Monday, September 9, 2013

More than a Coincidence

Hola Familia!!!
I love the Birthday cake! And wow, Kimmy you look so old, I actually stared at the pictures for a couple of seconds because you look so much older! Wow, that's awesome! Kimmy, I hope that you like Young Womens so far. How was your first week? I'm proud that you said the first article of faith. It is a really important article of faith because there are a lot of people in the world who are confused about God. We were talking to the Young Women's president the other day and thanking her for all the work she does. As we were talking, I thought about how YW's was the time when I learned the most about who I am, and my self worth to God. Many people have different views on God, but I love that we know that he is actually our Father. 

Also, Did Sammy get a haricut? He also looks older!

Also, Nathan way to be for ring-leading the table moving party! That's crazy! I bet you all gained some muscles from that. That's so fun though!

I love the theme that you have for this month. Good Works-that is so important! (I also love the section about Good Works in Personal Progress...Kimmy you should check it out... :) I think that inviting a family to FHE would be a great idea! I support 110% percent! that sounds awesome! That is good that you are all having the fast to know how to hasten the work.  I know that the Lord blesses us when we fast. One example that I remember is right before I got offered that job at Terrace Grove, the day before it was offered, I decided to fast for the girls that I visit teach. The very next day, they called and offered me the job. It was such a blessing, and it wasn't quite in the way I was expecting but I know that the Lord blesses us for putting forth effort. That is something I've been thinking a lot about lately. We just have to put forth out effort and work our hardest. For example, with the language, I've realized that I have to put forth the effort first. I can't just go expecting to wake up one day knowing Spanish. It will come little by little, minute by minute, hour by hour. But I do feel like my Spanish is getting better, which is such a blessing. I usually can understand the main idea of the conversations going on around me. It's amazing though, because if they dissected the words out, I wouldn't have a clue what they specifically mean, but I feel like that is where the spirit comes in. The spirit can tell me the idea of the conversation and the feelings of others. Which is such a blessing!

This week has been filled with many blessings! The Lord is so good to me. This morning I read Alma 26. It is now officially my new favorite chapter in the whole Book of Mormon. It takes on a whole new meaning now that I'm a missionary! I love the scriptures because with every new calling different things poke out at you. Sometimes I feel like the General Conference talks and scriptures were written specifically for me here in Chicago. But I guess that amazing thing is, they were!! I love the spirit, because with it you can find and feel things you never would have felt or seen before and you know that the scriptures were written for you. The Lord is so good!

I wanted to share some of the miracles we have seen from the Lord. One interesting thing that I've realized is that miracles are there every day, you just need to look for them. The mission has lots of ups and downs, but I know that if I focus on the positive I will start to see even more blessings and miracles in my life. Ok, so here we go.....

Sep. 4th- We were driving down the road to go visit ________, a potential investigator that we had been trying to visit for a while. We saw a man working on the side-walk with the leaf blower, blowing off grass from the sidewalk. I was driving and Hermana Davies said "pull-over, Let's talk to him." We pulled over and hurriedly started walking after him, but he was walking fast and couldn't hear us (or if he could he didn't acknowledge us.) We "chased" him down the side walk, but he turned into a yard and went to the back yard. We decided we probably shouldn't follow him the whole way so we decided to walk to the end of the block and then turn around. So that it wasn't quite so awkward.

When we were at the end of the block we were about to cross the street, again so it wouldn't be so awkward walking right past them again--but I felt we should stay on the same side. as we were walking back, the man with the leaf blower came out again! We asked him what his name was  and started talking to him about the church. 

He started talking about Joseph Smith and what a beautiful story it was! He then continued to say that he had met missionaries in South Carolina about 4 months earlier and had been taking lessons and going to church. He then said "What a coincidence that I met you here as well!"

But I know that this is more than a coincidence, the Lord needs _________ in his Gospel and wants him to come back.

We then proceeded to get his contact information, but in our rush to get out of the car we didn't bring a pencil! So we put our number in his phone and then had him call our number so that we'd have his number on our phone.

But when we got back to the car we looked at the phone, and we didn't have the number. So we hurried and got in the car and drove to were we last saw______and parked the car right in front of their drive way. (Really bad place to park, but I just wasn't thinking...and the windows were open and the GPS was sitting right in the open) But anyway, we were determined to get his number (as creepy as that sounds...) So we hurried and got out the car and ran to the backyard where_______ was. He was with all his coworkers, so it was super awkward, but we explained what had happened with the phone. This time we brought a pencil and wrote it down.

So it was super awkward situation and we rushed back to the car but I kept thinking, "I can do awkward tings for a persons salvation...." haha...the funniest part is once we got back to the car when we looked at the phone we saw that the call really hard gone through! Woops...oh well...

Three lessons I learned:
1. Never forget a pencil
2. The Lord places people in your path you can teach and who need the gospel, but it might take work to find them
3. Never doubt the promptings of the spirit, even if it's "awkward"   

Sept. 5th: One of the miracles we saw this week was that on Thursday we had lots of solid appointments and we had planned each lesson carefully and prepared to teach every person. I was very excited to talk to all of those people, but to our surprise almost every one of the appointments called and canceled because of various reasons. So we were left wondering what to do. Our back up plans also didn't go through, and at that point it was easy to feel discouraged. But we knew that Heavenly Father always has a plan for us, and so we decided to get in the car and say a prayer and ask Heavenly Father what we should do. After the prayer we remembered that the Elders had sent us a text a couple days earlier about some apartments that were just out of their area, and in ours. We decided to go check them out and go knocking. At the third door we found a lady who is a member of the church (but not in the records). She had recently moved from Brazil and has a new born baby. She hadn't been back to church for a while though because of the baby and her husband wanted to go to a Spanish ward, but they didn't know where it was. Her husband isn't a member but was interested in coming to the Spanish ward. It was such a miracle that we found them, and I know that the Lord blessed us to be there and knock on their door.

Anyway, sorry that this letter is becoming a huge novel. There are lots of other little tender mercies that we have seen from the Lord this week! But I just don't have the time to tell them all! I wish I could, but I know that if you all look for the miracles in your life you will see them their as well! The Lord blesses all who are obedient to him!

Mom and Dad, I love Preach my Gospel Lesson two about the Plan of Salvation. It's true, the plan is so great! Are we really living without now regrets and putting what is most important first! Thanks for the reminder!

I love you all! I Love the Lord, and I know that he loves every single one of his children. Thanks for all you good examples to me!

Hermana Israelsen

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

What a Unique time this is in my Life!

Hola Familia!!!!
First of all, HAPPY BIRTTHDAY Kimberly this week!! Wow I can't believe that you are 12! You will love young womens. It is the best!!!!!!!!!!!!! My advice to you is to always be kind to everyone in the young women group no matter what (and I'm sure that you already are). Also, participate in the lessons, because you'll learn more that way! So what are you going to do for you birthday? Are you going to have a cake? If so, what kind did you have? How has school been going? Way to be for earning your Faith in God award. That will be such a blessing in your life! So, now you can go to the temple? Are you going to go with the family? That would be so neat? Kimberly, the temple is amazing, and I think you will love it! You might feel a little nervous at first, but when you go just remember that you are in Heavenly Father's house. I'm sure that Mom, Katie,...etc would love to go with you as well. Also Todd, Trevor, Nate and everyone else! That is so exciting! What is your favorite thing about being 12? Do you feel any older? Happy Birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love you!
Twelve things I love about Kimberly: (just in random order)
1. Her smile
2. Dedication
3. Ability to have fun and help others
4. Her sheep ( haha, just the way that you love what you do and work hard at it)
5. Her testimony of the gospel ( I love how you love the story of Joseph of Egypt)
6. Helpful
7. Clean and orderly
8. Good at drawing and being creative
9. Forgiving and kind to others around you
10. Gentleness with Sammy, Addie, and I'm assuming William as well :)
11. Hard Worker
12. Good at school (math, spelling...etc.)

Ok, so Mom I love your haircut, it looks great! Todd, I also love the picture of you in uniform. Looking sharp! Do you like marching band? What's hard about it? What's good about it? What about school? Do you like 8th grade?
So, about the media focus, we learned the other day that we will be getting facebook eventually, but I'm not sure when. (Weird, because I've never hard one, and I never thought I'd have one on my mission :) I'm not exactly sure of the details are though, we have a zone conference tso I'm not sure it we'll talk about it more then or not. So with winter clothing, I'm not exactly sure. My companion hasn't been here through a winter yet, either...but I'm thinking probably the end of September or the start of October. We can call the office this week, and I'll let you know for sure more next week! Is that ok? I have some warm stuff right now, so if it did get cold fast I think I'll be ok. Also, there are a bunch of coats from the other hermanas who used to live here that I could use if I wanted to.

My companion is from Alpine Utah. She came her about the start of January, but her Spanish is really good! She was one of the new missionaries as well who turned in their papers after the age change. She learned Spanish pretty much all here in the field, which is amazing! I feel so blessed to have a companion like her because she is very very good at connecting with the people and being able to speak with them. Speaking of which, it has been interesting because the people here really love to talk! But they talk so so fast! It's crazy, so sometimes we'll be in a lesson and I'm long far gone with what they're talking about...but I've learned how to just smile and nod and lend a listening ear (or more like someone they can know and trust I guess....) It's interesting, but I've decided that if for now my duty is to just be there to let them know that the Lord cares, then that's what I'll do. I can usually catch on to words here and there, and try and put the puzzle together. It's interesting, but fun! Almost like a weird twist on connect the dots! Afterwards I'll usually ask my companion what just happened, and then it all fits together. People have some really interesting and crazy lives... but I love being there with them.
At times I think of how much the gospel would bless their lives! If they could just see how much following the commandments could bless their life, but I guess they'll see the picture little by little. Like a sunrise, surely but slowly. Then I remember that maybe that's how Heavenly Father thinks of it for me as well. Maybe right now I can't see the whole picture, but the more I learn about the gospel,Spanish..etc...the more I'll come to appreciate and treasure the gospel.

Ok, so some funny experiences this week. It was really humid and really hot, and we went to go check up on a potential investigator. She works for Mary Kay, (so maybe this is why it was one her mind) but she asked us if we were allowed to were makeup! It was funny because we were wearing makeup right then...but I guess she couldn't tell.. We also had someone ask us again, yesterday.... We really do try to look nice in the morning and everything, but I guess just throughout the day, it wears off or something...oh well. :) It was funny, it gave us some good laughs.

I've been thinking about missionary work and what a unique time this is in my life. I don't think I'll ever have another time in my life where I go to peoples house, sit in their houses, eat their food (amazing, I love it by the way!! Mexican food is the best!), talk to them about their worries, the gospel, and try and help them to see the bigger picture, without even really knowing them before! I love it! It is the best!! I feel so blessed to serve a mission and to be serving others! Better yet, to be preaching the gospel to others! In Preach my Gospel, there is a quote by Joseph Smith which says "After all that has been said, the greatest and most important duty is to preach the Gospel."
It is so true! At times it is easy to forget why we are really here! I have seen the people who have the gospel in their lives and they have a foundation in their lives. I feel so sad for those who wander around, wondering where to go! Because Jesus Christ is there waiting for them to come unto him, but some of them just need a guide. One of the scriptures that I really love lately is Philippians 4:13. " I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me."

Ok family, I want to offer you a challenge.. :) Pray about someone you could give their name to the missionaries. I know that if we pray about it, Heavenly Father will help peoples faces, names, families come to our mind. They don't have to be your best friend, just someone you know. Can I tell you how much we love referrals, I think I would faint if a family came to me and gave us referrals, it would be heaven on earth. They're the best!!! Even better is when the member comes with you! I think it makes such a difference. (Sorry, I'm not trying to get on everyone's case, I hope it doesn't feel that way...I just know how much a blessing it would be to the missionaries)  

Last night we got an interesting text from a less active member, she asked why is it that when they are trying to do the best good, or come back to church, is when she has the most temptations and trials. We are going to go over to her house tonight and talk to her about it. It reminds me of the first vision though, because right before Joseph prayed, satan tried to stop him because what Joseph was going to do was going to change the world for the better. (JSH 1:14-17) It also made me think off all the prophets in the scriptures, they all had trials, and their lives and I'm sure that they were tempted or couldn't see the results right in front of them (Abinidi), but if they just preserver then they are blessed so much. Also they bless others lives! It made me also think about putting on the whole armour of God (D and C 27: 15-18). I've been thinking about how important reading the scriptures and praying are. It's what keeps us going through those hard times. Heavenly Father will always support you, but satan never ever will. (Alma 34:39) I know that when we pray and read our scriptures we are holding on to the iron rod (1 Nefi 15:24). Especiallly reading and praying when we don't feel like it, because that's when we need to the most.
I know that when we read and pray we receive many blessings. Remember to read the Book of Mormon daily!!!! ( I know that I say this probably every week, but it is something I need to work on, and I know that when I do I feel the blessings so much in my life)

I love you all!!!!!! I hope all is going well! How is baby William? How did the race go, Katie and Michael? 
Keep the faith all!!! I love you all so much, thanks for all your support and love. It would be hard to do it without you, thanks for all you do!

Love, Hermana Israelsen