Hi again everyone :) I hope you all had a glorious Thanksgiving surrounded by the ones you love. I hope you saw the blessings in your life from your Heavenly Father this last week too. I may not have been in Oregon this Thanksgiving as I usually am, but I truly was surrounded by family. The Sisters here, our mission presidency, they have all become my family too. What a blessing :)
|Everyone thinks we're twins, and that makes me happy :) |
(with Sister Hittrich from Canada)
I want to start out by sharing with each of you that God truly does answer our prayers. He doesn't always do this in the way we expect Him too, but He does it in His time and in ways that are far better than our own. This week not only were my prayers answered, but Linda's were too. And in meeting her, I feel my family circle growing even more :)
Whenever a sister leaves this mission to go home or to go and serve outbound, they will transfer the information of their different investigators to sisters that they feel will be able to help them best. Linda was an investigator of a former sister here from Ukraine. When she gave me Linda's information she was so excited and had so much hope for her. I tried calling Linda a variety of times, and each time to only hear the answering machine. Friday however, she called us back and was the one leaving a message this time.
|Sister Lin and I dressed up for line dancing on Thanksgiving! |
So happy my trainer is back :)
"Hi, this is Linda, if you are a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I want to talk to you. Please call me back."
You can only imagine how I felt! It had been months without any contact, and now here she was. I called her back right away. When I spoke with her she said that every time she would pray about where it was God wanted her to be, she would feel The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was her answer.
"The religion keeps pulling at me," she said. "It's more than just a curiosity, it's a part of my faith now."
I called her back a few days later and was grateful that she answered the phone. We had a phone call that forever impressed upon my mind the reality that by faith, anything which is expedient in God's will, can and will take place. I had prayed that I could uplift her, that I could say something, anything that would really be an answer to her prayers. Our entire phone call that followed was truly a miracle and was a lesson taught by our Father above.
|We all got to decorate Christmas ornaments! |
What a wonderful holiday season!
Linda is a woman who is currently living in Indiana due to her Mom's recent stroke. Now, her mom is in a coma and Linda, rightfully so, feels very afraid. I asked her if she had thought about asking the local missionaries for a Priesthood blessing. I told her that the Priesthood works by our faith, and it would be up to her, but I promised it would be something that could bring comfort, strength and peace into her life in a way much stronger than she had ever experienced. With that, we talked about the First Vision of Joseph Smith and the restoration of the Priesthood, God's power given to man on earth to act in His name.
|Sister Taylor and I won our game of pool against Sister John and Sister Chau just |
before being called to eat dinner and we were pretty excited about it!
|Too much fun for Thanksgiving with Sister Chau, Sister Taylor and Sister Reed!|
|Love this girl :) Sister Christensen!|
I felt a prompting so clearly to share with Linda Joseph Smith's experience in the Sacred Grove using his own words, and so I did...
As I spoke these words, the spirit was there to testify of the reality of this vision, so strongly and more profoundly than I had ever before felt in my life. I even started to cry as I spoke these words over the phone, to this sincere and wonderful woman far away from me in Ohio. When I finished, there was a moment of silence. I sat there just listening when she finally spoke.
"That really happened, I know it did. I can feel it. I have goose bumps and feel more joy and happiness than I've felt in a long time," Linda said.
There is such a power in the First Vision of Joseph Smith. I know that Joseph Smith saw the living God, I know he did. Each time I have shared his words of his experience, I feel so overwhelmed by the spirit.
|Family picture with Sister Taylor and Sister Lin :)|
I had shared it another time in the Tabernacle (one of the buildings on Temple Square) with some visitors from Maryland earlier this week. They had asked me to tell them more about Joseph Smith, and once again, this same prompting came to me to share Joseph's experience using his own words. As I spoke, their eyes all were locked on mine.
To all of you who read this, I want you to know that Joseph Smith really was a prophet called of God. He really saw the living God, he saw the living Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the world, of you, of me. 4 months ago, on, our mission president committed each of us to finish The Book of Mormon by December 4. I finished The Book of Mormon just before coming here to e-mail and I want you all to know that I know it is true. I don't just hope it is true, wish it to be true, or assume it to be true, but I know with a certainty that it is true.
Knowing that Joseph Smith's prayer was answered, I too knew my prayer would be answered. The Book of Mormon testifies to the reality of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, that this is God's true church upon the earth again today. So often at Temple Square I meet people who say, "it doesn't matter which church you go to, all that matters is that you have faith in Christ." Brothers and Sisters, faith is the start of our journey and it is what pulls us through, but this is not all.
Let me ask you, if you were on the earth at the time that Christ came, and lets say there were multiple churches, would it be okay to go to any of the churches even if they all taught faith in Christ, or would you want to go to the one where Christ himself was the one teaching? Would you go to the places that taught you about Christ, that invited you to follow him? Or would you go to hear the Savior himself speak, to hear him invite you to come follow him and show you the way? I know that I certainly would want to be in the midst of the Savior, I wouldn't want to miss out on anything. I would be in Christ's church, and I know that I am in it today.
Jesus Christ is at the head of this church, He is the one who guides us today so that we have a fullness of his gospel. Pray to know. Just as the song says, "Joseph's humble prayer was answered," I testify that mine was, and yours can be too. This is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ on the earth again today, and I am so grateful to be a representative of Christ and of His church. Turn to him, he is listening.
I love you all and invite you to read over Joseph Smith's experience in the Sacred Grove. (http://www.lds.org/
Sincerely and with all my heart,
SHOUTOUTS: Madeleine Kmetzch, Sean Burton, Mom, Dad, Bryan, Casey, Grandma Jeanie, Mary, Becca, Barry, Brother & Sister Donakey, Robert Donakey, Liz, Andrew Lindsay, Sterling Randle, Sister Stanley :)
"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!"