Monday, November 23, 2015

Happy Holidays!

HAAAPPPYY THANKSGIVING, ALL! The fall weather has hit Mississippi with all its tornadoes and everything! Oh, man, it's awesome! Sister Harrison and I woke up to text messages and phone calls from three different members in our ward telling us to hide in our bathtub because tornado clouds (there's an actual name for those, but it escapes me) were forming by our street. We squeezed into the bathtub for about forty-five minutes until the members told us it was safe. It was quite the adventure! Don't be alarmed! We were safe; the funnel didn't touch down and nothing was destroyed. Everyone is safe! :) 

Everyone is much kinder around Thanksgiving and Christmas. People we talk to are more inclined to hear our message, and they are also happier to refer us to their neighbors and friends! Neat, right?!

While a bunch of our investigators are out of town until after Thanksgiving, there are still many people we can find and teach here in Flo. The Lord has been able to bless us with finding just the right people at the right time, as well as making sure we have unplanned days -- because Sister Harrison has been sick as a dog! 

I mentioned that in my last e-mail. She's since gone to the doctor and discovered she has a respiratory infection. She's received antibiotics, and is now making a speedy recovery. I have to brag about my companion for a moment: she's been so sick that she should probably not be out and about everyday; she's hardly been able to talk because of her throat and cough, and her nose has been stopped up and clogged, making it hard for her to do much while we tract. Despite everything working against her, she's still been able to wake up at 6:30AM everyday, go tracting, teach, and train me. We've been blessed with members who allow her to crash at their place for a while, while I work with the Sister Training Leaders in Jackson. Even so, she's still trying to work hard and show the Lord how much she cares. I am so blessed to have a companion like her! 

She and I have been doing our best to focus on the member-missionary work in the ward. I've said this many times before, but members are key in missionary work. Preach My Gospel has numerous quotes on the topic. Some of my favorites include, "Member-missionary work is one of the greatest keys to the individual growth of our members. It is my conviction that member-missionary work will raise the spirituality in any ward where applied" (President Ezra Taft Benson, 1985-1994), and "That is your mission, my brethren and sisters of the Church, that is your responsibility. Freely you have received and our Heavenly Father will expect you freely to share with His other sons and daughters these glorious truths." "We will attain our exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom only on the condition that we share with our Father's other children the blessings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and observe the commandments that will enrich our lives here and hereafter" (President George Albert Smith, 1945-1951). 

Although members may not wear name tags, we all carry the responsibility to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with all of God's children. You have come to know of the truth of the Gospel, and now it is your duty to share it with your brothers and sisters. By doing so, you not only bless others, but also yourself and your spirituality. Do not withhold from your lost brothers and sisters the blessings that have been poured out onto you from your Father in Heaven. Do not doubt the power that your testimony has. Do not believe you cannot make a difference. 

By believing you can change someone else's life and placing faith in your Heavenly Father that He will help you, you can and will find someone who is ready to hear the message of the Restoration. They are out there; Heavenly Father is just waiting for you to find them. 

There are also some precious gems hidden within wards that are very willing to do missionary work, but don't know how! Many times this week have Sister Harrison and I been prompted to call or text a member to go to an appointment with us, and on each occasion they've needed to go with us for a specific reason -- even if it wasn't that they needed to go with us! For instance, I felt prompted to call a member in our ward who greets us every Sunday. We didn't know him or his family very well, but we gave him a call. While he was unable to come to our appointment, we discovered that his phone number had changed and that he was eager to come teach with us. We asked when he would be able to, and he responded, "Any time, as long as you give me some warning. I have a flexible schedule!" 

This was an answer to our prayers! Ah! We were so excited! We love our members. Getting them out to teach with us is a challenge since most of them work or have children or are simply very busy. So, finding a member with the desire to serve and a flexible schedule was a serious miracle! 

While I've been writing, the thought of a visit we had last night keeps coming to mind. Sister Harrison and I went out teaching with a woman in our ward. The appointment we'd had fell through, and all of our backups weren't home. A little disappointed, I asked Sister Harrison who should be our last attempt, and she suggested a less-active family we'd visited many times before. They're an awesome family, but we aren't sure why they don't come to church, nor have we ever been able to teach in the environment of their home. Hoping for the best, we went to their home. 

They welcomed us in, but they were overrun with company and one of the kids was having his birthday party. Albeit awkward and unsure of what to do, the mother in the household told us to sit while she chatted with a friend. We looked to the member we'd brought with us and hoped she was okay with this, and she seemed just fine with the situation. Sister Harrison and I weren't sure what to do with all the noise and commotion...but then, things worked out. 

The less-active woman began chatting with our member. They talked and suddenly, she asked that her son pause the television as they talked -- which has never happened before. The member we'd brought with us was able to find out why this woman no longer attends church, and knew how to begin helping. I was so amazed! As missionaries, we don't always know what to do in situations like this when a person doesn't need a lesson or a message, just someone to talk to. We cannot always pick up on that, but this member could. 

You members are so crucial to helping others. Please share the gospel with those you know. Help out your missionaries and ask how you can help the missionary efforts in your ward. The Lord will bless you for your efforts. I know that the Lord watches out for you, and sends you promptings to help your fellowmen. Be humble and gracious, willing to act on the gentle promptings you receive -- and you will be blessed. 

Have a happy Thanksgiving, all! I'll be spending it with the Relief Society president this week! 


- Sister Rose


Sister Garry left us messages in our showers and on our mirrors...

Monday, November 16, 2015

What a Weird Week!


It's a little difficult to remember what happened this week! Missionary Standard Time is so different from a regular week's time. It hardly feels like a P-Day today, and Sister Harrison agrees! 

It was Elder Beckstrom's birthday this week! He's 20! This elder is one of my Zone Leaders, and he's very good at his calling. Thanks for being an awesome ZL! #ZLBeckstromFace

We had a lot going on this week. We had a fantastic Monday last week! My mission grandma, Sister Garry says that the key to a great week is to have a good Monday. I can attest to this. Sister Harrison and I had an absolutely splendid Monday; we were able to go shopping and we got to teach three lessons in one night! It put us in a fantastic mood for the rest of the week. It also allowed Heavenly Father to bless us more than He usually does. 

We had quite the trial this week; Sister Harrison is really sick! She's been off and on getting better and worse, and now it seems like she's slowly getting worse. We've talked to Sister Olson (the Mission President's wife), the Zone Leaders, the Jackson STLs, and members from our ward for advice on what we can do to help her. Let me just say that Sister Harrison is an outstanding missionary. She hasn't used this sickness as an excuse to stay in the apartment and do nothing; she's been out working. She's been doing her best to exercise her faith in the Lord and still do the work in Flowood. She's wonderful -- but she still needed some rest. ;) 

We talked to the STLs, and we ended up doing a bit of an exchange with them. One of the coolest ward members ever allowed Sister Harrison to spend the day resting at her place while I spent the day in Jackson with the Sister Training Leaders. It was a blast! Sister Garry and Sister Moffett are the best; they really do a great job taking care of their sisters. They've consistently helped us this week with this, and they've been ready to come help us work in Flowood, too, so Sister Harrison can work on getting back to 100%! What a blessing these sisters are! 

As I reflect on this week, I realize how the Lord has placed us in the right places at just the right times so that we can share the gospel with the people in Flowood. We've met some seriously, spiritually strong people whose hearts are softened towards us as we share our testimonies of Christ and His gospel. I recall this one woman we met who squinted at our name tags, and she touched her heart and said, "You have Jesus Christ on your badge. That speaks volumes." 

If you look at a Latter-day Saint missionary's name tag, you'll notice his/her name and then just below is the church logo, which proudly displays the Savior's name in large print. We place this name tag just above our hearts. It is the Savior's name that has drawn many to the restored gospel. Sister Martin, the Filipino less-active we meet with every Sunday, often professes of the beginning of her conversion, which started with noticing the Savior's name on our name tags. That woman we met knows we are representing Jesus Christ, and she even told us that she felt that. She happily talked to us about Christ and the gospel, and I know that we've planted a seed for her that will grow and flourish. 

We've been able to do the same with plenty of other people. I know that there are those who have been prepared to meet us. It can sometimes be discouraging when you don't have someone stepping into the baptismal font, but the work is far more than that. Often throughout the week, I have to remind myself of Alma and Amulek (also known as the best missionaries ever. They're kind of my favorites...) and their trials as a companionship. It begins in Ammonihah, after Alma has been preaching in Melek and baptizes quite a few people. The people of Ammonihah were having none of what Alma had to say. In Alma chapter 8, verse 10 reads, "Nevertheless, Alma labored much in the spirit, wrestling with God in mighty prayer, that he would pour out his Spirit upon the people who were in the city; that he would also grant that he might baptize them unto repentance." 

This is something tons of missionaries do everyday. I've certainly done it. Alma was sure that his prayers and his faith would allow for copious amounts of baptisms in Ammonihah, and that the people's hearts would be softened toward the gospel. But if we continue reading, we learn that the people continued to have "hardened hearts" and figured they knew everything Alma had to say; they knew who he was and what he did; they didn't belong to his church and had no interest in anything he had to preach. 

Alma was heartbroken. They spit on him and forced him out of the city. He was discouraged, upset, and confused. But in that moment, an angel of the Lord came to him and said, "Blessed art thou, Alma; therefore, lift up thy head and rejoice, for thou has great cause to rejoice; for thou has been faithful in keeping the commandments of God from the time which thou hast receivedst thy first message from him." He is then commanded to go back and preach in Ammonihah. 

I'm sure Alma was a little afraid. These people just spit on him and cast him out of their city; they hated him. They didn't want him there, but the Lord did. So, he went back -- and he found Amulek, a Nephite who was prepared to receive Alma and his message. The Lord gave them power to prophesy and call people unto repentance, and thus began one of the greatest missionary companionships in history. 

That might be a little dramatic, but I do sincerely love Alma and Amulek. They're powerful missionaries, and we have been able to use their example in our missionary work. With an attitude like theirs, we've been able to find people who are sincerely ready to hear the restored gospel. We can teach these people; we can help them; the Lord's love will be poured out onto them, and all will work out. 

How is your missionary work progressing? What discouraging things have kept you from progressing in the gospel? Trials come and go; it's how we endure them that decides our divinity. 

Be strong and of good courage, everyone! It's been a good week! Know that we've been blessed in Flowood with wonderful church members, a large area, and wonderful children of God to teach. 

Have a great week! Godspeed!

- Sister Rose 

Monday, November 9, 2015


Goooood morning, all! (Or afternoon, or evening. Whenever you're reading this.) 

Here's a joke an Episcopal man told us on his doorstep (he told us many jokes, but this is the one I remember) after he'd said he wasn't interested: 

"Where you find four Episcopalians, you'll find a fifth." 

Do you get it? Because he had to explain that one to Sister Harrison and me. 

This week I've developed a newfound love for pistachios and persimmons. A less active woman we see every Sunday has a persimmon tree outside of her house, and she plucked a few off for us sisters and gave them to us. She's so sweet! And so are persimmons. :)

It's kinda chilly here in Flo! My jacket is getting some good use, and so is my umbrella. It looks like we still haven't recovered from the hurricane yet. But that's okay! It makes for great door conversation. For instance, Sister Harrison and I were tracting this week and were trying very hard to ignore the impending doom that was the storm clouds rolling in overhead. I stuffed my umbrella into my bag and regretted not bringing my coat with me, especially since it began to pour while we talked to a man on his doorstep. 

This man was clearly not interested. He was babysitting his grandson, and was very happy with his church. Every time I opened my mouth to say something that would allow us to move on to the next house, Sister Harrison would cut in and ask about his work, what he does in his spare time, if he does family history, etc. I finally began trying to give her the look that says,We need to go! But then it occurred to me that she was asking questions to keep us out of the rain! 

I tried really hard not to laugh, and failed after the man closed the door and we were left with a wall of rain to walk through. We tried to share my little umbrella, but that offered little protection and we ended up getting soaked! It was the most fun ever! I loved it! I laughed the whole way back to the car. Sister Harrison was less amused, but what else are greenie companions for?

We ended up taking refuge at the Griffins' home nearby. They're a really sweet family in our ward who truly spoil us. We huddled under my umbrella on their doorstep, and Sister Griffin answered the door with a huge smile on her face. "Hi, y'all!" she said, and soon her smile faded into horror as she saw our soaking wet skirts and hair and she immediately began to wave us in with a, "Oh my gosh." She then gave us towels, and we happily spent the evening with them. They took us out to dinner to this tiny barbecue place that had the Ten Commandments on stone tablets on display just outside. It was awesome.

Don't worry, Mom. The members take care of us! 

There is a lot out here trying to push the work back. I'm sure it's this way for all missionaries, and we know this is how things are when we choose to accept our calling as missionaries. Members of the Church are fighting a battle. We have been waging a war against Satan since before we even came here, and the battle is growing harder and tougher with every passing day. Satan knows what he's doing; he's done this for centuries. He knows how to twist and tempt God's children to turn away from Him, but it's up to us to realize the part we play in the battle against him. 

If we refer to Alma 2 in the Book of Mormon, we read about the Nephites' struggle against the Amlicites and the Lamanites, who are of a greater number than the Nephites. Concerned for the welfare of their people and the goodness of their faith, the Nephites turn to God in this time of trial and tribulation as they march into battle at the river Sidon. In verse 28, we read, "Nevertheless, the Nephites being strengthened by the hand of the Lord, having prayed mightily to him that he would deliver them out of the hands of their enemies, therefore the Lord did hear their cries, and did strengthen them, and the Lamanites and the Amlicites did fall before them." 

How cool is this! The Nephites were outnumbered -- and I mean crazy outnumbered! The scriptures describe the quantity of enemies as being as numerous as the sands in the sea! But no number is greater than the power of God. Heavenly Father gave the Nephites insurmountable strength and courage so that they could overcome their enemies and protect their home. The same can be applied to us fighting for righteousness in the latter-days. While we are not literally putting on armor and wielding weapons, we are still representatives of Jesus Christ. We are still God's children, appointed to fight for what is right and trust in the Lord. 

The world is turning, brothers and sisters. The world is twisted and confused in so many ways. It's so easy to fall into doubt, but don't doubt what you know to be true! And if you do, doubt that! To quote President Uchtdorf, "Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith." Faith is the foundation of everything. If you are struggling with your faith, look to God. Pray. Look for answers. They're there, as long as you earnestly seek them and listen to the Spirit. It might be hard -- and more than likely it will be -- but that's what makes it worth finding. 

Refer to Mosiah 7, when King Limhi is reassuring his people, he says, "O ye, my people, lift up your heads and be comforted; for behold, the time is at hand, or is not far distant, when we shall no longer be in subjection to our enemies, notwithstanding our many strugglings, which have been in vain; yet I trust there remaineth an effectual struggle to be made. 

"Therefore, lift up your heads and rejoice, and put your trust in God, in that God who was the God of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob; and also, that God who brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt, and caused that they should walk through the Red Sea on dry ground, and fed them with manna that they might not perish in the wilderness; and many more things did he do for them." 

Trust in God and what He's taught you. Trust in what you know, and be comforted in the fact that your Father in Heaven is aware of your fears, your questions, and your doubts. But in order to answer them, you must have faith and act. 

I know that the Lord has prepared people for us missionaries to teach. I know that we have to find them through faith and the guidance of the Holy Ghost. We've already been led to a good handful of people whom Sister Harrison and I know the Lord has entrusted us with. They are our brothers and sisters, as you are to us, and we are going to fight to bring them closer to the Savior and help them discover their divine potential. 

Don't stop believing in miracles; know that they still happen today, and I see the Lord's hand at work everyday in Mississippi. The people here are loving and kind and willing to listen, but I'm sure there are also people like that where you live. 

Who can you touch with the gospel today? What truths are you struggling with? What more do you need to know and do to be a better disciple of Christ?

Ask your Heavenly Father. Be a light and an example. Be a beacon, and others will be drawn to your light. 

Have a good week! Stay warm!


- Sister Rose 

 This was from Halloween, actually! It was pouring rain so we thought it was time for a selfie 

We made another friend while tracting! 

We found a cool tree at a park

Me creepin' on Sis. Harrison

We were in this cool nature park in our area. It's so beautiful here! 

Do I need a reason for why I took this photo?

Sister Dewitt in our ward straightened my hair!

But the humidity made my straightened hair not so straight... 

Monday, November 2, 2015

So much rain!


It's still very wet in Mississippi. It's rained all week, and the weather was nuts on Halloween! 

I'm sure plenty of you may wonder what Halloween is like for missionaries since we can't dress up or go trick-or-treating (...if only). We have to be inside by 6:00PM, either in our apartments or with a member. For those of us in the Brandon district, there's this really cool family in the ward who invited all the missionaries over for Halloween! We got to eat pizza and chat and play some weird games. Sis. Harrison got some really hilarious videos! The missionaries in our district are really awesome; this transfer is going to be amazing! 

With the rain as crazy as it was, Sister Harrison and I weren't sure how we were going to get all of our tracting done. (Each week, the missionaries have to reach a minimum of 7 hours of tracting!) We tracted as much as we could everyday, and at the end of each day, we'd count how many hours/minutes of tracting we'd accomplished. 

On Thursday night, I was counting how many hours of tracting we'd done that day. By the time I was done, I was laughing because we'd done 6 hours and 59 minutes of tracting! WHAT! What a blessing!

This was especially a blessing while we were doing our weekly planning session on Friday. Over the past few weeks, we've collected a ton of business cards and phone numbers from people we'd talk to about service in the community, so we'd decided to call all of them and ask what could be done! We called the library and the Chamber of Flowood, and neither of those had any service we could do at the moment (the people at the Chamber of Flowood were really busy, too. They said we can keep trying back though!), so we then called a guy who was the Head of Parks and Recreation for the city of Flowood. When he answered the phone, we told him who we were and what we do and we asked if he had any service we could help with. 

Immediately, he told us about this alternative to trick-or-treating they were hosting at the park nearby. A bunch of vendors and whatnot were going to be there, and he asked if we wanted to pass out candy and set up a booth to share our faith with people! We were so shocked! He told us to go down to the park and find the Maintenance Manager and ask about setting up a tent. So, we immediately got our shoes on and rushed down to the park, where we met the nicest people ever

Rodger was the guy we were supposed to talk to about the whole thing. He asked if we had a table and a tent and chairs. We said we had none of those things, so he let us use one of the extra sets they had. Some really very sweet female inmates from the local prison helped set it up right in front of us, and then Rodger asked if we needed a generator! We said no, and thanked everyone. 

We then had about three hours to get everything ready. This involved running to teach a wonderful woman we see every Friday who has been a member for a year. She always offers such a wonderful testimony of the gospel and is always so fun to talk to. We taught her for about an hour or so, ran to Wally World to grab some candy, and then drove to the mission office in Brandon to grab a bunch of media supplies -- like copies of the Book of Mormon, pamphlets, pass-along cards, DVDs, Bibles...everything! The missionaries in the office are so kind! 

We spent the entire evening handing out copies of the Book of Mormon, answering questions about it, and handing out pamphlets. The people here are all so kind. I'm sure I say that in every e-mail, but really. People in the south can be so generous and loving, especially if you are doing something to spread the love of Jesus Christ. I know what we did at that little shindig was so important for some people who came to the booth. The Book of Mormon is a powerful book. It is the keystone of our religion and the most important book on the earth today. It testifies of the Restoration; it is evidence of the Restoration. It is truth of God's love and the Savior's restored Church on the earth that you can hold in your hands. 

And we gave that to so many people. 

Do you have a testimony of the Book of Mormon? As a person who grew up in the Church, it was always just a part of everyday life. The story of Abinadi was as familiar to me as the story of Noah's ark to everyone else. I assumed everyone had this; everyone knew this; I didn't understand that the Book of Mormon was precious. It's a holy book from our Father in Heaven, just like the Bible. But, as I've been introducing it to people and talking about it and really spending time with it, I've grown to truly love the message it shares and understand how important it is. 

Read the Book of Mormon. Read it with a purpose; reading to read never got anyone anywhere. Read with a question in mind -- what can I do to be a better person? How can I help those around me? What can I do to help? 

Any question of the heart and soul is a question the Book of Mormon can answer. I challenge those reading this to select a question about the gospel, about themselves, or anything in their heart and try to find it in the Book of Mormon. I know you can find it if you are sincerely, earnestly seeking it. It will come to you, and the Lord will bless you. 

Another thing I have noticed from this week is that teenagers are seriously the bomb. I love them. They're always so willing to learn more and ask questions! We met a few this week who truly want to strengthen their relationship with their Father in Heaven. I firmly believe that God put us on their front doorsteps to share our message with them so that they can feel a closer connection to Him and realize that they aren't alone and that there's a brighter, bigger, better future for them. I know that helped me a lot when I was that age; I needed the gospel, and I strongly feel like they do too. 

I would also like to tell you that I have a seriously awesome companion. Sister Harrison works so hard to be a good missionary. She's always seeking answers to her prayers and asking Heavenly Father for ways that she can improve. She is always trying to lift me up, and I know that her being my trainer was an inspiration from God. She's taught me so much, and I'm still learning. She's honestly the best, and I can't wait to see what else she accomplishes in the nine months that she has left on her mission. 

I think that's all for now. I'm sure there's more, but I always forget (even though I write it down...). Remember to love one another, brothers and sisters. As Christ said to His disciples, "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another." We are all struggling on the path back home to our Heavenly Father; we are all doing the best we can. Uplift, don't drag. Love and embrace; don't crush and diminish. Those you see are as much of a loved child of God as you are; remember that. 

Have a wonderful week! Godspeed!

- Sister Rose 

Here are some pumpkins a ward member carved at the trunk or treat!