Monday, July 27, 2015

This is it!

Well family, this is it.  And I can't even believe it.

It is really hard to put into words how I feel about the last 18 months of my life.  But what I do know is that the decision I made to serve a mission is the best choice I have made thus far in my life.  Being a set-apart representative of Jesus Christ is the most incredible, fulfilling, and meaningful thing you could ever choose to do.  I feel so blessed that I have been able to feel that and see that this last year and a half.  The reason that missions are so special is because they are a front row ticket to watching the Atonement work.  You get to watch the Atonement work in the lives of everyone around you, but most importantly you get to watch the Atonement work in your own life.  Missions are really hard.  And they literally wouldn't even be possible without the Atonement to help enable us to accomplish the things our Heavenly Father has asked us to do. 

I have learned a lot.
I have come to know that Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ love us.  They love us so much!  They love us each individually and perfectly.  They show their love to us by the tender mercies that we see in our lives everyday, and often times through other people.  They love us so much that they want each and every one of us to return to live with our Father again and be exalted in the Celestial Kingdom.  God knows us better than we know ourselves.  He knows what is best for us and he knows what we need to become better- even if those things are hard.  Jesus Christ understands us perfectly because he has felt and experienced everything that we have ever felt and experienced.  God loved us enough to send us His only Begotten Son, and Christ loved us enough to perform His infinite Atonement.  That is love.

I have also learned that the Book of Mormon is true.  I enjoyed reading from the Book of Mormon before my mission.  But not until now have I come to understand its role in the Restoration and its importance in helping us to learn more about Jesus Christ.  The Book of Mormon testifies of Christ EVERYWHERE.  I truly believe that the real reason that missions are so life changing is because we devote this time to not just reading but studying from the Book of Mormon every single day and helping others to learn about it as well.  The Book of Mormon is how I learned about the Atonement.  There is a special power that comes into our lives as we read the Book of Mormon every single day.  I can't even describe it.  You just have to do it yourself and find out the difference that reading the Book of Mormon makes.  The Book of Mormon is also how we can come to know the church is true and that the gospel really was restored through Joseph Smith.  If the Book of Mormon is true, then Joseph Smith really was a prophet and this is his church on the earth!  The Book of Mormon is a book with a promise.  I have done as Moroni directs and asked God.  I will tell you this much- The Book of Mormon is true.

I have learned that Eternal life= Family life.  Living with God and our families forever!  The gospel blesses families so much!  I already knew that because I have seen what the gospel has done to my own family.  But on my mission I have seen families that don't know about these principles start to apply them, and they are forever changed.  They are happier and they are closer!  When your family starts to live the gospel, you can't even stop the blessings from coming!  Families can be together forever because of the binding and sealing power of the Priesthood.  The authority to act in God's name has been restored to the earth for us today through a prophet.  We can all feel the priesthood giving us power in our lives as we keep true to our covenants.  I am so grateful that I was able to serve a mission because I have been so blessed to have to knowledge that I can be with my family forever and everyone deserves to know that!

Even though missions are full of life lessons and hard times, they are also a lot of fun.  I have met people- investigators, ward members, less-active members, President and Sister Cutler, and especially companions- that have changed my life. Preaching the gospel is fun and it makes me happy.  That really is why I love this gospel.  It brings peace and happiness into our lives.  So while this year and a half has been hard and a huge struggle, I also don't think there has been a time when I have felt happier and more fulfilled.  Serving others, and most importantly, serving God is the best thing we can do. 

Having to leave all of this behind is going to be one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.  But I have learned that God has a plan for each and everyone of us.  I know that God always has greater things in store for us than we will ever be leaving behind.  My mission will be a part of me forever.

I love God.  I love my Savior Jesus Christ. He is the Savior of me, you, and anyone you will ever meet.  Even though my full-time missionary service is coming to a close, I look forward to continuing to serve and love God through out the rest of my life and the rest of eternity.

I love you and will see you soon!

Sister King

Monday, July 20, 2015

Second to last email from Wisconsin!!

Sister Karlsson and I being studs at the three-legged race at our ward's pioneer party. (Yes, we won.)
One thing I have learned on my mission- you can do anything in a skirt!!
Hey Fam!
Man, you just don't think the weeks can go by any faster.  But then they do.  This week has been pretty crazy and busy.  Also my heart has been full of like 10,000 different emotions so that has made the week even crazier.  But it has been a great week nonetheless!
We have been starting to teach a lot of new investigators this week.  And we also went on 2 exchanges.  The first to Shawano and the second to Wisconsin Rapids.  Exchanges have always kept me on my toes.  And they sure wear me down too!  But always learn so much from the sisters that we serve with.
Sue has been in and out of the hospital this week.  So if you could keep her in your prayers, that would be great.
This week we have been studying a lot about the principle of sacrifice.  This is a principle that I don't think I understood very well before my mission.  (I probably still don't understand it as well as I should.)  But on my mission I have learned why sacrifice is such an important principle of the Gospel.  Sacrifice is giving up something good, and is hard to give up, for something better.  We sacrifice things like 10% of our income, or a few meals on the first Sunday of the month.  But sacrifice is so much more than that.  I think the reason that God asks us to sacrifice somethings is so that we can come to understand a little bit better the sacrifice of our Savior. 
Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered. (2 Nephi 2:7)
We will never completely understand the sacrifice of our Savior, but we can understand it better when we are willing to sacrifice for the Lord. 
And the thing is, sacrifice is not about the blessings that we receive because of our sacrifice.  Really, it is all about what our sacrifice helps us to become. 
The reason why I have come to understand sacrifice better is because my mission has been the biggest sacrifice I have ever made in my life up until this point.  I have sacrificed a pretty big chunk of time and seeing my family.  (Not to mention all the blood, sweat, and tears that a mission entails.)  The things that I left behind were all good things.  If I had not come on a mission I would most likely still be on a pretty good path.  But because of my mission, I was able to give up something good for something better.  Because of my mission I have been able to see people's lives change.  I have been able to teach people about our Savior's perfect and infinite Atonement for us.  And I have learned more than I ever could have learned in these past 18 months that I would have spent at home.  This sacrifice has been worth it 10 times over because of the blessings that I have received.  Sacrifice really does bring forth the blessings of heaven!
It's funny- before my mission I felt that I had been blessed so much in my life and one of the reasons that I wanted to serve was to "pay God back" I guess for all that he has done for me and all that he has blessed me with.  But really, I have been blessed so much more on my mission that I ever could pay him back for.
23 And now, in the first place, he hath created you, and granted unto you your lives, for which ye are indebted unto him.
 24 And secondly, he doth require that ye should do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth immediately bless you; and therefore he hath paid you. And ye are still indebted unto him, and are, and will be, forever and ever; therefore, of what have ye to boast?
Mosiah 2:23-24

I will forever be indebted to my Heavenly Father for my mission, my family, and my life.  Because I love him, I want to sacrifice the things that He asks me to.  And I have complete faith and confidence that He will bless my and those that I love because of the sacrifices that we make and that he will shape us and mold us into better people than we possibly could have become on our own.  Even though I wanted to "pay Him back" for all he has given me, I know that I will never be able to.  But I am grateful that I was able to show Him just how grateful I really am.  And I look forward to showing him how grateful I am for the rest of my life.
"Our lives of service and sacrifice are the most appropriate expressions of our commitment to serve the Master and our fellowmen."
-Dallin H. Oaks
I love you all!!!!  Thanks for your love and your support!
Sister King
At the Wausau Chalk-fest!
I took a picture with every Disney one I could find!  :)

The birthday cake we decorated for Gabby's 17th birthday!

My very last exchange :(

Monday, July 13, 2015

Work is the best medicine

Hi family!

Man, these past few days have definitely been mixed emotions. But something that I have learned on my mission is that work is the best medicine. So we have been working pretty hard! We have been pretty busy and I am sorry but kind of running out of time to e-mail. This week we went on 2 exchanges. Which meant that I was exhausted. haha. But also means that we worked really hard and got a lot done.

One of my exchanges was with Sister Schlosser who just finished up serving in Madison. It was so fun to get to catch up on what has been going on there and how the people are doing. Madison just has such a special place in my heart. So it was a huge tender mercy for me to be able to work with her for a day.

One of the biggest highlights of the week would also have to be Sue!!! She has been reading in the Book of Mormon and she came to church yesterday so she is progressing toward baptism! Super exciting! She has had some health problems lately, so we had to move her baptismal date back to August... It was July 25. I really wanted to keep trying for that date for certain reasons. haha. But I know that she needs to progress at her speed and that God has a better plan for her than I do.

Zone Training Meeting this week went very well I thought! That was my last one. It's funny- by the time I finally feel confident and comfortable with giving trainings, I don't have to give them anymore. haha. Heavenly Father sure knows how to help us stretch and grow. And then as soon as we are comfortable, he will throw something else at us to help us stretch and grow and become better. That is why missions are so hard but also so incredible. Your entire mission is just one big stretching and growing experience. You are asked to do a lot of things that are hard, that are uncomfortable, that are weird (or at least appear weird to the rest of the world), and some things that you just plain don't want to do. But you do them anyway so that you can help the work move forward, and most importantly so that you can be obedient to what God has asked you to do.

I love my Heavenly Father so much. I love Him so much that I rejoice in doing the things that He has asked me to do- even the hard things. This week my mission scripture has been popping into my head a lot.

 9 I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy. 

It is funny because I thought that I felt the same way Alma feels before my mission. But I had no idea what I was really in for. However, I can say with perfect confidence now that I DO glory in what the Lord has commanded me. I love being an instrument in his hands- it is the most fulfilling feeling in the entire world. I love preaching of repentance and the Atonement of our Savior to the people here in Wisconsin. This really is my joy. This really is what brings me peace and happiness. I am so grateful for this gospel and the blessing that it is in my life. I love you all so much! Till next week!

 Love, Sister King

Thursday, July 2, 2015

40 days....

Hey Family!

WOW.  Another week come and gone!  We have still been very busy around here which is the biggest blessing.  Here are a couple of highlights from this week:

We have officially started teaching Eva's friend.  She came to our ward activity a few weeks ago and said that she could feel the Spirit as soon as she walked in the door.  (Cool that she could still feel the Spirit there even though she was there for a spaghetti dinner and not church.  haha)  She has loved everything that we have taught her so far and has been sharing what she has been learning in the Book of Mormon with her children.  She does have a couple of Word of Wisdom issues, but there is nothing that the power of the Atonement can't handle!  So we are excited to keep working with her.

Also, this week was kind of our miracle week with less-actives.  We were able to get in with a few families that we haven't been able to get in with for a while and we were able to get in with one family that has never let missionaries in before!  So we are pretty excited about hopefully being able to work with them. 

And I don't know if you remember Sue that I told you about last week?  She is the one that is friends with that less-active family.  And she came to church last week even though they didn't.  Well, this week we were meeting with them again and we had a very powerful lesson from the Book of Mormon.  We told about the story of Abinadi and how he was so bold and courageous in standing up for his testimony of the Savior.  We read a chapter in Mosiah when Abinadi is bearing his testimony of the Savior.  Abinadi is one of my very favorite examples of obedience.  He went back to a city that had already rejected him and testified until his death.  He thought that his efforts had influence no one, when in reality Alma was converted!  Gives you a lot of hope as a missionary.  :)  But some of my favorite verses that we have thanks to Abinadi:

 7 And if Christ had not risen from the dead, or have broken the bands of death that the grave should have no victory, and that death should have no sting, there could have been no resurrection.
 8 But there is a resurrection, therefore the grave hath no victory, and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ.
 9 He is the light and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless, that can never be darkened; 
I have such a strong testimony of my Savior and that He really has won the fight!  He overcame both physical and spiritual death through His resurrection.  And I get to be a representative of him as his missionary.  I know that he really is the light and life of the world! 
Anyways, after that lesson, the grandma turned to us and asked if we could find her a ride to church.  She hadn't been to church in YEARS!  It has been so incredible to me to see how the Book of Mormon can change hearts!

I love being a missionary.  I love testifying of my Savior.  I love the work here!

Sister King

Sister Karlsson and me with the sisters in our zone!

Getting a parking ticket.... haha.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

God hears our prayers no matter what language we are speaking in

Hey Fam!

What an incredible week we were able to have this week!  We saw so many miracles.  While the rest of the mission was being transferred all around the state, Sis. Karlsson and I took this opportunity of having so much extra time to work and try to jump start our area for this transfer.  I am really excited to have a new transfer ahead of us.  We have some great goals and exciting ideas to help us to have a lot of success.  So I am excited to see what happens.  I know that  Heavenly Father will bless us for our hard work.

Contacted into a lady who had met with missionaries multiple times in the past.  She had accumulated this many copies of the Book of Mormon from them.  haha it is super cute to me to see how missionaries are always so excited to share this book.

So a member in our ward served his mission in Sweden the same time that President Cutler was the AP there.  He had pictures of all the people he served with in that mission.  So this is President Cutler as Elder Cutler!  haha kind of fun.

We met a lot of cool new people this week.  We were out tracting one day and knocked on this door and a little boy answered.  He ran without saying anything to get his dad and they both came back.  We tried to start talking to the Father, but soon realized that he couldn't understand what we were saying.  The little boy told us, "My dad is deaf.  But I can sign to him for you if you want."  We were able to teach all about the Restoration of the gospel with the help of a 9 year old boy who knew some broken sign language.  This family was very Christian and already had a church that they attend, but they were very kind to us and accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon.  At the end, the Father said a prayer for us in sign language!  It was really such an incredible experience for me.  On my mission, I have worked closely with people who speak Spanish and Hmong.  And I have gained a testimony that God hears our prayers no matter what language we are speaking in.  And I KNOW that God "heard" his prayer in sign language that day.

We also met this cool new investigator.  We were out and about and had had some of our plans fall through.  We were in the area of a less-active new move-in that the ward wanted us to track down, so we decided to stop by.  We knocked on the door looking for an Ashley, but this guy answered.  It was very dark in the apartment and you could tell that it was a little dark in his eyes as well.  We could tell something was wrong.  We started talking to him a little bit and he told us that he did not believe in God.  He said that there were too many bad things that happened to good people.  He felt that God had given up on him, so he had given up on God.  We were able to testify of the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and of God's love for all of his children.  As we continued to talk with him, you could tell that he was facing some hard times in his life.  He told us, "Don't worry about it.  It is not your burden to carry."  I know that what I told him next came directly from the Spirit.  Immediately the scripture in Matthew 11 popped into my head:

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

We testified of Jesus Christ and how our burdens can be made light through Him.  And then testified how we were set apart representatives of Jesus Christ.  We were there to help him to feel the power of the Atonement in His life.  Tears were falling from his eyes as we told us that he had given up on God, but decided to say one more prayer asking for help.  And that is precisely when he heard a knock on the door and saw us standing there.  We are so excited to continue to meet with him and help him feel the power of the Atonement in his life.  I know that the Atonement of Jesus Christ can heal our hearts.

We also had another miracle when we stopped by the visit a less-active family.  We have been meeting with them weekly now and haven't seen a lot of progress.  But this time when we got there, they had invited a friend  to the lesson and we were able to start teaching her!  (We ended up setting a baptismal date with her and she came to church yesterday!)  While we were talking, another friend/neighbor of theirs  walked up to us and asked us about who we were and what we were teaching.  So we sat there teaching these two new people about the Restoration and we saw a fire start in the eyes of this less-active family.  They started bearing their testimonies of the gospel and were able to testify to their friends about the Restoration.  I have such a testimony that sharing the gospel and doing missionary work is one of the best ways that we can strengthen our own testimonies.  And the coolest thing was, before she got up to leave, the mom of the family leaned over and gave her a temple pass-a-long card.  She looked at it and turned it over the read the back.  The back of those cards have questions on them like "Where will I go after I die?"  After she read the card she looked at us and said, "My husband asked me these exact 3 questions this morning."  So cool, right??  We are so excited to start teaching this lady and her husband!

With Father's day being this week, I have been able to reflect on the blessings in my life of both my earthly Father and my Heavenly Father.  I sure am blessed.

John 3:16
 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

I am so grateful that our Heavenly Father loved us enough to give us His perfect Son.  So that we can all return home to live with him again and to be with our families forever.  I am so grateful for the knowledge of this gospel and how it blesses my life everyday.  There is nothing greater than being a full-time servant of the Lord and getting to share this beautiful and perfect message every single day.  I love it!

Sister King

Monday, June 15, 2015

Staying in Wausau for the last transfer!

Hey Family!

As usual- don't have a ton of time because of transfers going on in our zone this week.  But... it is official- I will be staying in Wausau!  I am so happy!  I feel so blessed.  I love the work that is going on here in Wausau and I love Sister Karlsson.  We are so stoked to get to be able to have another transfer together so that we can get some serious work done. 

This week we were pretty much running around like crazy trying to get everything done that we needed to for the end of the transfer.  We had two exchanges this week and a zone training meeting.  so that kept us plenty busy.

this week I got to go on exchanges with Sister Huffman in Wisconsin Rapids.  It was her very first exchange!  I don't know if you remember my very first exchange, but I was beyond nervous for it!  I was so happy that I could do my best to make it a good experience for her.  You could tell that she was nervous, but I think that we ended up having a good time and seeing a lot of miracles.  It was also kind of cool for me to see just how far I have come.  I remember when I was in Sister Huffman's shoes.  I had only been out a few weeks and still had absolutely no idea what I was doing and had absolutely no idea what to say and teach or where to go.  And I guess to some extent I still don't really know what I am doing... haha.  But I LOVE being able to go out and do this work now.  Instead of being scared to talk to people, I get so excited to be able to tell them all about this wonderful message that we have to share!  Instead of being unsure what to say, I rely on the Spirit to help me and I know that Heavenly Father will bless me to be able to know how to help people.  Instead of being afraid when people reject us or slam the door in our face, I know that we are just one door closer to finding the one who will let us in.  I love this work and I love working with people who love this work.  So that exchange was pretty fun for me!

This week we also had a lot of success getting in with less active members that missionaries have had a hard time getting ahold of in the past.  So that was a pretty big miracle.

Well I am just about out of time..... Sorry!  I will make it a point to write a better e-mail next week.  But know that I love you guys!  I am so excited to start this last transfer.  I know that miracles are going to happen as I work hard and sprint to the finish.  I have been learning a lot about the principle of enduring to the end.  I know that there is still so much that I can do and I am excited to see what this transfer has in store!  LOVE YOU!!!!!

Sister King
My place setting when we went to dinner at the Lefferts :)

World's greatest package from the world's greatest family!

This is how we teach the Plan of Salvation

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

It is never too late!

Hey Family!
We had a very busy and kind of a hard week this week.  We have been working really hard.
One of the highlights of the week was Mission Leadership Council.  I got to see Sister Kelley there!  I sure miss her a lot.  It was fun to get to catch up on what had been going on in Madison and also what had been going on in her life.  MLC this month was all about FAITH.  Sister Cutler talked to us about how there are two different kinds of faith.  The bible dictionary tells us that faith is a principle of action and of power.  Action and Power.  Faith isn't really faith unless we do something about it.  But if we are acting on the faith that we have, the power will come.  It is inevitable!  Sis. Karlsson and I have a lot of work to do today to prepare for zone training meeting tomorrow and to teach the missionaries about faith.

LOOK WHO I GOT TO HANG OUT WITH AT MLC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You know, when you are serving as a missionary your purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith, repentance, baptism, and receiving the gift of the holy ghost.  Most missionaries focus on how our purpose is to baptize.  And yes that is very true.  But that is not all!  There is so much more to it than just baptism.  And the thing is, MOST of the people we meet do not get baptized.  It is really easy to get discouraged sometimes because of that.  But put very simply, our purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ.

Exchanges with Sister Quist.  She is such a cutie :)

We had an experience with that yesterday.  We were meeting with a woman named Jennifer that we had tracted in to.  The first time we knocked on her door she told us to come back later because she didn't have time to talk then.  We have gone back at least once or twice a week for the past 6 weeks only to receive the same answer- don't have time now, come back later.  That can get kind of discouraging as a missionary because sometimes you feel like you are running in circles.  But we were persistent and went to see her again yesterday.  When she answered this time, she came out holding her Book of Mormon.  She was actually ready to learn!  It was probably just because she felt so bad that she kept telling us to come back later... haha.  But we were able to teach her about the Restoration of the gospel and Joseph Smith.  We told her how the same church that Jesus Christ established when he was on the earth has been restored again for us today and that we have a living prophet who leads us.  Jennifer then told us of some hard things that have happened in her life that have made her feel unworthy.  I will never forget when she looked up and me and asked, "Is it too late for me?"  I was able to tell her with full confidence in my Savior, "It is never too late!"  Jennifer was moved to tears.  As we sat there on her porch teaching her about the Atonement, I kind of started to think.  I don't know if Jennifer really is ever going to get baptized (remember, most people that we meet don't), but I know that we made a difference to her that day.  As a representative of Jesus Christ, I was able to tell her that it is not too late!  And that is what I have been able to do my entire mission.

This was my district from this transfer!  This was an awesome district.  We are the "oldest" district in the whole mission- everyone goes home within the next 3 transfers!  I learned a LOT from these experienced missionaries.
Every single day, I have been able to bear my testimony of Jesus Christ and tell someone that "it is never too late" or "there is a God who loves you" or "because Jesus Christ felt your sorrows, you don't have to do it alone."  What an incredible blessing that is.  Even if there is not a lot to "show for it", I have been able to invite others to come unto Christ! I know that I have been able to make a difference in the lives of God's children, whether it be big or small.  And the amazing thing is that in the process, I have been able to come unto Christ myself.  I am so grateful that I get to be his missionary and that I get to be an instrument in His hands.  I love my mission.  I love everyday that I am here.  I know that this really is Christ's church and it is our responsibility to help others to know about it.  What a blessings.  I love this Gospel.
And I love you all too!!
Sister King