Companion: Sister Riley Powell
|Sister Record and Sister Mary Harker|
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.
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)