Monday, August 25, 2014

The Spirit, A Missionary's Best Pal

(Sent August 25 | Pics on Facebook)

I got my hair cut today! Unfortunately, my mission president didn't allow me to fly out to New York to get my hair cut by my favorite hairdresser. Let down, I know, but it really took all my might to allow the hair school student to touch my hair. It's free for missionaries, though, so that was nice of them.

Anyway, on a more missionary-related note, we taught J this week and it was amazing, as usual. He shared a personal experience he had the week before when he was on his trip to New Orleans with his buddies. He realized how easy it was to neglect his routine of studying the scriptures, and he expressed how guilty he felt for not doing so. He noticed how neglecting that simple routine negatively affected him for that weekend.

And so we shared with him a scripture:
"For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father" (Mosiah 3:19, emphases added).
We explained to him that it is in our nature to not read our scriptures and pray every day because obeying the commandments of God really does take effort. Anytime we do something that brings us closer to God is, essentially, us acting upon our faith by doing works. Just like James said, faith without works is dead.

Here, J was given an experience last weekend to teach him about what kind of situations he wants to put himself in. It taught him the importance of scripture study. It taught him of the protection that studying the scriptures provides for him. It's these kinds of experiences that help him progress more than anything anyone could ever say. He needed a chance to notice lacking the Spirit in his life for a time in order to realize his need for Him.

We, as missionaries, are instruments in the Lord's Hands. We are placed to teach people about the gospel of Jesus Christ and create an environment where they can feel the Spirit. Then the Spirit takes it from there.

I love missionary work. I really do! What a fantastic blessing it is!

Sister Wen

Thursday, August 21, 2014

G, G, G, G, G, G, G, G

(Sent August 18 | Initials are to protect the identity of Illia's investigators)

G, G, G, G, G, G, G, G
I know GW,
He is a Latter-day Saint,
He's knows most everything
Since we taught him


Someday he will be back,
He'll have eternal life
Oh, how I love the missionary work!

M-I-S-S-I-O-N. Mission! Mission! Teach it again!

If any of you know what song I'm parody-izing, props to you for attending girls' camp. This past week, Sister Billings and I reminisced on girls' camp songs from back in the good ol' Young Women days. I created a parody of "Mormon Boy" to G's life just now. Just. Now. Look at how creative and conceited I am!

But, in all #seriousness, for those of you just jumping in on the story, please feel free to refer back to my last two posts. But G is amazing. He really has come a long way. Four months ago, he didn't have a testimony of God. Now, he has a testimony of God, of Christ, of prophets, of personal revelation, of the Holy Spirit...of everything in the gospel! He accepts everything we teach him.

Last week, we taught him once again the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ and how Joseph Smith was called as a prophet to bring Christ's church back to Earth. We shared Joseph's experience in his own words:
I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. When the light rested upon me, I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of Them spake unto me, calling me by name, and said, pointing to the other, This is my Beloved Son - Hear Him!
G says that 3 years ago (when he was baptized), he would've thought this was a made-up story. But now, when we explained basically the whole timeline of how the world was prepared for the restoration of Christ's church, G knows it's true.

Monday, August 11, 2014

We are our own prophets.

(Sent August 11)

Met with J! And even though he hasn't been able to come to church, he's still progressing. He's still studying the scriptures and he's even meeting up with the Ms, his former LDS neighbors who introduced him to the gospel, down in Texas! And, just like I said last week, we talked about the gift of the Holy Ghost.

We explained how much more he would get out of studying the scriptures if he just had the gift of the Holy Ghost. And he says he wants it! He really has that desire to have His Spirit by his side! Just not right now. He's still adamant in finishing the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price before baptism. So at least we know the Newlin Meadows ward will always have at least one solid investigator! #thebrightsideofthings

On the other side (of Heaven #classic) of bringing someone closer to Christ is G, who I began talking about last week. When we met with him a couple Saturdays ago, we taught him about the gospel in every dispensation. We taught about how God sends his prophets, or men called by God to act in the name of Christ, to end periods of time where people rejected the gospel (aka. apostasies). Basically a little history lesson of how Adam, Noah, Moses, and Abraham, and all those guys were prophets of God.

Last Wednesday, he said, "You girls missed something big last time."

Uhm. What?

"I have a testimony now."


Friday, August 8, 2014

Reactivation = Baptism

(Sent August 4)

Something that we've been stressing a lot to the members here in the Parker stake is that bringing someone closer to Christ does not only mean baptisms. It also means bringing someone back to church and back to Christ.

So, today I will talk about G. He was baptized about 3 or 4 years ago and fell away from the church almost immediately after. The missionaries that taught him rushed him into baptism before he even gained a testimony just so they could get 1 baptism in their numbers. By the way, that is not the best way to bring someone unto Christ.

When Sister Billings and I both started meeting with him, he didn't have a testimony of God and His existence. Now, he's getting there. His favorite phrase is: "I'm an atheist and I thank God for it!" He looks around the world and can't help but think there is a higher power out there.

He claimed he never felt the Spirit. We shared scriptures but that didn't help. But we learned that he learns best through examples and analogies. (Makes sense, though, because I guess Jesus taught that way, too.) Both Sister Billings and I grew up in the church, so we had to figure it out ourselves. We both reached a point some time in high school where we had to decided whether this church and this whole gospel thing is true. And where's the best place to go with that in mind? Well, God, of course!

So we both shared our experiences of when we felt the Spirit in our lives and he says he's beginning to believe that God has been directing him throughout his life the whole time so that he could reach this point. He says he's beginning to recognize how the Spirit works.

And when I heard that, my heart leaped! It was the same feeling I had when both K and N accepted the invitation to baptism! I was just so happy for them!

Man, missionary work is fantabulous.

We weren't able to meet with J again this week because of his business traveling. We are planning on talking with him about the gift of the Holy Ghost and how much more he'll learn with that gift. We'll see!

Hope you all have a fantabulous week as well!
Sister Wen

Monday, August 4, 2014

J.W. Marriott at it again.

(Sent July 28 | Photos on Facebook)

So rough week again. BUT we have an awesome week/month coming up. Here's why:

The stake presidency here in the Parker stake are super missionary-minded and it really helps us out a lot. But, then again, the purpose of missionaries is really to help the members with the missionary work in their ward. We are simply guests.

But, the stake presidency has begun a program called the "Parker Plan" where we, the missionaries, teach six specific lessons to all the members in our ward with the objective of helping all the active members become better "finders," or be even more open and willing to share the gospel with their friends and neighbors! So, this way, we really are helping the members hasten the work of salvation in the area they live in! It's fabulous!

I absolutely love being a missionary. It's one of the greatest decisions I've ever made thus far in my short life of nineteen years. I've learned so much in the past 6 months and I still feel like I'm new to this whole thing. I kind of like having the Spirit with me all the time. It's a good feeling. And I have to admit, I've never felt closer to God than ever before.

We also were finally able to meet with J again. His job really has him working now....Is it a coincidence now that he's getting closer and closer to accepting baptism? Nope. I think that's the one thing that stumps a lot of people here in Parker. Work. Then life gets too busy and there's no time for the gospel.

But, fun fact! J had actually forgotten to bring his scriptures to study while on his business trip. BUT, luckily, he was staying at a Marriott hotel so he was still able to study from the Book of Mormon they have there! #marriottsavinglives

No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing!

Hope you have a marvelous week! (And get in your last-minute vacations before school starts up again! ha.)

Sister Wen

P.S. Oh, also, shout-out to Sister Hoynacki, my first companion/trainer! She's finished her mission and returned home with honor. I am also expecting a wedding invitation from her as well.