Friday, 19 October 2012

The Gospel of Jesus Christ changes lives!

Sister Sant and I in front of our new apartment!
We moved today! I don't really know why but they switched us with two other sisters from the Visitors Center. So we packed up our stuff yesterday and moved it all out today. Kind of stressful. I am really excited about it though because we are in the cutest house and it is way nicer than our other apartment. Plus we will have two bathrooms! Crazy! We will be living with two other companionships, so that will be different because in our old apartment it was just us. I'm sad we won't be able to do zumba anymore with Sister Hansen and Sister Grange.
This week has been great though. Tim is getting baptized! Tim is our online investigator that I met on chat in the MTC. We set a baptismal date for him last week, and it is all coming together now and its really going to happen. I talked to the bishop of the ward he is moving to last night and the ward sounds amazing. They already had a baptismal service planned for the date Tim set! We were really worried because he wanted to be baptized on the 27th and that is only 10 days away! We got in touch with the missionaries in the ward and they are on it. It was really cool because the Elder in his new ward is leaving at the end of this month. He had a goal to have three people be baptized in this ward before he left. He had one and then all of a sudden Tim showed up... the Bishop is like you must be really faithful because they are dropping out of the sky! I am so excited for Tim! He is so prepared and so excited to join the church. He keeps telling everyone that is going to be a Mormon. I feel so blessed to have met him and to have gotten the opportunity to teach him.  He was SO ready to receive the message of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ!
We have another investigator named Ray, he's from Nigeria. He is AWESOME. We had a great lesson with him yesterday and he made us yummy African food. He is so smart, so its kind of intimidating to teach him, but the spirit really helps us to know how to answer his questions.  Yesterday he was asking some tough questions, like how baptism into this church is different and how Joseph Smith is different than any other really righteous good person, basically what sets our church apart. Sister Sant and I both thought for a second and then it came to me... continuing revelation through a prophet of God, but also, I would say an equally important thing that sets our church apart is temples. Our church is the only Christian church that makes covenants with God in a temple. We are given new insight and power in the temple. We can be sealed together as families for eternity in the temple. Earlier this week I had felt very impressed to study temples and their importance, as well as how to explain what they are and what we do in temples. That preparation allowed me to teach Ray about the temple, and about how it is so important to our church. I am so grateful for a) the spirit because there is NO way I could have coherently taught that lesson and b) temples. I love them!
We meet the most random/most wonderful people everyday. Being a missionary is hilarious!
Example: We are at Wendys to grab a quick dinner and this older gentleman is sitting in the dining area and he keeps smiling at me.  I was getting a bit weirded out so Sister Sant and I went to sit on the other side of the room. Then he's like "Oh hey, come sit over here. I don't have anyone to eat with." I"m thinking...this guy could be mentally unstable, but whatever - we can eat with him and then leave. It will be an experience, right? Right. After making small talk with him for awhile, we ask him what he is working on because he had all these books and things. He goes on to tell us all about these physical formulas he has been working on and how they work and the differential equations and formulas he is using for who knows what. I was wishing I had paid better attention in algebra! Apparently he has been working on this for over 16 years. So we ate our dinner with him and went on our way. SO random. So funny.
Example 2: I took these two adorable older gentlemen on a tour with Sister Park the other day. Seriously we were kindred spirits. They were so funny, and Kenny couldn't hear anything so we were yelling the whole time. he was also wearing this awesome native american button up. He would have been a hipster if he were younger now. Are hipsters even a thing anymore? I don't even know. Anyway. Their insights were amazing. Jim kept getting teary eyed when we mentioned home teaching. He loved home teaching SO much, because he realized how important it is to go after the one.  Visiting teaching has never been my favorite thing - but I will change that when I get home.  It really is so important. I encourage all to do your home and visiting teaching... it changes lives. Just love people, and they will love you back.
The iPhone 5 came out?! I have only been gone a month and a half and I already feel SO out of the loop. That's fine - our ghetto samsung touch screen is too advanced for me, so I don't even know if I could handle the iPhone 5. Send me pics if you can. People in Missouri aren't really apple people so I haven't seen one.
Thanks to Ashley, Marin, Katie, Kierston, and Dave Woods Family for all the letters recently!
I took these pictures on a walk we went on in Independence.  The green grass in this first picture is the temple lot when the Mormons were in Independence in the 1800's and the church doesn't currently own this land.  The spire is the RLDS/Community of Christ temple.  The LDS Visitors Center is to the right and you can't see it in this photo.

This is a cute pioneer house we saw on our walk.

I am so grateful to be a missionary! Each day I realize more and more what a blessing it is to be a member of this church. It truly is the Lord's kingdom on the earth today and I am so grateful to be a part of building it. The gospel really has the power to change lives! It changed Jim's life. He went from being an alcoholic chain smoker to being the High Priest group leader. Tim has found so much happiness and strength in the gospel. I can tell just by talking to him over the phone, the change in his outlook on life and everything is amazing. The atonement is so powerful and EVERYONE of us needs it. We need to give everything to him, and by losing ourselves we find ourselves. Its funny how that works. The church is true! I love it!


Dave said...

We love you Lauren! Keep the stories coming because we love to see how things are going for you. That's great to be right there at the history sites. You will be the best guest teacher ever in 2 years to our seminary class when we do D&C :) Congratulations to Tim, that is fantastic.

Laura O'Leary said...

Great blog today! I love your inspirational stories. Keep up the great work! Laura O.