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Sunday, September 15, 2013

August Pictures

September 10, 2013

Hehlo there!

So overall, we have 3 investigators: Jalice, Stephanie, and Jennifer. We found Jennifer this week, thanks to a referral from some other elders in the zone! My mind is still blown by how prepared she is (and she doesn't even know it). We taught her part of the Restoration, and she's so smart and was asking all these penetrating questions that frankly, we didn't know the answer to, haha. For example, "How did Noah know he was a prophet? Did he hear the Lord's voice, or did he just know?" and, "How did Moses know to part the Red Sea? Did he think of it beforehand, or was it just an overpowering thought from God?" This girl thinks deeply. I like it :) And near the end, she asked a question about the Plan of Salvation. We gave her a quick overview (we ran out of time) and she said she had thought about there being 3 options before (the 3 kingdoms). WHAT. We have a church tour with her tomorrow and I'm just real excited about her :D

We're teaching Jalice and Stephanie 2-3 times a week, and they're both just soaking it in and learning and growing spiritually! They're both getting baptized on the 28th of this month. It's actually hard to get them to talk cause they don't have questions, haha. Come on, we can't be THAT good of teachers! But I'm learning how to ask inspired questions in inspired ways. It's amazing what happens when you ask the right question - and then wait. 

One thing I loved from district meeting last Wednesday: Our purpose is to invite, so Satan's best tool is to shut our mouths with fear. I refuse to let him shut my mouth! The Lord has definitely strengthened me to be able to do things I wouldn't be able to do on my own. He's just amazing!!

We had Stake Conference this weekend, although we were only able to go to the Sunday session. Stephanie was able to come! It was a broadcast for all of Washington and Alaska, and 4 people spoke: Elder Marcus B. Nash of the Seventy, Sister Carol F. McConkie of the YW Presidency, Elder Robert D. Hales, and Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve. I loved it all! It's hard to narrow down my favorite parts (as usual), but one thing that really stuck out to me: Elder Perry told a story about a 14 year old boy training a horse and them working together to plow and do the needed things around the farm. Then he related that to our bodies and our spirits - our spirit is the boy, our body the horse. We have to train our body what we allow and don't allow, what's okay and what is not okay, and we have to show it who's boss. When our spirit is in charge and our body and our spirit work together, we can accomplish great things. (more than the boy or the horse could on their own)

I still feel like I'm reading the Book of Mormon for the first time, considering all the things I have never noticed/realized before! Man, I've been a blockhead cause I've missed so much! Haha. But the Spirit is helping me learn so much more, understand so much more. One thing I've loved the last couple days especially: Mosiah 12-17, Abinadi's story. I never really understood what exactly he was teaching - I just knew that he had taught something then was killed. But what he teaches is AMAZING! And how he deals with the priests - he answers with scripture and testimony. I want to teach like THAT GUY. He's so great.
I'm starting to get tastes of what winter will be like here! What everyone says about the "misty" rain is true - that's exactly what it feels like! It barely feels like raindrops - just wetness. But it's only happened a couple times so far. Good thing I LOVE THE RAIN! :)

Jo and Kat finally got in contact with us yesterday! First time in 2 weeks! They called cause Jo needed a ride to the hospital. He pulled a muscle in his back and was in excruciating pain. They got a ride and we went to see them after Stake Conference. We basically had what missionaries call a do-or-die lesson - where we let them know that we still love them, but we can't continue visiting them if they're not willing to change. We're on the Lord's time, and we're here for only a short period of time, and we're here to teach people who are ready to learn about the Gospel and ready to change. It was really hard and we only talked to Kat about it, but we thinks she understands and they don't hate us! It's just sad because we love them SO MUCH and we care about them and their eternal happiness SO MUCH! But we've done all we can, we've taught them and helped them all that we can, and we've planted the seed. Now it's up to them. And I know the Lord won't forget them or leave them.

I know this church is the true and LIVING church of Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father. It is not just for "good people" but for everyone on the planet - every single person deserves to hear about it, because they deserve to be happy and to know that they have a Father in Heaven who loves them. It is here to bring us closer to Christ through the gospel - the ordinances and covenants. That's the way to get back, and it will never change. I love my Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ, and I'm coming to know Him. He somehow deals with me every day, so I guess I can deal with me every day too, even in all my imperfections and shortcomings. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. What a beautiful paradox. Without Him, we are nothing, we can do nothing. But with Him - we are everything, we can do everything. I love the hope and peace I feel every day that comes DIRECTLY from this gospel and from Jesus Christ. This gospel is not only true - it is REAL. And I love it with all my heart!

Hurrah for Israel!!

Sister Hehl

September 3, 2013

SHANNON IS A MEMBER OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS!! wow. wowwowwowwow. It still hasn't sunk in - for me or for her, haha. I played my musical number at her baptism on Saturday and oh boy, what a miracle. No matter how much I practice a number, I always mess up when I'm nervous. I knew this was going to happen big time, during this important solo, and I wanted to just bring the Spirit, so at the beginning of my song, I just prayed for help. I let go a bit, stop worrying so much, kind of gave it over to Heavenly Father...and He led my fingers. Again! When my mind didn't know where to put my fingers, my fingers went the right places anyways! And the room got really quiet and the Spirit was strong as I was playing. I'm so happy I was able to be an instrument (instrument - piano solo- haha) in the Lord's hands to help bring the Spirit. I am just so happy for Shannon!! She's come so far even in the time I've been here, and I'm so blessed to have been able to see her spiritual progress. 

Cool random story! Last Monday was the first time that someone has stopped US to talk to us - a guy was sitting on a bench as we were leaving the library and he wanted to talk to us cause he knows a former bishop! Turned into a great discussion. If only it were always that easy, haha...just kidding, a mission is so wonderful because it's hard. But it'd be nice ;) 

I read Jacob 7 recently and I LOVE how Jacob responded to Sherem - he could've gone down to Sherem's level and argued, but instead - he bore TESTIMONY. Can't argue with that :) 

Also, Ether 12 is my life theme right now. I especially love verses 2, 4, and 27. 

2 NEW INVESTIGATORS! We went on exchanges last Thurs-Fri, so I left the area and SBarlow came here with SMorrow. Maybe I need to leave more often, cause they found both the investigators that day! They found Stephanie, who is BEYOND GOLDEN. She soaks everything up like a sponge! And she's feeling the Spirit stronger and stronger - she needs to be baptized ASAP! The only hurdle is her dad, who feels she's taking it too fast. We're all praying for his heart to be softened so he's comfortable with her being baptized. She's just amazing.

I haven't met our other investigator, Jalice, but hopefully will soon! We have a list of all the YSA's in the stake, most of them are less-active, that we work on every day. They were going to find someone, and a total miracle happened. They found Jasmine, who is less-active, and Jalice, who was never baptized, but both of them want to come to church! Jasmine had been thinking of coming back to church THAT DAY, and then the sisters knocked!! Wow. That actually happened. MIRACLES HAPPEN! 

SStempniak taught me a lot - it's okay to be chill, to sit back, to be silent and hold off on get-to-know-you questions. Also, God trusts me to be me.

Transfers are today, actually, but neither of us are getting transferred! OH such a relief. By the end of this transfer, SMorrow and I will have been companions for 4 1/2 months! That's a semester at college! We're best friends, so it's the greatest thing ever ;D

Haha some elders in our district made our day - instead of leaving our journals (we have journals that other missionaries sign) in a normal place, they led us around the whole church on a scavenger hunt for them! It totally made my week! I love that! :D
A favorite quote from Fast and Testimony meeting: "It's not about hiding your pain, but about showing your faith." LOVE that. 

Bear testimony all the day long, EVERYONE! 

Does anyone have any cool finding ideas?

Love you ALL!

August 26, 2013

SHANNON IS GETTING BAPTIZED SATURDAY (AUGUST 31)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! if you got annoyed from all the exclamation with it, cause that's how excited i am! :D i still think to myself sometimes, "is this real life?" it's amazing. she's been investigating the church on and off for 8 YEARS and she finally committed to being baptized! i'm so grateful i've been able to witness such a huge miracle. we had a lesson with her on tuesday, and we both felt impressed to just keep bringing the conversation back to baptism, keep hammering at it, keep pushing. We read mosiah 18:8-11 with her and helped her understand that she doesn't need to know everything beforehand (she just needs to believe - that's what the interview questions say! "do you believe...?" plus, 8 year old children do NOT know everything when they're baptized), she's not a hypocrite if she messes up afterwards, and she'll receive additional strength and power to overcome. it had come to a point with her that she couldn't really continue to progress without being baptized. haha so sister morrow extended the official invitation to her, "Shannon, will you follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized by someone holding the proper authority of God?" silence. shannon puts her head on her arms on the table and we hear, (resigned voice) "...when?" ha i bet our faces were hilarious at that point - disbelief, utter happiness. can you believe it?! and i testify that it was nothing that we really did - it really was the Spirit. we were just here at the right time, being ourselves, and the Lord worked through us to bless Shannon. she's taking this leap of faith, and i know she'll be so blessed.

so...that's the HUGE news. haha she and i are so alike - she said when she overcomes one hurdle, she wants to do 50 more, all at once! and she beats herself up for not doing all she knows she should...uh, we're twins. here's one reason i've been going through that and feeling all that - so i can help shannon!! i bore my testimony of the strengthening power of the Atonement, and that this gospel is a process.
another great smorrow moment: she had the BRILLIANT idea to buy flowers and give them to random people, along with our card, for finding! we did that 2 days in a row (ha we got a lot of daisies), in the walmart parking lot (and kinda got kicked out at the end...oh well) and at a park. it worked really well! we talked to a lot of awesome people and i liked thinking outside the box with finding. 

3 talks that really helped me and uplifted me this week: Elder Holland's "Lord, I Believe," Elder Andersen's "Repent...That I May Heal You," and Elder Scott's "The Path to Peace and Joy." i'd love to hear what you all think and get from those talks :) also, i'd love to be sent everyone's testimonies, so i can put them into copies of the Book of Mormon that we give out! feel free to just email them to me if that's easiest :)

this gospel is amazing. Jesus Christ WANTS to forgive us, and He makes all the difference. He is the only way to true happiness and peace. I love Him dearly.

And I love all of you!!

Hurrah for Israel!

Sister Hehl

August 19, 2013

we had a lesson with jo and kat this week and i couldn't stop smiling when kat said, "i really feel something when i read." and jo said, "i don't have doubts anymore," and "can we just read nephi? i feel pulled towards nephi." :D unfortunately they've taken a step back since then, and they've been out of town and out of contact. but i'm NOT giving up on them! but i really just have to give it over to the Lord - there's only so much i can do, and they have their agency. luckily i'm not their only option for salvation - no WAY the Lord would let that happen, ha. 

it's crazy how many people tell us their life story, even though we just met them. sometimes it's through a screen door - but they just tell us everything! can be good and bad...but i love how quickly i get to know people when we communicate spirit to spirit (to Spirit). 

we took a soon-to-be-missionary, morgan phipps, out with us this week and she has her call to Ecuador. i realized: i will learn more here in Washington than anywhere else in the WORLD! :D

SHOCKING statistics about the church: we have a 6% retention rate. SIX PERCENT. and we have 14 million members, but only 4 million are active. i cannot believe it! so heartbreaking! but if every active member of the church brings 4 people back - we will be fully active and will grow. man i'm so motivated to do so much after my mission! i refuse to let "life" get in the way - this is life! this is the only stuff that actually matters!

we had 2 lessons (in a row :)) with our new investigator, pedro, this week! he's awesome. he's a hispanic little person, his friend is in our branch, and he's willing to read what we ask and keep finding out! he's so ready :) 

we also had 2 lessons with our other (eternal) investigator, shannon! we found out where her testimony is weak or non-existent, and we're going to start from there. she's a dental assistant and witty and great. she knows with her head what she needs to do and what she wants (the "mormon lifestyle"), but we're working with helping her feel the Spirit more so she can be motivated to actually do what she knows she needs to do. she committed to live the law of chastity and word of wisdom and read and pray for a whole week! that's a great step :) so many people, member and nonmember, just don't have a testimony of joseph smith, the restoration, and the Book of Mormon! it's scary when members are like that...but we all have a path to true conversion, and baptism is at different places on everyone's path. it's frustrating when people don't realize that evidence of joseph smith and the restoration are right there in front of them! all they have to do to KNOW is put in some time and effort and read. i still have to strengthen my testimony by reading and praying daily, and boy has it gotten stronger. this whole gospel hinges on the Book of Mormon - once you know it's true, you know joseph smith translated it by the power of God. once you know he did that, you know he was called as a prophet of the restoration. once you know that, you know there had to be a restoration because there was "a falling away first." and once you know that, you know that the Priesthood authority of God is only in this church! it just works together like one huge puzzle! AH i love this gospel!!! :D

sister morrow and i are finally getting into our groove! we don't get annoyed at each other anymore (or at least we haven't for the past 2 days), we teach and work so well together - this is how it's supposed to work :) funny how transfers are 2 weeks away now! haha but the Lord's will will be done.

also, my stitches are doing great. really really well, actually! they haven't bothered or hindered me at all - what a blessing. i get them out tomorrow and then we can run again :)

 some great quotes and insights:
"God works with us at the frontiers of our capacity."

john 4:40 - Jesus stayed because they asked Him.

definition of a mission: it's wonderful BECAUSE it's hard.
there's a difference between doing missionary things and doing missionary work.

Hurrah for Israel!

Sister Hehl

August 12, 2013

Man, a mission is just one giant ADVENTURE! I got my first stitches this past Saturday, and it wasn't too bad, actually. Things were getting tense in a lesson with Jo, Kat, and their brother Akim, so we went outside in the woods in their backyard to get some fresh air. Walking up the hill to their house at the end, I felt a little burning on my right foot. I looked down, saw a pretty sizeable chunk of a glass bottle there and a cut on my ankle, but i thought it was no big deal, so i just kept walking. then it started to bleed more and everyone started fawning over me (which i dislike greatly! but i put up with it, haha) and we went to the urgent care. they stitched it up right there, and i'm getting a checkup today and the stitches out next tuesday. adventure! such a blessing i can still walk and do everything fine - it was close to my tendon, but didn't touch it! I'm in good hands :)

Jo and Kat aren't progressing as quickly as we thought they would, but we are so close to them! We actually went back after I got stitches cause they were going through a really rough time - the landlord threw Jo's brother out. And to add to it all, she's now throwing Jo and Kat out! I can't believe how obviously and how HARD Satan is pushing on them. He is real and he is trying his hardest to get them away from baptism! But the Lord is stronger, and He will help them through. I knew I would be invested in these people, but I didn't know what it's really like. I love them SO MUCH. I'm willing to do ANYTHING for them!! I never knew I would be this invested, and I love it. I love them!

We finally taught Shannon a lesson this week! We can't see her very often at all, but she's reading the Book of Mormon and she's starting to understand it and apply it to her. That's the answer right there! We also got a new investigator yesterday at church! A member, Bryan, brought his roommate Pedro, and we set up a meeting Wednesday. Ha I wish it were always that easy! But I'm excited for this week. It should be interesting cause we can't go running and we're being fed by members every night! I'm gonna get fat! 
Tuesday we also had an AMAZING lesson with a less-active, Orrin. We really listened to what he was saying and where he was coming from, and Sister Morrow and I were both inspired to share 2 Ne. 2:17 with him. We did, and the Spirit touched him so strongly that this rock of a man cried a little! He realized he's been serving God and Jesus Christ every time he's helped someone, and he realized They have been helping him all this time. He was impacted, and his life changed. And I got to witness it. I will go through hell every day for these experiences, because they are worth it. The experiences are worth it, the people are worth it, and Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are worth it. 

Hurrah for Israel!

Sister Hehl