Monday, January 26, 2015

BAPTISM!

Ok everyone-  Apologies in advance because I am pretty sure this e-mail is going to be kind of short and maybe a little lame.  It just hasn't been very long since I e-mailed last so not a lot to report on.  Except for.... ISHMAEL'S BAPTISM!!  It went so well this week! 

All of the missionaries in our ward with Ishmael.




In fact the couple of days that I have to write you about this week are pretty much all about Ishmael.  On Wednesday, the Spanish members of the ward get together to play soccer so we invited Ishmael to that and got to play with him and have a lesson about missionary work.  That was super fun because I got to destroy everyone at soccer, and also Ishmael made a lot of new friends in the ward.  :) 

Thursday we spent the whole day visiting people in the ward.  We visited the lady that teaches us how to knit.  (My scarf is coming along reallllll nice by the way)  And we shared with her Mosiah 18:21:
 And he commanded them that there should be no contention one with another, but that they should look forward with one eye, having one faith and one baptism, having their hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another.

So we talked about having our hearts "knit together in unity and in love" which I thought was pretty clever.  :)
 
We also got to see Rachel!  She is doing well.  I can't remember if I told you this or not but she just got a calling to teach Sunday School!  She teaches the 14-17 year olds.  So that is pretty cool.  She taught her first lesson this passed Sunday and that went well.  So it was fun to talk with her about that.

Friday we got to meet with Ishmael again!  We talked about enduring to the end.  Baptism is just the first step on the covenant path back to our Heavenly Father.  It is cool because teaching people about covenants and enduring to the end on my mission has given me such a greater appreciation for the covenants that I have made.  All of us are working on the "enduring to the end" part of the plan right now, and it is our covenants that help us with that.  Ishmael understands that this is just his first covenant that he needs to make.

And then.... Saturday was his baptism!!!  Ishmael was so incredibly prepared.  This was definitely the least stressful baptism that I have ever been a part of on my mission.  It was just so peaceful and nice.  It was great!  There was a great turn out from the ward.  The actual ordinance went very well!  One of the things that really drew Ishmael to the gospel was the opportunity to be born again and have all of his sins washed clean.  So it was great to be able to witness that.  He bore his testimony afterward about how much he just wanted to follow God's commandments and how following the commandments so far in his life has brought him so much happiness.  So now Ishmael is the newest member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! 

Frozen Lake Monona.  Check out all the ice fishers!

My BFF

I feel so incredibly blessed and grateful that I have been able to be a part of so many miracles on my mission.  Everyday I see the Lord's hand not only in this work, but also in my life.  I am grateful that the Lord placed Ishmael in our path on the bus that day.  I know that there are people out there that are prepared to hear this gospel, and as a missionary I get to be one of the people that help them to receive this good news.  It really is amazing and there is just nothing like it.  I am so grateful that I am here.

I love you all so much!  Sorry again for the shortness and lameness of this letter.  But know that I love you guys and am doing well!  Also- the Church is true!  So very true.

Love,
Sister King

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Last week freezing, This week SO NICE!

Hello everyone!

So weird to be writing you guys on a Tuesday.  I am so sorry if this e-mail is kind of all over the place because we don't have a lot of time to write.  Because today is a normal day and not a p-day we have a couple of appointments tonight that we need to get to.  But I will do my best to give you a run down of what has been going on over here in Madison.
My home girl Sister Kelley.  I love her to death!

For starters- the weather has been SO NICE.  Ok granted, it is still below freezing.  But at this time last year I was coming home at the end of the night and doing our nightly planning session with our feet in the tub full of warm water so our toes could thaw out.  Last week was pretty brutal, but it has been so tame ever since.  Knock on wood, but I think I may have lucked out with one of the nicest winters Wisconsin has seen in a while.  We will see how it goes.

I might just have to hit some of the bigger highlights from the week since I am running out of time.
Blurry, but this is us on the bus yesterday.  The semester here at the University started up today so all of the students were getting back.  There was close to 100 people crammed on the bus.

Sister Kelley and I found this HUGE coat in our church building that we both fit inside of.


So the biggest and most important news from this week would be Ishmael!  His baptism is still set for this coming Saturday!  He is so beyond prepared.  We were able to meet with him a few times this week and they were all great lessons.  First, we got to meet with him and we brought Kendall to the lesson.  She is the one that just got baptized in December.  You guys, I think that this lesson with Ishmael and Kendall is probably one of the biggest highlights of my whole entire mission.  We taught Ishmael the principle of tithing.  We taught it using skittles and taught the analogy of "pouring out the windows of heaven."  Gave him 10 green skittle and after he gave us one back we poured the entire bag of skittle into his hand and he couldn't even hold all of them. haha so that was fun.  But the reason that I like that so much is because the "blessings" that he received for "paying his tithing" weren't all green.  Some of them were, but most of them were other colors.  That is what it is like when we receive blessings.  Sometimes it could be financially or temporally, but I feel like more often than not the blessings that we receive for paying our tithing are spiritual.  Tithing is a principle of faith, not money.  
So as we were teaching Ishmael, we asked Kendall to bear her testimony about the things that we had been talking about.  Kendall also comes from a Catholic background and because she so recently was making these same decisions as Ishmael, she was able to really connect.  She started bearing her testimony of not just the principle of tithing, but also of her conversion to the gospel in general.  As I sat there listening to Kendall bear such powerful testimony, the Spirit just absolutely filled the room.  I sat there and looked around and realized that there I sat with Ishmael who has so much faith and is so excited to follow the Savior and be baptized, and here is Kendall who was just learning these same things not so long ago but now has a testimony of these principles because she has already seen the blessings that come from living them.  
It was amazing to see the change because it seems like just yesterday that Kendall was in Ishmael's shoes.  It was cool because I could see that the things that we were able to teach Kendall are now a part of her and she was sharing those same things with Ishmael.   One of the most (if not THE most) powerful lessons on my whole entire mission.  
I am so grateful for how  I was able to see the Lord's hand not just in my life, but in both of these other children of his in that moment.  I will never forget that.  Also, I just thought I would let you know how much I love Kendall she is such a great person and a great example for me.  I am so grateful that I came on a mission just because I got to meet her and that reason alone.  I have learned so much from the people that I have met here and I will be forever grateful for that.
Ishmael had his baptismal interview this morning and he passed with flying colors! He was interviewed by the one and only Elder Harmon from Timpview!  So that is nice to have under our belts and we can spend the rest of the week helping him to prepare to make this important covenant.
The other cool thing was that he had his interview this morning right before district meeting so when he saw that all of the missionaries were going to stay there to learn, he asked if he could stay as well.  So he ended up staying for our whole district meeting today!  haha.  Today district meeting was about how to have a more effective study.  And then we role played and practiced teaching.  So Ishmael wanted to practice too!  He shared with us his favorite story from the Book of Mormon.  Turns out, he had listened to the entire Book of Mormon in just a few days!  So he taught us about Captain Moroni and shared with us Alma 48:17.  He taught us about what we can do to be more like Moroni and what we can learn from his example.  It was so cool to be taught by one of my investigators!  Another highlight of my whole mission.  Ishmael is seriously so great and so ready for baptism this week!  I can't wait for Saturday!  Please keep Ishmael in your prayers this week! 

The other big thing that happened this week would be Debra and Jada's baptism.  They were the Elder's investigators, but we ended up helping a lot with their baptism and even taught some of their lessons.  So it was cool to get to be a part of that.  Debra is a single mom and Jada is just 12 years old.  They met the Elders when they were trying to contact a referral one day and invited them to church and they showed up!  There were definitely a lot of bumps in the road with their journey, but so many miracles happened to make their special day possible!  We fasted as a district the day before to ask that everything would work out.  Things didn't work out the way that we thought they would, but they did work out nonetheless!  So grateful that I got to be a part of their special day!

Debra and Jada's baptism

And yes, that is Elder Harmon.  Timpview with the win!

Also- I hit my one year mark this week!  CRAZY!  We didn't get to really do too much to celebrate or anything this week because we have been so busy.  But that is ok, I would MUCH rather be busy.  But I am so beyond grateful for this past year of my life.  I have learned and grown so much.  I can remember the day that I left for the MTC like it was yesterday.  I had no idea what was really in store for me.  I am so grateful that I still have time left to use the things that I have learned and to continue to become better.  This one year mark is also significant for you guys too because it marks one year that you have been the best missionary family in the whole wide world!  I am so grateful for you and all that you do to support me out here.  Sure do love you guys.  Can't wait to hear from you again soon.

Love,
Sister King

Monday, January 12, 2015

-36 degrees!

I hope that you all had a great week this week!  It was so good to hear from all of you.

Things have been going pretty well back here in Madison.  It was CRAZY cold this week though.  At one point it got down to -36 degrees.  So that is a little frigid.  But we are making it work. :)
 
So this picture sums up what the weather was like this week!

 

Tuesday was a great day.  We had another zone training meeting.  We talked a lot about what we have learned about The Atonement this past year.  That was interesting to reflect on. I truly have learned a lot.  I think that is probably the thing that I have learned to most about on my mission- The Atonement of Jesus Christ.  The Gospel is centered on this!  It is so important.  The way that I have learned so much about it is from reading the Book of Mormon.  That Book tells us so much about Christ.  So that was cool to get to talk with the missionaries in our zone about. 
We were also able to meet with Ishmael!  We talked to him about the gospel of Jesus Christ.  He loved it!  He is excited to be baptized!  We had to move his date back one week to January 24th just to make sure that he is ready and prepared for baptism.  But January 24 is looking pretty solid!  So we are way excited about that!
 
We also got to meet with Rachel and talk about the Plan of Salvation.  She is doing so well.  She actually got a calling this past Sunday!!  She is going to be teaching the 14-17 year old Sunday School class!  She will be SO GOOD for that.  She is really excited and I am way excited for her too. 

Wednesday we had a lesson with a new investigator.  She is the one that read the Book of Mormon in 3 days.  We taught her the Restoration and she loved it!  She said that it makes sense for the priesthood authority to be restored back to the earth.  She is still reading from the Book of Mormon, but is hesitant the come to church.  So hopefully when we see her this week we will be able to help her to make that next big step.

Thursday was kind of slow.  Just saw a couple of less active members and volunteered at the American Red Cross for a blood drive.  Pretty much we were just trying to do our best to be doing good and productive things inside and out of the cold.  So it was a littler slower.  But we were able to talk to some people on the bus.  Nothing super crazy or special to make note of though.

Friday was pretty cool.  We had to opportunity to teach one of the Elders' investigators!  Her name is Debra and she has a 12 year old daughter named Jayda.  They met them a few weeks ago and Debra was looking for a place that she could take her children to help their family to come closer to Christ, and then she met the Elders.  She was so excited and wants to get baptized this coming Saturday!  But the Elders were having a hard time being able to teach her everything before then, so we got to go over to teach them a lesson.  We talked about tithing and fasting and they absolutely loved it!  It has always been amazing for me to see people that are so excited to start contributing to the building up of the kingdom of God.  And it was so cool, we were talking about how we fast once a month on the first Sunday of every month.  And Jayda chimes in and says, "can we fast at other times if we want help with something too?"  It was just the sweetest.  So cool to see how the gospel has already started to change this family.

Saturday I got to go on exchanges in the Madison 2 ward area with Sis. Ostler.  She is from Ephraim, Utah and is absolutely amazing.  Such a great example for me!  We got to meet with a couple of recent converts in their ward and also a few less-active families.  We went to go stop by a potential investigator that they had, but she wasn't home.  So we started talking to her roommate.  We told her that we were teaching her roommate how she could come closer to Jesus Christ.  That sparked her interest and she was curious as to how.  So we were able to give her a Book of Mormon.  She said that she would read it and is a new investigator for those sisters now!  So that was a pretty cool miracle.  At the end of the exchange though, I was so happy to be back in the Madison 1 ward with Sister Kelley.
 
Sister Kelley and me in the Capitol building

On exchanges with Sister Ostler.  She is so great!

We made Snoopy waffles :)


Got to see Sister Christiansen for the first time in a year!  We came out together but have always served in different zones.
 

Things are going pretty well out here!  We are doing our best to stay busy and out of the cold.  The Lord is blessing us so much!  Please keep us in your prayers! 

Love you!!!

Sister King

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Happy New Year!


Hope that you all had a wonderful New Year!  Can you believe it is 2015?  Yeah, me neither.  I am excited for the New Year.  I was looking back on 2014 and just thinking what an amazing year it has been.  With the exception of about 15 days, I spent the entire year of 2014 as a missionary and full-time servant of the Lord.  What an amazing blessing that is.  I am so excited to see what 2015 has in store.
Turning the clock ahead so we can celebrate the New Year before we go to bed!
Celebrating the New Year with Mexican Soda!

It has been pretty bitterly cold these past couple of days and is supposed to be getting worse throughout the week.  Or so we have been told by the members here.  When we left our apartment this morning it was -26 with wind chill.  So that is a little frigid.  But we are making it work. 

As for the week...
Tuesday was pretty fun!  We went out to lunch with the district to say goodbye because half of them were getting transferred.  And then Sister Kelley and I headed out to contact a referral from Sis. Durtschi (Sis. Merrill's sister-in-law).  She had given her a Book of Mormon so we headed over to follow up with it and see what she thought of it so far.  When we got there, she let us right in!  We had met her a couple of times before at Sister Durtschi's house.  We went in and started talking to her and got to know her a little bit better.  When we brought up the Book of Mormon, she told us that she had read the whole thing-cover to cover- in only a matter of about 3 days!  And then get this- she said, "It has got to be true!  It is all about faith!"  haha we were blown away.  Then she told us pretty much the entire story line of the Book of Mormon and how she learned more about faith by reading that book than she ever had before.  We then had this really cool discussion about faith and why it is important and asked if we could share a scripture from the Book of Mormon that talked about it.  We shared Ether 12:4 which says:

Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.

She loved that scripture so much that she ran to grab her Book of Mormon so that she could mark it in hers.  She opened up her Book of Mormon to the chapter that she had marked and it was Ether 12!  She took that as some sort of sign.  So we asked her if she wanted to learn more about the Book of Mormon and where it came from and why it is important, and she said yes!  It was seriously one of the coolest experiences on my whole mission.

Wednesday was pretty cool because we were already planning on having dinner at the Durtschi's with all of the other missionaries in the ward, so Sister Durtschi invited her over to have dinner with all of us too.  We had such a good time and an absolutely delicious dinner.  We stayed after to talk with her and Sis. Durtschi.  We read Moroni's promise in the end of the Book of Mormon and challenged her to pray about it to receive an answer that it is true.  She said that she would! So we are super excited about Sis. Durtschi's friend!  More to come on her next week.

For New Year's eve that night we were given strict instructions to go to bed on time, plus we were completely exhausted anyway.  So Sister Kelley and I just moved our clocks back to 11:59 and ended up celebrating the New Year at about 10:17 or so.  Haha we drank some Mexican sodas and then went to bed.

Thursday was another really cool day.  We had a lesson with another investigator in this really cool member family's home and taught him the Word of Wisdom. ( hahahaha to teaching the word of wisdom on New Year's!)  BUT- he committed to live it!  So he is moving steadily toward his baptismal day.
We also had a lesson scheduled with a new member.  We had been asking her for a referral for a while now and she surprised us and brought her friend  to the lesson! Her friend  told us that she could tell that the new member was different and happier and wanted to know why and how that was.  So we told her about the Book of Mormon and gave her a copy and are going to start teaching her this week!  We are super stoked!  She  has had a reallllllllly hard life.  The new member has gone through a lot too so she bore her testimony to her about how learning about Christ and his Atonement has helped her to move past those hard things.  It was a very powerful lesson and the friend began to cry a little bit when we told her about how Christ suffered all things so He knows how she feels and wants to help her through.  Also- the new member is doing absolutely amazing as well. 

Friday was pretty slow.  We just did some service and some planning and a little bit of contacting.  Nothing too crazy.

Saturday we made lunch for our recent convert Janet.  Isn't she just the cutest?  She is doing well but getting a little old.  I think she really appreciated our visit.

Also- haven't been able to get ahold of Sally and she wasn't at church.  Hopefully we will be able to see her sometime this week.

Overall- we had a great first week of 2015!  We for sure met a lot more drunk people on the bus than usual.  But that's ok.  It makes for good stories to tell you when I get home. 

I had been thinking a lot about the New Year and read Elder Holland talk called "Remember Lot's Wife."  If you haven't read it, it is definitely worth a read.  Especially at the beginning of the new year.  Basically he talks about the council that Christ gives us in Luke 17:32:
 32 Remember Lot’s wife.

That is kind of some interesting little advice.  If you remember, Lot's wife is the one that was commanded to leave Sodom and Gomorrah and not look back.  But, Lot's wife looked back and became a pillar of salt.  Elder Holland goes into a lot more detail about why this is so important, but this is one of my favorite quotes from the talk.


"So, as a new year starts and we try to benefit from a proper view of what has gone before, I plead with you not to dwell on days now gone, nor to yearn vainly for yesterdays, however good those yesterdays may have been. The past is to be learned from but not lived in. We look back to claim the embers from glowing experiences but not the ashes. And when we have learned what we need to learn and have brought with us the best that we have experienced, then we look ahead, we remember that faith is always pointed toward the future. Faith always has to do with blessings and truths and events that will yet be efficacious in our lives. So a more theological way to talk about Lot’s wife is to say that she did not have faith. She doubted the Lord’s ability to give her something better than she already had. Apparently she thought—fatally, as it turned out—that nothing that lay ahead could possibly be as good as those moments she was leaving behind."

I hope that you all have had an AMAZING 2015 so far.  You are constantly in my thoughts and prayers and I love you very much.  Until next week! 

Love,
Sister King

PS- I will see you this year!  :)