Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter, Easter!

Hello all!
This week was quite fun! We had a lot of events that we got to participate in and we have another investigator on date for a baptism!
To start out with, on Wednesday all of the sisters in our mission go to participate in a Specialized Training for Sisters meeting. The theme was D.O.T.S. or, "Depend on the Savior". The gym was decorated in black and pink and polka dots. It lasted from 10am until 5:30. The first half in the morning was all spiritual training and a spiritual uplift. There were several speakers including our Mission President, his wife, both of his counselors, a Sister Training Leader and a member from one of the Fishers wards. My personal favorite trainings were President Cleveland and President Connelly (sp?).

President Cleveland spoke about Joan of Arc and likened her to us and what we are doing. Joan had an important mission which I believe was given to her from God. She was young, intelligent and loved by many. She saw that her country needed to be united and so she followed what the Spirit led her to do and yes, in the end she lost her life, but she accomplished what God desired.
President Connelly spoke about Women and the Priesthood. He used Elder Oaks' talk and also referred to Sheri Dew's book, Women and the Priesthood. It really opened my eyes to things I already knew, but didn't fully understand. Now I have a testimony of how powerful the work that women do truly is in the sight of God and I have a far better understanding about why women have no need to hold the priesthood. I wish I could share with you exactly what he said, but that would probably take up too much of your time. If you want to know the gist of what he taught, re-watch or listen to Elder Oaks' talk from this last General Conference.
In the afternoon, we got to eat Cafe Rio style food and we learned how to do Tabata and Zumba. The Tabata was torturous but the Zumba was pretty fun since we got to listen to real music haha! (Slumdog Millionaire anyone?) After that we got delicious green smoothies and did a clothing exchange. The best part of it all though was seeing the senior elder missionaries and the Assistants to the President wear black polka dot aprons with big pink bows on them.
The second and third biggest events of my week were on Saturday. After our Missionary Correlation Meeting all the missionaries in our zone got to go with Bishop Newton to the Holocaust Museum and hear Eva Kor, a survivor of Auschwitz speak to us. She was ten when she, her twin sister and their family were taken from Romania to Germany a little less than a year before Auschwitz was liberated. She never knew what happened to her family, but she and her sister became part of Dr. Mengele's infamous experiments on twins. The most amazing part of her story was how she learned how to forgive Dr. Mengele. She was so cute! She talked to us all a little bit afterward and was very impressed by how neatly dressed we all were haha!

That same evening we had a lesson with a newer investigator and we were able to set a baptismal date with her for June 14th! She is so amazing. She is reading the Book of Mormon and understands it quite well. She says it makes sense that there would be more records throughout the world and she already loves the Carmel and Salt Lake City temples without fully understanding why.
After that lesson, we went over to St. George's Orthodox Church. It's a small chapel, but beautiful inside with candles and stained glass windows and paintings everywhere! We were there with Bishop Newton again and they were doing their Easter service. The service started at 8pm and got done somewhere close to 11pm. (Don't worry, we got special permission from President!) After the service they held a feast in their cultural hall and the food was delicious! I got to talk to the priest for a minute about religious studies because he is essentially a genius. He lived in Lebanon until he was 15 or 16 and then spent the next 15 or so years in Canada. He knows Hebrew, Greek, Arabic, French and Arabic on top of his English. It was all very interesting to listen to and to see how many things they have right or almost right.
Did you all have a great Easter? Did you get to watch the video, "Because of Him"? If not, go watch it now! It's not just for Easter!
Love you all!

Sister Ruth

PS here's a pic of the lovely Eva Kor!

Easter

E-mail from April 14, 2014

Hi Family!!
How goes it? Is everyone as excited about Easter Sunday as I am? (If not, YOU SHOULD BE!) Why is Easter so important? Rather, why should it be so important? If you don't have a good answer for that, go here --> Mormon.org/BecauseofHim
If any of you have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other social media page, please share the above link and #BecauseofHim. The more we can get this out here, the more missionaries and members will have the opportunity to share our faith with others. Many of those you will share this with may not know that we are even Christian. Take courage, and share your faith with those around you. You do not need to start off telling them all about the Plan of Salvation or temples or the Book of Mormon. Simply share your faith in Christ. The rest will follow.

In case anyone has forgotten, this Sunday is Easter! Here is what It think about Easter:

Easter should be the single, most important holiday on our calendar. It is the reason that we are here. It is the reason that we can find peace in a troubled world. It is the reason that we hope for a better world. Easter is the Day of Atonement. Not only can our sins be forgiven, our pains and illnesses made right, but it is the proof that we are infinite creatures. We existed with our Savior before this mortal life and we WILL exist again because of His great Sacrifice and Resurrection. Not only can we exist, but we can thrive and progress and live in a fullness of Joy, which only our Savior can give us.

Nothing that the world has to offer us will ever fill the emptiness that is in our hearts. The world will continue to fight against those that believe. They will tell us that we are nothing, that we are wrong because our morals and values are out of date. It hurts when they say these things, when they tell us that we are racist, close-minded, sexist, ridiculous, pretenders, part of the occult, or freaks. I know- I've been there. Every day missionaries and members alike deal with these hurtful accusations. Let me remind you: they are FALSE. We are not racist, close-minded, sexist, pretenders or any of the other hurtful things that they will try to throw at you.
We have more knowledge than the majority of the world- and not pretended or made up knowledge. It is fact given to us from God by way of revelation. It is our responsibility to share it with those that are around us. Sometimes they will accept it, most of the time they will lay it aside as a thing of naught. That is their choice. We shouldn't allow what they say and do to affect the faith that we already have. President Uchtdorf told us in October 2013 General Conference to, "Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith."

We have been given these legal representatives of our Savior Jesus Christ and our Father in Heaven to guide us in these latter days. They will never lead us astray. If you are not sure if they truly are called of God, ponder their teachings and pray. Ask your Father in Heaven if what they are sharing is true. Ask them if they really are representing Him and doing things in accordance with His will. Sometimes they make mistakes- they are not infallible just as we are not infallible.

This is why we have the Atonement.
As you study the Doctrine and Covenants, pay attention to how many times Joseph Smith Jr., Oliver Cowdery and others are first forgiven for their sins and then they receive revelation. None of the men or women in the early Church were without fault. No one in the history of the earth as been without fault- save One.

The Sacrifice made by Christ was Infinite in scope (Alma 34) and active, even before his birth (Alma 39). It is there for you. Do not forget that Christ, as he suffered, did it for you. You as an individual brother or sister. He felt your individual pain, guilt, suffering and sin. He knows you and loves you more than any of us can comprehend. Please don't turn away from him.
This year, don't get caught up in the trends of society or commercialism. I'm not saying we can't have fun surprises or gifts for loved ones, but do not place such a focus on it. Study the scriptures surrounding the gift that Christ so lovingly gave us. No matter how long we live, we will never fully comprehend the magnitude of the Atonement in this life, therefore we must do all that we can to increase our knowledge now so when we go into the next life, it can be completed and perfected.
If Christ isn't your best friend right now- stop whatever you are doing and change it. The world can wait, I promise you that.

Now that my blurb is over, quick summary of my week. Ups and downs galore! Getting cussed out by an investigator you think is golden and having them tell you that you're racist and that women are the worst thing to happen to this earth hurts. It hurts bad, but it's not because of what they're saying about you. It hurts because of what they are saying about Christ (we being his representatives) and it hurts how much they are missing out because they are so close-minded and unwilling to allow the Spirit testify of what we are saying.
On the other hand, we found someone that is just soaking up the Plan of Salvation. I've said it before and I'll say it again- the Plan of Salvation either hooks people to the Gospel or is drives them away, depending up on their openness.
Last night we had scones and I mean UTAH scones- fried bread with honey and butter! Yummy! We also went on exchanges with our Sister Training Leaders on Wednesday and had a pretty crazy day. Sister London spent the day in Brazil (said Bray-zeel if you wanna speak Hoosier). She had a lesson with... A wonderful daughter of God who is very open to the truth but makes it very difficult to get a word in edge-wise. She also has some interesting views on the book of Enoch (which is not even apocrypha, it's pseudepigrapha and if you don't know what that is, look it up on LDS.org), and she also believes in Nephelums (no idea how that is spelled) and aliens and conspiracy theories galore. Thing is, there's a hint of truth in everything she is saying and believes in so we have high hopes that the Brazil Elders will be able to cure her of her... awesomeness. :D Really though, she is awesome!
The same day Sister London was in Brazil I stayed in town and ended up getting molested by a 7 or a 9 year old child. Yeah, let me tell ya, highlight of my week, getting slapped on the butt! It's scary how far downhill the youth are going.
Well, if you've gotten through this epically long letter, you deserve a reward. If you don't know who Neon Trees is, you really should. Go here --> http://www.mormon.org/elaine to learn more about how awesome a certain drummer really is.
C'ya in the Celestial! ;)
JK!
But really....
Sister Ruth

Conference!!! :D

E-mail from April 7, 2014

Hello Hello!!!!

Soooo, how was everyone's conference? Mine was AMAZING! For real, Conference is one of God's greatest gifts to modern man in my opinion. I've heard a few people say they loved Utchtdorf's. I absolutely loved Elder Christofferson's though. Twas sick! His was probably my favorite and then Elder Aidukaitis (and not just cause he has an awesome accent!).

What was something that you learned from conference or that stuck out to you? Something that I kept hearing over and over again was, "Keep your covenants", "love one another", and "get back to basic principles". If you missed any of the sessions, go watch them now! We all need the spiritual lift that the words of our prophets and leaders can give us. And did anyone get goose bumps when President Monson announced that when all of the temples currently under construction are finished we will have 170 working temples? I know I did!

This week went quite well! We got a few new investigators and have started our Church Tour Training! Apparently this isn't a world-wide thing, but it's been awesome since we've been learning what it is that we will be sharing in the coming months. There is practically no better place to teach an investigator and invite to baptism than in a dedicated church. 

Probably the most exciting thing that happened this week didn't really happen to me and Sister London. The elders that are serving in town with us- Elder Shirley and Elder Litster- got a new investigator and got to bring him to conference! What happened is Sister London and I gave these elders some of the former investigators from our area book (almost all of which I'd never even met). They chose to drop by this former investigator and he wanted to learn more. They taught him and committed him to come to conference and he made it to the first session! Apparently his mouth dropped when Elder Holland (I think) was talking about those in attendance who had been invited by missionaries. He also started talking to the elders about baptism so unless there is an unforeseen issue, they should be able to commit him to a date soon! YAY FOR TERRE HAUTE!

This coming week we are going on exchanges with our Sister Training Leaders and then next week we get to participate in a Specialized Sister Training. Lots of great things are happening! 

Also, since Easter is coming, what are you doing to prepare yourself? Are you focusing on the treats or on the Spirit? If you have any traditions or things that you like to do to make this holiday more meaningful, please share! (We always like sharing these things with members, investigators and using them ourselves to stay focused and have fun.)

See you in the Celestial! ;)

Sister Ruth

Conference is Coming!

E-mail from March 31, 2014

Hello hello!
So this week was interesting and not as crazy as previous weeks, although still busy busy!
On Monday we had a family night with a less-active family. We were able to watch 17 Miracles with them and talk a little bit about exercising faith. Their younger kids did pretty good considering the movie lasted 1.5 hours.
We focused a lot on working with less-actives and recent converts this week and that is where over half of our lessons came from. Cheyenne's younger brother is hopefully going to be getting baptized soon. Technically he's not an investigator since he's 8, but as we've been reviewing with Cheyenne we've been teaching him too and he knows that the church is true! It's so cool to talk to him. When the elders in Brazil taught him the Restoration they committed him to pray and ask if Joseph Smith was a prophet. The next morning he woke up and he said that he got his answer. It was just there in his mind and it said, "Yes!".

Well, we taught the Plan of Salvation to him and asked him to pray about that too. We saw him the next day and asked how thing were going. He said he didn't have his answer yet, but that he wasn't giving up. Apparently the morning after that he got his answer, but it wasn't in the same way as before (according to him). He said that it wasn't a yes, but it was, "It's true." This kid is golden! I can already see him as a missionary- straight and to the point. He's the best!
Wednesday since we didn't go to transfers we helped a brother work on his house which he's trying to get ready to rent. We spent about 5 hours there and we got a lot done! The most exciting (and terrifying) part about those service hours was when he and two of our elders carried a 400 lbs solid metal desk up from the basement on a rickety wooden staircase and to the front yard. Now this brother we've been helping is 68 and not in the best health. Needless to say, I said about 20 prayers that he wouldn't have a heart attack and that our elders wouldn't die haha! Finally they got it outside and no one was damaged.
Saturday evening was delightful. For those that didn't watch the General Women's Conference, go watch it! I've never seen anything quite like it. I can't wait for conference this Saturday and Sunday!

Some tips from a missionary to get more out of the conference talks:
1) Ask a question. Pray about it and write it down.
2) Take notes on what the Spirit teaches you, not necessarily on what the speakers say.
3) Remember that what the prophet and twelve say is doctrine- take it seriously.
4) Review your notes and see how it applies to your life and more specifically to the question you asked.
5) Share Conference! Incite friends over, post about it on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This is an opportunity to spread the gospel- use it!

Love you!
Be excellent to each other!

Sister Ruth

Octopus!

 E-mail from March 24, 2014
Yeesh, I haven't talked to y'all in a minute! (I'm learning to speak Hoosier, can you tell? Other common phrases are, "couple three" and "right close".)

I didn't get transferred! Yay for 6 months in Terre Haute :D (Well, almost 6 months anyway). Who else is excited for Conference in less than two week? I know I am! Any guesses on new temples or announcements?

There isn't a whole ton to report about this week. The highlights were that they have cherry limeade Fanta in Sam's Club (and I mean from the fountain). We spent almost a whole day in Brazil, which was great. Our most recent convert Cheyenne was up there with her brother and we and the elders in Brazil have been asked to teach her brother even though he is 8 years old. Anywho, we got to spend the evening with those kiddos in a member's home and learn about the Restoration which was fantastic!
On Friday at our weekly service for a less-active we got to help her sign up on FamilySearch.org. It was neat because before she had decided to "leave" the Church she had done tons of her family history on her mothers side and sent it into the Church. Well, it turns out that they had put it on FamilySearch so when she signed up she could immediately connect! The neatest part was just trying to see how far we could get back and we got back FAR! We actually ended up getting all the way to Adam and Eve. :) Of course we know that any dates prior to the 1600s are pretty sketchy, BUT just the mere thought that it was possible to get all the way back was neato!

Saturday we got to help a member work on a house that he is flipping. Sister London and I got stuck with the very feminine jobs of cleaning the fridge and the windows. Let me tell you though, that fridge was a piece of work! It was only 6 months old but the person who owned it before had never (and I mean NEVER) cleaned it. But after an hour or so, it was shining! It looked essentially brand new after we got our hands on it! ;) We rock!
ALSO before we went to do service our Ward Mission Leader took us to Tepanyaki! I got to eat an octopus! It wasn't too bad honestly. Kinda chewy, but the flavor was decent.
 We had a fun lesson after church yesterday with a couple we haven't been able to see in a long time. We took a member and his wife and he happened to be a history buff (he's working on his doctorate). Turns out it was a great idea! Our investigator is a bit of a conspiracy theorist and tends to get off on these tangents about history and such, but we were able to keep things on track for the most part this time and finish teaching the Plan of Salvation. I tell ya, that lesson either goes great or it's liable to get you kicked out of places!

Well, love you all!

Sister Ruth

Squirrel!

E-mail from March 17, 2014

Transfers are coming up in a week and a half! Next Sunday I'll know for sure if I'm staying in Terre Haute or not. I can't decide if I want to stay or move on- I've definitely enjoyed it here and I love the people we're working with right now, but I can tell that soon if not this coming transfer I'll need to get out of here. Members seem to get antsy having the same missionaries for too long.
So this week we've met with a lot of people on the street and knocking on doors. It actually feels pretty good to tract. We've had tons of appointments, so really tracting was just to fill our time up a little between appointments. We had an awesome experience with contacting a headquarter referral. He had been taught a while back by missionaries so we decided to check in on him. Well.... He was insane... Or high. Not sure which. Anywho, we decided to send the elders over the next day but we had left him a pass-along card with our number on it and at 1 am he called an left us two messages. The first said:

"Hello, I'm Bob (we'll just pretend his name is Bob...).
I wanted to let you know that I want to have a daughter. And I want her to be president... Of something...
Thank you."

The second message said:

"Hello, I'm Bob and I just called. I wanted my daughter to be president of the United States.
Thank you."
For real. LUCKILY our sound was off, so it didn't wake us up BUT that was the best, funniest thing to wake up to haha!
Needless to say we will not be meeting with his man again and neither will the elders.
We Also found an investigator through a non-member referral. We were tracting around a headquarter referral's house and ran into a drunk lady. Well she wouldn't let us come in at first but immediately gave us a referral to a neighbor which didn't turn out but after that she let us come in and talked to us for a few minutes. We taught her about he Book of Mormon, gave her a copy and then she sent us to a different apartment building where we ended up getting our new investigator! Pretty sweet, right?
We also got another investigator through a member. I guess she is just really confused about what we believe (and we think about what she believes) and we have another appointment in a few days. We have no idea how this will turn out because someone that is close to our member may actually be anti-ing (sp?) her which is depressing, but whatever. :/
The lowest point of the week was definitely Friday evening. It was pi day (3.14) and we got pie at lunch and we were able to do some service earlier in the day which was great, but our appointment that evening was a disaster. Not because we taught wrong or anything, but rather the investigator completely closed herself off to a discussion. She had a couple questions which we started to answer and then she shut us down and proceeded to have a happy conversation with the member we had brought with us. We attempted several times to get things back on track, but this went on for an hour and a half! Way longer than we're supposed to teach. We felt horrible after. We talked about it after and we think that the reason that things went so bad was really because the Spirit was essentially saying she isn't ready. It's pretty sad because she's a great Methodist lady and her member friends really want us to teach her, but we have no idea how to explain this to them... Oi!
Last night we went to a fireside called, "Why I Believe," for recent converts to share their conversion process and testimony. It was really cool! Some members took us and we went to support the most recent convert for some of the elders in our ward. She shared a fantastic testimony as well as the others that were there.
As far as today goes, I got to rescue a Book of Mormon and an Awake! magazine (Jehovah's Witness) from the garbage can in our apartment building's laundry room. There's a little table in there that has a copy of the Bible on it, so obviously we put a Book of Mormon there open to the portrait of Christ. The JW's come by every once in a while to put their magazine there as well. A few weeks ago we noticed that someone had put the Bible on top of the Book of Mormon and put both of those on top of the magazine. We of course rearranged so everything could be seen. Well, today obviously everything but the Bible had been thrown away. It's sad to see and meet so many "Christians" that really aren't Christian-hearted. I hope one day their eyes will be opened and they'll start acting the way Christ wants them too. BUT it's all just another witness to me that we have the true gospel and something in their spirit knows it, but the natural man has taken over so far that they have started fighting against us with fire. Luckily, we've got our own fire that cannot be quenched!
I love you all! Hope you're week is fabulous!

PS In case any of you didn't know, there are a MILLION squirrels in Indiana. Here's proof! One day I will eat one of these little critters!