Monday, November 24, 2014

Counting My Blessings

At Zone Conference - Me & Hermanas Larson, Ordonez, and Loo
Wow, I don't even know where in the world to begin. This week has been full of so many miracles and spiritual moments! I truly feel so grateful to be a missionary. It really hit me this week how incredible this experience is. There is no where else that you could find that! The first part of the week I was on exchanges with Hermana Larson, from Devore California. She has been out for just about a month and is such a sweetheart! She has a powerful testimony and is going to do amazing things on her mission! We had a great miracle with a less active member and her son (who is an investigator) while we were teaching them about the Book of Mormon. The Spirit was SO strong. SOO STRONG. I have never seen either of them open up so much! I think something changed in them, her son told us he felt something that he had never felt before, something that he couldn't explain, but that it felt good. The Spirit was testifying to him! He prayed for us for the first time too! He has never done that before, and it was so amazing! So cool! Then the next day we had Zone Conference. President and Sister Mortensen are so inspiring! We talked about the Plan of Salvation and I learned that I need to do a lot of things to teach it better...haha but it is a work in progress, that's for sure! We role played master teaching the Plan of Salvation, and it was so good for us. It's always really humbling, because you realize how much you can't do on your own. Also, President Mortensen announced some pretty exciting news. You know how for Easter the church did the Because of Him video? Well, for Christmas they are doing a huge campaign for a new initiative called He Is the Gift! It is going to be epic! I don't know if you've already heard about it or not, but the video is amazing! It's going to be big. It will be on the main banner on the YouTube page, and all over billboards in Time Square, there will be pass along cards in all of the Ensigns--it is estimated that 220 million people will see the video!! 220 MILLION PEOPLE!! Then President Mortensen said, "Do you know what this means?...IT'S GO TIME!" I am sooooo excited! What an amazing blessing to be a missionary at this time! AHHH!!! Words cannot do it justice. It is the best! This Christmas season is going to be one of the best!! President challenged all of us to have a baptism in December so that we can give the Lord a white Christmas. How awesome would that be? So many good things are happening!!
Working hard in a downpour

Friday was a very eye-opening day for me. I was hit with an appreciation and gratitude for my mission that I have never felt before. We had a lesson with a young man from Nigeria who practices Messianic Judaism that wanted to learn more about what we believe as Mormons. He didn't want to discredit our beliefs at all, he was just looking for more understanding. We went through the Restoration lesson with him and as we did he would stop us many times and try to teach us things from history or language--like he was trying to make a point. However, every time he did so it always tied back into one of our beliefs. I learned a lot from him actually, and it was never contentious, but my testimony of the gospel and the Book of Mormon were strengthened so much! Seriously it felt like it had been cemented in for good. As we were talking about the Book of Mormon he really wanted proof, archaeological evidence of it. If we did have that kind of proof, there would be no need for faith! For everything he said, the answer was always the Book of Mormon! The Book of Mormon itself is the proof! Something really hit me at that moment. I realized that the proof you are going to find will come from within yourself as you read it and pray to know that it is true. The Spirit will testify the truth of it to you and you will feel that it is right! The proof comes as you apply the teachings of the Book of Mormon to your life. The blessings and peace that come into your life will be proof that it is true. Everyone has their own path to coming to that surety of the truth for themselves. For some people it comes instantly. For others it takes a lot longer. But the Lord is always mindful of us and will always answer us. Matt was there helping us teach him. I was amazed to see him testify with so much power after only 2 months of being a member. It is such a remarkable experience to see how the Spirit has touched his life, and to see how he has changed as a result of it. It is one of the most amazing feelings of joy to see his life so blessed by the gospel. Elder LeBaron showed us what Matt had put on instagram on his 2 month mark--a picture of him with Hna Fletcher, Loo, and I with his testimony of how his life has been blessed by the gospel. I was filled with such remarkable joy and such an overwhelming gratitude for my mission and the gospel. It wasn't because of me that Matt joined the church, he knew for himself that it was true, but I was lucky enough to be involved in his conversion. I think that often we feel like we can't make much of a difference as one person. Today Heavenly Father showed me that even I, with all of my imperfections and weaknesses, can help make a difference in someone else's life. It was such a beautiful experience for me. Like I said, my testimony grew and grew. 
At the Mission President's Fireside
Me, Krystin (one of our fabulous YSA's)
Sisters Hassell, Lambright, & Hermana Loo
On Sunday, we had the Mission President's Fireside in College Station. Another spiritually uplifting moment. It consists of recent convert testimonies, musical numbers by members and also us as a missionary choir (we sung Called to Serve, A Child's Prayer, the EFY medley, and I'll Go Where You Want Me To Go), and then President and Sister Mortensen spoke as well. What a beautiful night! Matt was one of the Recent Converts that spoke and he did such a good job! His sister and her boyfriend came too! So that was awesome for him! I have just come to realize this week how grateful I am to be a missionary--only fitting with Thanksgiving right around the corner. Something changed within me this week, and I have been filled with overwhelming gratitude for my mission. It is exactly what I have needed, and I know that it will continue to bless me forever more. I don't really know what else to say. Words do not exist to explain my feelings right now. I think the book of Helaman does a pretty good job of describing it...I am "filled with that joy which is unspeakable and full of glory." If you want to be happy, live the gospel.
This picture pretty much symbolizes Texas
I love you all and am so grateful for each one of you. I am so grateful for your loving support, because I know that none of this would have been possible without it. I hope that you have a good Thanksgiving and that your thoughts turn often to the Savior. I LOVE Y'ALL! :)

Con muchisisisisisimo amor, 
Hermana Hoj

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