Monday, April 27, 2015

April Showers Bring May Flowers! (Unless the hail crushes them)

This week we had the glorious experience of taking four recent converts to the temple, and it was incredible. Our ward has been on fire with missionary work these past couple transfers and I feel so blessed to be a part of it! Being in the temple was a special experience. It always is, but only having the opportunity to go once every six months makes it indescribably stark against the day to day routine. The spirit abounds and exceeds any other fear or worldly emotion. Only peace, joy, and understanding exist. I love the temple. I was struck with the realization that, despite its beautiful interior, it really is plain. It uses simple geometric shapes, most everything is white or neutral, and while there are a few paintings of the savior in each room, the beauty of the temple comes from the pure light and spirit of Christ the radiates in all that transpires there.

Sister Garner and I are doing really well. I love her so much, she is one of the most positive people I have ever met, and she really helps me see a more eternal perspective of things. When there are bumps in our schedule, she's always calms and ties up loose ends by finding the positive in each individual circumstance. I'm grateful for her, she's teaching me a lot.

This week was a smidge discouraging, just because we spent so much time trying to find new investigators in every single way we knew how, and we weren't having any success. At least not in that area, but we did meet a lot of people and at least try to share the Gospel. Sometimes I feel like God's just building our characters. :) Last night, at 7:30 pm, we both felt impressed to go visit a family that we've been trying to get in contact with for months. Sister Hirschi and I found them when we were looking for a less active member named Alicia. The mom's name was also Alicia and she seemed really confused when we asked if Alicia was home because they had just barely moved in a couple of days before. They seemed promising so we kept trying over and over again, when I'm sure normally we would have given up and assumed they weren't interested.

But last night, the Dad, Kyle, and their two kids came outside and set up chairs for us and we taught them the basics. None of them have any religious background, but they said they've been looking for it. They have been craving church for their family. So for the first time on my mission, we were able to teach somebody about God, about Jesus Christ, about Adam and Eve, things they had never heard much about. Seeing their faces transform from inquisitive to ecstatic made my heart melt. As we began talking about our need for a Savior, Alicia came home from work and immediately joined us, so we were able to teach their whole family about what it means to have Faith in Christ, and how we show that Faith. It was amazing. It was the answer to so many prayers to be able to teach such a powerful lesson to a family that is in such dire need of the Gospel. Watching it transform lives always reaffirms our faith of its truth.

One more thing before I take off, I hope everyone I know in my life knows that I am grateful to know them and that I love them. I am constantly reminded that we are a sum total of the experiences we've had, and people have such a large influence on us as a whole. So thanks for being part of my life. :)



Sister Best

Monday, April 20, 2015

With All My Heart!

Good Morning, Good Morning!

This week flew by, but it was jam-packed with goodness. Sister Garner and I were able to give the training to the Zone on sin vs. weakness, and it was incredibly helpful. But then the need to refresh my mind with that training was perpetuated throughout that week. Because just as I was starting to get a grasp on being positive through our weaknesses, I was attacked by Satan; just shoving every weakness in my face. And it was partially debilitating because I knew what I needed to do  to overcome that weakness, I knew what it would take, and I knew what was making me feel so crummy, but I still felt like I had little control. It was affecting my prayers! And it was diminishing my ability to work as hard as I wanted to and to be selfless because my brain was so foggy.

One night, after we turned out the lights, my companion said,
"Do you want to talk about something?"
                                I definitely didn't.
But I also didn't want her to think it was anything she had done, because I adore Sister Garner. She's one of my best friends. So I just started talking and words fell out of my mouth, issues I hardly knew I was having because I had never communicated them. Then she started to laugh.
"Why are you laughing?!"
"Because all the things you just listed as weakness are your strengths."

Ha. We can never really see ourselves clearly. We look at ourselves through a dark glass; it's transparent, but obscure. That's why eternal perspective is so vital. It's humbling. It forces us to step outside of ourselves and determine what our purpose is and what our potential is. Our capabilities feel unattainable because they are! Until we can accept that we require divine help, we will struggle to reach anywhere near our potential.

Something that really stuck out to me this week was the idea of "If ye love me, keep my commandments." It doesn't say "obey", nor does it say "do". We are to keep them! Hold onto them! Defend them! When we keep something, and we don't throw it away, it's usually because it has some type of significant, sentimental value for us. When we obey the commandments of God, there is room to do so begrudgingly, but when we keep the commandments of God, we cherish our ability to obey because they have personal significance to us.

"Yea, I will keep thy commandments with all my heart." -Alma 45:7

Which coincides with something that was brought up in church yesterday. The idea of being a disciple of Jesus Christ means that you follow Him. You don't just walk the walk, you must walk it with your heart invested. What makes us missionaries? What makes us worthy? is it just that I wear a name tag and wake up at 6:30, or is it that I am truly striving to serve the Lord by bringing His children to Christ?" Positive, hopeful diligence will help us find more peace, faster.

It was a good week! One with a strange set of struggles, and every single one of our investigators was sick or out of town, but still it was effective and we worked our tail ends off!

This week:
We drew the Plan of Salvation in chalk at the park again! Then we got talk walk back with our cute lil' friends Lana and Meredith and teach them the Plan of Salvation using our chalk drawing. (Then the rain came and swept it away). But we handed out 2 Book of Mormons because of it! And Meredith is getting baptized soon! Yay!

Here's a cute picture of us all looking really professional, Elder Karr, Quijada, Sister Garner and myself! These are the missionaries in the OKC 2nd ward.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Sin vs Weakness

Another 10/10 week. Dah, I think I'm sounding redundant, but it just keeps being true. And this week especially did we see God just put people in our laps to teach. They fell out of the sky. Solid, hungry-for-the-Gospel people. Every night, we opened up our planners, and we already had plans for every hour of the next day, usually forgetting to plan time to eat or breathe. It's been good. Good busy. Good stress.

This week, much revelation was received. We had a lesson with a member in our ward, Brother Kunkel, and we were trying to address his concerns. I sat there racking my brain trying to propose a solution to his problem, but I couldn't. I just wanted to say the one sentence that would fix his problem, but it was at that point when I realized: we learn in the scriptures that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; our interactions with people are no different. We almost never just spout off that which is the cure to someone else's concern, because solutions come through a process, just like testimonies do. People need to solve their own problems. All we can do is encourage and ingrain the truth in others until they learn it for themselves. Until they hear your words in their subconscious when they finally come to the realization that what they're doing isn't working and they try to draw upon what they've been told to develop a new plan of attack. We see it all the time. It's particularly evident in this video: The Hope of God's Light . He has several people who made a huge impact, but it wasn't until he really felt the spirit that he drew upon all his past experiences and connected the dots. No wonder patience is a virtue. It's exhausting to wait for other people to fix their own problems! But, when they do, it is rewarding.

There's a woman in our ward who has been working with one of her friends for YEARS. The member, Sister Brown, has given Pamela a Book of Mormon, which she's already read twice, she's brought her to church, they've watched conference together, the whole shebang, yet she's NEVER talked with missionaries before! We finally got the opportunity to go over to Sister Brown's house and have another lesson with her, and she is... solid. She said she already tells the Jehovah's Witnesses that she's a Mormon when they come to her door. We laughed when she told us that and asked her what was holding her back. We'll have to help her work through a few of her trials, but it's so incredible to see how the Lord prepares his children. It's another example of small and simple means, but over time, they prepare people to make life-changing decisions.

Sister Garner and I have been preparing a training on helping people recognize that becoming like Christ is a lifelong pursuit. As we were gathering ideas, we stumbled across this chart, and it helped me out a lot.

Definition: Willful disobedience to God.
Source: Encouraged by Satan.
Example: Knowingly breaking God's commandments, believing Satan.
Did Jesus Have?: No.
Our Response Should Be: Repentance.
God's Response Will Be: Forgiveness.
Result: Cleansed from sin.

Definition: Human limitation, infirmity.
Source: Part of our human nature.
Example: Susceptibility to temptation, emotion, fatigue, physical of mental illness, ignorance, trauma, or death.
Did Jesus Have?: YES
Our Response Should Be: Humility, faith in Christ, effort to overcome.
God's Response Will Be: Grace-enabling power.
Result: Acquiring holiness, strength.

I love that so much. I think sometimes I, and most human beings, think of my weaknesses as sins. When I have a weakness, I think it is because I am so imperfect and there's something wrong with me. My friends, that's not the case at all. Sins are us yielding to our weaknesses, but being weak is not a sin. In fact, being weak isn't even a bad thing. It's part of our human nature. Jorg Klebingat said we need to "acknowledge our weaknesses, but not be immobilized by them". President Walkenhorst explained this pretty well earlier this week. He said that he always admired how well his daughter played the piano, even though he couldn't play the piano to save his life. "It's a better use of my time to focus on something I'm already good at and improve in that area instead of getting all bent out of shape over something I'm no good at."

That's a funny thing we do as people. We pick out the strengths of every other person and we create a mental wishlist of all that we wish that we were, but then we compare ourselves against that made-up person that we have formulated in our minds, and we never live up to our unrealistic expectations! But our Heavenly Father has a perfect idea of what he wants us to become. And in order to get there, he needs to make us aware of our faults so that we can look at them and fix them ourselves. Then we progress onward from there.

I know that right now, we are all exactly where we're supposed to be. We can't comprehend why we're in the mental/physical/financial/sinful predicament that we're in, but God expects us to rely on him. It's a commandment to ask for help!!! " diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all time; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive." -Alma 7:23. I know He will help us as we request His help, He would never give a commandment He doesn't intend to reward.

He's so merciful. His job isn't to condemn us, only Satan does that, he has clear intentions of helping us feel good about ourselves and be successful. And I know that to be true!

I stinking love you guys. Good things are happening out there, it sounds like. Keep filling me in on all the good news!

Love you!


Sister Best

Oops. I'm failing at taking pictures. Elder Quijada, our District Leader, gave a training using Mario as an analogy and I have a picture of that... want to see it? Alright, here: 

Monday, April 6, 2015


This week was sooo good. Sister Hirschi did, indeed, go home. She finished her mission with valor! She's awesome and she will surely be missed. But my new companion is Sister Garner whom I LOVE. We were able to serve around each other in Stillwater, so we already knew each other pretty well, and now it's been an easy transition. It feels like an extended exchange to serve with her. But she is hardworking and diligent and so stinking loving. I think we're having too much fun, but I guess I won't complain. However, I forgot to take any pictures this week... so you'll have to settle for this one that I took just now of her emailing her family.

Today my brain is working in a jumbled mess of thoughts so here...hopefully this can somewhat be cohesive:

Last night, after conference and a few appointments, we pulled into our parking lot and were grabbing our bags out of the trunk when a man approached us and asked us if he could talk to us about something. You mission eliminates any remaining instinct to "not talk to strangers", so naturally, our response was, 
"Of course!"

"I'm baptist, and my Mom is religious, but not terribly. She prays, but she doesn't pray in the name of Jesus Christ. She just prays straight to God. Does he still hear her prayers?"

Sister Garner and I both got these massive smiles on our faces. Maybe it was the spirit we had felt over week, but we both were able to say with conviction, "Yes. Of course." I know that our Heavenly Father LOVES His children. He knows that we're all learning, and that none of us are perfect, nor anywhere close to perfection of knowledge. But that's why it's important to constantly evaluate ourselves. It's easy to look at religion from a general standpoint and think, "the commandments exist, but they're not particularly relevant to me." Sometimes we have to pause and evaluate what we individually could be doing to strengthen our relationship with our Heavenly Father. And how that would benefit us. No matter WHAT we believe or who we are, it is important for each of us to have a personal relationship with God. What are you willing to do to get that for yourself?

I've been asking myself that question. I've been devoting myself more fully to personal prayer. How much of my heart, might, and mind am I willing to put on the altar to offer up to God. How much of yours are you?

I really appreciated all of the talks given at General Conference, but something that stuck out to me was by Elder Sitati, when he said that we become fruitful when we serve God and when we serve others. Then he quoted the scripture in Matthew that declares, "by their fruits, ye shall know them." People identify us by the fruit that we produce. It matters very little who we are if it does not reflect what we do. So I've been trying to determine what type of fruit I bring forth. Are the things I do a reflection of the type of person that I think I am or that I want to be?

Lastly, I've had this scripture on my mind all week in Alma 37: 44-45

"It is as easy to give heed to the word of Christ, which will point to you a straight course to eternal bliss, as it was for our fathers to give heed to this compass, which would point unto them a straight course to the promised land....for behold... the words of Christ, if we follow their course, [shall] carry us beyond this vale of sorrow into a far better land of promise."

I know that heeding the word of Christ (the things we learned in General Conference this week, the Bible, the Book of Mormon, living the commandments, et cetera...) are 100% integral in giving us the only true and lasting happiness that exists. And there is NOTHING we can do to imitate the joy or happiness that God has prepared for us.

I love you guys.


Hermana Best!

As promised, a pic. of my beloved companion, Sister Garner