Monday, August 25, 2014

A Few Minutes as Senior

One month celebration
Area: Converse
CompanionSister Kaitlin Johnston

Another P-day!

Can you believe I've been out a month? :) We had a mini celebration on my month mark, August 23, and took a couple pictures.

I keep meaning to use the voice recorder, but keep not finding time or miss the opportunity. I promise I'll use it. I know what a treat it is to hear your missionaries voice. :)

"Monthday Princess" Sister Record and Sister Johnston
We had some fun on Tuesday. I experienced my first Texas rain storm. It only lasted about 7 minutes. The rain drops are HUGE, and within 5 minutes the sides of the streets are overflowed with puddles. It was near the end of the day, so we stood outside to splash in some puddles and get rained on. It was oddly refreshing. I'm grateful for the meaningful advice I received from several people before I left on my mission to have fun! I didn't realize before how much I just need to let loose sometimes. Great news, I'm doing a lot better at loosening up. Ha ha! :)

By the way, Happy Birthday Mom! It's not your birthday yet, but I love you and wish you an early Happy Birthday. And Happy Birthday Chris! You're awesome! There are birthday cards coming ya'lls way.

We had some incredible experiences this week. On Wednesday we had two high school senior girls with us. Our two appointments fell through, so we decided to knock on some doors. We did mini splits in one neighborhood. Sister Johnston went with one girl, I crossed the street with the other, [L]. It was interesting to be the senior companion for a couple minutes. It gave me a confidence boost because [L] didn't really know what she was doing, and I sort of did. :) As I was about to knock on a door, something stopped me. I just felt like I shouldn't knock. My arm was literally in mid-air when I had the thought. I waited for a second. [L] was probably wondering what was going on. It just didn't feel right. So I looked at her and said, "Let's go to the next house". We went to the next house and knocked. A Hispanic woman (named [A]) opened the door. I introduced us as missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and said that we have a message of Jesus Christ's restored gospel. [A] told us that she already belonged to a church, but was open to what we had to say. She asked for our church address. I had to grab Sister Johnston because I left my planner in the car. Sister Johnston gave her the address. Then [A] told us that she had been praying just as we knocked. She described it as "God knocking on her door." We all gave her a hug, and she felt the love she needed. It was so awesome! We couldn't teach her right then because she was busy, but we're seeing her this week. That was a miracle that Heavenly Father had performed for her. It's amazing how the Lord uses us to answer the prayers of His children. Heavenly Father loves everyone and hears every prayer. It was so cool to be an instrument in His hands in helping [A]. We hope that she will receive the message of the restored gospel.

Sister Record dancing in the rain

Sister Record and Sister Johnston
I was fairly timid about knocking and meeting people before this experience. I learned a vital lesson. As I was the senior companion for a few moments, I had to be confident for the sake of [L], my "junior companion". I had no doubts or fears when approaching those two doors because I wanted to help [L] learn and I had to be the one to talk. As a result, only faith was present. And the Lord provided us with a miracle. My perspective on finding and teaching people has totally changed. By having faith in Jesus Christ, He truly does lead us to the pure in heart. One departing missionary told us new missionaries, "Learn to get comfortable with being uncomfortable." I love that! How true it is. Missionary work is not comfortable! Get comfortable with the idea, have faith, and go for it. And the Lord will provide a way. :)

Another incredible experience we had this week was with a media referral. A man named [P] called someone, I think a number from and wanted to know how he could be a member of our church. We received a text from church headquarters notifying us of him. We went the very next day and set up an appointment to see him. We gave him a mini lesson on the doorstep because we couldn't go in without a member present. He accepted everything. We gave him a Book of Mormon, a restoration pamphlet, a pass along card with our number and the church address on it. He is hungry and ready and wanting to learn more. When we left, I looked over at Sister Johnston and said with a smile, "I think I smell golden." :) We taught him the restoration yesterday, and he accepted a baptismal date! We'll be teaching him about twice a week to prepare him to be baptized on September 20th!

Sister Johnston is amazing. Her testimony glows in her eyes and the love she has for people is felt as she talks with them. I learn a lot from her example. I'm grateful to have her as a trainer.

The gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the Earth, and it is true! Joseph Smith was the prophet called to bring it back after centuries of darkness. We can be happy in this life, even in the middle of affliction and trial as we live the principles of the gospel. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Sister Record

P.S. (Mom, Dad, Lorielle, Jason, Chris, Eric, and any other family or friends, this is for you). Will each of you look for opportunities this week to be a missionary to someone? They can be simple or big. Within your ward, or around. Pray for the discernment to recognize the opportunity when it comes, and then have the courage to do it. I promise that if you do, the Lord will lead and guide you and you will feel an increase of the spirit in your life. I want to hear all about it next week! I love ya'll!

Pictures from the MTC

Sister Record and Sister Pito

Brother Tialavea, Sister Record and Sister Pito

Elder Stewart, Elder Bailey and Sister Pito

Monday, August 18, 2014

Conversion and the Book of Mormon

Area: Converse
CompanionSister Kaitlin Johnston

Another P-day!

First of all, Jesus Christ is at the head of His work. This is His work. He is before my face and on my right hand and on my left. His angel are round about me to bear me up. I no longer just believe this, I know. This is the case with each of His servants. He is in charge, and with Him, we cannot fail.

The Book of Mormon combined with the spirit is the most powerful resource in conversion. Those who are truly converted have read and received a witness of the Book of Mormon. Those who fall away and become inactive know little about the Book of Mormon. It is another testament of Jesus Christ and a beautiful, powerful witness that must be boldly defended and lovingly shared.

I know that a prayer of faith is the source of receiving the spirit for ourselves and for those we teach. He hears my prayers, and hears your prayers, and the prayers of every single person. I know he answers. The Lord as asked us to share the light of the gospel so others can find their way. Happiness should not be something people are missing in their lives. Let the gift be shared. Once again, this is the Lord's work. Hurrah for Israel! In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Being on a mission is so awesome! Something that always amazes me is how much people open up to the missionaries. I am 19 years old, yet people way older than me feel almost drawn to opening up and sharing their concerns. I know why. It's because we are representative of Jesus Christ. And whether people realize it or not, that is felt. What a privilege to listen and offer Christ's love to these people. When the spirit is present, the persons needs are met.

We found a new investigator! His name is C. He has a very fancy house and lives by himself. He was a referral from a family in the ward. He hasn't had any of the lessons before, but has been around Mormon's for a long time with work. We taught him the restoration. After recounting the first vision we asked him if he believed that this happened. He said he did! We taught him about the Book of Mormon and committed him to read it. Also, I invited him to be baptized. He flat out said no, but that was the most powerful moment for me. The spirit was so strong. We're going back to teach him this week and he's reading the Book of Mormon, so I'm confident that he'll come around. He seems so prepared and ready to receive the gospel.

We had another really cool experience with L. and S. S. has a hard time with the Word of Wisdom. We knew we needed to address it, but had no idea how to with him. We did our best to study and prepare. Before going in to teach, we completely turned over to the Lord knowing that S. had concerns and needs that we had no clue about, but the spirit did. I felt the impression before knocking on the door to promise a miracle. I wasn't sure what yet, but I knew it had something to do with the Book of Mormon. The lesson was powerful! We taught the atonement of Jesus Christ and how His grace is sufficient. We had him tell us the story of the old violin (from The Touch of a Master's Hand), that story had been shared in church. Near the end of the lesson I asked him if he had been reading the Book of Mormon. He said no. L. had been reading a little. I then followed the promptings of the spirit and promised them both, as a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ that if they would have the faith to truly and fully commit to reading the Book of Mormon every day this week with a sincere heart and pray with real intent, that they would find greater strength to overcome things that are holding them back. I can't remember exactly how it was worded, but that's in essence what I said. The spirit was so strong, and they both wholeheartedly committed. We been praying for them every day. We won't see them again until Thursday, but we know that if they choose and have the faith, that they will experience a miracle.

A mission is not easy, but it is the most incredible experience. I wouldn't trade it for the world. This is exactly where I need to be right now, and I am so grateful to be here sharing the gospel.

On a side note, I have had some pretty amazing food. Real Mexican food is sooo good. The people here know how to cook. :) Although, we went to a potential investigators home to help with some projects and teach a lesson and had some really gross lemonade. It tasted like water and bitter lemons. No sugar. It wouldn't have been so bad if it wasn't such a giant glass. Ha ha! So Chris, if you get called to serve in the US, you'll probably still have to consume something weird. :)

I love you all!

Sister Record

1. What experiences did you have with the Dragon Brownies in the MTC?
It was kind of a let down. I asked the district if they wanted to try some dragon brownies and told them they were spicy. Then no one wanted any. The sister's tried some in our room. Sister Pito and Sister Barrick didn't think they were that bad. They both like spicy food. But Sister Foster gagged and ran to spit it out, then chugged some water. So that was funny. :)

2. What are Sister Johnston's greatest strengths?
Sister Johnston is constantly doing something for someone. She is so great at serving and loving others. The first thing I noticed about her when I met her is how she just naturally wanted to help with everything. She strives for exact obedience, which I love. She's really diligent when it comes to missionary work. She is very patient with my learning and a great listener. She has incredible faith as well. The biggest thing I notice in her is quiet dignity. She's always composed and as a result the spirit is definitely with her.

3. What did you do before your mission that best prepared you for your work now?
President Slaughter said that "constant, consistent, personal purity" is the best indicator of preparedness. Looking back, some of the things that best prepared me were bearing my testimony in fast and testimony meeting, visiting teaching, ward mission night, spending valuable time with my family, and studying the scriptures everyday. All of those things had a deep impact on me that I didn't fully realize before. Living the gospel means living it. As I lived those things and practiced turning outward, I learned some things that I continue to look back on as I strive to more fully apply those principles on a mission.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A New Trainer's Thoughts

Area: Converse
Companion: Sister Kaitlin Johnston

I have a link to Sister Johnston's blog, but I thought it would be fun to include some quotes from her recent update that we really enjoyed. Sister Johnston's opening statement in her update was,
Being a trainer is so crazy! I don’t know what the heck I’m doing haha. I even lost her at church. Horrible I know!! She’s just so tiny!
She goes on to talk about getting to know Sister Record.
Guess what? I have a daughter! On Thursday we had transfer meeting! and I had to lead the music! In front of everyone!!!!! AHHH!!! Sister Roche just kept laughing at me. The SA South Stake is doing a cool Mini Missionary thing for the Priests and Laurels. This week they are on a mission for one week. We had 31 new missionaries plus a bunch of the Minis so it was packed. I don’t remember what I was going to say about all of that, so there’s some random information. Sister Record is 19 and super tiny, so sometimes I feel like a giant. She’s really eager to learn and loves the gospel! She wants to get to know the whole ward in one day, so that might take a little longer. But she’s great! I just threw her in some lessons and forgot maybe she doesn’t know what shes doing.. oops! She did great though! Even though she was terrified! Some days I forget that I know what I’m doing and don’t think it’s possible, but as soon as we start working it ends up ok! Bishop made Sister Record speak. He wanted it to be a Sunday morning surprise, but luckily the Secretary didn’t get the memo so she had some prep time.
We are grateful for such a great trainer and know Sister Record will learn a lot.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Loving the Mish!

Area: Converse
Companion: Sister Kaitlin Johnston

 Hi Ya'll!

Sister Record and Sister Johnston
The day I arrived in my apartment I was told that I would be speaking on the Atonement that upcoming Sunday. So yesterday when I introduced myself after telling them where I'm from,  I said that I'm excited to get to know "ya'll". They all started giggling. It made me wonder if I said it with a Utah accent. Ha ha! It was pretty funny.

President and Sister Slaughter are awesome! I love being in their home. We had a new missionary dinner the evening we arrived. I was really confused because there was BBQ meat, this yummy looking sauce, cooked onions, tomatoes, jalapeƱos, a few other things, and two slices of bread for each person. I had no idea how to put all this together. The bread is what really threw me off. Can you guess what we were having? :) Brisket. It was delicious. I thought it was kind of funny that a lot of us didn't know what to do. Ha ha. It was easy to pick up on.

The past few days have been pretty amazing. I am learning for myself that missionary work is indeed one of the most soul stretching endeavors. It's totally focused on Jesus Christ and I love it! I've found that being obedient and loving the people is key. My first evening out we did some proselyting. We had some appointments already set up. My first lesson was with some people named S. and L. They were baptized years ago, but fell away again and have a hard time with the word of wisdom. They're so friendly. Even though they were friendly, I was scared out of my mind. I had no idea what to say and started thinking about how in the world I would be able to talk to people. For the first half of the lesson Sister Johnston and L. were talking (S. doesn't talk much). Finally I felt moved upon by the spirit and opened my mouth at the appropriate time. I testified to her and was surprised by all that was coming to my mind that I hadn't previously prepared.

Sister Johnston and Sister Record in front of the San Antonio Temple
That same day we spontaneously visited a woman named D. She was on the phone when she answered the door, but let us in and we waited a couple minutes. She was obviously stressed about something. It turns out that we came at just the right time because she was having a really rough day. Her house is a wreck from the people who owned it before. So she's doing a lot of fixing up. That day her kitchen flooded with water from a broken air conditioner. On top of that she was having financial and family stress. It was amazing to me that we came at that very moment. We were able to offer words of comfort and encouragement. The spirit definitely led Sister Johnston there. I was just following. I was still in a daze from the previous appointment.

Another day we visited an older woman named L. She was distraught by something that had happened the night before. We called to see how she was doing. We decided to go visit her since we didn't have an appointment. That was my first time meeting her, but the Lord gave me such sympathy and love for her. I asked if we could pray for her. She readily accepted, and I offered a sincere prayer on her behalf. After the prayer I was surprised to look up and see her crying. The spirit was so strong.

The other night I had an experience when I was writing in my journal. I had been struggling to connect with the area and the people because I didn't know anything about them. I then started thinking about the various needs in the ward and our investigators and I "caught the vision". I felt like the Lord inspired my mind and heard to understand my purpose not only as a missionary, but as Sister Record in Converse, Texas. I connected with the area. Whereas before I was just trying to get my bearings and going through the motions. I now know with my heart that the Lord has called me to be in Converse at this exact time for a specific purpose. I also know that He wants me to get involved with the ward and help them get involved. Even though I don't know His children here, He is helping me have charity towards them. I can truly say that I love the people here and I love the Lord's work.

I mentioned before the witness I am receiving of the enabling power of the atonement to help me bless the lives of others. I know more now than I did before that I cannot do this by myself. Not even close. But I can be perfect in Christ. We all can as we give our lives to Him.

I did not have any time to prepare for the talk I would be giving in sacrament meeting. All I had was the topic; the atonement, and about five possible scriptures. I had no choice but to completely and totally rely on the spirit knowing that I did the best I could to prepare under the circumstances. Sure enough, the words flowed into my mind. It was an incredible experience. I know that it was not me. I simply got out of the way, trusted the Lord and became the instrument in His hands.

God blesses us when we are obedient and loving. I know that He hears and listens to me pray. I have felt His love for me. The gift of charity is powerful and one that needs to be humbly pursued by all of us. This mission has nothing to do with me and everything to do with the Savior and His sheep. I know that this work is His work, that I am a representative of Him and have been given the missionary mantel. As we treasure up in our hearts continually the words of Christ the words are indeed given in the very moment we need them. I love the Lord. Through Him we can do all things. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

I love you all!

Sister Record

P.S. I take back what I said before. The grid system in Utah is WAY EASIER! ;) Luckily I'm just the navigator right now. But I'm seriously thinking about getting a GPS for when I'm a senior companion. Do you have any idea how much they are? Maybe I'll get lucky and my companion will have one.

Texas rocks! :D

1. How was your experience at the Alamo?
It was really neat to go with the training leaders and cross the line. It represents being all in. Leaving everything behind and not looking back. Serving the Lord with all our heart, might, mind and strength. To be honest, I was a little distracted when they were reading the history of the Alamo, but luckily we have a copy of it in our TSAM handbook. After crossing the line, we were sent off to introduce the Book of Mormon to people and try to place one. We went as companionship's. Sister Pito and I talked to several different people. Most of them listened politely but none were interested. It was a great learning experience. I wasn't too discouraged about not placing one.

2. What is your companion's name?
Sister Kaitlin Johnston, she's a brand new senior companion and has been out for about 8 months. I have to tell you, she is a great example of quiet dignity and humility.

3. What area, district and zone are you in?
I'm in Converse, Texas; Windcrest District; San Antonio East Zone

4. How did Sister Barrick do on the plane ride?
Ha ha! Sister Barrick did really well. We had a little fun with her... She was nervous taking off, but did just fine after that.

5. What miracles have you seen already in the mission field?
I have seen miracles every day. The biggest miracle I have felt is being given the words to speak in the moment I need them. I was terrified about talking to total strangers and worried about messing something up. But by trusting in the Lord and opening my mouth, the spirit has been able to bless lives.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Greetings From Texas

Dear Parents:

We have had a great day in the Texas San Antonio Mission.  In the morning we left 28 very wonderful missionaries to return to their families.  In the afternoon we received your 31 missionaries.  They are absolutely inspiring.  They are full of energy, excitement, and faith.  We really look forward to watching this group grow and experience the marvels of a mission.

We will write more later, but just this quick note to tell you that they are here, safe and sound.  They are ready to go to the Alamo where we will teach them to love Texas and then to place their first Book of Mormon in the mission.

31 New Missionaries, that is like an entire zone! Wonderful! Sister Record is in the middle front.

If we can do anything for you please don't hesitate to let us know.

The Lord's blessings be upon you,

James E. Slaughter
President, Texas San Antonio Mission

Another Week! :)

Area: MTC
Companion: Sister Raelynn Pito

It has been an incredible week! I feel so blessed to be here at the MTC. When I was feeling sick earlier last week, I asked the Elders in my district for a priesthood blessing. They all joined in. It was powerful. I really appreciate the prayers and support on my behalf. They work! I assure you that I'm back to normal with my health. I just need to keep watching what I eat.

I can hardly believe how many miracles I have seen in the past two weeks. I have grown so much already, along with my companion, Sister Pito.  One of the biggest blessings I am seeing is that I'm learning how to be obedient AND have fun. Ha ha! I can totally see why Sister Pito and I were put together. Being with her has helped me loosen up. I didn't realize it, but I was stiff as a board when I first came into the MTC. I still have a lot to learn, but it's definitely safe to say that my time spent here has been life changing. My companion and I are almost polar opposites, but know how to communicate and love one another anyways. She is great! I've mentioned before what incredible faith she has. Our most powerful moments are when we kneel to pray together, and when we teach with the spirit.

Another wonderful blessing I've felt is the presence of angels lifting me up and strengthening me. Particularly Grandma Rowely. I feel her presence every day. I feel such a connection with her. She has been very present during the hard times. I know others have to, but I'm always aware of her. I am reminded of when I was set apart. One of the things said in the blessing was that angels would be behind me and beside me, or something like that. I not only believe that, but I know that.

On Sunday evenings, we see one of four films. The sister's in my district and I went to go see "The Character of Christ" by David A. Bednar. It's an address he gave in the MTC in I think 2001. It was so amazing. It talked about how the character of Christ is turning out and not in. Conversion is a turning away from the natural man. We can only become deeply converted by giving ourselves to the Lord and being selfless. It really helped me to evaluate where I am and what I need to improve. It helped me better internalize that this mission has nothing to do with me. It has everything to do with Jesus Christ and His sheep.

We do a lot of roll plays here, but we did something a little different a couple times that I really liked. Instead of teaching "an investigator" we taught our companion or whoever we were teaching as themselves. It was real. It wasn't a practice. We were administering to that person's needs, and it was really cool. I enjoyed following the spirit and helping them. I also received some much needed counsel when I was paired with an Elder in the district. I don't think I'll ever forget it.

I'm grateful for my teachers who have played an important role in fostering learning and growth in class. Sister Harper and Brother Tialavea are awesome! (Brother T. is Samoan).

Yesterday was a fun day, because the Sister's in our district really bonded. (Sister Savannah Barrick, Sister Victoria Foster, and Sister Pito and I). The Elders left that morning so it was just us in class. It was a really good day. It also rained that evening and we all danced in the rain. They were a little more enthusiastic than I was, but it was super fun. We took some great pictures.

I love being a missionary! I will always cherish the memories and experiences I've had here at the MTC. It is priceless. I am looking forward to leaving for Texas tomorrow. Even though we have to be at the travel office at 4:30am... :D Sister Barrick has never flown before, so we'll probably be doing some pep talking before we get on the plane. I am most excited to meet President and Sister Slaughter because I know what important people they will be in my life for the next 18 months and beyond. I feel connected with them already. I don't know if I told you, but they've only been serving a year. So I'll get them my whole mission! :)

Again, thank you so much for the support. Letters brighten a missionaries day like nothing else. I'm am so grateful for family and friends. I love you!


Sister Record