Friday, September 30, 2016

Excited For Conference!

First things first, because I want to make sure you ALL read this part - next week, PLEASE send me some of your thought from conference, every single one of you! Either in an email or in a letter. I love learning from you, and conference is such a special opportunity to learn!!

We met a lot of interesting people this week. We met someone from Dubai who's only been in the states for a month, and we're going to give him a Book of Mormon in Arabic.
The Book of Mormon in arabic

"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" in arabic
We met a pair of twins from Romania.  We ran into a member from South Africa who traveled by various boats for four years to get to America, and apparently the church wants to make a movie about their journey, which involves one of the captains they were with trying to stab her son! For the first time, I was Bible-bashed by a Baptist. Someone told us about having a ghost yell in his ear that morning while he was making breakfast, and also gave us the cure to cancer! Lemon juice and baking soda. And yesterday, we met a guy on house arrest! (He didn't tell us, but we saw the ankle monitor.) ​You meet so many different people on the mission! It really opens your eyes up to the world and all the different experiences people have in it, as well as the ways that they deal with it.

I'm falling more and more in love with Hispanic food. On Wednesday, we had dinner at the Zavala's house. They're from Peru, and I've discovered from them and another family in the branch that I LOVE Peruvian cuisine!! Hna Zavala gave us rice and chicken and veggies, but then gave us Crema de Aji to put on top of it, and OH MY GOSH!!!! It's my new favorite thing!! It was SOOO good!Also, Hna Cedeño taught me how to make arepas! She said that in Venezuela, they make them for almost every meal. It's basically a pita, but different kind of dough, and you put whatever you want in it. We were improvising with what we had in the house and put in cheese, mayo, ketchup, and breaded chicken. It was good!

Women's conference was so amazing this week. I'd been looking forward to it the whole week, and a lot stood out to me as we watched it. One of the first things that stood out to me was in Sister Bingham's talk. She said, "The greatest form of charity may be to withhold judgment." It was definitely something that I needed to hear this week, and helped me realize that I need to be a little more humble. I also loved when she said later, "The great blessing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the opportunity for eternal progression." Even though we always have so much to improve, we always have the opportunity to continue to improve, which is amazing.  Another thing that jumped out at me was in both Sister Stephen's and Sister Oscarson's talk. They both quoted Elder Nelson and said, "We need women who have a bedrock understanding of the Doctrine of Christ." The Doctrine of Christ is obviously something we already study a lot as missionaries, but it gave me more of a desire to really search and understand more all the parts of the doctrine! Sister Oscarson also gave us a great warning - "If we don't teach our children and youth true doctrine - and teach it clearly - the world will teach them Satan's lies." I'm so grateful for the teachings of my parents, and that because of the way I have been taught I've never had to question what was right or what was wrong!And then, of course, Elder Uchtdorf's talk was inspiring and uplifting. The first part of it that really stood out to me was "Faith is ... a conviction so strong that it moves us to do things we might normally not do." Sometimes I wonder if I have enough faith, but as he said this, I thought to myself, "I'm on a mission. That's a crazy thing, and definitely something I normally wouldn't do. Why in the world would I be here if I didn't have that faith?" Describing myself as a "Woman of Faith" has sometimes been hard for me, because I think that at times it's hard to understand exactly what faith is, but the Spirit let me know that the times when I doubt don't signify that I lack faith, because I move forward despite my doubts ("Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith"). I also thought it was informative the way he taught us about what faith cannot do - violate others' agency, or force our will upon God. It made me think about where I focus my prayers and how I can exercise more faith by trusting more in His will and plan.Also, this quote: "Faith means that we trust not only in His wisdom, but we trust also in His love." Everything He does for us - even if at the time it seems like He's not answering our prayers - is because He loves us!!And then, of course - Fourth Floor, Last Door. This was a wonderful story about the power of diligence, but as a missionary, it really lit a fire under me. I want to go to the fourth floor, last door, every day. I want to find those people, to not let the rejection get to me or cause me to slow down. And sometimes you have to knock on dozens of doors before finding the one family - or one person - ready to receive the Gospel. It was definitely a message I needed at this time in my mission, because we've been facing a lot of rejection as of late! It's so frustrating, but we just need to keep going!

We did get a new investigator this week! Her name is Laura, and she's the cutest little abuelita you've ever seen! We taught her the restoration, and when we first invited her to pray about it she seemed pretty hesitant. But earlier in the lesson, she'd said that having authority would definitely be essential in order to do ordinances like baptism and other things. So, I brought that up again, and said, "We know you don't know right now if we have that authority. But if we do, it makes all the difference in the world. What we're asking you to do is pray to know, so that if we do have that authority - and I testify that we do - you can know for yourself and be able to return to live with your Father in Heaven." After that, she nodded and really understood the importance of what we were asking her to do. We have our next appointment set up for this Thursday.

Here are some more thoughts from my personal study this week.The one that I most want to share is in Mosiah 15:11. Here Abinadi is talking, and as I read this verse I immediately thought about General Conference coming up this weekend. It says, "Behold I say unto you, that whosoever has heard the words of the prophets, yea, all the holy prophets who have prophesied concerning the coming of the Lord -- I say unto you, that all those who have hearkened unto their words, and believed that the Lord would redeem his people, and have looked forward to that day for a remission of their sins, I say unto you, that these are his seed, or they are the heirs of the kingdom of God." It is so essential that we prepare ourselves to receive the word of the Lord our God through the mouths of his appointed servants this coming weekend. It's such a privilege to so easily be able to hear the will of the Lord, and as we heed the counsel we are given we will always prosper and be protected, and find joy in our righteousness and obedience.

iLes quiero muchisimo!! I encourage you all to personally prepare for conference this weekend with questions and ponderings to bring to the Spirit. As you earnestly do this, I can promise you that those questions will be answered and your understanding enlightened!
Love,Hna Garner

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