Wednesday, June 29, 2011

" A Grateful Heart Is A Happy Heart!"

A few weeks ago I got my first glimpse of vegie tales... and surprisingly enough I was moved to tears. I has been a very spiritual day for me and my companion and at the end of it we decided to go and see a member of our branch that we hadn't seen for a while. She was in the process of cleaning out a room and we came just in time to help. Her 4 year old grandson, Jaden was more than happy to help but seemed to only getting in the way. After a while of cleaning and he felt like his time would be better spent watching TV than helping us clean.
   His grandma put on an episode of Vegie tales... I kinda giggled to myself thinking... who's bright idea was it to tell stories through vegetables... anywho. We kept cleaning when  I started to hear the story about Madame Blueberry. This a very blue lady ( not the color, but the feeling ) who cried all day for the things she didn't have. Her poor butlers who cared very much for her tried to cheer her up, but there was no use Madame Blueberry could not see any reoson for joy and only saw the material things that she laked. Out of nowhere two salesman from the Stuff Mart convinced her that the only way that she could be happy is if she had more stuff. The sad blueberry willing to try anything decides to go shopping to find joy. On the way there they run into a small humble family that is celebrating their daugheter's  birthday. Madame Blueberry saw the family sitting together about to have birthday pie she thought to her self that this little girl must be really sad for having so little when she over hears the little girl singing this song

 " I thank God for this day,
For the sun in the sky,
For my mom and my dad,
For my piece of apple pie!

For our home on the ground,
For His love that's all around,
That's why I say thanks every day!

Because a thankful heart is a happy heart!
I'm glad for what I have,
Thats an easy way to start!

For the love that He shares,
'Cause He listens to my prayers,
That's why I say thanks every day!"

  All of the sudden i had this lovely warm sensation in my heart and tears in my eyes. I couldn't help but to join in gratitude for the things God has given me. I have never had much in the eyes of the world, but the Lord has blessed me with everything that matters in this life.  I have a family who loves me and prays for me every night . I have a loving family on the mission that have strengthened me and help me to understand more of Heavenly Father's love for his children. I have a testimony of my of a Father in Heaven, of my Savior Jesus Christ and his restored gospel on this earth. I have everything that I need to be happy in this life. I invite all to count their blessings and to thank God for all that he has given you. I promise that as you live your life giving thanks you will have a heart that over floods with Joy!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

We Want Women Wednesdays - Sister Stohel

I plead your patience as I commandeer the keyboard from my companion. The wonderful Sister Martinez has asked me to explain a little as to why I decided to serve a mission. I promise that I will answer the question, but it is definitely more than a one sentence answer. As with most things in life it is a story.

The story of my conversion is probably pretty boring to most people. I did not have a huge miraculous experience or some fantastic event that will be in the books for generations, or that could be marked as the 'changing point' in my life. I had no angelic visitations, or even a voice that I could hear. My conversion to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His true church on the earth today came through repentance.

I think that many people in the world today think that repentance is a bad thing, a punishment, a way for God to condemn the sinners, possibly even as something for the world to condemn them by. This is not true. One of the most important and highlighted teachings of our church is that God is our loving Heavenly Father. He does not want to punish us.

We have laws and commandments because God wants to bless us and enable us to have all we need in order to bring true happiness in this life, but part of having laws is having consequences. We merit rewards for keeping the commandments of God, so too we merit our own punishments when we choose to disregard the divine mandates that God has given us. Sometimes we can feel the consequences of our actions and sometimes we cannot, but it does not change what we did and someone has to pay a price for our choices. If we can feel it or not, it does not change the fact that there was a law given and a punishment affixed. Whether we choose to pay the price personally, to carry around with us the burden of all of the bad choices of a life time, or whether we choose to give it to someone greater is a decision we all have to make.

I'm not a horrible person, but I am not a perfect person either. I have sinned, and there are many times that I can feel the pain of that. The good and glorious news of the Gospel is that we do not have to suffer under the weight of our choices, if we so choose we can turn to Christ and accept Him. There is One who suffered all so that He could relieve us from our suffering. There is One who carried all the of our sins so that He could alleviate the burdens that we build up in the confines of our hearts. There is One who can save us from the consequences of our sin, but only if we allow Him to do so.

The Savior gives all of us this promise in Matthew 11
28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

I testify that the words here, the promise that Christ offers is true. I have felt the peace and love that come from the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. It is a feeling of joy beyond measure. Truly God's love for us, as well as Christ's love for us, is divine. There is nothing in this world with which we can make a comparison. I feel that love as I repent, as I try to draw myself closer to God through the forgiveness which is made possible by His Son, as I work to overcome weaknesses through His grace. I still make mistakes, but in spite of all my imperfections the love and strength of my Lord and Savior is still there, enabling me to overcome my faults as well as giving me the courage I need to conquer natural inclinations of who I am and help me to become who I want to be.

Now to return to what the question of my companion, why did I choose to serve a mission. This same feeling of love and joy that I have felt needs to be shared. I know what it feels like to be in the dark, to feel lost, to feel weighed down, to feel like there is no hope or light bright enough nor strength sufficient enough to get me out of the hole I managed to dig for myself. I am here for all those who have ever felt that way, or who currently feel that way. There is hope, there is life, there is light, and this is the message that I am blessed to be able to share with the world.

And now, my beloved brethren, seeing that our merciful God has given us so great knowledge concerning these things, let us remember him, and lay aside our sins, and not hang down our heads, for we are not cast off (2 Nephi 10:20)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

We Want Women: Sister Franklin!!!!!

   I've given a lot of thought to how the mission has changed me. In all honesty, I have changed in too many ways to count. I have a greater understanding of the Gospel and the scriptures. My testimony has grown stronger. I have a better work ethic. I am more wise with my time. I have even learned to cook new things and speak a little Tongan. I came out because of a spiritual prompting, a desire to work, and a desperate need to set my priorities in order, to put the Lord first. However, I stayed out here because I grew to love the people. It's usually very hard for me to open my heart and become attached to others, so I prayed every night to have more charity. It took a while to develop, but I can now say that I truly love the people I serve, and the missionaries I serve with.
    I am a very different person now then I was when I first come out. Along with more charity, I have been blessed with greater confidence. For the first 6 months, or so of my mission, I was very shy. My companions always had to talk more in lessons, to pick up the slack. I was scared of tracting and talking to people on the street, but I did it anyway.  It was tough. However, as I saw the Gospel change the lives of others, and felt the influence of the Lord more in my own life, my testimony of this work grew stronger. As my testimony in the Savior, His church and the Book of Mormon grew, so did my confidence. I grew more bold in promising blessings for keeping God's commandments, because I had seen many witnesses that God will always keep His end of the bargain. My testimony of each and every commandment has been strengthened as I have seen others abide by them, and be blessed. I have also come to realize that I was called and set apart to be a representative of the Lord by His priesthood authority, through my leaders. As my confidence grew, so did my humility.
   I have come to realize that I am only a small part of the big Plan. The most exiting and rewarding times are when I realize how little I've done to help the people I work with, and how much the Lord has done to aid in their progression. It has nothing to do with my knowledge, charisma, or talents. I just do the work, and let the Lord cover the rest.  My confidence in the Lord has grown tremendously.
  I am very grateful for the opportunity I have to be a part of this work, and to see light enter into the lives of others. I know this is the Lord's Church, and that He is moving the work forward. There is no place I'd rather be, than here in the Mission field. It is absolutely amazing. These things I leave with you in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

We Want Women Wednesdays: HERMANA RUPP

I have beem on my mission for almost 4 months and I have learned so much and made many changes. It's hard to even know where to begin. It is true when they say that your first convert is yourself. When I went into the MTC, it was nothing like I expected it to be. I went in there thinking I was going to learn about the Gospel and Spanish, and I did, but more then anything I learned more about myself. I realized I wasn't patient and that I really lacked Christt like love. That was somethingI had to work on and It is something that I am continually working on. I realized I took a lot of the small things for granted. I learned quickly how to put more trust in my Father in Heaven. When you have no family or friends around, prayer become my life support. I felt God's love and comfort in times when I felt like I couldn't do it anymore. The atonement became so real to me. I know that Christ knows exactly what I am going through. I felt a greater desire to change and be more like my Savior. I have felt the healing power of forgiveness and how inportant it is to forgive others.( Matterw 18:21-22 The Lord answers prayers through the scriptures. The Book of Mormon has great power in it. I know that the Lord speaks to us through the scriptures. I find so much peace and comfort when I read the scriptures. The Book of Mormon is true. I have really been trying to learn how the Spirit speaks to me and having enough faith to trust in the Lord and act on those promptings.
    All in all, the mission is changing me. It is continuallly molding me into the person I want to become. I am greatful for the blessing to change. I am so glad I don't have to be the person I was before. The gospel changes lifes. I am always amazed by the faith of the people in the California Santa Rosa Mossion that we teach. They so willingly accept the gospel and have such a great desire to do the things that our Heavenly father wants them to do. The Atonement is the " the good news" of this gospel We can always change! These are the things I have learned in the past few months. I have a long way to go and a lot more to learn... I am so excited. I love being a missionary!
Hermana Rupp

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

We Want Women Wednesdays: Hermana Leyton "All You Need is Love"

Love. It's a word that is packed with different meanings and connotations. Love for friends. Love for a neighbor. Love for family. Love of a spouse. Love of self. I came out on a mission knowing that people have told me it would be the best time of my life. I found it really hard to believe because I was just coming home from a study abroad program in Spain where I met amazing friends and people, and loved every moment of it. I could not imagine how a mission could compete with that amazing experience. 
I've been a missionary for almost 15 months. Everyday I've had on my mission is a new experience that has changed me, for the better. My priorities have changed. Everyday is an opportunity to think of others and how to help them. In Mathew 10:39 it says, "He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it." I have discovered what it's really all about. Love. Forgetting yourself and loving others. Christ has taught, in John 13:34 "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another." I've started to understand what that means, because when you love some one, you are going to do everything you can to help them. It means going to comfort a family who just found out that their grandmother has cancer; it means making calls all night and running errands to find clothes for someone to go to a church prom activity; it means spending many nights praying to our Heavenly Father on behalf of others.  I've had opportunities "'to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places" (Mosiah 18:9). It means giving of yourself to the people you teach and meet so much, that you love them as family. As missionaries we meet many people, and I've loved all of them so much; I did not know I had that capacity to love someone you have known for such a short period, but they become a part of you. Every time I've taught some one about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it becomes a part of me. Everyone that I've met in my mission has helped change me for the better, God has placed them in my path for a reason; it makes me think of the song, "For Good" from Wicked which says:
I've heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you

 I've learned so much from every one; I think of Proverbs 17:17, "A friend loveth at all times, and a brother [aka sister] is born for adversity." I've found my best friends on my mission in my companions. (As missionaries we are with someone 24/7 that we call a companion. You eat, work, cry, comfort, and love one another together.)  I love my companions. I love the people I've taught on my mission. I love the people whom I've been a part of their conversion and baptism. I've felt Christ love for the people I've encountered on the streets. My understand of the doctrines of Christ have increased and so has my desire to follow Christ. He teaches "If ye love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15). It's so simple...keep the commandments of God ( I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ ( I love my mission and it's been the best 15 months of my life and has exceeded all expectations I've ever had. I've felt the love of my Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ; I have felt the love of my God; I have felt of the truthfulness of the message I'm sharing, that the Church of Jesus Christ is on the earth again ( I know it; I know God knows it, and I cannot deny it.

Hermana Leyton

"We Want Women" Wednesdays :)

Every Wednesday, we're going to post a blog from Sister Missionaries in this mission. If you're a former sister missionary and would like to share your story, feel free to email me your stories, and we can post them.

We believe that as sisters, we can help and strengthen this work. President Monson has issued the call saying, “I admonish you to prepare for service as a missionary. Keep yourselves clean nd pure and worthy to represent the Lord. Maintain your health and strength. Study the scriptures. Where such is available, participate in seminary or institute. Familiarize yourself with the missionary handbook Preach My Gospel.” He has said of “sisters … you also make a valuable contribution as missionaries, and we welcome your service”. Elder James E. Talmage (1862–1933) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stated that “the world’s greatest champion of woman and womanhood is Jesus the Christ” (Jesus the Christ, 3rd ed. [1916], 475). 

Apostle, Elder M. Russell Ballard has stated: "Of this you may be certain: The Lord especially loves righteous women—women who are not only faithful but filled with faith, women who are optimistic and cheerful because they know who they are and where they are going, women who are striving to live and serve as women of God. 

"My dear sisters, we believe in you. We believe in and are counting on your goodness and your strength, your propensity for virtue and valor, your kindness and courage, your strength and resilience. We believe in your mission as women of God...We believe that the Church simply will not accomplish what it must without your faith and faithfulness, your innate tendency to put the well-being of others ahead of your own, and your spiritual strength and tenacity...

"Our dispensation is not without its heroines. Countless women from every continent and walk of life have made dramatic contributions to the cause of Christ...

"Every sister in this Church who has made covenants with the Lord has a divine mandate to help save souls, to lead the women of the world, to strengthen the homes of Zion, and to build the kingdom of God...

"Every sister who stands for truth and righteousness diminishes the influence of evil. Every sister who strengthens and protects her family is doing the work of God. Every sister who lives as a woman of God becomes a beacon for others to follow and plants seeds of righteous influence that will be harvested for decades to come. Every sister who makes and keeps sacred covenants becomes an instrument in the hands of God...

"Between now and the day the Lord comes again, He needs women in every family, in every ward, in every community, in every nation who will step forward in righteousness and say by their words and their actions, 'Here am I, send me.'

"...You who have such a profound, innate spiritual ability to hear the voice of the Good Shepherd. You need never wonder again if you have worth in the sight of the Lord...Because of these unusual gifts and talents, you are vital to taking the gospel to all the world, to demonstrating that there is joy in living the way the prophets have counseled us to live...More than ever before we need women of faith, virtue, vision, and charity, as the Relief Society declaration proclaims. We need women who can hear and who will respond to the voice of the Lord...We do need women who rejoice in their womanhood and have a spiritual confirmation of their identity, their value, and their eternal destiny. Above all, we need women who will stand up for truth and righteousness and decry evil at every turn and simply say, 'Lord, here am I, send me.'

"I simply say to you, God bless the women of the Church."
M. Russell Ballard, "Women of Righteousness", Ensign, Apr. 2002, 66–73

<3 Sister Martinez

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Santa Rosa with Hermana Rupp!

I have the wonderful privilege to serve in the beautiful city of Santa Rosa. Accompanied by the wonderful and lovely, Hermana Rupp! This week has been packed with adventure and greatness. We have been driving through the evil sources of traffic and going on a quest every turn we make. Since we are both new in Santa Rosa we  have been getting lost a lot and working hard getting to know the area and the people here. Thanks to Hna. Rupp 's patience and tender spirit, we are having fun on our journey.  I feel so blessed to be serving with her. She has a glowing testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and is willing to give everything to the lord so that she may become and instrument in his hands. I learn from her every day of how i can become who the Lord needs me to be. In this past couple days I have though a lot about the different aspects of life that go unnoticed. I have all of the sudden become more and more grateful for things like maps, u-turns and cell phones and jogging. I think of how blessed we are for having this small and simple things that help us in our life today and how they are a demonstration of the love that Heavenly Father has for us.
Now Hna. Rupp is going to share her testimony:  I am super excited to be out here on a  mission, and especially in the beautiful Santa Rosa!! Since I have left home, my testimony of the Atonement has grown immensely. I know that the Atonement is very personal for each one of us. I know that the Atonement was a complete act of love of Christ's part. I know that Jesus Christ knows exactly what we are going through, and there is no better person to turn to in times of need. I love my Savior Jesus Christ. I know this church is true and I am excited to share the knowledge I have of God's plan for us with the people of Santa Rosa.

all mission conference