Monday, November 30, 2015

No Rotten Lemons

Area: Valley Hi/Heritage
Companion: Sister Sara Risenmay

My dear family and friends,

What happens when you squeeze an orange? Orange juice comes out. What happens when you squeeze a lemon? Lemon juice comes out. What if the fruit is rotten? Then very stinky juice will likely be squeezed out. In our most recent transfer meeting, President Slaughter counseled us that often times the Lord puts a bit of pressure on us. Just enough to try our faith, and prove our obedience. "And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them" (Abraham 3:25) He then asked a stirring question. When the pressure hits, what comes out? When we have trials, when the Lord squeezes us a little, what comes out is what's inside. Let's hope we aren't rotten fruit. The words of our President proved to be inspired as we have had a very trying couple of weeks. This week in particular.

If there is one thing I've learned on my mission, it is the value of pleading for spiritual gifts such as charity, patience, faith, etc... I think that a common view among people is to avoid praying for patience or humility. I've heard people say many times, "Oh don't pray for patience, because the Lord will give it to you." Of course he will! He is the giver good gifts. Why would we not want to plead for the very attributes that allow us to become more Christlike. The scriptures teach us that we should seek correction. Seek light and truth. Hunger and thirst after righteousness. And ask, "What lack I yet?" So I do with a love for God and a desire to become like his son.

The week before last, I was deeply inspired to not just pray for, but plead for greater patience, love, and humility. I felt a total submissiveness to the will of the Lord and a pure desire to grow. A couple days later I got quite sick. For almost an entire week I have been sicker than I ever have my entire mission. This past week we proselyted for a total of about an hour, besides Saturday. Saturday we were able to be out all day. This morning as Sister Risenmay and I reflected on the experience we have had we were reminded of a scripture in Mosiah 24:15 "...the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord." This scripture speaks the exact words of my heart. I will never cease pleading for gifts of the spirit and I will always strive to "submit cheerfully to all the will of the Lord".

Saturday was miraculous. We taught several lessons, and found 7 new investigators all in one day, which is more than we've had in one week in a long time.

Yesterday was the most interesting day. Sister Slaughter instructed me to go the the Urgent Care that morning, therefore missing our first ward. We had planned to do a musical number but had to text our pianist and postpone it. I probably couldn't have sang well anyways. After receiving the diagnosis, I was given some medication. We were able to make it to our second ward but I barely made it through. Let's just say that I couldn't stand for more than 10 minutes. We were both supposed to give the lesson in third hour, but we were afraid that I would faint... So Sister Risenmay gave the entire lesson. I learned a lot about companion unity. Even though she was the only one speaking, we were one. Her words were mine and it was the message the Lord wanted us to share. That evening I received a powerful priesthood blessing from our district leader and his companion. The spirit filled the room as they laid their hands on my head. As he gave the blessing I knew what was coming. For a moment I asked myself, do I really have the faith for that to happen? I told the lord that I did. These words followed. "In the name of Jesus Christ, we command you to be healed." I couldn't hold back the tears as the warmth of the spirit enveloped my heart. Immediately I had strength to stand. The illness left. I could breath completely normal and I was able to get up and move. I have an utmost surety that the priesthood is the power of God. It heals. I am grateful for how the Lord provided for us in so many ways. At the Urgent Care we were able to talk to 4 people, mostly workers. At the pharmacy we talked to the man standing in line behind us. We shared the gospel with them. This week we found more new investigators then we have in a long time, part of which was a family of 6. Even though we were probably out for a total of 12 hours. Most of those hours were on Saturday. We had enough miles on our car to get around without having to use our bikes. God is so good! We have never grown so much as a companionship than we have this week. And now, we made it over the mountain.

When the pressure is on, what comes out? For us, it was a strengthening of faith, hope, and devotion to the Lords work. I have never loved the Lords work more. The fire is burning in our hearts. Our ability to stay focused was increased and we did serve with all our hearts. I can assure you that I will never stop pleading with God for patience, humility, charity, etc. "Come what may, and love it". Heavenly Father knows what he's doing and I trust him. He will not give us anything more than we can bear as we rely on the Savior Jesus Christ. This is my testimony.

Sister Record


After dinner with the Thuesons. They are fantastic!

A beautiful Thanksgiving dinner layout at a part member families
home. Yes, we had two Thanksgiving dinners. I was stuffed after the
first one, and we had about an hour between that one and our next one.
Luckily my stomach expanded to fit more the second time around.

We had great fun visiting with Cathy on Thanksgiving day. We were
given a lot of left over food, so we made a plate and shared some with

It's starting to get cold here in Texas. :)

Sister Record and Sister Risenmay at Urgent Care. Sister Record is doing much better.

 Sister Record, St Nick and Sister Risenmay

Umm... St Nicks.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Anytime, Anywhere

Area: Valley Hi/Heritage
Companion: Sister Sara Risenmay
There is nothing better than knowing that our efforts are bringing others closer to Christ. We never know what kind of difference we're making in the lives of those around us. As we truly live the gospel, we let the light of Christ shine. Sometimes we touch people in ways we would never expect.

For example, earlier this week Sister Risenmay and I had just finished weekly planning. It was about 3:00 when we were leaving our apartment. We were putting the bike rack on our car and loading up our bikes, when a gentleman drove up and asked, "Where are you going with those bikes?" We were taken aback at first. For a moment I thought he might have been a member by the way he talked to us, but I could see that he wasn't. He wanted to know if we knew some biking routes because he and his wife had just gotten bikes. He proceeded to tell us that every morning when he goes to work he sees us after we work out in the gym. He then started asking us a lot of questions about what we do as missionaries. We were able to share more about the Book of Mormon with him as well as why we became missionaries. It's really neat to think that even at 7 in the morning, when we're all sweaty in our work out clothes, people notice. The message we send is not necessarily in the words we speak. It's more about who we really are. Our actions speak louder than words.

President and Sister Slaughter have a member friend who's a doctor. Sister Slaughter was telling us a story about how one of his coworkers who is not a member noticed some sister missionaries outside pushing their bikes in the rain. This woman was deeply touched by their devotion. Those sister missionaries probably had no idea that someone was watching them. But this woman was so moved, that she took a picture and sent it to the doctor who is a member, who then sent it to Sister Slaughter. Sister Slaughter talked to us about how we are missionaries wherever we're at.

Are we holding up the light of Christ? We covenanted with God at baptism that we would "stand as witnesses of him at all times, in all things, and in all places we are in." (Mosiah 18:9) Are we keeping that covenant? Even when we're stuck in the rain, or hot and sweaty in our workout clothes. When we are singing in the car, or buying groceries at the grocery store. Or in the privacy of our home. What about when the hearts of those who were once faithful fail them? Will we also falter? I can say with all of my heart that I never will. I love the Lord, and sustain his prophets. My heart will never fail me, because it belongs to the Savior.

Lately we've had the opportunity to interact with a deaf man. He has been coming to the church for the past several weeks. We are not able to communicate very well with him. Even those who know sign language struggle because he seems to have a different dialect of ASL. After multiple attempts of trying to help him with little success, we finally decided that there isn't a whole lot we can do for him other than invite him in. Last Sunday one of the wards had a primary program, and he came again. We had been sitting in sacrament meeting for a while and the primary program had already started, when a member pulled us aside and said that there was a deaf man who wanted to talk to us. We went out, and simply beckoned him to come in and join us. The moment he came in, the primary was singing a song that they had learned sign language for. He sat forward and watched intently. It was such a tender mercy for him to be able to understand what they were saying the moment he walked in. Talk about inspiration! I am so grateful for that wonderful primary chorister who was inspired to teach the children sign language. She had no idea that there was a very lonely man there that day who would possibly only understand what those children sang/signed. To me, and to him, that was the most powerful sermon of the entire meeting. God knows his children, and he feeds the one. 

There are so many things to be grateful for. I am grateful for the eyes to see the miracles that surround us. I'm grateful to be a part of the greatest work on Earth and in Heaven. That is, to gather Israel. I know who I am. I love my family.

I am grateful for you all!

Sister Record


Monday, November 16, 2015

Hurrah for Israel!

Area: Valley Hi/Heritage
Companion: Sister Sara Risenmay

Hurrah for Israel!

Sister Risenmay and I are together for another transfer. We are very excited to have Thanksgiving together. This transfer will be a week shorter, so that the outgoing missionaries will be able to travel before the week of Christmas. And next transfer is... my final transfer. It feels like my first 12 weeks were just yesterday.

You'll never guess who became Sister Fullam's companion. Sister Bills! She just came from Serenada so it's been great to catch up with her about everyone. I'm excited to do exchanges with them!

After transfer meeting on Thursday we stopped by the distribution center by the temple to get some needed items. I was thrilled to run into a member from the Serenada ward! We were standing in the same isle and didn't even notice each other. She turned to us and asked if we would take a picture. I looked and saw that is was Sister Perry! As we got to talking her friend kindly asked us if the mission is hard. Sister Risenmay and I both immediately responded that it's not. There was another sister missionary with us who said that it is. That struck both my companion and I. We talked about it later and found that we both do not feel that this is hard. I can honestly say that there are no bad days, no bad areas, no bad companions, no bad feelings. Period. Yes, there are hardships. I can tell you that my heart has been broken a couple times, but that's life. Those don't even weigh a speck compared to the joy and the growth of helping others. I am confident in the power and authority of my calling and I am here to spread the good news of the gospel now and forever. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, with a special commission to represent him and invite others to hear and accept the message of the restoration. How great is this call. It is not hard to be a servant of the Lord when we know who we are. His gospel is simple and so is his work. What is his work exactly? " bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." (Moses 1:39) Life is supposed to be hard, but it's amazing how when we lose ourselves in the service of God "his yoke is easy and his burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)

The call to serve is a lifelong commission. One that I have always felt and will continue to live forever. We can all serve the Lord in this great and marvelous work.

{H} is doing very well. We had a pivotal lesson with her where she was able to recognize what is holding her back from being baptized. She is still a dry Mormon and is most definitely going to be baptized soon. She's already planning it, but is just having trouble pinning down a goal date.

While we were teaching an older part member couple, near the end of the lesson their troubled grandson walked past. I felt we needed to invite him in, so I called after him and we invited him to join us. To his grandparents astonishment, he willingly agreed. We told him about the Book of Mormon and testified of it's divinity. As we shared with him how it came to be and what it can do for him, his countenance changed and he had genuine desire to read it. We gave him a copy and he agreed to take lessons from us. Yes! I love those little moments when we get to teach someone who is placed in our path.

I love you all, and hope you have a great week!

Sister Record


This is a sister we visit on occassion. We love her!

I know it's a little early for Christmas, but we saw this sign in
Kneaders and thought it was cute.

Oh, and do you remember the shoes I came out with? I am quite proud of
their wear and tear. I still have them, and I think I'll keep them
forever... (It's kind of gross if you look too closely.)

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Mission Pearls

Area: Valley Hi/Heritage
Companion: Sister Sara Risenmay

It's another bright day, here in the TSAM!

Never underestimate the influence the light of Christ has on others. What happens when we turn a flash light on in a dark room? The light overpowers the darkness. Correct? Yes! If two people were in a dark room and one was standing on the opposite end from the one holding the flashlight, would that person be able to see the light even though they aren't holding it? Of course!

The reason I share this is because earlier this week we were teaching {A} about the plan of salvation. At some point during the lesson she got to talking about how she has seen missionaries many times in the past. She told us that a few months ago some sister missionaries in Del Rio approached her while she was grabbing groceries. They asked if they could help. She said she didn't need help. The sisters talked a little about the gospel. Even though {A} wasn't open right then to hear much, it left an impression on her. She remembers that moment clearly and has never forgotten it. Now, a few months later, she's working towards being baptized. I asked her if one of the missionaries was tall with long dark hair. She said yes. I am almost certain that my previous companion, Sister Montclair is one of the missionaries that talked to her. That may have seemed small and insignificant to those two sister missionaries, but look where {A} is now.

{T} and {A} both have been out of town. We hadn't seen them for a week. She told us at the beginning of the week that she would text us when she gets back. We never got a text from her so we texted her the morning after they were supposed to be back and got no response. We decided to stop by that evening anyways. When we stopped by she had barely been home an hour and would be leaving again the next day. It turns out that their phone wasn't working properly so they could receive our messages, but not respond. She was so happy that we still came. The lords timing is always perfect. She has been reading AND comprehending the Book of Mormon. It is amazing how she just soaks everything up!

If y'all have not read about the tree of life in 1 Nephi 8 and 11 lately, I would strongly encourage you to. Without going too much into the symbolism, the rod of iron with the straight and narrow path that leads to eternal life is right in the middle of the great and spacious field. Which is the world. The path is not away from the world, it is in the midst of the world. Temptation is all around, threatening to blur our vision of the tree of life. There are many in the great and spacious field, or the world, who are "pressing forward that they might obtain the path which led to the tree..." There is a gate that one must enter to enter the path to eternal life. That is repentance and baptism by one holding the priesthood authority of God. There are others who wander instead, to the great and spacious building, which represents the pride of the world. They mock and point at those who are partaking of the fruit of the tree. Those who are in the field are not necessarily in the building. Many of them are searching for the light of the gospel.

2 Nephi 2:8
"Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah..."

There are some who, even after entering the path and partaking of the fruit of the tree of life, forsake what they once knew because they are ashamed at the mocking and pointing and pride of the world. They leave the path. There are others who simply become so overwhelmed by the mist of darkness that they sit down in despair, not knowing what to do next. It is those that we must take by the hand and say,

"..Be strong, fear not. Behold your God will come...
"Then shall [their] eyes be opened, and [their] ears shall be unstopped"
(Isaiah 35:3-5)

Once again, they will see the light of the gospel. They will remember what they need to do to obtain eternal life. And what is it we must do to obtain eternal life after we have entered the path? Endure to the end.

"And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.

"Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life."
(2 Nephi 32:19-20 see also vs. 17-18)

They just need a guiding hand. Don't ever give up on those whose faith is weak.
"...for ye know not but what they will return and repent, and come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I shall heal them; and ye shall be the means of bringing salvation unto them." (3 Nephi 18:32)

In answer to your question about my "mission pearls", I certainly have a string of them. In fact I probably have several strings of them. But here are just a few:

1. Charity, or the pure love of Christ, never fails. It is not something that we are capable of giving or feeling on our own. It is a gift from Heavenly Father. Not only must we gain charity for those who are difficult to love, but we must gain charity for those whom we instantly love. Love is one thing, charity is another. If we only love someone, eventually that love will die. I've learned that charity must be sought after in every relationship.
2. We have the power to choose. We have the responsibility to choose Christ. When we break the commandments we are bounding ourselves to the devil and limiting our agency.
3. Remember Ammonihah
4. God blesses us with weaknesses so that we may have the best chance possible to keep our covenant to remember him. Weaknesses and trials are so merciful. When we are baptized, we covenant with God that we will always remember him. When we don't, we lose his spirit. God gives us weaknesses so that we have opportunities to remember him. We overcome them though the savior.
5. My family is eternal. Both my current, and my future family. I will never settle for less.

I love you all! Have a wonderful week.

Sister Record


Last Monday we went and got shakes at Tealicious.

Before MLC us, the zone leaders, and Sister Smith went to the
temple (Sister Smith was invited to come since it's her last
transfer). We got up super early so that we could have time to go.

Sister Schoen! She was the relief society president in the Converse
ward when I was a brand new missionary. I see her every MLC in the
institute office.

It was absolutely amazing to go counsel and learn at MLC (Mission Leadership Council).

There were a lot of sisters at MLC this time because President
Slaughter invited a few who are on their last transfer.

We were all in the MTC together!

Everything is definitely bigger in Texas

Spent some time at the Mercado today.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Will You Go With Me?

Area: Valley Hi/Heritage
Companion: Sister Sara Risenmay

Dearest Family and Friends,

First of all, I'd like to ease any concerns you may have for me about the weather. It has not affected the area where I'm serving at all. The only weather we've had is a little bit of rain. In fact, there isn't even any humanitarian work for us to do close by. We're safe. I do hope we have an opportunity to help out, but right now, there isn't any damage close to us. We've actually had some pretty nice days. I do admit, we had some crazy thunder in the middle of one night, but the next day was clear.

Once again, my heart is full as I reflect on the past week. The miracles never cease, nor will they ever.

{H} is doing very well. She made it to church yesterday and came to the ward she actually lives in for the first time. Thank goodness we're over both wards, and the ward was very welcoming to her. It was a wonderful fast and testimony meeting. About half way through she leaned over to us and said, "If I go up, will you go with me?" Um... Absolutely! We readily agreed. She went first and as she introduced herself she stated, "I'm not a member yet, but I'm a work in progress." She pointed at us, then proceeded to tell a story that not only blew us away, but the entire congregation.

First, let me tell you our side of the story. Thursday night Sister Risenmay and I felt that we needed to stop by her house. It wasn't a solid plan, just a thought. One of our appointments fell through, so we went right over to {H}'s. She welcomed us in with her usual kindness. She happened to be babysitting her great-nieces and nephew (ages 14, 8, and 6). She gathered them around to hear what we had to say. We shared the Mormon message, "Our True Identity" by Pres. Uchtdorf and talked about how God is our loving Heavenly Father. We testified that we are all children of God. {H} was very touched by that message and thanked us. She asked the children some questions to check for their understanding. We gave them each a picture of Jesus Christ with the children, and she told them to keep it in their backpack where they could always have it. Before leaving we gave them each a hug. We knew it was spirit led and it was good to talk to {H} in person again. In the car after that visit, we both felt very peaceful and happy.

Our True Identity

Now, here is {H}'s side of the story as told over the pulpit. I'm paraphrasing, of course. That morning was a rough morning for her. She wasn't feeling well, and then her niece called and asked her to babysit the children. She already had plans for the evening, but she didn't know what else to tell her because of the situation, so she took them in. These kids have very little spiritual foundation and have a hard life. When we came, it was an answer to {H}'s prayer because she was trying to figure out how she could help them. The 14 year old in particular needed that message and was truly touched by the spirit as we were there and as we gave her a hug. {H} was moved to tears as she was describing her observation of her niece. She then declared, "I know that this church is true". She bore a beautiful testimony of the gospel. You would think she was already a member.

After she bore her testimony, Sister Risenmay and I bore ours. Almost everyone was in tears. The spirit in that meeting was so pure and penetrating.

We had a sweet, well-intentioned member of the ward approach us and say, "You have had so much success lately". Her kind words were appreciated. However, we are not the ones who made all these things happen. The Lord is. We were simply there, acting as his instruments. We just showed up. He is using us all to accomplish his purposes. Success is not always seen. I know more than ever that success in the natural man's eyes is very different than success in the Lord eyes.

I am grateful beyond words for the opportunity to serve in the Lord's vineyard. It is a privilege and a blessing. It's hard to believe that I'm approaching the end of my mission. I want you to know that my testimony in a bonfire that cannot waver. "I'll never, no never, no never forsake!" (How Firm a Foundation, Hymn 86, verse 7) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has been restored. It is the very organization that Christ established on the Earth with each of his prophets. Of this I testify and give my life, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Sister Record


We volunteer at the food bank every week as a zone. It's really fun!

We went shopping at members home who is part of a modest clothing company created by a member of the church. It was perfect! She gave us an amazing discount since we're missionaries. That's where I got my cute new flower dress.

Left to right: Sister Risenmay, me, President Slaughter, Sister Slaughter, Sister Smith, and Sister Fullam. Sister Fullam asked President Slaughter if they could do a question-answer session with us. He was more than happy to. They both drove down to our church building and we discussed the gospel and marriage stuff for an hour and a half. Sister Slaughter even brought pie. It was great!

The district.. :) Ha ha.

I got to go on an exchange with Sister Winn! She's my "step-sister". Meaning, she was trained by Sister Felix and then Sister Felix finished my training. It was a fantastic exchange!

Sister Record and Sister Risenmay: It's Halloween, and a beautiful day for bikes!