Monday, February 24, 2014

Letter 17 -- Hey y'all :)

Hello Family :)

I don't have much time, but I wanted to write you all and bear my simple testimony about TRUTH. As stated in D&C 93, Truth is a knowledge of things as they are, were, and as they will be. TRUTH NEVER CHANGES. I know with all my heart, that God is a God of truth. He is the SAME yesterday, today, and forever. His gospel never changes. His love never changes. We can always trust in our loving Heavenly Father. In this life, there are many things that we can put our faith in - people, objects, feelings - but no matter what, the surest Thing we can put our trust in is the LOVE OF GOD. I am saying this with tears in my eyes because it means so much to me. Here on my mission, I see so many different people, different cultures, different experiences - people with eternally happy lives, temporary happy lives, and lives with no sign of happiness at all. People looking for the truth and "knowing not where to find it." As missionaries, we experience both praise and persecution for that which we know to be true. Despite anything that happens to me in my life, and no matter what anyone has to say, I know with all my heart that THE FULL TRUE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST HAS BEEN RESTORED!!! The truest, surest foundation we could possible have for time and all eternity is HERE. We have a prophet of God, the Book of Mormon, temples, families, THE PRIESTHOOD, and EVERYTHING we need in life to gain peace in this life and return to live with God again. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO SEARCH ANYMORE!!!! I can not express it enough, and to try and convey my full feelings in words feels like trying to launch a spaceship by merely lighting a match hahahaha. Get the picture?!?!?!?! I love this gospel with all my heart :)

We had an awesome experience yesterday. Our area here in London is pretty huge. Last night we had an hour and a half of open time so we decided to exercise our faith. We got out the map, and I prayed that the Lord would open Sister Mendenhall's heart to know where we need to go. After the prayer, she said she got her answer and pointed to a little tiny road on the top of our area. So we drove up there. Got out of the car, and the second door we knocked on, a man opened the door with a HUGE smile on his face. haha we found out he and his wife had gone to Temple Square on a business trip and loved the tour they were given. They remember learning about the Book of Mormon, and several years after that they were visited by another set of sister missionaries, but they ended up leaving the area just after that. A few years later we suddenly come to their doorstep! THE LORD TRULY KNOWS HIS CHILDREN!!! We taught them the first lesson, and the spirit was amazing. Sadly, they are so busy that they did not accept a second visit. But we left there with such high hopes for that family. Their time will come, and slowly but surely God is nourishing their seed. It was so amazing to be a part of it.

I'm sorry this is such a short email but please know that I love you all. I am so grateful for this oppurtunity to serve. Thank you all for the support and prayers. Never stop loving, reading, praying, and expressing gratitude for EVERYTHING that God has blessed you with in your life. Have a week and make it GREAT!! I LOVE YOU!!!!! :)

Sister Bodine

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Letter 16 - HAPPY FAMILY DAY!!!

Hello Everyone!!

Happy Valentine's Day! And Canada Happy Family Day! So many great holidays.
Family Day is a new holiday in Ontario as of three years ago I think? The city closed down A LOT of their stores, school was out, and no work so people could spend the day with their families. That is a holiday I will be bringing to the states when I get back. Loved it! Sister Mendenhall and I tried a new method of Teaching when we Find for the holiday. We got chocolates and taped a question for the soul on each one. Then we went around and told people that they could have a piece of candy if they answered the question haha. It was fun! It was great because it broke the ice from the beginning, showed people that we are normal (well as normal as Sister Mendenhall and I could be haha), and we could immediately refer to the gospel. Loved it!

Also, for Valentine's Day, we performed the girly act of Heart Attacking some of our investigators! It went so well and really helped our investigator, J...., open up even more to the point of HE asked US to come and visit! We committed the P.... family to doing that for their neighbors, and they had never heard of it before - so when we told Brother P.... to heart attack someone, he got this look of terror on his face hahaha not THAT kind of heart attack Brother P.... :)

So we had so many AMAZING people coming to church this Sunday! We called all of them Sunday morning to make sure all was well - a family of seven, a family of five, G...., L...., and a few others - and......... E... and D... were the only ones who ended up coming.. BUT E... AND D.... CAME TO CHURCH!!! We were happy about that :) E... is from Albania and we have talked to him quite a bit before. On Saturday we began talking to him but he was on the phone and had to leave, but before he left he said he wanted the address to the church because he wanted to come this week. We gave it to him, pretty positive that we would never hear from him again... but Sunday morning we got a text at 7 in the morning from E... saying he was COMING!!! We got him a ride, he stayed the whole time, and LOVED it. He hopes to come next week again! I love that :)
Mommy, I forgot to tell you, but we use a map in the car and with me not being the designated driver, I get to use it every day. Maps are awesome :) You are so right.

We taught a family and the husband is Jamaican. His accent is so strong it was pretty much impossible to understand what he was saying and the lesson wasn't going anywhere. Hahahaha I wish I could have seen what Sister Mendenhall and I looked like after he said something and waited for us to respond, but we had no idea what he said. Finally after a little while I finally told him in the most loving way possible, "I'm so sorry M...., but sometimes we have no idea what you are saying." Something caught our funny bones after I said that and Sister Mendenhall, M..., P... and I all just busted up laughing and couldn't stop haha it took us a few minutes to calm down. The amazing thing was that after that something changed and we could suddenly understand him! Not only that, but that experience really opened him up and he accepted to be baptized! Experiences like these make me love my mission so much :)

I love my mission. My understanding of God's Plan is increasing every single day. I love these people. I love days and times when things are challenging and don't go well. I love those times when the spirit is so strong it seems to drain all your energy. I love praying to my Heavenly Father and Knowing that He is listening. I love this gospel and everything else in my life. Thank you all so much for your support and prayers. I love you so much and hope you have a wonderful week! Make it great and keep your standards!!

Sister Bodine

Monday, February 10, 2014

Letter 15 - Guess Who's Happy??!

Hello Family and Friends!!
Another wonderful week in Canada :) The weather is great - we had a day where it was only -4 degrees - it was a SAUNA!!! ;)
There is so much I could say and so little time!! haha someday, after this life, we will all sit down together and replay ALL OF OUR EXPERIENCES in life - and we can rewatch everything I am unable to tell you now :)

First off, Sunday was amazing yesterday. K... and L... came today. The spirit was so strong throughout everything. In Relief Society, we had no investigators so we could just relax and enjoy the lesson without stressing in our minds about how C... or D.... or someone else might be taking it haha. The teacher, Sister Radtke, brought in the spirit so strong that I received an answer to a question I have had for a very long time. It was nothing Sister Radtke said specifically, but rather the way she invited the spirit - I can barely even remember what she said, but I came out with a mind FILLED with ideas and peace and power from what the SPIRIT taught me. Such a cool experience.
We received a missionary referral of a man named S... who lives in on the 12th Floor in a giant apartment building. We didn't have his room number so we decided to go tracting! Haha. We prayed to have the Lord take us to where his apartment is, and guess what happened? We felt that he lived on the right side of the hallway so we started knocking on all the doors. Nothing. We get to the last door, and a Chinese YSA girl opens the doors. We introduced ourselves and asked if we could come in and share a message with her and she said YES. haha that never happens. She has never heard of God before, so we taught her a SIMPLE piece of the Plan of Salvation - over and over she kept saying "Is this for REAL?!", "This is a miracle!" - we taught her about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, invited her to be baptized, and she accepted! We prayed with her, and as we said Amen we looked up and she had this look of wonder on her face. We asked her how she felt and she said, "I feel strange. I can't describe this feeling. Is this for real?!" hahahah i KNOW this gospel is true. I KNOW the spirit is real and powerful because Z..., a girl who had never heard about God before just received a confirmation for herself by the Spirit telling her that God was real. Wow.
G... has been doing very well in many ways and the rest of it is mysterious... hard to explain. He, at first, was doing everything to learn more about God, to feel the spirit, to REALLY come to find out if all this was true. And this past week it kind of transferred over to him doing it to please US, and make US happy, and show his gratitude for US.  We are really working on getting him more involved with the people in the church so he has a greater support group than just us. We feel that that will really help. PLEASE keep him in your prayers! G... is so great.
Something we learned this week is the spirit not only can help us know what to say, but it can also change the way we ACT when we teach. We dropped by a less-active, M... N..., a few days ago. We have tried a couple times before and he always says no to the visit. We dropped by again a few days ago, and he said he was sick and couldn't talk to us. Normally, Sister Mendenhall and I act very professional and mature as representatives of Christ - and that changed when we were talking with him. We turned back into our normal 19-year-old girl selves, joking with him, being sarcastic with him. We wouldn't let him close the door. We sang him a song, we testified, every time he denied our visit we kept saying "no" we are staying. Suddenly, he just cracked, he allowed us to pray with him, he told us why he hasn't been coming to church, he told us about his wife, he invited us back again..... After we left, Sister Mendenhall and I, stopped, looked at each other, and just said "what the heck just happened?" It was as if we had no control over how we were acting. The spirit completely took over and helped us act the EXACT way that Brother N... needed us to in order for him to open up. It was SUCH AN AMAZING experience. I still can't help but smile thinking about it. Oh Brother N... :)
We met with A... - the man I talked to while we were emailing last time - and he accepted a baptismal date for March 2!! YAY A...!!!!
We had another Restoration Musical Fireside tonight about the Restoration. The missionaries sang "Hark all Ye nations" together, and I got to sing "Joseph's Smith First Prayer." I LOVE SINGING. Heavenly Father has been blessing me with so many opportunities to use music as a tool for missionary work. Not to mention I get to play the piano every week for every district and zone meeting, sometimes during sacrament meeting, and always during Relief Society. And mommy, the amazing thing is I have been able to play EVERY SINGLE song they have given me without any problem! Sister Mendenhall and I were talking about it, and that is a COMPLETE blessing by the spirit. So grateful.
Exchanges were this week and OH MY GOODNESS!!! SUCH a great experience. I don't have much time left, but let me just say, Sister Stats taught me how to be BOLD. It was as though I am an egg, and Sister Stats  cracked me right open haha. The things she taught me, and the way she exemplified boldness will no doubt effect the rest of my mission.
I KNOW this gospel is true. I LOVE my Heavenly Father. I LOVE His Plan. I LOVE getting to share experiences with my family and friends back at home. Thank you for all that you do. Thank you for your prayers.
Make it a great week and know that prayers are coming your way from Canada!!
Sister Bodine

Monday, February 3, 2014

Letter 14 - READ THIS LETTER!!!

Haha coolest experience EVER!! My letter writing had to be put on hold for a minute because the man sitting next to me - a 23-year-old boy named A... from India - turned towards me and said, "Excuse me, but are you a Latter-Day Saint?"...... :) Of course I stopped writing and turned to talk to him. He met the missionaries on the street like five years ago and they gave him a card but he never called them. Later, he talked with some people from the church and they told him about the Book of Mormon and he was curious as to where he could buy one (if Walmart had any haha.. not YET). So I gave him one right there, taught him the Restoration, read from the Book of Mormon with him, committed him to read from it (He is SO EXCITED), taught him how to pray, and HE said a prayer with me right then and there just before he left...... I'm sitting on Cloud Nine right now haha this Gospel IS SO TRUE!!!!!

I loved all your letters so much this week :) Thank you so much for the support and prayers! It is so much fun to hear the work that is happening back at home. All the missionaries going out, coming home, getting calls.
G... F... has been renamed to be called "Sponge." He has been soaking up everything. The Book of Mormon. The members who come over. The missionaries. We're still working on making prayer meaningful with him. And we are working REALLY hard on the Word of Wisdom. G... KNOWS that the Book of Mormon is true now, and he KNOWS that Joseph Smith is a prophet. His baptismal date is for March 9th and he is hoping to move it up to sooner. We are working on helping him quit smoking which has been difficult because it has been a part of him for 25 years. BUT HE CAN DO IT!! Some of my favorite lessons we have had since I've been out have been with him and helping him recognize the Spirit, come to know the Savior more, and figure out ways to overcome this addiction. He is so amazing. PLEASE keep him in your prayers.
Another amazing experience. Sister Mendenhall had the feeling we should drop by a man named K... real quick on our way home one night. As we parked, we got out of the car, I looked and saw a lady quite a ways away sitting on her porch smoking a cigarette, and the tiniest, quietest feeling hit me that we should go and talk to her. When I say it was small, I mean it was SMALL and could have been easily passed over. We started walking towards K...'s house, and the thought came to me that I will always have a regret of not talking to that woman if we don't go, so I grabbed Sister Mendenhall and we ran over to her. She was definitely taken aback when she saw two girls in skirts and back packs running over to her, waving, with Huge smiles on our faces haha - I'd be scared if I were her. But as we talked to her, we found out her name was C..., she is from Chile. And She had a bunch of friends back in Chile who were members of the church. She said she was really close to being baptized but life got busy and it didn't end up happening. She said she read some of the Book of Mormon before, but she always borrowed her friend's and never had her own. So we gave her one of course! We prayed with her just before we left, and as we closed we looked up and saw that she was crying. She said "I really needed that." We both hugged her, and as I wrapped her up in my arms, I said "I love you." That will be something I will never forget because I KNOW it was not me saying it. As a missionary, I am a representative of Jesus Christ, acting, speaking, and serving in His name. And I KNOW that those words came from Him to C..., a daughter of Heavenly Father, who He knows and loves PERFECTLY. I love being a missionary for that reason. I AM A REPRESENTATIVE OF JESUS CHRIST!!! As members of the church, we not only know who Jesus Christ IS, but we have the fulness of the gospel that He taught, and we know 100% what we need to do to BECOME like Him and taste of His sacrifice for us. What a blessing.
I love this gospel. I love missionary work. I love my family, the members in this ward, prayer, commandments - everything that encompasses the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is all so amazing and I will never leave it. I will never forget it. I will never be the same again because of it. For all those who are not members of the church, and for those of you who are - If you want to feel this way also, read the Book of Mormon. Go to church and see what it is like. Talk to the missionaries. Call your friends or family who are from the church. PRAY. I CAN PROMISE YOU that you will FEEL the Atonement of Jesus Christ wrap you up into a peace and happiness that you have never felt before. Just try it :)
And I DO say these things in the the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

I love you all and hope you have an amazing week :) Make it amazing!!
Sister Bodine