 12 week is extra training new missionaries do to help them learn pretty much how to do missionary work. We had a ton of fun! Well at least I did.
Tangent on tracting:
     We practiced at different situations that we might come across doing missionary work. Like visiting farmers who haven't been to church in several years or visiting less active members or
tracting (tracting is knocking on doors)! I am blessed with a great companion who puts up with my shenanigans. And she had some good door approaches too! I threw her a curve ball, by "inviting her in and wanting the first discussion." But she did a great job!! I actually really love 12 week, it's definitely helping me go back to the basics and do the things needed to be effective and diligent. We are trying to figure out how to work smarter. When I was being trained, when we had no one to teach, first thing we did was go tracting. Every. Single. Day. I'm gonna be honest I HATED it! I would do anything not to go tracting. But now I love it!
Never thought I would love tracting! It's not very effective, at least the majority of the time you will not find investigators, but I have a strong testimony that it is proof of diligence. Tracting shows the Lord that we are willing to do anything and everything to find His children. But I am learning that it doesn't need to be the first thing we do. Maybe not last resort but we have SO many resources to utilize before we need to knock empty doors. Anyways, that's my tangent on
Wednesday Continued:     
     Moving on. Later that day we had a hilarious experience. So we went to visit the W. family. We had gone and left a note before, but we came back and left another note. We got in our car and were just about to drive away, when a lady runs over and knocks on my window haha she was sooooo excited to see us!! She said she has been watching mystery shows, and was scared someone creepy was at the door so she didn't come down to open it. She told us she said a little prayer to know if she was in danger when she saw out of her window us walking across the street! So she came after us haha Sister W. is the sweetest lady! She LOVES missionary work and goes emotional over it. Her family is currently preparing to go to the Temple to be sealed. She said every time they have started the process, they have to move or something gets in the way. But they are determined now and won't let anything stop them! We ended up talking for about two hours! She was so grateful we came when we did and I'm so glad we went to.
      Friday was our weekly planning day as usual. But this week President Marston asked us to read the entire white handbook. It took us an hour but we did it. It was nice to get a refresher of the guidelines because I've set some goals to be more obedient. I am definitely
feeling the responsibility on my shoulders. My companion watches everything I do. So I definitely want her to have an example of a good, obedient missionary.
     Saturday we spent the morning calling people. I couldn't even tell you how many people I have called trying to set up appointments (um hello "Israel, Isreal God is calling" well not Him exactly but His representatives, so pick up the phone, please
J ). We actually had a couple people answer, but told us to call back in a few weeks. We want everything to be happening now, but it is all in the Lord’s hands and it is in His timing.
     We went to the Foresthill branch on Sunday and taught primary sharing time. We taught the kids how they can be missionaries now! It's so fun to see their wheels turning and to hear their testimonies and experience of doing missionary work. We passed around a sign-up sheet to have lessons in member’s homes and got a good response so we are super excited to start those up!
     We tried to contact people in Foresthill, one being a "progressing investigator" named Erin. She's not really progressing the way we hope, but she still wants to meet with us. Anyway, we stopped by to give an invite to the upcoming Relief Society activity. No one answered, so we left the invite and a little sticky note with more info and our contact info. Well about 45 minutes later we get a call and it was Erin! She got the note and was so touched that we thought of her! She told us that she is good friends with the Branch Mission Leaders dad, Joe. Well he told her, "Before I die your gonna get baptized." We laughed, but I became curious if that was something she wanted for herself. The conversation moved on so I didn't get the chance to ask, but we were so excited that she called and appreciated our efforts.
     Over all it was a great week! We are so excited for Justin to get baptized this week!!
     I was to invite and encourage you to think of some ways that you can be member missionaries right now and then do it!! Remember that faith without works is dead! Faith is a verb!
Love ya,
Sister Gore

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Week 39: We are His hands

Monday, August 29, 2016

We started off again making a ton of phone calls, most of which did not answer or were not interested, per usual. But that didn’t discourage us! We did a TON of finding. Sadly most people were not home, but we were able to contact a few who said we could come back or that we were to offer help to. We met a former named J. He let us in (his wife was in the other room) and gave us water and we chatted for a bit. We learned that missionaries in the past helped him get out of a tough spot in his life and he was really grateful about that. Unfortunately he wasn't interested in meeting with us, but I'm sure someday that he will remember the missionaries who helped him and what to learn more.
We have had some amazing lessons with Justin lately. Wednesday we read Alma 32 with them. I love this chapter and how it relates Faith to a seed and it's what we do to the seed that will make it grow. Faith is an action word. How great our faith is, is dependent is what we do and how we act on it.
My favorite verse is verse 27. He teaches that if we don't have faith yet, that's okay, but we can have hope and to let that grow until we have faith. I think that just shows how much God loves us and that He understands that this life is hard, but with hope and Faith that there is a God and He did indeed send His Son, Jesus Christ to die for every single one of us, we can know that we aren't through our challenges alone and that it will all work out in the end.
Justin even offered the closing prayer and it was beautiful. I learned so much about him in that simple prayer. He expressed his gratitude for us being there and teaching him the gospel and he was grateful for his testimony. I was so close to crying the Spirit was so strong. He has such faith and so do his parents, I always love going over to the Krinkes home because I learn so much and my testimony grows just listening to them.
We had Zone Conference Thursday and it was exactly what I needed! We talked all about obedience and the purpose of it and the blessings that come. It's interesting how my perspective of obedient has changed over the course of my mission. I thought at first obedience would be easy and that all missionaries were perfectly obedient. I very soon found that to not be the case and even found myself questioning the point of being obedient. But I have learned through experiences that being obedient has brought blessings I didn't expect. When I am obedient I am confident in myself as a disciple of Christ and more confident in the promptings I receive. I am also so much more in tune with the Spirit, whom I rely on to lead and guide be as to who to see and where to go.
President Marston set guidelines on the music standard. The standard of what we can listen too is, "if you were to call church headquarters, whatever plays while you are on hold." So, if anyone would like to send me there favorite Motab or classical hymn arrangements that would be much appreciated.
So this week we are having a music fast, to cleanse us or prep us for the updated standard. So no music, in the car or in the apartment for one week. It's actually a blessing because it gives Sister Dee more time to talk! So I am excited!
That night we had dinner with a wonderful family in Foresthill. It's one of those families I can just tell I will get close too. Their kids are the sweetest and we were fast friends. It was Sister Dee's turn to do the spiritual thought and she had mentioned something she was going to share. But instead she shared the "Because of Him" video. The mom read the words a lot so her children knew what it said (some of them were too little to read) and as she did tears filled her eyes, the Spirit was so strong that tears filled mine as well. Sister Dee began to share her testimony, but got a frog in her throat so she had to get water so I filled in and I was able to testify of a loving Heavenly Father who sent His Son to die, so that we can all be with Him again. It was a tender moment for me, one I won't forget. It was simply but made an impact. I am so grateful for this gospel and the opportunity I have to share it, not only with those without knowledge but to be a part of strengthening those who already have a knowledge.
On Sunday
we spoke in Auburn 3rd Sacrament meeting. We spoke on missionary work and I based mine off of the talk "He asks us to be His hands" by Sister Esplin (hence the title). I would encourage each of you to study the talk with a missionary mindset and then apply it into your everyday lives.
But the highlight of our week actually happened Sunday night at the lesson with Justin. The Spirit was undeniable. We decided to read Mosiah 18 with him and his parents. His parents bore beautiful testimonies of faith and the importance of being baptized. His dad asked him what his heart told him about being baptized. Justin said that he felt conflicted. He felt part of him said "Yes! Do it." But another part said "No, don't." His Dad explained that Heavenly Father wants us to be happy and to do good, while Satan wants us to be miserable and to do bad.
Long story short, Justin received a Priesthood blessing from his father right there. As he said Amen, Justin's demeanor completely changed. He smiled; he was more involved and excited. We asked him when he would like to be baptized. He told us "As soon as possible. What's the point in waiting?"When Justin said that, I immediately thought about something President Marston said about investigators understanding the Atonement. That if they truly understand it, they will want to be baptized the very next day. That, I believe, is the case with Justin. He sees the blessing the gospel is in the lives of his family and peers and wants to be a part of it. He's ready to leave his old life behind and move forward. So the date is September 9th, so we will be seeing him a lot in the next week or so to get him prepared.  He told us he wants to do whatever God wants him to and whatever is best for him. He has such great faith and I am so grateful that God has trusted us with Justin. The timing of teaching him was absolutely perfect.
I tried to put this week into words, and I honestly cannot do it justice.
God is so good. The gospel is real. The church is true.
Love you all!
Sister Gore