Monday, October 27, 2014

Another week in Madison

Hi Family!

This week was a pretty good.  Busy, which is always good!
Sister Hammatt and Sister King

Tuesday we had a really good district meeting.  The topic was the law of chastity so we were all super excited about it..... haha.  But it actually ended up being one of the most inspiring district meetings of my mission.  It really hit me just of important the law of chastity is!  It is so important that we are living virtuous and chaste lives.  I think for me, I always think of the law of chastity as just not doing the bad things.  It's not just not doing  bad things, we need to be doing good things too.  Chastity starts with having good and virtuous thoughts, words, deeds, and actions.  We can ALWAYS be living a more chaste life.  

Flowers from the best family in the world

I gave Janet one of the flowers that you sent me.
D&C 121 tells us to let virtue garnish our thoughts unceasingly.  Virtue should be able to "garnish" or "go along with" all of the thoughts that we have in our minds.  And I will never forget what Susan W. Tanner said!  "Virtuous young men are attracted to virtuous young women!"  
Later that night, we were able to have dinner with one of our investigators.  Her daughter is a member of the church and she was in town.  They had us over for dinner and then afterward had a very powerful lesson on the Plan of Salvation.  She recently lost her husband and a few years ago lost her other daughter to cancer.  We testified that families can be together forever!  What an amazing blessing that is.  It really touched our investigator and she wants to do what it takes to be with her family forever.

In front of the Madison Capitol!



Wednesday we also taught the Plan of Salvation to two of our other investigators.  It was cool because one of  her  concerns is telling her very Catholic family about her joining the church.  She was also worried about where her family would end up in God's plan.  We taught her about the different degrees of glory.  And we also taught her that throughout the plan, God gives us every possible chance that he can to accept the gospel.  He wants all of us to make it back to live with him!  So that was also a very powerful lesson.

Thursday was interesting because we received a headquarter referral for someone that wanted a copy of the Book of Mormon.  So we went to go deliver it to him.  Turns out, he had seen The Book of Mormon musical and it sparked his interest!  So now he is reading the Book of Mormon. The Lord works in mysterious ways!  But whatever it takes for him to learn about the restored gospel!  :)  
We also had another lesson with another investigator.  She is the one that we met at the bus stop.  She had been reading the Book of Mormon all week and she told us that she talked to her very Baptist mom and that she would be supportive of her joining the church.  So we set a baptismal date with her for November 15!  We are so excited about it.  I feel very blessed.  I was kind of struggling for a while because I have been on the bus my entire mission, and nothing has ever come from our finding efforts on the bus.  I am sure that we have planted many seeds, but I really wanted to find someone that I could not only find, but teach and bring into the gospel!  She truly is a miracle and such a blessing.  A direct answer to my prayers.  But please keep her in your prayers because we still have a long way to go! 

Friday we visited with a few less active members and recent converts.  And we also had a lesson with a brand new investigator.  She is awesome!  She has been dating this guy in the Milwaukee YSA ward and so we were able to meet with her and answer her questions.  We are so excited to start working with her more this week.

Saturday was our ward's fall festival!  It was super fun.  It made me realize that I really have come to love the members of this ward!  I feel so blessed to be here in Madison.  I absolutely love it.
Sister Hammatt and me at the ward Halloween party.  We did the best we could for not being allowed to dress up :)

All of the missionaries in our ward.

This is Elsa and she is a wolf for Halloween :)

So right now we are just running around and teaching as many people as we can!  Things are going great.  Thank you so much for your love and prayers.  I love you so much!  Till next week!


Sister King

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Testimony of a recent convert


My Testimony

In order to bear my testimony, I have to start at the beginning. I'm the daughter of a Jewish mother and an evangelical Christian father. They divorced when I was three and I was raised by my mother, who sent me to an orthodox Jewish day school. It was there that I learned that I was part of a proud people. I had a history and a story. When I was five, I spent several months carrying a baby doll of Moses around with me everywhere I went. I learned the Hebrew Alphabet along side the English one. I loved Judaism, and I continued to love it. When I would visit my father and he would make me go to church with him, I would slump in the pew, crying. Church was an alien place, full of strange smells and too-loud voices, and enormous social pressure to turn my back on who I knew myself to be. I had no interest in embracing my father's faith. What I knew to be true is that I was a Jew, and it was the most cherished part of who I was.

As I grew older, Judaism continued to be important. I taught Hebrew prayers to bat and bar mitzvah students. I taught religious school on sundays, and I yearned to become even more religious and to grow in my observance of the commandments.

But, several years ago, I moved to Madison to pursue a PhD in English. And everything felt different. I wasn't able to find a Jewish community that felt quite right. So, I took up yoga and meditation. I became flexible, and not just in my limbs, but in my thinking, too. Slowly but surely, adherence to Jewish law no longer felt meaningful. I didn't feel that God loved me any less if I drove on Shabbat or if I lit Sabbath candles after sundown. And once I no longer felt the pull of observance, the rest of Jewish ritual felt somehow empty. If I didn't feel that God's love for me was connected to strict adherence to Jewish law, then what was it all about? What was the point? And, most importantly, how was it bringing me closer to God?

The answer is that it wasn't, at least not for me. And being the spiritual seeker that I am, I decided that I needed to embrace other religious traditions, to try to access God in whatever way I could. I even visited a psychic who insisted that she couldn't get a read on me because my chakras required cleansing. So, I got my chakras cleansed, and after doing a quick google search online, I found a woman named Carol Tuttle. She was a Mormon who happened to write about chakras and energy healing. I felt oddly drawn to her, and so I read a book she had written entitled Remembering Wholeness, which talks about how each of us is a divine child of heavenly parents. She talked about the atonement, what she called at-one-ment. She taught me about Christ's love for us.

And instead of turning away from a book that was filled with language that struck me as strange, uncomfortable, and even sacrilegious, I started to really think about Jesus, about his sacrifice, and for the first time in my life, instead of rejecting the possibility of a savior, I began to believe. About four months ago I sat my kind, gentle, but very Jewish husband down and tearfully confessed to him that I was a Christian and that I wanted very much to be a disciple of Christ.

I had no idea what this profound spiritual awakening meant for my life, for my marriage, or for my identity, but I knew that I craved Christ's light in my life. I also knew that I was terrified of calling myself a Christian and of going to a church like the ones my father had forced me to attend as a child.

It was then that I decided that I needed to explore Mormonism, and I wondered if it might provide me with a spiritual home, and a closer relationship to God. I remember telling a Mormon friend of mine that I had started to daydream about missionaries stopping by my house, at which point she told me that I didn't have to day dream, that this could definitely be arranged. And within a few days Elders Martell and Humble stopped by my house, sat on my porch, and gave me the book of Mormon. I was drawn to their goodness, their deep faith, and their astonishing patience with all of my questions. I loved our brainy conversations, and I loved what I was learning. Eternal progression, heavenly parents, forever families, a tight knit community that ministered to one another, and a faith that is necessarily accompanied by right action. I fell in love with Mormon theology, and with a big, bold, generous God. I felt a peace and excitement that I hadn't ever felt before. I found myself watching general conference talks, listening to hymns, and staring at images of temples.

I didn't have a vision, or a dream, but I still feel like something mystical happened. I felt Jesus knocking on the door of my heart, reminding me that he was here, even though I was scared and unsure of what it meant for me. My path to Mormonism feels extraordinary. If it hadn't been for a woman who told me that I needed to clear my chakras, or a new age Mormon lady in Utah, or a chance meeting with the sisters at a relief society event, or Sister Brewster's timid but prayerful invitation to be baptized, I wouldn't be here today.

But I am here. And I am so deeply grateful, to the missionaries, to divine timing, and to all of you who have welcomed me with such incredible kindness. I am so proud to be part of this community. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

9 month mark!

Hi family!!

Don't have a ton of time so I will just cut right to the chase  :)
 
 

Tuesday- coolest day ever!  I get to tell you all about a girl we met!  So we met her at the bus stop last week.  We started talking to her and told her about church and invited her to come and she said that she would.  We didn't think much of it because we invite people to church all the time and they never come.  But get this- SHE CAME!  She showed up on Sunday all by herself!  (We invited her to the campus ward because she is 19 so we didn't actually see her at church.  Which is even more amazing because she literally didn't know anyone there!)  We called her Sunday afternoon and she said that she really liked church and wanted to meet with us.  So on Tuesday we met with her and we taught her the Restoration and she absolutely loved it!  The Spirit was crazy strong in that lesson. She told us that she had met lots of missionaries before, but for some reason when she met us at the bus stop she felt something different.  She said that for some reason she felt like she should listen to us and trust us.  She also said that she was super scared to go to church all by herself on Sunday and had actually decided not to go, but she just felt so drawn to this church and decided to go.  At the end of the lesson, we asked her how she felt about what we had taught her and she said that she had never felt so complete or peaceful in her whole life.  It was amazing.  You could literally feel the Spirit testifying of truth.  It was so cool.  So that was the biggest miracle on Tuesday.

Happy Hump Day to me!  :)


Wednesday way my 9 month mark!  I am halfway done with my mission!  What?  It is very bittersweet.  Sweet because I really miss you guys a lot and think of you all the time.  But sad because I am having so many amazing experiences and meeting so many cool people and having so much fun and I just don't want it to end.  Plus, time seems to be going by pretty fast?  Doesn't it?  Anyways, Sister Hammatt and I celebrated by going to Chipotle for lunch.  It's not CafĂ© Rio, but we make it work.  :)  On Wednesday we had a lesson with an investigator.  She really opened up to us a lot and told us that she has loved what she has been learning, but she has a lot that she is going through.  She has some loved ones that are homosexual and she is doesn't know if she would be able to join herself with a church that wouldn't "accept" them.  So that has been hard and we have been working with her on that.  We also had a lesson with another investigator and she is doing pretty good as well.  She is just terrified to tell her super staunch Catholic family that she wants to be baptized into the Mormon church.  So we could really use some prayers for both of them! 

Thursday we had Zone Training Meeting and...... We got to watch Meet the Mormons!  It was so good and I loved it so much.  I think I loved it so much because it really showed that we are all just good (and normal) people that are doing our best to follow the example of Jesus Christ.  I also loved it because all of the people were so different.  This church has over 15,000,000 members.  That means that there are over 15,000,000 ways to be a Mormon and over 15,000,000 different distinct and individual testimonies of this gospel!  I loved the movie because it showed that living this gospel makes us happy!  So I was so grateful that we got to watch that.
Painting pumpkins with Sister Hammatt

Friday was annoying because most of our appointments were no shows... The life of a missionary!

Saturday was a pretty crazy day.  We visited a lot of less active members and recent converts. We visited this one less-active member  and it was cool because she just had a new baby girl last month, and her home teacher was able to bless her in church yesterday.  That really helped her to feel the Spirit.  So that was awesome.  We also had a lesson with Rachel who is doing SO AWESOME by the way.  Get this- SHE HAS BEEN INVITED TO SPEAK AT STAKE CONFERENCE NEXT WEEK. I know, right?  She is so amazing.  I sent you her testimony and I really think that you should read it.  She is so inspiring to me.  In our lesson on Saturday, we talked about the Book of Mormon and the role that it played in her conversion.  It is cool because she is getting her PHd in English so she reads and analyzes the book like an English student.  And according to Rachel's professional opinion, there is just no way that Joseph Smith could have made that thing up!  :) 


So as you can see it was a pretty solid week this week.  We really have been blessed for our hard work! 

I love you all so much!  Can't wait to hear from you next week!

Love,
Sister King

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

First week training!

Hi Family!

So I made it through my first week of training and taking over the area!  Yay!  :)
Though this past week has been one of the most overwhelming and stressful of not just my mission but my entire life, I could definitely feel the power of your prayers helping me through.  I could also see the hand of the Lord in helping me.  It was a great week.

My birthday package from the Smart's!


To finish out my birthday on Monday we were able to go out to lunch with the elders in the district and then go to dinner at one of my favorite member's houses.  They made me the most delicious chocolate almond birthday cake.  And then for FHE we went over to a Spanish part-member family's house and tie dyed t-shirts!  It was definitely a fun day.

My birthday lunch with my district at Nitty Gritty

The Allred's made me a birthday cake :)

The Thurston's got me a birthday present!

Tuesday was pretty crazy because we were running around doing so many last minute things before transfers.  We were able to say goodbye to a lot of investigators and less active members and they all seem excited that I am still going to be here.  So that's good.  We had a super powerful last lesson with Rachel.  The experiences that we had with one another of her journey to baptism were amazing and we grew really close.  So that was a tough goodbye.  Later that night we went and stayed at the Madison 2nd sisters apartment to make things easier for transfers the next day. 

Wednesday was TRANSFERS!!!  It was pretty crazy and hectic but everything ended up working out fine.  Instead of waiting at the church, 4 sisters that were waiting for their new companions all came and we worked in the Mad 2 area.  we visited some recent converts and then went out to lunch together.  Then we headed to the church to pick up my new companion.

Some last pictures with Sister Brewster.


Sister Sierra Hammatt is an amazing person.  She is 19 and she is from Appleton, Wisconsin.  She is a trial missionary because when she was 16 her lung collapsed in an accident and they just want to make sure that she can handle a mission before they send her out for good.  But President told me that there is no doubt in his mind that she will serve the rest of her mission.  So one cool thing is that she will be receiving her actual mission call within the next few weeks and we will get to open it together!  So that will be cool.  Sister Hammatt went to BYU for a year before and she is studying English and Editing and plans to go to law school after her undergrad.  She is so awesome and we have a lot in common and we click really well.  She came out on her mission so prepared and already pretty much knows what she is doing!  Also- she speaks Spanish!!!  So she has been able to communicate with a lot of the Spanish members and she can talk to the Hispanics that we meet on the bus and stuff.  So that has been pretty much the coolest thing. We are going to have an amazing transfer together.

My greenie Sister Hammatt!

When we got back to our apartment she unpacked a little and then we headed out to work!  I was able to navigate the buses and get us to our appointments that night which was a huge tender mercy.  AND we ended up meeting 2 new investigators along the way.  So that was pretty amazing.

Day 2 into the transfer and we are already matching.  It's going to be a great transfer!  :)

Thursday we were able to meet with an investigator again but she had some pretty sad news.  She ended up moving to Indiana this weekend!  :( that was really sad because she was our most progressing investigator.  But I have faith that the Lord is going to bless us and send us some other investigators to help keep us busy.  It is also cool because Sister Hammatt has a family friend here in Madison that actually doesn't live too far from us.  So we went to and gave her a Book of Mormon and will hopefully be able to start teaching her this week.

Friday we spent most of our day volunteering at a Blood Drive at EPIC.  If you haven't heard of EPIC then you should look it up because it is a really cool company with the most amazing facility I have ever seen.  And they like to hire people from BYU, so that is pretty cool.  Many of our ward members work there.  We met a lot of cool people at the blood drive and planted many seeds.  But I think the coolest part was when we were driving back in the shuttle with another one of the Red Cross volunteers.  She told us that she thought that it was amazing that not only do we come on missions to spread the gospel, but we also come to give service and to help people.  She was super sweet and her heart is softening too!

Saturday was pretty crazy.  We met with some more recent converts and then we were also able to have a lesson with Rachel.  We talked to her all about the Gift of the Holy Ghost.  We talked about the different roles that the Holy Ghost plays in our lives, especially when we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and have it as a constant companion.  Something that I have realized since I have been on my mission is that recognizing how the Spirit is really hard for me.  I was blessed enough to grow up in a home where the Spirit was constantly and consistently there.  So because I am so used to feeling it, sometimes the only times I can notice the Spirit is when it is gone.  If that makes sense.  But I love the Holy Ghost and my goal is to do everything I possibly can in my life to always be living worthy to have it has a constant companion.  And how cool is it that Heavenly Father loves us to much that he has given us the Holy Ghost??  Like we get to have a member of the GODHEAD with us constantly to help us!  What an amazing blessing.

Then Sunday morning, Rachel was confirmed!  It was a beautiful experience and I for sure felt the Spirit there. 


Overall, it was a great week.  I really could FEEL your prayers this week.  It was the coolest thing.  Thank you so much for all that you do for me.  I love you so much!!  Have an amazing week!

Sister King

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

P-DAY B-DAY!

Hello Family!!!


Sis. Brewster was so sweet and decorated the apartment this morning.

Ok,  so much to tell you guys!!!  This week has been absolutely insane!  For starters, this week is transfers.  I didn't say anything about it last week because Sister Brewster and I weren't expecting it to really affect us.  We thought we would be together until Sis. Brewster goes home in December.  But then the transfer text came on Saturday and we found out that she actually would be leaving.  We just checked the transfer board a few seconds ago and she is not going too far... She is going to be my Sister Training Leader in the Madison 2nd ward.  As for me, I will be training here in the Madison 1st ward!  I am beyond nervous.  I felt nervous just knowing that I was going to be taking over the area after only being here one transfer, but now I will be training a brand new missionary too!  All I can say is that I am really going to need the Lord's help on this one.  Please keep me in your prayers!
Let me just start back at the beginning of the week.


Tuesday we had our last district meeting of the transfer.  Didn't this transfer just fly by?  Seems like just yesterday that I got here to Madison, and now I have a whole transfer under my belt!  It was a super awesome district meeting.  We talked all about asking our investigators what we call "inspired questions."  Asking them the questions that Christ would ask them if He were here to help them open up.  It was really cool and we received a lot of revelation for our area and the people that we are working with.  So that was pretty cool.  We also had a district testimony meeting which I absolutely love.  Our district really did see miracles this transfer!  We have been working hard.


My district this transfer

Mad 1!

We made dinner for a recent convert, Janet.
Wednesday we had a lesson with an investigator.  She is pretty solid and has some righteous desires, but has gotten caught up on the whole women and the priesthood thing.  So it was kind of an interesting lesson.  I just bore my testimony to her that we aren't going to understand everything here in this life.  But as long as we know that the Book of Mormon is true, that Joseph Smith restored the gospel, and that Thomas S. Monson is the prophet today, nothing else matters.  It will all fall into place.  It is kind of interesting because a lot of those types of things that bother a lot of people about the church don't really bother me.... But they seem to bother a lot a people here in Madison.  So I just do my best to answer their questions the way Jesus would and be the best representative of Him that I can be.

Out for hot chocolate because it is ALREADY FREEZING COLD :)

This is Estefany and she is one of the spanish members in the ward.  She just got her personal progress award, so we took her out to hot chocolate!
Thursday we had a lesson with the girl who will be getting baptized.  We talked to her about callings and service in the church.  She is super excited to receive a calling and start visiting teaching!  So that is pretty awesome.  We also had a lesson with a brand new investigator name.  Her fiance is a member of the church so he wanted her to take the missionary lessons.  It was such a miracle- we set a baptismal date with her in the very first lesson!  December 13!  So that is pretty awesome.  The work sure is going strong here in Madison.

Friday we had another lesson with an investigator who is getting baptized.  She gave us really cute gifts.  I will cherish my picture of the temple from her for my entire life.  She really is a special daughter of our Father in Heaven.  We talked a little bit about the baptismal covenant that she would be making and we also talked about enduring to the end.  The is what she has to work on now for the rest of her life!  Enduring to the end!  We also shared our favorite scriptures about Jesus Christ in the New Testament.  She was Jewish before, so it has been amazing to see her discover her Savior and what He means to her.
Rachel gave Sis. Brewster and I gifts the day before her baptism




Saturday was the craziest but best day ever.  We woke up and got to go over to the Allred's house to have a yummy breakfast and then watch conference together with an investigator.  We found out right before conference started that Sis. Brewster was going to be transferred, so that was kind of sad.  But in order to lighten up the mood, our investigator opened her brand new quad.  And she absolutely loved it!  The look on her face was priceless.  As soon as the conference session ended, we headed off to the church for her baptism.  It was the most powerful baptismal service I have ever attended.  The turn out from the ward was great!  We didn't even all fit in the Relief Society room.  Everybody just loves this girl so much.  She had asked me to give the talk on baptism, so that was super nerve wracking.  But I just bore my testimony of Jesus Christ and how she is following His example.  It was pretty awesome.  But the best moment of the whole day was when she got to bear her testimony.  I will send you a copy of it because I just won't do it justice.  But her testimony just absolutely glows through her.  It was an amazing experience!

Love this girl!
Sunday we got to have breakfast before conference with my favorites.... The Thurston's!  Our investigator  came with us so that was pretty awesome.  You can always count on the prophet to invite the Spirit. :)  Then we watched the afternoon session with another favorite family in the ward.  It was the biggest tender mercy to get to watch most of the sessions in members homes.  Made me miss you guys!  But that's ok.

Anyways as for my birthday today!  We are going on to lunch with my district!  So that should be pretty fun.  But mostly it was just the best birthday present to get to  read all of my e-mails from you guys today.  Thank you so much for being the best family ever.  I loved all of the cards and letters that you sent me.  Each and every one meant so much to me.  I love you guys so much!  Have a great week.

My Birthday package!



Opening birthday presents!
And remember, please keep me in your prayers a little extra! 
Love,
Sister King