Monday, January 27, 2014

Letter 13 - WE'RE STAYING!!!!!!

Hello World!
Sister Mendenhall and I get to stay in the London First area for another transfer :) A true blessing from Heavenly Father that we will get to see our dear friends continue to progress towards a NEW LIFE for another six weeks!!! Miracles are going to happen... just you wait :)
So this week was a great one as always. I love this work. I love this ward. I love laughing after a door is slammed in our faces. I love humming a song with Sister Mendenhall when we overhear a swearing fight between two people. I still love running people down. This week Sister Mendenhall and I have loved working on BEARING OUR TESTIMONIES in every opportunity, holding nothing back. If they aren't interested, that's fine - but they WILL know what Sister Mendenhall and I KNOW to be true. I know that later in their life, something will happen, someone will come into their lives, or they will hear something, and the spirit will touch their hearts and remind them of the time they talked to two Sister Missionaries on the street about a "True message." We continue to teach in every possibility that we have.
One of my favorite stories from this past week, is we were going to visit a less-active in our ward and accidentally (not accidentally in the Lord's eyes) knocked on this wrong door. A sweet old man from Germany answered the door. While talking to him, he showed us a picture of his wife who passed away a couple years ago. As I looked at her picture, this overwhelming feeling came over me and I could just FEEL his wife's presence. My eyes filled with tears - I know that his wife is learning the gospel of Jesus Christ in the spirit world right now (D&C 138 is one of the best sections EVER) and she is just waiting for her work to be done and for her husband to accept the gospel. I took that to heart and Sister Mendenhall and I told M... what we KNEW to be true. He still didn't want anything to do with it, so we offered to sing him a song :) After singing "Where Can I Turn For Peace" he looked at us and said "Now that is an experience I will never forget." M... WILL accept the gospel one day. The seed has been planted. What a blessing to be there to see the spirit work on his heart. Someday M......, someday!
Another AWESOME experience. First off, you need to know that it is COLD here. A couple days ago it was -33 degrees with wind chill. Sister Mendenhall thinks I am superwoman because I only ever wear one pair of tights. While I might be superwoman, it's mainly because I don't have the patience to put more than one pair on haha. But anyways. It is freezing cold here. The greatest blessing is that EVERYONE owns a dog or a cat in Canada. And dogs need to go to the bathroom and have the chance to walk outside. So people are outside :) Also, it snows here. And people have to shovel their driveways to go to work. So more people are outside :) Obviously we end up paying them a little visit. So yesterday we stopped to talk to this lady (YSA age). At first, she was completely against religion in general. "If there is a God in heaven, then why does there have to be so much bad in the world? I am never having kids in this world. I could never believe in something higher with all this down here. I wish I could just dig a hole and bury myself in it." We assured C.... that digging a hole in the ground and living in it wouldn't be that much happier or more exciting than the world haha. We talked to her about God's Plan, that we are here to find happiness. We talked to her about agency. We prayed a lot in our hearts :) and oh my goodness I hope in the next life we will be able to rewind and replay experiences in our lives. We witnessed "a mighty change of heart" come over C... as the spirit worked on her. She smiled, she laughed, she came to admit to herself that she did have a belief in God. She gladly accepted a Book of Mormon and was more than willing to pray with us. Before we left she said, "You girls really opened my eyes to something amazing today." That is what this mission is about. That "something amazing" is the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is so real and so powerful.
Growing up in the church, it is sometimes easy to think of the Restoration as a nice story/history of the church. You know that it's true, but you don't necessarily think about the impact or the way it will affect someone who has not known it their whole lives. That is something I have been working on this past week. While testifying of the Message, I have been trying really hard to WATCH intently for signs of the spirit working on those we are talking to. It has really changed the way I go about this work. Not just believing that the spirit can testify and teach, but truly LOOKING for signs of the spirit has opened my eyes to the importance of this message.
Last story. G... F.... Wow. G... has met with the missionaries several years back, but this has been a different experience for him. He has truly been prepared. G... has been SOAKING up the Book of Mormon and lessons we have been giving him. He looks forward to everything we tell him about the church. He has marvelled at the "illumination" of the people in the church and the church itself. haha. He is SO sensitive to the spirit. We finished teaching him the restoration this week, and he addressed the concern of not knowing if Joseph Smith really was a prophet or just another phony like a lot of people he has met who call themselves prophets. I bore my testimony about how I truly knew Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, called to restore the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and G.... cut me off by saying "Wow!! Just as you were talking, for a split second there everything in my mind like left me and my mind seemed to have completely cleared. Was that like the spirit of Joseph Smith talking to me or something?" hahahah we jumped for joy and told him THAT WAS THE SPIRIT OF GOD!!!!!!!!! G... accepted to be baptized on March 9. We went through some baptismal questions and he now knows that Joseph Smith was a true prophet. I LOVE THIS SPIRIT!!!! G... has been telling everyone and everything about the Church. We talked to a man named C... yesterday and he said that he met a guy in the mall a few days back who started telling him all about the Book of Mormon and the things he was learning. We asked C... what the guy's name was and he said G... F.... hahahah he's a missionary!! G... explained to us that he has had no support so far from friends or family about "learning from the Mormons". But he told us he doesn't care - that he is going to keep going with his feelings rather than what other people say. Such an amazing person.

Well I love this work. I know this gospel is true. The Spirit is real, and powerful, and I KNOW it testifies of truth. I love my Savior. And I love you all! I hope you have a great week!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Letter 12 - I love this :)

Holy Cannoli my mommy and daddy are on a CRUISE right now!! Be safe! Have fun! Daddy don't get seasick, and make sure Sister Lunt doesn't get carried away with the dolphins!
It's so good to hear how everyone is doing :) Thank you all so much for the letters and support. I LOVE MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS SO MUCH!!!! Good luck with school everyone! I pray for you to be smart all the time! Is the weather pretty cold in Oklahoma now? I can picture the wind being like ours. Really hard and it bites you to the bone? It's the greatest.

Well, once again, it was a wonderful week. Wonderful Wonderful WONDERFUL. I love my mission so much. Transfers are next week for the mission. Sister Mendenhall thinks she's leaving and I'm staying. I agree, but we shall see! "I'll go where you want me to go, dear Lord" :)

So there are a few matters of business I have forgotten to add the past few weeks. First off, I thought you would appreciate knowing that my bishop LOOKS exactly like George Costanza, and SOUNDS exactly like Newman. I can't help but chuckle to myself every time we talk to him. He is the jolliest man alive. I'll try and get a picture with him before I leave the area. Also, Garrett and Andrea, can you please talk to Jenae and tell her that I know her mission buddy Laura Jewer/Christensen!! She is in our ward and she is AMAZING!!! And last of all, I love my mission :)

Sister Mendenhall and I have been LOVING contacting people on the streets. We have so many fun experiences - most of them have to do with trying to teach a Chinese, Nepalise, Farsi, Cambodian, Sudanese, Spanish, Korean, or Portugese person about the Gospel of Jesus Christ using hand gestures because of the language barrier. Haha it's pretty exciting. We have been working really hard to TEACH WHEN WE FIND in every situation, and we are pretty persistent with it. I love it. Sometimes, the streets are empty and the only way we can talk to people is running after them even if the person we see is several blocks away. We have been getting a pretty good work out lately. But it's still not enough exercise to burn off the food our members feed us :)

Last week, on our way to an appointment, we ran into a man and started talking to him. His name is G... F... and we found out that he met with the missionaries several years ago. He LOVED what he was learning, he went to church with them once, but then both missionaries were transferred out and they lost contact. We met with him and he seemed to be on CLOUD NINE the whole time. He soaked up everything we were saying. He came to church yesterday, loved the people, thought the talks were phenomenal, and is so excited to come again next week. You can tell when he is enjoying what he hears because his eyes go really wide, his mouth is slightly opened with a teeny little half smile. It's the best sight ever :) G... F... is AMAZING!!

We met with a man named B... from our apartment building this week. We aren't supposed to proselyte in our building, but if someone wants to learn more then we can teach them. We talked with B... and he was SO EXCITED for us to drop by. B... was in a major car accident about 14 years ago, and he developed severe epilepsy because of it. He is less functional than he used to be, and we are trying to decide if he even needs to be baptized because of his mental disabilities. He came to sacrament meeting yesterday and loved it so much. He is so excited to come back next week. You can not find a more tender-hearted man than B... B.... He is very sensitive and cries a lot. We sang him "Joseph Smith's First Prayer" when we taught him the first lesson and he was bawling. There will always be a special place in my heart for B... :)

One of my favorite parts of being a missionary, and I have talked a little about it before, is working with members. I have been the witness of missionary work touching the hearts of not only people without the Gospel of Jesus Christ in their lives, but also members of the church. Our ward is on FIRE with missionary minds. A few days ago, we took Sister P... - the sweetest, shyest person you could possibly meet - with us to teach a couple lessons. Both lessons fell through and she offered to stay with us still to go and do some drop-bys and talk to people on the street. It was so hard for her. She cried many times, and could barely speak when we asked her to bare her testimony. We felt so bad, we thought it would be best to take her home, but she wanted to stay and help. This last Sunday, Sister P... was a different person. Outward looking, talking to people, visiting with our investigators - there was a light about her that I have never seen before. It was amazing. Many other experiences like that have been happening in our ward, but I am running out of time so I will save them for later :)

I KNOW that this Church is in FACT the Lord's Kingdom on the earth. The Gospel is true. Joseph Smith Restored the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and translated -by the power of God -  the most amazing Book on earth. I love my Savior, Jesus Christ and I will continue to serve Him and represent Him with ALL MY HEART. I love you all and I hope you have a great week! Make it great!!!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Letter 11 - Miracles Miracles Miracles!!!!!

Hi my Family!!!

Another AMAZING week this last week. The Lord loves the London 1st area :) So much has happened and so little time, so I am going to share just a few of the BEST experiences this past week. I love my mission so much. IT'S THE GREATEST!!!
So Friday was a day of miracles. Everything went right! Sister Mendenhall and I were on Cloud Nine just thinking about all the blessings God has been pouring out on these people. One of the best experiences was on Friday with S.... :)
S.... is Jamaican and we are meeting with her again this week. We had a whole lesson with S.... with her door closed :) hahaha. After knocking on the door, someone yelled "Who is it?!" --> "Missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" --> "What can I do for you?" --> "Better question is what can we do for you?" --> *silence behind the door* hahahaha. She told us she wasn't interested, but we just kept talking. We asked her about her life, her family, her job. We gained a relationship with her and quietly slipped in the gospel and started teaching. We taught her the Restoration, we testified, asked questions, prayed with her... It was such a great experience. And this whole time, we were outside, she was inside, with the door shut in the middle. Sister Mendenhall and I laughed so hard after that experience we could not believe what had just happened. I now KNOW that the spirit can soften the heart of a person even through a closed door :) We are so excited to meet her face to face.
Another favorite experience. M...  was a referral from his next door neighbor, E... that we had talked to a couple days previous. We dropped by M... yesterday. He is a Catholic and did not want to hear our message at all. We asked him some questions, found out that his wife was sick with cancer, and focused our message on that. The spirit was so strong, even through our weak and simple words - you could see M....'s sweet 75-year-old heart softening. We sang "Where Can I Turn For Peace," prayed with him, read passages from the Book of Mormon with him, and as he left, he wouldn't let go of my hand he was so grateful that we had come over. I gained such a love for M.... on his doorstep. I could FEEL God's love for His son. I knew that Jesus Christ understood M...'s pain regarding his wife. I KNOW that this message is exactly what he needs. It's exactly what everyone needs. God has a way of preparing His children to hear the word of God. It is our job as missionaries to knock on the door, and then (from the words of Elder Bednar) get out of the way so the Spirit can teach.

We dropped by C.... with the plan to focus on effective prayer and scripture study and how to have a better experience at church. We got to her house and she was a complete different person. She was BEAMING. We asked her how her praying was; she has been praying every night, she recognizes that the spirit gives her so much peace when she prays, and she is excited to start implementing morning prayers as well. We asked how her scripture study was; she said it is getting easier for her to read. She hasn't been reading everyday, but she is SO EXCITED to start a reading log and track her reading every day. We gave her a triple combination as she almost started crying out of happiness to have the Doctrine and Covenants (and she texted us a couple minutes after we left with a question about verses she had already read since we left her house). We asked her how she felt about baptism on January 26th and she seemed fine with it. She says she has to pray first and is willing to talk to her mom about it again. She LOVES the Word of Wisdom. She came to church and was the LEADER of the pack, answering every question, helping the younger girls. I have never seen a bigger smile on her face than when she walked in the chapel, with her arms tightly hugging her new triple combination :) Oh my goodness if I was on my mission JUST to see C.... progress in the gospel like this, it would all be worth it. I love her so much.
Yesterday, Sister Mendenhall and I were in charge of the Youth Fireside for our ward. We were asked to focus on "friends" from the Strength of Youth pamphlet. I just want to tell all my friends out there THANK YOU. I have been so blessed with people in my life who have influenced me for the better. Leaders, high school friends, soccer teammates, ward members, family members, friends' family members.... so many amazing influences who have helped me get to where I am now. YOU MEAN THE WORLD TO ME. I can not express my gratitude enough. Thank you :) I also came to know by this experience that I LOVE THE YOUTH!!!! I hope with all my heart that it is in God's Plan for me to work with the Young Women someday. It is my dream I love them so much.
Well I know this gospel is true. I know that God's Plan is PERFECT. I love the Book of Mormon with all my heart. I LOVE THE COMMANDMENTS. If you want to feel God's love for you, study His commandments (which is pretty much all the scriptures haha), see the reason why He gives us commandments, the blessings that come as we obey His commandments, and the people we become as we do so as well. This gospel is true. Never forget it.
I LOVE YOU ALL!!! HAVE A GREAT WEEK!!! Thank you for your prayers for the people here in Canada. We can feel it and See it.
Sister Bodine


The beginning of the week it was -24 degrees. Schools were closed down it was so cold. But the spirit doesn't stop working in cold weather :) We tracted all night until we literally couldn't walk haha it was so amazing. But the weather is GREAT now. We got up to 3 degrees yesterday! I'm not wearing a coat right now to celebrate haha. It's so much fun. I love the cold!!!!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Letter 10 - YES YES YES!!!

Hi family :)
So good to hear from all of you! Thank you so much for the letters and support I received this week. It means the world to me knowing I have all of you back at home living, and serving, and praying for the cause of Christ as well! We are all on a mission :)
Miracles happened yesterday! After much prayer - despite the time change of church, and the adversary working hard on our investigators - P..., A..., A..., D..., K..., C..., C..., A..., and K... ALL came to church! WE HAD TWO ROWS IN GOSPEL PRINCIPLES CLASS!!!! Not to mention, J..., L..., D..., and M... (all less actives) came as well. Testimony meetings are the most powerful experiences, and they are my favorite part of church from what I've seen on my mission. D... got up and shared the most powerful testimony ever. There are some members of our ward who sometimes tend to be overlooked, and seem quiet and weak in the ward's eyes - and they got up and shook the house with their thoughts. As I was sitting in Sacrament Meeting, tears filled my eyes time and time again as I thought about what I was doing and experiencing on this mission. If the ONLY reason I was in London, Canada right now was to witness A... and A... hear the ward members testify of their Savior Jesus Christ, and that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and the Book of Mormon was true, it would be worth it. It would be MORE than worth it. I am so happy to be on this mission. I love seeing people change. I love coming to church. I love eating at ward members homes and helping them feel the Savior's love more fully. I love knowing that even after talking with someone and they had NO DESIRE to hear this message, I love knowing that they heard how I feel about the gospel. And one day, they will have an experience that will open their eyes, and the spirit will take them back to the time they talked to two sister missionaries on the street, and they will be ready to hear more.
Sister Mendenhall and I really focused on setting goals this week and doing everything to fulfill it. One of our "raising the bar" standards is to talk to 10 people individually independent of tracting, working with members, or teaching lessons. This seems an easy goal for a missionary, but with a HUGE city, a car, and lessons galore every day - this is very difficult for us haha. And THAT is what we decided to work on for our daily goal yesterday. God put so many amazing people in our path. At 8 at night, we needed to talk to five more people to reach our goal. So on our way home, I said a prayer as we were driving, and we decided to park on a busy street and have faith that the Lord would put his prepared children in our path. We got out and ran haha. We chased after this man, called to him to get him to stop, and we started talking. We found out that he had met with missionaries before! He had a Book of Mormon! He knows that Joseph Smith is a prophet! HE NEEDS TO BE BAPTIZED!!!! Haha. I Know that as we set a goal, and pray with faith that that goal will be achieved... it WILL be achieved! And if it isn't, if you did your best, then God will pour out His blessings in some other way because He knows that you gave it your all.
IT IS COLD HERE IN LONDON. hahaha our poor little toes suffer every time we step out of the car. I LOVE when we talk to people and they like get frustrated that we are outside talking to people in such cold weather. "Why on EARTH are you girls out here in such cold weather?!" Well.....  let us tell you why ;) hahaha it's great. I'm really working on trying new things and improving my ability to testify and teach on the streets. I'm learning to love it more and more. AH I JUST DON'T WANT TO LEAVE!!!!!!!

So many of you talked about how you saw a change in me in my last letter, that I seemed to be a completely different person in such a short time! And it is true. I have had so many eye opening experiences, and wake-up calls galore to the person I am, and the person that I need to be. And quite frankly, I am NOWHERE close to where I need to be! Haha and that is what is changing me. I know that to be true, and it seems to have given me a sense of urgency and greater motivation to give it my all which is more than I have been giving - even when I feel that I am giving my all. There is a quote that a missionary said recently, "In life we will never achieve 100%, when 90% is good enough". How true is that? We NEED to give our ALL if we want to truly see miracles and qualify for ALL the blessings God is prepared and willing to bestow on us. For these past 2 1/2 months, I have been working hard. And that is great. But last week, I realized that I was still the same person as I was 2 1/2 months ago. And that person is NOT GOOD ENOUGH to be a representative of Jesus Christ. That person is not good enough to have the power to look someone in the eye and testify with unwavering faith and power that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the point of them feeling the Spirit and seeing that there is MORE to life. It is time to change. I know that I am not perfect and I will never be perfect. Sometimes, while I am trying to allow God to mold me, I get discouraged for a minute knowing that I did my best and I still didn't say the right thing, or they still didn't accept the message. Or I tried and I still missed the point that God needed me to share. But the fact is, I know now that I need to change and improve and I am allowing God in my life more fully now to do that. It feels so good :) There is SO much more to do. And that is what makes this mission just so great :)
Well I love you all! Thank you so much! I can't express my gratitude enough!! Keep being the wonderful people that you are and know that Sister Bodine LOVES YOU!!!!! Keep your standards!!
Sister Bodine