Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas Miricles

Hey there family!
     This week we have seen many little Christmas miracles. There is a less active couple in our ward - the Curry's - that we have been working with since I got here and he is very humble and more than willing to listen and to learn and she has just been a little more quiet and we weren't sure if she liked us coming over. But she called and invited us over for lunch. It was a big step for her but we can see how much her heart is softening. The Lord is really working on them. He can do amazing things with the human heart. 

     We had another lesson with Justin and he even let us come over when he wasn't feeling well. Hopefully the not feeling well doesn't transfer to us anytime soon. :) But he knows that he has felt the spirit and it's power. He said that he feels that this is something that is good and still while he was sick he was reading a little bit. He is so humble and willing to follow Christ we invited him to be baptized and he accepted.

     It was a great Christmas eve and Christmas. We were able to talk to some amazing people this week. It was hard to find people home a couple days but Heavenly Father really blessed us for making the effort anyways and going out trying to find his children. Several people told us that they had reached out to him in prayer in their search for his truth. Being able to bear testimony with a surety that we know we are sent from him is such a peaceful and happy feeling. Christmas is such a great time of year. Christ is our Savior. I hope that I can keep that feeling and his presence with me all year long. He is beside all of us helping us along. There has been so much joy accompanying this season. This truly is his Gospel. The gospel of happiness and I want to live it fully. 

     This week in my personal studies I came across this scripture in Mormon 9:31 "Condemn me not because of mine imperfection, neither my father, because of his imperfection, neither them who have written before him; but rather give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections, that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been."  I love it, it is such a simple declaration of letting his scars show but so profound. We can give thanks and be so grateful in our imperfect and weak state and for others imperfections we learn through all of them. There is no need for pride to get in the way. After I read that scripture I was thinking about it and I had a personal experience with what it is talking about. I felt like lately that it was harder for me to get out of my bubble and talk as freely with people and I was letting it hold me back a little bit. That is a lesson that Heavenly Father keeps emphasizing to me "acknowledge and face your weaknesses but dont' be immobilized by them" As I was talking to people the last few days I felt so much strength from Jesus Christ it was amazing. He was literally giving me the words to know what to say despite my imperfections and I hope that others were able to learn from that. It was such a happy and peaceful feeling. I can't deny his help and role in my life. He truly is there. That is one more way that I can KNOW him. 

      It was so good to see you on Christmas you are just as cute as ever. :) I hope that y'all had a great day remembering our Savior and his love for us. I know that I felt it strongly.

     We met with Kate again and instead of doing a lesson we decided to ask her for advice on how we could help another one of our investigators, they are pretty similar. She is less active right now and has been on a mission so she has been on all sides of the spectrum. So she told us the things that worked for her and how she was able to be baptized and what helped her most. It was amazing she was able to recall her conversion and I think the spirit touched her. Also they were great suggestions for our investigator and now we know what to do to help her. Tricked I think yes. The Lord works in the best ways. 

     Last update is I got to go on exchange with Sister Chidester. She is so cute. The exchange was so fun. She is such a great missionary and I am slightly jealous of her ability to talk to people and her way with them. She is a sister with a undeniable strength to trust the Lord and his plan, I am glad I got to be her companion for the day I learned a lot from her. And she is the cutest thing ever. How does she do it? I have no idea. 

Well I hope you have a great week. Happy New Year! You are in my prayers.

K love you bye!

Love Sister Weeks (Rachel)

We love our missionary!

Sister Chapman and Rachel's Christmas tree and presents 

New Pj bottoms for Sister's Weeks and Chapman.

Rachel grateful for her gift from gma and gpa Christensen

Christmas gifts for 2014 - gift from Gma and Gpa Christensen.

Sister's Chapman and Weeks with their Chrismas eve stuff for their party for Jesus

Monday, December 22, 2014

His Birthday Gift

Hey There family!

     It was a great week this week. Lots of things to do as always. :)

      This week we met a woman named Tammy who is so nice. We tracted into her with Sister Bennion a couple weeks ago when she came out with us.  She had told us that she used to live across from missionaries and loves our church.  So, Sister Bennion just told her that that was a sign then and she better just put us on her calendar to come back and meet with her and she pulled out her phone and said okay. haha It was amazing! We had such a great lesson with her.   She is struggling with her faith and wants to believe but isn't sure what is really out there. So we read parts of Alma 32 with her and invited her to an experiment - we come over and meet with her and invite her to do things and she asks God and see what answers she receives. I know it will happen because I have felt the same thing, so we promised her in the name of our Savior that if she wants it, she will find the answers she is seeking after. 

     This week at our mission Christmas party Sister Bennion challenged us to do something that our family does every year on Christmas eve. She gave us a piece of paper and a little envelope and invited us to write something on it that we are going to give Christ this year for his Birthday. I have been thinking about it for a little while so when she challenged us to do that it was perfect. On the paper I wrote my heart, might, mind, and strength. I want to give him my heart to let him change me and my nature, more conversion. My might and strength to do what he needs done for others and to fully living the gospel of Jesus Christ. And my mind full of virtue and treasuring up the knowledge that leads to eternal life.
     There is an article in the Ensign that is perfect for this challenge. It is called "The Reality of Christmas" By Bishop Gary E Stevenson. He said:
      "This Christmas, as the spirit of the season permeates our hearts, let us do something that expresses our feelings in an outward way, showing that we understand that the babe born in Bethlehem is the real Redeemer."
      "This Christmas, mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a letter. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a promise .Forgo a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Apologize. Try to understand. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone else. Be kind. Be gentle. Laugh a little more. Express your gratitude. Welcome a stranger. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love and then speak it again.”

     " Without Christ, there would be no Christmas. Without Christ, there can be no fullness of joy. Without His birth and His Atonement, we would have no Intercessor, no Advocate with the Father, and no Mediator who makes it possible for us to return to the presence of our loving Heavenly Father and live together as eternal families."

     I echo his words and issue the same challenge to everyone. Think of something that we can give Christ for his Birthday. Write it down, hang it up and remember it. Continue to evaluate it and try our best to become like Him. 

     We invited Tracy one of our investigators to take that challenge as well. She has been meeting with the missionaries for a long time, several months. But it was a good experience. She was really pondering was she could give the Savior. We have seen her heart soften a lot lately and we are excited to hear her gift. 

      And I got to go to the temple!!! It was amazing. Words cannot describe the peace that I feel in the Lords house and I understood the meaning so much better of why it is called his house. We had to get up at 4:30 am to make it there on time but it was so worth it. The spirit and the Savior love were there and it made an impression on my heart that I won't forget. By the time we got home that night after a fireside we did and many other things it was almost 11 pm. We were absolutely exhausted and ready to fall into bed.
     Jervy this week decided that she still has some questions that she needs answered so we are pushing back her date for a while. Her husband is a member as I mentioned before and he hasn't had much interest in sitting in on the lessons so we weren't sure his opinion on all of this. But at church on Sunday we received a little tender mercy. He came right up to us and told us her concerns. So now we can know how to better help her. She is more ready that she recognizes. We are putting our faith and trust in the Lord but I'm sure it won't be long her heart is ready. 

      Well I will see y'all on Christmas. Have a great week until then you are in my prayers! MERRY CHRISTMAS. Remember Him.  

K love you bye!

Love Sister Weeks (Rachel)

Atlanta Georgia Temple

Nativity at the temple.

Sisters Andrus and Weeks.  Probably last time to see each other because she goes home in January.

Sisters Weeks and Chapman - great companions at the temple

All the sisters who got to go to the temple together for Christmas.

Monday, December 15, 2014

I know Him

Hey there Family!

     Well we have had a pretty good week here in Georgia. We'll see if I can actually remember what we did this week it kind of seems like a blur. Transfers were easy for us because we didn't have to do anything but our zone got changed up quite a bit so there are a few new sisters to get to know. 

     We visited Linda this week and she is just the absolute cutest. It is amazing that she was just baptized in October and her level of comprehension is so great. We have been working with her a bit on Family History so she can get to go to the temple. She is so excited to go there and we hopefully will get to go with her. We went to lunch with her on Sister Chapman's Birthday.   I enlisted the help of many members to help me out with a few Birthday surprises since it is pretty impossible to surprise someone you are with 24/7. But we did it. It was great  - she is officially 29 now. She is not bitter or in denial at all. Last stop on the way to 30. haha. Many jokes are headed her way. And mostly not from me. :) haha.

     We had a meeting with President Bennion in Lilburn this week. It was so good. He talked a lot about faith and charity and when faith becomes hard remember the Relief Society motto "Charity never faileth" like it says in Moroni. Perfect love castesth out all fear and since faith is the antithesis of fear we grow in faith. The gospel is amazing.  Christ's love is so real. 

     I have been thinking a lot about Christmas because of the He is the Gift initiative that we have been talking to everyone about and it is crazy how much of the focus of Christmas is put on so many other things. There is a phrase in the video that I love it says "He is Christmas" We wouldn't even have Christmas if it wasn't for Christ. So as I was reading in my studies this week I was in 3 Nephi. The perfect time of year to be reading these chapters. All the signs and wonders that came a long Christ's birth. Then the total destruction after his death and then lastly the peace following the resurrection. Jesus Christ appears to the people and as I was reading these words the I felt the spirit so strongly. In 11, 14-17:

11. And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning.
 14. Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world.
 15 And it came to pass that the multitude went forth, and thrust their hands into his side, and did feel the prints of the nails in his hands and in his feet; and this they did do, going forth one by one until they had all gone forth, and did see with their eyes and did feel with their hands, and did know of a surety and did bear record, that it was he, of whom it was written by the prophets, that should come.
 16 And when they had all gone forth and had witnessed for themselves, they did cry out with one accord, saying:
 17 Hosanna! Blessed be the name of the Most High God! And they did fall down at the feet of Jesus, and did worship him.

     Above my desk I have a picture of Christ dressed in a white robe reaching out his arms and as I read these verses I looked up and I felt his love. The words that came into my mind were "I know Him! I know Him!" 

     There is a parable called "the interview" it is about two men after they die. One goes in for the interview and the interviewer asks him what he knows about Christ. He spouts off the facts and it is evident that he has done some extensive study on Christs life. But still the interviewer keeps inquiring. Finally after he has not found what he is searching for he says thank you and dismisses the man. The second one is invited into the room and falls down to his knees with tears and says "My Lord my God." I think of the relationship that I want to have with Christ and I want to know him. Not just about his life and the facts but to know him personally. He is my Savior, Redeemer, and friend. There is a difference in those titles but he is all of them to me. 

     And one of the best things of all that happened this week is that Sister Beatty made me sweet potato pie. I was in pure heaven! I am in love with it. haha. 

     Yesterday at church we ran into a lady who asked us which ward we were in and she was looking for the sisters in the other ward. But she found us in the hall a couple minutes later and she asked us if we knew her parents the Curry's. They are a less active couple that we have been working with since I got here. Her Dad is such a humble man and has been reading the Book of Mormon and like he said has proved to be a star student.  He has expressed his desire to go to the temple one day and we told her that and she teared up. She said it is a miracle. It is amazing she has been praying for years that their hearts would be softened. We never know whose family is praying for the rescue of their loved ones. 

     Well I think that is all for this week. I hope all is well you are in my prayers! Laugh often and remember the real reason for this season. :)

K love you bye!

Love Sister Weeks 

The District in Woodstock - December

Sister Beatty made her Sweet Potato Delight and boy was she ever delighted.

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Power of Peace

Hey there family!

     So this week was so good. :) On Tuesday Sister Bennion came to district meeting with us and then spent the day with us afterwards. She said she wanted to come and learn from us because she is slightly scared of tracting and talking to people and oh brother have I been in those shoes before. So she came to our lessons and tracting and she is amazing. It was so fun to spend the day with her and get to know her a little better. Sister Chapman threw me under the bus and made me play the piano for her....What kind of companion does that? But she threatened to beat me with her leg so I complied. haha Totally kidding but she did throw me under the bus.  I like her a lot and we are excited to stay together for another transfer so pretty much. I ain't even mad. 

      It is amazing being able to use the Christmas initiative that the church has put out called "He is the Gift" that I mentioned last week while we are contacting. It softens peoples hearts so much. I have realized even more this week as we have been talking to people about it one phrase that it says in the video "He IS Christmas" Without him we wouldn't have Christmas we shouldn't focus on the stresses, the presents, and everything else that goes along with it - but focus on what we can give our Savior this year. There really is no other gift that is as precious and meaningful at this time of year  than to focus on Him.

      This week I have been thinking a lot about a quote and a scripture that I really like. So in D&C 6: 21-23 Jesus Christ is talking to Oliver Cowdery who desperately wants an answer to something he is praying about and this is what he tells him. 
 21.Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I am the same that came unto mine own, and mine own received me not. I am the light which shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not.
 22 Verily, verily, I say unto you, if you desire a further witness, cast your mind upon the night that you cried unto me in your heart, that you might know concerning the truth of these things.
 23 Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?
To me there is so much power in those words. Jesus Christ tells him that there is no greater witness than peace. Even if Christ were to appear to us or an angel we still could not have a greater witness than peace because nothing can take the place of faith and it's impact in our lives. So there is a quote by Elder Cook he said, "We know that no unclean thing can dwell in the presence of God, but no unchanged thing will want too." With out that witness of peace that truly changes us, not just our behavior but our very nature, to become like him we could not stand in his presence so there truly is not greater witness that we can have than peace. We can be changed so we can stand in the presence of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and let him know I felt the peace, I changed, I became and I did my best. That helps me to remember the peaceful times they are much more important than we often realize.

     This week I went on exchange with Sister Jones.  She is in the other set of Sister Training leaders in the zone and it was so fun! She is hilarious and such a good missionary. Her drive to work hard and the power she has in her testimony is amazing. Truly she is a determined person, I learned a lot from her and how well she is able to talk to people. Learning everyday. :) 

     Sister Bennion is very talented musically and so she has put together a mission choir and they are doing a fireside for Christmas and of course I am terrible at singing so I am not in it, but I had to go to the practice because Sister Chapman is in it.  So I just sat and watched. Nobody wants to hear me up there singing in the choir. Bad news. The stereo type the sister missionaries are all good at singing is way off the charts wrong on that one. haha. 

     This week when we me with Tracy we have a change in our lesson with her from how they usually are. We have been praying that her heart would be changed and softened because right now she hasn't had the desire to take much action. But yesterday I included her in my fast and she was asking questions and thinking and listening a lot more. Heavenly Father really can soften hearts and change things. It is the greatest miracle of all. :)

      I love our ward mission leader and his wife. They are the cutest ever. They did a little birthday dinner for Sister Chapman last night and it was soo good. It may have had something to do with I was starving and it was fast Sunday, but I would have loved it anyway. Good ole potatoes. Whose the Idaho girl? OH OHHHHHHHH! They help out so much. 

      Well that is it for this week. Jervy is still scheduled to be baptized for the 27th but she was out of town all this week so we are going over there in a couple days when they get back in. Have a great week you are in my prayers!

K love you bye!

Love Sister Weeks (Rachel)
Marietta Zone Conference

Sister Smith and Rachel - one of the Sisters in the zone.

Sister Summerhays and Sister Weeks

Sister Chapman and Sister Weeks with Sister Bennion the Presidents wife.  She went out with them for the day.

Another shot of Thanksgiving dinner I missed from earlier.
Sisters eating at Zone Conference.  They look happy

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Uninvited dinner guests and a little game of baseball

Hey there family!

     Well I hope that everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I know that I did except that people here in the south think that a can of yams with toasted marshmallows on top is sweet potato pie. I don't know why they think that is acceptable but it just isn't. I am currently looking for recruits for who can make the real kind. I'll update you on how it goes. :)

     This week I went on exchange with Sister Stout. Sister Stout is a great missionary she came with me to Woodstock and we had a great time. I learned a lot from her quiet example and strong testimony. She is training another Sister right now and doing a great job. We went after zone conference. Zone conference was so good. It is great to be spiritually edified and uplifted. There are several  missionaries in our zone that are going home next transfer and it is always sad to see them go, but it is amazing what can take place in a person after a lot of refining and changing of natures. Their testimonies are powerful and they are instruments in the hands of God. Many things are learned from the experience of serving the Lord and it is unforgettable. No regrets. Life changing.

      This week I am I am giving a training in district meeting again. Apparently I need to learn a lot of things because I keep getting called on. :) So it is about a talk by Bruce R McConkie called "The Purifying Power of Gethsemane" I love how he starts with saying that he may sound like he is quoting someone else but these are his own words. Words that the Holy spirit has borne witness to him that they are true. I know that we can all have that same witness and surety but we must be invested in the cause. He describes in detail the intense suffering and humiliation that he went through. And the very instant when all of us would turn inward and focus on our own struggles he helps and forgives others. But even Christ a God collapsed with the weight of it all carrying his own cross up the hill. It is the most basic principle yet it is the least understood. He says: "Many of us have a superficial knowledge and rely upon the Lord and his goodness to see us through the trials and perils of life. But if we are to have faith like Enoch and Elijah we must believe what they believed, know what they knew, and live as they lived. May I invite you to join with me in gaining a sound and sure knowledge of the Atonement. We must cast aside the philosophies of men and the wisdom of the wise and hearken to that Spirit which is given to us to guide us into all truth. We must search the scriptures, accepting them as the mind and will and voice of the Lord and the very power of God unto salvation. As we read, ponder, and pray, there will come into our minds a view of the three gardens of God—the Garden of Eden, the Garden of Gethsemane, and the Garden of the Empty Tomb where Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene."  We can gain a witness of our very own of the Divinity of the Living Son of a Living God. They love us and desire to give us our very own witness if we are only willing.

     We had a great Thanksgiving! We ate with the Beatty's and all of their family as well as our ward mission leader and his wife, the Hekkings came to their house as well. It was a blast so many kids running around - I felt right at home. Well I would have if there was sweet potato pie. :) The kids wanted us to play baseball with them and since Sister Chapman is a elementary PE teacher that was right up her alley and she played in her skirt and beat the "boys team" which included Brother Hekking. haha. It was perfect and hilarious. Why I didn't have my camera out? I have no idea. Lame. I think a reenactment is in order.

     Last Sunday we met a member of the Spanish branch that is from Venezuela so she invited us over for dinner, she has a granddaughter that is struggling. It was so good they don't eat spicy food so I LOVED it. :) I was loving it until I was about finished a I looked on my plate to find a nice surprise a roach on my plate joining me for dinner. I don't know who invited him but I uninvited him real quick. Greensboro taught me many things and how to deal with roaches is one of them. Sister Chapman is terrified literally and I didn't know if she was going to make it out alive but we did and still got to bear testimony and help comfort her.

     We even got to meet with Jervy again this week. It is amazing the knowledge that she yearns for. When we are talking she takes notes and studies like crazy I think that I could take a few lessons from her. Her enthusiasm is contagious. And she is the cutest little thing ever. Her husband is a member but has fallen away in recent years but she is the motivating factor in getting him involved again.

     This week the church introduced a new Christmas initiative that they are starting called "He is the Gift" It is about Christ being the real meaning of Christmas. He is the ultimate gift that our Heavenly Father has given us. Lets make this a great Christmas season and focus on what really matters. The Son of God who lived and died for us so that we may life and find the ultimate peace and happiness. If you haven't already you should watch the video I promise it will bring the spirit into your life. Discover the gift. Embrace the gift. #sharethegift Share it with everyone you love and tell them how much He means to you! :)
Here's the video:

     Well that is all for this week. Hope all is well and that your Thanksgiving was fantastic. Love you and you are in my prayers!

K love you bye!
Love Sister Weeks

Zone Conference picture

Thanksgiving with the Beatty's - Thanks to sister Beatty for the photo!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Grateful in any circumstance

Hey there family!

     It was such a good week here in Georgia. Yesterday it was pourin like Pahoran. haha but we made it about 2 inches of pretty cold rain. Good thing we had church and appointments so we got to avoid it for the most part. 

     So we met with Jervy again this week she is amazing. She reads and studies so much and this week we asked her if she had any questions and then she just whips out the pamphlet to the Restoration and the Plan of Salvation and there is an additional study in the back and she had answered all the questions and took notes and looked up scriptures. That is the attitude of someone who has real intent and a true desire to know. They thirst after the knowledge. She is still working for baptism on the 20th and we are so excited for her. She is the cutest. Philippino's are so little. :) 

     This week I went on exchange with Sister Neilsen and at first I was fooled and thought she was super shy and quiet. haha. Nope she is hilarious. We laughed a ton. She is shy around others and it is hard for her to talk to people a lot of the time and oh do I remember that. For a long time it was hard for me to get out of my shell and talk to people and I told her that. She asked my how I got over it and honestly I don't think it was one specific moment but a process over time of changing my nature and that is through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It is amazing how Heavenly Father puts us in the circumstances he needs us to be in to be instruments in his hands. 

      On Sunday I asked one of the Elders in the ward for a blessing for my knee and the work. The blessing was amazing but it was really different than any blessing I have ever had. It was really specific in a different way. And  it is interesting because the last week I have been studying  a lot about the more specific the question the more specific the answer. That is how revelation is. Never in the blessing did it say it would go away but that I would have the strength, endurance and perseverance to overcome the pain. But I have to put my trust in the Lord. But that I will be able to draw upon the powers of heaven and use the scriptures as a crutch for my strength. The thing that I feel like was emphasized most was Rely on the Lord. Remember his sacrifice and use the Saviors atonement. Let go of my pride. So this morning I was reading a talk from the General Women's meeting called Sharing your light by Niell F. Marriott.  And she has a similar experience about letting go of pride. That is where the vulnerability comes in and that is when I get scared but I love what she said. " I was given a moment of truth. I received a clear impression of my weaknesses, and I was shocked...  I cried out in my heart to Heavenly Father and said, “I don’t want to be that woman, but how do I change?' Through the pure spirit of revelation in the temple, I was taught of my utter need for a Redeemer. I turned immediately to the Savior Jesus Christ in my thoughts and felt my anguish melt away and a great hope spring up in my heart. He was my only hope, and I longed to cling only to Him. It was clear to me that a self-absorbed natural woman “is an enemy to God” and to people in her sphere of influence. In the temple that day I learned it was only through the Atonement of Jesus Christ that my prideful nature could change and that I would be enabled to do good. I felt His love keenly, and I knew He would teach me by the Spirit and change me if I gave my heart to Him, holding back nothing." That is what I am learning.  We can hold back nothing from the Savior if we really want his atonement to envelope us and follow us wherever we go. He is my only hope but I am so grateful that I do have hope. 

     We met with Kate again and it was an amazing experience. We talked a lot about the Atonement as well. She misses church and the spiritual nourishment that she felt but she is so scared to come back. We talked with her about how each and everyone of us has a box. This is where we place all of our hurt, frustrations, trials and things that we feel like we are not strong enough to deal with or confront. But when that happens over a period of years it seems unbearable to open up the box or explore the memories that are locked inside. But we have to find the key and let it be open and use those experiences to learn from and know that we are strong. That key is the Atonement of Jesus Christ. For a long time she has blocked off all of those things and she is still scared but she is getting ready to open the box. Heavenly Father knows exactly what she needs.  It was such an amazing lesson. 

     Happy Thanksgiving! I hope it is a great one filled with lots of gratitude, good memories, and laughter. :) Heavenly Father has given us so many things to be grateful for and our circumstances as well. We have the gift of time to learn and be with our families. That gift extends beyond time and through the eternities and I am grateful for you and all that you have taught me and led me by example.  I appreciate your love, support, and prayers.   I can feel them and the strength that comes from them and it is something I will never forget and that I don't want to take for granted. I am blessed with some pretty amazing people in my life and I wouldn't want to pass up an opportunity to tell you how grateful I am and that you are in my prayers and I love y'all. :) I have told a few of you that but like I said I can't pass up the opportunity to let you know that YOU ARE LOVED and I am grateful for you. 

Have a great week, look for the good, and I love y'all!

Love Sister Weeks (Rachel)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Back to the College Campus. Turtle.

Hey there family!

     Well this week we had some pretty amazing experiences. But a lot of running around as well. We had dinner with Sister Cash who is a member of the ward. She is from Jamaica so she made us some food from her country. Super good. :) Who knew that in Georgia I would get food from all over the world. haha.

      This week it has been really cold. And I don't like cold. Humidity and cold are not good combinations. While I was on exchange Sister Smith wanted to run in the morning. Mind you I haven't really ran since I left Greensboro so about 10 weeks. Well we ran about 3 miles. And I refused to walk or give up. haha. I obviously need to let go of some pride. But I MADE IT! 

      This week on Saturday we had some time and we didn't want to be out in the cold for 3 hours strait so we met with a member who is less active. Her name is Kate. She is super hilarious and really quirky. She is a convert but has been struggling with her faith lately because of some hard things that have happened. We weren't sure what we were going to share but in the middle some things popped into our minds to share some personal experiences and a scripture and she just opened right up. She is afraid and feels lost. The spirit was so strong and then yesterday we got a text message from her that said. "Thanks for the visit yesterday. The stories made a difference. A big one." It was amazing. When we open up to others and show that we are vulnerable we can help them more than we know. Heavenly Father knows where all of his children are and is just waiting to reach out in love to them.

      I went on exchange to KSU (the university where some sisters are) There is just a little branch there. I was super nervous because it is all contacting. So stopping people in the middle of what they are doing and talking to them. Something that is not exactly easy for me. So I was a little, or a lot, intimidated by it at first. But Sister Smith who has been there for several transfers and goes home next transfer is a professional at it. Heavenly Father helped me out a lot on that one. It was a little weird to talk to people my own age. Don't worry I didn't even turtle on her. (As in hide in my shell and never want to come out again and leave her to hold the conversation by herself.) Yep it didn't even happen.  It was a little bit of a deja vu to be at college again, but it wasn't even too awkward. haha. The spirit was definitely there as we were talking to people and we had some pretty great experiences. Missionary work really can be done just about anywhere.

      This week is about something that I was assigned to give a training on in District meeting this week so I have been pondering it a lot. The topic kind of caught me by surprise. Our district leader said the spirit has revealed to me that you are a good journal keeper so that is what my training is on.  A quote in PMG by Elder Scott that says "Knowledge carefully recorded is knowledge available in a time of need." Then I like the next part he says "Spiritually sensitive information should be kept in a sacred place that communicates to the Lord how you treasure it. This practice enhances the likelihood of your receiving further light." So he wanted me to relate to the book of Mormon and them keeping records and a couple things have stuck out to me. If they didn't carefully record it we wouldn't have it. Way to state the obvious right? But in Alma 37:9 they are talking about  if they didn't have the scriptures and the word of God the people would have not been converted. And in Enos he prayed diligently and with fervor that the Lord would preserve the records so his brethren could benefit from them and the things they cared about. They showed the Lord that they treasured the information he gave to them and then they were able to receive more. So as I have been writing in my Journal I have been more pondering the question How have I seen the hand of the Lord today? Because of a quote by President Eyring he said "I wrote down a few lines every day for years. I never missed a day no matter how tired I was or how early I would have to start the next day. Before I would write, I would ponder this question: “Have I seen the hand of God reaching out to touch us or our children or our family today?” As I kept at it, something began to happen. As I would cast my mind over the day, I would see evidence of what God had done for one of us that I had not recognized in the busy moments of the day. As that happened, and it happened often, I realized that trying to remember had allowed God to show me what He had done. More than gratitude began to grow in my heart. Testimony grew. I became ever more certain that our Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers. I felt more gratitude for the softening and refining that come because of the Atonement of the Savior Jesus Christ. And I grew more confident that the Holy Ghost can bring all things to our remembrance—even things we did not notice or pay attention to when they happened." So that is really long... sorry. But I can see that when I do that my testimony does grow and I recognize that we are His precious children and I don't want to forget these experiences. Just as we can learn from the Book of Mormon I hope that one day someone can read my thoughts and know what the Gospel means to me and hopefully it can help their testimony and conversion.

       Then this week we are still teaching Jervy. The one from the Philippines whose husband is a member.  She is the cutest and she always want to make food for us. We have seen some pretty big miracles this week with her. Her husband has been less active for a while now but as she has been reading, he has been helping her understand more about it. He even volunteered to participate in class and shared some personal experiences. The spirit gets 'em every time. :)  She understands so much. She came to church again and loved it, just by the look on her face I can tell that she is feeling the spirit.  After we watched the Restoration video with her she accepted to be baptized in December. She is definitely in tune with finding the directions that God wants her to go.  We are so excited for her!!

      Well I think that is all for this week! I hope all is well you are in my prayers!

Love Sister Weeks (Rachel)

28 degrees is NOT okay.

Look a door for little people at Chick-fil-A. Too cute. :)

Sister Jones, she is super cute. We are reunited at last. (we have served around each other before. we are trouble) Just kidding.  *ting*

Monday, November 10, 2014

Lovest thou me?

Hey there Family!

     It was another crazy week here in Woodstock. We keep thinking that things are going to slow down and we will get a handle on it, but it hasn't happened yet and I don't foresee that in the near future. We are just rolling with it and trying to work our hardest. 

     Sister Chapman strikes again and is still telling stories about her leg. I really have a hard time keeping a straight face. haha. Because it is not like anyone would actually question her on such stories because they don't want to be insensitive. We definitely have fun with it. Of course only in Christlike ways... :)

     This week I got to go on exchange with Sister Summerhays. We came out at the same time. She is a great missionary. I love being able to learn from other sisters and the things that they have leaned.  It is weird that there are so many sisters in our zone that came out with us. We have a party. 

     We visited a less active named Kate. She went on a mission many years ago but has been struggling with knowing when God is talking to her. It was amazing how we just asked a few questions and then she just taught herself. The spirit helped her go where she needed to go to have a personal experience this the spirit. I love that I am just an instrument, but really everything is Heavenly Father and his work.   I don't know how he does it, but he sure can change and soften hearts.

     This week we started teaching the woman I mentioned several weeks ago from the Philippines name Jervy. It was such a good lesson. We happen to have a couple members from the Philippines in our ward and they came to the lesson with us. Sister Asay just had her mother move in with her from the Philippines and she shared her conversion story.  The spirit was so strong! Jervy at the end shared a little about her journey - first Catholic, then Born again Christian and she said all this time there was still something missing. She still has questions. Before she came here she was meeting with missionaries there and then she found out that her husband is a member and through  all that, she knows that God is directing her path to help her learn about the truth that she needs in her life. I love seeing the spirit touch hearts. 

     We went to a meeting this week with President Bennion.  It was amazing! I love being able to just be taught by so many amazing missionaries.  President Bennion is so spiritual and the small setting makes it even better. There were so many things in the meeting that stuck out to me, but I am just going to stick with a few. There was a training given on John 21. In this specific chapter is the exchange between Christ after he is resurrected and Peter. He asks him the questions 3 times "Lovest thou me?" and in response tells him to then "Feed my sheep/lambs." This exchange makes much more sense to me now after watching Elder Hollands talk and learning a little bit more about the background. There are 2 different words in Greek for the word love. The greatest for the Christlike or sacrificial love is called 'agape'.   The second form or brotherly love is philos. So then inserting those words into the story it becomes different. Replacing the word lovest to agape in the first two instances. Then finally in the last one Christ uses philos knowing that at that time, that Peter is not yet capable of that kind of love, but through the rest of his life and his ministry will have to demonstrate that kind of love to all. Christs knows Peters potential in feeding his sheep and Peter feels that and accomplishes many great things. Which brings me to one more scripture in John that another missionary showed me earlier this week. To be able to obtain this kind of Christlike and sacrificial love we must use our heart, might, mind, and strength and in John 3:30 it says:  He must increase, but must decrease. 
This states it perfectly to me. To do it all we must decrease while letting him increase and miracles can happen. It just makes me think. How much do I love the Lord? What am I willing to do for him? Give up the things I love most? I hope so. I am trying. 

     Then yesterday after church we were doing a little bit of tracting. We were deciding where we should go and felt that we should just turn and go to a certain street. The first 10 doors no one answered but we kept going. As we did we talked to 2 amazing people who are seeking. They want a better relationship with Jesus Christ. As we were standing there and sharing the message we just bore testimony that we know we were sent there for a reason. Jay is a single father who is seeking guidance. He has lost some of his relationship with Christ but really wants it back.   Lacretia is a single mother who had just moved there. She has not been able to find the full truth that she is seeking for, but as we were leaving she said I can't wait to read this book (the book of Mormon).  As we were talking she said she had the chills. That is the spirit. The spirit will testify of truth.  It comes unto the hearts of everyone and when he choose it will enter and give us feelings that are unforgettable and undeniable. (2 Nephi 33:1) It was a tender mercy to be there and talk to them yesterday. I needed it just as much as they did. 

     Well I love you all! I hope you have a great week. Be happy and look for the Lords tender mercies. 

Love Sister Weeks (Rachel)
Sister Chapman and Sister Weeks (Rachel)

All the Sisters that are in mission leadership that came out with us that we could find. There may be a few missing...

Monday, November 3, 2014

Insanity I tell ya!

Hey there family!

     I hope everyone is well and happy!  Well it has been a crazy week because we have had a lot of things to do. The other sisters that were in the ward moved out of their apartment Tuesday night so we took trips trying to get everything out after we had gone to a wedding of some people we are going to start teaching. One of them is a member and Jervy, the wife, is from the Philippines.  She is super cute and we are excited to meet with her.   She took part of the lessons in the Philippines, but just moved here with her husband who is a member of the ward. So after that everything hit the fan.

      Our apartment is pretty small because it is just a little basement so all 4 of us were staying in it for Tuesday night. Sister Chapman yelled,  "I call Sister Weeks bed".... not cool. They slept on the couch and on the floor.  Then in the morning we took my companion and Sister Chapman's comp to the mission office in Lilburn to drop them off and then we headed back.  I got to see the office couples which was super fun.  They are just the best - we're pretty much like best buds. And... I got to see Sister Andrus she is training and going to finish her mission in Greensboro.  It was so exciting -  we may or may not have been screaming. It was fun no regrets. She told me that Neal is getting baptized next month and has changed so much. It is amazing what the Atonement of Jesus Christ can really do. It changes lives completely.  Since then we have been trying to combine our efforts and both of our planners and appointments into one and then make it all work out. It has been pretty crazy, but we have been having a party. :)

      Sister Chapman has a prosthetic leg that is fondly called either Peggy or Squeaks whatever floats her boat at the time and she love to mess with people about it. She has told well over 100 stories and counting. Sorry Mom... :)(Yeah it is true she punked me with a doozy of a story!)  She is from Mesa/Gilbert Arizona. She is 28 years old and totally had a house before the mission and she has her degree in PE teaching.  She is super cool and hilarious.   She doesn't act like she's 28 (What do 28 year olds act like I wonder?) So don't worry she thinks I'm funny too. Partyin partyin yeah. Work hard, play hard! That's our motto. But she is an awesome missionary and we are super excited!

     This week we had to ride our bikes because the Elders had a doctors appointment that was too far away so we let them borrow our car. We were riding our bikes in our neighborhood to a couple appointments and it was a terrible idea. I totally did not realize how many hills there were -- like steep ones that I had to get off the bike and push it up and even that was difficult. No comments about how out of shape I am. Round is a shape too... We only rode 4 miles but it felt like 10. Down hill is the best part. When the Elders came back they were getting their stuff out of the trunk and noticed our helmets in there and our District leader said "Sisters did you ride your bikes and Sister Chapman butted in right there and said "We sure did!" and while she was saying that he finished his statement with "without your helmets" Sister Chapman stopped for a second and then we looked at each other and said at the same time "We sure did!" He never uses his helmet and we weren't about to waste time and walk there so we had to make a choice. We were protected. We didn't even have too many skirt incidents. It was fun though.  We are totally doing it again, as long as it doesn't get too cold. But note to self: laughing and riding at the same time is really hard.  It leads to crashing and loss of muscle control.

     We are meeting with Corina, a lady from Argentina, she told us she is making us alfajores this week. Real ones from her country. :) But that is beside the point. haha. She has cousins in Argentina that are members and has seen a huge change in their lives since they joined the church. She has been reading the Book of Mormon and it is amazing.  I can tell that she is feeling the spirit and she wants to learn more.
     As I was reading this week in my studies, I have come across a couple scriptures that I just absolutely love about being happy and having pure joy. I love the concept of that because this truly is the Gospel of Happiness and I want to live it fully.  In Mosiah 2:41 King Benjamin tells exactly how you can have that kind of joy. It says: "And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it."   When we keep the commandments and focus on the very basics that is when we have the most joy no matter what is going on around us. I think I have seen that over the past little while.  Being on a mission isn't that easy sometimes there are trials, set backs, and surprises that always come up, but no matter what happens because of the Gospel and Atonement of Jesus Christ I am always happy and I always have an undeniable peace. It is a very real and amazing feeling. Then I love in Alma  27:17-18 : "17. Now the joy of Ammon was so great even that he was full; yea, he was swallowed up in the joy of his God, even to the exhausting of his strength; and he fell again to the earth. 18. Now was not this exceeding joy? Behold, this is joy which none receiveth save it be the truly penitent and humble seeker of happiness." It is describing Ammon's joy in seeing Alma again. The kind of joy here, that is my goal, that is what I want to feel and so many other people too. Everyone deserves to have the kind of joy that is so full and all encompassing that they pass out. That feeling is close to heaven. 

     This fast Sunday the whole mission had a special fast for investigators that are struggling. It was amazing as Sister Chapman and I were specifically praying and seeking inspiration for them. And there were several things that came to our minds about helping them progress and finding the real kind of happiness.

     Well that is all for this week. Hope that all is well. Love you lots! Be happy! 

Love Sister Weeks (Rachel)
Elder Eames see ya later so the elders attacked him with silly string.

Sister Haderlie's and my angel faces. *ting* we are totally innocent. :)

Our farewell Woodstock District picture.  Her new companion  is Sister Chapman in red sweater.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Like a Boss! Nailed it!

Hey there!

     It has been a crazy week this week, but a good one. It started off with Monday of course and Mom was asking me about food. I told her that I will try everything at least a couple times, except corn. Anyone who knows me knows that I do not like corn and I haven't for a long time. Well I had to eat my words and some corn. We had it at some members house and they just served us so obviously I had to eat it. For most of the meal the corn and I were having a staring match, for a second there I thought it was going to eat me! But I finally mustered up the courage to take a bite. BLECH. It was not any better than I expected so I slathered it with butter to try to mask the taste and I don't even like butter that much. Well that didn't help so then I put salt on it, tasted - eww, more salt. That was some really salty, slimy,  piece of corn. Bite swallow bite swallow. And I did it like a BOSS! Under the table I gave Sister Haderlie a fist bump. NAILED IT.  Do you recognize me? Probably not, I would have never done that before. 

     Also I can't remember if I informed you a couple weeks ago.... you will never guess who I met. Well maybe you will I am in Georgia. I met a lady named Miss Eugenia. If you don't understand the reference ask Mom. ha ha. She was sweet, very baptist, and I'm sure very nosy. But I didn't ask so...  (There are some books written by Betsy Brannon Greene that have a delightful character in named Miss Eugenia and the books are based in Georgia.  They are wonderful books that we just love.  I keep asking her if she has met her yet.)

     Last night we had a little surprise.  First the Assistants texted us, and they never just text any one for funsies, so we knew something was up. Then as I was writing in my journal the phone started ringing and it was PRESIDENT BENNION. Aaaahhh. When the President calls you know something is up. He called to tell us that my companion is getting transferred.   She is getting the good ole six week shaft to Grayson and that I am going to be companions with one of the other Sisters in the ward Sister Chapman.  We were in the MTC together. They are taking out the other set of sisters, so now there is just going to be one set of elders and a set of sisters in the ward.  We are just going to combine our efforts, it will be interesting. I am really excited for it though it should be lots of fun. We have been on  an exchange together before and we had a blast!  (What she did not say is the other set of missionaries in the ward were the STL's and they asked her to be a new STL with Sister Chapman and then their companions were being transferred someplace else and they will combine the two areas.  There were three set of missionaries in the Woodstock ward she is in.  Her companion Sister Haderlie will go home next transfer.)

     We got to go and walk around the temple grounds this week. It was AMAZING. I had never had the opportunity to see it before but it was a glorious vision and rejuvenated my spirits. It was just what I needed!  About a million pictures later I'm sure that I will never forget the experience. :) And of course they include some super cliche sister missionary pictures but what can I say. It really just had to happen. (Her companion had a Dr. appt. and they had to drive past the temple to get to it.  They were given permission to stop and take some pictures and walk around briefly.  She was very excited about that.  The whole mission will get to go to the temple at Christmas time and she is really excited about doing that.)

      I have been studying a talk lately that I absolutely love. I have talked about it before but it is just the absolute best. It is called the 4th missionary. There is one part in there that I really like.  I don't have it with me so I can't quote it exactly, but he say something to the effect of "to realize our amazing, inspiring potential we must put ourselves in the Lords hands.  You and only you can do that.   Our will is the only thing that he doesn't have." I can't quite remember but that is pretty close. He states perfectly a concept that is in Matthew 16:25 to find ourselves and come to our highest potential we have to put ourselves in the Lords loving and caring hands. Elder Holland says too "Though we may feel we are “like a broken vessel,” as the Psalmist says,  we must remember, that vessel is in the hands of the divine potter." He is constantly molding and shaping us and we are discovering who we are and what we can become through his mercy, grace, and love. 

     We have had many other great experiences this week from teaching a lesson to someone we definitely thought spoke more English than they did. So we called in the reinforcements... the Spanish Elders. ha ha. Also we had a lesson with Sharece and her nephew Robert. Her Mom was offended by some church members in the past and told her not to come to church. So we are trying to work through her concerns, but she likes us coming over so we are just going to let the spirit reel her in. :)

      Well I think that is all for this week.  I love you all and hope that all is well.  You are in my prayers!


Love Sister Weeks (Rachel)

Atlanta Georgia Temple

Sister Haderlie in front of temple.

Sister Haderlie's Grandma sent a huge Halloween box to share.   How cute!

Rachel and Sister Haderlie in front of temple.

Sisters Haderlie and Weeks  at the temple looking around and taking pictures.

Sister Weeks in front of the temple.  She said "Soak in the cheesyness it just had to be done."

Once again picture with mouth open.  Good thing the flies aren't too thick.

Sister Haderlie with box that her grandma sent them for Halloween.  Looks like fun stuff!
Atlanta Temple
Flowers at the temple.

Sister Haderlie joins in on the cheesy photos at the temple.