Okay you might think I’m crazy and a huge dork this week. There hasn’t been a lot of big new events here so I just thought I’d type up some of my thoughts this week which hopefully aren’t too all over the place. I wanted to pull more quotes from the articles myself but I’m already over time so.
First off some quick updates.
- Sister Goudard is no longer my companion because she went upstairs to learn English for 9 weeks instead of just gospel stuff. I still see her every day and her English is already improving!!!!
- I’m the new Sister Training Leader! So basically I just lead different meetings and make sure all the sisters in our branch are okay :) It’s pretty fun to have an excuse to go get to know people.
- We’re going to be here until at least August 27, optimistically. They received our visas, but there was a problem with the sponsor letters, so they’ve now sent them back to Mongolia and are waiting to get the correct versions back. It can’t possible happen before that date and the computers say September 1 as our projected exit date, but of course we’ll go before then if they get the visas.
- In the meantime I can now bear my testimony, recite our purpose statement, and pray in Mongolian Sign Language. There are a lot of sign language branches (due to some bad vaccinations that impacted a certain generation :c ) in Mongolia and both of my teachers served in them at one point or another so they’ve been teaching us. In Mongolia we don’t pray out loud as missionaries, so if we want to pray in public with our companion we can use sign language so people don’t understand :) I really love praying in sign language though. I still have to practice Mongolian when I do it because it’s all the same word order and things and it’s really beautiful. It’s nice because at night when we say evening prayers we can say them “out loud” without interfering with each other but I still feel like I have to deliberately choose my words like I would out loud. The ASL missionaries came over to us in the cafeteria and made us teach them some because they thought it was so weird haha.
- I’ll be here so feel free to keep sending letters and DearElders! I’ll email before we leave when we get our plans, even if it’s not P-day :)
Scripture Study Ideas
So here’s some of the stuff I’ve been thinking about and studying this week as well as some invitations for you:
I love the MTC a ton, but it’s been a bit of a trying week, just because we found out we’d be so delayed and I had a major earache (on the same day haha). Still, it’s a great place to be delayed. I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be patient and how it’s more than just waiting. We have to try to fulfill our purpose!
Sister Largin gave a spiritual thought on 1 Nephi 3:7 this week which has always been one of my favourite scriptures. I love to say it out loud because I feel so much more able to really go and do. Sometimes we need to make that attitude adjustment and that scripture has always helped me :) She gave me some new perspective though! Because our missionary purpose is a commandment from God, we have been provided a way to accomplish that purpose even while in the MTC (notice it says “others” and not just investigators! others can even be ourselves) So we just have to look for the way that is already prepared (:
Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.
I know that you all can also participate in the process of inviting others unto Christ and there has also been a way for you to do member missionary work because it is also a commandment from God. When we were baptized part of our covenant was to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things and in all places.
10 Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?
So what does God want us to witness?
How can we stand as a witness and share the gospel of Christ?
The easiest and best tool we’ve been given in the Book of Mormon. I read this cool article in the Liahona which tells us that Heavenly Father specifically created this PERFECT book in order to bring people into the fold. So if we’re not using it to assist in that work we’re not using it to it’s full potential and main purpose :)
I loved reading that this week because I hada really cool experience. It says in D&C 6:22–24 that we can ask for an additional witness. Even though I already knew the Book of Mormon was true, because I finished it, I asked to for confirmation again that it was true. I felt happy but nothing particularly strong for a few days. Then Brother Boyd was doing a demonstration of how he teaches the restoration lesson and I was an investigator. It was all in Mongolian, but when he began to explain the Book of Mormon I felt the spirit more than I’ve ever felt in class. It was amazing. I know without a doubt this book is true, in any language. I know that it contains the fullness of the gospel and the way to happiness and joy. If we share it we are literally sharing hope.
So here’s my first invitation!
Ask for a witness that the Book of Mormon is true
Will you all do what Section 6 directs and ask for an additional witness (or a first one!) that the Book of Mormon is true and then write your testimony in the front cover of a book? You can buy one right here for like $2.50 or just ask the missionaries, because I’m sure they’d be overjoyed to give you one. If you take a picture of your testimony, I’ll even translate it into Mongolian in a Мормоны Ном (Mongolian Book of Mormon) over here and send you a picture! That’s like placing two books for the price of one :) This invite applies to non-family too. I’ve already translated one testimony and it’s the best language practice ever. I promise that if you pray about who needs the book and carry it around with you you’ll be prompted. This is something we ask even our investigators and brand new converts to do, so I promise it’s not too hard!
We’ve been blessed with so many resources nowadays! It’s a great time to be a member of the Church! I wish I could pull somethings out and show you, but I encourage you to check out the redesigned website. It’s really pretty and there’s some great stuff on there. Check out the Church News, the resources for teaching kids, of course Mormon Messages, and the shareable pictures. There’s also scriptures.byu.edu that shows you talks that reference a scripture and helps explain it. We’ve been doing reading practice by reading Mongolian articles online, plus we’ve gone to a lot of doctor’s appointments this week so this email has a lot of cool magazine links. One of the goals my home stake president President Jordan gave us was to read the church magazines every month. Since I’ve done that this year my view of them has changed so much. I’ve always liked flipping through, but I’ve only recently realized this is God’s specific word for us at this time, and contains the prophets words like a mini General Conference. There is so much goodness we can get and it’s sometimes easier to access and apply than the scriptures. So challenge #2:
Set lds.org as your home page
I love that it’s the first thing we see on the computer here and I loved having it as my homepage during the time I went to BYU. It’s always changing and when things catch your eye and you have a few minutes you’re more likely to find something uplifting. Elder Teixera also gave 3 habits which can totally change your ability to feel the spirit through your whole day. One of my favourite things here is not having a phone or any constant notifications or distractions. Maybe that level is almost impossible back home but you can at least limit what apps can give you notifications and when. We miss out on our ability to sit and ponder if our mind is occupied by the phone every time we have to wait!
Who do I invite to come unto Christ?
The first place we can invite others to come unto Christ is in our own homes. Now more than ever we need to protect our families! The whole August issue of the Ensign is on families and it’s great! It’s the 20 year anniversary of the Family Proclamation next month! I’m so grateful to have this guiding document. My favourite video at the LA Visitors centre has a quote from it:
Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.
I love this quote. It’s kind of like YW values for youth or Christlike attributes for missionaries but for families! So challenge 3:
The Family: A Proclamation to the World
Reread The Family: A Proclamation to the World with your family and then pick one of these things to work on in this recipe :) They’re like blueprints for a happy family!
I know that there is no better joy than knowing my family is eternal and feeling their love <3 I know that if your family is strong blessings will flow even outside. People will notice and come unto Christ themselves.
What does inviting yourself and others to Christ actually mean?
The most important thing Christ did on earth was the Atonement, so coming unto Christ naturally includes using the Atonement daily to improve our character. This article talks about what character really means and how it’s the most important thing we can develop. He talks about making decisions based on eternal truths rather than situations. In our purpose we talk about the 5 principles or steps of the gospel. I’ve come to realize that enduring to the end means repeating that cycle over and over (faith in a principle, changing and repenting to bring it into our lives, using the sacrament to renew our covenants, actively receiving the holy ghost to gain a testimony) So we can constantly improve our lives! I’ve always loved that George Albert Smith made a personal mission statement so that’s challenge 4:
Personal or Family Life Mission Statement
Journal about your personal or family life mission statement (be sure to use your patriarchal blessing) and then don’t let it die! Put reminders on your mirror or in your planner or create daily rituals like reading it before your evening prayers to help you! Remember prayer is a conversation with Heavenly Father. Right now we’re working on writing a letter to ourselves after the mission with everything we hope to improve on.
Using the Atonement and repentance is the central purpose of our lives if our goal is to become an eternal perfected being. So let’s make sure we’re doing it every day!
How do you actually do that? (Come unto Christ)
Eternal life means living like God lives, so we need to sacrifice our will to the will of the Father because we love him and love our families and want to be with them and help Him accomplish his purpose)
The more we follow commandments out of love the more we can be like eternal beings. I read this talk in Mongolian yesterday and I LOVE it.
What commandments? There are so many? The first and second greatest commandment is love God and love everyone else (Matthew 22:36-39).
When I think of Christ the first thing I think of is His love and charity. He is the greatest example. We can use his Atonement to forgive and be forgiven. I found the following quote in this article this week that answered so many questions:
Consider why the Savior is able to forgive those who sin. He can forgive me because he has suffered the pain, grief, and remorse that I will suffer in this life and because he suffers all of the pain and grief and sorrow that I inflict upon other people. He empathetically bore their sorrows in the garden, including those sorrows which I cause. He has a right to forgive me on condition of my repentance, for he has been the recipient of what I, in sinning, inflict.
So if we are long-suffering we can help people feel God’s love better! This has given me such a better perspective on not letting things make me grumpy, but just absorbing the bad stuff and turning it over to the Saviour and radiating his love and peace and joy! If we remember our actions can affect the eternities for good it’s easier to be happy :)
How does fulfilling the missionary purpose actually fulfill the purpose of life?
2 Nephi 2:25
25 Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.
We are that we might have joy! Not just in the life to come but right now! So be happy! Being happy invites ourselves and others unto Christ and coming unto Christ and recognizing His hand in our lives makes us happy!
One thing I’ve reflected on a lot this week whenever I get to be outside is that not only did Christ perform the Atonement but he made this world for us. You all probably know how much I love flowers so I loved this article.
So last challenge:
Find the flowers in your life
Like the girl in the article, find the “flowers” in your life and take a picture or write about them and DearElder me!!! I’d love to read some happy things this week and get some happy mail (it’s free) when we check our mail for visa updates 5 times a day. It’ll make you happier and make me happier all at the same time!!!! Seriously though, looking for happy things in life makes it so much more fulfilling.
I love you alllll soooooooooooooooooooo much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I know this was kind of a crazy email and I probably expressed myself terribly haha but here it is. Now you know I actually study here haha.
Lots of love,
Sister de Ruyter