Awkward moment of the week:
We knocked on this guys door who has been recently married right?
So I'm going on this huge tangent about how we can be sealed to our families and spouses for all eternity, by being married in the temples right? I was feeling pretty good about myself although he had this wry smile on his face.
When we left Sister Eddy was like yeah that was great and all but as you told him about how you could be sealed to your spouse together forever... You motioned to me. And then he got a weird smile on his face.
We have this transfer goal: to catch as many cats as we can and take a cat selfie with it. It's been really hard. Cats are fast. I'm not. It makes tracting more interesting.
We bought some cat treats.
They're sitting on Sister Eddy's desk. In the white handbook it says "no pets, of any kind." So when we were on exchanges, the sister that came here with me was incredibly confused why we had cat treats.
So I told her Sister Eddy likes to snack on them.
I know, it's weird. Just don't ask.
She was pretty grossed out.
Ruining my companions reputation one exchange at a time. Love her.
I found out another St Georg-ian is coming to My Mission. But she gets here the transfer I go home. How weird of a thought is that? That I'm ACTUALLY going to come home.
I love getting emails from you all. So please send me some emails. I enjoy hearing feedback from bloggers too so shoot me a message at email@example.com
I love to hear from y'all.
And especially to get feedback on the blog.
And some inspiration or questions or ideas on what I can / should write about.
Just a thought for you future sisters.
I was thinking about how I wish I would have had a bit more exposure to different churches practices. So if you get the chance and are interested I think it'd be pretty cool to check out some different churches in your area and learn a bit more about what they believe. I just think exposure before the mission is good. To know where people are coming from.
I also wish I would have gone on exchanges with Sisters in my area, and studied Preach My Gospel before hand. Don't worry so much about your clothes and etc. Just become super knowledgeable. Think about experiences you can share and strengthen the testimony you will bear. You'll thank me later.
This week was my first MLC. It's like a Mission Leadership Council. So we like talk and debate, maybe debate isn't the politically correct word to use but pretty much. It was super interesting. I enjoyed spending time with President and Sister Riggs and the leadership of the mission. Idk like I just like being there. It was cool. And interesting to see first hand how things 'run.' I'm not very great at voicing my opinion in a big group without being called on however. I'm a little slow. I like to digest my thoughts and concerns and share on a one on one basis. So this will be a fun challenge.
Yay for leadership #talents
We always visit this Greek lady named A. She is a crack up. The other night she was praying and was like "please bless that I'll remember Sister Stucki's name. I always forget her name Lord, please help me to remember it, and Lord, what does Stucki mean?" Then she looked up at me, during her prayer and was like... What does Stucki mean?
And that's when I realized I don't know nothin'.
This week was my fourteen month mark.
AND Sister Eddy's sixteen month mark. #veterans
So if anybody wants to send us 'congrats for being old' packages we wouldn't be apposed or anything.
President Riggs saw my blogpost that dad posted and said
"your dad looks like the nicest man in the whole world."
Congrats. You've been recognized by the prez.
I feel kind of like ancient because every time I try to use slang around teenagers or Madi W. I get called out for being lame. I guess "yolo" and "hashtags" and "hot dogs or legs" are all super outdated now.
See. This is why everybody needs a Twitter.
I've been cut out from the inside jokes of the world.
I had a pretty sweet experience this past week. We were visiting this lady on base. She lives with her daughter and son in law. Really sweet old lady. But she has had the most difficult life, EVER. The things she was telling us I had never even heard about before. Like the family she was raised in and how her father became an assassin and the things he would do to their family. It was bizarre. She talked about things for quite a while. And the feeling in the room was just, a hefty, heart wrenching feeling.
As we were listening my companion said something that I thought was pretty profound. Especially considering I was at a loss for words in this situation. She said something to the effect of..
"This is very heavy. Do you feel this feeling in he room?"
Everyone agreed that the atmosphere was so depressing like the weight of the world was on our shoulders. It was "heavy" then she said,
"There is so much weighing on you, and the things we've talked about are heavy things.
We can feel it. You feel it. What we are going to talk about is going to change YOUR life, because it isn't heavy. In fact it takes away the weight you feel now.
As we talk about the gospel of Christ, you will feel light."
There was kind of a spark of hope right there.
And everyone felt it.
And as the lesson continued, as we talked about the Saviors atonement we felt that lightness.
The conversation earlier about all of her trials and tribulations and hurt feelings and her broken soul was so heavy and It weighed down on each of us. I'm sure EVERYONE has experienced that feeling. Of anguish and pain. When things are weighing down on you for different reasons. The loss of a loved one. The pain of a broken heart. The stress of losing your job or your ability to do something. We have lots of different experiences that weigh us down. And I'm sure everyone's been in a conversation with someone when they're expressing all their grief and sorrow and you feel at a loss of words because you can't quite compare or comfort them because their tribulation is so difficult. It is heavy.
But it was so cool to feel, almost tangibly the difference when we were teaching about Christs atonement. That glimmer of hope. Of faith. The knowledge that all will be made right through Christ our savior.
This simple analogy or thought from my companion really put into words what feeling
"The Spirit of God" is like.
I think growing up in the church I had a hard time discerning whether or not I felt the spirit. I think it was something I was just raised with so it was a gradual learning process. It was sometimes difficult for me to decide whether I felt the spirit or if it was just my thoughts or feelings in my head.
But this experience really put it into perspective
And really showed me the difference between the two.
The weight of the world is heavy.
I feel blessed that especially as a missionary, that lightness or spirit or presence is always around me. It's taken several experiences on my mission to remind me how blessed I am. This experience being one of them. Where the spirit isn't really there, where problems and anxiety's and afflictions are weighing down everyone in the room. Only to be driven away by the spirit.
I think these kinds of things are hard to describe to other people.
But one thing is for sure.. I've truly felt the difference on my mission. Both sides.
I've seen and heard and felt so much.
Too much to ever deny that this gospel is true.
Or to let my mind think it's all in my head.
There have been to many experiences that I've been apart of where the spirit is
THERE so powerfully and strong
Or it leaves, and it's very evident.
I heard a quote this morning that said,
"When a man has the manifestation from the Holy Ghost,
it leaves an indelible impression on his soul, one that is not easily erased.
It is Spirit speaking to spirit, and it comes with convincing force.
A manifestation of an angel, or even of the Son of God himself,
would impress the eye and mind, and eventually become dimmed,
but the impressions of the Holy Ghost sink deeper into the soul
and are more difficult to erase"
Joseph Fielding Smith Jr
I know with my whole soul that God is real.
And knows us.
And he cares.
That he loves us immeasurably.
All of us.
Not just me.
We are literally His children.
We have potential.
He has great plans in store for us.
He rejoices when we rejoice.
He is saddened when we are sad.
He is not this great and mighty unthinkable, intangible mass that is unconcerned for our well being. He loves us. With a greater love than anything else. So much so that he sent his son, Jesus Christ, to provide a way for us to make it home.
We're so blessed.
I feel so blessed to have these truths.
To be able to share them.
And I know these things, and I won't ever deny these things.
Because I've felt them.
Through that spirit.
And it's built my faith.
I have learned how important our faith is.
And I hope everyone can learn to find that.
And trust it.
I think for years and years I leaned on my parents faith. I was living off of "borrowed light" from their strong convictions. And frankly, I think that's okay. I'm grateful for parents who were examples and were living righteously and showing me the way.
But there came a point when I realized that I couldn't simply endure on this "borrowed light" leaning on them for spiritual strength, never trying to gain my own.
This led me to question my own faith.
Which is okay.
In fact I believe it was crucial!
I didn't really know if I actually had any faith, and was feeling the spirit in my life, or if it was simply all in my head. So I began questioning my own spirituality and my own relationship with God.
Even though I couldn't say that I KNEW (without a doubt) that every principle of the church was ABSOLUTELY TRUE, I could say I knew a few things.
I knew God was our loving Heavenly Father.
I knew Jesus Christ was our Savior.
And I knew that we had a Modern Day Prophet.
Because of that witness from the spirit.
Early on in my life those things became very clear to me, and that was My foundation.
Think about your spiritual foundation. What do you already know?
About God, about Christ, about life after this.
Think about widening your foundation. What do you have a desire to know?
I do realize everyone's foundation is very different. Yours may have more or less than mine did. It doesn't matter, because the point is to strengthen and widen our foundation of gospel truths throughout our entire lives.
And frankly, it all starts with believing.
Christ himself said be not afraid, only believe.
On our quest of strengthening our gospel foundation,
it starts with that desire to know.
Then comes the witness of the spirit.
And then comes faith.
If we believe we can know
If we have faith God will answer our questions
I think it's important for all of us to know that it's okay to ask questions.
Up until this point in my life, I just went with the flow.
But now I had a question. Several questions.
And that's okay.
I think it's important for us to understand,
Joseph Smith had a question!
And he didn't push it aside and go with the flow.
He asked it. He studied and pondered and asked the almighty God.
And he got an answer.
And that answer has changed millions, probably billions and billions of lives since.
There comes a point in each of our lives where we need to ask questions.
And not ask google, or a preacher, or our parents, or our best friends.
But get down our knees with a humble heart and ask God.
I began widening my foundation when I heard a talk during General Conference, that I have never been able to find since. It was somebody talking about the importance of the Book of Mormon and the importance of being spiritually converted YOURSELF. How none of us could really come to any conclusion that this gospel is true without earnestly seeking to know if the Book of Mormon is the word of God, with an open heart and real intent.
That one hit me like a ton of bricks. Because when I was a teenager I had yet to actually read the Book of Mormon by my own accord. I eventually decided and understood well that I couldn't live forever on this borrowed light.
I'm very independent
I come from a long line of independent, realistic women (I think)
I don't like being dependent on somebody else
And in my head most important things are black and white
So this whole borrowed light idea,
Leaning on somebody else's faith, it wasn't working.
It led me to believe I needed to figure this thing out on my own.
Either this church is true or it's not.
Either it matters or it doesn't.
And I was either going to apply it to my life, or I wasn't.
And so I set out to widen my own foundation and to build upon it.
I had a desire. I had a belief.
Everyone walks these faith steps. Whether there foundation is huge or minutely small. We are continually gathering more knowledge and confirming these beliefs with God. We're continually learning and growing and strengthening our foundation.
Starting with belief.
Acting on that belief and gaining a witness of the spirit.
And developing faith.
I have a friend named Victor. He got baptized recently, well last summer. When he got baptized he told us a story. He had this friend that was a member of the church and she would always share her testimony. And it was so great and profound, she would share all the things she knew to be true and believed in.
He really wanted that.
To say that he knew.
But for the longest time when he asked himself what his testimony was, he could only get to
Later, as he met with missionaries he began to learn more about the gospel. He said as he was learning his testimony then consisted of two words "I know." Because he knew he felt something, but he wasn't quite sure what it was that he knew.
As he was telling this story, he had just recently been baptized. And so he stood in front of all there listening, he testified boldly that he knew... Lots of things. He said,
I know God is our Heavenly father!
I know Jesus Christ is our Savior.
I know we have a Prophet today who leads and guides us!
I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God.
I know Families can be together forever.
I know that as we follow our Savior, we will be happy.
Victor went on and on about all these things that he now knew.
He was using the faith steps.
Everything that he now knew.
Was once a belief, that he desired to know.
And with God we can know
He had that witness and gained that faith
We can too.
When I finally read the Book of Mormon, I realized it was an important principle of my faith that I was lacking from my foundation. Since then I've began to follow these faith steps for every principle I want to gain a "testimony" of. President Gordon B Hinkley said that the best way to gain faith in, and understand a principle or commandments of God, is by living it.
I thought that was quite the paradox at first.
But I've come to realize it's so true.
Everything we are taught
Everything we do
Is for a purpose, for a reason.
In Gods eyes and in His great plan.
Nobody is really exempt from living his gospel.
Because his gospel is what makes us most happy.
So try a little harder to be a little better
Strengthen your foundation.
Help others strengthen theirs.
Sent from my iPad