Monday, February 23, 2015

Faith unchallenged remains unchanged

Hey there family!

     It has been a really interesting week to say the least. haha. Well hold on for the ride and I'll tell you all about it.

      First of all... guess what!!!?????????? We reached our goal to get 10 lessons with investigators with members present! YAY! It has been an interesting week and Satan worked so hard on many people and in the end we ended up having about 13 or 14 cancellations.... But we got the goal. All because Heavenly Father is so merciful, it was a test of faith and diligence but it happened. I am so excited!!!!!!!!!!! I can hardly contain it all. :) And then our district leader called last night and said I am so proud of you sisters you got 10 now your goal for next week is 20 right?.... I don't need that much stress. 

      And one day this week in only warmed up to about 19 degrees so then I wanted to cry but we made it through. :) Cold weather better be on it's way out. humph. And I am eternally grateful that I am not in a bike area right now.
      Well here is my funny story for the day.... This morning we were doing our grocery shopping and I was looking for some frozen peaches to put in my smoothies. Well then all of a sudden someone appeared right next to me and I gasped and turned and was confused and then realized it was one of the elders -  our district leader to be precise. He was in normal clothes and didn't have his tag on and I said "what the.... you look normal!" He startled me and then I realized how funny it all was. (and I also realized that is how I will feel when I see people later in life and they look normal. They are unrecognizable for a second haha)  And then he proceeded to tell us that he lost his companion somewhere in Walmart and if we found him to let him know! hahahahah. I'm dying. Oh elders..... He said he forgot his tag. We then ran into his companion that he lost a couple minutes later both trying unsuccessfully to find each other. One is from Guatemala and the other from Brazil. The one from Brazil barely speaks English but he walked up to us and said I lost my companion.... ay ay ay. Missionary Problem #537: That awkward moment when you can't find your companion and find yourself in a panic and then realize they are super close to you. haha. That wasn't the case for the elders but they were frantically running around trying to find each other. hahahaha

      This week I was thinking about a quote that one of my companions and I would say all the time as we were pressing forward through the trials. I have no idea who it is by but it is "Faith unchallenged remains unchanged." Well I have felt that a lot we all do as we go throughout life. But to strengthen our faith we have to do things that require faith. I can testify to that, every time I feel like I have had to do something really challenging or jump into what seems like darkness. I look back and could do it all over again if I had to because  my faith is greater. I was reading in Mosiah 23 and 24 this week and it fit perfectly. I love these chapters! In 23:21 It says: "Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people yeah he trieth their patience and their faith." Before it talks about how the people are prospering and doing well they aren't lifted up in the pride of their hearts yet the Lord still sees fit to try their patience and faith. The people were scared at first but Alma says that they "hushed their fears and began to cry unto the Lord" and then in the next chapter in 24 he says: 
13. And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage.
14 And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.
15 And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease,and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.
16 And it came to pass that so great was their faith and their patience that the voice of the Lord came unto them again,saying: Be of good comfort, for on the morrow I will deliver you out of bondage.
     I have literally felt this week the Lord easing the burdens so I could hardly feel them. And the Lord says clearly he does this that we may strengthen our faith and be a witness for him. I know that the Savior does visit us in our afflictions he eases our burdens and he loves us. Because of his strength our load is light and we can carry what we have easily. And the people who are going through intense difficulties and are told that they aren't even allowed to pray and pour out their hearts to God and they "Submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord." They don't complain or place blame they forget themselves and their faith is strengthened. It was a great lesson to me once again, what is my reaction when faced with adversity? Faith unchallenged remains unchanged. I just wanted to end with one more quote from Elder Klebingat he says "When these trials come, the adversary’s minions begin broadcasting that you did something wrong, that this is a punishment, a sign that Heavenly Father does not love you. Ignore that! Instead, try to force a smile, gaze heavenward, and say, “I understand,Lord. I know what this is. A time to prove myself, isn't it?” Then partner with Him to endure well to the end. Spiritual confidence increases when you accept that“often trials and tribulations are allowed to come into your life because of what you are doing right”

      This week for a couple of our lessons we went on splits. I went with one of the Laurels named Courtney and we taught a lesson to Dakota who is our investigator Debbie's daughter. She is 13 and has quite a bit of attitude but she loved the lesson. And told her Mom afterwards. She told me in the lesson that she wants to be baptized! Debbie is so close to getting baptized she really loves the church.

      And last we had a lesson with Tom. He is a neighbor to the Wrights in the Milton ward and so we had a lesson at their house. It was great!  Sister Wright bore her testimony about the Book of Mormon and the miracles she has seen come into her life because of the Gospel and the Savior. He said that he sits in church and he feels that this is the place for me. Now... we just need to get his wife on board she isn't against it but doesn't really have a desire to learn. We are praying that her heart will be softened.

      Well I think that is all for this week. I hope you have a great week filled with lots of happiness and tender mercies. You are in my prayers!

Love you bye!
Love Sister Weeks (Rachel) 

Tried Baklava and it was fabulous!

"Just wanted you to know we love having your missionary in our ward. She is doing a great work and loved by the members of the Milton ward. It's super cold here right now in Atlanta, snow and ice but they are warm and happy. Good job mama your daughter is amazing!" by Sister Erickson.  Thanks for the photo!  Love members that send me pictures.

I got the privilege of trying my first fresh mango. It was SOO good. I know what Pops is thinking. Eww a headache. :) (Ken thinks that mangos taste like a headache and avoids them)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

No excuses, No Regrets!

Hey there family!

     This week has been a great week! But also FREEZING. I am currently sitting at the computer in our apartment complex holding a hand warmer. Why I didn't bring my man shirt down here I have no idea. I'll tell you all about our week.... here it goes. Hold on for the ride! 

      I have got some practice on my Spanish this week! One of the recent converts in the ward speaks it and her child's father speaks it as well. We taught him several lessons and we passed him over to the Spanish elders. He is amazing. So ready to hear the gospel. He is always impressed when I can understand what he says. :) Thanks to Melissa and my Mom and some random little books I can piece things together. I can't wait until I can actually speak Spanish. Hopefully that day will come. 

     I got to go on exchange with Sister Rueckert who was in the same MTC district as me. It was so fun we haven't seen each other in a while and we got to catch up. And get this, her very first area was Milton so we visited some of her former investigators and she helped me to get to know a few more people in the ward. She is a lifesaver. It was so great and we laughed and talked way to much. But she is a great missionary, I am so grateful to be able to learn from others and their examples. 

     This week is going to be interesting because, This week our district leader challenged us to get 10 lessons taught to investigators with members present at those lessons. Last week we got a total of 2.... HELP! Any prayers for that would be great. He said that it is a promise from the Lord that if we do we will baptize someone next transfer if we do this and I am not about to argue with the Lord so we are doing everything we can. I really want to reach it but I know it is only possible with the Lords help. So we need all the help we can get especially since we have had several lessons cancel on us. aahhh. I know it can happen though. Promises from the Lord aren't for nothing. 

     Well my spiritual insight for the week is about a quote that I loved from Elder M. Russell Ballard called "Create Success" It is quite long and I don't want to type it out so I will just share a couple of my favorite parts. He talks about our attitude and the difference that it makes in our life. He says don't be a person that complains about everything but "Be a person who can be placed in any calling and in any set of circumstances and be relied on to set things right. Become a creator of circumstances instead of a creature of circumstances." Then he goes onto say that "We each learn that failure and excuses go together, so we must learn to get away from excuses." My motto "NO EXCUSES, NO REGRETS" Then he ends with "Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe it can achieve... WE need to get involved emotionally in our goals." I was reading that we often never achieve our goals because we are not desperate enough to accomplish them. I was listening to the youth theme song this year called embark and the words struck me "We will give what we've been given, Live our lives with faith, lift up those around us and help them on their way. We will live a life of meaning and cherish every step so when we meet our maker there's nothing to regret no matter how far we're not afraid cause love will light the way..." Charity truly never faileth love does light the way and we can with the Lords help create the circumstances where we can be successful. Even when they are difficult we are growing. The two most powerful words I can utter in my prayers are, "change me." it takes courage to do that but it shows the Lord where our heart is and we can achieve what he wants us to. I want no excuses no regrets. I want to love others with all my heart and I am desperate to accomplish the goals we have set inspired by God. I want him to change me. I need lots more of it. 

     If you haven't listened to the son go do it. It is so good. :) So powerful. 

     We had Zone Conference this week as well! The office couples came and it was soo good to see them. They are some of the lasting friendships that I have made here in Georgia. They all go home pretty soon. Elder Residori is the one in charge of the car inspections and I always give him a hard time. :) But they do it anonymously but we WON! Yay. Thank goodness for that. It means that we get extra miles each month. And we worked really hard to clean it too. As in we went to one of those things that clean it for you. :) haha. And Elder Jessen is a jokester. He is the one in the picture that you found on FB. His wife tells me not to laugh at him or tell him he is funny anymore because then she will never get him to stop. I still think it is hilarious. 

     We were teaching this investigator named Ann who is a referral from the other mission and some other missionaries. She insists that she won't go to our building so she drives to another one. But whenever I would talk during lessons she would stare forward like nobody else was in the room. I'm pretty sure that she hates me. So I wrote on a sticky note. She won't listen to me... invite her to be baptized. haha Well she said she would think about it. But then later she called and said she is going back to school so it isn't going to work out. I guess that means no? Well I will miss teaching her and the stuffed animal bear that stares at me from her pocket as we teach. I love my life. :)

     Our investigator Debbie is still doing well! She came to church on Sunday. She really does love it and the Milton ward is doing such a great job at fellow shipping her and her daughter. Every other week a family invites her over to their house for a lesson. It has made the world of a difference in being in a place where the spirit is to teach. She is so close. Prays for her and her daughter Dakota would be great. :) Thank you! 

     Then lastly when we were on exchange Sister Rueckert and I went to lunch with a member and a less active and another girl who just turned in her mission papers. Bianca hasn't been active for a while but has had some humbling experiences that have changed her heart. It was such a great opportunity because we got to teach about the Atonement. She wants to embrace the change and come back. The spirit was so strong as we all had the opportunity to testify to her. 

     Well I think that is all for this week. Thanks for all you do. I appreciate your love support and prayers. I hope that you have a great week! You are in my prayers. 

Love you bye!

Love Sister Weeks (Rachel)

Rachel and others at Zone Conference.

Look at this little beaut. Sister Chapman and I are reunited. We go to district meeting in the same building. Pretty much we are besties for life. :) 

Then next to her is her comp Sister Kafu (she is from Tonga) on the other side from front to back Sister Castleton (my comp) and Then Sister Gerrard and Sister Smith. We went to lunch after district meeting. So much fun! :)

Roswell Zone Conference

Monday, February 9, 2015

The privilege to work WITH the Lord

Hey there family!

      Well it has been a sunny week in Georgia. We have had 60 degree weather and it is only February. I am totally not complaining that I have only had to wear my jacket. The south is blessed. I really like warm weather. :)

      This week we met with Kolleen and her three kids. Briggs - girl Maddox - boy and Kadence - girl. Missionaries had taught them in the past but they are just so busy it is hard to get in with them because she is opening up her own personal training gym and there is a member of the ward that goes to her. :) They read The Book of Mormon and love it and would totally come if they weren't so busy. Ahhh. Even the kids love reading the Book of Mormon. We watched the Restoration video and the spirit was so strong, they loved it!

     This week I have been thinking about a willing heart/ a broken heart and a contrite spirit. I was reading a talk and Jacob 5 this week for my studies. As we are part of the House of Israel we have the responsibility to share the gospel and help our brothers and sisters. We have the opportunity to bless all families and nations of the earth with our testimony. But only if we are willing to be used by the Lord and do it in his way. He will NEVER leave us alone in that responsibility. That is his promise. In Jacob 5:27 he says "And it came to pass that the servants did go and labor with their mights; and the Lord of the vineyard labored also with them; and they did obey the commandments of the Lord of the vineyard in all things." They obeyed the Lords command and labored with their might but one of the most sacred parts they got to Labor along side the Lord. It is his promise that he is laboring with us. He can do much more work than I can but he lets me help to show him how much I love him. That is why I do it. I love the Lord. I know that he lives and his promises are sure. He knows where the "poor" spots of ground are and where the harvest can be found. Truly it can be found everywhere if we are willing to "thrust in our sickle with our might." From the talk that is speaking about those who are consecrated to the Lord is says "They live the invitation of the Savior, "Be of good cheer I have overcome the world" (John 16:33) There is not a negative bone in their bodies There is no rejection or trial that can dim their enthusiasm. They are willing to pay the price of repeated rejection for the hope of of a single conversion. Whatever the world throws at them, they throw back a smile, because they know they have the gospel of Jesus Christ." because truly as D&C 18:15-16 says "And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father! And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!" So First make sure that one soul is you. Be converted and love the Savior, he is always beside you in his work, the work of saving souls. It is all around us no matter where we are. And then "when thou art converted strengthen they brethren." 

     We met with Debbie again. We had a lesson at the church with Eli - that is totally not pronounced how you think it is. It is like Ellie. He is a Jew born in Israel and her grew up in a kibbutz. (hope that is spelled right) Who even knows what that is really...?  He turned Christian and then he joined the church and he told her. I am a Jew, a christian and a Mormon. Debbie loved that. That she doesn't have to deny her Jewish heritage or her ancestors but she can be all 3. It was a great lesson and he has an amazing story. She said that it helped and her and her daughter Dakota were at church on Sunday! She usually comes but Dakota never does. Yay! And she is hilarious she is a very forward person with a Boston accent and she is Jewish. haha. I love it. The people you can meet here in the south - it is amazing. I came all the way to Georgia to find Indians (from India) who practice Hinduism, Native Americans, South Americans, Jews, Russians. Man what else is next? Oh the diversity of Atlanta. 

     We also met with Tom. He is a neighbor of one of the members and has been interested for sometime but has had many health problems. But we had a lesson and we talked to him about the importance of the Book of Mormon. The member he is friends with son was speaking in church so they invited him and he came. He really like it. It was a good Sunday. :)

     Then there is a recent convert in the ward who is 13. Her name is Lexi, she reminds me of Amanda when she was 13. haha. She LOVES to read. And her sense of humor is hilarious. Her Mom is a member and is returning to activity and we had a lesson with them last night. Both of their desire to learn is amazing. It made me once again realize how much I like learning. I am grateful that I am able to and study time is so precious. That really is the only thing we can take back in life and I don't want to return not having learned all that I can.

     Well have a great week. You are in my prayers. Be happy and work with the Lord! 

K love you bye!

Love Sister Weeks (Rachel)

A GINORMOUS dog. I almost peed then cried. Good thing I dubbed Sister Castleton as the dog whisperer because it was literally almost as tall as me on all fours. I was out of there real fast. I almost didn't even walk up to the door to knock on it.

Sister Castleton-Rudolph (I just call her Sister Castleton) and I.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Faith in Him

Hey there family!

     Well it has been a great week in Milton. I am still excited to be here and still haven't seen a small house. But the search is still on. I'll let you know how it goes. 

     We visited with John Adams this week. He is a cute 82 year old black man who has still got rhythm. He is such a humble man. He is a convert of 4 years and less active because he has some health problems that make it so he can't often get out of bed. But at the end of the lesson he said he would like to say the prayer and thank God for letting us come over and all his blessings. An 82 year old man who often can't get out of bed got down on his knees and said a humble and sincere prayer. That is a man who knows the Savior and loves and respects him. He is an example to me.

     We have an investigator - Debbie - who is Jewish. A member of our congregation is one of her really good friends and we had a couple lessons with her. She is so close. She loves the church and the people. We talked with her about finding a faith in Christ. So this week we are meeting with her and a member in one of the other wards who used be Jewish and grew up in Jerusalem. I am so excited. We are praying it goes well and helps her discover her faith. 

     Because of Debbie I have been thinking a lot about faith in Jesus Christ. I feel like I can never learn enough about Him. One of our investigators is Jewish so she doesn't have a belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, so I have been trying to look at things from a little bit different perspective. We had a lesson with her at a members house and we decided to watch the video "Finding Faith in Christ" It was perfect for everyone there. The video is about Thomas one on Christs apostles who is referred to as "doubting Thomas" He tells of the perspective he has gained to someone who finds it hard to have faith. They show many experiences and miracles that Christ performed ending with HE LIVES. It reminded me of one of my very favorite talks "Lord I Believe" by Jeffery R Holland. The experience that he quotes in the talk is in the video so that could be why.. :) But there was a quote that I have been thinking about he says:
 "I would say to all who wish for more faith, remember this man! In moments of fear or doubt or troubling times, hold the ground you have already won, even if that ground is limited. In the growth we all have to experience in mortality, the spiritual equivalent of this boy’s affliction or this parent’s desperation is going to come to all of us. When those moments come and issues surface, the resolution of which is not immediately forthcoming, hold fast to what you already know and stand strong until additional knowledge comes.... I am not asking you to pretend to faith you do not have. I am asking you to be true to the faith you do have."
      We are all seeking in this life at different levels. Whether we are trying to decide what we believe or farther along than that and trusting in the Lord and his timing to our heartfelt pleas. But this advice is always applicable. In 2 Nephi 25:2 he prophesies "...He shall rise from the dead, with healing in his wings; and all those who shall believe on his name shall be saved in the kingdom of God..." We can be healed and our answers will come. Elder Hollands "last observation" in the talk is:
 "So be kind regarding human frailty—your own as well as that of those who serve with you in a Church led by volunteer, mortal men and women. Except in the case of His only perfect Begotten Son, imperfect people are all God has ever had to work with. That must be terribly frustrating to Him, but He deals with it. So should we. And when you see imperfection, remember that the limitation is not in the divinity of the work. As one gifted writer has suggested, when the infinite fullness is poured forth, it is not the oil’s fault if there is some loss because finite vessels can’t quite contain it all. Those finite vessels include you and me, so be patient and kind and forgiving. We all have access to his healing and enabling power."
 As Nephi says he will rise with healing in his wings. I feel that strength everyday. When the difficulties arise and His work gets hard I remind myself of his love, the faith I do have and then I am grateful that I don't have to carry a cross on my back or suffer above all. If we are to do his work we must experience a small part of what he did. I am eternally grateful for him and I KNOW he lives. He is my best friend. 

     When we watched the video there was a returning member there and a couple recent converts and like I said it was perfect for everyone. They were all touched in the way that God needed them to be. The spirit is so powerful!

     Last night we had a goal of how many people we wanted to talk to for the week but it was pouring rain. Well I didn't have my umbrella with me like a smarty pants so we were just tracting. And it wasn't just a light drizzle so I got pretty wet After an hour of tracting a lady asked if we wanted an umbrella. YAY! That was a tender mercy. So after another hour and the umbrella keeping me a little more dry we met our goal! Heavenly Father loves us and he made it possible. When we set goals inspired by him he WILL help us. I'm all dried out and warm. :)

     Last thing..,. Once a week we go and do service for an Old Folks home and all the ones there are well a few fries short of a happy meal pretty much. And this lady was talking to herself that I was sitting next to and I was chatting with another guy and then all of the sudden she pulls on my boot and said "Pull up your boots!" Then she scoffed and said the world now days.. and kept muttering. Well Yes mam I will get right on that... pulling up my boots. Right after I figure out how. If someone could explain it to me I would be most grateful.

     Well that's all for this week! I hope all is well. Y'all are in my prayers! Stay warm laugh lots and remember our Savior.

K love you bye!

Love Sister Week (Rachel)

Oh PS My new address is: 
14203 Deer Point Ct
Alpharetta GA 30004