Monthly Archives: April 2014

4/28/2014

Dear President Hanks,

I can’t even come up with the right words to express how much I trust and love my Savior and my Father in Heaven and the gentle, yet powerful way in which they teach me how to become the best version of myself which they intend for me to be which is more like my Savior.

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Right now, my companion and I have received inspiration for how we can help the branch members who are suffering from not having the spirit in their homes as much as they need to be as happy as the Lord knows they can be and wants them to be. Last night during our planning, we had this wonderful, spirit lead conversation about how we can help these precious, wonderful members and their families so that we can all then “go forth” and spread and share the gospel TOGETHER!!!!

Yesterday in our sacrament meeting, I gave a talk on member missionary work. I started by trying to capture their attention by sharing an experience which my mom sent to me (which I sent to you) in which she related my home ward’s winter trek experience. My mom explained how difficult the circumstances became when things didn’t go as planned and they quickly became potentially dangerous, making this “winter trek” more like any mock pioneer activity my family had ever been apart of. The youth from my home ward who were involved on this trip really reached out of themselves (arrows out) and helped, strengthened, comforted, served the others who were suffering worse than they were. As I read this story from my mom, I was shocked at some of the instances where this was shown. Never would I have imagined some of these youth to be so kind and selfless.

Anyway, I shared this experience and then I expressed to the congregation how we must reach out to each other and lift and strengthen one another on this journey that we are all on. The spirit really helped me in expressing how we can all be a little better at sharing the gospel, not only with non members, but with each other. Preach my Gospel helped me as well as I read from the section on member missionary work (pg. 84) and shared the importance of praying for opportunities to serve and share, emphasizing the promise which the Lord gives each of us who engage in His work. “The Lord promises to help members know what to say and do as they share the gospel.” (PMG, pg 84 last sentence)

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The Elders and us are kind of both teaching a family. we kind of take turns, we don’t teach them at the same time except in gospel principles class. Sister McLaughlin and I taught that yesterday and Tim and his son (this family) came to church and stayed for all 3 hours! Tim is really soaking up everything and seems so comfortable at church and with everything that we have taught him. He is very smart and asks tons of questions. He understands that the end goal is the temple with his wife and son. We are working on meeting his wife who seems to blame God for her father’s death. There is so much positive happening here.

The lesson in gospel principles was about The Lord’s covenant people. We had a recent convert in there too who is going through a rather rough time and he kind of broke down and opened up and Tim, the investigator really reached out to him and contributed a lot to the conversation and soaked up everything that my companion and I said. I invited each of them (including myself) to offer prayers of mostly gratitude and keep a record of the good things, the tender mercies from the Lord in their lives. As I was extending the invitation, Tim seemed like a little child on Christmas Eve who was asked to put the star on top of the Christmas tree. His eyes were big, he was leaning forward, fully engaged and he accepted the invitation and then, the best part was: when I asked for a volunteer to offer the closing prayer, Tim was the first to accept. His prayer was beautiful and full of gratitude. He truly conversed with his father in heaven and I felt very honored to be included in this conversation. This man is so sincere and honest and true, striving to lead his family in the right direction and to do what is right. He has much knowledge, yet he is so humble and willing to learn.

Sister McLaughlin and I helped in primary during the 3rd hour. I played the piano and she did the sharing time lesson and helped with singing the songs. Tim’s son was in primary and he seemed to really enjoy it. He is one smart kid, very respectful and kind. I couldn’t help but think that he must have been really enjoying primary, because they are catholic and he usually sits through some very boring meetings I am sure. I am so grateful to be able to get to know Tim and his son and hopefully his wife as well and to see them progress in the gospel.

The BEST part of serving the Lord on a full time mission is by far seeing people “get it” and to see the physical change of their countenance and they allow the light of Christ more into their lives! I have a testimony that it is not about the numbers. While numbers are important and they push us to work hard toward a goal, the thing that matters the most is that we love and serve and guide our fellow brothers and sisters to come closer to Christ, and we leave the world and the Father’s children better than we left them. This is the best thing I have ever done in my life! I am going to sprint to the end and work harder and harder every day! The Lord can count on me, I am proving it every day. Can he count on you? Make sure that you are proving it.

I have been struggling lately feeling ill, but I have been able to receive needed strength from the Lord and push through. The Lord has blessed Sister McLaughlin and I with help from the wonderful members to give us rides and feed us when we were in great need of it. The experiences we have gone though, are helping us to see how we can help the Jasper branch get back to the basics/ fundamentals of the gospel : having family prayer, scripture study and family home evening, showing love and respect for one another in their homes and also for fellow members.

I received a priesthood blessing last night from a member of the branch presidency in which the Lord let me know that He appreciates my efforts and hard work, that I will be healed from whatever illness has been ailing me and that I am heavily needed in the Jasper branch. I know the my Father in Heaven loves me and that I please Him (my life’s goal) when I strive to be obedient and work hard for the salvation of His children. I continually strive to strengthen, lift, love and support everyone around me and the Lord is strengthening me as I do so.

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I have never been happier President. Every day we ask ourselves, did we seek for, and follow the spirit? Who did we help today? Did we give our best effort and allow the Lord to expand our capacities. Yes. As we have grown together and increased our studies and lifted one another, we have been able to see all of these and then some every day!

Remember, the gospel of Jesus Christ is all about DOING! Therein lies true joy and peace!
It’s true. It’s all true, then what else matters….?

Love your ever faithful Sister missionary serving in Jasper,

~Sister Wright

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4/21/2014

Dearest family,

I hardly know what to write y’all this week. My heart is overflowing with joy and gratitude! How have I been so incredibly blessed to have such a steadfast, strong, faithful family who love and support me and care about me and what I am striving to accomplish in my life. The past few days were a bit difficult for me to be so far away from all y’all, but I am eternally grateful for the sacrifice of our Savior and His resurrection which we celebrated (and continue to celebrate) because I have been filled with peace from knowing of a surety that we will all be reunited once again. Whether first in this life, or the life to come, it mattereth not as long as we continue faithful and diligent to our covenants.

Mom, thank you SO much for your compliments and thanking me for who I am and what I strive to do and who I strive to become! You succeeded in making me cry… 😉 For real, though, Thank you for following the spirit and lifting me up! I have been striving to be and do all of those things and sometimes it is difficult to see the results and feel or know that I have gotten anywhere or accomplished anything….. good. Y’all are the best family in the WORLD!!!!!

We ate Easter dinner with some members last night and they took a picture of my companion and I and sent it to mom’s phone. Also, there was a member whose sister and brother in law were visiting from Utah and offered to take a few of my things back to yall for me. I gave them our address and the home phone number. Let me know if they got through to y’all.

Everything sounds so exciting! I love hearing about all of the great and wonderful things that y’all are doing and how y’all are all growing up! I don’t think I will recognize y’all when I come home….

OH! Mother’s day is coming up! Can yall believe that one year ago, we talked over skype?! So much has changed since then! I’m still geeking out about it! 😉 How about y’all tell me the best way to work that communication?

I am doing well, our teaching pool is kind of dwindling, and no one seems to want to listen to what we have to say, but there are a few who seem promising and actually there is a family that we are now teaching with the elders and here is kind of an explanation of that….

Yesterday was one of the best days of my mission! My companion and I received quite a few invitations to eat an Easter meal with members of the branch, but if all had been accepted and attended we would have been with members all day and got nothing else done. I felt very prompted that we needed to go see a referral which we had received right after church and so we did that instead of going to eat with members (until later in the evening). As we arrived at the home associated with the address which had been given, we recognized the neighborhood as one we had been sent to before for a different referral who apparently had moved years ago. (That past referral had a completely different name than the one we were currently trying to visit.)

As I stopped the car and put it in park, we noticed a gentleman on the porch and when we saw his face, we recognized him as one of the Elder’s investigators who had come to the church for one session of conference and also had come to sacrament meeting the next week. Apparently, the referral was his wife who wanted to meet with sisters. This man’s wife whom we were trying to visit with was asleep, but her husband had some questions for us about the Plan of Salvation.

This guy has really been researching, though my companion and I testified of simple truths and invited him to continue reading the Book of Mormon beginning and ending with a prayer and also to pray to know if all of this is true for himself. We were able to answer some of his questions which scholars, whom he had asked, were not able to answer for him. We had a very positive experience and my companion and I offered a prayer of thanks as soon as it was appropriate to do so (meaning we were alone).

Later in the day, this guy texted us and asked if he could ask us a question. He asked about being sealed to his family in the temple and seemed to understand that his wife would need to join the church to be able to be sealed to her and his son. We ended up calling him and talking with him over the phone. We called the elders after and told them all that was discussed and we are planning how we can all work together to help this family come to the church and be taught the principles of the gospel and how we can involve the branch president, council and members so that we can help this family come into the fold. It was such a neat experience to have followed the spirit expecting one thing and then to be blessed to see a miracle, the Lord’s will actually unfold as we were obedient and where the Lord needed us at that precise moment!

Yesterday as we were going to see a part member family who are black and actually as we were leaving, we drove past this large family (all black) and as I was stopped at the stop sign and preparing to go after checking the intersection, one of the black guys looked over and yelled, “What are yall two white folks doing in this black neighborhood” The volume of his question scared me more than anything and made us both jump. Then almost immediately, he laughed and said, “I’m just kidding!”

Honestly, sometimes I forget that I am white. We haven’t had much problems with people pointing it out and so that shocked me. We got out of there quickly, don’t worry. I don’t think there was any real threat because it was a nice big family with women and kids in playing football. We have heard about some black panthers here though and there are some KKK still round these parts, but don’t worry, we are obedient and safe and the members take real good care of us! (We have the coolest stake president! He is black and actually served his mission here in Bama and also lived in Utah round our parts!)

I was able to play my violin a little bit this week for some sisters in the branch who are going through cancer treatments and other health issues. That has been so precious!

Well, I got to go. My companion isn’t feeling too well today and we need to go get some things to take care of her. Please pray that the people of Jasper will be receptive to the message of the Restoration and that we will be able to teach it simply and correctly in a way that they will desire to have it in their own life!

Keep the faith and strive to be ready to share the gospel at anytime and anywhere. Also, strive to be worthy of and keep a current temple recommend!

I will be sending pictures here pretty soon hopefully!

ETT3(endure to the end) STEADFAST IN CHRIST

(I asked sister hanks about the quilt. Sister Hanks couldn’t decide on any colors really, she just said no purple)

Sister Wright

4/14/2014

Dear family,

I am doing so well! The Lord is so good! I love being a missionary! I love the sun and the spring! (did y’all ever think y’all would hear me say that… ? Neither did I…. ha ha! 😉

This week was quite the adventure!!!

Sister M’s bike tire went flat as we were riding to go see a referral (who ended up being a less active member living with a non member) her tube had a hole or something and wouldn’t hold air, so we waked to a member’s house who was nearby and she helped us. We had correlation meeting and then we had dinner and a lesson with a part member family. We watched 2 Mormon messages about The plan of Salvation and temples and then we talked about the importance of temples and the plan of Salvation. The spirit was so strong. As I was explaining the celestial kingdom, the spirit gave me an idea. I explained to the non member, that the temple is a window into the celestial kingdom. The spirit testified to John(non member) that what we were saying is true and we invited him to read and pray to know if it is true. It was incredible! That is what makes a mission worth it, those precious moments where I don’t teach, but the spirit teaches and I just helped to invite him and create an atmosphere where he could come.

The Lord answers prayers! We went contacting in the mall and we prayed very specifically for him to help us reach our goal of talking to 7 people in a certain store in the mall. You know, we talked to 7 people before we even reached the store!!! I love the Lord SO MUCH!!!! I testify that He answers prayers!

After the mall, we went to try to see S. because I couldn’t get her name out of my mind. She wasn’t home, but as we were driving other there, I thought of a less active sister who lives close to S., so we called and asked if we could go see her. When we got to her house she told us that she was having a rough day. She explained that she had just had to end a very long friendship with someone. We sat there and just listened to her for a while and I prayed that the Lord would help me know what to say. Finally, when she had finished, and I opened my mouth, all that came out was that I asked her what song she really liked, what song made her happy. At first, she said she couldn’t think of any but then after I explained that we had gone and played for an elderly lady and that I had my violin with me, she remembered what song she loves, How Great Thou Art. So, my wonderful companion grabbed my violin for me from the car and I proceeded to play that beautiful song which soothes the soul as well as some others.

This sister’s neighbor and her grandson were out and they came over to listen as well. My companion pulled out a scripture to help calm her heart and then we offered a prayer. This sister expressed to us how grateful she was and told us how perfect our timing was. That is how perfect the Lord’s timing is and how aware he is of His precious children.

Our organ player is getting married and moving to Virginia, so I am learning how to play so that I can help out the branch who now has no one who knows how to play the organ, and only limited piano players. The organ is actually pretty sweet and I have always wanted to learn to play it. It is so cool! For real y’all!

I don’t quite know how to summarize this, from my journal, so I will have to quote it for y’all….

“Epic day! I’m not quite sure how to express or explain all that happened, but I will say that Sister M. and I have a pretty great relationship. One of our referrals ended up being a member. One of the members went all the way out to Perish to see an older, semi less active sister with us and we got to know her more. This Sister told us about a second marriage she had and how she helped the children in that family. She is so faithful and converted(she recently come back into activity and went through the temple for real) Love her so much and look up to her a ton!
This morning I studied about enduring and was reminded of one of my favorite children’s books “Going on a bear hunt” because I feel like I’m running through deep mud but I can’t go over it, I can’t go under it, I have to go through it, but I am not alone. What a gorgeous day it was today! Sister M curled my hair and I did hers.
I know w/out a doubt, that the Book of Mormon is true, it is the word of God.”

Saturday we had interviews with president Hanks. He told me he is proud of me and kind of reviewed with me where I have served and who with and pointed out that I have affected/influenced the whole mission because of the sisters whom I served with and helped and trained and how they have gone all over the mission and influenced countless others. He told me that he is proud of me and I should be pleased when I look back on what I have done with certain companions. That was neat. I am going to work harder and strive to find even more people to teach!

I am studying in 3 Nephi about all the destruction and the voice of the Lord coming to the people. Wow! If only they would have repented BEFORE the great and terrible day of the Lord…

I did get my medication. Thank you mom and Sarah SO MUCH! I loved the cute little package with the candy (my favorites) and the letters! Y’all are the best and seriously life savers! 😀 Sarah, I am going to be writing you back, don’t worry. where is Zack going on his mission?

The work continues to progress and move forward here in Alabama, yet there are a lot of people who are still so hard hearted against the message of the restoration. Something that I have found is that members are VITAL and ESSENTIAL to the work of the lord! I invite everyone to wear their religion on their sleeve and be prepared to answer questions that non members may ask or be prepared to refer them to the missionaries in the area. Many people judge us because they don’t know what really goes on inside our buildings and homes. Invite them to come and see as President Uchtdorf told us to do in a previous conference. Help them to feel the spirit and it will be familiar to them and they will want that in their own life!

This last week my companion and I were in the park, and I had my violin and was playing hymns. There was an older gentleman who stopped and asked me what my favorite religious song was. He introduced himself and asked me if I wanted to be on TV. This man and his wife record and produce episodes on a TV channel about Special places and people. This last Saturday, they met us at the park again and recorded me playing the violin and my companion singing and also interviewed us about who we are, what we do etc… I testify that the Lord has given us talents for a reason. We should be looking for ways to improve and to share them for the blessing of others lives. Y’all will be able to watch the episode online at http://www.walkerwebtw.com. We don’t know when it will be on yet, but when I find out I will let y’all know so y’all can watch it. 😉

I know that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and His Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that President Thomas S. Monson is His chosen prophet on the earth today. I so testify in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Thank y’all so much!!!

Keep going strong and always repent and trust in the Lord!

Love, Sister Anna Wright