Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Bound for the Promised Land

Gooooood morning, y'all! I'd just like to begin this e-mail with a shoutout to Bishop Burns, the best bishop this side of the Red River. Thanks for all the hard work you do for Brownlee, Bishop!

We've had quite the adventurous week here, my friends! I'm a little short on time today, so this one will also be short, but I'll try and tell you all that we did!

Because it's February and our dear Zone Leaders increased our mileage allotment, Sister May and I had the privilege of driving all the way to Plain Dealing, Louisiana, one of the four cities we cover. Plain Dealing is a very quiet, still town located as far away from everything as possible. Sister May and I loved being up there, though, and we got to meet some incredible people because of these blessings.

We were also blessed to have Zone Conference on Thursday. It's amazing how inspired our leadership is. Every lesson and principle taught swept away a concern or a question I'd had. Heavenly Father is aware of us, personally and perfectly. Every word spoken at Zone Conference was meant for me, and I know it was meant for Sister May and the other missionaries in the MJM. I'm thankful to have leaders who are led by the Spirit in all that they do.

This Zone Conference was my last. I didn't fully feel that until I was standing at the pulpit, giving a closing testimony that I'd seen dozens of other missionaries before me give. It still hasn't quite come, but I'm thankful to have had such a spiritually uplifting conference that built me up for the rest of the day.

Also this week, Elder Sillitoe and Elder Ostergar were able to see one of their awesome investigators, Lisa get baptized. She was able to make an everlasting covenant with our Heavenly Father, one that will bless her life forever.

At this baptism, Sister May and I had the privilege of teaching about the Plan of Salvation. This subject has weighed heavy on my mind lately, and as I reflected on the day a thought came to me.

Just before the baptism, a funeral was held. I don't know for whom. I thought it was an odd combination of things -- a funeral and a baptism, barely an hour apart. Both commemorating entirely different things, but both belonging to God's plan of salvation.

We come to this earth to learn. We came here because in our pre-earth life, we accepted Heavenly Father's plan and promised we'd do our best in our earthly bodies. But, these bodies aren't perfect. They get sick, they wither, they fade. One day, we will all be subject to physical death. It is simply another step in God's house.

Brothers and sisters, life doesn't end at the grave. Jesus Christ overcame that for us when He rose again. There is hope for friends and family to see each other again. Because Jesus Christ's soul and body were reunited, one day ours will be, too and we will be in perfected bodies, no longer subject to death and disease.

Baptism is also a step in God's plan for us. Through baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, we overcome spiritual death as we continue to repent. Heavenly Father has given us a way to overcome all things, and I know all of those things are done in Jesus Christ.

Do you know where you are in His plan for you?

I love you all! Have a good week.



Sister Rose

The PD sign!

Some Plain Dealing scenery

When you see a rainbow, and it's AWESOME!

A sunset photo

The road to Plain Dealing

When you're going to a dinner appointment with a member but they live in the literal middle of a horse farm

Monday, February 20, 2017

That Awkward Moment When You're Older Than Your Ward Mission Leader

Good rainy morning to y'all! It's a lovely day here in the city of Bossier. It's nice and wet after a string of warm, sunny days. Oh, Louisiana, how I love you.

This week has been full of miracles. I went on exchanges with the one-and-only Sister Marble on Tuesday! I would like to give our poor companions props, though. You see, our Sister Training Leaders are in a car-share. Because of my poor, broken bike, Sister May was stuck on the bike for the day in Stonewall. She and Sister Anderson braved the freezing cold rain and wind that day whilst biking down streets in their skirts. They got soaked, but continued being awesome anyway. We made sure they came home, got dry, and wrapped up in some blankets. It was quite the adventure!

We were also able to teach the Young Women on Sunday about missionary work. I think I may say this every week, but you members don't realize the impact you have in someone's conversion. A hand to hold and help guide them through this new spiritual journey allows them to grip the Savior's hand as they find their way. Y'all make such a difference.

This week, we tracted into a teenager whose parents were asleep when we first stopped by. Wanting to teach the family, we came back the next day to talk to her parents. They were sitting in the garage, talking quietly. The husband was reclined in a folding chair, fingers clasped on his stomach. A golden cross hung around his neck and rested on his stomach. He eyed us as we walked up, and he happily received us as we offered to share our message about Jesus Christ.

I will say, this conversation didn't really go anywhere. It was a lot of us bearing our testimonies, and him nor his wife listening to us. Sister May and I did our best to boldly declare our beliefs, and he declared his. We all laughed at the end when we said, "Well, one of us has to be wrong, huh?"

There was one part of our conversation that stuck with me. He asked us if we thought he was saved. On my mission, I have learned that every person has a different definition of "being saved" or "salvation."

For Latter-day Saints, to receive salvation depends upon our relationship with Jesus Christ and how we keep His commandments. Jesus Christ never taught passive discipleship. We cannot rely on one verse of scripture to bolster our beliefs alone; when we read scriptures, we have to think of others. Everything connects, just as the doctrine of "being saved" does.

I have accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior. I bear witness of His name, and I wear Him on my heart everyday. That alone is not enough to save me, however.

Jesus Christ taught, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (John 3:5). We know that a person must be baptized by immersion and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands by someone holding proper authority. Jesus Christ had this authority and gave it to His apostles. They were the ones ordained to this, and "no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron" (Hebrews 5:4).

Because of Christ's resurrection, we have all received physical salvation. We will all be raised at the last day. As Paul teaches, "...That there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust" (Acts 24:15). By that definition, we are all saved from the grave. However, to achieve spiritual salvation -- to have our sins cleansed from us, we must repent and follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized as described above. There must be things we must do, and as we try to keep the commandments, Jesus Christ's Atonement allows us to be stronger and be better. The Atonement will change our very natures if we let it.

Our happiness depends on us. We must rely on Jesus Christ. If we are to be saved, someone has to rescue us. Jesus Christ has rescued us from death, from sin, from ourselves, and from a life of eternal darkness.

Find Christ, brothers and sisters. Hold to the promises you've made, and He will help you keep them. As Nephi says, "I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them" (1 Nephi 3:7).

He will help you. Don't be discouraged. You don't have to be perfect; you simply have to try. He will lift you as you falter; He will raise you as you reach for Him. I promise He will be there. I've felt it for myself. The restored gospel has taught me of His love and His redeeming power.

Seek Him, and you will find Him.

Have a good week.



Sister Rose

This is a store in Benton called "More Junk in My Trunk." It also has a Christian gifts store inside. 

 When it's Valentine's Day so you make cookies for EVERYONE

Sister May and I played dress-up with the leftover clothes from past sisters. #HomeComingOutfit

Monday, February 13, 2017

As Nephi of Old

Good morning, y'all!

Have I mentioned that it's Mardi Gras season? Probably. I love Mardi Gras. Last year when I was in the Hattiesburg Zone, I told myself that next year I wanted to be in Louisiana for Mardi Gras season. Little did I know that Heavenly Father would actually make that happen, and I'd be spending the best time of year in northern Louisiana.

I've learned the origin of king cakes, as well as the meaning behind the iconic purple, gold, and green that adorn Mardi Gras wreathes across the state. I now understand that you start Mardi Gras twelve days after Christmas, and it ends the day before Lent. What exactly and precisely we are all celebrating is completely beyond me, but I'm sure I'll continue to learn as I serve!

One night during a drive back to our apartment, Sister May and I noticed how large and staunch the moon was in the sky. Although we were far from the main city of Bossier, few stars dappled the night. The glow of the houses around us mocked their otherworldly glitter, but paled in comparison to the moon's presence above us. Its usual glaring white light was yellowed and wide, as if someone had forgotten a spot on their black canvas. I felt as if the moon were watching us, and my eyes never left that moon as we drove. My companion and I were silent, and the soft hum of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing "Called to Serve" filled the car.

I was taken back to when I'd first entered the Missionary Training Center in Provo, and I remembered singing that same hymn with five hundred other missionaries who'd entered that same day. I remember the strongest feeling I'd ever felt come straight into my heart, like there was a warm hand gripping my heart. A burning sensation filled my chest and encompassed my entire being, and in that moment I knew I was supposed to be in the MTC, at that time, with those people.

This feeling I had while watching the moon was not quite like that. But, I felt in my heart a sort of calm. It wasn't overwhelming; it did not leak from my head down to my toes. It was a small, gentle nudge in my heart as I stared at the Louisiana sky. I was meant to be here. Somehow, for some reason, I was supposed to be in Louisiana, preaching the gospel of Christ.

Sometimes when we are searching for peace or enlightenment, we have a tendency to seek for "signs." "If the Book of Mormon is true, then this will happen." "If I'm meant to go here, then I will feel this particular feeling." We want strong feelings of validation. We want a miracle confirmation that this is where we are supposed to be or what we are supposed to be doing. And those feelings do come. I've felt them. But most often in my life, Heavenly Father has not given me this confirmation until I've found myself firmly rooted in a decision.

The prophet Moroni writes about this. He says, "And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith" (Ether 12:6).

If you are to be faithful, you must act and remember that the Lord will strengthen you if it will be right. Sometimes the right decision is not the easiest, but it will help you grow. My greatest bounds of faith have come from my most lonely acts of courage. It is when we have made our decision and taken our own steps in our own plan of salvation that Heavenly Father gives us His guiding hand to help us to the right one. We won't make the right decisions all the time, but we know that He is there to guide us to them. It takes some trust, but Heavenly Father never changes. Of all people I love to trust in, it is my  Heavenly Father. He has never let me down, and He never will.

Be strong in your decisions, brothers and sisters. Heavenly Father is waiting to give you guidance. In the strength of the Lord, you can do all things.

Have a good week.



Sister Rose

And here we have Sister May, looking fabulous.

We spent some time at the Boardwalk last Tuesday. It was loads of fun! :D

Tuesday, February 7, 2017


Good morning, y'all! This email comes to you a smidgen earlier because we're now living the new P-Day schedule! And we love it! Truly a testament that this Church is led by Apostles called of God.

It's a little warm today. Like I said, it's basically spring. But y'all don't read these for the weather updates, right? That's what your fancy weather apps are for. You're here for all of the random, mundane missionary stuff I do, right? Yeah? Probably not. ;)

This past week, a lot of really good friends of mine are now home. To name a few, Sister Conder, Sister Bennett, Sister Golder, and Sister Steadman have all left the mission field and entered the afterlife where they will continue their missions as steadfast members of Jesus Christ's church. Thank y'all for your service. Each of you have touched my life in such different, personal ways and I can't wait to see how you bless the lives of those you meet.

This week, we did a lot of tracting. Tracting is always a fascinating experience. It's usually where I learn the most about what door I want on my future house, and also what kind of people own certain kinds of houses. I never know what to expect, but no matter which door I knock on, I know that the Lord is guiding whatever I or Sister May say.

To open your mouth is something the Lord commanded the early missionaries of the Church. In Doctrine and Covenants 28, He says, "And thou must open thy mouth at all times, declaring my gospel with the sound of rejoicing. Amen" (16). As missionaries, we are to open our mouths and proclaim the restored gospel of Jesus Christ to all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people.

I think too often we think of this as our duty, even as missionaries. As someone called to serve the Lord, it is my responsibility to proclaim the gospel to all I see, but why do we do this?

Also in Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord says, "Open your mouths and they shall be filled, and you shall become even as Nephi of old, who journeyed from Jerusalem in the wilderness" (33:8). Do y'all have any idea who Nephi was?! He's only one of my favorite Book of Mormon prophets! Please, read 1 Nephi if you don't know who he is. His testimony of the Savior, of the commandments, and of faith is truly what has strengthened mine as I've read the scriptures.

Open your mouth and you will become even like him! What! What on earth does that even mean?

We open our mouths not just for the blessings of eternity and of a strong testimony, but we open our mouths and seek to share this blessing with all because we love our fellowmen.

Jesus Christ was not concerned with Himself. His ministry was focused wholly on God's children and their needs. He knew they needed to have faith, to repent, to be baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. He knew they needed the higher law, and He suffered for them because He loved them.

Brothers and sisters, this is a gospel of love. This is not about us. I am not here to better myself. I am not here in Louisiana to seek myself and the vain things of the world, as Brigham Young put it. I am here to reach out to others and bring them the blessings of the Atonement that they have not accessed yet.

There is so much more out there, and it is in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christ's church on the earth today and contains the fullness of the gospel.

If you want to know that, then ask. Seek after it. Study. Listen with your spiritual ears. Find with your heart. Heavenly Father will lead you.

Have a good week.



Sister Rose

When your companion is making cookies but she's 4'11" and we keep the baking stuff in the top cabinet.

I love taking pictures of sunsets!
If you want to know the perfect description of what it's like here
Us with Miger, one of our investigators. He's pretty cool ;D