Monday, April 27, 2015

What My Mission Has Meant To Me :)

This is one of the hardest things I could possible do! Haha the reason being, you would need to give me 18 months and 1 week's worth to really help you understand a portion of what this mission has meant to me! If you you have or are serving a mission you know how I feel :) I have a testimony of beginning with the end in mind as a result of my mission. Originally, I did not plan to serve a mission because the things stated in my Patriarchal Blessing made it seem that God needed me to be focusing on strengthening the members of the church rather than serving a mission and teaching people that have not heard about it (I definitely didn't understand missionary work at that time haha). But now, looking back, I know with all my heart that none of the promises in my Blessing could have been fulfilled had I not served a mission. I have BECOME a true disciple. My nature has been changed. I have always had a strong testimony. I have always lived the standards, and loved everything about the gospel. But now I know how to share that with others. I know how to strengthen the members of the church the way God needs me to. I understand the basic doctrines of the gospel so now my foundation is firm and undaunted. I will not be swayed. I PROMISE to continue the simple, vital habits of "CPR" to continue to learn about God's plan - the FULNESS of His gospel. I love this work. It is God's kingdom. The Book of Mormon is God's word. Joseph Smith was God's chosen representative, and Thomas S. Monson is His chosen prophet today. It is God's "work and [His] glory" to see His children happy. And there is no way that I could be happier with the work that He has called me to perform. I love this place with all my heart. These people are my world. I am so grateful for my Savior, for His sacrifice, His life and example. He has been my strength and my song through this journey. I WILL SPEND THE REST OF MY LIFE bearing witness that He IS the Christ, the Son of the living God. Our Savior and our Brother. Pretty soon, my name tag will be taken off, but no one can take off what has been written on my heart. I am a full-out, true and true disciple of Jesus Christ. My duty is to help people see HIS light through me for the rest of my life. Challenge accepted :)

Letter 78 - The Last Stretch SPRINT

Hello everyone :)

This is it! The last week of the most amazing 18 months and 1 week OF my life (so far) and FOR my life. A ward member was talking to me yesterday asking me about my feelings of going home. They were hinting at me being scared/nervous/unprepared for this next step. I was SO grateful for the spirit and the confirmation that I felt when I was able to confidently tell them that I AM READY. Everything is set in Utah that needs to be set, I have made my goals in advance, I know the person that I will continue to be - I am excited and grateful to live this last week the same as any other week of my mission and LOVE EVERY MINUTE OF IT.

We had exchanges last Tuesday with our Sister Training Leaders, Sister Howle and Sister Davidson. Haha Sister Chelson and I are very similar in that we get SO excited about things like District Meeting, Zone Training, etc. And with this being her first exchange, she was ecstatic. We were bouncing off the walls on Monday. I was blessed to go back to the wonderful land of Brampton with Sister Howle! Haha it was funny to answer the phone saying, "Hello this is Sister Howle and Sister Bodine" because people would respond with, "Hey how are...... uh.... wait..... Sister Bodine?" We were blessed to meet with pretty much every person in Brampton that I love. We got to tract, contact, plan together again. It was so refreshing getting to serve with Sister Howle again. She truly is an amazing missionary. We had lunch with Donna Purchase, we visited the Barillas family, Abigail, Betty Walling, etc. The highlight of exchanges, however, was definitely getting to visit with Brother Newall again. We didn't tell him that I was coming, so Sister Howle recorded it as we had our reunion. Brother Newall was smiling from ear to ear the entire time haha. He was so excited to tell me everything that has happened in the past month. He is going home teaching now, he passed the sacrament. The thing he is most excited about is getting to help out with cleaning the chapel every Saturday. Haha he did a little dance in his chair as he told me that this next Saturday, the cleaning leader is going to be gone and they appointed Brother Newall to be in charge of the cleanup. And what's even cooler?! Last week he taught the lesson in Elders Quorum!!! Wow. He told me he was terrified, especially because the topic was Joseph Smith, the part of the Restoration that he had a hard time with when we first started teaching him. It was so fun to hear him bear his testimony though about how much he had learned about Joseph Smith as he was preparing for the lesson, and how he KNOWS without a shadow of a doubt now that that man is a prophet of God. He is SHINING. What a gift to see.

Yesterday was one of the best Sundays of my mission. We had a Stake Conference broadcast from Salt Lake with Sister Reeves, Elder Kacher, Elder Anderson, and Elder Hales speaking. POWERFUL. I received so much insight for the people we are teaching and for how we can help our ward members get excited about missionary work. After the broadcast, we started our mini mission!!! I had Sister Ashley Fuller (17) and Sister Doretta Jackson (13) with me, and Sister Chelson was in a car with a couple beehives and a leader as her companions. Sister Fuller and Sister Jackson drove with me. We had two teaching appointments and a little bit of time to tract as well. We also had a regular dinner appointment. Before we left, all our different groups split up and we practiced teaching the Restoration. This was the first time both of my companions have ever done that before, and they did SUCH a good job! It was so much fun seeing how excited they were after the appointments. The people we visited knew that it was their first time and they praised them so much for the good work that they did. Both girls were on top of the world as they bore their testimonies at testimony meeting about how they want to serve a mission now.
  And it was AMAZING to see how excited the LEADERS were with the activity. Every single one of them that bore their testimonies talked about how much that experience opened their eyes to missionary work. The leader that went with Sister Chelson's group shared her story with us. She has felt that she needed to share the gospel with a certain neighbor for TEN YEARS. And today, as they were in the car, she decided that it was time :) They went to his home and invited him to come to the "Meet the Mormons" showing our ward is putting together next week. She was SO EXCITED. 
   Another cool experience was our friend Sister Goodrich gave the Book of Mormon to one of her friends she has been thinking about! We will see where that goes :)

Cutest moment of the week: We joined the youth at Missionary Olympics for a mutual activity on Wednesday. The last part of the night, they had a scripture Jeopardy game. One of the questions was, "What did the Savior say to his apostles when they were in the storm on the boat, and Peter asked the Savior if He was going to allow them to perish. This cute little Beehive was the last person to answer and she didn't know what to say so she guessed, "Come to my side of the boat?" Haha May we all choose to come to the Savior's side of the boat so He can keep us safe and protected amidst life's storms. :)

Well I love this work. I don't really know what to say, what parting words to give. I am just grateful for it all. I know this is Christ's church. It is God's kingdom. The Book of Mormon is God's word. Joseph Smith was God's chosen representative, and Thomas S. Monson is His chosen prophet today. It is God's "work and [His] glory" to see His children happy. And there is no way that I could be happier with the work that He has called me to perform. I want to thank you ALL for the support that you have given me. And for the prayers that you have sent to the wonderful people in Ontario Canada. I love this place with all my heart. These people are my world. I am so grateful for my Savior, for His sacrifice, His life and example. He is been my strength and my song through this journey. I WILL SPEND THE REST OF MY LIFE bearing witness that He IS the Christ, the Son of the living God. Our Savior and our Brother. 

I love you all :) And I am BEYOND excited to see you and hug you and thank you on Saturday!!! May God bless you for EVERYTHING you are to me. 

Sister Bodine

Monday, April 20, 2015

Letter 77 - Enjoying EVERY aspect of missionary work.

Hello Everyone!

As you can probably tell from my header, things are going great here and Sister Chelson and I are enjoying every aspect of the missionary work. Including this.... I got bit by a dog!!!! What a privilege. The little guy LOOKED harmless. He was sitting outside all alone on a leash so I walked up to him very slowly, knelt down, and stuck my hand out like a little angel ;) He backed away and we stared at each other for about 5-10 seconds. When he didn't make a move I decided to get up to leave. Next thing I know I hear a growl, a rustling, and a pain go into my leg. The little guy bit me! Hahahaha Sister Chelson and I were so shocked that we kind of stood there in silence looking at each other for several seconds, then we bust up laughing. It broke the skin so we were advised by our mission nurse for me to go home IMMEDIATELY and wash my leg out excessively as well as go to the emergency room if I see any signs of infection or weird occurrences on the wound (no need for that now- I am fine. Just an awesome bruise). Funny thing was it was one of our days where we decided to walk to the other side of the world haha so we looked in the direction of home, took a deep breathe and began to speedwalk. Such a great way to end a wonderful Friday evening :)

Sister Chelson and I felt that we needed to spend more time in Mississauga this past week. As we did that, we found a lot of people to teach! Someone that we are very excited for is S.... S... is from India, his family is Hindu/Sikh but they didn't practice it very much. He told us that he always felt that there was something missing in his life. His friend at school introduced him to Christianity and he told us that hole was filled with the Savior. He loves EVERYTHING about Jesus Christ. And with it being so new in his life he is just soaking up every opportunity to learn more about Christ. We met with him at a Dairy Queen (we obviously had to buy some ice cream while we were there :)) and taught him the Restoration. He loved it all. It made so much sense to him and he told us that he just felt so much peace. Sister Chelson did an AMAZING job in that lesson. She teaches with so much power. Please pray for S...!!

I just love listening to the stories of people's conversions and testimonies and faith-building experiences. Espcially Jamaicans'. They have SO MUCH FAITH. We visited our friend P... - she is a devout member of her church with a strong love for everything in the Bible. She started sharing her experiences and it was easy to see that she was never going to stop :) I wish we had a lifetime to listen to her experiences! The coolest thing was hearing her bear her testimony about the Book of Mormon. She doesn't plan on changing her religion right now, but she told us about how she has felt as she has read from the Book of Mormon. She took it to her church and all her friends were appalled. She showed them the King James Bible that we gave her as well and they grabbed it out of her hands and told her that they would show her how "our Bible was wrong". They opened to a passage and began to read. It was the same as theirs. Then they opened to another passage and began to read... it was the same as theirs. P.... told us that she smiled and told them, "You see? It's the King James Version. Now give me back my Bible, quit complaining, and read the Book of Mormon as well." haha she is great. Please pray for her!

Sister Chelson and I were blessed to go to Niagra Falls today! That has been on my bucket list for many years now,  so that was a major treat. It's definitely one of the 7 wonders of the world for a reason. It's amazing. And the Canadian side is GORGEOUS. I was on cloud nine the whole time. God created a beautiful world. Sister Semyroz took us - she is a wonderful older woman in the ward and we just love her so much. We asked if she would join us, and she said she would love to but it would be hard for her to walk that whole way because of her knees. So what did we do? We got a wheelchair! Not to mention, Sister Chelson has been having a hard time with her heel and ankle lately and it tends to be hard to walk sometimes. So we got a cane for her! We were a pretty funny sight, two missionaries, one with a cane and another pushing an older woman in a wheelchair. And we were just smiling the whole way. We woke up this morning and it was pouring rain. Sister Semyroz didn't look very excited to go when it was raining, but we assured her that we had full faith that things were going to work out. We said a prayer, and on our drive there it went from pouring rain, to a strong mist, to a deep fog, to clouds without rain. It was perfect weather when we got there. And because of the weather, it was pretty much baron so we got a great parking spot and didn't have to walk very far. We were very blessed. On our way out, a woman came up to us and told us with a huge grin that she was a member from the Phillippines! We got to give her a big hug and took a picture with her. Tender mercies at Niagra Falls.

I think one of my favorite things this past week was helping members feel the spirit in their homes at dinner appointments and other lessons. Sister Chelson is getting so good at asking people inspired questions to help them open up. Our Bishop heard about me leaving so he actually announced it in Sacrament meeting, and as a result, we have dinner and lunch appointments every day for the next couple of weeks. More time to get to know the members :) we are excited. We have let them know that we don't need dessert haha. But the members are definitely beginning to trust missionaries. It is amazing. They have been inviting us over when their less-active friends were visiting, when they had non-members friends hanging out, etc. It's wonderful.

I love you all! I hope you have a great week! Good luck with finals and work and family and life and everything else that is happening! Happy Birthday if you had a birthday recently! And give yourself a hug from me if you are having a bad day. Keep your standards!! I STILL LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS CALLING!!!!!!!!!!!

Sister Bodine

Monday, April 13, 2015

Letter 76 -- Good things always happening on a mission.

Hello wonderful family!

This was a BEAUTIFUL week. Sister Chelson and I were blessed to walk about without a jacket on yesterday! Things are starting to get green. People are OUTSIDE. I love contacting people on the streets. Sister Chelson is such a personable person. She does a great job making people feel loved. Her smile is CONTAGIOUS.

Our excitement for the week came yesterday at church and in fast and testimony meeting. Person after person went up to share their testimony of missionary experiences that they have been having with friends and family. The stake had a fast for missionary experiences three weeks before we came into the ward, and they are beginning to see the fruits of their faith. They are having friends asking about the church, family members coming back to church, and they are getting more confident with sharing the gospel!!! The spirit in that testimony meeting was more powerful than I have probably ever felt in a testimony meeting before. And a LOT of people went up. We have been writing thank you notes to the members that have been helping us with our missionary efforts - it is amazing what a simple thing can do to get people excited to do more. Even our Bishop is getting excited. Whenever I went on exchanges here, the sisters talked about how great the ward was but they weren't very missionary minded, the Bishop didn't talk much about missionary work and very little action was taking place. The two companionships in our ward had dinner with the Bishop and his family. As we talked with them, the spirit was filling the room. It was easy to tell that we all felt it. And we saw a change in our Bishop when we saw him at sacrament meeting! He encouraged to have everyone invite the missionaries over to feel the spirit in their homes, that the spirit we bring is "contagious", as well as he invited everyone to prayerfully consider, as a family, what they are going to do to be missionaries.

Our ward is also planning a mini mission on the last Sunday that I will be here! We will be taking the youth around with us to teach lessons, role play, contact, and even have a dinner appointment. This will be such a good chance for the youth to see how amazing a mission is!

Sisters Chelson, Barton, Sudweeks and I sang a song in Sacrament Meeting yesterday also and it went very well!!

GUESS WHAT!!!!!!! We had dinner with Brother and Sister Anampiu yesterday. Brother Anampiu was telling us about his conversion story. He was baptized four years ago. And then he asked me if I knew his missionary because he was from Orem. Elder Henderson!!!! I thought it was so cool to be able to see the fruits of Elder Henderson's service. That Brother Anampiu is a worthy Priesthood Holder, has gone through the temple, is married to a wonderful woman in the church, and is bearing HIS testimony to us about the gospel. Many people in this ward still talk about Elder Henderson here. Seems like he really made an impression on these members! Thanks for your service Trevor!!

I am so excited for this ward. Thank you all so much for your prayers because it is working in the lives of the people in this area. Sister Chelson and I love these people SO MUCH!!!! We are so happy :) And we PROMISE to continue to work to until we drop!!! We will give it our ALL this week. I love you all so much!!! Have a great week!!! Keep your standards!!!

Sister Bodine

Monday, April 6, 2015

Letter 75 -- General Conference, Easter visits, and help from angels :)

Hello wonderful family :)

Could General Conference have been any more powerful?? Wow it was wonderful. I went with a few questions and left with those questions answered at MANY different times. We loved being able to watch it in the chapel with our members. So many good talks. I LOVED Kevin W. Pearson's talk. And Elder Holland always mesmerizes me in his talks haha. The last session, we watched it at Sister Semyroz's home. It was her first time ever, in her 40 years of being a member, that she was able to watch it with someone in her home and she kept thanking us for it. We made dinner together aftewards and had a delicious turkey dinner feast! Happy Easter everyone :) Did you know that this is my favorite holiday?? I love it. But I really loved it this year, because, for the first time I tracked the different things each day at different times of what must have happened to the Savior leading up to his miraculous Resurrection. It was a very sacred experience.

So Monday through Thursday was a BLAST. We didn't have a car, and our area is much larger than it should be if you are on foot haha so we spent all day walking, running, sprinting, sweating, laughing, teaching, running some more, and laughing even MORE when it started to rain like ten minutes after we got our car back on Thursday. Such a great time. 
   The best thing that happened was the decision we made to go drop by S... She and her family has met with missionaries periodically over a span of 7 years! She absolutely loves the missionaries, she knows the Book of Mormon is true, and she defends the church any time someone talks negatively about it! We went over and she invited us in immediately. Her children were home so we invited them all to come and join us. C...  and N.... They are such good boys! As we talked, we got into a conversation about the Book of Mormon. C... expressed his desire to read the Book of Mormon so we gave him his very own. It seemed like Christmas time because he reverently took that Book into his arms, with wide eyes, and over and over again during the visit he would say, "thank you SO MUCH again for this. This means the world to me. I am going to start reading it right once you leave." We shared our testimonies about how the Book of Mormon helps strengthen our relationship with our families, it can help us do better in school, and help us be more patient. He got all excited and looked over at his mom and exclaimed "Well I'd better start reading right now then!" The next time we came back, C... reported that they read the Book of Mormon together on mom's bed every night. And he told us everything he learned. It was a great experience.

On Friday, we had skills and interviews. Interviews with President and Sister Clayton are always things to look forward to. And I felt like a proud momma or something being companions with Sister Chelson during zone council! Her comments were so wonderful and during our role plays she taught with so much POWER. She is teaching me so much.
  After zone council we went back and had about an hour to work in our area before we had to head home. We went to this area to drop by a potential, and the plan was to drive back and work around our home. But we felt that we should knock on a few more doors. And boy was it a good thing that we followed that prompting. Those "few doors" turned into the whole block haha, and the last door we knocked on, a man opened the door and we began to share with him our Easter message. His wife came and invited us in. We sat down at the table with the O.... family - mom, dad, two daughters, and their aunt and uncle. We spent the whole visit answering questions they had about our beliefs. They expressed concerns about how to raise a family in this world, how to find answers to our prayers, how to know God is real, how to know what they should believe. It was amazing. We left that experience on CLOUD NINE for the chance we had to visit with that wonderful family and teach them about the RESTORED GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST. Such an answer to our prayers.

Our Zone has this Book of Mormon challenge we are doing where each day, a missionary in our zone will choose a scripture and we are challenged to use that scripture at some point during the day. They promised us that we will see miracles. And Sister Chelson and I have :) The first day, we got home that night without a chance to share the scripture. So we decided to call our Sister Training Leaders and share it with them. Randomly, they decided to answer it while they were in a lesson with Mary, our wonderful sweet investigator in Brampton! So we got to share the scripture with her :) She is progressing towards baptism and confirmation! And yesterday we were invited to use Mosiah 2:41 throughout the day - one of my favorite scriptures :) We met this man on his driveway and he immediately told us that his mum-in-law had just passed away and he just got back from her funeral. We asked him to tell us a little about her, his favorite memories of her, and he began to talk and talk about that and more - Telling us about his life, his faith, good and bad decisions he has made. Our conversation led perfectly into sharing Mosiah 2:41 :) We shared it, we talked, we left him with a Book of Mormon and he was excited to read from it that night. Just before we left he said, "You say this Book will bring me peace, but you right here just brought me a great amount of peace. I have no doubt that my mother-in-law sent you to me." 

I love this work! I love you all! I hope you have a great week! Keep your standards!

Sister Bodine