Monday, August 25, 2014

August 25, 2014

It's been unreasonably gorgeous the last two days, with bright blue skies and fluffy Toy Story clouds. It's kind of like Heavenly Father buoying me up through the weather!

This week we had the opportunity to do some service at a member's home. Serving others really increases the love you have for that person. It's an opportunity to put aside pride on either side and just work together toward a common goal. Having that unified purpose is really what brings people closer. And it's really good to be close to the members. It's honestly through the members that missionary work occurs. The missionaries are trained to teach, but the members are the ones who find the people to be taught! =)

We went out with a member to go visit one of our investigators. We were all excited because she would have the opportunity to bear her testimony and teach along with us, but the investigator didn't show. It seems he totally forgot about our appointment. The member was so good-natured about it though! She was excited to try try again. We went to see a less-active family with her, and the less-active family said "We're not interested right now, but pray for me and my family." and shut the door. Sister Williams was like "well, we tried!" and we talked about the faith to pray and to hope that lost sheep will eventually return to the fold.

Things with Mr. Sutton are going great! Since his favorite, Sister Lawrence, is really busy now with nursing school, we quested about for a new friend. Brother Mogk and Sister Mogk were totally willing to come, so we invited them. Gayle knows the Bible frontwards and backwards, and knows the truths of the gospel instinctively because he has prayed and read with such real intent to understand. We're so excited for him. He still wants to read the entire Book of Mormon before he will be baptised. So we invited him to just start. He read six whole chapters!! Yesterday we had an amazing lesson about obedience and modern day prophets. We talked about the things that he had read, and about authority. He's really coming to understand that this IS the church of Jesus Christ that was established while Christ was on the earth. He says things like, "and that's why you're here. You're taking the gospel to everyone." and we say, "yes! yes that is!" He also wants to read about Joseph Smith, and basically asked us for the Doctrine and Covenants! We gave him a conference talk to read, and he is so excited to read it. We can't WAIT until we see him next time. =) We continue to pray that he may receive the answer that these things are true by the Holy Ghost. We know hecan receive that answer, especially as he continues to learn.

We had a lesson with a new investigator, Reggie, on Wednesday. We had two members lined up to go, who both canceled that morning. So we texted Sister Hartshorn like 30 minutes before the lesson (it was at 11am) and she was like "let me put some shoes on!" and came to our rescue.
We taught Reggie the Restoration while sitting out on the grass in the beautiful daylight. We taught him about modern prophets and the Book of Mormon. we invited him to read. Sister Hartshorn bore her personal testimony and invited him out to church. I was really worried, because this was the first first lesson I had ever taught, but Sister Dodds says it was good. =) We're excited to see him again. he canceled our lesson we were supposed to have today, but he did say his mother and son were coming into town and he has a lot to deal with. We're excited to see him again! He has faith in Jesus Christ, and he tells us about how his mother raised him in righteousness. We're excited for him to learn more and add on to what he already knows and lives. =)

We're trying to start working with another less active, Sister Jae. She has a strong testimony, and love loves loves her family, just something is holding her back from church attendance.

We tried to see Judy the other day, the Ambridge's 70-year-old friend who sprained her leg while dancing a few weeks ago. She wasn't home, but we will try try again! =)

We saw Sister Olenick on Friday. It was her birthday ( =D ) so we brought her cookies. Those cookies turned out awesome, if I do say so myself. She had just had surgery, so she wasn't moving very fast, so we decided to just take it nice and easy with the lesson and talk about scripture study. Sister Rock came with us, and came about 20 minutes into the discussion. She immediately started asking Sarah about her conversion story, inviting Niah to read the Friend and go to activity days, and exhorting Sarah to prepare to go to the temple! Apparently that's exactly what she needed, too. But from Sister Rock, not from us.

On Saturday, we swung by to see Shirley and invite her to church again. When we drove up, she was working on her hedges. So in proselyting clothes and everything, we all attacked those hedges and got them done. We talked to her a little bit while we worked about why we are missionaries and what we do as missionaries. She's so sweet, and we're excited to talk to her more. Brother Wright is planning to invite her over to dinner, and have us over at the same time! =)

We had dinner with the Nolan's on Saturday, too. They are so great. Sister Nolan served a mission in Chile, and Ricky is 14 and just going into 9th grade. They are so funny. Sister Nolan is also an amazing chef, wow! The food was so-o-o good! She grows tomatoes, so she sent us home with some. She has a really strong testimony and is excited to do missionary work. =)

We met with our new ward mission leader on Sunday! His name is Brother Olsen and boy is he excited about his new calling! We had an hour-and-a-half long meeting after church yesterday to talk about all of his ideas for the ward. =)

We had dinner with the Krums yesterday too, and we got to talk about our experiences with Gayle. They were so excited about it too! Brother Krum showed off a veneered cabinet he's working on. Veneer is not a concept I have ever thought about in my life! I love the members here. they are so excited about life and missionary work! They are generous and kind. They are honest, too. They'll tell ya exactly what they think. =)

We dropped by the Puertos twice this week just to read the Book of Mormon with them. They have strong testimonies of Jesus Christ, we're just working on helping them return to church.

It's an exciting time here in Kempsville, a lot is going on. We're trying to ignite the fire of service in the hearts of those who are less-active, to bring them again into the loving fold. Look for those people who need a friend. It's more important than I would have ever thought. Because a friend is someone who can share with you their testimony, their experiences, their love and their service.

Sister Dodds is teaching me so much! I was a bit discouraged because notevery person we invited came to church yesterday, and some people just don't seem to be progressing at all, even though missionaries have been working with them for years. She told me that we just need to keep loving them, to act toward them like the Savior would to us. He wouldn't give up on us, so we must never ever give up on them. We just have to hold out hope that one day they will come back.

I love you all! remember to always have hope in Jesus Christ, your Savior. He was tried and tempted and felt discouragement too. but would He give up? Never!

Love, Sister Moore

August 18, 2014- "Kempsville Ahoy!"

Hi everybody!

I'm learning a LOT here in Kempsville. For instance, I'm allergic to eggs!
So, cool things from this week. A member had egg flan stuff for desert, and I didn't know it would have eggs on top (eggs make me sick), so I kind of ate like a bite or two to be polite but I didn't want to risk any more than that AND I'M GLAD I DIDN'T!!!!!! I had an allergic reaction where I felt super weird for about 24 hours. But I'm okay - I didn't die - but I will never eat straight eggs again!

Anyway, so that was crazy. 

We got to see Sister Jacks again on Tuesday for our Book of Mormon reading. =) We're still reading in Mosiah, about the people of Limhi who lived in bondage to the Lamanites for a while. This week we read the story of Noah and Abinadi. How the prophet Abinadi came to the people and told them that they were being wicked, and prophesied that bad things would happen if they didn't repent. As we can see, that prophecy was fulfilled with Limhi's people. It gives me so much hope, though, because Limhi and his people did repent, even though they had to go through the bad stuff to get there.

Sister Jacks is so sweet. She always has a "repast" for us - some kind of fun desert. She was able to come to church this Sunday, too! Her knee surgery really had her homebound, but it's healing well enough now that she was able to come. It was so exciting to see her there!!

We met with Gayle twice this week, which was super awesome. We go to go into his house and talk with him about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He had a lot of really good questions, and is really concerned with what happens after we die. We tried to address those questions yesterday. He knows that we "have something", he can "see it in our smiles". I laughed aloud when he said "You are just so bright when you show up at my door, it's like Moronee himself showed up at my door." =D

He's having a hard time right now, because his wife's dementia is really really hard on the both of them. Our meeting with him yesterday, we simply listened as he described their difficulties. It's so hard for me to watch them suffer. I want to help by answering some of his questions about life after death, but it will all happen when he is ready.

We had ward council visits this week! Once a month, the leaders in the ward get together and go visit less actives with the missionaries! HOW COOL IS THAT?
The bishop went with us, and we planned to visit Kristen and a new family who has just moved into our ward.
the visit with Kristen went really well. The bishop was really bold with her and said that we could really use her help and service in the ward.
When we went to see the new family, we discovered that they didn't live there, but that a lady by the same name, Krista, had lived there for seven years. She said she was looking for a church. We invited her to church - how cool is that! Sister Dodds says that great blessings always come during ward council visits, and I believe it!

Our family history night went awesome! We had four people come, including TWO less actives. Sister Battreal is a newly-called family history consultant so we were exuberant that she was able to come! Kristen came too, with her huge book of family history. She got right to work on putting that stuff into the computer! I helped Sister Krum connect Ancestry with her familysearch account.

This week we had a great experience with a referral. Brother Wright called us and said that he had been talking with his neighbor for a while and that it "was time" for her to meet with the missionaries. He asked us to go over and simply invite her to church. I felt a little awkward because I thought it might be better for him to go with us, but we went anyway. My goodness! She's the sweetest lady, she invited us in and we invited her to church. She says she's thinking about deciding to join another church, but she wanted more time to think about it. we said she was welcome to just come, with no commitment. She couldn't make it this Sunday because of a plumbing problem in her garage, but hopefully next week she can!
So there you go, always trust the members on the referral business. =)

We helped one of the members clean out her cluttered closet the other day. She has a lot of stuff. I was SO excited when I saw it, is that crazy or what? We pulled out a ton of stuff so she could go through it. Sister Dodds says I was "in my element". They were both kind of surprised by how I lit into the project. Ha! I just absolutely love cleaning and organizing!!

We also taught Sunday School yesterday - so that was fun! Brother Teerlink had asked us to teach his class how to index, so we did! It was pretty fun. I didn't feel nervous at all, isn't that cool? It's shocking how much anxiety vanishes as you prepare for things (and pray hard!) =).

Some of the stuff this week was just kind of awkward, and so I feel a little discouraged. I know it'll be okay, though. We'll just keep praying and keep working hard, and being obedient! and everything will be just fine if we're patient and wait. =)

I love you all!
-Sister Moore

August 11, 2014- "A Sunny Week"

The sun has really been shining for Sister Dodds and I this week. I've been pretty confused all week (I guess the new missionary fog is setting in =) ) but I've pushed forward relying on the Savior and the Holy Ghost. I'm really learning that all I can do is do all that I can do. =) That's all the Lord expects of me, and He can work with that. =)

Some special experiences from this week:

We were able to give away a Book of Mormon to someone who seemed very interested this week!

On Tuesday, we got to meet with Sarah (a less active). Wow! We have been so worried about her because her life is just so laid-back right now she feels that she doesn't really need church. But as we talked with her, and finally got on a gospel topic after 30 minutes, we really felt the Spirit. We talked about enduring to the end (which she knows she needs to do =) ) and the importance of church attendance. We bore our testimonies and the Holy Ghost really worked on her. She told us that after so many years, she was finally "out of excuses." Her daughter, she says, never says anything when she really really wants something. She only complains about things to "be a pest". She told us that her daughter mentioned once that she really really wanted to go to church. They missed it because they slept in, and her daughter never mentioned it again.

When we saw them on Sunday, Niah was glowing with excitement. They got there a little late, but we were in the back. I gestured for them to come sit by us and they did. I invited Niah to sing the hymns with me, and she did! She gave us HUGE hugs after Sacrament meeting, multiple times. She absolutelyloved Primary. She really likes to sing (I found out) and told me all about how they sang and then played and then sang again "like ten times". =)

What a miraculous blessing! What a testament that the Holy Ghost truly testifies and changes hearts.

We had lunch with a family in our ward on Wednesday. It was a little chaotic. The wife was getting ready to have the baby this Friday, and so she was a bit overwhelmed by everything. We volunteered to help her with her dishes, or anything she needed help cleaning. When we came by later, we discovered amountain of dishes in the sink. We diligently cleaned and talked to her about Visiting Teaching and her new calling, and about how she wants to change it up and what a benefit and strength that will be to the ward. It was a wonderful and inspiring conversation. I got to share my experience in how I chose to serve a mission - Sister Dodds had a similar experience.

I felt like Arthur from Sword in the Stone, cleaning and scrubbing away. =D

We had a lesson with Gayle this week!! Ai-eee!!! I was worried we weren't going to be able to see him, because we are at the mercy of how his wife is doing on a particular day. But we prayed so hard and the Lord blessed us that we were able to see him! We brought a member with us too. I felt like the lesson was so scattered and I was so confused and distracted (new missionary fog!) but at one point in the lesson, when Gayle was preparing to drop us (kindly), the Holy Ghost prompted me, strongly, to ask him to be baptised, like we had planned.

I looked him in the eyes and said "Gayle, will you commit to prepare to be baptized on September 13th?" The look of shock that came over his face! He said "You nearly knocked me right out of my chair!!"

We then discussed his concern of wanting to finish the Book of Mormon before he is baptized. Sister Lawrence shared that she hadn't read it at all when she returned to church, Sister Dodds explained that we're always learning new things. Next time I have a cake analogy for him. =D (I run a little slow on processing speed these days haha)

The idea of that commitment entirely changed his attitude. He no longer was considering dropping us. We commited him to pray about it. He was totally not expecting that question. Sometimes you just need to see where they are at, and inviting them to be baptized (even at the first lesson!) is a wonderful way of discovering that.

We got to see Kristen again. =D We talked to her about family history and about the temple. I again felt the Spirit very strongly. The temple is our little slice of heaven. Where we can feel that timelessness and that service and that Spirit that will be ever present in the life to come. I love the temple. Make a goal to always be worthy to attend, or begin to prepare to attend. =) I know that we have so much to learn and so much service to do in the work of the Lord, and that the temple is a place where we can do much of that! I love you all! Attend the temple as often as you can. =) Prepare and take your own names! What special experiences and blessings you will have because you have done that work and made those sacrifices to do so. =) I love you!

Friday and Saturday were exchanges! Our sister training leaders swapped companions with us - so I went up to Norfolk for 24 hours!! I wish I had taken my camera, it's a gorgeous area. (even if it's kind of ghetto in the area we were) I FINALLY got to see some water even though "it's only the bay". It's grey and looks like it stretches on forever. =)

Last night we saw a Lion King style sunset and a parchment-colored reddish full moon. It was amazing. Dratted light pollution, otherwise I'd have some amazing pictures to share. =)

On exchange, I got to go see someone else's investigators. It was interesting. =) We saw a few really cute families who are struggling to get on their feet. We taught two adorable girls about the first few chapters of the Book of Mormon, using flannel thingys. they really liked it! They even talked about how important it is to keep the commandments. Wow! I've been learning just how much we can get out of scripture stories, and likening them to ourselves. I'm looking forward to doing more of that as I study.

I studied the story of Joseph in Egypt today. It really taught me about the importance of being prepared, and also following spiritual promptings. As we can read in Amos 3:7, the Lord doeth nothing save He reveals it to His prophets. In the footnote, we receive some clarification. We are taught and warned and have things revealed to us through the prophets so that we can prepare like Joseph in Egypt. The Lord will always make sure that we know His commandments and laws, so that we can follow them. I am so grateful for a loving God who gives us this "probationary state" as a time to prepare to meet Him. I am so grateful for knowinghow to prepare, and that the Lord will help me as I try to do what is right.

We saw an investigator of Sister Barnes' who is preparing to be baptized. Wow. That's what they mean by the wheat ready to be harvested! She called the missionaries over on the street because she knew she needed religion. She wants to change. She readily accepts the gospel, because she knows it's true. She wants to learn and know everything. I haven't yet gotten to a point where I teach an investigator the difference between Elder and President (etc) so I let Sister Barnes do most of the talking. =) Wow! I really learned a lot from Sister Barnes on exchange. She even wrote out cute little lists of what to take to her baptism, and other cool stuff! =) They're now preparing to teach the lady's little son Lucas. =)

That afternoon, we had lunch together (wish I had pictures =/) and exchanged back. Sister Dodds and I went to see an older lady who is wheelchair bound. She's a less-active who's not interested at all, but she needed help so we went to serve. =) We set up some phones for her and talked with her about her family. She's really so sweet. We talked about prayer. It made me sad to feel the emptiness in her apartment. The absence of the Spirit. She was trying to fill that hole with a gospel music program, but I could feel how that wasn't working. As soon as we came in, she turned it off (which no one ever does here). She couldfeel the Spirit that we brought, and the Spirit that came when we prayed together. I have hope for her. =) I love her sweet love she has for Jesus Christ, and hugs!

Yesterday we went to see a potential investigator named Brandon. He'd been on our list of potential investigators for the longest time, so we finally went. My goodness! Sister Dodds didn't remember giving him a Book of Mormon, but when we got there, it was brought to her rememberance. He's a guy in his thirties, with a cute little toddler named Camden! He said he had read! he was willing to schedule an appointment with us, and we're going back in a few weeks! Wow!! =D I'm so grateful for those that the Lord has prepared, and that I am privliaged to teach them by the Spirit! =D

Yes it has been a wonderful week, full of miracles, and lots of learning expereinces. It's going to take a while to really feel comfortable with the lessons, and to get the missionary pattern down. But I will! It'll just take time. =)

I love you all!!
I would like to invite you to make daily scripture study a part of your life. Itreally changes and improves your life and will help you to feel the Spirit that much more strongly.
Sister Moore

Saturday, August 9, 2014

August 4, 2014- There Is Sunshine in My Soul Today!

Hi everyone! The sun is finally shining for the first time in forever! Lemme tell you about our week. =-)

It's been a tough week, since my companion hasn't been feeling very well. =( But we have still persevered!!!

We had a wonderful lesson about prayer with a less-active member named Sister Williams. She is so kind and a bit quiet, but she has a strong testimony of the meaning of the Sacrament and prayer. I loved the discussion we got to have with her. We invited her to church - AND SHE CAME! She went to the wrong building, but all the same! =) I can't wait to meet with her again.

On Monday we picked up a huge stack of copies of the Book of Mormon. We resolved to give one away every day. We began this goal on the Sunday before, when we gave a copy to Sarah. =) We gave away a book a day until Thursday - how amazing is that??? We gave another one away yesterday to Katrina. =)

We went to see Mr. Gayle Sutton, one of our investigators. He says that Gayle is the manly way of spelling the name. Sister Lawrence came along with us. We had an amazing lesson and discussion about Jesus Christ and the Restoration. Sister Lawrence, who works four jobs and is raising a teenage boy, was able to come and share her testimony of how she recieved an answer for herself of the truthfulness of this gospel. And it is! It is true! I testify of that. I have recieved that answer for myself through study and prayer. =)

We went an saw Sister Tomlinson too. She has four dogs, so that was really hard on my allergies but it was SO worth it because Sister Tomlinson is so kind and has such a strong testimony of the gospel and she was able to share with us some amazing testimony-building experiences she has had. It was an uplifting visit. =)

We had dinner at the Teerlink's that night. What a family after my own heart!! They love essential oils and cooking healthy and they have three gorgeous children and a hypoallergenic cat and a big poof of a black, happy dog that reminds me of Frank. =D I was pretty congested from the dogs at the prior house so Sister Teerlink diffused some peppermint for me. What a blessing! =D Brother Teerlinkloves to cook and he cooks really well - they've invited us back this week. Wow! I love them both. =)

We also went by and saw a family who just moved into the ward. The dad's a member, but the mother isn't. Her two poor kids were really sick with the flu, and so she was a bit distracted, but we got to talk to her about families and shared the Family the Proclamation to the World with her. =) Her husband on Sunday said he was so happy we stopped by to see her and just be friendly and spend time with her. =D

Yeah, I AM writing out what happened every day. You can skip to the end if you want, but it's been a cool week so you'll miss out. =D

We saw Sister Jacks Wednesday morning. She's an older lady who just got knee surgery and can't get out much. =( We read the Book of Mormon together every week - I love it! We read in Mosiah, King Benjamin's speech, and talked about what it meant to us. =)

We mowed Sister Battreal's lawn, which was fun service. I love Sister Battreal and her family. They are fiesty, and have decided to move in the right direction.

Sister Jones had us over for dinner, and to help her start on Family History. =D Sister Jones is really pregnant with her first child, and is super on top of things. She's a get-it-done, get-it-right kind of person, and I love that. She's also the newly-called choir director, as she and her husband just moved into the ward too. =D We had a fun dinner, spaghetti and meatballs, with her and just talked and chatted and visited and brought the Spirit of Elijah into her home. I love Sister Jones!

After that, we had Book of Mormon class, which is just a Book of Mormon read every Wednesday. Not many people were there, but one of the elder's investigators came and it was so cool. Apparently he never talks during class, but this time he said "I've just had so many questions building up over time and I've just got to ask them." He's studied the Bible and the Book of Mormon a lot and seems finally ready to ask and pray! Wow! Sister Dodds was so rocked by this that we called up the elders immediantly and told them all about it. Wow! Miracles are happening in Virginia!!!

We had dinner with the Olennick's (O'linnix). They are a less-active, part-member family who are full of love for the missionaries, but not really willing to do the work to know for themselves that this gospel is true. I love the whole family, the quirky nonmember dad who asks all the missionaries he meets if we believe in aliens (and what our dream car is), and the mother, Sarah, who loves to dye her hair pink and is really really an example of Southern hospitality and silly wild-child Nyah who I love already. =D I can see great things for them in the future, but they really need to commit to having the gospel in their lives.

Oh my goodness. =D We went over to the Morgan's for dinner on Friday and it was a blast. We worked on family history with Sister ROBIN Morgan, because she likes her first name, thank you very much! She been loving working on her family history, she has a huge book her Aunt painstakingly put together that she's putting online. But she ran into a hitch and a tangle in the tree and needed our help. (They accidentally skipped a generation, I told her to call Family Search to make sure no one gets deleted or lost while she's sorting it out.)

She loves talking about her "hill-billy" side and her grandma who was "yea tall" and hair long as she was! Her grandfather would sit on the porch with his shotgun and whittle - she showed us this super cool thing he whittled. =D Her husband was just as amazing. I love the Morgans!! =)

The baptism!!! The elders had a baptism, so we went to show our support. =D It was so sweet. Alyssa is 11 and she put in all the effort because she really wanted to be baptized. Seeing her go down into the water really reminded me ofmy baptisimal covenants. She was so happy and glowing with light. When she was confirmed on Sunday, I could see the difference in her. I knew that the gate to heaven had just been opened for her and that she has a glorious future in store! Her grandfather came to the baptism too. He has such a testimony of the gospel and yesterday in Gospel principles class he said "you know I probably should get baptized" but he's worried about all the sins he's had in his past and getting past those bad habits.

Mr. Sutton CAME with his wife Shirley to the baptism! In the middle I kind of looked back and saw them and I shout-whispered to Sister Dodds, "THEY CAME!" We went to the back afterward and talked with them. A brother from the ward shared his testimony with them. I asked how it had made them feel and Mr. Sutton said "at 87 you never feel good." haha! =D they came!!!!!!!! I sure hope the Spirit works on them and that they can have a confirmation through the Spirit that this is the church of God restored on the earth today. I know it's true!!

We got to teach Anne yesterday. She's a very quiet and shy girl and her dad is always talking for her. Her mother doesn't want her to get baptized, and we only have 15 minutes every Sunday to teach her the lessons. We continued to ask her to pray. We pray every night that her mother's heart will be softened and that she will have the desire to be baptized. We read D&C 20:37 with her yesterday and really emphasized that it's the desires/determination of your heart that really matters. When you pray and when you desire to do the right thing, and you act in faith, your Heavenly Father will cause miracles in your behalf. I know that to be true. I've seen it at work. =)

I love you all! Continue to read and pray, my friends, and seek the righteous desires of your heart.
I know you can do it! I love you!
-Sister Moore