Monday, April 20, 2015

Old Companions, New Purpose

Area: Serenada
Companion: Sister Raelynn Pito

Good afternoon!

You'll never believe who my new companion is. Sister Raelynn Pito. Sound familiar? She was my MTC companion! :D At transfer meeting when we found out that we're companions we were sooo excited! Before the meeting started we were talking and said, "what if we're companions?" Ha ha.. I waved it off, saying that I didn't think they'd put her in an old people area after being in YSA areas her whole mission. We didn't think much about it after. When it was announced that we would be together we both laughed and exclaimed, "No way." We gave each other a big hug, and we seriously couldn't stop giggling about it throughout the day.

I don't know if I ever told y'all, but Sister Pito and I butted heads a lot in the MTC. Her and I were so different and always disagreeing on how to do things. By the end of our stay at the MTC we loved each other and settled differences. We learned so much from each other. It is because of her that I learned how to loosen up and have fun. She changed my life. From me, she learned how to be more obedient. It's amazing how much we needed each other. Even with the personality differences, we would never end a night on a bad note. The most powerful moments I had with her were when we knelt together in prayer. That is when we came together and grew in unity. After one disastrous attempt, we learned how to teach together with the spirit. I can't tell y'all how much I love Sister Pito, and how many fond memories I have of the MTC.

Our first evening back together as companions was great, and very eye opening to see how far we've both come. We demonstrated the message of the Restoration short and powerfully for the members who fed us dinner. We had no chance to role play beforehand or anything. We just did it. And wow... The transformation is drastic. We taught with clarity and perfect unity. We are both more able to teach the doctrines. Whereas before, we didn't really know how to express the truths we had always known.

Sister Pito is such an incredible example of dedication and determination. She works hard and knows her purpose. She has changed. As have I. This is such a tender mercy to be companions again. I always hoped we would, but didn't think it would actually happen.

This weekend we had a really neat experience stopping by a man Sister Rowley and I met a little over a week ago. His name is {B}. When Sister Rowley and I met him he was busy doing yard work and wasn't super interested, but not closed off either. He said we could come back on a weekend. He wasn't in our plans that day, but as Sister Pito and I were going to the street for someone else I felt like we shouldn't go to the person we planned and remembered spur of the moment that {B} was on that street and said we could come back. I know that was a prompting from the spirit. We went and showed him the "Because He Lives" video. We could tell that he was really feeling the spirit as he watched. I don't remember exactly what we said about it, but he ended up telling us about some hard things he has been going through. We shared something about the restored gospel that I don't fully recall. He was obviously touched. I asked if we could pray for him. One of the things I asked in the prayer is that he would be able to feel God's love for him and know that this visit was not a coincidence. He was on the verge of breaking down in tears after that prayer. I could tell he was holding back until he got inside. The spirit was undeniable. He told us we could come back the next week. This man is being prepared. He has been humbled through trials of life, and ready to hear what ever the Lord might tell him. I'm grateful to be an instrument in the Lords hands in helping his children come unto him. It is truly rewarding.

Because He Lives

Yesterday we witnessed what I felt was a small miracle. During sacrament meeting there was a special musical number composed of all who desired to come forward and join in singing "High on the Mountain Top." It was beautiful to watch people come forward voluntarily, and give of themselves in such an unexpected way. The choir was unpracticed, and perhaps "unprofessional" in the worlds eyes. They weren't all on tune. Some were singing louder than others. But it was the most Heavenly sound I've heard and scene I've witnessed all week. It was as though angels were declaring glad tidings of joy. I felt a wave of emotion at the sight. Brother Karchaske, who is our ward mission leader as well as the ward choir director, does things spontaneously. I love that about him. He gets it. He is a great singer himself. But he understands the power of selfless service and the spirit of music.

This ward is an amazing ward! I love them all so much. I love my mission, despite or even perhaps because of the challenges that come. It is a great joy to be on the Lord's errand. No amount of hardship or trial will sway me from serving him who saved us all, and who descended below us all.

Thank you for your love and support. I know this cause it true. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

With love,
Sister Record

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Thoughtful Notes

Area: Serenada
Companion: Sister Raelynn Pito

We have received a couple of notes from members in Texas sharing pictures of Sister Record and her companions and some very kind words. We are so grateful to have Sister Record watched over so lovingly. It is comforting when she is so far away from home. We are grateful for her service as a full time missionary though. She is making such a difference! We also found out from the Daniels family that Sister Pito will be Sister Record's new companion. They were companions in the MTC.

Sister Record, Sister McClellan and Sister Rowley

Sister Record, Brother McClellan and Sister Rowley

Sister Pito, Sister Record and the Daniels family

Sister Pito, Sister Record and the Daniels family

Monday, April 13, 2015

A Flashlight In Your Face

Area: Serenada
Companion: Sister Melissa Rowley

And the transfer news is..... I'll be staying here, in the Serenada ward, and Sister Rowley is being transferred. It's been a good transfer. Full of faith building experiences. I'm so glad to have served with Sister Rowley, she is amazing!

We went to zone meeting on Tuesday, which was fantastic, as usual! We have such great missionaries in our mission.

Sister Rowley and Sister Record. From last week, the beloved
Cadburry eggs and Starburst Jelly Beans. :)
Early in the week we were in a town that is far out in our area. We don't go there too often, but we decided to spend some time there. We got to talking to a man about eternal families. He was so sweet and ready to listen. Near the end of our "short and powerful statement of truth" he asked with gentle curiosity who we represent, and what church we belong to. We told him that we belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I felt the spirit really strong when immediately following the first response I stated, "And we represent Jesus Christ." The truth of that statement was felt not only by us, but by him as well. There is just something about truth that can be felt by any soul. Whether they hearken to it or not.

A couple days later we talked with a man who wasn't very kind, but polite enough to listen. He was a little mocking when we first came to the door, but came outside and essentially said, "Let's get it over with". We responded kindly but directly. We went on to tell him about the Book of Mormon. He proceeded to tell us about his religious background. What happened next was really interesting. He said that if Jesus Christ were right in front of him shining a flashlight in his face, he probably wouldn't notice. We testified that we were representatives of Jesus Christ, that God loves him, and wants him to know that, and that Jesus Christ was indeed shining a flashlight at him at that very moment. Everything changed. The spirit came, and he could feel it. Even though he was a little rough and tough, he softened. He said, "Well, I hope so." Heavenly Father loves each of his children, no matter how rough or not rough they are. I'm grateful for the opportunity to stand as a witness of God at all times, in all things, and in all places.

I've been pondering on the gift and beauty of repentance. Yesterday we experienced a miracle. There is a family in our ward who's husband and father is not a member, and not very religious. Previously he had been investigating with some Elders, but had stopped for an unknown reason. He is one of the nicest guys. Since we've been in this area, we've stopped by a couple times, and tried to call and set up a time to visit. It has never worked out until yesterday. We stopped by, and they were all home. We read a few verses in the Book of Enos when he talks about how his soul hungered and he prayed mightily for forgiveness. We talked to them about the beauty of repentance. We boldly invited {M} to take the lessons again. The spirit was really strong, and he said he'd consider. HUGE breakthrough moment!

I've heard many people speak of declaring repentance as an act of judgement. As though declaring repentance meant to point fingers at one's faults, thump a bible in their face, and speak of fire and brimstone. That is not repentance. Repentance is the gift and power God has given us to change through the atonement of His son, Jesus Christ. I have felt of this redeeming power in my life. I've felt the great joy that comes from being cleansed spiritually, again and again. Not only that, but I have seen his grace turn my weaknesses into strengths. It is beautiful, it is amazing, it is redeeming. How could I not share with others the strength I have found through Christ that they too can have? Repentance is a result of God's love for us, and his mercy. And so, I will declare repentance loudly and lovingly with the sound of rejoicing forever more. I will not rest until every soul I come in contact with knows that I have been changed through repentance and they can too. For the rest of my life and beyond, I will not be still. I will raise my voice of love and adoration for the gift of repentance, and I will invite others to do the same.

Sister Rowley, Sister and Brother Carter, Sister Record

I love the Lord, and I love his gospel. Which is the way for us to have peace in this life, and exaltation in the life to come.

How grateful I am for all that I'm learning on my mission!

With Love,
Sister Record

All in! :)

Monday, April 6, 2015

Chicken Legs and Cadbury Eggs

Area: Serenada
Companion: Sister Melissa Rowley

Hello ya'll! It's great to be alive at such a time as this! :D

Sister Rowley's mom just sent her that skirt. We didn't even plan on wearing the same skirt today,
thought we should capture this monumental occasion. :)
There are moments when God's hand is so obvious, we just can't deny his love for us. Sister Rowley and I had such a moment this week. Each transfer we have what's called a "wishlist". That is a list we send to our district leader each transfer to inform him of needed supplies such as pass along cards, pamphlets, copies of the Book of Mormon, etc.. I don't know why they call it a wishlist. Our district leader texted us, letting us know it was time to send in wishlists. We listed the things we needed, and jokingly included Cadbury Eggs. To which they replied, "Anything else?" We thought for a moment and said, we wouldn't say no to starburst jelly beans. Ha ha. We got a giggle out of it, then forgot all about the whole thing. The very next day we received a package from Sister Rowley's mom. She got a cute new outfit, and guess what else? CADBURY EGGS and STARBURST JELLYBEANS! :D We could not believe it. We laughed, and we ate some, and couldn't deny that it was a tender mercy from Heavenly Father. Heavenly Father doesn't care about candy! But he does care about his children. And he does occasionally, or perhaps more often than we think, send us unexpected tender mercies that bring us delight, joy, peace, or even love. He loves his children. He loves us. And those things could not have come at a more perfect time.

Transfer calls are coming up this Sunday. I get the feeling that there will be a change. I'm not sure what kind of change. We will see. Next time you hear from me, you'll know!

We had fun helping her plant her strawberries.
We had the delightful opportunity to help Sister Cox, a woman in our ward, with her garden. She has two full-time jobs; Mother and farmer. She is a hard worker. She has a daughter serving a mission. It was fun to work with her for an hour. Unfortunately it was a challenge to keep the chickens away from our handy work. They loved the freshly hoed soil with all the bugs now easy to reach. I love gardening!

General Conference has been amazing. I did get to watch all the sessions. I loved listening to Sister Linda K. Burton as she addressed the importance of Fathers and husbands. What a noble role it is to be a Father and husband. Dad, thank you for being such a prime example of a good husband and Father. You honor the priesthood that you hold. I also loved President Eyring's talk on the law of the fast. Elder Holland spoke beautifully on the fall of Adam and Eve and our dire need for the atonement. I took pretty good notes throughout, but Elder Holland’s talk was so compelling, I only wrote a couple points down. I was very touched by Brent H. Neilson's talk on the prodigal son and the example of his sister falling away and coming back. Everything was so good!

Before my mission, I mistakenly had the idea that missionaries are always teaching people. Not so. Wouldn't it be fantastic if we were teaching someone every hour of the day? Or even just one person each day. A huge part of the Lord's work is finding those who are prepared to receive his gospel. That doesn't always happen in the blink of an eye. The past few weeks we've been focusing almost solely on finding people. The Lord has promised that he is preparing hearts wherever we're at. In our search, we also see many who are not open or desirous to listen. What do we do when we meet those people? Love them, but move on. It has been humbling to be on the Lord's errand. Success is not measured by our outward results, but by our commitment to find, teach, and baptize. Our commitment is what counts. There are times in a mission where we are teaching people constantly. Even if we are teaching constantly, we can still fail if our commitment to the Lord is not there. I learned this at an early age. Success in the world's eyes is different than success is God's eyes.

Because of this somewhat slow time, I've learned to really cherish and appreciate teaching opportunities. It has helped me stretch to improve my teaching skills. 5 minutes before the second session of general conference started, a man who wasn't interested referred us to his next door neighbor. We decided to risk being late, and knock on her door. She ended up being very kind and open and wanted us to come back. What a tender mercy!

I know that the Lord lives, and loves us. He is aware of each of his children. His gospel is the way that leads to happiness in this life and joy in the life to come. I bear my humble witness that I am not here to represent myself, but I am here to represent him. Even Jesus Christ. In his great name, amen.

Love Sister Record


Went on exchanges with Sister Weber. She's awesome!

I am so proud of Sister Rowley. She's been working hard on improving her silly faces. This one is a gem!

Cell phone picture of Sister Rowley and Sister Record singing
for the Parkers. We hope to get the video soon.

In between conference sessions, during our lunch hour, we were the only
ones at the church, so I took a short nap on the couch. Impressive, I know.

Look how cute!