Monday, March 2, 2015

 I FLIPPED OUT at the Lion King watch.I've been wearing it all week. I love it. Best birthday present ever.
                                                                All my Lion King stuff!
     I LOVED the card, that was so thoughtful of everyone!! Made me tear up a bit to see everyone in the family sending their love.
                                                   The fields are alive, with the Sound of Music!
                                                                   ...or is it about to be...
                                                  Auntie Em, Auntie Em, it's a twister, it's a twister
                                                               Joe's Family at his Baptism

                                                                             Joe's Baptism
                                                           "Make your own birthday cake!"

Man. Long week.

 We were excitedly preparing for Joe's baptism this week, so we saw them a lot this week.  After Elder Cox interviewed him for baptism on Monday night, Elder Cox said that he was one of the most prepared people he'd ever interviewed for baptism, and congratulated us for teaching clearly and helping him get prepared.  After all the hard work we do, it was really nice to hear that.  But it's not us, really. Joe had such a strong desire to search for what he was missing in his life.  He knew that he wanted an eternal family, and through prayer and scripture study, the spirit testified to him that this was the way to get it. 

Wednesday was rough. But your birthday package came just in time! On Thursday morning, I got the package, and my week was immediately made.  Thank you so much to all of my family members who included their bit! I love you guys so much!! 

On Friday, we had one of the most welcoming dinner appointments ever.  This Sister in the ward has a daughter out serving a mission, so she really took care of us.  She was telling us that her daughter experiences some of the same trials that we do, even when serving on the other side of the country in Mississippi.
  One of those things in common is really trying to encourage the members to make sure the welcome in the new converts with welcome arms. 

 So just a little pep talk for my family and friends back home: Gordon B Hinkley said in a talk that he received a letter from a recent convert about her experience with becoming a member of the church. "My journey into the Church was unique and quite challenging. This past year has been the hardest year that I have ever lived in my life.  It has also been the most rewarding..." She goes on to say that when she joined the Church she did not feel support from the leadership in the ward. "Church members don't know what it is like to be a new member..." President Hinkley said to his listeners "I challenge you, my brothers and sisters, that if you do not know what it is like, you try to imagine what it is like.  It can be terribly lonely.  It can be disappointing. It can be frightening. We of this Church are far more different form the world than we are prone to think we are." The recent convert woman says in her letter "When we as investigators become members of the Church, we are surprised to discover that we have entered into a completely foreign world, a world that has its own traditions,culture, and language...At first the trip is exciting, our mistakes even amusing, then it becomes frustrating and eventually, the frustration turns into anger.  And it's at these stages of frustration and anger that we leave.  We go back to the world from which we came, where we knew who we were, where we contributed, and where we could speak the language."

President Hinkley eventually goes on in his talk to explain that every new member of the church needs three things:  nourishment by the Word of God, a calling, and (maybe even most importantly), a friend.  Please be that friend to new converts.  Please let them feel the support and welcome that they so desperately need. There are too many people that get baptized and fall away from the church shortly there after.  It is so extremely sad to us as missionaries when we see someone feel the spirit, progress in the gospel, and get baptized, only to feel lost and alone in this new, foreign world without the love and support from individuals in the ward, and eventually fall away.  Please help us in this effort. Missionaries will be transferred away, so we can't continue that support system on our own. But as the members, you will stay in the area, in that ward. You can be the friend that these investigators and new converts need.  

Okay. That's the end of my soapbox.

What a wonderful experience Joe's baptism on Saturday was! Thank you, mom, for sending me the talk and telling me about the ensign article, I used both of those for my talk on Baptism! I made little cut-outs and everything, I think it went pretty well! It was wonderful to hear Joe and Daisy bear testimony of the truth they have come to discover. 

Well that's all I can think of for this week! Love you all sooooo much!!!

God Bless!
Sister Moreland

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