Monday, September 28, 2015

Strengthen Ye The Weak Hands

Area: Valley Hi/Heritage
Companion: Sister Riley Powell

Dearest family and friends,

I'm not sure words can express the love and gratitude that I feel right now. It is so evident how the Lord divinely formulates and plans our lives. With every companion I've had it is evident that we were supposed to be together. There is something special about the companionship I'm in now. Before I was transferred and before I knew who my companion would be I knew that it was going to be important. Sister Powell is incredible. We have both grown tremendously in these past six weeks. We have truly become one.

This weekend we had the marvellous opportunity to see the General Women's broadcast at the church. The whole stake came to watch together. It was truly inspiring and uplifting to hear the words of the Lords chosen servants concerning the family, virtue, and charity. I loved the different talks that were given and the music shared.

I definitely came away filled with the power of the Holy Ghost. But not just because it was great to receive divine instruction. There is a woman named {H} who is not a member, though her daughter's family are members in another area. When her grandsons visit, she takes them to church. Lately she has been attending on her own. We have never taught her, but she knows so much. She has spoken with missionaries in the past. She interacts easily with others. Last Sunday we invited her to attend the broadcast with us, and were thrilled to see her on Saturday when we arrived. As she sat with us it was easy to see that she was feeling the spirit and believed what was being spoken. During President Uchtdorf's talk I had a very distinct impression to ask her why she was not yet a member, then to invite her to be baptized. The impression grew as the talk continued. At the conclusion of the meeting I leaned over to her and asked her why she was not yet a member. She was overcome with emotion as she explained that she desired to be baptized, but felt inadequate. Sister Powell joined in. We invited her to prepare to be baptized now and she accepted. We testified that now is the time and that she is indeed ready. She affirmed that she also knew it was time. Again, we have never taught her. I don't know the last time she took lessons. But it was plain to see that she was ready for the invitation and the step into his gait. She committed to meet with us so that she can prepare to be baptized. We had a powerful conversation with her. We read Mosiah 18:9-10

"[You] are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life-- Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?"

As we talked she seemed to gain greater courage to continue on this path. What an incredible moment! We parted ways after setting an appointment, but before she left she told us that we are strengthening her. We gave her a big hug. She is so elect!

Sister Record and Sister Jenkins
We had a couple exchanges this week. It was very rewarding to go with Sister Jenkins in her area and be led to so many people there. Things have been a little slower in that area, but we had several lessons and met some great people. It was a tender mercy for her to see such a spark. We both learned a lot and had some great talks about confidence in Christ. One lesson in particular was with a part member couple. We started off by testifying of Gods love. {A}, the one who isn't a member, began crying. She opened up to us about some things that have been hard for her, and how she doesn't know how to recognize answers to her prayers. We promised her that if she would open her ears and her heart, that God would answer her prayers right then in that lesson. She was genuine in her desire to listen and did so with real intent. It was amazing to watch the light go on in her eyes as we taught the restoration. By the end it was plain to see that she had received confirmation and now wanted to learn more. It was incredible. The Lord knows his children. I am in awe every day of how he uses us as his instruments to reach the hearts of those who's hands hang low.

May I once again, share my favorite scripture. Isaiah 35:3-5

"Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped."

May this be our mission, for the rest of our lives is my prayer.

I know that the righteous have no need to fear. God lives. He loves us. He is omnipotent, and omniscient. Nothing else matters. As our faith is firmly rooted in Christ, we will not be moved by the heavy winds of the world. I love God and I love his work. I am forever faithful to him.

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Sister Record



 Ha ha. I don't remember what was funny. But something was.

Here is our tiny district after our district meeting last week. Left to right: Elder Trammel, Elder Reimschussel (Rhyme-shoe-soul), Sister Powell, Me, Sister Martin, Sister Smith.

After an incredible exchange with Sister Jenkins. There were so many miracles, and she is so sweet. It was neat to see her grow in such a short amount of time.

Sister Powell and I with Chelse. She was recently baptized and we had dinner with her last night. It was fantastic. :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Preach My Gospel Missionary

Area: Valley Hi/Heritage
Companion: Sister Riley Powell

What does it mean to be a Preach My Gospel missionary? I have been learning so much about that recently. I remember studying chapter 3 before my mission and attempting to teach the lessons in family home evening and struggling through it. I think I barely made it through one principle. I had known these truths all my life, yet I had no idea how to explain and articulate them. I felt as though my words were rocks. I didn't know how to teach things simply. I was grateful for those family home evenings where I was taught much more than I was actually teaching. Mom and Dad gently gave me some pointers on how I might explain that concept to someone who had never heard it before. My brothers powered through with amazing patience. They were probably itching to get out and do something else. I know I was. Those painful practices helped set a foundation for me that I have never forgotten.

During that time I received a priesthood blessing. I was told that I would be able to teach the message of the restoration with power. That was a comforting reassurance. I still felt it was somewhat far-reaching. Now, more than a year later, I have felt the power of the restoration again and again coming out of the mouths of my companion and I. It now comes out like silky sand, rather than rocks. Going back to the question I started with, what does it mean to be a preach my gospel missionary? Maybe we can answer that with another question. What does it mean to be a disciple of Christ?

It means that we follow him with all of our hearts. We are obedient to his commandments, and trust his promises. By trusting his promises, we are trusting the words of his chosen servants. Their words are within the scriptures, and we receive continued guidance through living prophets. Preach My Gospel is from living prophets. The reason I can now speak with power is because they are not my words.

D&C 68:4-5
"And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation. Behold, this is the promise of the Lord unto you, O ye my servants."

That is an amazing promise! I have been studying chapter 3 of Preach My Gospel more in depth with the intent of seeing how the chosen servants of God have phrased the teachings in each principle. I often quote phrases from chapter 3 of Preach My Gospel in teaching, and it has proven to be very powerful. To learn and know the doctrine is to follow Christ. I just cannot believe that it has taken me up to this point in my mission to fully trust Preach My Gospel. To do the study activities knowing that I will learn what it says I'll learn, and being willing to immediately apply it in companion study and throughout the day. Studying is one thing, but applying it is a much more important part of the equation. The conclusion That has sunk deep into my heart is to trust what is written, and allow what it to become written on my heart. That is faithfulness to God.

Yesterday we had the opportunity to teach a fantastic family of 6. The Dad is not a member, and the older son was baptized about a year ago. We opened by asking them what evidence they have seen of Gods love. It sparked a great discussion. The 8 year old had some profound answers. It was amazing how powerful the spirit was there. The spirit taught the message of the restoration on such an individual level for that family. In the middle of our lesson we asked the Dad if he has ever considered being baptized by one holding the priesthood of God. His response was somewhat surprising. He said that he has thought about it quite a bit. The one thing holding him back is that his parents are devout in their faith and he's afraid of what they might think. We talked about the end goal of having an eternal family and how that could be a reality for them as they become united in the restored gospel. We already love them!

Also this week I had the privilege of going on an exchange with Sister Greenwood. They live in the same apartment as Sister Pito and her companion, so we loved seeing each other again and had so many things to laugh about. The exchange was incredible. I learned so much about inspiring rather than merely motivating, or dictating. We met a man who is well acquainted with members of our church and had a lot of questions. When we approached him he excitedly said, "Are you Mormons?". We affirmed that we are. He had a lot of questions about things like why we don't drink coffee, etc. Ha ha. He was really nice, and of a very inquiring nature. He claimed to be a scientist. We taught about the restoration as much as we could with his questions. At one point he asked a question about why bad things happen. A scripture from the Book of Mormon came to mind. The moment I pulled it out, he stopped me and said that he wants to hear what I really thought. He wanted to know what my opinion was, not just what someone told me. I started looking at the scripture again, but he stopped me again saying, "Is that what you think?" The spirit confirmed to me that I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God and I trust in its words with all my heart, because they are the words of God. I did not back down. I stated with confidence that this is exactly what I know and believe and that is how I will answer his question. He listened, and seemed to feel the sincerity. I had no response of my own, just the words of the prophets in The Book of Mormon. Which is more correct than any opinion on Earth. How grateful I am for this holy volume of scripture that is the convincing evidence that Joseph Smith is a true prophet. If one wants to be sure that he is not a false prophet, read the Boom of Mormon with a sincere heart and real intent. (See Moroni 10:3-5)

Sister Powell departs a week from Wednesday. This week is going to be an amazing week of miracles. I am so grateful for Sister Powell. Her and I have become great friends. We have become very unified.

I love you all. I love this work. All in!

Sister Record


I have discovered Chik-Fi-le. We all went spontaneously last Monday for some frozen lemonade. Left to right: Sister Powell, Sister Smith, me, Sister Martin

This is after an exchange with Sister Greenwood. She is one of those
people that I just became best friends with the moment we met. I don't
know how we never knew each other on the mission until recently. She
and Sister Clawson (the one photo bombing in the back) are the lead
Sister training leaders, which is much like an assistant to the
President. It was an AMAZING exchange!

Sister Clawson and Sister Powell after exchanges. :)

I must face the fact that I am horrible at awkward angle selfies. But I had to share this picture. Sister Powell is getting her hair dyed at a members home today and this is our silly attempt at washing her hair in the bath tub. She did great! :) (Sister Powell and Sister Record)

This is a much better one. Taken by Sister Powell. Ha ha!

Monday, September 14, 2015

I Am, Because of Him!

Area: Valley Hi/Heritage
Companion: Sister Riley Powell

I am a witness of the wounds in the hands and feet of Christ. Not because I have seen him physically, but because I know that he has graven me upon the palms of his hands. I am, because of him! The power of the Holy Ghost has born witness to my heart of the reality of the Savior and his love. I do not need to see him with my eyes to know that he is the way to eternal life. I can feel the prints of the nails in my very being. I know that he lives, and that through him I have changed and can continue to change to draw closer to Heavenly Father. I bear witness that I am not the same person who left home a year and two months ago. That is all the evidence I need.

"Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me." (1 Nephi 21:16)

Sister Record and Sister Johnson
I had the opportunity to go on an exchange with Sister Johnson. She happens to be Sister Rowley's MTC companion. She came here to our area and we did not have a single appointment. Somehow we just knew that it was going to be a day full of miracles. I told her at the beginning of the exchange that this day was going to be a day of finding. It sure was! Everywhere we went we did not see a single person we had planned. None of them were home. The miracles came in "preaching by the way". We went to several apartment complexes that day, and we gave out more copies of the Book of Mormon than we have in several weeks. In one of the apartment complexes we saw a woman getting out of her car. We approached her and ended up teaching her the entire restoration, standing at the bottom of the stairs to her apartment. She was so open. As we asked her questions throughout, she said that she felt like we were sent to her by God and that he was trying to tell her something... That is right. We were sent by God, and he knows her heart. The spirit was very strong as we testified and as she accepted the invitation to act.

We met so many people that day. All of them were preaching by the way miracles. If we are not careful, we can easily miss such opportunities. That night we met and taught a member who hasn't been to church in a while. He was very kind and assured us immediately before we said much that he still had a testimony. Since that seemed to be an important topic for him, we went with it. He told us how he had converted because of the influence of his wife. One night, he needed to know for himself if the church is true. He knelt in prayer and offered up the desires of his heart. At this point in the story, he choked up. The witness he had gained was something he could never deny. The feeling of the spirit entered into every feeling of his heart. The visit with him was powerful, and spirit filled. I hope that we all can stand firm in what we know, and never let the troubles of the world distract us from continuing in the truth.

On Saturday we met a man across the street from where we were at. He had some neat hippie vans. We commented on them and he told us all about how he got them and where he's lived. It was fascinating. As we got to talking, we learned that he lived in Germany for quite a while and recently came here. He didn't have much of a concept of who God is, so we taught him about God. It is always a delight to teach someone about God. Here in Texas, most people have a strong belief in God. Texas is full of devoted Christians, which I love. It felt kind of like when Ammon was teaching King Lamoni about God. This man we talked with believed that there was a higher power. We testified that this higher power is God, our eternal Father and that we are his children. The conversation naturally flowed into the plan of salvation, which he was very intrigued by. It never ceases to amaze me how the Lord leads us to those who are prepared to receive the gospel. We just have to act. Even if that means walking clear across the street to talk to someone who is in their car with their window rolled down.

Just as I said in my last letter, we truly have the power to choose. We have the power to choose to seek opportunities to share our testimonies, we have the power to choose to be happy, and to see the good despite whatever whirlwinds may be around us. Love is a choice. Confidence in Christ is a choice. Everything is a choice. And the power is within us to choose the right. This is called agency. Or the ability to know right from wrong and to choose for ourselves.

I love God. I love His work. If there is one thing I want people to know when I interact with them, it is that I love God. Obedience is how we show our love to Him.

Mom, Dad, Lorielle, Jason, Chris, Eric, Grandma and Grandpa Record, and other family members, I don't know if you know how dear you are to me. Words cannot begin to express it. I simply pray that the spirit will manifest to you what you mean to me. I am so grateful that we are family. I promise you that I will continue to stand for truth, and return with honor. Not just when I return to you, but when I return to my Father in Heaven. I am now and forever, all in!

Sister Record

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

We Have the Power to Choose

Area: Valley Hi/Heritage
Companion: Sister Riley Powell

Circumstances do not determine our destiny. Our decisions determine our destiny. This week we have seen miracles occur in the midst of trying circumstances. There is power in choosing to serve and follow Christ despite difficulties.

Something I've learned while running and exercising every morning is that a lot of the time, I'm really tired when I wake up and don't want to do it. Each morning I have a decision to make. Will I sweat, or will I be lazy? As I consistently choose to sweat, I reap the rewards of higher endorphin levels, more productive studies, greater energy to serve Gods children, clearer focus to serve my companion, and health and strength that keeps me going strong in this labor of love. Which is physical, emotional, and spiritual work. The decision has to be made every day. And it is a conscious decision. It is not necessarily easier the longer I do it, but my capacity to resist the temptation to quit increases. Every now and then there is a morning where I am pumped and energetic to get moving, but generally motivation follows action. Without out fail, every time I choose to work out I feel great and don't regret it in the slightest. The feeling it leaves me with is what gives me motivation to do it the next day.

That is an illustration of how everything is in life. When we read the scriptures, are we choosing to learn? It has been a precious discovery for me to see that learning is a choice. When ever we back down from a difficult concept, that is our choice. Acquiring gospel knowledge is up to us.

I am grateful for the gift of agency, which is the ability to choose right from wrong. We know what's right and have the power to choose and act according.

It can be tempting at times to get down. But as "Preach My Gospel" says, "You should not become discouraged; discouragement will weaken your faith. If you lower your expectations, your effectiveness will decrease, your desire will weaken, and you will have greater difficulty following the Spirit."

There were some moments this week where I could have been discouraged, but I chose not to be. In all honesty this was a fantastic week, full of miracles! And looking back I literally do not care about the moments that were trying. I'm actually grateful for them. The miracles we saw as a result of working hard with smiles on our faces and love for God and his children overpower and hint of selfishness, or possible discouragement. I know that the Lord is preparing his children to receive the gospel. I don't just believe it, I know it. We are here to find them. And find them we will.

We have had many preaching by the way miracles. This area is beginning to bloom in such a beautiful way. There is so much work to be done and it has been incredible to see the hand of the Lord lead us to so many. In our area book we had the name of a man who had not been contacted in years. We decided to give him a try. When we went over the man who we asked for did not live there. He introduced himself as Jerry. It turns out that he had become hardened through life experiences, particularly the death of a loved one. He had almost given up on God. But as we read from the Book of Mormon and testified of Gods plan for us and our families he brightened a bit. It seemed that hope entered into his soul for the first time in a long time. He wasn't quite open enough to commit to a return appointment, but he accepted a Book of Mormon and we prayed with him. It was after the prayer that the spirit was so strong. We were maybe there for five minutes. But let me tell you, that was a molecule of eternity. It seemed that whole world stopped just for his moment. God hears the quiet pleadings of our hearts. He sent us to this man at just the right time.

Sister Melissa Rowley

Look at Sister Rowley! Isn't she beautiful? I am so proud of all that she is becoming, she has grown so much!

I love you all! Sorry this is so short. We don't have a whole lot of time today... :)

Sister Record

All in!