Jun 20, 2016

Bennington. It Just Sounds So Fancy.

Transfer week is always crazy. On Tuesday morning I found out that I am  being transferred to the Bennington area with Sister Hutchison! I am so sad to be leaving Ralston. I was able to get so close to so many of the people and it is always so hard to say good bye. I am especially so sad that I won't be able to teach Eli and Christine. I was able to see so many miracles with them and it has one of the most incredible experiences to see them progress and change so much. I feel so grateful that I have been able to be a part of their journey. Don't worry, President Gardner said that I would be able to go to their baptism on the 25th. (5 days, but who's counting?) I am going to miss Ralston so much, but I'm excited to see what Bennington has in store.

It's been about 100 degrees with 75% humidity every day for the past week, so that makes tracting very interesting. On Friday we tried a less active member and found him outside of his house with two other men and they were smoking and drinking. We thought it might turn into a sketchy situation, but we tried talking to them anyway. They started off by asking us what we believe and we ended up teaching them the Restoration, but they kept interrupting and tried convincing us that we were wrong. It was a little bit of a Bible bash, but it was actually a really cool experience because as I was testifying, I could feel the Spirit so strong and their demeanor changed as we bore our testimonies of what we knew to be true. They got a little bit sassy in the middle, but ended up softening up a bit so we left them with some #hallelujah cards and left. We had talked with them for about an hour and could feel sweat forming our clothes to our bodies, so we rewarded ourselves with frozen lemonades at Sonic. It was great.

We have already been able to see so many miracles here in Bennington. We have found a few new potential investigators and one of them even came to church on Sunday! Her name is Emma and is a good friends with a member named Emily in the ward. We are meeting with them this week and are so excited to see what happens. I can already tell that this is going to be a transfer to remember.
 Some of my favorite Ralston people.

 Some of my other favorite Ralston people. Good-byes are the worst.

 Meet Sister Hutchison!

 And then there was Sister Firth...

 Our frozen lemonades. Totally worth it.

Week of June 13th: Priesthood Power Keeps Me Safe From Sin

As a mission, we have been focusing a lot on the priesthood and helping others be able to see how blessed we are the have the power of God restored on the earth. I have trying to apply that in my lessons throughout the week and it's been amazing to see what I've learned. 

At the Trail Center, I took an awesome family from Herriman, UT on tour and asked them to help expand on the question "How has the priesthood blessed your family?" They talked about it as a family and shared experiences of times they had a priesthood blessing when they needed help or how they have comfort in knowing that they will be a family forever, but you could tell that the dad was trying to go deeper. There came a time when he turned his kids and asked "Let's think about it this way. Would you like some, half or full access to the Atonement?" Not only is having full access to the Atonement optional, but it is what our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ want for us. Christ didn't suffer and die for us so that we could only partake of some of His Atonement, He wants us to have ALL of it. And it is through the priesthood that makes that possible. Through the priesthood we are able to partake of sacrament each week to be forgiven of our sins, we are able to be baptized by the proper authority, be sealed to our families for eternity and help those who have passed on have that opportunity as well. The list of blessings can go on and on. 

After thinking about it a little more, I came to realize that without the priesthood, the church wouldn't be able to exist and, in the long run, we would have no way to return home to our Heavenly Father. Through the priesthood, we are also able to come to know our Heavenly Father because it is His power that we are accessing. There are so many things that we won't be able to understand about it because there is so much that goes into it, but I am so grateful to know that our Heavenly Father has given us the power we need to not only get through this life, but have a fullness of joy, hope and love as we do so.

Update on Eli and Christine: They are both doing so well and are progressing more and more every day. Christine has started praying out loud and reading everyday and Eli has been listening to conference talks all on his own. It is truly amazing to see how the Spirit changes people's hearts. They are so ready to be baptized! They are still set for June 25th and they could not be more excited. It's a good thing the feeling is mutual.

 Oh, my dear Sister Funk.  You will be missed by all of us.

 We matched on purpose. It's what we do. 

 I'm pretty sure this is the best selfie to ever exist. I don't know how Chaps does it...

 Happy 16 months!

 Happy 16 months part two...

Also, Eli made us dinner. And yes. We all ate the entire thing.

Jun 6, 2016

Be Prepaaaaared

This week, I've been thinking a lot about being prepared in a couple of different ways. The first way has been seeing how people are prepared to receive the gospel. Let me tell you something, Eli and Christine are probably the most prepared individuals you will ever meet. They had never been to the temple grounds before, so we were able to show them around and take them on a tour around the Trail Center. As we were sitting by the temple, Eli turned to us and said "Just looking at this feels right." Oh, man. Talk about your heart swelling. Both he and Christine have been through a lot in their lives and it amazes me to see how far they have come. It is those experiences, however, that help people prepare their hearts to be open to the gospel. When we were talking with them about eternal families, Eli told us, "This is exactly what I want for my family and more." They want this so badly and we are all counting down the days to June 25.

I was also thinking about how we prepare ourselves for the gospel. Even though I was blessed enough to grow up in the church, I still have to work at strengthening my own testimony every day. That is why we are asked to pray and read from the scriptures each day because just like our bodies need daily nourishment, so do our Spirits. We need to help our testimonies grow and prepare for the future because we never know what could happen. The storms of life are going to come no matter what, so I have to ask myself, "Am I ready?" To be able to answer "yes" to that question takes a lot of hard work. But as we work not only hard, but diligently to come closer to Christ, we will be able to constantly have peace in knowing that no matter what happens, our foundation won't fall because we will know that our Savior is always there. It reminds me of Alma 34:32 where it tells us that "this life is the time... to prepare to meet God." To be honest, that sounds kind of terrifying because I know that I make so many mistakes and there are so many things that I need to work on. But I also know that because this is the time to prepare, that is why we have Atonement. We don't have to be perfect, we just have to work hard, try our best and let Christ make up the rest.
 Yep. Love them all.

 "Reunited and it feels so good!" If only it were for more than a night...

 Awkward District photos really are my favorite. They just make life more fun.

Oh, Elders... Gotta love them.
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