Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Dearest Fam,

Well.  The bad news is I lost my planner.  Which is pretty much our brain here in the mission field.  So usually I use that to remember what I did this week because believe me, without it, I don't remember anything. Anything.  So now that it is lost, I will be trying to recount this week events by memory.  It will be difficult, but here it goes.
So last Monday, we went sledding! The bishop we live with has a steep slope outside the house, and covered in snow, it made great sledding ground.  He even had sleds for us to use, and we had a lot of fun.  I even tried to "snowboard" on the sleds, which did not go well, as the sled was disk-shaped, so it slipped out from underneath me and I landed flat on my back.  Haha fun in the snow!
Oh, man, what happened this week?  hmmm... well, we met a lot of new people.  Met a nice man who told us to either not talk about religion in his house or go away.  Also didn't want our contact info in case they needed any service.  That was pleasant. Right after that, we met a less-active family who really wants to start coming back to church, which was a real tender mercy from the Lord because it certainly lifted our spirits after that last meeting.  We also had dinner with a family of members that has a Swedish student living with them.  Good news--he loves the religious atmosphere here in Idaho and he wants to learn more!  Yayy, we are so excited to start meeting with him and the family! 
So for thanksgiving we have a p-day and are also eating dinner with one of our investigators.  We are helping her cook it, too, which will be really fun! So that also means that today, we don't have a normal P-day, just one hour of emailing (I am typing like the wind, here) and the rest of the day is a normal proselyting day. Mom, thank you so much for your letter. I love hearing from you throughout the week.  Sometimes, emails just can't compare to the excitement of getting a letter in the mail. It made my day, as it always does :)
It impresses me so much how--even in the midst of chaos and trial after trial--some of our investigators are just holding on with all of their might.  One family especially has just been having one piece of bad news after another.  Have they given up? Cursed God?  No.  Their faith is increasing more than even as they see that they are given strength to push through their trials--not deliverance from their trials--but the strength they need to work through them.  I wonder if I could do that if I were in their shoes.  I'm honestly not sure.  But I am working to get to the point where I know that I would!  God has a plan for each and every one of us and He will never abandon us if we do not want Him to. Something I've learned this week is how family is so extraordinarily important to strengthening faith in Him because you are in it together!  I will never take my family for granted.  Know that I love you so much and appreciate more than you know the love and support that you gave me growing up.  For the careful teachings and patient parenting--it has molded me into the missionary that I am now.  I love you so much and pray for you always.
God Bless,
Sister Moreland

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Hello my wonderful beloveds!  (<--is that a word? I don't know.)

The snow is here!!! So white and beautiful and lovely.  I saw actual snow-flakes for the first time.  When they land on the car or the sidewalk, you can see the individual flakes and they are so cool looking.  The cold isn't as bad as I thought it would be---until the wind starts blowing.  When the air is still, it feels nice and cold and dry, but when the wind starts blowing, that's when it becomes pretty unbearable.  But I experienced negative temperatures for the first time this week! It was quite chilly.  

We met lots of new people this week, expanding our pool of investigators and people to go see!  Also, we have one investigator who said she would never go to an LDS church because of stuff that's happened in her past, and out of the blue she showed up at church this Sunday! Woah!  We had no idea she was coming, so we weren't even in that ward this week :( Apparently she was looking for us, so I felt bad we weren't there to see her.  
Speaking of yesterday, Sister Worrall and I sang in church again--in two different wards this time.  Did I mention that I have been doing the Soprano part? You might mention that to Sister Nguyen, she's been wanting me to try Soprano for a while. 

So apparently we have a knack for reactivating people into the Catholic church :/   There was this family that we met, and they are Catholic but haven't been going and we talked to them about the Book of Mormon, etc, and the Dad said that he feels like God sent us as a message--to tell him he needs to start going back to church--the Catholic church.  Well...not our original intention, but our purpose is to bring people closer to Christ, so I suppose any faith is better than none at all.  This is the second time this has happened, haha.

On Friday night, we came home at the end of the day and flipped the light switch, only to find that our power was out.  The members we live with were out of town that day, and as our house is big and dark and creepy without any lights, we went back into our car to decide what to do.  There had been a strange man that came to our house earlier that day, so we were a bit paranoid. (I was picturing "Criminal Minds"-type scenes of stalking and kidnap).  So the members we had just seen that day were nice enough to come over with big flashlights so we could go inside and pack bags to go stay at the Sister Training Leader's place for the night.  That was an exciting adventure.  All was well and the next day our members were home and the lights were back on.  

Man, I love this gospel so much.  There really is nothing on Earth more important.  The basic principles of the gospel are just so important.  There is so much out there about church history and deep doctrine and all that extra stuff, but that's exactly what it is--extra stuff. The essential things for salvation are right there in the basics.  It all boils down to faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end by striving to become as Christlike as we can.  I have really been trying hard to improve my prayers this week.  I want to take time specifically to kneel before the Lord and offer up my heart and soul to him.  You can only get closer to someone by talking to them, after all!  

I love you all so much! Write me anytime :) 

God Bless,
Sister Moreland

Sunday, November 9, 2014

                                                Courtney's Missionary comic

Hola mi familia!
How is all?  I'm missing you so much and I want you to know how much I love and pray for you every day.

We ate at a member's home this week, and the wife made hot chocolate.  When I went to take a sip of mine, she said "Sister Moreland, you might recognize this hot chocolate!"  I took a sip and sure enough, it was Mama's Hot Chocolate!  I was so happy to have that delicious stuff in my tummy again.  Thanks Mom, it was a wonderful way to feel at home :)

I wish I remembered a lot about this week but the truth is I don't.  I didn't write in my journal at all so, as a result, my memory has been wiped clean of all that happened before Monday.
MONDAY. Monday we had a mission tour! It's where someone cool comes and speaks in the mission. And by "cool" I mean a general authority!! Elder Martino and his wife came and spoke to us and it was amaaaazing!  Oh and by the way, they are from Denton, Texas, and they know Grandma Jeanette and Papa Joe!  Apparently they've known her for 40-some odd-years. What a small world!  Anyway, it was SO inspiring and so encouraging.  I got so many ideas of how I can be doing better at missionary work.  For one, I've decided to commit to praying more.  Just more communication with my Heavenly Father throughout the day.  And better quality prayers, too.  Sometimes a prayer at 10:29 when you're about to pass out just doesn't cut it.  Good-quality communication is the key to any good relationship, right?  So it's gotta be the same way with God, too.  I'll let you know how that commitment goes and how it improves my relationship with Him. 
Also I've made a goal not to get fat.  But that's kind of hard when members are feeding you every stinkin' night. So we'll see where that goes as well.
I love you all so much!  Something I've learned this week--this sounds so cheesy--is to never give up.  Never give up on people, on the Lord, on His work for you, on your testimony.  Even when everything is crumbling down around you--you can't give up!  The Lord loves each one of us so much and will never give up on us, so we can't give up on Him!
God Bless,
Sister Moreland

Monday, November 3, 2014

My loved ones,

Wherever one door closes, another opens. And sometimes when one is opened, it is shut rather quickly.

This week was one of those roller-coaster weeks.  Lots of joy and lots of disappointments, all within a few days. Last Monday we went to the park and played football and soccer with some of the other missionaries.  It reminded me so much of Thanksgiving at Mimi and Papa's house, when we would play football with the cousins outside in the fallen leaves and the cool air.  My district leader tried to teach me how to catch the football behind my back.  That didn't go very well.   haha.  
We met the wife of a baptist preacher this week.  That was interesting. She was very nice, and told us why she didn't believe the Book of Mormon was true. We got to testify to her and clear up some misconceptions, so it was a good conversation all-in-all.  

On Halloween, we proselyted until 5:00, and for the rest of the night was a half p-day.  We have to be off the streets on Halloween night because a lot of people dress up as missionaries and go do mischievous things.  So we don't want to be accused of anything.  We got together with all the other missionaries in our zone and got to watch movies!  I miss movies.  So that was fun. 

So our joy this week came from being given a new investigator, a teenage girl who is dating a member in one of our wards. We had a lesson with her and it went well.  She's already been reading the Book of Mormon and says she's felt really good about it.  The Lord just leads us to those he has prepared! Such a blessing.  Then we had an awesome lesson/church tour with a highschooler we've been working with for a while. I've been worried because I wasn't sure whether he was just going with the lessons and going to church because his family was, or if he really wants to get baptized. (mostly because he answers all of our questions with one or two words.)  But after the lesson, he texted us and really express his desire to be baptized, he just needs more time, and thanked us for everything. I guess that's just a typical teenage boy, expresses himself more over text than in person :) . 

Sunday was rough. Remember the new family from New Mexico? The one that had all these questions and was coming to church and were really excited about it and all?  Well they are feeling a bit too overwhelmed about all this, so they didn't come to church.  That was a disappointment, but the good news is they are still willing to let us come over and see them.  Also, our baptism date that was trying to quite smoking was supposed to be smoke-free by Saturday so she can be baptized by the 15th, but she didn't make it.  That's okay though, because I have faith in her determination. I know she'll make it eventually, I'm just more worried about their family because they're really struggling.  It breaks my heart to see people who want the gospel so badly in their lives, but they are just so bombarded by outside stresses that it makes it tough.  Addiction, finances, family pressure, lack of support from family or friends....it's just heart-wrenching.  
But on Sunday night, we met a part-member family where the dad really wants to come back to church and his daughter has started asking a lot of questions about God and is really interested in us coming back.  Meeting them was a testimony to me that Heavenly Father really is looking out for us. He knows all of the disappointments that we face and is constantly putting his hand into our lives to guide us to those who are prepared for the gospel.  He also makes sure that we have little miracles in our lives every day to comfort us.  We all have little miracles in our daily lives, we just have to keep an eye out for them.

We've talked a lot about member missionary work this week, so I just want to make sure that I encourage everyone to pray for missionary opportunities and then ACT on them! Help those missionaries in your home ward out!  They are always looking for new people to teach and visit and talk to.  I love you so much. Stay strong in your struggles and always pray for the guidance of the spirit.  

God Bless,
Sister Moreland