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!