Monday, January 27, 2014

O how you ought to thank your heavenly King!

Hey Dollies,

Having pday on Wednesday and then again today just made the whole week so fast. But the weeks here just go faster and faster. It's a little bit of panic mode but I try not to think about that.

Sister Walton and I had a breakdown on Friday. There are three sets of missionaries in our branch and it feels like we always seem to pull the short straw. We are SO happy that the other missionaries are having success in so many ways, but sometimes, it bruises my heart. Can't we see all the same miracles too? Can't we please just find people to teach?? Couldn't the Lord just transplant a trailer park from Moses Lake over to our area so we'd at least meet hispanics? We work hard, we try our best. I pray earnestly everyday that we will do our best and do what the Lord wants and sometimes we just come up empty handed in terms of numbers. So we just knelt down the other night and cried and prayed together. Then the next morning in my personal study I opened up in Mosiah and read King Benjamin's address and my heart was healed and filled with the spirit. 

I realized that I am not on a mission to receive the "reward" of lots of investigators or baptisms. I am not here to receive any reward at all, though it's certain I'll board the plane with my pockets overflowing with blessings. And maybe initially I did come for those reasons. I wanted to improve my Spanish, I wanted to know my scriptures better. But over time, the reason I'm on a mission has truly become because I love my Heavenly King and I want to serve him. He has given me everything in this life. How sweet and remarkable and miraculous that I have a faithful, eternal family! And how wonderful that I have the Book of Mormon to turn to and find instant peace. And how glorious that I will forever be blessed by the priesthood and this truly restored Gospel. The reward is the Celestial kingdom with my Heavenly Father and my family. That is the reward that I'm working toward. And so I'm here to serve. Serve and serve and serve and be obedient and faithful. And I can't expect anything. I have already been blessed so much. I know miracles will always happen because this is the work of the Almighty God. But, if my mission isn't filled with the success I imagined for myself, it's not to say that God doesn't love me or trust me. He does. He loves me a lot. And He knows far better than I do that the stretching and growing I've done in the last year and half has been exactly what I need so that I can return to live with Him.  

And President Condon continues to assure me (me personally!) that I will find a family. A prepared, happy family that we can teach and baptize and take to the temple. And I have the faith to see that. I will work and serve with every effort to bring people to Christ. That is why I'm here.

Juan (who wants us to call him Miguel now) and Ramon are doing great. Keep them in your prayers! And keep the Colombians in your prayers too! A few families have been popping up from Colombia and we want their hearts to be soft! There really is a lot of potential coming out of the woodwork. The Lord does bless the missionaries. He always looks out for us. I'm grateful for that.

The Book of Mormon is true! I hope you are all reading it. It is the most beautiful, most inpsired book I've ever read. I love it. I love my Savior! May the Lord bless your soul!

Hermana Judd

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Sing unto the Lord; for he hath done excellent things; this is known in all the earth.

Hey loverlies,

This has been wild week. I caught a stomach bug last Monday night and I stayed home from the work for the first time in my mission! But I got a blessing and was feeling fit as a fiddle on Wednesday. And Ramon was sick too and we got sick the same time but he kept feeling sick so we finally offered a blessing to him on Sunday and the Priesthood power was so real. I think it was a tender mercy from the Lord to help him recognize the truthfulness of the Priesthood. 

We had dinner with the McCombies, Condons and Bautistas. We each bore our testimony of the Book of Mormon and it was very sweet. I think they know it is true but they are afraid of the changes in their lives and so they are avoiding praying about these things. Someday they will be ready to accept it. 

I've been feeling SO full of love for the Book of Mormon since we started our challenge as a mission. It truly has impacted every part of my life. I am just so filled with joy for the work. And I love the Book of Mormon SO much. Even holding it in my hands gives me a sense of peace. I know God loves me when I read it. I feel my Savior's guiding influence as I turn the pages. 

I've been trying to be more in tune with the spirit this week so we took the music out of our car this week. I'm trying to train my brain to be still. Because I'm always thinking or singing (hymns or otherwise) or talking. And I just want to be still and let the Lord guide us. I'm constantly trying to trust him more. 

I know I keep saying it these days but I'm just full of contentment at this point in my mission. I have done my best, I've been obedient, and I'll keep working hard and that's enough. Every part of my mission is where I was supposed to be or what I was supposed to have. God is in charge. He wants me right where I am.

Which is the feeling I'm trying to adopt for my future. Can't fear. Just trust in God and He'll place me right where He needs me. 

Sorry this is short! I just love y'all lots. 
This mission is the honor of my life. I'm full with tender emotions as I think about how richly I've been blessed to be able to serve the Lord.

Hermana Em

Monday, January 13, 2014

I seek not for honor of the world, but for the glory of my God

Welp loves,

It's so great to be a missionary. I pray that the time will just slow down a bit. This is a moment of my life. A season of happiness. And there will be a thousand more different seasons of happiness but I just want this one to stay a little longer.

Elder Neil L. Anderson came on Saturday. He was so kind and so funny! It was just a treat to hear from him and shake his hand. He took the microphone and walked among us in the chapel. He was so personable and his message was so perfect. About the mercy and merits and grace of Christ. He just had really great insights. Elder Paul D. M. Christensen of the Seventy came and spoke to us too. He shared this neat story about monks in Uganda. The church is true!
But probably the highlight of the experience of having an apostle come was actually moments before he arrived. He asked to take a picture with us and so we all lined up (it was quite the feat because we have SO many missionaries) and then after we were situated for the picture President Mullen suggested that we sing some hymns while we waited for him to arrive. We started with "We thank thee o God for a prophet." I have never felt the spirit so strongly or profoundly in my life. We were like the armies of Helaman. I just felt to happy to be a missionary, to be singing praises to my Heavenly King.

Oh, our trio ended on Tuesday. A Temple Square sister came in and so she was Sister Gifford's temporary companion for the week. Ah well, it was fun while it lasted. But it was good too because it's nice to focus on the Spanish work. Sister Walton and I are grateful we're staying together because no one loves our area the way we do. It's special to me. I've spent most of my mission hidden in the folds of Cheney and out in West stake. I love this place. I love these people. And I just—I know the heart of this area. I hope I can stay here for the rest of my mission.
I "fear busted" (when new missionaries go out knocking on doors for the first time) a little fire cracker this morning. Sister Gosdis. I am already obsessed with her. She's 23 and a convert from Salt Lake. She is incredible. So humble, so in tune with the spirit. She gave me a boost. But at the same time I just want to steal her moment and let it be mine again. You are only a new missionary once. Can I say it one more time? My mission means everything to me.
We are starting a Book of Mormon challenge this week. We will read the whole book, cover to cover in the next six weeks. That's about 14 pages a day. Y'all in? I promise you that as you read it, you'll feel an increased measure of the spirit. I'm so excited. It's my favorite book. I want to read it all my life.
Juan and Ramon are doing great. Ramon is so close to baptism. He just knows it is true. I think we'll see a miracle with him this week. They are such good, humble young men. I am so grateful to teach them.
In the Manito ward we took this guy, Tom, on a church tour. He has been prepared all his life. He has always wanted to know about the LDS faith. One of his best friends from high school was a member. And he has always felt compelled to learn more. He read us this statement he typed out, “I am very serious about joining your church”.Incredible! I mean like he is a well-to-do business man and he wants to join the church. He feels the spirit. He loves it. In his closing prayer he said, “help me find the way.” Oh, so sweet!
Well, so much happened this week. This email was all over the place, sorry! MLC was perfect, per usual. LOTS of snow. I'm happy and loving life.
I love this gospel. I just love my Savior.
Hermana Judd

Monday, January 6, 2014

Father, behold our God is with us, and he will not suffer that we should fall

Happy day loved ones,

I really like being in a trio. It's been like a blast all week. I think it helped that we've all been roommates for the last 2 transfers so we're all BFFs but really, we've been working in unity and seeing lots of tender mercies. I'm a little nervous that it's Sister Walton and I's last week together. Of course, we've been together the last 3 transfers so it would logically follow that one of us would leave but she's my best friend right now. There are only 6 Spanish sisters so the transfer will just be a little switcharoo between us all. But I just feel like I know Sister Walton the best and we get each other's jokes and teach well together and I wouldn't mind at all if I finished my mission with her. But that kind of thinking is exactly why the Lord would switch it up. Change means growth. Means learning news things and becoming better.

Well...let's see this week...Oh! We watched Prince of Egypt on New Year's eve. Our list grew this year and lots of Disney movies were included but we decided on Prince of Egypt because it would remind us the least of home. And it actually turned out to be so inspirational and spirit filled. We went to the Manito's ward mission leader's home and it was just so fun. Spinach artichoke dip and chips and salsa. Needless to say, we have decided to only eat sugar on p-days now. The holidays were a sugar overload. ALL food overload actually. Carrot sticks and brown rice for the rest of my mission!

We've been having lots of blessings. Juan and Ramon came on a church tour and they've been coming to church every week. They both know the Book of Mormon is true but they are not quite ready for baptism. They came to a baptism on Saturday and both LOVED it. Afterward we walked them around the temple (usually our baptisms are at the stake center but there were too many baptisms scheduled that they had to go to the valley. We have good problems in our mission :)) And they really seemed to like it. We texted them last night to see if they had received an answer to their prayers about Joseph Smith and Juan said "yes, I will tell you later!" Ahh! so we'll find out tomorrow. I think it's a good answer. They are both so honest in heart!

And also last week, we invited Adriana to church and she sent us a reply back about how we don't need church to show God we love him. We felt like maybe we had said something wrong but we really didn't know what. We were hesitant to try back and especially because we cover two areas now it's harder to get out to Airway Heights as often. But we stopped by on Saturday and she was so happy to see us! The kids had been asking when the hermanas would come back! Turns out her friend had texted us back against Adriana's wishes and it was just a misunderstanding! I really have a good feeling about their sweet family. Oh, I just love them so.

We are teaching a 17 year old girl in the Manito ward and she is incredible! We taught her the restoration on Sunday and by Friday, she'd finished 1 Nephi. She knows it's true and is getting baptized on Feb. 1st! I'm super excited. It's been so rewarding to teach in the English area too. We don't teach as many lessons in the Spanish so I'm just happy to be teaching people and inviting people closer to Christ!

Our mission is reaching President Mullen's vision. We've been having accountability calls each night and it's totally helped us improve. It's like truly miraculous all the things that have been happening across the mission! Elder Anderson is coming on Saturday to talk to us about how we've been reaching and achieving our goals. My first apostle on my mission (well, Elder Bednar came to the MTC but this time I'll get to shake his hand!) and I am so thrilled. 

I love this work. Now more than ever before. I just get so tender thinking about even all the mundane aspects of missionary work because this time is just so precious. I'll be home and at BYU and married and all those great things someday but that will be life forever. My mission is a moment. I want to treasure it forever.

I sure do love you. and the Lord. and especially the Book of Mormon. I'm finishing Alma this week and I just cannot.get.enough. Too good!

Hermana Judd