Thursday, July 10, 2014

Duty to God!

Happy late America Day! Sister Waldron and I celebrated by wearing red, white and blue, eating a hamburger, and singing some patriotic songs. It was a grand day!

This week we met our new mission presidents, the Claytons! They are so tender! I love them!

"God bless us that our testimonies can be stronger, our desires richer, our worthiness greater." -President Clayton

And Sister Clayton touched a lot on seeing the end from the beginning. I love this! It is so important for us to focus on the present, but we must always have the end in mind. Seeing the plan and knowing what we are working towards helps us to fulfill our callings and achieve our potential.

We also had ZONE TRAINING this week! 
The First Presidency has announced that missionaries will now be teaching lesson 5 BEFORE baptism!
Something else I really liked that I learned from zone training is that as children of the covenant, we have the privilege and responsibility to help our brothers and sisters recognize the blessings that 
1) they are receiving 
and that
2) we are promising them
all as a result of obedience and acting in faith. 

I love this quote from Keith B. McMullin in a general conference years ago. He said:

"Duty does not require perfection, but it does require diligence. It is not simply what is legal,  it is what is virtuous. It is not reserved to the mighty or the high in station but instead rests on a foundation of personal responsibility, integrity, and courage. Doing one's duty is a manifestation of ones' faith." 

When we do our duty to God, we become something greater than we are now.

As for [some of] our INVESTIGATORS...

Brian is soooo prepared! As we taught him the Plan of Salvation, he goes "....I feel like I have heard this before. Like, this is familiar to me." The church is true!

We met a girl named Madi on the bus last month and she came to church yesterday! She loved it so much! She fit right in! 
We met Chris at the park Saturday night and talked for like half an hour and he ended up coming to church as well! He loved it! 

We also met with Will again. We love meeting with him because every time we teach him something new, he goes "wooooowwwwww". He is always so fascinated haha!

I'm just going to be super missionary for a second-- 
I want to invite everyone to study Preach My Gospel!
Preach My Gospel is scripture and was designed beyond the veil. I know that it isn't just for us missionaries, but for all of us as members! I would love to hear what you all are learning from your studies! Tell me all the things!! :)

This is Sister Waldron's last week. Freaking out? yes. (Me-- I'm freaking out, not her; pretty sure it should be the other way around). Words can't describe how much I love this sister! 

Study Preach my Gospel, reach out to someone, smile, and pray!

Love, Sister Courtney

best of times

I want to invite everyone to make a list of some kind this week! A list of:

ways the gospel has blessed your life
favorite scriptures
things you know to be true
things you want to improve on
people that have influenced you in some way

a list of something! And then tell me about it! I want to hear! :) Lists are so powerful in helping us recognize and keep a record of the beautiful things in our lives!

This week I made a list of all the ways the gospel has blessed my life and let me just say... the church is true! I will definitely continue to add to my list. The gospel is everything I am. I am so grateful for the restored gospel on the earth.

Thomas S. Monson said:

"Whether it is the best of times or the worst of times, He is with us. He has promised that this will never change."

God knows us and loves us so sweetly and perfectly!

Have a good week! And tell me about your lists!! :)
Love y'all!

Light vs. Dark

It was my first zone conference and President and Sister Scott's last. Their motto and counsel that has been the such a great reminder for me as a missionary is to "be a little bit better tomorrow than you were today." They are two of the most wonderful people I have ever known. I'm grateful for their service and continued love. I will miss them dearly!
Shoutout to Shannon McCormick (who is on a mission and probably won't see this)-- President and Sister Clayton love you and I'm so excited to meet them!
Anyway ZONE CONFERENCE! In preparation, we studied scriptures and fruits in the world today of light vs. dark. Every single decision we make in our lives either moves us closer to God or it moves us away from God.
Something I'm grateful to realize is that we HAVE to "process with the Savior in the light" rather than "processing with the adversary in the dark" (Sister Scott).
The Lord helps us grow by building us up and by loving us, whereas the adversary tears us down and makes us feel like we are incapable of growing and being better.
I'm so grateful to have been taught this, because when we understand this ^, we know exactly of how much worth we are to our Father in Heaven. He loves us and builds us up with loving correction.

The other beautiful things about ZONE CONFERENCE included discussions of studies of light vs. dark, life lessons and departing advice from President and Sister Scott, testimonies of departing missionaries, and the spirit that was there. I just love spiritual rejuvenation! (Also, shoutout to Sister Coleman because I saw her for the first time since our first transfer and I love her and can't wait until we can be companions again)
Miracles were seen this week and prayers were answered. My absolute favorite thing about being a missionary is being able to see God's hand in His children's lives. As missionaries, we get to talk to so many of our brothers and sisters and countless times, we see how we did not just cross paths with certain people by chance. Coincidences don't happen-- the heavens have not closed, God answers prayers (even those that go unsaid), and he loves each child. HOW DOES HE DO IT?
Remember, all God expects of us is to be a little bit better tomorrow than we were today. He loves you! Choose the light! #CTL

This week is Gay Pride week down here in Toronto, so next week's email should be exciting! I love y'all!

What is love?!

First of all, the lead singer of Imagine Dragons was in our sacrament meeting yesterday so noooo big deal

but the best part of yesterday was that RODOLFO WAS BAPTIZED! He is so happy!
The craziest thing to me is how, when people are baptized, the light of Christ literally illuminates from them!
He looked like a new man! Because he is. That's what the gospel does-- it changes people.
When he bore his testimony, he said that when he first started meeting with us, he felt really happy.
Happy like when he was a child;
And he didn't know why.
That he had never been to and stayed with a church before
but that he is happy to enter into a covenant with God.

"Children of the covenant have the right to receive His doctrine and to know the plan of salvation. They claim it by making covenants of sacred significance."
That's why we are here!
We are here to make, keep, and honor covenants so that we can have everlasting unity with God and our loved ones in the life to come.
The only way we can be happy is if we are on the path that leads back to God.
The only way we can be on the path that leads back to God, is by making, keeping, and honoring covenants with him.
The church is true!

This past week, two remarkable things happened.
So last week, I gave a card to this guy on the bus, not realizing that he was half-drunk.
Nevertheless, he was loud and obnoxious, and it was really funny.
He ended up texting us the next day saying he was interested in learning more.
So we met with him and he said he didn't really remember what happened when we first met until he found the card the next day.
We taught him about the restoration of the gospel.
Even though he ended up not being interested, two good fruits were born from this labor

1) I learned that prepared people are people who are willing to act by making and keeping commitments. The adversary is super good at convincing people to glory in their contentment. Laziness will NOT get us to the Celestial Kingdom. It won't. We have to be willing to get out of our comfort zones, to act, to change, to sacrifice, to improve, to MOVE ALONG the path of discipleship that leads us back to God. So #noyolo
2) I felt this deep concern for him...? I actually desired his salvation more than I ever have for anyone before. WHAT IS THIS FEELING? I realized, that THAT is what missionary work is about-- it is about loving people so much that you desire their eternal salvation just as much as your own. Charity never faileth. I love when I get those flashes of feelings of charity inside me because it is something I'm learning on really developing.
*NUMERO DOS* (can you tell that I just want to be transferred to spanish work? #hermana)
We met with Snow this week! What a cutie! She is oh so prepared.
In the beginning of the lesson, she talked about how she doesn't know if it's Buddha or Heavenly Father or what, but that she wants to know what is true.
We talked a lot about the spirit and how it is by the holy ghost that she will come to know truth.
At the end of the lesson she prayed so earnestly that holy ghost would tell her what was true.
After she prayed she paused and looked at us and said,
"...I think I just felt something. I feel like He was close to me, that He was listening to me."

our Heavenly Father knows His children! He knows us and He loves us perfectly. He wants us to come home to Him one day.
And that's why He will and does provide us with all the opportunities and experiences that help us succeed in returning to Him.
We just have to look for and take advantage of them.

The most important thing I learned this week is that
"The gift of the Holy Ghost comes after one repents and becomes worthy... The Holy Ghost bears witness of the truth and impresses upon the soul the reality of the Father and the Son Jesus Christ so deeply that no earthly power or authority can separate him from the knowledge." (James E. Faust)
Truth is not founded upon tangible things that we can see and touch, but rather of things of the spirit.
The things of this world will be done away, but the things of the spirit are eternal.
We know truth because of the spirit.
"And it came to pass that Ether did prophesy great and marvelous things unto the people, which they did not believe, because they saw them not." (Ether 12:5)
The people didn't believe in the prophecies of Ether because they "saw them not"-- but the prophecies were still true.
Sister Waldron always says:

"What is right is right, even if no one is doing it;
what is wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it.”

Truth is truth. Period.
And knowing truth is not equivalent to an accumulation of facts and information, but it is humbly seeking and then acting in faith. The witness of the holy ghost is the most powerful and accurate means of knowing truth.
I love the gospel so much! I love that Heavenly Father loves us enough to provide us with all the necessities that enable us to return to Him. He is so real and so so good. Share God's love with everyone, because we all need somebody to lean on. (it's fine, it's applicable)

Love y'all!

Miracles Happen

I forgot this last week, but... HAPPY BIRTHDAY MONTH TO EMILY OSCARSON!! My baby girl is no longer a baby anymore! But she is. Love you!

This week was full of miracles! It was so good! For this transfer, I'm focusing on each one of the Christ-like characteristics each week and working on implementing it into my missionary work and applying it to my life. This past week, I focused on faith and hope!
As I studied this week, I realized that when we sin or yield to temptation, we are doubting in God and trusting in our natural man-- aka we are lacking faith and hope that our obedience to God's commandments has the power to bring everlasting joy. Faith-- no wonder it's the first principle of the gospel!

Last week we were walking down the street and this lady was walking toward us. We stopped to give her a card and I will admit, I wasn't expecting her to be too enthusiastic about missionaries stopping her, but we started talking and she said, "Ohhhh! I have been looking for a church to go to! Do you guys do baptisms in your church?" UHM. YES WE DO BAPTISMS IN OUR CHURCH. So prepared!!

Monday our appointment never showed, so we went contacting and ran into a guy named Saad-- he is the only practicing Muslim in his family, but we talked for a long time about how this life is our time to prepare to meet God and that we will be accountable for the things we do here. He was interested and so we met again and talked about God's plan for us and about how Christ's Atonement is central to that plan and necessary for our progression and eternal happiness. Good things are ahead! Let the Holy Spirit guide!

So I have been called to be building manager, basically I'm in charge of ESL. I was like WHAT PLEASE NO. All I could think about was how I have no idea what I'm doing and THEN I realized this is Heavenly Father giving me the perfect opportunity to have faith in Him rather than myself. For our first ESL instruction meeting, I went in all nervous and freaking out "not knowing beforehand the things that I must do", and then by the end I realized it was fine? Things went well! Success thanks to the spirit; and to a loving Heavenly Father who knows His children and their struggles.
After ESL, we taught Rodolfo. For the first time, I really felt like I taught a person, not a lesson. The spirit was so present! He hasn't been super consistent with reading and praying and so we knew that the only way he could start progressing and really be prepared for baptism, is if we read from the book of Mormon with him. So we read about baptism and about how the spirit works. As we did so, he asked questions and opened up and it gave us the opportunity to hear more about where he stands and how he feels about everything. We also had a member there who was baptized recently and so she was able to share her testimony with him and simply talk about how she felt and how she knew being baptized was good and right. He said he feels ready.
As we were driving one day, Sister Waldron felt impressed that we should go visit a less-active. No reason at all. So we did. She was home alone and let us in and we talked and shared a spiritual thought and left. God knows what He is doing!
The other day we were walking down the street. Normal. Then we stopped and went down another street. We found a girl and her friend. We started talking to her and at first she wasn't interested, but she was nice enough to keep a conversation going. As we testified to her about her worth and our purpose as children of God she was like, "Do you guys just go around and talk to people about this stuff all the time?" WHY YES WE DO! The spirit touched her heart. She then told us that her friend and her were just talking last week about how they were thinking about going back to church, but didn't know where. God knows His children!
We also got a text the other night from a man who we handed a card to-- he wants to learn more.
And a punk kid on the bus that made a scene when we handed him a card texted us yesterday as well-- he too wants to learn more. And a guy who is Sekh, after we taught him about the apostasy asked "so what about now?" (as in, where is the prophet now?)

Also, Sister Waldron had a birthday yesterday! She is feeling 22! Ow ow! She is such a gem. I love this sister so much! She has such a beautiful soul and is such an example to me! When one companion has a birthday, two companions have a birthday! Basically all the food we fasted from yesterday, was made up for at Sister Waldron's birthday dinner thanks to the wonderful Contrerras family. We love them so much. So yes, we were fed well yesterday.
Always look for the miracles in your life! They are there! Love y'all!
"Elder Holland could say 'TUNA FISH IS THE BESSSST!' and people would be like 'YEAHHH!!'"

so true.