Monday, March 16, 2015

and oh be cheerful

So let's catch up on the last two weeks!

I went to my first MLC and felt like a fish out of water, but it was so uplifting and enlightening and I feel very humbled and blessed to meet with and learn from so many powerhouse missionaries. It's awesome!

I've learned a lot on exchanges these past few weeks as well. I've learned about the importance of asking inspired questions, constantly seeking the spirit, turning outward, having fun while talking with everyone, being myself, and just plain being happy. I wouldn't have been able to be reminded of and expand on my understanding of these beautiful truths were it not for these wonderful sisters that I'm blessed to serve with! The Lord sure is grateful for them being here working their hearts out! I am to. 

We also have had dinner with the Barillas family a few times lately. I LOVE them. They are such a cute, gospel-centered family, and I'm just sooooo grateful for everything they do! 

We had dinner with them and Doug and Brother Barillas' less-active friend Sean even joined! And the next week, Sean's girlfriend, Anna, and their new baby came! It was awesome to be able to meet with our investigator and then a less-active in a member's home. That's where the magic happens! Doug is really close with the Barillas' and Sean is taking the initiative more and more to come back to church and making it apart of his new family. HOW PERFECT?

So, weird situation!! A girl went online and requested a Book of Mormon, but when we visited her, she told us she was a member?! But from what she described about her childhood, we feel she may be mistaken... nevertheless, we're excited to see where it goes!

Also, we've had a lot of fun talking with everyone we see on the street! I absolutely love contacting! There are always so many interesting people. It's just so exciting! I love talking with strangers. 

This week we also had Zone Conference. Seriously, the best one I've been to my whole mission. We talked about a lot of things, but these are some things that were said that stood out to me:

"Why do they do that? Go find out." (President Clayton)
---> We need to understand WHY people are and feel and do what they are and feel and do if we want to understand them!

"It's not okay to be pushy, but it is okay to be persistent." (Sister Coleman)
---> one of the keys to being a successful missionary

"I felt God listening to me as I prayed." (an Elder)
---> Heavenly Father truly hears, listens to, and answers our prayers. Have you felt that before?

"Heavenly Father is going to follow up with us." (an Elder)
---> so we need to be following up with the invitations we extend!

"If they want to squeeze the toothpaste in the middle, tell them, 'That's a beautiful thing, I love that.'" (President Clayton)
---> teaching us how to be patient parents and how to be patient and understanding with our companions and future children! My trainer, who is home now, sent me something that goes along with this that I want to share:

I'm in an adolescent psychology class. The last chapter we learned about was parenting. There are two elements to parenting. Responsiveness and Demandingness. Psychology says that the best parenting style has a responsiveness that is warm and attentive and caring and that they have a demandingness in the sense that there are firm expectations, discipline, consistency.. and that although all the children have expectations, they adapt and adjust their discipline according to what that child needs. Then all of a sudden I was like-- this is Heavenly Father!! It really helped me to see that His "demands" just show his understanding, awareness and brilliance. He's the best!!

I had a good one, didn't I? Love you, Aubrie!

So GET EXCITED because on March 27th is the BECAUSE HE LIVES, which is the special Easter message coming soon. GET EXCITED. I'll say it again, GET EXCITED.

Oh! So Doug made us dinner the other night. GOURMET. So yum. He went all out and it was just such good food, such good company. We all enjoyed it very much. Afterwards, we talked to him about obeying the laws of the land and of course he accepted our invitation to do so. 

He also came to the family history night at the church this past week! I just want to bear my testimony about family history: I never really was able to before, but I'm totally beginning to feel the spirit of Elijah! Temple work is so so important and essential for us to grow spiritually. I know that families can be sealed for forever and that there are soooo many on the other side waiting for us to do their work.

Last Sunday, Marcela (the East sisters' investigator) got baptized! So sweet! She is just glowing! And Doug was able to come. He started to freak out once he saw all the things that went into planning a baptism and felt overwhelmed with all the plans he had to make, from who would give what talk to who would baptize him to who would bring this and that, etc. So of course, we let him just plan it all himself as we assured him and encouraged him not to stress... :)

This weekend was Stake Conference. It was marvelous! A lot of wonderful things were taught:

--we need to be actively engaged in family history!
--encourage family to reminisce
--2 baptismal dates-- one for baptism, one for the temple (uhm, brilliant)
--power from the TEMPLE = power on HIGH

"We must not think that Satan is done after that first breakthrough...that breakthrough brings in the light to guide us to move forward."

--we must have an urgency to ACT
--Satan will not conquer if we will it otherwise
--Do I have a testimony of the Atonement?
--as we share that which fills our souls with joy, we hasten the work of salvation

"An invitation, born with love...will never be offensive."

--we are Heavenly Father's greatest creation
--never ignore the burning passion to share the gospel
--always be prepared to enter the Temple
--we will NEVER travel beyond the reach of God's love

"...not only will these trials happen, but perhaps they must happen."

Lots of thoughts, but I hope something stuck out to you :)

But yesterday... Brother Doug Newell entered the waters of baptism. It was absolutely BEAUTIFUL. Brother Barillas baptized him and it was just perfect. At the end, Brother Newell bore a powerful, sincere testimony about his conversion story and what he knows and where he's going. He is SOLID. And since it was right after stake conference, lots of people attended! Even his son! And that evening, we met with him again and President and Sister Clayton joined us (and they came to the baptism and we didn't think they'd make it, but they did!). We talked about Enduring (but really ENJOYING) to the End and about Patriarchal blessings and about his temple date... March 25th. And in one year from next Sunday, after Brother Newell is confirmed and given the priesthood, Sister Bodine and I are coming back to be here for when he will go through to receive his endowments.


Have a great week! Be happy!