Monday, August 31, 2015

A Beautiful Day!

Area: Valley Hi/Heritage
Companion: Sister Riley Powell

Sister Record and Sister Mary Harker
What a beautiful day to be alive!

Guess what! Mary Harker, Aunt Juanita's Sister is in one of the wards I'm serving in. We were at the church for a correlation meeting and she was in the hall. I walked up to her to meet her just like I've been doing with all the other members, when she said in a tone that made my mind halt to a stop, "Sister Record, long time no see." I looked at her and thought for a split second that she might have been my cousin Stephanie. I know that's silly because their age is quite different, but that's what I thought for a moment. I replied after some thought, "Wait. Do I know you?" She responded that I do, and she knew my mother, Sheri very well and had grown up with her. She explained who she was and that she has been to our home in Salem before. That was very exciting to meet her and realize who she is. Though I only have a vague memory of her visit. She has those characteristic eyes that all of Juanita's family has. Her daughter is about Eric's age and we're kind of like cousins since we have the same Uncle. Ha ha! Small world!

Mom, Happy, happy Birthday last week. I wish I could have sent you a picture like I did Dad. I sure did think about you this week and hope you had a good one. :) Chris, I can't BELIEVE you're 18! Happy Birthday yesterday. I hope you haven't died from sky diving yet. ;) I love you both!

This week we had a Sister's Conference. It lasted all day and was for each Sister missionary in the mission. It was an absolutely delightful experience. President Slaughter spoke first. He got up and told us we're beautiful. After making his point, he told us to stand up if we're beautiful. Each of us did. This moment was powerful. The one time I have ever seen my mission President cry is when he looked at us standing and said, "That is right... You are beautiful". He doesn't like us to quote him, but he said with power and authority that this is one thing we can quote from him. "I am beautiful because my mission President said." Not only that, but my Dad said so too. :)

After the amazing conference we got to go to the temple. It was so glorious to step inside and do a session there. I haven't been for almost a year. I went at the beginning of my mission. It was so refreshing to go back. I love the temple so much.

I had a touching experience in giving a talk this Sunday. A beautiful young woman about 13 years old gave what must have been her first talk. I was deeply moved as I listened to her read the words of an apostle with nerves in her voice. At the end she bore a simple testimony. I watched the expression of her Mother which was fixed, confident and unmoving. When it was my turn to speak I felt impressed to thank this young woman for her beautiful testimony and to express how touched I was by the eyes of her Mother, who then began to cry as I said that. I too got emotional as I said how grateful I am for the Mothers who teach us to be stripling warriors. Some day that young woman will truly understand who she is and her testimony will be sure and certain. I yearn for all the youth to see their divine potential as covenant Israel. As members of Christ's church, sometimes we don't fully realize the power of knowing what we know. The Lord is gathering his people, and we have a part to play in that.

This week a profound realization sunk deep into my heart. All of the miracles I have seen, all the personal growth and change I have experienced, and the things I have learned are not a result of my mission. They are not a result of my family or my companions. Nor have I changed because of inspiring leaders. All these influences have been wonderful, and are very dear to me. They have surely impacted my life. But they are not what has changed me. The Savior has changed me. Yes, this mission is perfect for me. But I could be anywhere in the world and learn just as much and change just as much because it is only through the Savior that I have grown. It's all a choice. Just as Sister Slaughter taught us a few transfers ago that it's more about "I'll be what you want me to be" than "I'll go where you want me to go". A change of behavior is not enough. It will not last.

With all the surety of my heart, I declare that my steadiness, faithfulness to God, my love for Him and His work, and the change of heart that I have felt is not dependent upon my mission. Though coming on a mission is the best choice I've ever made and I wouldn't trade it for the world. I know without a shadow of a doubt that if for whatever reason, my family were to fall off the deep end, (which I know you won't) I would not and could not be swayed. The attitude of my companion does not influence my obedience to the Lord. If an admired leader in the church were to slip up it would not bother me. I know who I am. I know who God is. Through Jesus Christ, I am saved. He has redeemed my soul from hell. I give glory to him forever and know that my spiritual growth is a choice to follow the Savior and rely completely on him.

I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is His kingdom on the Earth. It is true and perfect. Jesus Christ stands at the head of it. My testimony cannot be moved by the imperfections of man. He lives. I am, because of him.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Sister Record


All of the Sister Missionaries in the Texas San Antonio mission

Sister Powell and I. She is a fantastic leader!

Sister Powell and I in front of the San Antonio temple; and Sister "Master-Photo-Bomber" in the background (Sister Pito) Ha ha!

Just before the camera shot I made a weird face at Sister Pito. She made one back, but we busted up laughing after 2 seconds.

Sister Pito and I! I'm pretty sure we're actual sisters. Or maybe cousins? Yes, I have a Samoan cousin. As she always says, I've just lost color.

A bigger view of the San Antonio temple. Sister Record and Sister Powell

All the San Antonio Sister missionaries at the end of the Sister's conference

Mary Harker and I (She's practically my Aunt)

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Transfer to San Antonio

Area: Valley Hi/Heritage
Companion: Sister Riley Powell

I have officially been transferred away from Georgetown. It will forever own a piece of my heart, but I know that this is where I need to be. I am back in San Antonio covering two wards again. Valley Hi and Heritage. Interestingly enough I came to Valley Hi on an exchange in my second transfer when I was still in training. It is completely different than where I just came from. I have grown to love the Austin area, but I'm growing to love it here too. The moment I got here, it was reminded me of Converse, my first area. My new companion is Sister Riley Powell, and we are both serving as sister training leaders.

We live with some other sisters. Sister Smith, who I lived with before in Converse, and her companion Sister Martin. :)

This week has been wonderful. I love sharing the gospel, and I love telling people about the Book of Mormon! The Book of Mormon is the tool by which Israel is being gathered. While Sister Powell and I were in a smaller neighborhood we came across a man who has Christian roots and is very firm in where he stands. As we shared with him the Book of Mormon my heart sang with joy at declaring these glad tidings. This son of God had the opportunity to accept one of the most precious gifts from our Heavenly Father, another testament of his son Jesus Christ, untainted by the apostasy. He did not accept the Book, nor the invitation to learn more. But someday he may. I LOVE testifying of the restored gospel and of Jesus Christ. It doesn't phase me in the slightest when one chooses to reject the offer. Yes, it does make me sad to know what they are truly rejecting, but my love for God and for his work overpowers any hint of discouragement. I know that our divine commission is to find those who are prepared.

Gathering of Israel

The Lord is gathering his elect from the four corners of the Earth. I know that to be true as I have seen some of his most elect come into the waters of baptism and change their lives.

I have seen it in more subtle ways. Such as 20 copies of the Book of Mormon lasting us for six weeks when we must have passed out 4 a day. I have seen it in the eyes of a child as their perspective of Heavenly Father changes. Others may not have come all the way, but their lives were touched in one way or another. I've seen it in the growth and change of my companions and the things we learn together.

I loved meeting the people in the wards we're serving. I've learned that it is silly to sit back and wait for people to come get to know us. It is much more proactive to get up and go get to know them. I will forever live by that. I will not wait to be acted upon, I will act. "And men are instructed sufficiently that they know good from evil... Wherefore, the Lord gave unto man that he should act for himself..." (2 Nephi 2:5, 16) There are wonderful people here whom I feel privileged to serve and work in harmony with. The work of salvation is for all of us. Members are missionaries too.

In our mission we do mission studies. Meaning that occasionally President Slaughter asks us to study a particular set of scriptures, or a particular subject. He'll usually give a time frame, and ask questions throughout. It is always very enlightening. Our most recent mission study has been on the "For the strength of Youth" pamphlet. He invited us to highlight words that refer to agency and to notice the emphasis the brethren place in standing alone. I really gained a lot out of this study. Here are some thoughts I have had:

"Though the world is getting more and more tumultuous with the adversary working in the hearts of man, righteousness is growing. The light of the gospel of Jesus Christ is stronger than it has ever been. Members of the church will cease holding the iron rod, preferring the great and spacious building, and allowing themselves to be blinded by the philosophies of men. But Jesus Christ's Church is perfect and will never fall. The priesthood will never be taken from the Earth again.

How will we be an influence for good not just in the world, but within the church? It begins with the strength of youth. As children of the covenant we have a divine and sacred responsibility to assist in gathering lost Israel. We were chosen before the world began to be members of Christ's church and to spread the gospel to the world. The Lord has great trust in the youth and often calls upon them to carry out his great work.

If I had understood this when I was a teenager I would have looked at myself, others, and the world much differently. I'm grateful for parents and leaders who helped me learn who I am. We have a responsibility to help the youth see their divine nature. Many of them do not understand who they are as covenant Israel. They are learning and trying to grow in a complex world. One way that we can be an influence for good within the church is by teaching the youth that they are noble and great. We must show them through example how to gain a testimony for themselves. Through this study, my vision of the youth of Zion has changed. I know who I am. I can see the divine nature of who we are. I feel a great responsibility to encourage and strengthen the youth in word and deed. To shine bright, so that they too can be gathered themselves, then assist in gathering the rest of lost Israel. Because that is what we were born to do."

There are three things I want y'all to never forget.

One: The success is in the invitation.  
Two: There are angels among us.  
Three: Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.

I love you all!

Sister Record

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Angels Among Us

Area: Serenada/Georgetown
Companion: Sister Jessy Montclair
Companion: Sister Rachel Bills

It's good to be in a trio again! It feels like Sister Bills never left. :D She is amazing! Somehow I knew at the end of last transfer that we weren't done being companions. Now, four weeks later, she came back to Serenada, and it feels like she's been here the whole transfer.

This has been a beautiful tender week as Sister Montclair prepares to depart. She is handling it so well! It's neat to hear all the words of wisdom she has for us. It's almost like she is sharing her dying words with us... ;) Very profound!

If there is one thing I've learned on my mission, it is that Angels are among us. I have always been somewhat aware of the angels in my life. I learned that if we look close enough, we see angels everyday. Perhaps not physically, but in each blessing we acknowledge, in each breath we take, in the strength we receive to do what is beyond our own capacity. We can miss it if we're not being grateful. As a missionary I am acutely aware of the Heavenly help we receive day to day. The Lord is so aware of his children and truly does lead us to them.

Several transfers ago when I was with Sister Rowley, we were driving and felt distinctly impressed to go to a street that we hadn't planned. We didn't even really know where we were. We just drove there, parked in front of a house, saw a man outside and talked to him. He had really sad eyes, and said he wasn't interested. He was somewhat bitter towards God. We looked him in the eyes and with power told him that we had been sent from God, who is aware of him and his circumstances. We expressed to him the love God has for him and left him a card. His eyes changed a little. We felt no reason to stay on that street, so we got back in our car and left. I have pondered on that experience again and again. How that man must have needed a confirmation that Heavenly Father is aware of him. I can only wonder about the pleadings of his heart.

We are instruments in the Lords hands. If we look at a violin, we see that there are many elements to the instrument. There's a bridge, the strings, the bow, etc. All of these combine to give it the ability to create something amazing. However, a violin cannot play itself. In order for it to produce the music it is inwardly capable of producing, there must be a master musician. This master musician has the power and ability to fine-tune us, polish and dust our surfaces, and fix when we break. As an authorized servant of the Lord, the music in me is the music of the restoration. We are the message, we are the music. Jesus Christ is the master musician. He is my strength and the author of my faith. As we lose ourselves in the service of God, we find ourselves.

At the end of a lesson we were teaching a woman named {D}, she recognized the spirit and wanted to understand it better. We asked her if she believes that we were sent by God. She thought for a moment then said "Yes I do." She proceeded to explain that she believes there are angels on Earth. She looked at us and said, "You never know what form they'll appear in". I found that very interesting that she would say that. It's true, you never know what form they'll appear in. My mother is an angel in my life. She valiantly raised an army of stripling warriors. She painfully watched when at times, we were injured or lost, but never ceased to teach us that "if [we] did not doubt God would deliver [us]" (Alma 56:47) Without her Heavenly wisdom that she has acquired through much prayer, I would not be who I am today.

Another angel in my life is my Grandmother Rowley who gave me some of the most meaningful advice before my mission. "Don't be afraid". Those words come to my mind often.

It is a humbling thing to bear the mantle of a missionary, who's calling is literally "to declare [his] word like unto angels of God." (D&C 42:6) I love this work, and wouldn't trade it for the world. I took upon myself his name when I was baptized, I put his name on my chest when I became a missionary, and on my heart his name will remain forevermore. I love the Lord. Someday I may not be a full-time missionary, but I will always be an instrument in his hands in gathering Israel. Because that's what I was born to do.

This is my testimony and my witness. I witness that God lives and loves us. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Sister Record

Great to be Alive!

Area: Serenada/Georgetown
Companion: Sister Jessy Montclair
Companion: Sister Rachel Bills

It is great to be alive!

Sister Bills is back in Serenada and Georgetown with Sister Montclair and I. President Slaughter called last night and informed us that there would be an emergency transfer. We're glad to have Sister Bills back for the rest of this transfer! Our morning has been really rushed, so I don't have much time to update today. We're in Austin right now and need to get back soon because we have a lot to do.

I'll try and get you an update today. If not, know that I LOVE YA'LL SO MUCH! This has been an incredible week. And as always, I am learning so much!

Had a great exchange with Sister Hatch. And some fun bonding moments with my companion, Sister Montclair. She's so great! I can't even tell you how amazing she is.

Talk to you soon. If not today, next week for sure!

Sister Record


Sister Training Leaders in the TSAM Mission

Sister Record, Sister Montclair and sisters they drove with.

Mission Leadership Council

Sister Hatch and Sister Record

Sister Swenson and Sister Record

Monday, August 3, 2015

What a beautiful day!

Area: Serenada/Georgetown
Companion: Sister Jessy Montclair

This week I have been reflecting on miracles. There was a time when I first got to this area, that I felt overwhelmed and uncertain. I even prayed after my second transfer, that I might be moved soon. Ha ha. I am SO GRATEFUL that Heavenly Father lovingly ignores our narrow-minded, vision-less cries. I had no idea what he had in store for me here, and for the people. God has shown me, through some pruning and shaping, that I am capable of accomplishing hard things. I see now that he didn't just want anyone here, but he wants ME here. Along with each of my companions. I am beginning to see the fruits of our labors.

A couple months ago I wrote about a woman named {K} who we had met outside. It was the instance when we saw her talking on the phone and walked slowly to see if she would hang up, then we talked to her. She let us in for some water, we taught her, etc. Long story. I have never been so specifically led by the spirit than when we were led to {K}. She is set to be baptized soon. Yesterday she bore her testimony in church. She was the first one up after the Bishop. She talked about how we came in contact with her. She was fascinated by the idea that all three of us had our own flare in our clothing. That was what made her want to know who we were. Now here she is, excited and willing to accept the fullness of the gospel. The whole meeting was filled with the spirit of God. {K} loved all the testimonies. I think it was an important turning point for her.

Not only has the area bloomed, but even the ward has transformed. So many people expressed their gratitude for missionary work in testimony meeting yesterday. They were all touched by {K}'s words. It was humbling to see and understand the Lord's plan for the people here.

This weekend a special miracle occurred. An elect son of God was lost, but now he's found. He was blind, and now he sees. He was among the lost of Israel, but he has been gathered.

Elder Adair baptized {D} on Friday and he was confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on Sunday! The baptism was special. He was so ready to make that covenant with God. The ward is very supportive, and we had a great turn out. Three of our progressing investigators even came. His children got to sit at the window of the font and watch as he was baptized. A couple weeks earlier they were at a baptism where the woman didn't go all the way under and had to do it again a couple times. Just as he came out of the water, cute little {S} said in her sweet voice, "One more time!". Everyone laughed. Luckily, {D} only needed to do it once. He was beaming!

The ward helps out so much with {R} Let me tell you, he is an adorable little trouble maker. He loves all the old people in the ward. Which is amazing. Danny couldn't do it all himself, so it's a blessing that {R} has made himself so well-known and that everyone loves him. At the conclusion of the service a man from the ward formally welcomed him. {R} was sitting in his Dad's lap and really wanted the Brother Bridge to hold him. He was making a bit of a rukus, so Brother Bridge said, "why not?" And picked him up. Immediately {R} was calm. As Brother Bridge continued to talk, {R} looked at him for a moment then pointed at his ear and said "Ear!". Once again, everyone laughed. It was really cute. He looked around at everyone laughing, then pointed at the his nose and said, "nose!"

It was great to see {D} on Sunday. Everything about him is changing. He came to church in a suit and clean white shirt. That makes me so proud, because during one of our lessons we told him to watch his leaders to know how to do little things. He is quick to observe. The spirit was so strong as he received the gift of the Holy Ghost. Some day his children will have that same opportunity, and he will be able to be the one to baptize him. They all look forward to that.

As I have watched and taken part in the growth of the people here, I have grown myself. Now instead of wondering when I'm going to a new area, I'm pleading with the Lord to keep me here forever. Or at least for one more transfer. My heart belongs here. However, the promise "I'll go where you want me to go" remains in my heart. More important than going where he wants me to go though, is "being what he wants me to be". I am so grateful for the change that has taken place in me heart. I testify that the Savior changes our nature, if we but trust him.

His plan is perfect.

I love you all!

Sister Record