Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Oh, how glorious from the throne above shines the gospel light of truth and love!

Querida Familia,

It's been a wet and wild week. So let's start at the top.

Tuesday, I went to the Valley to pick up my new companion. Sister Haynes! There couldn't possibly be a cuter missionary out there. She is a gem. She adores me and follows every step I take and she is obedient and sweet and kind and I LOVE HER SO MUCH. She is 19 too and she always wanted to serve a mission and so this was her time. She loves horses and bought little girl horse sheets for her mission bedding. She is super funny and always joking and already we are having lots of fun. I had told the Lord that I was at my limits this transfer. That staying and training and doing 127389712 exchanges and being sister training leader were enough for me. And so I just knew He'd send me a good little sister. And He did. He really loves me. I was still having a hard time on Tuesday but I got your letter,mom. It was just what I needed to read: The Lord will choose with your Heart in mind. On the outside of the letter the assistants wrote me a note too: "You can do it! Keep up the Great work and smile!" It was just a tender mercy that the Lord knows me and loves me. I feel loved on this side of the mission and everyone assures me it's where I belong. And I think I know that too.

It's been sunny and beautiful lately, but then on Wednesday is started pouring and it hasn't stopped raining. President McCombie says it's a sign that the Lord is pouring down His blessings. The Elders called to tell me I'm officially the Spanish sister in Cheney and all Spanish speakers here are mine. So far, I'm teaching a family of 4 that the missionaries have been teaching for a year. The dad, Carlos was going to get baptized a few weeks ago but he did not. I'm incredibly surprised but my Spanish is still intact! And I'm praying for a miracle 'cause i'm just little Hermana Judd. Good Elders have taught this family and so I know that they have felt the spirit and are ready but I don't know what to do to give them the push. Sister Haynes doesn't speak Spanish but we've been practicing everyday. She is almost ready to bear her testimony. President Mullen told me he feels really impressed that she do that and I feel that too. I think her sweet and humble testimony would touch and soften their hearts. Pray that we find more Hispanics to teach! 

Thursday I had training in the Valley again for all the Sister Training Leaders. It was a blast. It was just a small intimate group of 6 Elders and 9 Sisters and so we got to spend the day learning from President and Sister Mullen and the assistants. We talked about all the logistics of sisters and elders working together and it was a really inspiring, uplifting meeting. Then we met with Leslie. I met Leslie my first week in Cheney. We had asked everyone for people they knew we should visit and President McCombie told us to try Neal because he was 
always bringing a "friend" to church or activities. So we set it up and we've been teaching Leslie since. She is a really wonderful girl. She just finished her masters and thesis and she is just so cute. Neal likes her a lot and he's told us how serious he is. She is too and for that reason she is giving her all to find out if the church is true. She has a strong Christian background and she is so open and honest and ready to learn. She has been reading and coming to church and praying. She's doing all the right things but she has not received her answer. So we challenged her to step outside her comfort zone and decide to get baptize and then pray for the confirmation. So she said ok. And she's planning on July 13th. And she's serious. 

Friday I went to MOSES LAKE: the promised land! Elder Pieper from the Seventy came to speak and so the mission split in two to see him on Friday and Saturday. Logically and geographically it would've made more sense for us to go to North Spokane on Saturday but the Lord LOVES me and He let me go to my beloved Moses Lake one last time. It was bittersweet to be on that side of the mission for a final goodbye. I won't see Elder Legarra or Sister Sanchez or any of my Moses converts again while I'm on my mission and that is sad. But I felt peace and closure. It felt right to be back in Cheney. Elder Pieper's training was incredible. He had us read "Learning by Faith" from Elder Bednar before hand and then he taught us how to help our investigators act in faith to find their own answers. It was life-changing. He told us to make our investigators write their answers from the Book of Mormon. We've been doing it ever since and many mighty miracles have happened!

Sunday we had the broadcast. Elder Pieper had advertised for it all during his training and he was really funny. "Did I tell you about the Broadcast on Sunday? You're going to cry!" And he was right. I cried the moment the choir began, "Hark all ye Nations!" just because of hearing the words and seeing the missionaries! I felt so much joy to be a missionary right now in this historic time. What an honor and privilege.

I'm happy to be in Cheney. I feel really excited for Leslie. I know she will receive her answer. I'm praying mightily for her. I feel like she is the reason I'm staying. I really, really do.

I love you all! 

Hermana Em


umm so here's what is going on.
baptism with melissa from 2 months ago.
temple trip a couple times ago. we ran into all the spanish sisters.
my OLD, OLD district from two transfers ago. Elder Legarra, Decker, Molyneux, Sherwinski, and Sister Sanchez
my last zone conference in moscow, idaho. all the missionaries that served in moses lake together.
elder dowse and elder williams and me in moscow after zone conference
sister johnson me and sister haynes
giant book of mormon in the institute
my last district meeting. elder trowbridge. sister johnson me. sister senger. mini missionary. elder hall.
sister johnson and i

Monday, June 17, 2013

try the virtue of the word of God

To those I love,

Let me start by saying this: The Priesthood power of God is real and was restored to the earth. I know that is true. I know that God works through His servants and He loves His missionaries. And I think that sometimes we have to fall hard, we have to get cut down, so that we break a little, so that our hearts are prime for perfection. Repentance is a process of change that can hurt. Even for missionaries who are constantly repenting and trying again, it hurts. Because the Lord sees so much in us. He sees so much of who we can become.

My mission is splitting at the end of the month and for the last six weeks I've been praying that I would get transferred to the Kennewick mission. It was mostly a righteous desire and I just knew if the Lord knew how much it meant to me that He would let it happen.

But it didn't happen.

Even after all the prayers (and not just mine, my sweet Sister Sanchez and Sister Tippetts were praying too.) I'm staying and training in Cheney. It's been hard. It's maybe been the hardest thing to bear since the start of my mission. But I received a priesthood blessing of comfort from a humble, worthy young man and that was real. The peace and comfort was tangible. It filled all the emptiness in my soul. 

President Mullen wrote me and said this:

 "As I go through transfers, I received different impressions regarding where missionaries should go and who they should serve with. Some are ones that are small impressions that I really have to pay attention to in order to feel. Other impressions are very distinct and unmistakable. Where you should serve came to me very distinctly and unmistakably. It is exactly where you need to be and the Lord wanted to makes sure that I knew it. Thanks for your willingness to go where the Lord wants you to go. You will receive extra blessings now and after your mission."

 I know there are important things for me to do here in Cheney and on this side of the mission. There are lots of hispanics here and I'm certain that I will continue to speak and use my Spanish. I've still been using it all last transfer too. Sister Johnson has been so kind to me. She told me that I'm a really good trainer and that the sister coming in needs me really bad. It was just another comfort and tender mercy. In fact, since all of the sadness has begun, my life has been continually filled with sweet, tender mercies. 

We have 5 incredible investigators that are staying for the summer in Cheney. That's a miracle. Most people are home after school for summer but all of our progressing investigators are staying.  Cameron, Corey, Chris, Porche and Leslie. I'm excited for miracles. I told you about April last week? And Alex? Well those two are strangely connected but not actually strange because I know there are no coincidences in missionary work but it always just humbles and surprises me to know how I really am an instrument in the hands of the Lord. 

I want to shout out to Brother Driggs this week. He sent me a challenge to look up some scriptures and find the blessings that come from reading the scriptures. It was a big blessing for me and each scripture confirmed my testimony of the goodness of God and that we really do have His words. I'd send you the list of scriptures but I didn't bring it with me. Ask that Brother Driggs to give you a copy. I'm going to challenge all my investigators. Good stuff!

Well, I love y'all. I love this work and I know that the trials of our faith build us stronger and bring us closer to Christ. What a privilege to have a loving Father in Heaven.

Hermana (always and forever!) Judd

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Yea, if the Lord saith unto us go, we will go

Oh happy day!

It feels like this last week was maybe 6 weeks in one. I'm hoping this next week will fly though because Sunday is the "do or die" phone call. I'm dying. Trying not to die or think about it too much, but I'm just squirming to find out.
On Tuesday I went to Missionary Leadership Council which used to be just for Zone leaders and the APs but now Sister Training Leaders go. What a treat. It was so fun. SOOO inspiring. I learned so much and the spirit was so strong. Just being in a room with all these hard-working, dedicated missionaries was awesome. We talked about pride and overcoming stress. Sister Mullen could be a general authority. Her words always pierce my heart. After the meeting President Mullen pulled me aside and asked me to be brutally honest with him about where I wanted to be when the mission split. I told him that I would go wherever, I would be happy to serve wherever but that in my heart of hearts, my deep desire was to be on the other side. He assured me that he wouldn't put me anywhere until he knew with certainty that that is where the Lord wants me. It has helped me feel a lot better because I know that the Lord knows best.
After MLC we did exchanges with the South Hill sisters. Sister Corbridge came with me to Cheney. She is darling. She came out 3 transfers ago and now she is training. She felt a little overwhelmed and we talked through a lot of her concerns about planning and stuff. I'm really grateful that I've had companions that planned well. Trained me well and now I am able to really help the sisters here because that seems to be the biggest struggle for these new sisters. I showed her how to use the area book and to really try to plan meaningful activities. Of course, I'm not really an expert. But I gave her my best. We found two new investigators while she was here, which was awesome!
We had a lesson with Corey on Thursday about the Word of Wisdom. He's such a solid kid. He's only 18 but he's been through a lot of tough stuff. Word of Wisdom is definitely his struggle. He is sincere and wants to know. I always feel a lot of love for him when we teach and I really think he feels the spirit and recognizes us as servants from the Lord.
Friday I went to Lincoln Heights with Sister Guyer. She's a visa waiter to Brazil and then Sister Yedigaryin from Armenia (and temple square) came with Sister Johnson. It was a crazy exchange. Just wild. But it was great to help Sister Guyer because she's been going through a hard time (all new missionaries do) and so I think she was able to calm down and feel peace in her heart. She's going to be an incredible missionary.
Then I came back and we had dinner with Porche. We thought she was going to go home for the summer but she decided to stay last minute! Miracle! We were sooo happy! She wants to be baptized in her church in California by her Pastor there but he told her the best thing to do to prepare would be to continue to meet with us and attend institute so we'll see where she ends up by the end of the summer :)

Saturday we had a lesson with Corey and Chris and it was amazing. We watched the "Your potential, Your privelege" video from President Uchtdorf. The spirit was tangible and we read Alma 48 about Moroni and how they could be that man in their family. That God sees so much potential in them to become examples and leaders. It was really powerful. They totally see how this could bless their lives.

We had two similar miracles this week. We made cookies for a less-active this week and the first time we stopped by she wasn't home, so we decided to stop by a second day. We stopped first at home to grab the cookies and when we walked out we ran into this girl who looked like she knew us.
"Are you the new sisters?" 
"Yeah! What's your name?"
It was this girl April who the other sisters taught for a while and then she fell off the face of the earth. And then we walked into her and got her address! Totally amazing.
AND THEN on Sunday...well ok. Back story first:
My first week in Cheney was tough. We had a really hard time. We called everyone in the Area Book. One night I literally went through every name of formers. Lots of voicemails and lots of people who moved or weren't interested. Of all the numbers I tried there was only one name that stuck out to me: Alex. I felt impressed to write his name down to try again. So we did. We called and called and called. Then he answered. He had moved back to Cheney! And he gave us his address to try him. So we went and tried and tried and tried. Never home. His roommates hit on us. AND THEN on Sunday we were walking home and this guy on a skateboard gives us a funny look. He says, " are you the Mormon missionaries?" "Yeah, what's your name?"ALEX! THE Alex we've been looking for. I've had a really good feeling about him all along. We set up an appointment for tomorrow. Fingers crossed. 

Welp, I know the Lord loves His missionaries. I especially know He really loves me. I'm grateful for that love. I'm grateful I know I'm a daughter of God. I know this work is true. I know we have a prophet. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God. It's changing me a lot.
God speed,
Hermana Em

Monday, June 3, 2013

And it was a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper, and it did pierce even to the very soul.

*Editor's note: The formatting is a little crazy, sorry in advance!

Dearest Dears,

I love Cheney. I love this area. We are seeing SO many great things happen here. I'll start at the top 'cause this week was chock full of GOOD things! This email is a little long-winded. Sorry!

On Tuesday We had a dinner appointment at 6:30 and so after p-day ended at 6, we had 30 minutes to see a miracle. Our original plan was to go to an apartment complex and try some potentials but we didn't think that would use our time wisely. For whatever reason we decided to try a less-active member who lived close by. She wasn't home but as we were walking to the car to head to dinner we saw this guy playing with his dog outside. We went over and started talking to him. The only member he really knew also happened to be the guy we were having dinner with in a matter of minutes! Not a coincidence. Totally the Lord's tender mercy. We gave him a Book of Mormon and invited him to come to Friday Forum at the institute (they teach a lesson and then FREE lunch! hello?? perfect for investigators!) Then at dinner we asked Brother C. about his friend Cameron and he told us he would invite him for dinner for Friday too, so we could teach him a lesson. SO perfect because I can testify that unless an investigator is connected to someone (a member), they won't progress. WE need the members, so this was golden!

And also side note on Tuesday, we ended up going to those apartments we originally wanted to try and we met Bryce smoking in the stairwell. He was a guy we had actually met earlier that weekend. We bore sincere testimony but he just didn't feel like it was right for him at the time and he thanked us and went inside. So we went down the stairs and into the parking lot and next thing we knew we was calling out to me: "Sister Judd!" So we turn around and he asks to speak to me alone. My heart was pounding because I thought, "ohmygosh. i'm about to get asked out on my mission?!!!" But we told him that as missionaries we always stay within sight and sound so he could just talk to both of us. He just wanted to let me know that I was doing a great job. That he really felt something when I spoke. He said, "whatever you decide to do after your mission, you'll have absolutely no problem getting there." He just wanted to compliment me to tell me that I was eloquent and powerful. How neat, huh? Totally boosted my confidence that I am the Lord's servant and I do have power when I speak!

On Friday we had exchanges. Since I'm a Sister Training Leader (who knows why this title is forever long,and sometimes the Elders like to joke by saying "Sister Training Leader Judd! Sister Training Leader Judd!" It's funny. you have to be there.), I conduct the exchanges. Before the craziness we had already planned to exchange with Sister Senger even before her companion left, so it was really great that she got a companion on Wednesday to have someone to trade with us. Sister Carruth is a mini-missionary from Ritzville, WA and she is waiting to get her call any day now! She came here with me, and Sister Johnson went with Sister Senger to Geiger Heights. She was a little sad to leave the area because Friday was a full and awesome day. We had dinner with Cameron and it was awesome! He is so prepared. He grew up in the Catholic church but he doesn't agree with it anymore so he's been trying to explore other faiths. The first thing he said was, "thanks so much for the Book of Mormon. No one has ever given one to me before and I've always been curious!" Like how cool is that? The lesson was so great and he was so attentive and thoughtful. He asked great questions about how we could know for himself and Brother C. really helped him to understand how the spirit works. I'm super grateful that the C. family are already great friends with him (even if they are in the family ward), because they are a great connection for Cameron. It immediately links him to the church and makes him feel more comfortable. We're going on a church tour tomorrow and I'm so excited. Cameron is really golden.

The Elders in West Terrace ward found this guy named Corey a couple months ago and finally decided it was best that YSA teach him because he's 19 and he wasn't progressing in the family ward. So we went to see him on Saturday night. He lives in Airway Heights which is like 20 minutes from Cheney so we went with an RM sister in our ward. It was a wild adventure getting there and we were lost and a little late and we really didn't know what to expect because the Elders in West Terrace aren't my favorite and I just thought it was going to be a bust but we went in determined to feel the spirit and help him feel it too and it was incredible! Corey's friend, Chris joined in on the lesson and we just started asking questions to understand why he wouldn't come to church. We found out he has not been praying but that he does want to know. So we taught the importance of prayer and how to recognize answers. They asked us how we knew it was true and we all bore our testimonies. The spirit was so strong and then we invited them to be baptized on June 29th and they both said yes! Corey came to church yesterday for the first time! The Elders taught him for 2 months and he never went and then he went yesterday. Milagro!

And Porche came to church and she is really progressing. She isn't sure if she wants to be baptized yet but she loves institute and President McCombie and if it's not now (probably not because she goes home in 2 weeks) I know it will be later. The Lord is preparing her!

Then last night at 8:15 we weren't sure what to do with our evening. We didn't have the car and so we were walking and not super close to anyone we thought we should try. But we finally decided to walk to see Bianca, a potential investigator who is a little interested but she always is a no-show at appointments. We figured we'd meet people on the street as we walked and so it'd be worth it. Then we passed this house and I just felt impressed to knock it. We hadn't knocked any other house on the street but this one felt right. Emily answered. Typical laid-back college girl without any belief in God. She wasn't raised going to church but she had respect for those who did have Faith. We asked her a few questions and she decided to come out and talk with us on the porch. We followed the spirit and the lesson was so powerful. We showed her the mormon message, "Earthly Father, Heavenly Father." and she really loved it. She loved how simple it made God seem. We testified that Christ's gospel is simple and it has been restored in it's fullness and beautiful simplicity. She said, "I'm going home to Seattle in a week, is there anyway to learn about this there??" So we got her info and we'll send the missionaries her way in a couple weeks. It was one of the most amazing moments of my mission because she wasn't interested at the start but the spirit touched her and a light went off. SO cool! We are instruments for the Lord.

We walked home and Sister Johnson and I were floating on a cloud. There is nothing greater than being under the influence of the spirit.

Love y'all lots!

Hermana Judd