Wednesday, October 8, 2014
My favorite talk was definitely Elder Klebingat's. It just spoke to me.
An aside on the lovely Fall weather: I love waking up in the morning and feeling a chill in the air. We've been running again, and it feels so brisk and alive outside. A big practice in NC is having a "chili cook-off" around fall time. I am looking forward to that. I made a pumpkin roll. It was addictive. Not doing that again. The Trueloves gave us some maple cookies from Aldi. They were way too yummy. Sister Hudson makes the most amazing german apple cake I have ever tasted in this life. It is incredible. I got the recipe, so never fear, I have many treats in store when I get back. The recipe actually comes from some pecan farmers outside of Lubbock. Brother Hudson is a cotton farmer, so we have that connection :)
Back to business: We had 2 investigators come to 2 sessions each of general conference, and they surely received a lot of spiritual strength and peace from the answers to their prayers. It is so meaningful to seek revelation for our stewardships from prophets of God. I would add in Elder Packer's line-up of revelation: the missionary for her investigator. There was a talk for every one of our investigators! Heavenly Father knows their names. He knows what they need. I don't always trust Him to give them what they need, but He always does. He is consistent.
I'm really glad to be here in Dunn. I like hearing our 9-year-old investigator pray for us. I like talking with everyone and demystifying their concept of mormonism. I like listening to elderly black ladies talk. They can spin a yarn and a half and have you bent over crying with a stitch in your side in no time at all. I like how everyone waves to each other.
Please pray for me to be more humble and sensitive to the Spirit, so I can do the Lord's will, and help our brothers and sisters effectively.
All my love, Sister Boucher
Monday, September 29, 2014
Thank you for your prayers and for seeing all the good in me! I feel great support every day :) Two weeks ago, Jeanette sent me this beautiful letter, and she says it much better than I can, so I have to share with you: "As Moroni is trying to convince the Lamanites to give up their weapons of war for peace he declares that the success and happiness of him and his people was caused by their "faith, by [their] religion, and by [their] rites of worship, and by [their] church, and by the sacred support which [they] owe to [their] wives and children." There was a happiness that they had that tied them to their "lands and [their] country; yea, and also by the maintenance of the sacred word of God, to which we owe all our happiness; and by all that is most dear unto us" Alma 44:5. I just want all of you to know how grateful I am for the "sacred support" that I am receiving from each one of you. Sometimes that sacred support comes through your prayers, your letters, or even just a thought sent my way, but I want you all to know that these methods and efforts of support are so appreciated. Thank you. So much." -J.M (She is on her mission in Tokyo Japan now!)
I am finding hidden treasures in the war chapters too this week. Today, in Alma 60, I felt Moroni's words speak to us as members of Christ's kingdom in the last days:
21 Or do ye suppose that the Lord will still deliver us, while we sit upon our thrones and do not make use of the means which the Lord has provided for us? (He has provided SO MANY ways to share the gospel!)
22 Yea, will ye sit in idleness while ye are surrounded with thousands of those, yea, and tens of thousands, who do also sit in idleness, while there are thousands round about in the borders of the land who are falling by the sword, yea, wounded and bleeding?
(The spiritual attacks of Satan claim casualties every day. Are we aware of those around us who need us to fight for them with the sword of the Spirit, and the power of the Word of God? To remind them who they are, and why they are here? To be a source of Christ's love for them?)
23 Do ye suppose that God will look upon you as guiltless while ye sit still and behold these things? Behold I say unto you, Nay. Now I would that ye should remember that God has said that the inward vessel shall be cleansed first, and then shall the outer vessel be cleansed also.
Our mission has been discussing and pondering the concept of consecration. The full sacrifice of our will to God is the price necessary to become filled with pure love, and to receive the capacity to effectively hasten the Lord's work. I feel happy to know consecration does not mean perfection. It means setting ourselves aside and relying on the Atonement of Jesus Christ every day.
These words are SO POWERFUL and full of meaning for me and for each of us. The joy and peace we are seeking will never be found in worldly successes. Our true joy and peace will be in doing the work of the Lord. How grateful I am for this knowledge. I don't know it of myself, but I know it by the witness of the Holy Spirit.
So that is what I am excited about this week :) Also: The hispanic mother and her 9-year old daughter came to the Women's broadcast with us, and we rejoiced! It was great to see them exercising their faith. Betty received an answer to her questions about Joseph Smith through the testimony of a member that came with us. We found a new investigator who is honestly seeking for truth, although he doesn't know where to find it, and he probably isn't humble enough to receive it right now. I know we are doing the Lord's work. It is so much fun! I want you all to receive this joy. Time is short! We must fight hard and win. Mind over body; Spirit over carnality.
I pray for you <3 Love, Sister B.
Monday, August 25, 2014
Another fantastic week in North Carolina! One of our sayings in the mission is "we love hard days" and it makes life a lot better, a lot happier, when we strive to be, like Elder Uchtdorf asked us to be, grateful IN all things.
I had a great time last night visiting with all of Sister Olive's nurses at the ER. She has stomach problems, so we got to have potential investigators come to US. It was brilliant. Not the most effective finding net, but, still, one of the nurses is friends with two member families, so that was pretty neat.
I'm really getting set on this missionary schedule though. I feel old saying it, but I don't like staying up later than. It really hampers my style, which I find amusing, since I used to love sporatic scheduling and spontaneous events.
The Elders finally went to teach Jorge, since he prefers to speak Spanish, and the lesson went really well! We have the best Elders! Jorge and Gabby and Joscelyn still didn't show for church yesterday though, so something fishy is going on there... Please do pray for them! I need to get a picture with Joscelyn and little 2-year-old Sophie. She has more personality than a lot of grown-ups I know, and is a total riot during lessons.
I am gaining such faith in the members of this church. Our lessons with members are so wonderful! I wish we had full-time member missions... oh wait. Well, you know what I mean. One of our favorites to go out with is Sister Underwood, (the southern bell, who taught me what a tobacco plant looks like). She came with us to teach a slightly mentally disabled member's slightly mentally disabled girlfriend this week, and it was a powerful lesson. Sister Underwood has a dynamite connection to the Spirit, and when she speaks, it blows us away. It's as if we had role played it!! So, don't underestimate how invaluable you are when you go out to teach with the missionaries. WE LOVE MEMBER PRESENT LESSONS. Especially with members who sacrifice to be filled with the Spirit.
I can confidently identify the worst meal I have had on my mission: uncooked rice and barley mixed with raw hotdog chunks, mushy squash, and onions. It was difficult, but I successfully consumed a polite portion :) Oma can be proud of her missionary :)
I love you all! Please, if you have any advice on how to be better at introducing the gospel in casual conversation, or becoming closer to the Spirit as we teach and invite, I would really appreciate it. I feel desperate to become a better missionary and would love all/any ideas from you experts out there.
Love, Sister B
Monday, August 18, 2014
Every day we see more miracles. And every time, I'm like "nuh-uh?!" You'd think I'd be used to it by now. A few of the miracles this week:
Sister Olive and I have to use the bikes about 2x/week. We decided to contact former investigators, and when I plugged the address into the gps, it said it was about 7 minutes away, so I thought "perfect it'll take us just 15 minutes to bike there." Much to Sister Olive's disappointment, it turned out to be about 7 miles away, instead of 7 minutes. But it felt so good to be out in the sun, I loved it (: I'd taught Sister Olive how to bike just over a month ago, and she still doesn't quite have the swing of things yet. But she soldiers on.
At the former investigator's home, we met a bunch of new people and one of them came to the fish fry on Saturday which was a great blessing. We start teaching them tomorrow!
Quick funny story-- we taught a man outside that families house (it was actually that lady's grandson) and it was the most ridiculous contact I have ever had in my life. He called himself a "hood nigga" and launched into his belief system which he described as "atheist, but believing in God and the devil..." and then he stopped mid sentence and said "y'all are cute, you know that?" and it was the best we could do to not crack up right then and there. When he found out the fish fry was free, he gave us each a fist bump and said y'all are gangsta! which definitely made my day. Hopefully, he makes a turn around in his life sometime soon... in any case, it was a comic relief in the middle of a very sweaty day (:
The son of one of our less active sisters agreed to be baptized (: I met her on my birthday, and have been up with her almost every week for the past 3 months. She is exceptionally good at survival skills. She lives all the way out in the boonies of the area, so no one really reached out to her consistently before, and she chose to stop coming to church. She's been 2 times now, and her son will be baptized this month. It's amazing.
Last, but not least, we got to go on exchange with the Sister Leaders in Fayetteville on Thursday. They live with a little old lady named Mrs. Ratledge. She bakes them desserts every day, and much to my joy, she had baked a lemon cake for them the day I was there. <3
We had interviews with President and Sister Bernhisel this week. It was so good to be with them! I can't describe how much they love us. It feels so good to be around them. Over the course of the past 6 weeks, we have studied a Christ-like attribute per week, and we got to report on it in interviews. The Christ-like attribute study was a beautiful experience. What stood out to me was how the attributes build on each other; one focus would produce strength in another area and so on. It explains to me why Christ asks us to be "perfect:" whole, complete: to "giving all diligence add to our faith, virtue, and to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge temperance..." 2 Peter 4:4-7. The course of the Lord is one eternal round.
I know this is where I'm supposed to be. In the end, nothing matters if we do not bring as many of our brothers and sisters home as we possibly can. This is the only work that truly matters. Everything else feeds into it, or takes away from it. It is up to us to become transparent, so whatever we are doing, others will see Christ in us. Then, when we enter into the celestial kingdom, our joy will be full, because they'll be there with us. I'm really glad I have my whole life to figure out how to do this effectively :)
Love, Sister B
Monday, August 11, 2014
Sister Olive and I have decided to learn how to bear our testimonies, and invite people to hear our message in Spanish, since 50% of the people we meet are immigrant workers from Mexico. It's terrible. We just smile and make a lot of hand motions, and give them the Spanish Elders' number. And afterwards we laugh and laugh at our stupidity and we laugh with joy, because the Spirit still speaks, even though we are so inadequate.
This week was sooo funny. We started talking in broken English with one man, and all we had left in Spanish was a restoration DVD. So, we gave it to him, and asked, "will you watch it?" and he looked surprised and said, "right now?" And we said, "sure!" Tender mercies (:
That street was probably more like 80% hispanic. We were laughing about how we seem to be the headquarters for our Spanish Elder's referrals.
Then, of course, the classic missionary experience took place. Buckle up. So, Sister Olive and I continue down the lane, and see the next house has a long, muddy dirt driveway. (Picture our Texas home in January). I smile, and turn to Sister Olive and say "opposition in all things," wink wink and we jump puddles to the front door. THEN. We notice on the front step it says "Welcome to the Moreno Family's Residence." We resigned ourselves to the inevitable, and loosened up our tongues to roll a few R's. Much to our delight (this is not meant to be a racial slander. not in the slightest.) they weren't Mexican! They were from New York, and spoke good English, and now the mama and her daughter are planning to be baptized on August 31st!
BEST DAY EVER!
I am continually amazed at how the Lord is hastening His work. The greatest Spirit and motivation comes from the families of the Dunn ward. They are stepping up their game and the increase of the Spirit is tangible.
We went all out today, splurged on miles, and drove out to Raven Rock to go hiking (for the first time in waaaaay too long.) So, here are some pictures of, in President Bernhisel's words, "the Garden of Eden."
I love y'all. I know this is Christ's church. Like Sister Moreno said to us the other day, "so many people from different churches have knocked on our door, but none of them felt right, until you came." Brother Pipkin's favorite quote is: "Doubt your doubt before you doubt your faith." Seriously. Without faith, what are we living for? This life is the time to prepare to meet God. I'm so glad we know why we have to suffer. I was totally inspired by Sister Thompson's courage to come to church only 2 weeks after knee surgery with her little walker. She is one of my heroes.
Thank you all for having faith in Christ. Moroni
Love, Sister B
Monday, August 4, 2014
I love these days.
About a week ago, we went to visit Ms. Mildred. She shies away from set appointments, but loves to have us teach her, and wants to learn more. This last time, she taught me how to sing a southern baptist hymn based on Psalm 23. It was so much fun.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want
He maketh me lay in the pastures, so green
Beside the still waters, He restoreth my soul
Thanks be to Jesus, I'm clean and made whole
On Wednesday, after zone training, I got the sudden urge to stop at Panera (kin to Kneader's) for lunch. Lo and behold, one of the people sitting kitty corner from us had a little tattoo on her arm that read: made in germany. Interesting societal commentary.. anyhow, I got to speak with her for like 15 minutes about religion and Frankfurt and studying in Germany, and it was great. She loves to read, and agreed to let me send her a Book of Mormon ((:
I caught a little cold this week, so that was fun. We have been having very strange weather. On Wednesday, the temperature dropped about 25 degrees, and it's been rainy and chilly since then. It's okay though. A nice relief from our muggy, hot weather.
Gospel principles had to be my favorite part of the week this week. Our ward mission leader just returned from army training, and had so many great insights and stories about enduring to the end. He told us about this ridiculous set up: they'd been shot up and blown up and it was raining terribly, and had rucked 20 miles that day, and he was laying in the mud with his weapon, getting ready to shoot people, and he said he couldn't stop laughing. He couldn't stop laughing, because he was getting payed to have this crazy adventure. He knew where he was going, and he knew the bigger picture, and it made the whole thing awesome and hilarious. So, the parallels to life are pretty clear. We just can't forget who we work for. Jesus Christ is at the head of this work, and He knows why we need to have certain experiences. So, come what may and love it.
I love how people in the south respond when we ask them how Jesus Christ has blessed their lives. The first thing they usually say is that he woke them up that morning. And they say it with a smile. And they say it with faith, because they refuse to take this life for granted. Every moment is precious.
I love y'all! Isaiah 40:28-31
Monday, July 28, 2014
Hey y'all (:
Life is oh so good! I get rrreally stressed thinking about the joyful responsibility we bear, but the Lord is teaching me a lot. I am a big fan of the book they gave us to help with stress, it's called Adjusting to Missionary Life. I read yesterday Elder Uchtdorf's talk about being grateful in our circumstances, and that is going to be my main focus this week. We deal with crazy people sometimes, but the elect are out there, and finding them is just so much sweeter after dealing with disappointment. I read in the bible dictionary the other day that discipline and patience are born of disappointment, so that's my little insight into Heavenly Father's plan for me (:
President Bernhisel sent us this quote from President Eyring on what he did as a missionary to have the Holy Ghost working in his life:“I find that it only comes after prayer, searching the scriptures and the words of the prophets, exact obedience, loving others, humbly listening for the Spirit and after long and painful labor.” In other words, it isn’t easy, but it is sure worth it.
Sometimes I feel like I must be doing terribly when the Spirit isn't with me super strong, but it is reassuring to know that an apostle of the Lord also must commit to "long and painful labor" in order to have the Spirit with him. Our level of commitment to the Lord determines the level of spiritual sensitivity we have.
We have been working hard this week to overcome our weaknesses. I was touched in my heart to realize that serving the Lord "with all your heart, might, mind and strength" means being more disciplined in healthy eating and cardio exercise. We can't just let ourselves go, in other words...;)
I recommitted this week to do those things, and have been seeing miracles from it! We found 4 new investigators!!! What a merciful God we have. We are teaching Soyoung and Brad again! We got to go out teaching with Sister Bernhisel this week, and it was so neat! She has such a high level of the Spirit with her. It was incredible to watch her listen, observe, ask questions, and discern the needs of our investigators. Although Brad's washer exploded yesterday, they are planning on coming back to church, so we credit that miracle completely to the Spirit working through Sister Bernhisel. She is our inspiration (:
In addition to that experience, we had an interesting encounter with a referral who was so frightened by our uncanny ability to locate him even after he gave us totally wrong instructions, that he lied barefaced to us. I have never had someone lie to me like that before. It was interesting. I guess I have to admit that there are some people in the world who are intentionally mean to others. This came as quite a shock. Anyway, we called him out, and he sheepishly went inside and had his girlfriend come out and apologize for him... very interesting/ helpful experience in learning about how to discern the truth from people. We had two or three other experiences like that, and then they were complimented by several experiences where the Spirit helped us recognize prepared people as well. In short, the Spirit of discernment is powerful in helping us not be confounded before men. D&C 52:14
One of our new investigators came from offering to serve, and using the Book of Mormon. We contacted her while she was watering her garden, and shared the pictures from the front of the Book of Mormon to explain what it was. She agreed to let us help her garden next Tuesday, so we came back on Tuesday in our service clothes. She was so surprised to see us actually wearing sweats and T-shirts, she invited us in, and asked us to share our message with her. Word. We felt inspired to read from 3 Nephi 11 about baptism and the priesthood, and the spirit bore witness to her of the truth of the Book of Mormon. She re-read the part where Jesus talks about the atonement 3 or 4 times out loud, and then looked up and said "I really want to read this book!" It was so exciting to hear that!
Sister Olive has been asking EVERYONE for referrals. This has never been my strong suit, so I am extremely motivated by the competition. Similar to a "Costco with Caroline" experience ;) She constantly motivates me to humble myself, and be more exactly obedient, and also to not be so hard on myself. I have been memorizing my patriarchal blessing, and find great strength to not beat myself up as I recite passages of it to myself. It is a great shield against negative thinking and self-criticism, which we all need, so I definitely recommend it!
When I find myself wondering why I am stressing so much, or why our friends are facing such great opposition, or making poor choices, I am reminded that the Lord's ways are higher than our ways. He knows what it takes to bring souls unto Him. He requires everything we've got, and I don't want to hold anything back.
1 Corinthians 9:22-24
Love, Sister Boucher