Oct 25, 2011

assignment two: Clarksville

Clarksville, TN...October-November 2010

"I was so sad when President Hutchings called and said I'd be leaving Murray.  He told me I'd be white-washing into Clarksville, which I was a little nervous about.  Since transfers, however, I have barely even stopped to think about Murray-we've been so overwhelmed!  I'm with Sister Turner, who is really cool, and neither of us know a thing about Clarksville!  We are relying on the members of the church a lot so far because we have no car, and don't know where anything is.  The past few days here have been fun, but stressful. 

"Sister Turner and I have done a lot of walking on the sides of busy highways, and we have met a fair amount of people. Things are picking up for us here in Clarksville.  We are carless again this week, but it hasn't been as bad as last time because we have more appointments, and we know more people who can give us rides. For some reason I have been really nervous to talk to people recently, and I'm not sure why.  Contacting people is definitely one of my weaknesses, but the scripture in Ether 12:27 gives me hope.. "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble... for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." I hope my weaknesses can become my strengths.

"Sunday night was a lot of fun.  Gladys Knight came and put on a fireside for our mission and we got to go see it! Gladys directs a choir called Saints Unified Voices, which is basically a bunch of Mormons of all ethnicities singing in a southern gospel style.  It was different than what we're used to, but she helped show that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is for everyone.  She also invited everyone in the audience to meet with the Mormon missionaries!  I loved it.

"We found someone golden! Her name is Kim, and the way we met her was really cool.  She was having a yard sale and we were talking to her neighbors for a long time, but Kim was ignoring us.  We gave her neighbors a Book of Mormon and continued on our way, but soon realized we'd left our map back on the table at the yard sale.  When we went back she was much more friendly, and when we gave her a Book of Mormon she said she'd read it.  Since we met her we've gone back a few times and each time we teach her she seems more and more prepared for the gospel.  She tells us she's been in and out of churches her whole life..searching for truth.  She still hasn't found what she's looking for.  After everything we've taught her so far she nods her head and says that she agrees! 

"Tonight we team-taught a couple with the elders.  Tracy has been meeting with the missionaries for a few weeks and has a baptismal date, but tonight was the first time Steve has been officially taught.  After the lesson we asked Steve if he would like to be baptized with Tracy and he said that he would!  The spirit was so strong and they were both smiling from ear to ear.  They are an awesome couple, I am so thankful I get to help teach them.  Their kids are so cute too, which is always a bonus.  We are planning their wedding and baptism right now, but unfortunately Sister Turner and I found out we will both be transferred before that day comes!  Neither of us expected that call, and neither of us wants to leave, but I suppose we'll go where the Lord wants us to go."

Oct 20, 2011

assignment one

If there is one thing I have learned as a missionary, it is how to find joy in the simple pleasures of every day and recognize the tender mercies the Lord provides for me.  Sister Turner, my last companion, is one of the many people who have shown me how to do this.  In order to commemorate her mission, she decided to highlight each of her previous areas throughout the Tennessee Nashville mission and celebrate the experiences she had and lessons she learned.  I thought that was a lovely idea, and in honor of her, I think I shall do the same, using exerpts from my old jounal entries.  Here's to my first area as a full-time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints...

Murray, KY.. July-September, 2010

"I just said goodbye to Utah for 18 months.  The longest I've ever gone without seeing my family, friends, or beautiful mountains is one month.  The scenery in Tennessee is beautiful though.  Almost everything is green and naturally forested, with big red barns and farms almost everywhere we go.  I love the rainstorms.

"First full day on the job!  It has been so busy since we first arrived here in Murray, and I have so much to write about, but no time.  My trainers are Sister Fear and Sister Fluckiger, and we've been so busy that I haven't even had time to unpack my suitcases!  Most of the day is hot, sweaty, exhausting, and headachy, but those moments when we get to sit down with people and share Christ's beautiful gospel make it all worth it.  I love to hear about these people's lives and beliefs, and then share with them the fundamental truths that have come from the restoration of Christ's church.  Everyone here is religious.  There really is a diferent Christian church on every corner.  Something I've realized, however, is how many people are still searching for truth and happiness! I am here to bring it to them.

"Since arriving here I've eaten a squirrel, seen a zebra in a horse pasture, painted a trailer in 110 degree weather, been proposed to by an ex-convict, and sung a solo Mormon hymn in front of an entire Baptist congregation.  I never know what a day in this live will bring, but every day is an adventure.  I am learning how to take the Savior's advice and 'lose [my] life for [his] sake'.. in order to really find my life.  The more I serve these strangers, the less strange they become, and the more I love them.  I find people, situations, and places to laugh about every day.  I have found more joy in reading and teaching the scriptures than I ever have before.  I am also coming to know myself in a better and deeper way.

"Although being a missionary can be very trying and discouraging at times, I know that this experience is good for me.  I know that I have been given things in my life that most people live without: The Book of Mormon and the fulness of Christ's gospel, a family who loves me, friends with high standards, a quality education, good health, and a clean, consistent place to call home.  I know that 'Because I have been given much I too must give' and serving the Lord for eighteen months is the least I can do to make it up to him."

Oct 11, 2011

the motive

There's a little saying I have written down in the front of my "Preach My Gospel".. you may have heard it before:

Obedience is the price,
Faith is the power,
Love is the motive,
The Spirit is the key,
Christ is the reason.

"And the remission of sins bringeth meekness, and lowliness of heart; and because of meekness and lowliness of heart cometh the visitation of the Holy Ghost, which Comforter filleth with hope and perfect love, which love endureth by diligence unto prayer, until the end shall come, when all the saints shall dwell with God" -Moroni 8:26

Love for dear people like these...is my motive.
And the people I have come to love throughout my mission...make all the hard things about my mission worth it.

Oct 4, 2011

the bridge between God and man

As I drove through Land Between the Lakes on my way to Nashville last year, I felt as though this bridge was taking me directly to Heaven.  I think Heaven is a lot closer to us than we realize.   God is really not that far away.  Even though we cannot see Him, he has given us many ways to speak to Him, and to hear Him speak with us.  When we speak to God, it is usually through prayer.  When God speaks to us, it is through revelation

Revelation can come in many different forms. For me, it comes most frequently as I am on my knees in prayer, studying the scriptures, or listening to the current prophets and apostles (as we had the opportunity to do last weekend).  Elder Dallin H. Oaks spoke about two different forms of revelation: the personal line, and the priesthood line.  As I pray directly to my Heavenly Father and receive answers from Him, I am using the personal line of communication.  As I listen to God's apostles and prophets teach me the things He wants me to know, I am using the priesthood line.  Both are necessary for me to really understand God's will.

While listening to our dear prophet Thomas S. Monson and the apostles over the weekend, I came to understand revelation more fully.  These inspired leaders revealed things that all of God's children need, and as I listened, the spirit taught me personally the things that God wants me, Sister Elizabeth Cosper to know. 

"It is the office of a true teacher to show us that God is, not was; that God speaks, not spoke" -Ralph Waldo Emerson 

If you missed General Conference, dont worry.. you can watch it HERE!
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