Wednesday, May 2, 2012

My talk in church

In about a week I will hit my three month mark of mission life! It's crazy how that happens ;) I hope all is going well for each of you. This is what's been taking place in my life during the past week.

Thursday we had the Sister's Lunchin
That was sweet because all of the Sisters in the mission get to go to Scarsdale and be spiritually uplifted by President Smith and Sister Smith.  Not to mention socialize with all the other sisters :)  It was definitely an enjoyable day.  I realized I am getting to know the other missionaries in our mission and that makes me quite happy.

Friday we visited Alexa again and her knee is definitely getting better.  She is such an awesome person! She has such a good energy and hilarious personality. I could sit and listen to her talk and tell stories for hours! I always feel happy when we leave after visiting her.

Saturday we went to a "cottage meeting" that went quite well. Cottage meetings are basically our ward mission plan.  What it entitles is having members open their homes to the missionaries and their investigators. It could be for a dinner or refreshments, but what it should start turning into is members inviting their friends and family over to interact with the missionaries and share a spiritual thought.  It's kind of hard to explain, but it's suppose to be simple.
With this last one it was really cool. It was put on by our Gospel Principles teacher (in church) who is such a sweet heart! It was really neat to see how the Lord prepared one of the Elder's investigators to connect with the woman in our ward who felt impressed to make the dinner for the missionaries into a cottage meeting.

Talk went really well on Sunday
In Church this last Sunday Sister Tu'akalau, Sister Denison, and I all spoke about missionary work.  I made some changes to my talk, but in essence this is what it said. Now you don't have to feel bad if you couldn't make it out to the Bronx this past Sunday lol
Sunday April 29th, 2012
Kingsbridge second ward
Sister Emily Johnson

All the people who know me in my life know I have a big sweet tooth! So much so, that I would rather eat oreos all day than eat real food. 

After discussing this once, Sister Tu’akalau told me about something she learned regarding cravings.  The theory is if you are craving something, in my case Oreos, your body is actually thirsty but you don’t realize it.  It has been said that a craving will only last 15 minutes and if you drink a lot of water it will go away.  However, if you try to satisfy that desire with a whole package of oreos, which will never, be enough for your body. Trust me, I know. 

You may be wondering what Oreos have to do with the gospel and with missionary work.
We’re getting there
A craving can be defined as a great or eager desire… a yearning.

Just as our bodies misunderstand when we are thirsty, so do our souls.

There are so many people out there, people that we interact with on a daily basis who have no idea that their spirit is thirsty for the refreshing feeling we receive from having the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives.
As a result they try everything under the sun in an attempt to satisfy the yearning for something more.  They follow the world’s ways because they think it is the way to find happiness or joy. 

In Doctrine and Covenants the Lord reveals to the prophet Joseph Smith this reality,
“For there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties, and denominations, who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it-” (D&C 123:12)

What a significant point, they are only kept from the truth because they know NOT where to find it!

This scripture has impacted my missionary mindset because I know not everyone is ready for the gospel, but I need to be talking about it as much as I can to find those who are eagerly search to quench their thirst.

The Lord continues, “These should then be attended to with great earnestness.”

The Lord cares deeply for each of his children and he wants all of us to be nourished by his word, and receive the saving ordinances each of us needs in order to return to live with him again.

In the new testament Gospel of John there is the story of the woman of Sameria. Jesus stops in the city Sameria while traveling between Judeaa and Galilee. He stops to rest at Jacobs well after being weary from his journey. A woman approaches the well and Jesus asks her for a drink. She is confused by this since she is a Samaritan and He is a jew. The two usually don’t interact. The savior says in essence how if she knew who he was she would ask him for a drink. Because he has water that will cause men to never thirst again.
Seeing that we has no bucket she is confused as to what water he refers to.
13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:
 14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never athirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water bspringing up into ceverlasting life.

Christ is Water, the living waters, which cause us to thirst no more. It is him we yearn to feel more in our lives. It is through him our spirits are satisfied.

As we look around us, this is a time of spiritual drought in the world.  Because people don’t even know that they are thirsty.
But we can see they are thirsty because they keep eating the world’s Oreos and they crash from the affects of the sugar. And they continue to do so over and over.

What does that mean for someone who has the fullness of the gospel?

In Doctrine and Covenants 71:1
It says,

1 Behold, thus saith the Lord unto you my servants Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon, that the time has verily come that it is necessary and expedient in me that you should open your mouths in aproclaiming my gospel...

One study technique that I’ve heard people do is to replace their name in the scriptures with their own name.

I challenge each of you right now to insert your name in your mind when I read this again,
“Behold, thus saith the Lord unto you my servant _(your name)__ that the time has verily come that it is necessary and expedient in me that you should open your mouths in proclaiming my gospel…”

The Lord doesn’t say it’d be nice if you could share his gospel. He says it is necessary and expedient.

President Gordon B. Hinckley taught, “The process of bringing new people into the Church is not the responsibility alone of the missionaries.  They succeed best when members become the source from which new investigators are found.” (Ensign, May 1999, 105-6)

It is so true.  As members of the church you can contribute to the missionary efforts so much more than we, as missionaries, are able to do by ourselves.

We need you.
We really need your help finding people to teach.

We want to help you in anyways we can: 
If you are not sure how to bring up gospel topics with your friends we would love to help you practice.
If you’re worried about offending them, consider this fact:
You love them and you want them to have the same joy you feel from the gospel, perhaps tell them that is why you want to share it with them.
“If you are sincere in your friendship with them, they will be able to feel the spirit of your testimony and happiness.” (True to the Faith 105)

The only way to not be intimidated or afraid of talking about the Gospel is through practice.
The Lord will support us.
“Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things preceded that which is great.” (D&C 64:33)   

Thomas S. Monson said
Let us never despair, for the work in which we are engaged is the work of the Lord. It has been said, “The Lord shapes the back to bear the burden placed upon it.”
(Be your best self)

I testify that these things are true and as we work together in the ward missionary efforts the Lord will bless you. Furthermore, we will see the Lord bless this area in rich abundance.  I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

And ever since I shared this talk the ward likes to ask me about if I have recently eaten any oreos! haha
Actually it was cool because the investigator who came on Saturday night was at church and she felt like all three of our talks were speaking just to her!
During my talk she really connected to the part about cravings.  She said her's were cigarettes, but that she was changing her ways.  Seriously, she is so solid. She almost in 2 Nephi in her Book of Mormon reading! Hah we are lucky if our investigators read one page in between the time we see them.

Yesterday Sister T and I got ice cream to celebrate our two month anniversary as companions. But mostly it was just because we wanted ice cream! haha

For this week these are the weekly goals Sister T. and I decided on:
Loose yourself in the work
Budget money and eat healthy
Dive into the work
Service! =) Think of others
drink three bottles of water a day
update teaching records daily
complete training by the end of the cycle

So we are staying focused and moving forward with the work. Actually we have to investigators who are coming out of the wood work that we recently found.
They were both found tracting. The second one was one we found when I had taken over. As of Monday I've been taking over the area and calling the shots as to what we were going to do and where we were going to go.  I like it =) haha. Anyhow it was cool though because I got to explore and just be guided by what felt "right".  I really enjoy having more of a say in everything.  Anyhow, that's how we found the second new potential investigator and she is so amazing! We taught her the restoration and she was really touched by the spirit.  What's even better is that she's excited to read.

The only other thing that has been happening is that yesterday we had two lessons with a member present and both of those went really well. The first potential investigator that I mentioned was one of those lessons and he actually accepted a baptismal date! I am so excited for him!
Sadly some of the others we were working with previously have slowed down in their progression. This new person is our only current baptismal date. However, we have it set for the 19th so stay tuned on that!

Tomorrow we will be planning for week 5 of the cycle! Ahhh how crazy?! In two more weeks I'll be going into my third cycle. The timing of mission life is definitely picking up.

Plus I will be calling home on Mother's Day =) 

The Lord is so amazing and it's incredible to witness how he works in my life and those all around me.
I testify that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord's church once again on this earth.  I also know the Lord provides us a way we can know for ourselves. I am thankful for this increased understanding as I serve in the New York New York North mission.  I encourage any who lack wisdom to ask of God (James 1:5) The Lord will answer those who seek with a sincere desire to know the truth. So what are you waiting for? Do you want to know for yourself? Or even be reminded? It's time you picked up the communication line to the Lord and had a good ol' heart to heart! =)

Sister Emily A. Johnson

Sister Ortega and I

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