I hope that you all are doing well and having a happy!
By the way THANKS for the blog posts! They are amazing! I love them! (beard-ourfamily.blogspot.com)
We've had a really cold week here in Portland! The beginning of the week had freezing billowing blistering wind that we could hardly concentrate in when we were outside! And thenwe had freezing rain! (Yes there is such a thing where literally freezes into ice as it falls) They canceled school here for the weather which honestly is just embarrassing! They don't ever seem to go to school here especially in the winter! Anyway enough of that. We took advantage of the cold weather and had a new sense of urgency to get inside peoples houses to talk:)
This week we got the great opportunity to volunteer at the Bishops Storehouse. Which just happens to be in our area! I guess the next closest place is in Eugene. Lucky us! And who should be there besides the La Flams from Oakhurst!!!!!!!!! That was super fun. I never thought I'd be able to go and work alongside them.
I've realized that a lot of people that we are teaching who aren't really progressing rapidly are meeting with us for the main purpose of company and along the way learning things. It makes me really sad how many lonely people there are in the world. We need to go out and rescue the lost battalions of the lonely as President Monson said!
So I was asked to play the violin in zone meeting so for practice I went and played for Sister Clayton and for Jeanie. Sister Clayton has MS and hasn't been able to come to church in a long while. She is so great. When we called to ask if it was okay if we came over she was SO excited! That makes me excited and happy! Later she called in and requested another song for next week! Jeanie loved it as well! Music is super powerful. It softens hard hearts. It opens soft hearts even more. It brings a spirit into lessons and into people's hearts that you can work forever to try and bring and never be able to do it. I love music. I am so grateful that God has blessed me with this wonderful ability to play the violin. I am forever grateful to all those who have sacrificed to teach me and to provide that teaching.
Sowe had zone meeting and then President and Sister Thomas took us and the 4 Mt Scott sisters out to eat! (Sister Johnson-who was in St. Helens 1st when I was there- is now in Mt. Scott and they all come as a package deal for activities). Oh man! I sure do love President and Sister Thomas! I definitely miss being with them a ton! I asked them how long I'd be able to come back and visit and stay with them. President said "3 days. Unless you've lived with us then you can stay 4." Oh man! Only 4! Ah well.
We had an amazing lesson with Sam this week. We got his three oldest kids to stay for the lesson. They are 9,8, and 6. They are really good kids! It's nice because there isn't as much of a language barrier with them. They asked us 1000 questions. I had to keep thinking to myself "don't take the bait don't take the bait!" As in don't answer every single question and let the conversation just bouncy ball. Just stay on one topic. Anyway we are really excited for them!
Tonya has been sick this week but we were able to finally meet with her . We taught the law of tithing and the law of the fast. Tithing is going to be a struggle for her, but we definitely know that the Lord blesses those who keep the law of tithing. She is still going strong and excited for her baptism on! We are getting super excited! She's been here ready all along just needed someone with persistence to find her a ride to church and to come back even when she forgot about appointments.
So we drove up with Sunnyside and one of the Mt. Tabor Elders to Vancouver. We had an AMAZING conference. I don't know how I'm even going to start talking about what Iearned. Wow it was amazing. It was also super fun to see Sister Depew and Sister Petersen and her trainee Jill/Sister Hughes (from MV)! And also Sister Sonderegger! Best day ever! Can't wait till we can have the whole mission together for Christmas! Anyway some things I've learned. Elder Snow talked about a lot of different subjects. He spent a lot of time talking about the spirit. He said that there are really 4 phases of how we feel the spirit. Phase 1) comforter. That's really how we all first seem to feel and recognize the spirit. When we feel that physical evidence of him like warmth etc, comforting us. Phase 2) testifier. The spirit helps us to know when we are learning things that are true. Phase 3) revelator. The spirit can reveal things to us. We can feel enlightened. Just like Nephi (in 3 Nephi) in the Book of Mormon who received revelations daily. Phase 4) sactifier. When we reach that point were the spirit is with us a lot and we just want to do good continually. I really loved this. It is so true. Having the Gift of the Holy Ghost isn't just having it or whatever. There are levels of understanding the spirit according to our listening and applying.
Also it was cool. I guess Elder Snow is the church historian. I guess you can donate your old mission journals to the church history library. I thought that was kind of interesting and cool. So Sister Snow talked a lot about keeping a journal and records and she also talked about music and how powerful it is (love it!). It was an amazing conference.
Well our little detour just happened when we started driving home with the Elders and the GPS got lost (as usual- it likes to pretend we are off on some off-roading adventure) and all of a sudden we know we've gone to far and we come to some huge multi bridge place and we end up in downtown Portland. So... out of the mission. Wops. So we called the mission office and Elder Gilbert tried to help us get home. We ended up just taking a huge loop around Portland to get back. It really stressed Sister Stone out. So now we have a lot less miles so we are going to have to be walking and getting rides a little more but we should be okay. Anyway so there is our little adventure!
This week we've had several heart wrenching experiences. One happenednight. We were tracting after dinner and we end up knocking at this house and this guy lets us in. He tells us he knows we disagree on some things. And he goes on and on about how Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are all one person. Otherwise we wouldn't be a monotheistic religion. We were talking and telling him what we know to be true and at one point Sister Stone said something about Christ and he denied it and rebuked us. The spirit left like that. And let me tell you without the spirit we CANNOT teach. Not will not. But literally cannot. The spirit left and we literally had nothing to say. Is it a good thing to silence the missionaries? No. It's not. It means you've denied the spirit abode in your conversation. I walked out of that overwhelmed with a powerful witness that we, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, will be the primary witness of the reality and divinity of Jesus Christ. So many of our Christian brothers and sisters do not understand the true divinity of our Savior. It's one thing to hear him rejected by an already previously proclaimed unbeliever. It's another to hear him rejected by one who claims to be your brother in faith. As I have come to learn and understand more about our Savior, Jesus Christ, I have come to understand the reality of the apostasy in the lives of many in this world. And so I have come to realize the truth of this marvelous Restoration that I am a part of. This Church is true. This is The Church of Jesus Christ in these days! We will have to defend and proclaim our belief and faith in Jesus Christ in loud voices. And not only that. We will need to proclaim the truths we know about the reality of Jesus Christ and his true nature. This is our role as being members of His church.
So we had a great! Tonya, Sam, Phillipo, and Sam's boys came. Plus some others. It was a great church. Sam and Phillipo left after the first hour and left the boys with us. So we got to go to Primary! It's always a good day in Primary! Sam was late coming and by the end of church they were just balls of energy so they finally convinced us to play tag with them in the gym until Sam came. So hopefully Sam and Phillipo will stay .
So we had a referral for a guy supposedly named Suad. We called him and he called us backto meet with us but we told him we were busy but we could come . He had a thick accent and we couldn't really understand what he was saying it sounded something like smoking. Then he calls us again and says 'we are ready for you'. Anyway we weren't exactly sure what we were walking into so we asked our trustee friend Sister Palmer to come with us. Well it turns out that it us a 'Russian family' Which is apparently a general term and they are actually from Azerbaijan and also have Romanian in them to varying degrees. Suad is actually Fuad and smoking is actually Shmoeky or Sister Shmoekel who originally found them in the Mt. Scott area. Apparently the friend, Edmond, is a minister and had prepared all day to talk to us (we learned this later) which makes a lot of sense. At times he would just spout off some random bible fact and tell us to find it in the scriptures as though we were competing with knowledge somehow or something. He brought up the weirdest things and told us to find the scriptural references to who was the oldest man in the bible. He told us there was no rain until the flood. He said a bunch of random irrelevant facts that had nothing to do with anything. Anyway... we'll see where that goes. But eventually we were able to leave. Once again the night we are late is night when they want our numbers asap!
So just so you know I'm a HUGE fan of the Nashville Tribute Band now a days and they just are coming out with a new tribute to Christ and Sister Palmer got an early edition that she let us borrow.... I think this is on the Christmas wish list just so you know! You should listen to them Mom I bet you would LOVE them!
One really cool facebook story from this week. I got a friend request a while ago from someone I don't know so I sent a little message saying I was a missionary and asking if they were members of the church or if they wanted to learn more. Well I got a message back this week in Spanish so using my small abilities and google translate I discovered that this certain young man is from Peru. He joined the church two months ago after first being taught by Hermana Sam Garner and then finished being taught by Hermana Sarah Stringham! (Sam lived next door to us fall semester and Sarah is my roommate!) How cool is that?
Sister Kaitlyn Beard
Here's a really good poem I found in a conference talk. It's called "the oyster"
There once was an oyster
Whose story I’ll tell
Who found that some sand
Had worked under his shell.
Just one little grain
But it gave him a pain,
For oysters have feelings
That are very plain,
Now did he berate
This working of fate,
That left him in such a
Did he curse the government,
Call for an election,
And say that the sea
Should have some protection?
No! He said to himself,
As he sat on the shelf,
“Since I cannot remove it,
I think I’ll improve it.”
Well, years passed by,
As years always do,
Till he came to his destiny,
But the small grain of sand
That bothered him so
Was a beautiful pearl
All richly aglow.
Now this tale has a moral,
For isn’t it grand,
What an oyster can do
With a small grain of sand?
And what couldn’t we do
If we’d only begin
With all of the things
That get under our skin?
Nobody Said That It Would Be Easy
|Lunch with President and Sister Thomas|