A year and a half later…

A year and a half has gone by too fast. I’m so grateful for serving an honorable full time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I came home on December 30, 2014.  It truly has been one of the best times of my life. When I returned home from my mission it was awkward and so weird. Let’s be honest coming home it was never really the same! First off, I was a changed person. I didn’t have the same wants, desires, dreams, or goals in life. Coming home my family decided to move out of our home. We lived in Othello for over 5 years. Now we lived in a small home in the city of Moses Lake. Yup, that meant no farming close by, having neighbors right next door, and sharing a homecoming talk a ward you don’t know. Let just say I gave my homecoming talk 3 times within 2 months. (Othello ward, Moses Lake 3rd ward  and Singles Ward)  After giving my homecoming talks I finally decided to go to the Singles Ward. I didn’t enjoy it. Thankfully I had my girl friends at the Pathway Program so I just hangout with them. Kortney, Rebecca, Karlee, Charlie, Mary, and Julianne were pretty awesome. We had a blast in the Singles Ward. WP_20150517_001

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North Jordan with Sister Vang from Paris, France

I am sorry for not emailing you this week. (This last Tuesday August 13th) was transfers and I found out that I am leaving the Hunter Copperhill area. It truly took me by surprised because I really thought I had another transfer before I would be leaving the area, but I guess not. It hurt so much, I have never been so sad in my life, until transfers came. I still miss my old area so much. I love them all. There are a lot of rock solid members and a lot of our less actives that are progressing. Sister Joseph and I were having a lot success. Anyways, President Swain placed me in Jordan North and my new companion is Sister Vang. She is from Paris. I love her so much. It’s funny how Sister Vang and I are exactly alike. I can understand why God wanted us to be companions. So in my new area we cover 2nd and 4th ward. Our area is struggling a lot especially the apartments. Most of the people that are living in the apartment have come from a rough background. Almost all of them have been homeless, low income, abused, etc.  The people in the apartments hate Mormon’s because they feel judged when they go to church and feel that we are selfish when we don’t help them with food. The reason why we can’t help is that they aren’t willing to go to church. I feel that this area needs a lot charity, faith, hope, and patience. “Always believe that some wonderful is going to happen.” I will try my best to stay positive and pray to God to help me because I can’t do it on my own.

 

An interesting story I have met with my first Anti-Mormon. Sister Vang and I were at the apartments talking to Betty about coming to church her son Jake comes in. Jake started talking to me about how our church is wrong, that our prophets are a joke, and the people are so judgmental, etc. I simple told Jake, “I don’t know who hurt you so badly, to make you feel this way, but I am truly sorry. I know that God does live and the church is true, but the people aren’t.”  I feel bad for Jake because when I was talking to him about being disobedient it was like he was almost proud of everything he has done. The only way to be happy is to keep the commandments. We should never be proud when we are disobedience to our Heavenly Father. It is the small and simple things that will bring us closer to our Heavenly Father or away from him. 

 

Another thing that happened this week was that we were visiting another lady at the apartments. We were teaching Rebecca about having faith in Jesus Christ and enduring to the end. Before we ended our lesson I felt prompted that she needed to read in Ether 12:4 and I asked her to read it. When she was reading it I notice that she wasn’t reading the right scripture. In my mind I told myself you need to interrupt her, but the Spirit said Sister Whitney let her finish reading it. In the middle of the reading she stopped and started crying for a while, then continued reading until she finished. I asked her what her thoughts were. She said that was exactly what she needed to hear. She thanked us for coming. I was surprised and curious about the scripture that she read. I found out that she misunderstood what I said. Rebecca thought I said Ether 4:12. WOW! That to me is a testimony that God is fully aware of what we are going through, but he also knows our thoughts, desires, and hearts. I can’t give myself any of the credit because the Spirit was being the teacher in this lesson. The Spirit is always the teacher of truth. That was a miracle for Rebecca to read the wrong scripture, but really the right scripture for her.

Before I go I recommend reading “An High Priest of Good things to come” by Jeffery R. Holland. (It’s one of my favorite General Conference talk) Here are some of my favorite parts—“Even if you cannot always see that silver lining on your clouds, God can, for He is the very source of the light you seek. He does love you, and He knows your fears. He hears your prayers. He is your Heavenly Father, and surely He matches with His own the tears His children shed… Christ knows better than all others that the trials of life can be very deep and we are not shallow people if we struggle with them. But even as the Lord avoids sugary rhetoric, He rebukes faithlessness and He deplores pessimism. He expects us to believe!

No one’s eyes were more penetrating than His, and much of what He saw pierced His heart. Surely His ears heard every cry of distress, every sound of want and despair. To a degree far more than we will ever understand, He was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” Indeed, to the layman in the streets of Judea, Christ’s career must have seemed a failure, a tragedy, a good man totally overwhelmed by the evils surrounding Him and the misdeeds of others. He was misunderstood or misrepresented, even hated from the beginning. No matter what He said or did, His statements were twisted, His actions suspected, His motives impugned. In the entire history of the world no one has ever loved so purely or served so selflessly—and been treated so diabolically for His effort. Yet nothing could break His faith in His Father’s plan or His Father’s promises. Even in those darkest hours at Gethsemane and Calvary, He pressed on, continuing to trust in the very God whom He momentarily feared had forsaken Him. Because Christ’s eyes were unfailingly fixed on the future, He could endure all that was required of Him, suffer as no man can suffer except it be “unto death…Don’t give up. Don’t you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead—a lot of it— you keep your chin up. It will be all right in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come…Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ.” 

Well I hope that you enjoyed that. I hope you have a great time at Education week with Kyla, Ellyse, Travis, and Braxton.  I love you all. I hope everyone is doing great. Take care! 🙂

Love,

Sister Whitney

Dear Family,

 

No way, Ellyse had her baby Friday!  Ellyse showed me some pictures and made me cry (happy tears). Quinton is so beautiful. I can’t wait to meet that little guy! 🙂  Well I think I have found my motto for my mission. It’s in 1 Nephi 15:8 “And I said unto them: Have ye inquired of the Lord?” Have you inquired of the Lord? Did you think to pray? The restoration all started from a young man saying a simple prayer. Look at the result God brought back on earth because of that simple prayer. The wonderful gospel of Jesus Christ. This last Tuesday I felt horrible and I don’t know why I was feeling sad, angry, and alone. During lunch I decided to go to the bathroom and say a prayer. As I said that prayer I felt that I needed to ask my district leader to give me a priesthood blessing of comfort and peace. After getting that blessing I felt much better. It is because of the power of God and the power of prayer. Always pray to God in everything you do! The enemy teaches us that we shouldn’t.

 

Right now Sister Vang and I are teaching many wonderful people. This Friday we went teach to a less active family. We found that Doug has a short term memory loss. I have never met someone that can’t remember what they have done for the day! He remembers things that have happened a long time ago, but when we teach him after 5 minutes of the lesson he forgets everything. It’s a good thing that his wife doesn’t have that problem, so she can help him. Anyways Liz and Doug are less active members and the reason why they stopped coming was because of the trials they have had in their life. Liz has had an especially hard time having faith. We taught them about having faith in Jesus Christ through all of your struggles. Jesus Christ’s Atonement paid for all of our sins, but also our heart aches, and afflictions of every kind. I love them so much! I hope they have the desire to come back to church. The gospel will bring them so much peace and joy in their hearts.

Another family we have been teaching is Cassandra, Aaron, Shawn, and Jessica. No joke, Jessica looks exactly like PJ. Cassandra is a less active and is living with her boyfriend Aaron who doesn’t remember if he ever got baptized. Shawn  is Aaron’s son he is living with them. Jessica is dating Shawn and they are living together. They are both investigators. I hope that made sense. Cassandra has that desire to come back and Aaron has that desire to learn more about our church, especially The Book of Mormon. We shared a Mormon Message; it’s called Mountains to Climb. The Spirit was so strong!

Sister Vang and I sometimes go on Mormon.org and teach people online. A few days ago we skyped a girl from France and we will be skyping a young man in Australia. It’s so cool! 🙂 Well that’s what been happening to me! I hope you have a great time with Ellyse, Travis, Braxton, and baby Quinton! I’m glad you enjoyed  Education Week!

 

Love,

Sister Whitney

 

*****

 

Dear Family,

 

I have some very exciting news! Sister Vang and I have set a date to have Rileyna and F.T. baptized! They agreed to be baptized on September 28th!  YAY! I am SO excited for them!!! 🙂 So let me tell you their background. Rileyna and F.T. are originally from Hawaii, but because of the high cost living they decided to move to West Valley. A few months ago the sisters before I came to this area saw F.T. and decided to talk to him; they introduced themselves and asked if we could meet with his whole family. He was fine with that. Later, the sisters found that Rileyna and F.T. speak chockese and understood a little English. The sisters asked the stake if anyone could speak that language— no luck! So the sisters prayed to find someone, a few days later Cookie (that’s her nickname) was in the parking a lot and saw the sisters, she said hi and they started talking for a while. Come to find out, she finished her mission 2 weeks before and she had prayed to Heavenly Father that she could do more missionary work now that she was home. In her mission she spoke chockese!  I can testify that God does hear and answers our prayers! The sister’s taught the lessons with Cookie’s help, but Rileyna and F.T. didn’t feel ready to be baptized. A few transfers later, Sister Whitney comes to the area and Sister Vang tells her that we should put them aside, they had been teaching them for a while and there was no commitment for baptism. I felt prompted that we needed to say a prayer to ask if that was the right thing todo. After the prayer, Sister Vang and I felt we should continue teaching them. Yesterday we asked Rileyna and F.T. to be baptized and they said YES!!! 🙂 I can testify that God’s timing isn’t always our timing. We should always put our faith, trust and patience in Him, and good things will happen—in God’s time not ours. 🙂 I hope you have a great day! I love you! Take care!

 

 

Love, Sister Whitney

 

 

 

 

 

Hunter Copper Hill Stake with Sister Joseph from New Zealand

I love where I am serving. I love reading The Book of Mormon, this week we are in Alma 37. It’s about Alma talking to his son Helaman. God has commanded Helaman to take the plates. They are sacred and special in that they have a purpose which Alma didn’t fully understand, but God commanded him to write in them. Now we know it was for us in our day. It made me ponder how like the plates we are saved and are sacred—We all have a special purpose in this life. I especially love verse 14. It says, “And now remember, my son, that God has entrusted you with these things which are sacred”. Will you trust in God’s plan that he has for you? Which is very, very special and no one else can fulfill it, except for you. 🙂

Any ways, I am glad that you are doing great. I have never been happier in all my life as I have been while serving my mission. It is one of the hardest things I think that I have done, but it is so rewarding to see the light of the Christ change someone’s life. It brings me so much happiness. I love all of the people that we are teaching. Well I better go, but I love you and thanks again for your prayers and support. I am so excited to see what God has in store for the people in my mission. Take care!

*****

The blooming has just begun here in the Hunter Copper Hill Stake! Yesterday we had fast and testimony meeting. One of our less active members Brother McDonald said his testimony. It was one of the sweetest testimonies I have heard in my life. Brother McDonald said many years he tried here and there to quit smoking, but it has been better since he has been reading the Book of Mormon and has the strong desire to be sealed with his wife together forever. He said how grateful he was to have his “girls” (Sister Joseph and I) to never give up on him. He was grateful for God  not giving up on him as well. I am so happy for Brother and Sister McDonald having the desire to go to the temple. I know that he will be so blessed. It amazes me how the Atonement can really change someone. I have seen Brother McDonald before and who he is becoming now. The Gospel is so beautiful. I am so excited to take them to temple square this week!

 *****

It breaks my heart when Satan is trying so hard lead God’s children away. Yesterday Mike and Wendy (less active) came to church and I couldn’t help, but notice Wendy was really upset. So I came up to her and asked her what was wrong. She told me that her dad wants her and Mike to move out. They were both sad because they love our ward and they love us. I didn’t know what to say or do. So I prayed to God to help me know what to do. I gave her a hug and asked her if there was anything we could for them. She said no. So through during sacrament meeting I felt prompted to put my arm around her. She was grateful that we sat by them and that I put my arm her. She felt like that’s what Our Heavenly Father would do. We have an FHE appointment with them tonight. Hopefully everything is a lot better! Lastly, Amber (returning member) got her patriarchal blessing yesterday. Sister Joseph and I are so happy that she is progressing and has a stronger desire to know what Our Heavenly Father has in store for her in life.  

 Well I better go, but I love you all and thank you for all your prayers and support like I said the blooming has just begun here and I am so excited for what God has in store for us missionaries and these great people. 

*****

This last week has been really busy. This last P-day we went to the zoo with a member family. It was really fun and Sister Joseph and I were able to meet new people. I meet a girl that got her mission call to Orlando Florida and reported to the MTC last Wednesday. Last Wednesday we had the opportunity to go with member to do baptism for the dead. Our plan was to go to the Salt Lake City temple, but as we drove by, it was closed. So we decided to go to the Jordan River temple. The Spirit was so strong. I have learned to really enjoy going to the temple to do baptism for the dead. One thing that my mission president has taught me is “if you hate doing something, keep doing it until you start liking it”. Friday we had a ward activity it was so much fun.  All the little kids started running towards us and said “hi missionaries” and gave sister Joseph and I hugs. It melted my heart! We played soccer with them; it was so much fun. After that we talked to all the inactive members and scheduled our appointments with them. The mission field is so busy we are mostly doing FHEs. I have learned to really enjoy FHE. Please always do FHE with everyone. It so important and it is commandment of God. It will help us to be strong with our family and get to know them better. As well as it brings many blessings. What we do in FHE is we ask a member to ask a non-member or inactive member to come to their home and we teach the lessons. After the lessons are we ask if we could come over do another FHE in their home sometime next week.  I am so glad that you all went to Alaska. I hope you all enjoyed it, especially grandpa. I am working my hardest and my best to do what God what’s me to become and be the best missionary He has always knew I could be. Thank you for all of you support! I love you all. Take care.Love, Sister Whitney 

*****

I hope you had a wonderful week so far! This week for us has been great! We had Katheryn Turner, an inactive member come to church this Sunday! Yay! We are so happy for her! We also had Natalie and her son Payson go to church with us for the first time in many years. She shared her testimony and life story during Sunday school. The Spirit was so strong. Sister Joseph and I are so excited. Another cool experience was on Friday I had the prompting to go visit a lady we have seen, but isn’t ready to go back to church. Anyways we went to her home. Sister Jordan was very depressed. We asked what was wrong and she told us that she just found out that her daughter went to jail because of drugs and her grandson doesn’t have a place to stay because of his mom going to jail. Sister Jordan told us she wished she could help him, but she felt hopeless. After listening to her, we asked if we could share a spiritual message. I shared D&C 121:7-8 the Spirit told me that the trials we have in life are just a small moment compared to heaven, and that God is fully aware of what you are going through. And if you put your trust and faith in Him; He will lead you and guide you through these hard times. The Lord loves you Sister Jordan. God knew this life wouldn’t be easy, but as you go to the Lord I promise He will make your burdens light. Today we went to the temple and found out that the video that they have been showing for years was finished and they released a brand new one today.! We were the first ones to see it! You have to see it! It is wonderful! Dad I’m so sorry you have to go back to Kotzebue I will keep you in my prayers. I love you and thank you so much for supporting us for many years, including now when you hardly see us. Mom,  keep up the good working by inviting inactive or investigators to participate in the activities of the church. I love you and I am grateful for you example. Tell grandma Peterson thank you for the letter and the $20, I will try to write to her sometime this week. I just have been very busy, but I really appreciate it.  I hope you are excited to go back to school Celeste. It is a very exciting time in your life! Please always set a good example to others. Try to think what would Jesus do. Well that’s what is happening with me. I hope you have a wonderful day/week. I love you all! 🙂 

Great Investigators

This week in the mission field has been awesome! This week Sister Joseph and I had 7 inactive members come to church and we had 1 reactivated member this week! We also, invited Amber and her family to go to Temple Square. The Spirit was so strong there. You would never guess who I saw at Temple Square!? Bishop Edmonds! Crazy, huh!? I told him how everyone is doing and he wanted me to tell everyone hi.

On Saturday the Utah weather was crazy—It can be sunny, then 30 minutes later it be raining. Anyways Sister Joseph and I were eating dinner at a members home and the weather was sunny, right after we were done eating Sister Joseph and I notice that it was raining so we decided to go back home to get our rain coats. As we did, it started raining harder and harder and harder, until we were soaking wet. As we were riding our bikes when it was raining I was laughing my head off because I felt like it was a movie. Aww…I love the rain it was so beautiful and fun. When we got home Sister Lyons and her family were home and saw us soaking wet. We all had a good laugh, took some pictures, and then Sister Lyons gave us a towel. After changing our clothes and drying ourselves the weather changed it was nice and sunny and hot again. Anyways, I love my mission and I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of it. It is definitely an unexpected blessing from God. In Alma 46:20-21 I love this scripture, the part that I love is when it says “When Moroni had proclaimed these words, behold, the people came RUNNING together with their armor girded about their loins.” The reason why I love that part so much is because do “we” as people starting running when God gives us a commandment or are we running away from it. It made me think of the mission age change how a lot of the youth are running toward God commandment. I thought that was pretty cool! Well I have to go, but I love you and I hope you all have a great week. 

First Companion

Thanks mom for sharing one of grandpa’s stories with me; that was so neat. So July 2nd was my last day in the MTC! I was so nervous, but excited at the same time to meet my mission president and my new companion. My first area I have been assigned to is Hunter Cooperhill. I love everyone there.  Sister Joseph and I (She’s from New Zealand!) have been teaching a lot inactive family members. Two days ago we taught Natalie Walker, Kathryn Turner, Brother and Sister McDonald, and the Shoesers family. They are all so wonderful I can now understand how a missionary can truly feel the pure love of Christ with everyone they teach. Today I found an awesome scripture, it’s in John 15:16 it made me cry because looking back almost a year ago I would have never thought in a million years that I would go on a mission and now I am here and I love it so much! God has truly blessed me in so many ways that I can’t hardly explain. Pretty cool fact, there are a lot of Polynesian’s in my area! I love Polynesian’s! I love Sister Joseph; she is a wonderful example to me and has so much confidence in herself. I love her beautiful smile, as well. Today on the 4th of July our District went to the park to have a BBQ and one of the Elder’s brought Taro leaves. Wow, they were so good. It’s only my 3 day and I am trying some completely new food.

Also I deactivated my Facebook account (just when I am on my mission) because my mission president wanted me to get a new one as Sister-Caroline Whitney.

Short Stay at the MTC

This week in the MTC has been a blast!  It truly is an inspiring and wonderful place to be. I love learning about the gospel and teachings of Christ. I am having more confidences in myself as well as in teaching. Every Tuesday the MTC has a devotional. My first and last devotional before going to the mission field was with Sister Janice Kapp Perry.  Sister Perry and her husband are so sweet and so funny. They told us about how missionary work can be hard, but God will always be there to help. So don’t quit and keep going. We also, sang mostly all of her songs including a new song that she wrote just recently, The sisters of Zion. The spirit was very powerful. 

So my district is awesome, I love each and every one of them, especially my companion Sister Mendenhall! My companion is from Canada and will be serving in Toronto. She is a spiritual giant with a love for the gospel. She teaches new things to me every day. I am going to miss her when we depart.  I’m so glad that you guys went to the Sunday Conference; unfortunately the new missionaries that came on June 19th couldn’t be a part of the choir. We were still there at the conference. That’s alright! It was amazing! Family: I love you all and thank you so much for everything you have taught me throughout my life, especially you mom and dad. The gospel is true! I love it so much and am grateful for the time I have to be serving a mission. I am so glad that you are all doing so well! 

Caroline’s Farewell Talk

Thank you all for coming today. My name is Sister Caroline Whitney and I will be serving in the Salt Lake West Mission. You might wonder why the Church needs missionaries in Salt Lake City Utah. My purpose will be to help families to become forever families, and to bring people unto Christ.

I will be talking today about The Plan of Salvation. Have you ever wondered where you came from before you were born? A friend of mine told me this story When her daughter was a toddler she asked her mother, “Mommy, where was I before I was born?”

My friend said, “Honey, you weren’t anywhere.”

Mommy, No! Where was I before I was born?”

So her mom apologized and said, “Oh dear, I don’t know what to tell you—you didn’t exist.”

Her little daughter insisted, “NO! I had to exist.”

So she said, “Well dear, before you were born you were stardust up in the sky.”

That is a sweet story that the little girl loved, but it is not the truth. It amazes me that this little girl knew that she did exist before her life on earth. I am so grateful that we have the knowledge of Where we came from? What the purpose of life is? And Where we are going after this life?

Pre-earthlife

As a child I sang a song about our pre-earth life. It was so simple. It goes–I lived in Heaven a long time ago, lived there and loved there with people I know, so did you; then Heavenly Father presented a beautiful plan, all about earth and eternal salvation for man. Father said He needed someone who had enough love to give his life so we all could return there above. There was another who sought for the honor divine…Jesus said, Father, send me and the glory be thine; Jesus was chosen and as the messiah he came; Conquering evil and death though His glorious name. Giving us hope of a wonderful life yet to be….Home in that Heaven where Father is waiting for me. D&C 138: 56

We earned the privilege of coming to this earth at the Council in Heaven when we chose to follow the plan of our Father in Heaven as carried out by His Son, Jesus Christ. Because of that faithfulness, we are here today. We don’t remember anything about our pre-earth life when we chose to follow Jesus Christ,” but through the prophets words in the scriptures we learn about our life in Heaven with our Heavenly Father, and about Christ’s mission on this earth. One of my favorite scriptures in the Bible talks about how much Jesus loves us: 1 John 4: 7-11.

Christ did what He said He would do. I am grateful for his humble life and perfect example. His life was part of His mission to show Heavenly Father’s love for us.

I think that Heavenly Father gives us glimpses of the love that we felt in Heaven at certain times in our life…when we are in the temple, when we do what is right, when we serve others and with our families in our homes.

Here on earth

As part of the plan our Heavenly Father made this beautiful world for us. We come down to learn how to be more like Heavenly Father, to gain a body, and to be tested.

We are here for a tiny speck of mortal time to see where our hearts really are with God.”

Just as Free-agency was an important part in our pre-earth life it is a big part of the plan of Happiness here on the earth. As we learn about making good choices we come to understand that consequences follow our choices that we make.

Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden and walked and talked with Heavenly Father and Jesus. They were clean and pure. Then they ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. In doing so, they transgressed against a commandment of God. Because of this they fell from God’s presence and death came into the world. The consequence of their choice was two deaths: Spiritual death and Physical death.

Spiritual Death happens when we sin. Our sins make us unclean and so we can’t be in the presence of our Heavenly Father, because “no unclean can enter into the Kingdom of God.”

Physical death is when our spirit leaves our body and goes to the Spirit World where we await our resurrection and judgment.

Adam Fell that men might be and men are that they might have joy.” This joy comes because our Savior, Jesus Christ suffered for our sins to make us clean, and to satisfy the demands of Justice. We apply Christ’s Atonement in our lives as we repent of our sins and allow His Mercy to work to heal our souls from Spiritual Death. Because Jesus was resurrected we will all be redeemed from Physical Death.

The ATONEMENT is the central point of Heavenly Father’s plan of Happiness. It is an individual thing that Jesus did for me and for you. It is infinite for all those who come unto Him and repent, and it is eternal with the power of the atonement reaching forward and backward in time. All he asks is that we come unto him and repent. READ PAMPHLET:

Because of the atonement we can be healed from our pains, sicknesses, sorrows and sins. All that seems unjust and unfair God will make right through the Atonement as we exercise our faith in Him. “If you were the only person on earth Christ would have still died—just for you.” He loves each of us that much.

One part of the Plan of Salvation that is really close to my heart is that we can live together as a family. And we can be sealed to be together forever in the temple. Our Fathers and Mothers work together to nurture, teach and care for their children. We learn obedience, faith, sacrifice, service, kindness, forgiveness, patience, and perseverance in our families.

An example of this is when I went to live with my dad in Alaska, it was so hard! The culture was so different. It was a small town, with no trees, lots of snow, and food was flown in by airplane. I was there to earn money for my mission. My dad helped me to have faith and patience as I worked hard each day. I am grateful for my time there, and learned that trials help us be grateful for what we have and help us trust in God.

While at work there was many times that I was able to have some great discussions about our church. My friend, Diane said that she respected us, but that she did not want to know anything about my religion. The very next week she came up to me and asked about my weekend. I wasn’t going to let this missionary opportunity pass me by, so I talked about going to church and she asked many questions about our church. I was able to share my testimony about the restoration and many principles of the Gospel with her. I shared a Book of Mormon with another friend, and answered many other questions my friends asked while I was there. Even though it was hard, I am glad that I was able to go there and meet these people. I feel God’s love when He humbles me, because I know he wants me to learn something, and this experience helped me to be better prepared for my mission.

This is our time to prepare to meet God, as we follow Jesus and try to be like Him. It is up to us to decide where we will go after we are resurrected. Jesus will be our judge. He will judge our thoughts, our words, and our actions.

Alma said, “Then if our hearts have been hardened, against the word, then will our state be awful, for then we shall be condemned and it shall be as though there had been no redemption made; for they cannot be redeemed according to God’s justice.” Nephi adds, “O the greatness and the justice of our God! For he executeth all his words, and his law must be fulfilled. But, behold, the righteous, they who have believed in the Holy One of Israel, they who have endured the crosses of the world, they shall inherit the kingdom of God, which was prepared or them from the foundation of the world, and their joy shall be full forever.” I know that Christ’s judgments are just and fair. There are three degrees of glory that we can obtain after this life:

Telestial

Terrestrial

Celestial Kingdom and exaltation

I hope that we all can live our lives in such a way that will be pleasing to Heavenly Father. That we can fulfill our missions in life valiantly; that we can love and help each other along the way. The gospel is beautiful. God’s plan of happiness is such a beautiful plan. We are all children of God, He loves each of us so much. I hope that everyone knows this and feels it. There is no doubt. We can turn to him for anything.

I am an ordinary girl that just wants to do what is right, and follow God’s plan for me. When I was listening to President Monson at October Conference I was surprised when the spirit said, “you’re going on a mission.” I am honored that Heavenly Father has so much trust in me to be able to share His gospel…Because I love God, I want to go out and make a difference, and bring others to Christ.

I want to challenge each of you to take a Book of Mormon and write your testimony in it. Prayerfully ask Heavenly Father to help you give it to someone who is prepared to read it. And if you don’t have an extra copy of the Book of Mormon—ask the Missionaries; they can help you!

Testimony

I say these things humbly, in the name of our Savior Jesus Christ AMEN

Mission Age Changed

“As we have prayerfully pondered the age at which young men may begin their missionary service, we have also given consideration to the age at which a young woman might serve. Today I am pleased to announce that able, worthy young women who have the desire to serve may be recommended for missionary service beginning at age 19, instead of age 21.”  ~ President Thomas S. Monson.
I was at a friend’s apartment watching conference in Rexburg; as I listened to President Monson, the Spirit said firmly, “You are going on a mission.” Not knowing what to think about it; I had to make sure that I wasn’t making this up. I knew that if I wasn’t married at age 21 I would be happy to go on a mission—but I was 19 and felt unprepared. So many ideas were flooding my mind, and heart. Do I go now? Later? When? I am just enjoying my first semester at BYU, why now? As I prayerfully considered what to do. My friends and family all had their opinions and just confused me even more. I went and sat on a bench just outside of the temple and prayed on the following Monday. It was a little cloudy, but I felt the warmth of the sun and looked up. The Spirit said, “You will receive your answer as you walk around the temple.” So, anxiously, I walked around the temple and observed my surroundings. I walked around once, and then I saw a group of young missionaries that were taking pictures, so I asked if I could help them. Was this my answer? I told myself that I would be a horrible missionary if this were really the answer. A week later I was praying and pondering earnestly about my options and in my Book of Mormon class the teacher talked about his mission and at times when he had feelings that  he was not a good missionary. He asked himself how he could teach the people.He shared a scripture that helped him: D&C 100:5-8 I felt such great peace when I heard this. Was this my answer? I still felt unsure and that I needed to prepare more. A week or so later, I met up with my mom in Boise. She had a training for her work and invited me for a day or two. As we spent time together we made our way to the Boise Temple Open House. After going through the temple. I felt the spirit so strong and knew that I was supposed to go on a mission, but that I should prepare myself. I finished my semester, and was planning to go to BYUIdaho for Winter Semester and turn in my papers during that time. God had a different plan for me. I was planning on selling my car to provide the money necessary for my mission costs, and my parents accidentally messed up the transmission during Christmas break. Prayerfully we decided it would be best for me to work in Kotzebue Alaska with my father for a little while, because I could earn more money there.

Adventures in Kotzebue, Alaska

So when I was on the plane heading to Alaska I started crying, I didn’t want to go. I wanted to go back to BYU, but if I did there would be too many distractions. God knew this, and in a way, I did too. I was happy to see my dad and wanted to help him, and I knew that this is where God wanted me to be at this time.

So, in Kotzebue, there is not a good way to say this, but most (not all) natives have been programmed to receive federal benefits with no obligation to work. This makes it difficult for employers to find reliable help. Being reliable is the most important trait for getting a job here. My first job was a cashier at the grocery store, they wanted me to do the book keeping as well, and to stay for years—I knew that wasn’t going to happen. haha. Because I wouldn’t work on Sunday one of the Assistant General Managers cut my hours and I eventually had to get a different full time job. My next job was in the kitchen. I loved it. Everybody was so nice and I even got overtime! During that time I made many friends there. We all worked so well together. The food was delicious, I ate for free and was able to take left overs home to my dad. I love the people that I was working with so much, I miss them. 

While I was working at the hospital kitchen, I had many opportunities to share the gospel with my friends there. You could say that I was on a Mini-Mission. These experiences helped me feel more comfortable sharing the gospel. It helped me know where I needed to improve, and what I am good at as a missionary. I am going out more confident because of the few months that I spent there. I can understand why the missionaries say that missionary work is a joy, because when you are sharing something so important it makes you feel happy. It is hard to explain missionary work. It is something burning inside you, the church is true, I just want everyone to hear it and accept it. I want everyone to have the blessings that i have. Some of my friends had not even heard about the church. I feel that I planted seeds at this time,

In my branch I was a visiting teacher and my second calling (favorite calling) was taking care of baby Ginny for the first hour. It was the best calling ever! She was such a sweet little girl. There were about 15 people in the ward. I loved my small branch. Because of this we got to know each other really well. Every Fast and Testimony Meeting  we all would share our testimonies. The spirit was so strong! Something unique about our branch was that we used technology during sacrament meeting to hear messages from our High Council man or Stake President or we would listen to a talk from conference sometimes. 

At the end of February I started finishing everything to submit my mission paperwork. I was planning on submitting my paperwork in the middle of March, but because I was the first missionary that my bishop processed we made some mistakes and I finally had my paperwork submitted at the beginning of April. I received my mission call May 4th. Yay! I Skyped my family and had planned on teasing them when I opened it, by saying that I was going to Boise or Provo, but it backfired—I really was going to a place that people tease about going to…the awesome SLC-West Mission!!!   I LOVE IT!!!

It amazes me how everything works perfectly with the Lord. I know that timing is important in God’s work. I know that I was supposed to be there in Kotzebue for a short time, to appreciate the things that I have, to be an example to the people that I met, and to share the gospel with them. I appreciate and love the Savior so much. He has always been there for me, even in the little things in life. He provides a way for me even when I don’t know what to do. I have learned to have faith in myself and Him. He has taught me that I am a lot stronger that I thought I was. I can do this! In the strength of the Lord I can do all things.