Friday, April 29, 2016

April 11, 2016

Week 8: 3 Nephi 14:13-14

Sadly the struggle is still real here in the YSA South Valley Area. For one thing, the beginning of this transfer the APs decided to cut down our miles. Which wouldn't be a big deal if we only covered like one town, but the YSA stakes cover like, 10 towns. literally the entire SOUTH VALLEY. so yeah, trying to use as little miles per day as possible is super fun when you drive from Springville to Orem, to Provo, to Spanish Fork, to Salem Hills, to Payson, back to Provo, to Springville, and then to Benjamin for dinner, all in one day! Thank you very much, APs! im laughing, but im crying at the same time. ya know how it is. 

Anyway, remember our golden investigator Raul????????

he is back in the Dominican Republic. our last meeting with him he literally told us he was feeling the Spirit like crazy, but he still wants more before committing to baptism. He's such a dry Mormon it hurts. never before have i wanted to bang my head against the wall more fervently than i did yesterday because the Spirit was LITERALLY SO STRONG. There was some definite burnings of the bosom going on in that room. Sister Saili and I bore our testimonies, and then so did his girlfriend Marian and it was probably the most amazing lesson I've been in so far. He was definitely feelin it, he just wants an angel to show up and smack him around i guess. Stop fightin the Christlike love, Raul! He promised to keep meeting with the missionaries back home in the DR, so keep him in your prayers!

What else, what else. Well, one of the less actives we've been meeting with dropped us because I guess we've been doing such a great job she doesn't need us anymore lol. Which is great for her, but it weirdly felt like being dumped lol

We also did a lot of contacting, which is always...super fun. A lot of our lessons fell through, which is always not super fun, but we did find some new people to teach, which is awesome! One woman we met has actually taken discussions before, like a yearish ago, and as far as we know they didn't really go super great. like they werent bad, just not great.  She is SUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUPER Christian. She really loves Jesus and is super into the Bible. She has a copy of the Book of Mormon, but never got past 1 Nephi lol so she already has a lot in common with most members of the church! just kidding...mostly. lol anyway, We're meeting with her Wednesday so we'll see how that goes!  Hopefully we can help her see that the Book of Mormon really is all about Jesus lol

This weekend was also a stake conference for one of our stakes, so we got to hear a lot from Elder Dale Munk, who is an area seventy, so that was pretty awesome. President Hodgman also spoke and told us about his conversion story. It was pretty funny. Maybe I'll tell it to you guys sometime when I feel less lazy. 

So yeah that's really about it, or at least that's all i can think of that happened at the moment. Well, we did meet with this one guy who really wants to get baptized, but he kind of has some mental challenges and has a lot of anger and hatred towards his mom and family, and spent a night in jail, so we're not totally sure how best to help him. His story really made me think about some of the challenges people face in this life. like how hard his trials are, and vice versa his mom's and his family's because of something that is out of their control. a lot of the times we feel like our hardships are out of our control, and sometimes they really are, but they're never out of the Lord's control. I know that as we turn to Him, our burdens are made light and we can endure anything life throws at us.

"Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, which leadeth to destruction, and many there be who go in thereat;

"Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it"

Sometimes it might feel difficult to stay on the path, but I know that when we keep our focus on the Savior we can endure whatever trials we face. His yoke is easy and his burden is light. We've already found the gate. Now we just have to stay on the path, and we can do that by striving to become more like the Savior by going to church, saying our prayers, and reading the scriptures. Remember that Faith is like a little seed. It doesn't grow all at once. We have to nurture it! So keep watering the tree!

Love y'all, 
Sister Wainwright

April 4, 2016

Week 7: 3 Nephi 9:14

First things first: a million sorries if my last email was in any way preachy, petulant, or pessimistic. The struggle is real, but this week was full of miracles and tender mercies plus conference!!!!!! HOW AWESOME WAS THAT? 

Watching it growing up I was always kinda like, "ughhhhhhhh WHEN WILL IT END????" now i'm just like, "NOOOOOOOO IT CAN'T END!" on another note it's pretty cool driving through Provo on Saturday and seeing so many stores and restaurants closed. (you know you're in Utah when....)

and earlier this week we passed this store with a giant sign out front that said, "BUY YOUR CONFERENCE TREATS HERE!" which wouldn't be super remarkable since we ARE in Utah, except it was an Amish Market place??? I meant to take a picture because i thought it was hilarious, but whatever.

Anyway! Last P-Day was AWESOME. We met this "treasure hunter", Brother Moon, who basically hunts down really ancient and awesome books.....You'll never guess whose Books of Mormon I am holding. 

From the bottom up: Samuel Smith, Hyrum Smith, Joseph Smith, and then on the top is Joseph Smith's pocket bible!!! IT WAS SO SMALL! apparently back then it was cool to read a bible with a magnifying glass? 

Brother Moon also had a bible from the 16th century, Wilford Woodruff's glasses(!!!!!!), and the original copy of a revelation given to Hyrum Smith (written in his own hand) directly from the Prophet Joseph Smith (he wouldn't let us take a really good picture of that one though lol)

Okay, now you guys have to show Abby and the boys these next ones...I was fangirling so hard.

It's J.R.R Tolkein's BIBLE!


So after that we played volleyball with our Zone, where I caused several elders on my team considerable pain since I cannot aim.

So all in all our Zone Activity was pretty awesome!​

Moving on....what else happened this week? I am kicking myself right now because I literally wrote down all the cool things I wanted to share in this little notebook...which I left on my study desk back home. So let's see.......

Well, for the past two weeks we've been teaching this guy who is all about evolution, like, he thinks we literally evolved from amoebas and apes and all that. Our brains were exploding with all his science-y wienc-y stuff. He also believes the universe was not created. It's just always been there. Wha. Like for me, that's way harder to comprehend than God creating the cosmos, ya feel me? Like it's all just always been here? What? Anyway, his fellowshipper is pretty awesome. He's an MTC Branch President, so he knows a thing or two about the Gospel. However, despite all of our best efforts, Jordan simply could not accept Moroni's Promise. He didn't see the logic behind believing in God or Jesus Christ or anything, and he argued a lot with us about how there are plenty of other churches and religions who do the whole "read and pray" thing. His main question to all of us was: HOW DO YOU KNOW? 

So of course we talked about Alma 32 and how we read the scriptures, say our prayers, go to church, etc, and we told him that when he does these things the Holy Ghost will "manifest the truth of it unto you". 

He just could not accept that. That wasn't enough for him. He kept going back to other religions and how they do the exact same thing and also "feel" that their religion is true. So how do we know that ours is the only true one, if there are millions upon millions of other religions who ponder and pray and receive the same kinda answers?

Long story short, he dropped us because he wanted to take a break. He just wasn't willingly to plant the seed and experiment on the words, which is kinda ironic. Aren't science-y guys supposed to like conducting experiments? 

Anyway, so my question this week for you guys is: how do you know? How do you know that this is the true church of Jesus Christ? I really am curious to hear some of your conversion stories!

And if you don't know... are you willingly to ponder these things in your heart and ask God with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ? 

Our experience with Jordan really got me and Sister Saili thinking about our own conversion. How do I know? 

I know that this gospel has changed my life. I know that the Book of Mormon has taught me more about the Savior than any other book on earth. I just know. No burnings in the bosom or angelic Hallelujah choruses required. Trying to explain how the Spirit works is like trying to explain what salt tastes like to someone who's never tasted it before (Boyd K. Packer is a genius). 

How do we know?

On another note, Conference was way awesome. Sister Saili got to go to the Saturday Morning Session, but I being the greenie did not :( hopefully October!!! Did anyone else see the man in the MoTab singing his heart out and sobbing during Come Thou Fount? That guy is awesome, whoever he is.

Holland knocked it out of the park, as always, and I really enjoyed the talk by Elder Arnold of the Seventy as well: I invite each of you to heed the Savior's call to go to the rescue! The Lord has provided all the tools we need to rescue our friends and family.

Keep trying. Keep trusting. Keep believing. Keep growing. Heaven is cheering you on today, tomorrow, and forever.

Accept the Savior's invitation: "Whosever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me". 

Turn to the Savior. He's wonderful. Not tomorrow. Not next week. Turn to him today. Turn to him always. 

Love y'all,

Sister Wainwright

March 28, 2016

Week 6: 2 Nephi 31:20

"Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life." 

​When's the last time you read your scriptures? (I'm not talking about the last time you read a verse out loud in Sunday school, because sadly for those of us that have been diagnosed with lazy-itus that doesn't count as personal nor daily scripture study). So with that brain combusting revelation in mind, when's the last time you picked up the Bible or the Book of Mormon or the Doctrine and Covenants or the Pearl of Great Price or anything remotely having to do with Faith and Christ and the Gospel and read it on your own time? When's the last time you really "[feasted] upon the word of Christ"? For you?

Before my mission, I can honestly say I did not read the scriptures like I should have. I'm 97% sure we're all guilty of slacking when it comes to scripture study. Real life is hectic and busy and after a long day at work or school the only thing I ever wanted to do was succumb to a state of catatonia and waste the rest of my day mindlessly watching Netflix or playing LEGO Batman with the kids. But if we do as Nephi exhorts us to do and we press forward and feast upon the scriptures, we shall have eternal life!!! And then I can watch all the Netflix I want for the rest of eternity! 

Well, probably not. I'll probably be way too busy having fun creating my own planet and turning inanimate objects into food thanks to my awesome new Godly powers. Netflix? Pfft.

Anyway, why am I talking about scripture study? Because missionaries have the luxury of devoting pretty much their entire mornings to doing nothing but studying the scriptures. It's pretty awesome. But what I've realized this past week is that if I miss even ONE DAY of reading the Book of Mormon, for ME, then my entire day pretty much goes to poo. Seriously. On the outside I might be all fine and dandy, but inside I feel meh, like I'm running on fumes because I forgot to fill up my spiritual tank or something. It's like missing breakfast, lunch, and dinner. When I don't "feast" upon the word of Christ, I get very hangry. Being hungry plus angry is not a good combination on any given day, but being SPIRITUALLY hangry is even worse. Don't get me wrong, when I don't read the scriptures for whatever reason that day, we still work hard and try to get a lot of things done for the Lord, but I just don't feel as good as I would had I read the scriptures that day. When I do, I can feel the Spirit more powerfully and I'm just in a better MOOD. It doesn't matter what happens during the day, because I got my daily dose of the scriptures, everything is just EASIER. So please read your scriptures. Feast upon the word of Christ. Whatever trials we're going through, we can get through them when we turn to the Lord and the scriptures He has given to us through His prophets.

I can't say I've ever had any super mega awesome, Angels singing Hallelujah in the background, mind blowing, coincidental-but-not-coincidental spiritual experiences. Like, when people get up in church and talk about how they heard the voice of God or saw their deceased great great great grandma's second cousin seven times removed in the temple--that kinda stuff has never happened to me. I've never had any dreams or visions or any of that spiritual mumbo jumbo. I dunno why. I like to think my faith is just as strong as the next guy's. Honestly, I've been struggling a little bit with this. Don't get me wrong, I'm not asking for angelic visions and Hallelujahs. I think I'm doing just fine without all that, and tell myself that my faith and trust and desire to follow the Lord is strong enough that I don't need an angel to show up with a flaming sword and give me a spiritual kick in the pants. What I am struggling with is feeling like I'm not doing enough. Praying enough. Studying the scriptures enough. Feeling the Spirit enough. Like maybe if I was doing more, studying more, pondering more, then I could have those crazy miracles and Godly coincidences happen all the time too. You know, like those stories when the missionaries knock on a door and find someone inside that's all like, "I literally just prayed to God that he would send me messengers!!!!!!!!! Hallelujah praise the Lord!!! 🙌" Ever since I was in the MTC, it just seemed like every other missionary had or was having all these spiritual "Eureka!" moments and all I have is my simple little testimony. No Hallelujahs. Just that Holy Ghost heartburn. 

I dunno. I just want to help people come unto Christ, but then our leaders start talking about quantity and quality and key indicators and reaching the standards of excellence and new pew date gate and being consecrated and doing this and doing that and I just want to help people come unto Christ, but yesterday I just felt like I'm not very good at any of this. All of our new investigators this past week canceled on us, and Raul still isn't on date to be baptized. Meanwhile, it seems like every other companionship is having all this success and not skipping a beat. So I started to feel like a failure. The entire drive home I was beating myself up, wondering what I've been doing wrong and how I can be better. I felt like I didn't know enough and wasn't good enough. 

And then I realized late last night: Oh, wow. I didn't read my scriptures today. 

Guess what. Satan doesn't want us to read our scriptures. And when we don't, he's pumping his mental fist going, "Yesssss, YESSSSS! Feel the hanger! Embrace it! Come to the Dark Side! Mwahhahahha!" (i say mental because he doesn't have a fist, therefore he cannot pump it). All these doubts and fears and insecurities that started running rampant in my mind were, I truly believe, a direct result--or consequence--of me not reading my scriptures. Jesus Christ, aside from the Father, is the most powerful being in our lives. And that same power is in His words. When we feast upon the word of Christ, we're putting on the armor of God. I didn't put on my armor yesterday, and Satan took advantage of that.

So press forward and feast upon the word of Christ. Put on the armor of God. Endure to the end and ye shall have eternal life. 

I hope y'all had a great Easter Sunday. Despite the night I had, the rest of the day was pretty amazing. We heart attacked the mission office and some of the Bishop's houses. And this past week we mostly did a lot of contacting (since our investigators keep canceling and/or avoiding us) and met a lot of interesting people. Like this one guy who thought we were a cult. I'm surprised it took almost 2 months in the field for me to run into someone like him lol. 

Anyway, love you all. Stand fast in the faith and feast upon the word!

May the Spirit be with you,

Sister Wainwright

March 21, 2016

Week 5: Moroni 7: 45-48

It's almost April??!??!??!?! wHAT???? Mission life is seriously a giant ball of wibbly wobbly timey wimey...stuff, as the Doctor would say.

Anyway! This week was pretty great. Raul, our only investigator, is sadly still not on date to be baptized, but he did read every single day this past week and told us he hasn't read and prayed this much in his entire life so we're pretty pumped. He's really progressing now, and has even admitted he's getting closer to his answers (duh, Raul!!!!! That's what happens when you actually READ AND PRAY with real intent!!!) Our lesson last night with him was pretty awesome though. We talked about the Plan of Salvation and he had a lot of questions about the Spirit World and Three Degrees of Glory, but you know how sometimes someone asks a question in a way that makes you think they already know the answer and believe in what they're asking? If that makes sense. Anyway That's how it is with Raul. He's literally a dry Mormon. I reeeeally really really really hope I don't get transferred before he finally commits to being baptized...and I really reeally really hope he doesn't go back to the Dominican Republic before being baptized either lol. But what was super cool last night was he asked Brother Clark (his girlfriend's dad) for a priesthood blessing to help him find his answers. Sadly it was pretty late so we didn't get to stay for the blessing, but that just shows how much Faith he has! We've been doing some serious praying for him the past few weeks, so hopefully by this Sunday Raul will have his answers and will be ready to take the plunge--I mean make some sacred covenants and get baptized and receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost. loool

So that's about all the news I have concerning investigators. We have been busting our behinds trying to get some new ones, but trying to find YSAs in this place is like trying to find a specific needle in a haystack all made up of needles. That was a lame analogy wasn't it. Oh well. We do have some lessons with two new investigators this upcoming week, but one of them has kind of been avoiding us for the past month, so it'll probably be a little awkward. The other one seems really happy to meet with us though! 

As for our Less Actives...oh, boy. It's funny how the most missionary work you do out here is with members of the church. Two of the less active women we are working with have really been put through the ringer in this life, and are really struggling with who they are and their pasts. It's actually quite heartbreaking. Sometimes all we can do as missionaries is listen to them pour out their hearts and sob uncontrollably. Seriously. A lot of what their struggling with though has to do with members, and not feeling like they belong or have friends. THIS IS WHY IT IS SO IMPORTANT FOR US TO HAVE CHARITY. We claim we're Christian, but sometimes we're not very Christlike, and the ones that are struggling and desperate for friendship are left to suffer because we don't help them and love them and welcome them into our wards with open arms. That's why "member missionaries" are so important in building up the kingdom of full times bring investigators and recent converts to church, but the members are the ones who make them want to stay and make them feel like they BELONG. This is the true Church of Jesus Christ, y'all. We have the true and everlasting Gospel. We know how to navigate and weather the storms of life, so we should be doing everything we can to help our brothers and sisters do the same. I know how it feels to go to Church and feel like no one cares if I'm there or not...guys, NO ONE should feel that way. No one should walk into one of our chapels and feel like they don't belong. Let me rephrase that: no one should walk into one of HIS chapels and feel like they don't belong. This is the Church of JESUS CHRIST. Everyone should feel that, and if we're not being Christlike, if we don't have charity and compassion for EVERYONE who walks through those doors, then we are not acting like the true Church of Jesus Christ should. 

Wow. I swore to myself that I would not be one of those preachy email missionaries. Sorry, guys. I'm just sharing what I've learned for--and ABOUT--myself. None of us are perfect. We all need to develop the character of Christ and have charity for ALL mankind--members and nonmembers alike.  One of the most important, and hardest, commandments truly is to "love one another; as I have loved you". 

Anyway, enough preaching! Y'all are probably going cross eyed. Saturday we got to take one of our recent converts to the temple to do Baptisms for the Dead for the first time. And you'll never guess which temple we went to!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well, that's it for now, folks! May the Spirit be with you!


Sister Wainwright

March 14, 2016

Week 4: Jacob 6:5

I can't believe it's almost been a MONTH since I entered the field!!! I say it every week, but time is literally flying by. My teacher in the MTC phrased it best: a day feels like a week, and a week feels like a day when you're doin the Lord's work.

Which isn't really a good thing when you try to write your weekly email...I'm sitting here like, " did i even do this week? xD" It all kinda blurs together sometimes to be honest, but a few crazy things have stood out. I'm experiencing so much. Every day brings new challenges and vice versa new blessings.

This past week we visited a less active member, and lemme tell ya, Satan was there. That might sound dramatic, but I could not feel the Spirit AT ALL, and it wasn't because of me. Believe me, I was for real doing some intense praying (in my heart, not out loud, that would have been kinda awkward in the middle of a lesson am I right), but this guy just was not feelin it at all. He has ZERO desire to read his scriptures, pray, go to church, etc. His heart is COMPLETELY closed. He hates the concept of faith, not just in our Church but in religion in general. His parents are very active from what I understand, and we are not the first missionaries he's met with. He knows all about Alma 32 and planting the seed and "crying unto the Lord with all your soul" and yadi yada yada. He served a mission for about 6 months, and throughout that entire time he told us he tried to plant the seed and let it grow and gain a testimony and all the good stuff. But when he failed to receive any kind of answer, he gave up. He came home. He stopped trying.

So, I ask you, how do you help someone who's prayed, who's read his scriptures, but never received any answers? He said he never wants to "go back there" because it only depressed him and put him in a dark place, so that's why he's cut God completely out of his life (which is no bueno--seriously. Not a good idea).

So anyway there I am, sitting across from this guy, and I just feel terrible. I could barely speak. He said he doesn't want to go off faith, he wants physical proof that God is real. Ironically, even if our Father in Heaven just went around showing himself to anyone who asked, why would he show himself to someone who doubts his very existence? Like, hello? Of course he wouldn't! We NEED faith. This is what he doesn't understand. And then he starts talking hullabaloo about how we don't really have agency because God knows what we're going to do, and if he DOESN'T know what we're going to do, then he isn't really all knowing and powerful and thus isn't God. Um....????????!?!?!??!

Suffice it to say, I felt very awkward, and since it was this greenie's first experience with someone like him, I honestly had no idea what to say. Every scripture that came to mind was thrown back into my face before I could even say it.

I don't know what he's been through. I don't know to what extent he's really prayed, if he had that sincere heart and real intent or not. I don't know if he has issues or habits or addictions that have gone unrepented of and unresolved. But I know that his heart is hard, his mind is closed, and that Satan has real power over the hearts and minds of the children of men...but only if we let him. Only if we turn away from God and let our doubts overcome our faith and we give up, we quit trying.

So how do you help someone who despises faith have faith in Jesus Christ????

(Is any of this even making sense? I feel like I'm rambling and all over the place. Only having an hour and a half to write an email is really stressful)

Anyway, so that was intense, and hopefulyl the next time I have an encounter like that, I won't sit there like a brainless potato.

This past weekend I went on exchanges with one of our STLs (sister training leaders), Hermana Lopez, which was super fun, even though naturally 90% of the day we were meeting with hispanics and they were speaking Spanish. Those two years of high school spanish did nothing for me, to say the least, but it was still fun. One lady came out of her house and was like "We're Christian! We're not Mormon! Go away!"

We did not make an appointment with her, unfortunately, but maybe one day she'll figure out the members of The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter Day Saints are in fact Christian.

Oh! Yesterday two of our wards had ward conference. Guess who taught the Sunday School lesson? That's right. The Holy Ghost. Naturally. I was there too, but it was all Him. I just said things. He did the rest. It was pretty fun. We did an object lesson all about missionary work and how we are all "tools in the hands of the Lord". We had a bucket with a bunch of construction tools in it and so we went over each tool and what it did and I asked the class which tool they thought was the most important when it comes to building a house.

Long story short the whole point in the lesson was that each tool is different, but each tool is important, just like all of us. We are all different, we all have different strengths and talents, but we're all important, and we're all NEEDED, in order to build the Kingdom of God, by reaching out to those around us and testifying of Christ. It was pretty awesome. I kinda went off script and tied in how the foundation of this house we're building (OUR LIVES) need to be built on Christ and our faith in him.

We can build a beautiful house, but if our foundation isn't strong, that house is gonna collapse. Just like our lives will when we're faced with trials and have a weak foundation. If we have faith in Christ, if our lives are BUILT on Christ, then we can endure any pain, any challenge, any grief.

"Remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."

We CANNOT FALL if our faith and our foundation are built on Jesus Christ!

That's my sermon for the week!

Sadly, we still have no one on date for baptism. Out of all the people we're teaching, only one of them is a non member, and I've extended a baptism commitment twice now, but he still isn't sure. He's said several times that once he KNOWS, he won't hesitate to get baptized. He's even said he'd go to his Pastor and all his friends and family and give them a Book of Mormon and tell them to read it. If you ask me, he already knows. He's already converted. He knows that the Book of Mormon is helping him come closer to Jesus Christ, he's just hesitating to ACT, and still isn't totally sure about the Restoration.

So that's what our lesson with him last night turned out to be. We asked him how he felt when he read the BoM and he said it felt good. We asked him if he was reading every single day and praying about it every single day...he said he wasn't, but he always felt like he should. I told him that was the Holy Ghost's way of trying to get him to read more of the BoM. So we challenged him to act on his desire to know, to know for himself, to really study and ponder and find out for himself whether or not the Book of Mormon is the word of God and Another Testament of Jesus Christ.

We'll see how it goes next Sunday! With any luck, HG's gonna do his thing and we'll have a baptism soon!!!

Overall, what I learned the most this week is the huge difference faith makes in a person's life. When we have faith, when we have that desire to KNOW, the possibilities for us are endless and eternal. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us!

Stay true to the faith,
Sister Wainwright