All posts by Maria Miller

9/22/2014

Dearest family,
Sister Krause and I have had such a wonderful week!  Heavenly Father is so gracious and has lead us to some investigators who are looking for peace and direction and understanding in their lives.  I know that focusing on the Book of Mormon is exactly what we need to be doing as a mission.

One of the new investigators we were able to find just called and told us that she was reading the Book of Mormon, but wasn’t understanding all of it, so we invited her to keep reading but to pray for understanding and promised to read it with her at our appointment tomorrow.  The Book of Mormon is the work of God and it will bring the honest seekers of truth closer to Him than any other book.

Sister Krause and I have seen the Lord work through us the past four and 1/2 days and we are so grateful!  There is no way to work, but hard and effectively which is the Lord’s way.  We are waking up at 6:15am and working out until 7 and we are using every minute of the day to find.  My first transfer out here I did not take any breaks or naps or anything and the Lord blessed me to be able to do it (even though I was exhausted) and so I have decided that for the next 6 weeks that as I work my butt off especially when I’m tired, that He will strengthen me.  I’ve never been more exhausted in my life, yet I’ve never felt more joy or fulfillment.

Let me share some insights that I have had and been pondering over the past few weeks…

The evening of the multi zone conference with Elder Zwick, I felt impressed to begin a journal of the nature and attributes and attitude of the Savior and His Apostles (ancient and modern) so that I can better serve those around me as I apply these things to my own life and how I treat others.

“Jesus was constantly loving and serving, his focus was on building others because he loved them because he loved God.  How is this shown by the Savior’s prophets and apostles today?  PE(personal experience): Elder Zwick came to speak to us today.  Three things greatly impressed me about this general authority:

  1. He took the time with each person in the room to shake their hand and say their name while looking them in the eye and asking how they were doing.  This is a pattern of how the Savior treated others and showed his love and God’s love for them.
  2. He taught boldly, confident and steadfast and testified of simple truths that touched our hearts.  He taught by the spirit of the Lord and invited him to be there with us.  This may be described as “dignity and presence”, which made evident, the moment he entered the room, that a servant/messenger of the Lord was among us.
  3. His humility, which is NOT talking negatively about yourself and highly of others, but giving credit, praise and thanks to God as well as recognizing that we are equal to our fellow man and God is far above us and His ways are best, that we must simply love Him and follow His ways.  Elder Zwick told us personal experiences from interactions with members of the quorum of the twelve which opened my eyes to see that they are no better, no more special than I am.  We are all children of God and He loves each of us the same, perfectly.

Another thought which came to me, from the spirit, was that I can become as close to my Savior as the twelve apostles and other General authorities are, even the prophet.  The way I can do this is by consistently reading his words, communicating with him through prayer, practicing following promptings of the Holy Ghost and offering my heart to my Father in Heaven.  Sanctification comes as we constantly, consistently and earnestly do the little things from day to day and little by little we become who our Father wants us to be, which is greater than we ever imagined or could do ourselves.  I know that this is true.  I have seen it happen in my own life, and in the lives of others.  It begins with a seed, a desire, and it results in a tree, a magnificent life giving tree. ”

Also, this morning in my personal study, I was reading in 2 Ne. 15 and as I read the last line of verse 25, I remembered something my Dad taught me growing up.  My dad would open the scriptures and teach us what they meant and apply them to our lives as well as talks and books and articles from church leaders.  One of the things that my dad taught us was that Heavenly Father is bound by eternal law just as we are and that He would cease to be God if He broke those laws.  This is the thought that I recorded in my journal about the nature of Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and their disciples: “Heavenly Father is perfectly obedient to eternal laws, and the only way he could have become perfectly obedient is by practicing exact obedience.  Heavenly Father must obey the laws of Eternity, or he would cease to be God.  Even God cannot take away the consequences to our actions, but He can and does love us and reach out to us and offers to help us through those consequences.”

Obedience is a word that I always thought I understood, but the more I study it and practice it, the more my view of what it truly means changes.  At the Friday evening session of Time Out For Women this weekend (where Sister Krause and I met a young lady, who is attending school in Georgia and is being taught by missionaries there, who was trying to receive an answer to whether she should get baptized or not) Brad Wilcox spoke about what it means to be true disciples of Jesus Christ.  Brother Wilcox said, “Disciples of Christ actually live and do what they believe 24/7” and he shared an experience where he and his friends who were all members were consistent with what they professed to believe and it was noticed by nonmembers.  “The weird thing about those Mormons is that they actually do what they say believe” was the comment that the nonmember teenagers made.

Brother Wilcox continued to explain that the word “sincere” means without wax because in earlier days, people would use wax to cover cracks and mistakes in pots that they would sell and so people came to ask if the pot was “sincere” before buying it.  “Is it without wax?”  This was so brilliant to me.  I loved that he said that we feel peace when our behavior agrees with our beliefs after sharing Mathew 23:25 which is the Savior cursing the fig tree because it won’t bring forth fruit even though it has leaves, it is deceiving.

The next bit was neat too because he was speaking to a large group of women who constantly feel like they are not enough (like you talked about at transfers) so he explained that living the way we believe and standing for truth and righteousness is not always easy, and that we don’t have to be perfect, yet. “The light isn’t there because we’re perfect, the light comes because we’re honest.  Worthiness is not flawlessness, it is striving and not giving up.”

What a treat it was to attend, and to meet and talk with so many nonmembers who were there. The young lady I mentioned earlier, decided to tell the missionaries back in Georgia that she wants to get baptized next Saturday after both Sister Krause and I tried to help her recognize the peace and joy she was feeling from reading the Book of Mormon (which she said she takes everywhere with her) and many other things as the answer the Lord was giving her. Both Sister Krause and I felt so grateful to have been able to help her and we can’t wait for her to get baptized!

There is much potential here, Sister Krause and I are here to love and serve, but our purpose is to find, teach, baptize and retain and that’s what we intend to do with the help of the ward and the Lord!

Love y’all so much,

Sister Wright

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9/1/2014

Dearest Family,

I love hearing those stories of how the Lord just prepares the way for evrything to work out. How funny that Sarah had that experience! That is way cute! Can yall send the video so I can see? It sounds like she is just blossoming and really enjoying her experience! What fun it will be for us all to connect and share stories and experiences!

Beautiful sunset ;)
Beautiful sunset 😉

Crazy, almost trunky experience yesterday. We have a dinner calender and the family who had signed up to feed us just had a son get home from his mission this past week and he spoke in sacrament meeting and they had all the family over for dinner (well the family who live near) this RM’s grandparents actually live in Montgomery and I know them from when I served in their ward. It was strange and wonderful all at the same time. I was wondering if they could tell a difference in me from back at the beginning of my mission and now. I am so glad we are planning on coming back. The family was talking about the airport when they went to pick up their missionary, and that was the trunky part. It didn’t last long though cause I made myself zone out of the conversation and focus on something else. I am glad that yall told me about the change in date for my homecoming talk.

Hey! Super exciting about the temple! AWESOME!!! I can’t wait to go with Andrew and Sarah! Y’all will love the temple so much! I will get to go one more time before the end of my time here in Bama. Hey Mom and Dad, we should try to go when we come back!

Funny to hear about Tami and Katie! Are they really companions?

Mom, I am so glad to hear that everything worked out and that you were able to spend some time with David and Michelle! I love them so much and I am amazed at their genuine kindness! I love the story of that very kind sister that you met on your journey who was so kind to offer to help. We are working with a less active sister from one of the other wards because she is single and the Elders asked us to visit and teach her. She is actually open to gaining a testimony of the Book of Mormon and possibly coming back to church.

Sister Waters and I at Zone conference.
Sister Waters and I at Zone conference.

This week has been so great, even though I became pretty sick Thursday evening and still sound a wee bit hoarse and feel a bit rough… This week I was sick and had to rest for two whole days. During that time I couldn’t sleep because I was coughing up phlegm and had a soar throat and it was difficult to get comfortable enough to actually fall asleep, but anyway, I was able to watch some of the church videos. I had not seen any of these videos for over a year. As I watched Legacy, and Mountain of the Lord, I felt a deep appreciation for the pioneers (yet again) as well as a burning desire to study more in depth the history and life of Grandpa Woodruf and his family and the church as a whole.

Nevertheless, this week was full of tender mercies and joy. My patriarchal blessing has a few lines specifically about my mission, and one of them says that I will complete an honorable and joyful mission. I have learned that attitude is everything especially in having a perfect brightness of hope in Christ. Why shouldn’t I be happy?! The Lord is so good and has blessed me with so much more than I deserve. Even though this week was a little slower than usual, the Lord blessed us and our investigators! Sister Olsen was able to go out with a sister from our ward to see an investigator who we haven’t seen in over a week, and then to see a less active who expressed a willingness to gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon.

Sister Olsen and I ate a delicious little restaurant on Main St which is in the historic district right near where we live and the train that goes right through it.
Sister Olsen and I ate a delicious little restaurant on Main St which is in the historic district right near where we live and the train that goes right through it.

This week and every week for the rest of my mission, I intend to be even better than the week before and to work even harder than the one before. I know that the Lord will strengthen me and help me as I strive to be more obedient and exact in following the promptings of the Holy Ghost and more kind. I want to tell you I have grown a spine. I no longer worry about if people think we are being rude for challenging them. Don’t worry, we are still kind and respectful, but honestly, I am tired of people not following through with commitments and turning themselves around in circles because they just won’t climb the ladder even when we are showing them how to do it and encouraging them every step of the way. Goodness, I can just imagine how Heavenly Father feels with all of us. Good thing that He is perfectly patient and understanding, yet I think He still gets irritated even if for just a second.

Well, can’t really think of anything else to write, except thanks for your encouraging emails they really help. I love that yall let me know that you believe in me and that I can keep doing hard things and have fun while doing them. thanks for your constant example of that!

Love Always,
Sister Wright

STEADFAST IN CHRIST

8/18/2014

HELLO FAMILY!!!!!
Yall sound like yall have had quite the week…. The sister’s name is Tami Reeves.  She is looking for a sister Smith as well.  ha ha!  I am confident that Katie will make a fabulous, powerful missionary!  I can’t wait to hear all about her experiences!  How is Zack? Can I be included in the email chain?   I can’t wait to hear how Miriam and Caleb like school and all the fun things they will be doing.  Miriam can date now right…? 😉  Fun stories to come I hope.
Thanks for yall’s strong testimonies and faith that everything will work out.  I too know that as long as we are faithful in keeping the commandments of god, that He will take care of us.  I studied 1Nephi 18 this morning, which is Nephi telling about when they are on the ship heading to the promised land and his brethren and the daughters of Ishmale become very rude and they decide to tie Nephi up and that is when everything goes wrong, the liahona stops working and strong storms arise and begin to push the ship backward.  Nephi stays tied up there for 4 days and then his brethren finally humble themselves and decide to loose Nephi who takes hold of the liahona and is able to direct the ship back on coarse to the promised land (America).  Nephi explains how he counted his blessings the entire time he was tied up.  He refused to murmur against God, but gave thanks instead in the midst of his afflictions.  That is courage!  I want to be so much more like Nephi.  I know that as we all strive to develop attitudes of gratitude and continually offer thanks for the many blessings the Lord has given to us that no matter what happens, we will be alright.  thank yall for yall’s constant examples of this to me!
 
One of the most important and probably hardest lessons I have learned during the past 16 months is how to be happy and have fun in difficult (sometimes unfair) circumstances. This is what the gospel of Jesus Christ does for me, allows me to have a perfect brightness of hope even in the deepest, darkest moments and experiences of my life. Happiness, for me at least, has become when I roll my eyes at the urge to give up or complain or be discouraged or sad. Yes it has been and continues to be difficult to find people who are genuinely interested in listening to and acting on the message that we share here in Madison, but Sister Olsen and I are working as hard as we can (seeking to improve every day by tweaking the tiniest things) having such a BLAST!


Life is hard. Bad things happen to good, righteous, honest people. Being a member of the church doesn’t fix those things. It doesn’t mean that we won’t experience pain or sorrow or disappointment, or even sometimes be angry or hurt and wonder why the Lord is allowing or has allowed something to happen. It DOES mean that we can have the spirit of the Lord to be with us always if we are living the way He has asked. It Does mean that we can find true and lasting joy in the midst of our pain and rough experiences. It DOES mean that we have a huge support system who won’t ever give up on us and that the Prophet of the Lord prays for us. It means that we have an army of spirits ready and willing to bear us up and push our handcart(s). It means deep abiding peace and confidence in the Lord.

Yesterday I received a letter from a young lady who recently returned to Alabama from school in Idaho. About a week or so previously I had seen her sitting alone in Relief society and decided to go sit by her and we got to chat a little bit. In her letter to me, she thanked me for doing so, and explained that I was an answer to her prayers.
Earlier today when Sister Olsen and I went to the library to take the survey we were asked to take part in, there was a gentleman we had met before (someone that another set of sisters in our mission had met and were working with) and took the time to listen to and invited to watch a certain Mormon message that would help him. This man just came over and said hello and eagerly told us how the other sisters had helped him and told us that he was doing well (much better than the first time we had met and talked with him) and happily inquired after us.

I know that the reason that these people (and they are not the only ones. there are many people who recognize us and seem genuinely glad to see and talk with us) feel such joy at seeing us again and eagerly converse with us, is due to the spirit of the Lord which is able to convey the love that their Father in Heaven has for them and it is so pure and helps them feel so good that they gravitate toward it. It is not me, it is not Sister Olsen, but our constant striving and seeking to be more obedient allows the Lord to use us to give His children that message. This is what helps me to know that I am a successful missionary. There have been so many instances on my mission when I have felt the Spirit surging through me as I have testified of Jesus Christ, the Love of our merciful Father and their plan for each of us. I have been able to see in the eyes of those to whom I testify that they feel the spirit and they know that what they feel is good.

Praise the Lord for the confidence which He gives me as one of His representatives! That is what I will miss the most, feeling such powerful love for each individual and knowing how to help them desire to change and feel it more consistently in their lives.

I love being a missionary in the Birmingham Alabama mission!

 
Love forever, Sister Wright

STEADFAST IN CHRIST

7/7/2014

Dearest family,

This week has been wonderful, yet still a little trying. I recognize the closer to the end I come, that it is most likely not going to be smooth, easy sailing because there is still so much that needs to change about me in regards to becoming more Christlike and preparing for the future (being the best wife and mother I can be). Right now, my goal is to express gratitude for every blessing that the Lord gives to me each day and even for the not so lovely growing experiences (they are lovely afterward, but not so much in the moment…) Basically endurance is the word.

Sometimes I will be walking down the street with my companion on our way to an appointment or tracting and I feel like I am watching her and everything around me move at regular speed, caught up in the moment and certain cares, while I am watching inside a bubble where time is slowed. Maybe that doesn’t quite make sense, but basically I feel like Harry and Dumbledore from Harry Potter #7 when they are in the train station. Or maybe even when Harry is preparing to go to Voldemort and surrender himself and he uses the resurrection stone to bring back his parents and Serious. He is preparing for the end. I know the end is coming, I know it has to happen that way. I have to die (stop being a full time missionary) there is no other way, but I don’t want to give up these experiences and these people that I love so fiercely. The beautiful thing though is that I understand what Harry didn’t until after he “dies” and Dumbledore helps him realize it. I know that there is life after mission. 😉 Anyway, there is a bit of what my thoughts and feelings are…sometimes I think I am almost literally off my rocker. I am just super grateful that yall love me anyway!

The Fourth of July was great! The day before we had zone training which was incredible! The spirit spoke directly to me through the Sister Training Leaders and Zone Leaders and other missionaries as well. I feel like the Lord is constantly helping me to improve little things. I am a project that needs a lot of “tweaking” 😉 That was from ‘You’ve Got Mail’

Ok, so back to the Holiday…. We got to go help some non members move. Their member Sister and Sister in law came out from Georgia and she called us to help them all move. It took two days and all 8 missionaries in Madison. Best moving experience ever! Super great people! They are from Nicaragua actually and they made us all feel right at home and like part of the family! We heard some pretty incredible stories, especially from the member! I thought of Nick Strong the whole time! Hey is he married yet? Am I going to get an invitation? I seriously think that everyone (except yall) has forgotten me or they stopped caring…. but it’s fine. Yall are all I need to survive and feel loved and important!

For real, I would be fine spending the rest of my life with yall (and my husband and future children of coarse). Alright so, back to the festivities.

This wonderful family fed us BBQ for lunch and then we went home, changed to regular proselyting clothes and we jumped on our bikes and rode around to go see potential investigators and to contact everyone and their 3 dogs! 😉 What a beautiful, non humid, Utah like day! The only reason I was sweating was from biking!!!!! This was a MIRACLE!!!!! We just went for a nice little bike ride and talked with everyone that we passed, asking to pet their dogs, asking about their beautiful yards, offering help (we took one couple’s picture) etc… we had so much fun! Oh and we met this biker minister who said he doesn’t get the whole story about “Jonathan Smith” (hadn’t heard that one before… ha ha! Yes I had to hold in my laughter) but he does think that “the Mormon’s are really good at every day living and applying of the gospel” and he listed off others like the Baptists are real good at gettin’ e’ry one in church, Others are good at helping them focus on and feel the spirit. It was a very interesting conversation. 🙂

We had dinner with a member family who apparently does a big party with multiple families from the ward every year (which we didn’t know before going) and that was some good BBQ man! Then we left there to walk around the neighborhood and contact (not many people were out) for an hour before that same family had a non member friend showing up for fireworks whom they wanted us to talk with. So we went back and had desert and watched a few fireworks from a very far distance (don’t worry) then we were home by 9pm.

The next morning was Sister McDougal’s birthday, so we had a surprise breakfast. I made crepes and Sister Olsen made chocolate chip pancakes. We had studies and then we all went back to help that family finish moving. This family surprised us by going and getting a birthday ice cream cake from Dairy Queen for Sister McDougal. After that we went home and got our bikes and then headed out to an area to tract, but as we were going through an alternate neighborhood due to construction, I felt like we needed to stop at a potential investigator’s house. We did and the sister answered and she let us in to share a message with her. She soaked everything up and she prayed at the end of the lesson and accepted a Book of Mormon and said that she will be baptized when she comes to know that it is 100% true. She is only 17, so we need to get permission from her family and we asked her when we could come share that message with her entire family because we want them all to feel the spirit which she felt and which we pointed out to her and also so they can work toward being sealed in the temple. We hope and pray that her family is as receptive as she is.

I have come to love garage sales! Everyone does them down here all the time (except the freezing winter) and you can get some really nice things from thrift stores and garage sales. I am so glad that you are doing this, especially to help someone else out! You are brilliant mother! I am sad I am not there to help… let me know how it goes though!

Oh yes the flag raising and breakfast! I miss playing in the orchestra. Especially at the patriotic concert we went to the other weekend.

Oh, I will be spending some money to take care of my violin. I think I mentioned it last week, but it had a bit of a rough time and needs some things fixed. Don’t worry, I have somewhere to take it (somewhere that was recommended by members and that they said shouldn’t be too expensive). I don’t know if I will have enough money on my card though. I will find out how much it will be and then let yall know. That can be my B-day gift so yall don’t need to worry about getting me anything! I know it isn’t cheap to send a package let alone buying things to put in it. We will be celebrating here, so please don’t worry about it.

I am so pleased that yall were able to stop and help that young man! I love that because that is what sister Olsen and I are focussing on that this transfer. I know that service to others, especially when it is inconvenient brings the greatest blessings!

I hope I answered all your questions. Thank yall for sending my medication! It came just in time, and I really appreciated Sarah’s letter! I love yall so much and I am extremely grateful to be linked with yall! Shall we not go on in so great a cause?

Take care,

Sister Wright

STEADFAST IN CHRIST

6/30/2014

Eternal family,

I just read your email. Thank you for sharing those miracles with me mom! I so appreciate your eternal, ever trusting perspective. Right now, I feel a little bit like Martha and Mary after Lazarus died. Even though I know that all will be well and made up eventually, even though our fate is not as bad as Job or Joseph Smith or even the Savior, things seem a little bit bleak. Mostly, I wish I could be there with y’all to lift and strengthen and just offer a hug or a smile or listen to the concerns or just cry together. I keep thinking of a scene from the movie ‘Charly’ when she explains her painting of the Savior weeping. Charly tells Sam that before Christ raised Lazarus from the dead, he wept with Martha and Mary. One of the things I love most about the Savior is that he is compassionate and he allows us to grieve and experience sadness. He doesn’t tell us to stop crying, but he cries with us, he holds us and comforts us, THEN he performs the miracle.

Why did Lazarus have to die if the Savior would raise him from the dead? Mary and Martha didn’t ask for Jesus to raise Lazarus from the dead, but they trusted that he would make the situation better even though he didn’t do what they were hoping for first. Remember that they had sent for Jesus when their beloved brother became ill and they knew that Jesus had the power to heal him, they didn’t understand that he possessed the power to overcome death, and he waited for Lazarus to pass so that he could teach them the full power that he has to over come not only physical death, but also spiritual death or sin.

We want(ed) the Lord to “heal” our financial situation, which is a righteous desire because we are being wrongfully accused, but maybe the Lord is allowing us to be wronged so that he can perform an even greater miracle in our lives and we have to experience this so that we can come to be more humble and trust in him and his power which is even greater than we have yet seen.

I don’t know, these are just my thoughts which have come as I am typing. I do know that the Lord loves us and He desires us to be happy here on earth, right now, and also in the eternities. I know that He will continue to take care of us and I know that I am going to chose to remain faithful to Him, in fact, I intend to increase my obedience to be more exactly obedient and follow my Savior more closely and invite the spirit even more into my life so that I may be sanctified and literally become more like my Savior, to receive his light more fully in my life by helping others to move toward it and accept it more in their lives and by my exact obedience.

How humbling and invigorating it has been to have Sister Olsen around the past half a week. I love how energized and excited and involved she is. Sometimes she kind of bursts my personal bubble so she can look at what I’m studying at the same time. It makes me laugh. I truly appreciate her engaging nature even though it is pushing the limits on my personal space 😉 ha ha! Sister Olsen has such a powerful testimony of our Savior Jesus Christ and she is so passionate about living the gospel and helping others to do the same. We are working hard and having fun together as well. The weird thing is that we are often on the same brain wave, and we end up finishing each other’s sentences…. She is a fabulous teacher too and there is much that I need to learn from her.

Oh, and by the way, my violin had some trauma occur due to extreme weather conditions (heat in the car) and needs some fixing. There are members here who know who can fix it though. I have to tell you how my heart just sunk way down to the pit of my stomach when I opened my case and saw the bridge and the tail piece free of the body and the chord which holds it snapped. I was in shock for a good minute. I couldn’t even fathom what my eyes saw. But the members tell me that it can be fixed. All I am hoping now is that it is not too expensive.

Watching the missionaries going home was a little bit hard for me because I know it is coming soon, and I don’t want to leave. My goal for the next few months is to give all I’ve got and then some to and for others and most importantly the Lord. My focus is on others 100%. Ain’t nobody got time to think about themselves. This is crunch time, not the time to slow down or let off the gas, this is the time to pick up the pace and dash faster and faster to the end giving everything leaning on the Savior. He is my light and my strength and all things are possible through him! If there is anything that I can do to help you President, I hope you know that you can call on me. I am ready and willing to do what ever you ask.

Sister Olsen and I seem to be reaping everything that has been sown for that past while here in Madison. We both decided that we are going to focus on finding so that we can reap as we sow and so there won’t be stages of just finding.

You know, sometimes I wish that I could serve for 2 years because just when I feel like I am finally getting everything, all of the the points of effective missionary work in a good working order, in good balance and finally seem to be moving forward and making progress without dropping anything. Not saying that I am perfect, at all. I have so much to learn and improve in, but I am finally getting to the point, I feel like, where I can pick it up and keep moving forward instead of feeling like I am derailed every time I find something I need to work on. I guess the most important thing though is taking all of these skills and taking them home to be the best member missionary and wife and mother, who raises her family to be missionaries, I can be. Right? I have been thinking about that for a while now. I think that hastening the work is more of the surge of missionaries who are coming out learning how to dedicate their time talents energy, everything to living and serving in the gospel and truly giving our will to God so that we can return to the “real” world and be a strong source and influence in the world for good and to teach our children, family, friends and the rest of the world the peace and joy that come from living the way the Lord has set for us.

Well there you have it, my brain explosion…

There is quite a bit of potential for families joining the church down here! (And they are black which is one of my visions… to help find, teach and baptize a black family.)

The church is true. Joseph Smith is one of my biggest heroes. I know that he is a prophet called of God and that all that he claims truly happened. Because I know this, I know that the Book of Mormon and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is true and I feel a responsibility to share it with the rest of the wold (aka my brothers and sisters).

I love yall with all of my heart!
Continuing to endure,
your Sister(daughter, friend etc…) Wright

Christian Soldier for life!

6/23/2014

Dearest family,

Amazing how quickly time passes, didn’t it? We are finishing up yet another transfer. Wednesday Sister Downs and I will go to Birmingham with the Sister training leaders to transfer meeting. Sister Downs will be receiving a new area and companion and I will pick up my new companion and head back with the Sister training leaders to Madison.

Sister Downs and I have had such a great time this transfer, working hard and having fun while doing it. We had our disagreements, but we learned to put our will and pride aside and turn to the Lord. We learned how to communicate well and keep the spirit. With each new transfer, I feel like I am being chiseled in more detail. I am sad that Sister Downs is leaving. We finally got to the point where we work pretty effectively together, and we have had a blast. I will keep in touch with her and we will be friends probably for the rest of our lives. I have so much respect for Sister Downs. She is such a dedicated, hard working missionary.

This last Saturday we got to attend the baptism of an investigator that Sister Downs helped find and teach. The funny thing is that this man’s wife is actually the one who wanted to get baptized first, he was actually kind of hardened against it and the last thing he wanted was to get baptized, yet the spirit told him that he needed to be baptized and so he decided to do it and he was so excited. On the day that he got baptized and also on the next day when he was confirmed in sacrament meeting, he had a huge smile which reached from ear to ear. What a precious experience to see a man who was so burdened with things of the world and hard circumstances was freed from all of it by taking part in the Atonement of His personal Savior. This recent convert’s wife (who wanted to get baptized first) only needs to come to church one more time and then she will be getting baptized and the goal is to have her husband be able to baptize her! This couple is so amazing! Their faith is so inspiring and I am so glad that Sister Downs was able to see Matt get baptized before she left and hopefully will get to come back for Jade’s as well.

We have done tonz of tracting and contacting and so we will be following up with all of them in the next week as we continue to find and invite. I think I will probably stay here in Madison until I come home in about 128 days. I am reading the Doctrine and Covenants backwards. Yall are welcome to join me.

Did y’all get my letters? That is awesome about the new family/couple! Where did they move from? What is Kim’s maiden name? Where did she grow up? When does Caleb Veenker enter the mission field?

I hope Caleb feels better soon! I know that is miserable, and I hope you get some better sleep too mom! You are so amazing! I love you so much!

There was one day that made us laugh. We rode our bikes to the library for media time and as we were locking them up to the rack we heard a woman, who was sitting on the bench about 5 feet away, talking on the phone. Her conversation was about a woman who had attended church who bore testimony about how she had “gotten out of the Mormon religion” and how amazed this woman was (who was talking on the phone) because that was “never heard of” and she is “so against Mormonism!” This woman was asking for the “ex-mormon’s” name so that she could talk to her and hear more about that. I wanted to go over and talk to the lady and ask if she had any questions about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, what she actually knows about it, because the way she was talking, she had no idea what we are even about or what we teach. At one point she said a very true statement that made Sister Downs and I laugh the most, because it’s true. “Those Mormon’s just won’t leave you alone.” Ha ha! This is true, but she doesn’t understand why, it is because we love all of God’s children and want them to be close to Him. I was hoping to be able to explain this to her, but she wouldn’t even look at us as we slowly passed her to go into the building and she was still on the phone. I hope that I will be able to run into her again and be able to help clear up the misconceptions she has about the church, then she will probably get baptized…. 😉 well at some point I am sure she will. I am SO glad that God is not a clip board God!

Well I need to go, I love y’all will all my heart! Have a wonderful week!

Love, Sister Wright

6/2/2014

Dear Family,

Memorial day was fun. We had preparation day and I did a puzzle and then we had dinner at a member’s house where we roasted hot dogs and marshmallows around a fire. The kids were burning their homework from the school year. Then we had correlation meeting with our ward mission leader.

Yay for the end of school! Learning is great, but everyone needs a break now and then. 😉 Yeah, all of the member’s kids practically run circles around us when we go over to their houses for dinner and to have lessons about hastening the work. They are so cute though! sometimes I think about what my kids will be like, and what I want to teach them. Then I start thinking about how I am going to find a husband who I will be able to be equally yoked with and who has the same vision as I do, then I start thinking about dating and it just makes me nervous, so I stop and quickly go back to the bliss of being a single missionary. 😉 The scary thing is that that is the next stage of my life and it is coming faster and faster. But for now, I am focused on our investigators and helping them to progress. Any thoughts? It is ok to tell me that I am silly and immature…

I wanted to share with you some things I learned this week.
Sundays are so rich with the spirit! Especially Fast Sundays! The Lord is SO good to us president! Yesterday Sister Downs and I heard our names specifically mentioned over the pulpit three times, were offered a glorious Sunday meal to break our fast, sent home with home made bread and strawberry jam and we even had an investigator come to church! Heavenly Father sure knows how to help one feel loved and appreciated!

I was reading in 3 Ne. 28 and I realized what a perfect example of Lagniappe the 3 Nephite disciples are. This is when Jesus asks his disciples what they desire of him before he returns to the Father. Nine of the disciples said, “We desire that after we have lived unto the age of man, that our ministry, wherein thou hast called us, may have an end, that we may speedily come unto thee in they kingdom.” This is a righteous desire and Jesus promises to grant their wishes unto them, BUT then he turns to the last three and asks them. “And they sorrowed in their hearts, for they durst not speak unto him the thing which they desired. And he said unto them: Behold, I know your thoughts, and ye have desired the thing which John, my beloved, who was with me in my ministry, before that I was lifted up by the Jews, desired of me. Therefore, more blessed are ye, for ye shall never taste of death; but ye shall live to behold all the doings of the Father unto the children of men, even until all things shall be fulfilled according to the will of the Father, when I shall come in my glory with the powers of heaven. And again, ye shall not have pain while ye shall dwell in the flesh, neither sorrow save it be for the sins of the world; and all this will I do because of the thing which ye have desired of me, for ye have desired that ye might bring the souls of men unto me, while the world shall stand. And for this cause ye shall have fullness of joy; and ye shall sit down in the kingdom of my Father; yea, your joy shall be full, even as the Father hath given me fullness of joy; and ye shall be even as I am, and I am even as the Father; and the Father and I are one;” These three disciples of Christ pretty much define Lagniappe. They are pure in heart and have their wills aligned with the Savior’s and the Fathers. Jesus even says so in that last part when he says that he and the Father are one. When we truly give our will to God, we truly become more like He is. There are plenty of examples of men and women who have done this in the scriptures. They are truly converted and told by the Savior that they have a sure seat in the highest glory because they have surrendered their will to that of the Father’s.

I am coming to see and understand more that this is the true test of life, to give our will to God’s and be happy about it. We have to give it willingly. I decided about a month ago that I am waging an all out war against Satan which if successful, will last my entire life. I have likewise decided to give my whole will and trust over to the Savior and to my Father in Heaven. As I have begun to do so, I have felt a distinctive change in my way of thinking and reasoning and also in my motivation and determination to do everything I have been asked and then some because that is what the Savior did and does and that is what will bring me peace, happiness and eternal glory. It is my prayer that I may be an example for others around me and that they way catch the vision.

I am sorry that my emails tend to be a little lengthy… I just want to share one more Emmaus experience with you:
Yesterday in sacrament meeting we got to wait for the priests to break the bread after singing the sacrament hymn. It wasn’t annoying or embarrassing, but rather a nice, quiet time to reflect on the power of the priesthood, the worthiness of those who hold it and the sacred covenant which I have made and renew each week. It hit me how much trust the Lord has in us and how special it is to belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints which has the true, direct power and permission of God to perform saving ordinances or acts which demonstrate our willingness to obey the will of the Lord. The young men who bless and pass the sacrament seem to understand and take seriously their priesthood duties. I am grateful for the power and authority which has been delegated to me as a missionary called by a prophet and set apart as a disciple of Jesus Christ to represent Him and sustain his prophet on the earth today. I know that the priesthood was restored through Joseph Smith and that God loves His children. “The more we ponder [the sacrament’s] significance, the more sacred it becomes to us.” (‘True to the Faith’ pg. 147)

“People forget what you said. They forget what you did. But no one will forget how you helped them feel.” (unknown)

Obedience give us confidence!

Love y’all forever! Have a fabulous week!

Love, sister Wright