Monday, September 8, 2014

Letter 45 -- Come What May and LOVE IT ALL!!!!!!!

Dear family :)

WE HAD THE COOLEST EXPERIENCES EVER THIS WEEK!!!!! Oh my goodness Sister Hsiung and I are just BEAMING with joy. I'll just go ahead and start with the reason why. The missionary deparment has been changing things up with the way we teach the lessons now. They are emphasizing the use of pamphlets in our teaching to focus on teaching simply. Sister Hsiung and I have been trying really hard to figure out how to teach in a way that is simple enough, yet powerful enough to help people FEEL it. A friend on a mission sent me notes of the instruction they received on how to teach the Restoration in their mission. The idea is to use the pictures in the pamphlet to assess what the investigator already knows about Christ, and focus on the First Vision. The whole Restoration should take 7-10 minutes to teach. And then you help the investigator pray with a question about what we have shared and after the prayer, you remain silent so they can focus on their thoughts and feelings. Sister Hsiung and I studied it, and practiced it - and we were pumped to try it out!!! The problem is...... we had two investigators at the time and one of them was out of town. So what does that mean? Go and teach everyone you see on the streets :) 

We talked with EVERYONE, and throughout the day, no one wanted to talk to us - we were both just dying to try out this new method. Prayer after prayer, we had the feeling to drop by a member on our ward list (we didn't know if she was less-active or not). So we went over, found out she was a less-active, and decided to teach her the restoration. The question she had was if Joseph Smith truly was a prophet. So we got on our knees and she prayed about it. After about a minute of silence, she looked up just beaming. She felt a calm feeling come over her and she KNEW that God had answered her prayer. WOW. 

And that was only the first experience. We decided to use this tool in every situation. We taught a teenage girl outside her house, prayed with her, and she felt something and was excited for us to come back. We taught a lady in her garage, and she felt something and "knew that [we] were servants of God". We taught a woman and her daughter in their home, and they both "had an impression that Joseph Smith was a prophet" and they decided that they wanted to be baptized. Miracle after miracle has happened these past couple days. 

Sister Hsiung and I decided that we needed to repent. We recognized that after each experience we had, we noticed that our excitement came out of surprise that it really worked. When that shouldn't be the case. Excitement should come because we KNOW that it would work, and that we were simply happy that they recognized the answer. We KNOW that God can and will answer prayers. Always. I know it. I felt it more than ever these past couple of days. I felt the spirit stronger, longer, and more distinct than I ever have in my life with these experiences. I have been feeling more love for these people than I ever have before. I KNOW that Joseph Smith saw God and Jesus Christ. It was a simple prayer that has changed eternity. Miracles are going to happen here. Seeds are being planted everywhere. I love this gospel so much :)

So exchanges have been a blast these past couple of weeks. This mission is jam packed with powerhouse missionaries. I have been learning so much from these amazing sisters. We had a fun district experience today. While on exchanges with a sister in my district, she expressed concerns about their apartment and how it was really hard to feel the spirit while there because it was so cluttered with things piling up from over the years. So our District decided to have a little cleaning party today! We went over to their apartment after studies, and cleaned it top to bottom, throwing pretty much everything out. Molded mattresses, a random car tire, broken bed frames, probably ten trash bags of leftover clothes... It felt good to get it all out. Afterwards we said a prayer together in the home and the spirit was strong :) It was so much fun.

Haha Heavenly Father gave me an opportunity to remember why I sing on my mission. It is to bring the spirit, and not recognition. Sister Hsiung and I volunteered to sing in Zone Council this past week. We got up there, and I honestly couldn't sing. I was so nervous that nothing would come out. I couldn't look people in the eye. Haha we were singing a capella so Sister Hsiung had the opportunity to sing solo for pretty much the whole first verse. It was so weird. I finally got a hold of myself and we finished singing. It sounded nice. Normally I would feel really awkward or embarrassed about it haha but I didn't! Thank goodness for my mission - haha teaching me the importance of "come what may and love it". But I definitely learned my lesson of making sure that I know WHY I am singing and who I am singing for.

Well, I love you all! I hope you enjoyed this email. If only I could fully express my thoughts and excitement with words! But this will have to do :) I truly feel like I am being the missionary that God wants me to be - I know He has so much more for me to do and I can get there, but I know now that it happens step by step. And it's important to enjoy the journey all along the way :) You are in my prayers as always. Happy Birthday to everyone. Happy Anniversary to whoever got married (since it seems like everyone is getting married right now haha), congrats on school starting and good luck!, and THAT IS SO COOL ABOUT UNCLE ART AND THE HSIUNGS!!!!! NO COINCIDENCES!!!!!!

Sister Bodine

A really big bear we found in Costco. And my cute companion :)

Sister Junadu let us wear her traditional Nigerian outfit :)
Serving in Canada

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