We did not receive Lauren’s letter last week so she resent it this week. Below is last week’s letter followed by this week’s letter & SOME PICTURES!
Letter from 8/13/13:
Another week! so awesome! the mission is great!
I hope you enjoyed the pictures! i finally just went out and bought a usb drive thingy... haha. so expect pictures more often now! and ps. i look super sweaty in all of them. eek. :)
What a great couple of days! we saw and were a part of so many wonderful miracles this week, it was so much fun!
This week sister baggs and her two sisters, shirley and dolores had a sleep over all week at our house. it was SO much fun. those woman are some of my favorite people i have ever met. ha. (*anne, ellee, mckenna, and mindy... we better be like them when we are their age!) it felt like a family reunion which was nice.
On sunday we had dinner with the Hansens. Brother Hansen is a member of the bishopric and his family is absolutely incredible. they are constantly looking for ways to serve, and are always sharing the gospel. it is so great. Well they gave us a referral a week ago, and we tried going over there with no success. so we talked to them about it on sunday, and they were able to give us some more information on their friend.
So after leaving dinner, sister palmer and i decided to go and try to contact them again. We were able to meet the wife, Sherry, and oh my goodness. she is amazing. She is a mother of 4 girls, with one on the way. she is extremely christian, and they drive all the way to omaha each week to attend church. she expressed to us that she feels like they need to find a church that is closer, and somewhere that is more doctrinally like what she believes. i asked her about her beliefs, and she said that she is all about service and doing what christ would do... (i am trying to contain myself at this point... ha every question she answered i was saying in my head "bing AGAIN!"). We bore testimony of the church and how it has blessed our lives.
Earlier in the conversation she had said that she doesnt really like talking to missionaries because she feels like it always turns into a bible bash, so i was kind of nervous to ask her if she would like to learn more. but, the Lord is so good. I asked her if she would like to meet together sometime with her friend (sister hansen) to learn more about what we believe. She looked at sister palmer and i and said "i dont get the impression that you are trying to force anything on me and that is really refreshing. i would love to learn more about what you believe, when can we meet?". it was AWESOME. we are meeting with her and sister hansen this thursday! pray for us. she is amazing.
this experience taught me a few things:
1. being a good example to those around us is so critical. if sister hansen would have not been open about her beliefs, or had been a bad example of a member of the church, there is NO way that Sherry would even think about having a discussion. members are everything.
2. the Lord is in control. we had tried to go over and visit her before, but the timing was not right, and the Lord knew that. He needed us to talk with the hansens first to learn a little bit more about Sherry that would help us address her needs. There are no coincidences. The Lord is behind everything.
3. Sharing the gospel should not be like we are selling alarm systems/pest control. because we arent selling anything! through being ourselves and letting others see the light in our eyes/countenances, THAT is when they will want to listen. THAT is when their hearts are softened. i was reading in the Ensign that is from January 2012 and there is an article that talks about the life of George Albert Smith. He said that "Kindness is the key to opening locked hearts". so true.
We were trying to find a less active that we hadnt met. we went up to the house and their was a woman outside. we started talking to her, thinking that she was the less active member, haha but she quickly told us that she was NOT a member of our church. ha. But, she extremely friendly and really religious. we were able to bear testimony to her, and she had a lot of questions we were able to answer. She invited us over the next day for a lesson, which we went to and it was great! haha (side miracle: she cuts hair, so she cut my hair for free! tender mercy) :) She is kind of iffy about investigating, but at the same time it was such a miracle to find someone to listen to us. it was great.
yesterday for preparation day we went to the omaha zoo! it was awesome. (except that the monterey aquarium is way cooler...) ha. we went with a woman in our ward and her daughter, Raven. Raven. Raven. where do i even begin. ha. they are recent converts of a few years. raven has every sickness/disease out there, and has epilepsy really bad. but she LOVES sister missionaries and spoils us rotten. she is definitely different, but i have learned to absolutely adore her and her sweet/special spirit. i will have to tell you more about her when i get a chance. but she has taught me so much about faith through trials because she is such a great example of that. i love her.
sister tillman came to church again! and this week we should have a lot more... i am so excited. yay.
sorry this email is all over the place! haha. but i love you all so much! keep being good examples, because people notice! hoorah!
Letter from 8/20/13:
i hope you got my letter last week - Dad you mentioned that you didnt, so i just re sent it. if not, you get two this week! yay! haha
1. PATTI/JOHN MAXWELL FAMILY - i received your letter/family notes from the beach a couple of days ago and it made my week! seriously. i love all of you so much. thank you for your continual love and support!
2. Brodericks and Travis/Bailey! - i show up to our district meeting this week and i have two notes from two of my favorite couples - you! it made my day to hear from you all, and i am so glad you got to see the Trail Center! isnt it incredible? i am sad that i missed you, but i hope the sisters that took you on tour were great. love you!
This week was so great, and we had so many miracles! i LOVE being a missionary! it really is so much fun and so rewarding. ah. it's the best.
Fun things that happened this week:
- Our stake had a Carnival this last Saturday for all of the primary aged kids. it was held at our church building, and we were asked to help with it. i was in heaven, surrounded by a bunch of little kids, face paint, and carnival food. Sister Palmer and i got a huge laugh though on Sunday morning sitting in church singing "there is sunshine in my soul" as both of us were/are extremely sunburned. haha. totally worth it though.
- Sister Baggs is darling and she is an AMAZING quilter. she came to us this week and said that she wanted to help us make something to remind us of living with her before we had to be transferred. so she has been helping us make "bags" (to remind us of sister 'baggs!) that we can use. she always does this signature heart design on all of her quilts, and so i asked her to quilt it on my bag. haha she gladly did but then told me it was my turn... yikes. haha. it turned out TERRIBLE, it is hilarious. she is re-doing mine. haha.
the best thing ever happened this week. probably the highlight of serving here in Glenwood. i wrote last week (which you might not have read until today! whoops!) about a woman named Sheri. Well, we had a lesson with her this week that was absolutely incredible. Here's what happened.
so we show up to her house with Sister Hansen (the member who referred us to Sheri) and Sheri let us in. We sat around her table and kind of chatted for a little bit, but then got down to business. i was so nervous for this lesson. I always get nervous when i feel SO good about the person, and i want them to be members SO bad. haha and Sheri would be the most incredible member, and her family would be a huge asset to the ward here. Pressure was on.
She offered the opening prayer, and she said "please let the truth be made manifest today as we discuss about your gospel". I was praying so hard that she would recognize the truth, just like she prayed for!
So we started teaching about the Restoration and right from the get go she had a lot of questions. She believes in the trinity, and so we spent a lot of time talking about the god head. but it was so awesome because both sister Palmer and i had both been studying that intensely this week, and so i really felt like i was able to understand her point of view, but also explain through both the book of mormon and the bible why They are three separate beings. and the spirit was super strong, which was great.
After discussing about the differences, she really came to see the similarities of what she believes and what we believe. But it wasnt till i shared the first vision with her that i felt like there was a change in her countenance. You could just feel the spirit almost tangibly, and you could see her mind racing. it never ceases to amaze me how the spirit works. ah it is incredible.
the lesson went extremely well, and having sister hansen there made all of the difference in the world. hearing her testify to her friend about why the gospel has blessed her life was so inspiring and brought me to tears. By the end of the lesson we were all feeling the spirit so strong, and Sheri is willing and wanting to read the Book of Mormon/learn more. it was an incredible experience, and i know that she will be baptized. keep praying for her.
I love this work. This is the Lord's church. i am giving the training at our district meeting this week, and i had no idea what to focus on. my brain literally was all fuzz. i prayed for some sort of direction, and the spirit led me to the exact verse in the scriptures that clarified all of my thoughts. is that a coincidence? no. because there are not any coincidences. the Lord is so aware of us, it blows my mind. I am so grateful for this gospel, Christ's same gospel.
Life is good! the Church is true! All my love from Iowa!