Monday, July 27, 2015

The Miracle of the Library

Area: Serenada/Georgetown
Companion: Sister Jessy Montclair

It has been another miraculous week here in the TSAM (Texas San Antonio Mission). I do not know how I got so lucky to come to the best mission on Earth. I'm proud to be a TSAMer.

{D} and his kids are doing great! {D} is getting baptized this Friday. He is solid. Due to some complications, the children's baptism will be delayed. But their progress certainly won't. The good news with that is he will be able to baptize them when their time comes. :) Family home evening went very well last week with them. We taught tithing, which they readily accepted. The ward is really taking them in.

Sister Snyder and Sister Record

A couple weeks ago we were in an RV park way up in the boonies, contacting a referral. We didn't end up meeting the referral, but we saw a guy outside. He seemed genuinely touched that we had stopped to talk to him. Come to find out, he's a member! He was baptized years ago, but hasn't been involved in any religion since. He is a scientist, and is analytical by nature. He couldn't meet right then, so we set up a return appointment for a couple weeks later. Which in missionary time, is a long time! But the other day, we had that lesson with him. We got there and forgot to bring another woman with us. He works in the heat, and so we decided to meet at the library. The lesson with him was incredible. He has been a lost sheep for so long that he didn't barely comprehended the concept of God. We focused on that and the spirit was really strong. We taught the restoration. It was amazing to see the Holy Ghost working as everything we taught was so familiar to him, and he really wanted to know the truth. He is so sincere, and ready to come back to the fold of God.

Near the end of the lesson we were reading Moroni 10:3-5, which talks about asking God with a sincere heart and how he will manifest the truth through the power of the Holy Ghost. A young man had been standing at a nearby window, when he walked up to us and asked if he could join us. That does not happen every day! Sister Montclair and I were so taken aback, but immediately responded, "Absolutely!" He pulled up a chair and told us that he doesn't hear people talk about God very often in a public place. He expressed that he didn't know why he had come to that window, which was in a quiet corner of the library away from all the books. When he heard us taking about God he debated whether or not to join us. He said, "I told God that if my bible is in my backpack, I'll join them." As he spoke he pulled out his bible. Lately, he explained, he has come back to God and knows that he needs to have an open mind. Since we were at the end of the lesson with {J}, the less active member, we explained the background of the Book of Mormon and gave him a copy. We ended the lesson with a prayer so {J} could get going, but asked {S}, the kid who joined us, to stay so we could teach him one-on-one. He received the message of the restoration well and even agreed to be baptized. What a MIRACLE!! We weren't even walking around looking, he just WALKED UP to us! We were at the library for a couple hours, and when Sister Montclair and I came out. We looked at each other with big smiles and exclaimed, "What just happened?!" We were on cloud nine for a while.

Yesterday we were out working and had to use the restroom. We cleverly decided to ask a less active member if we could use theirs. We looked in our book to see who was closest, and picked a part-member family. The Dad is the only member. His wife and two kids are not. At first they seemed a little uncomfortable, but warmed up fairly quickly as we had friendly chit-chat. The conversation kept going, and they told us about their church. Before leaving we asked if we could share the video "Because He Lives".

After watching, the spirit was really strong. We asked them what they liked, and the Mom broke down crying. That morning she had been praying for guidance. She has wanted so badly for years for her family to go to church together, but she just didn't know where to find it. She wants to meet with us because she knows we were sent by God. Wow, prepared! That video was inspiring and helped that family so much. Before showing them the video, I felt an overwhelming impression that this family is prepared. I could see in my minds eye the Dad becoming active again, and mom and kids being baptized. There was a moment when I looked into her eyes and testified that God loves her, and we embraced for a long time. Amazing.

I stand before you, in spirit, with an absolute sure and unwavering knowledge that God hears the pleas of each of his children. I know that he lives. I don't just believe it any more, I know it. The love I have felt for these people is unlike anything I have ever experienced. I cannot describe the depth of the emotions within me. All I can say is that I am a witness. He lives, he loves me. He loves each of his children. The blood of the restoration flows in my veins. The blood of Christ has cleansed me. I can say with confidence that I am a new person, and I am clean. He is real. I love my Savior. I love his work.

I love you all. Thanks for all you do, and for always seeking opportunities to reach out and share the gospel. I know you have and will be blessed as a result. Keep it up.

Sister Record, servant of the Lord.

Monday, July 20, 2015

A Joyful Task

Area: Serenada/Georgetown
Companion: Sister Jessy Montclair

Dearest family and friends,

I am so sorry this is late and short today.

I almost feel burdened with the joyful task of trying to explain what has happened this week! :) I can relate with the Nephites in ancient America when the Savior ministered to them after his resurrection. Speaking of the prayer he offered it was recorded, "And tongue cannot speak the words which he prayed, neither can be written by man the words which he prayed." (3 Nephi 19:32) I will try my best to articulate some of the experiences and feelings I have had.

Sister Montclair, Sister Turpin and Sister Record

We had an incredible exchange with Sister Turpin. Sister Turpin was my first sister training leader and I went on my first exchange with her. That exchange was very important to me as a brand new missionary. It not only changed my view of the mission, but it changed my life. It was indeed one of those moments that I'll never forget, a stepping stone of eternity. She has been assigned various responsibilities on her mission. This exchange was miraculous. The doctrine of leadership has sunk deep into my heart. I now know more than ever that there is no such thing as "ranks" in our church. One of the greatest leaders I know is Sister Pito, and she has been a junior companion her whole mission up until now. I have watched in awe as various leaders in our mission have taken on a seemingly "lesser" assignment after having served as an assistant or other capacity. What I've learned is that it doesn't matter what assignment we have or don't have because the Lord needs us where ever we're at. Not only that, but he calls us in our weakness and qualifies us for the work. How unfortunate it would be if we were to fail to magnify a calling simply because we didn't think it was anything special. I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve in whatever capacity the Lord asks me to do. During that exchange we learned a lot together.

Sister Record and Sister Smith

Sister Smith came here with me on an exchange earlier in the week. We met an awesome guy named Albert. He was a little younger than us, and considered himself atheist. We asked why he considers himself atheist. He responded that so many bad things happen in this world that it's hard for him to understand that there would be a God. As we listened with love, the spirit took over. We unfolded some scriptures from the Book of Mormon that spoke of why bad things happen, and that there is a God who loves us. After speaking with him, we offered him a Book of Mormon, which he excitedly accepted and wanted to learn more. It's interesting how many people accept invitations to learn more. It's often those whom we initially think are unlikely possibilities.

Also during that exchange we heard of a baptismal service last minute, and scrambled to get {D} and his kids there. It was wonderful to be able to attend with them. The spirit at a baptism is undeniable. This particular baptism, the woman being baptized didn't go all the way under and the ordinance had to be repeated so she could be fully immersed. It was a great learning  opportunity for {D} and his kids. The ward is really taking them in. Tonight we will be having a family home evening with them at some member's home.

This week has been miraculous! We have so many exchanges coming up, it's awesome. I'm excited for all the growth that awaits. Stayed tuned.

Here is my pearl for the week: Remember Ammonihah
All in!

Sister Record

Monday, July 13, 2015

"Those Are My Missionaries!"

Area: Serenada/Georgetown
Companion: Sister Jessy Montclair

I love the work of the Lord. There is nothing like serving him every moment of the day. Sweat and all. Mom, Dad, family and friends, I testify that miracles occur every day. This week in particular. I have a deeper sense that the very strings of eternity have woven together in such a way as to completely change the lives of certain individuals. I know that "by small and simple things are great things brought to pass." (Alma 37:6) Great things are happening, the Lord is preparing his children! "Shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad. Let the earth break forth into singing." (D&C 128:22) I feel like Ammon when he could not contain his joy at the conversion of the Lamanites. He says in Alma 26:8, "Blessed be the name of our God; let us sing to his praise, yea, let us give thanks to his holy name, for he doth work righteousness forever." My life has been forever changed, and I will never look back.

First, allow me to mention my new companion. Sister Montclair has been out for 17 months, and is also a sister training leader. She is fantastic. I'm grateful that she is fluent in Spanish, though not Spanish called, because we run into quite a bit of Hispanics. She served on the border of Mexico for 6 months of her mission. I'm excited to work with her this transfer!

There is a woman named {A} that we just started teaching. She referred herself. Though she hasn't been previously taught by missionaries, she is ready to act on whatever commitment we extend. She came to church on Sunday and is eager to learn. Basically she is very prepared and fell out of the sky. She has a friend go is a member where she used to live introduced her to the gospel. She received a priesthood blessing years ago, and has recently sought us out to teach her.

This week we taught {D}, {M}, {L}, {S}, and {R} several times. Earlier in the week we taught them the 10 commandments. They loved learning the hand signs. They readily committed to keep the 10 commandments. Later in the week Sister Montclair and I taught them about the baptismal covenant. A covenant is a two way promise between us and God. God sets the terms. When baptized by someone holding the restored priesthood authority of God, we promise with him hat we will keep his commandments, always remember him, and help others. In return he promises us the most precious of any gift and that is to always have his spirit to be with us. One of the commandments he has given us is to keep the Sabbath day holy. That is in essence what we taught them about. Through the guidance of the spirit, we taught them the importance of the sacrament and keeping that sacred day holy. By the end of the lesson, we asked them if they will keep the Sabbath day holy. They responded with a resounding "Yes". We then asked if they will come to church this Sunday. Again, a firm, resounding "Yes".  I'm telling you, when someone truly commits to live a law of God, it is as though the Heavens are singing. It is totally different then when someone just sort of says they'll do it but don't really mean it.

Yesterday it finally happened. All 5 of them came to church. I wish you could have seen the team that rallied them up that morning. Sister Montclair and I went by to make sure they were good to go. Upon opening the door, they were all ready and excited. Shortly after we arrived a couple from the ward came to pick them up. After they arrived the couple who taught them with us the day before came for support. We miraculously got the whole family to church with tremendous support. Despite the fact that cute little {R} was loud during the sacrament, the whole day was a spiritual experience for that beautiful family. Luckily {R} had no problem going to nursery.

During the third hour Elder and Sister Adair, sister Montclair, and I had the privilege to help with sharing time in primary. While we waited in the back it was fun to observe {M}, {L} and {S}. They fit right in. {M} enthusiastically participates. He is always eager to raise his hand and share a comment. Though his insightful comment usually doesn't make it until called upon. He loves to sing with everyone else, and has a surprisingly beautiful voice. {L} is so mature for his age. He is less outgoing then his brother, but full of wisdom for someone as young as he is. {S} made friends with the little girl in her class immediately and told her Dad later that her teacher is awesome. When the primary presidency welcomed and introduced us, {M} said, "Those are my missionaries. They are awesome!" My heart sang to hear him say that. What a warming feeling to know that I am his missionary. I can see him a few years from now dressed in a white shirt, tie, and black name tag. An ordained servant of the Lord, a full-time missionary touching the lives of others and telling them of his sister missionaries. I can see him dressed in white, being sealed to an eternal companion in the temple and raising his children in the gospel. That vision brings tears to my eyes. I love that family so much.

How grateful I am to participate in the greatest work both in Heaven and on Earth. This is more than simple invitations. This is inviting people to receive exaltation. It is changing the course of people's lives so they can partake of the fruit of the tree of life, or in other words, have a fullness of joy.

I feel that this is the perfect ending to this letter. So I love you all.

All in!

Sister Record


Sister Annelise Record

Sister Annelise Record

Sister Johnston (Trainer) and Sister Record at MLC

Sister Pito, Sister Bills and Sister Record.
Red, white and blue is the theme!

Sister Pito, Sister Record and Sister Bills

Thursday, July 9, 2015

New Assignment

Area: Serenada/Georgetown
Companion: Sister Raelynn Pito
Companion: Sister Rachel Bills
New Assignment: Sister Training Leader

Are y'all ready for the new transfer news? It is exactly what none of us were expecting. Sister Pito and Sister Bills are leaving, and I am staying. That means this will be my fifth transfer in Serenada and my second transfer in Georgetown. It all feels like one area though. I am also humbled to accept the assignment to serve as a sister training leader. I had the opportunity to attend the Missionary Leadership Council meeting last Tuesday. They called me a few days before and invited me. I didn't know why until I got there. I was excited and nervous.

MLC was AMAZING! I knew, but never realized how much President Slaughter loves us. His vision is one of complete consecration to the Lord. He watches his leaders and follows both the written and the unwritten order of the church. He is a true disciple of Christ and desires for all of us to become the same. My eyes were opened to his individual love for us. I feel a deep sense of pride to be a missionary in the Texas San Antonio mission. The TSAM has a culture of obedience and hard work. How blessed I am to be a TSAMer!

We are teaching an incredible family. I think I told you about them. {D1} is the Dad and he's got four fairly young children. We taught {D1} a few lessons before teaching the whole family, and then started over with the lessons to teach them all together. It has been so great! This week we taught the the plan of salvation. The Primary President came with us to meet the kids. They all committed to be baptized. The kids are so ready, and so excited. They just get it. We taught them again a couple days later about faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. Or in other words, the doctrine of Christ. They are thrilled to be baptized. I am so grateful that I'll be here next transfer to continue to teach them and help them progress. Yesterday {D1} was going to come to church, but he got really sick. The kids were so sad because they were looking forward to going. Luckily we went over before church to make sure they were coming. A member from the ward always offers them a ride and came just in time. {D1} allowed the two older boys to go the church with the Brother in the ward. Now remember, the two older boys are 11 and 8. When we got there, they sat with the primary president and the member who drove them. They were so well behaved and in awe. They loved primary, and were taken care of in their classes. I am in awe to how prepared those two boys are, as well as the rest of the family.

When I look at {D2}, I think of Dad who was taught by the missionaries when he was around that same age. There are times when I think I feel the posterity of that little boy guiding us and urging him to move forward with this. When I think of {D2} being baptized, I think of a possible future daughter having the same blessings I have received from the gospel and from those missionaries who taught my Grandmother, my Dad, and my Aunt years ago. This literally affects thousands of souls both currently living, and not yet born. I am so grateful to be a part of this great work. We are so privileged to live in such a time as this. This is the dispensation of the fullness of times. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is his very church restored in its fullness, has never been stronger. The good in this world has never been so wonderful. Yes, there is a lot of wickedness. Evil is spreading. But righteousness overpowers all. We have no need to fear. The Lord has already won the battle. It's not a matter of if good will triumph, or if Gods people will win. It is a matter of "choosing this day whom we will serve." Do we want to be on Gods side, or the Devils side? I can say with absolute certainty of my soul that I am clean before the Lord. My heart is pure through his atoning blood. And I choose him, now and forever. I am not afraid. I have no reason to be. I will stand for truth no matter what the cost. I will never back down from his eternal truths.

There were so many miracles this week. There are some people that I haven't met the whole time I've been here and have met this week. The Serenada area has historically been a difficult area to work in. But in the time I've been here, we have watched it bloom and grow in ways it never has before. I feel a deep sense of appreciation for the hand of the Lord in nurturing and preparing the people here to receive us. It's moments like this I sit back and know very specifically why I am here on a mission and why I am in this area. I really look forward to going on exchanges with all the sisters next transfer. It is a tremendous responsibility that I cherish and hope to magnify.

On Sunday we were at an apartment complex waiting outside for someone when we saw a woman sweeping in front of her door behind us. When we started talking to her she signalled that she was deaf. I really need to start carrying a notebook for when we meet deaf people. Luckily I still had some space in the back of my planner so we wrote back and forth to her as much as we could. The spirit was really strong, though we didn't have a whole lot of space. We're referring her to the American Sign Language (ASL) sisters. It was a miracle to run into her. The ASL sisters are doing everything they can to find people who are deaf so that they can learn the gospel, but they need our help. It was a miracle to find her when we did. And it's amazing how the spirit silently testified.

The 4th of July was fun. We all dressed in red, white, blue and took patriotic pictures. :)

I gave my first zone meeting training on Friday. The spirit there was very edifying.

I have much more sympathy for people with allergies. I have never had allergies until recently with whatever is currently in bloom. The reason I tell you is because I was going to sing a song for you and send it, but I can't sing right now. Hopefully my voice gets back in working order soon.

I love you all! I hope you're constantly looking for missionary opportunities wherever you are. I know that the Lord will provide them if we ask and seek. :) I'd love to continue hearing about your missionary opportunities. Keep the faith!

Sister Record