Friday, April 24, 2015

Shout out to Ryan!

Hey Family!

First of all I would like to give a shout out to Ryan!  He is now a return missionary!  How cool.  Can't believe it has already been 2 years since he left.  Hope that I can be the kind of missionary that he was!

The weather has finally been getting nicer here, almost into the 70's!  But then we woke up this morning and it was snowing.  So we will have to see what the weather has in store for us this week.

We were pretty busy this week!
We visiting with a lot of less actives in the ward this week that we hadn't been able to get in with before, so that was pretty awesome.  The Wausau ward is pretty big and retention is definitely an area that can be improved so Sister Weaver and I are working hard to help with that.
On exchanges with Sister Peel, the Nou Vang's had us over for dinner.  They are one of the Hmong families in our ward.  Last time I told them that I love somtum, so they made me a plate!  Thought you might like that Mom.  Both of us ate authentic somtum on our missions!  Good stuff!  :)

Exchanges with Sisters Payne and Cook.  (Check out my hair cut!  I got 4 inches off.)

Got to go on exchanges with Sister Cook.  She is from McGrath, Alberta, Canada.  That is one of the places that we went when I went up there for my soccer tournament so it was fun to reminisce about fun times and fun places up in Canada.  We saw a lot of miracles.  We were out tracting and met this guy  from Brazil.   He already had a copy of the Book of Mormon! I think he may have met with missionaries many years ago. We told him that the Book of Mormon was a record of people on the American continent, somewhere in central or south America. That really caught his attention! He said that he would read and that we could come back and teach him more. It is so cool to me how the Lord prepares me.  Maybe he wasn't completely ready to accept the gospel when he received the Book of Mormon before, and the Lord led us to find him now that he is ready!  So hope that all goes well.

Also got to go on exchanges with Sister Peel.  She is from Mt. Pleasant, Utah which is where Jessie Jorgensen's farm is so it was fun to reminisce about that as well.  She thought it was cool that someone actually knew where it was because it is a pretty small town.  She finishes her mission in about 2 weeks so it was fun to be able to learn from her.  We met with some less actives and then tried to find some new investigators.  We got a referral from one of our investigators to visit her sister.  She told us the street that her house was on and that is was the 2nd house on the left and it was blue.  When we went to try to find the house, the 2nd house on the left was white and the one next to it was blue.  So we didn't really know which one to try.  We decided to try the blue house first.  We knocked on the door and this guy answers.  I asked if Patty was there and he said no.  I said, "Oh no, we must have the wrong house then.  Sorry!  But what is your name?"  And he said, "It's- get off my porch!  Do you need a spelling for that?!"  hahahahahahahahaha man I have been rejected my fair share of times but that has got to be one of the most interesting. 

I also got to speak in sacrament meeting yesterday.  Perks of being a missionary- they ask you to speak just a couple of days before the meeting!  Yay!  But I was actually very grateful for the opportunity to speak because the topic that they gave me to speak on was my very favorite- The Atonement!  Man, I could just go on talking about that and how much I love it forever!  I have been studying a talk that Elder Holland gave a while back called "Missionary Work and the Atonement."  Man, is it a good one.  This is one of my favorite quotes:

"Anyone who does any kind of missionary work will have occasion to ask, Why is this so hard? Why doesn’t it go better? Why can’t our success be more rapid? Why aren’t there more people joining the Church? It is the truth. We believe in angels. We trust in miracles. Why don’t people just flock to the font? Why isn’t the only risk in missionary work that of pneumonia from being soaking wet all day and all night in the baptismal font?
You will have occasion to ask those questions. I have thought about this a great deal. I offer this as my personal feeling. I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience.‍ Salvation never‍ was easy. We are The Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and He is our Great Eternal Head. How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? It seems to me that missionaries and mission leaders have to spend at least a few moments in Gethsemane. Missionaries and mission leaders have to take at least a step or two toward the summit of Calvary.
Now, please don’t misunderstand. I’m not talking about anything anywhere near what Christ experienced. That would be presumptuous and sacrilegious. But I believe that missionaries and‍ investigators, to come to the truth, to come to salvation, to know something of this price that has been paid, will have to pay a token of that same price.
For that reason I don’t believe missionary work has ever been easy, nor that conversion is, nor that retention is, nor that continued faithfulness is. I believe it is supposed to require some effort, something from the depths of our soul.
If He could come forward in the night, kneel down, fall on His face, bleed from every pore, and cry, “Abba, Father (Papa), if this cup can pass, let it pass,” 16 ‍ then little wonder that salvation is not a whimsical or easy thing for us. If you wonder if there isn’t an easier way, you should remember you are not the first one to ask that. Someone a lot greater and a lot grander asked a long time ago if there wasn’t an easier way.
The Atonement will carry the missionaries perhaps even more importantly than it will carry the investigators. When you struggle, when you are rejected, when you are spit upon and cast out and made a hiss and a byword, you are standing with the best life this world has ever known, the only pure and perfect life ever lived. You have reason to stand tall and be grateful that the Living Son of the Living God knows all about your sorrows and afflictions. The only way to salvation is through Gethsemane and on to Calvary. The only way to eternity is through Him—the Way, the Truth, and the Life."

I don't think we will ever come to understand the Atonement perfectly.  However, I have come to understand it on my mission better than I ever have before and in ways that I never could have experienced if I wasn't here.  
As a missionary, I understand to a certain extent a small degree of some of the things that the Savior felt.  He was rejected, mocked, spit upon, judged unfairly, ignored, and persecuted.  He worked diligently all the days of his ministry and still there were many, many people that did not want to listen to the amazing and beautiful gospel message that He had to share.  I have felt some of those same feelings on my mission.  But because of the Savior and His Atonement, I don't have to endure it alone.  I can find strength, peace, and joy throughout anything that may come my way.  And I am so grateful because I appreciate and understand that part of the Atonement in a very personal way now.  I love my Savior.  I am so grateful for the example that he set for us to follow and that He has offered divine help along the way.  I know that He loves us.  That is why He endured everything that He did!  He loves us, and He loves God.  That is his motivation for perfect obedience.  I love this gospel and I love the ability that I have to tell people about Christ's Atonement every single day, whether they choose to listen or not!

I love you all!

Sister King

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Spirit Tracting

Hey Fam!

Man!  What a week. As usual I am short on time so I will just tell you about a few of the highlights of the week

Our Zone Training Meeting went really well!  Giving trainings is still really scary and stressful to me, but I feel like I have gotten better than when I was first thrown into it.  So that is a blessing.  
Something interesting that President Cutler taught us that we got to teach the other missionaries in our zone is that there are 3 different kinds of obedience. First, you can obey out of fear.  You obey because you are scared of the consequences that will come if you are not obedient to what God wants you to do.  For example with tithing- D&C 64:23 tells us that if we don't pay our tithing is like fire insurance.  So some people are obedient because they are afraid of being burned.  
Second, you can obey out of want of blessings.  There are lots of promised blessings attached to the commandments that God gives us!  This is especially important as a missionary because we need the blessings of the Lord that come from obedience if we are to get along.  Or if we continue with the tithing example, Malachi 3:10 tells us that if we pay our tithing then the windows of heaven will open and pour out blessings that we won't even have room enough to receive them.  So some people obey the commandments because they desire blessings.  
Or the last reason for motivation behind obedience is love.  We simply love the Lord.  Do we really love the Lord?  when I wake up in the morning on time right at 6:30 and throw myself onto the floor to pray, am I doing it because I am afraid of what will happen if I don't?  Am I doing it because I want the blessings that will come?  Or am I doing it because I love the Lord so much and am excited that I have another day ahead of me to devote to serving Him.  Why are you being obedient to the commandments?  It is an interesting thing to think about.

John 14:15
If ye love‍ me, keep‍ my commandments.

Also- you should watch/listen to this talk!  Elder Holland can say it better than I can!

We got to go on exchanges this week.  I went to Stevens Point to be with Sister Clawson for the day.  She is finishing up her mission here in a couple of weeks so it was cool to get to learn from her.  We have served around and near each other in the same zones almost our whole missions so it was fun to get to spend the day together working.

We had a cool experience this week.  It was about 8:30 at night and our last appointment had fallen through.  Pretty much the whole state of Wisconsin goes to bed at like 7:00pm so knocking doors didn't seem like the best use of the half hour that we had left of the night.  So we decided to go on what I like the call a "Faith Walk."  We said a prayer and asked Heavenly Father to place someone in our path that needed to meet us that day so that we could make the best use of our time.  We started walking and knocking on a few doors that had lights on, when we passed by this woman named  sitting outside of her apartment.  We approached her and started talking to her and she completely broke down and told us of the struggles she had been having with her son.  We answered SO MANY of her questions with the Book of Mormon.  It was incredible!  She told us that the Jehovah's Witnesses had knocked on her door a couple of days ago and that she was thinking of meeting with them, but now she wants to meet with us instead!  It was seriously a miracle!  I KNOW that Heavenly Father needed us to meet her that night.  We will be teaching her again later this week!

Also this week we were working at the food pantry that we volunteer at every week and ended up meeting an undercover less active that volunteers there!  He is currently in jail so we aren't allowed to visit him... haha.  But we did give him a Book of Mormon that he can read while he is there!  Apparently he joined the church when he was 12 with his older sister without their parents back in California and had been ordained a Priest.  But he had gotten into a little bit of trouble... and now he wants to turn his life around again!  So that was pretty cool.

We also were out contacting a couple of people in these indoor apartment complexes and with the way that the doors were set up and with the amount of time that we had left we weren't going to be able to knock on every single door.  So we decided to do what I like the call "Spirit tracting."  Pray to figure out which of the doors we needed to knock on!  We ended up meeting the 15 year old boy.  He is Hmong though so we referred him to the Hmong Elders in our ward.  They taught him twice this week and just yesterday they set a baptismal date with him!  YAY SPIRIT TRACTING!

Ok we also met another cool lady this week.  She was a headquarter referral that requested a Bible and a Book of Mormon so we thought that was pretty interesting.  When we went by to give her the books we started talking to her.  And apparently she had been meeting with Elders 6 years ago until one day she came home to find her house burned down!  Her Bible and Book of Mormon were completely destroyed.  Because of all the chaos between trying to find a new place and dealing with insurance and trying to salvage anything that was left from the fire, she fell out of contact with the missionaries.  But now she feels that it is time for her to start meeting with the missionaries again!  So she is going to start reading the BofM again and we are going to start meeting with her this week!

See- so many miracles are happening!  So I didn't even miss you guys in Cancun.  :)

But really though, I LOVE this work.  There is no place I would rather be.  The hand of the Lord has never been so prevalent in my life than it is now.  I see it everyday and I am so grateful for that.  This truly is the Lord's work and "no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing!"   "Persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go for boldy, nobly, and independent until it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear."  I know that this gospel is true and that it is real.  It changes lives!

Sister King

Sorry!  Only one picture this week and it is from my exchange with Sister Clawson

Sunday, April 12, 2015

2nd Mission Leadership Council

Hey Fam!

Happy Easter everybody!
Easter package from the world's best family

I know that I always say that I don't have much time, but this time I really don't.  Haha we have a meeting that we have to go to and we have to prepare our training for Zone Training Meeting tomorrow. 

But for an update of the week- we were pretty much just doing a lot of tracting and contacting again all week trying to push the churches "Because He Lives" campaign. 

We also had a lot of meetings this week.  I got to go to my second Mission Leadership Council and it was not as scary or intimidating this time, so that was good.  It was fun because our zone had that miracle week where we doubled our number of baptismal dates so we were the topic of much of the meeting.  We were also trained on the things that we need to train the rest of the missionaries on this week.  This month we are talking a lot about sacrifice and consecration, so that should be interesting!  Also, the Cutler's daughter Hannah got back from her mission to El Salvador the day before MLC so we got to meet her there!  That was pretty fun and a super special weekend for the Cutler's.

Group of the some of the sisters that I came out with at MLC

Courtney's second Mission Leadership Council - I got these from the Wisconsin mission blog that Sister Cutler updates.

Sister Cutler's picture of the STL's from the Wausau area: Sister Weaver and Sister King

A couple of quick thoughts from conference before I have to jet out of here-

The 2 talks that stood out to me the most were Elder Clayton and Elder Pearson.  Man, sometimes these seventies that you don't really know just pop out of no where and tell you exactly what you need to hear!  I loved that Elder Clayton talked about how faith and belief is a choice.  That is something that I have really come to learn and understand on my mission, both in my life and seeing it in the people that we get to work with.  He said something about how faith doesn't just happen to us.  We have to go out and do something about it!  And when our prayers are answered, we need to choose that that was an answer to a prayer.  I don't know if that really makes sense.  Just something that I have been thinking about.

Man I really wish that I had more time to talk to you about our week and how special this conference/Easter weekend was.  :(
They named a street after Ashley out here!

Some Easter traditions never die :)

But just know that I have a testimony of our Savior.  He really did suffer for our sins, pains, afflictions, sicknesses, sorrows, and anything else that we have to deal with in mortality.  And most importantly, he really did rise again!  Christ's Atonement is central to God's entire plan for us and I am grateful for that perspective that I have gained.  It affects all of the decisions that I make everyday not only as a missionary, but also as a daughter of God.  I love this gospel so much and am so excited to be able to go out and continue to share it this week.

Sure do love you!

Sister King