Monday, January 13, 2014

Like A Broken Vessel

Holla Familia!
This week has been once again a roller coaster ride!! EEE!!!! Such crazy things happened this week you have no freaking idea!!! I probably wont' even be able to describe how things were. But I'll give you the best of what I can.
So the awesome thing about this week!!! We finally got two new investigators!!! We have been high and dry for several weeks now, and it has been quite a challenge on trying to describe how lessons are supposed to go and how you need to teach... if you never have been to a lesson. It's one thing teaching members, but teaching non-members is a whole different ball game. The two we have found are pretty awesome. They at the moment are "content" where they are at. Everyone here is content at where they are at. So we kinda have trouble pushing people out of their comfort zones. But one of them; his name is Bill. He is married to Jackie who is a less active member. They haven't been coming because Bill had cancer, and Jackie's Alzheimer's has gotten.. well.. bad. It was sad to see Bill talk about his wife. He loves her sooo much, He gets all emotional as he talks about Jackie. They are the cutest couple ever. They are what I would define as True Love. Now Bill just needs to become a member and they get everything straightened out and be Sealed and become an Eternal Love. Bill and Jackie are both retired Police Force. Bill was the one who walked around with the Canine Unit. and Jackie developed crime scene photos. So they are both pretty tough. They also have guns all over the place. Anywho. They are pretty legit.
The other is Kelly. She is an interesting lady. She is also married to a member. But her husband works and lives in West Virginia and comes home on the weekends. So she has a hard time being a single mom. Everyone she knows is Mormon. Literally. Everyone. The members in the ward call her the "dry Mormon". She told us very clearly last time that she was Methodist (Joseph Smith almost joined himself with the Methodist before he discovered the everlasting gospel). She described it as like being a not so strict Catholic.... Which makes no sense at all. The first thing that ran through my head was that they didn't do all the procedure things, and were just heavy drinkers... That is probably bad of me.... but So far every Catholic I have met is a heavy drinker. But, she is super curious about what Mormons believe. She hasn't asked her husband anything because he is always gone, and she doesn't think he knows very much. So we get to go and answer all of her questions!!!
The other thing that we did this week was canning apples!! Yay! good old home memories... only Mom did everything... :D So I ran a little hand machine called the apple peeler, corer, slicer. SOOO helpful! Just sayin!! Sister Thomson started off on it, but.. she kept having struggles and cutting herself, so we switched spots (I had originally been just getting all of the spots out of them and left over peel, and breaking them in half). So I cranked through a Bushel of apples in half an hour. I felt so cool and my arm hurt too. Not sure if that is good or bad... It is signifying that I need to work out more he,he.
Now for the exciting things that happened this week! So on Wednesday We went and visited two Less Active members Jessica and Paulette. Once we were done teaching them we went back to our apartment to get ready for our dinner appointment. When I walked in there was this little "Squish" sound as I stepped on the rug... Funny thing I was humming/ singing "Give Said the Little Stream" earlier that day... and now we had a little stream running through our living room and kitchen. Luckily our apartment is all tile except for a few rugs. The Rug in the Kitchen actually saved us! it soaked up most of the water before it started to run through more on the other side. The hard part was trying to find out where the water was coming from. It literally looked like a puddle in the middle of the room! We then found out that it was coming through the walls... so we followed the "little stream" and found the head of it... it was coming through the base of a cement wall... NOW WHAT!!! haha. So I would just like to say how grateful I am to be living under awesome members the Kisers! The Kisers came downstairs and helped us out. Sister Kiser brought down her vacuum mop. that could suck up water... I went at it! I probably filled that vacuum over a hundred times. It didn't hold very much water... probably half a gallon or less. So we spent the rest of the evening sucking up water and trying to figure out how to turn the little stream off. We had called the City to have them come and turn the water off, but they couldn't because everyone around us was having the same problem and the Church just down the street had all of it's pipes burst... So we turned off all the water ourselves and tried to figure out which pipe was broken. Because once again: the stream was coming from behind a cement wall! So eventually the stream stopped.... because they turned the water off to all the houses on the block. So that night I woke up every two hours to make sure the water didn't start running during the middle of the night and ruin all the walls. So I got no sleep Wednesday night, and then Thursday night we had to get ready to go to West Virginia at four in the morning for a Mission Conference. So I got like 5 hours in two days. IT WAS AWESOME!! So I felt like a zombie pretty much all Friday evening.
The Mission Conference WAS AWESOME!! Elder S. Gifford Nielsen of the 70 (the one who gave "Hastening the Lords Game Plan", BYU quarterback back in the day, really tall) came to speak with us. Sister Pitt started off the Conference talking about Praying with Faith. Ether 12:12. If there is no faith there cannot be miracles. In order to have a complete understanding of Faith: we need to believe that God Exists, and have a correct idea of His character, and have an actual knowledge that we are doing his will. We need to Really Know Him!! Faith is increased through Diligence. We will Want to do all good when we really understand and love the Lord. President Pitt followed after her and talked about The Atonement for Addictions D&C 58:43 2Nephi 25 Alma 42 Mosiah 26:30. Moroni 6:8. That moment of being 'Clean' can come back. That Hope. Remember and work towards it, and then Exceed it. We cannot look at ourselves so critically. We are all learning and growing. Know that the Lord is behind you helping you along your way and He is stronger than what is standing ahead of you. Patience in all things.
Elder Nielsen started off with an experience that he had. Working with Elder Cook in the Missionary Placement thingy. He watched/ participated in the process of giving 321 missionaries their mission call. There were two monitors; one had the picture and the information on the missionary and the second had all of the missions. ALL of the missions. Elder Nielsen watched Elder Cook for a while as he looked at each missionary read through their information and then would turn to the second monitor and point at a mission and say they are going there. After doing it a few times. He turned to Elder Nielsen and asked "Do you think you got it yet?" Elder Nielsen then started paying more attention. A short time later Elder Cook then turned and said "You got this one?" so Elder Nielsen took a turn at doing it. He looked at the missionary and read the information. He then looked at the Missions and pointed "That one". Elder Cook looked at him and said "Right Country, Wrong Mission" So Elder Nielsen started to pay even more attention to not only what he was seeing but what he was feeling. There is no other experience such as this. To Do the will of the Lord. To not just "I think so" but "I Know So" That this is what the Lord wants us to do. We need to get our self In tune! There is nobody in sin who is happy, we need to fight the battle against Satan for our soul to do the will of God. If we let him win we will have heartache, and misery. If We Win we will become the Special Servant that the Lord is looking for. As a Missionary this is the most simple part of my life. It's just me, and the Savior. It is my time to be fully converted to the Gospel. To fully understand. Elder Nielsen told us that if we Cannot waste a minute! Change NOW! Work, Love, Serve!! Are you part of the Problem or Solution? We are all preparing for war (Alma 50) This Spiritual, and soon to be very real battle against us. We have got to be in Control. We need to make sure that we are Converted. So when the trials come, we are prepared for them and that we will be able to lift those who are around us.
As Missionaries and Members we need to become Master Teachers of Doctrines. He then shared a scripture in D&C 128:22 Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad. Let the earth break forth into singing. Let the dead speak forth anthems of eternal praise to the King Immanuel, who hath ordained, before the world was, that which would enable us to redeem them out of their prison; for the prisoners shall go free.
I would just like to pause at this moment and express how good he is at pumping people up!! Flip!! Go Forward and On to Victory!! haha yeah. Anywho. Hey then gave us an equation to work with: Saving Ordinances + Associated Covenants = Exaltation & Eternal Life
We are all somewhere in this equation there is somewhere always to move forward. I'll share a few with you:
Baptism: Acts 2:38; Alma 7:14; Romans 6:4; Power to Remit Sin
Confirmation: John 14:26; Moroni 10:4-5; Power to receive revelation from Heaven
Priesthood: 1Peter 2:5,9; D&C 13:1; D&C 107:18-19; Power to act in the name of Jesus Christ
Endowment: D&C 110:8-10; Talmage "The House of the Lord"; Power to Become like God
Sealing: D&C 132:19-20; John 10:33-35; Psalms 82:6; Power to be a God.

Progress is the key. We need to Grow and Understand. Some may be at the point where they have accomplished all of these Ordinances, and have the associated covenants along with them. But there is always more. Our neighbors, friends, Visiting teacher, Home Teacher, Children, Everyone Around you! Is somewhere on this path, and it is up to you to help them progress forward. It is up to you to help them make the next step. To be United with them and move forward with them. We cannot waste a minute! If there is something not right and it is preventing us from moving forward with these Ordinances: FIX IT NOW! NOWWWWW!!!
Open your vision of the horizon, see how beautiful everything is around you. See how everyone around you is a Child of God and they need to grow just as much as you need too. There is no Neutral Ground. Only Forward or Backward, and it is up to us which way we go.
My goodness... call of repentance.

Now I will explain why I titled my Email Like a Broken Vessel. No, I'm not depressed, but I have had that experience this week. That feeling of falling into a pit of despair and not knowing how to get out of it. I have been trying to get things to work and to understand why things have been happening, but no matter what, it just got harder and harder. Until Sunday. I finally talked to the Elders about what I was feeling. Elder Raffensparger and Elder Brandon. Are two awesome missionaries. We had a long discussion about the Atonement, Depression, and Priesthood Blessings. I will share with you another time what I learned from them. But I would like all of you to share with me Your thoughts on the Atonement. One of the Scriptures I am studying right now is Alma 7:11-12. Take a look at it. And share with me your thoughts, scriptures, quotes, anything and everything. The Atonement is KEY to everything.     I don't think I have ever had so many deep conversations in my life until my mission, and it's kinda freaky. The thought of Satan and his idea on the Plan. We were talking about Pride and how the root of Pride is Fear. Now I always knew that Satan was Prideful because he wanted all of the glory to go to himself, instead of God. What I did not click in my mind was that Pride comes because of Fear. The Fear of being forgotten. Satan didn't necessarily disagree with the plan. He was afraid of not making it. He had Fear. It is what he knows, understands, and uses against us. Just something to brain munch on for a while.
Anywho, After our long conversation I requested a Priesthood Blessing. I am SO grateful for Priesthood Blessings! After receiving this one, my feelings of despair and emptiness literally almost vanished and I again felt at peace that everything was going to be okay. I was uplifted, and it was Awesome. I was at the point of breaking. and now I feel whole again. After this Spiritual re-boost you could say, and Sister Thomson and I had gone home. Sister Thomson broke down. I know that if I hadn't received that blessing I would have cracked last night. I would not have been able to think things through clearly and in the way that they needed to be done. We had a good conversation about a lot of things. I did read 'Like a Broken Vessel' to her. and we talked about a few other things. It was a learning and growing experience. It opened my eyes to a few things this week. Lots to work on, Lots to do. I love the Lord and all that he does for me. He really is watching out for me out here. I have felt the extra measure of strength this week of being able to hold on this entire week and receive that Priesthood Blessing. Things happen for a reason. It is up to us how we react to them.
I know that my Redeemer lives. That He Loves Me, and Knows Me. He will not give me something greater than I can bear. I can and do all things with the Lord. He is the Only way to continue progressing forward. He is the Light in the Darkness that we need to continually have our sights on.
I love you all very much and am so grateful for the examples you guys have been to me. Continue doing missionary: Work, Loving, and Serving.

Sister Karen Call

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