Monday, September 15, 2014

September 15 Weekly Update and Pictures

Hello friends! If you asked for a copy of my first talk, here it is!! It went pretty well :)

I. Good afternoon, brothers and sisters! I'm Nora and this is my FIRST TALK EVER! I'm from Mishawaka. I am a freshman at Elmhurst College studying speech pathology and moved into this ward 3 and a half weeks ago. I was baptized on August 9th, and first I'd like to talk a little about that.

II. I was introduced to the church by my best friend Camden, who is now serving his mission in Bogota, Colombia.. He kind of tricked me into having my first missionary lesson. At first i was a little upset at his sneakiness, but now I know he was just excited to share this gospel with me. And of course, once I had my first lesson, I couldn't help but agree to meet with the missionaries every week. Everything they taught me made sense. It was all reasonable enough and I loved learning with them. For some reason, though, i didn't feel ready to be baptized for a long time. I think it had something to do with my uncertainty about several other aspects of my future: what to study in school, if i even chose the right school to go to, and whether or not I had a chance with Camden in two years (people laughed here). I wanted all these answers to come to me somehow. So I prayed about it. I prayed a lot about whether or not I should be baptized, and no answers came at the start. I thought i was doing everything I had to, coming forth with a broken heart and contrite spirit and asking honestly what I should do. However, i found out i was missing a piece in my prayers when I read about Joseph Smith in Ensign. In a talk called "If Ye Lack Wisdom" by Elder Marcos A. Aidukaitis of the seventy, the actions of Joseph Smith are discussed when he was seeking wisdom. He, too, asked in faith and with an honest heart. However, Elder Aidukaitis says, he also  "was ready to act upon the answer he would receive, even before he prayed." Before Joseph Smith went into the grove of trees and prayed to the Lord, he knew that he would act on anything that the Lord prepared for him. That is what I lacked when it came to my baptism. I wanted all the answers which God could provide, but I wasn't ready to ACT on them. Once I prayed and I was ready to act on any answer that Heavenly Father offered me, He revealed that THIS was the way I'm supposed to live the rest of my life. In THIS church. Living THIS gospel. So I was baptized! The rest of the answers that I desired from Heavenly Father would be revealed to me later in my life, and I was perfectly fine knowing that. None of those things mattered if I had this Gospel as my foundation.

III. This brings me to my next point, which is living the Gospel. Living the gospel means to live as Heavenly Father would have us live. It means to have regular prayer and meaningful scripture study, give dutiful service, and be an example to family and friends. President Gordon B. Hinckley stated at General conference that living the Gospel applies to everything we do, and this is true. It applies to work, school, family, and other responsibilities. Living the Gospel is the formula we need to endure to the end and return to our Father in Heaven. It might not always be easy to follow these teachings on a daily basis. But something that comforts me is Romans 12:1, which says, 
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

Something that always stands out to me in this scripture is that it says REASONABLE service; Heavenly Father wouldn't ask us to anything we weren't capable of. Furthermore, when we consider the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for us, any sacrifice we have to make by living the Gospel is, by comparison, quite reasonable. It helps to keep that in mind as we live the Gospel more fully.

As we diligently read our scriptures, pray, and live by the standards that we're supposed to, we are infinitely blessed by Heavenly Father. I have experienced this firsthand with my baptism and with my obedience in the covenants I've made with Christ. Brothers and sisters, I encourage you to be as Joseph Smith was, and to be ready to ACT on whatever Heavenly Father puts on your path. I can testify that He will give you answers to your questions once you are ready to act on them. You will receive answers in His perfect timing when He knows that in your heart you are ready. I can also testify that living the Gospel will prepare you and help you be ready to act with complete trust in the Lord. And I say these things in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Weekly updates!
On Monday we took a tour of Notre Dame with a YSA that goes there and met a nun who took a picture with us! It was so great, I'll have to send the picture soon!
Wednesday we found a super sweet new investigator! We were tracting before dinner at the Smith's and found this sweet man who was Catholic, going through a divorce, and super receptive! We set up an appointment and taught him, and he was so receptive we probably taught too much, but we were so excited about how receptive he is and how close he is to the Smith's who will be awesome fellowship!
Thursday the member that was going to go with us to teach Dan fell through barely before we went to teach him, so we had a bit of an exciting dinner hour calling half the ward to find someone to teach with us! Like 30 minutes before our appointment we found a YSA to go with us which was a huge blessing! The spirit, as always, was super strong with Dan! He is amazing, it is so humbling to be able to teach him!

Saturday Ed and Sister Shoff were home so we got to have dinner with them and a lesson! They've both been through some tough times but have amazing faith! I don't know how I got so lucky to be able to be part of such an amazing thing, teaching them! They offered to adopt Sister Clegg and I, which we basically accepted.
Yesterday we had Pat and Ed in church with us, and we went to a later ward with Dennis. We asked Dennis how things were going without coffee and if he had tried the pretend coffee we gave him from the bishop. He made a little gagging face but thanked us for being so kind to bring it, which he said several times. He likes to pretend to be a big tough guy but he's really pretty sweet! We also taught Pat later that night, which was amazing! We found her in the garage when she was smoking but she let us in to teach her the plan of salvation. She knows the gospel is true, we are just working with her through the lessons, a couple of questions, and quitting. She has a hard time sleeping a lot so some weeks she can't make it to church, but it was so sweet, she told us she was so upset she couldn't make it to fast and testimony meeting last week because she wanted to bear her testimony of missionaries because of the answers and comfort we brought her! She also committed to November 9th to be baptized instead of March, with her granddaughter! Hopefully Sister Clegg and I will still be here, pray for my knees to make it a little longer in the North! Another quick highlight was a church tour with Rob, a member, Laura Smith's, boyfriend. We had a super chatty member from another ward come along, which made the tour an hour and a half instead of a half hour! It was a little stressfull and very late, but on our way out Sister Clegg told him not to worry about all the new information, that we'd help him, and he gave her a high five and said he knew it would be ok.
Favorite quotes!
"Wait, why is Carol here? Oh ya, it's a party!" me
"I hate it! It's like between a tickle and a stabbing pain!" Dan, when his foot fell asleep during a lesson
"'re wearing a skirt and you're wearing sweats..." Elder Rassmussen
"Ya, we went tracting like this" Sister Clegg, during our lunch break
later..."It's good to see you in a skirt! Don't take that the wrong way...I'm gonna go..." Elder Rasmussen
"We didn't get volunteered, we got volun-told!" Elder Nyman
"And your eyes are blue" Hunter, and why I was patriotic in 9/11
"I'm like the whitest white girl you'll ever meet--" Sister Clegg
"I like that!! I'm gonna write that down and use it!" Dennis
"I love you girls, and Jesus loves you!" Joseph, cute old man
"Are you writing me down?" Sister Clegg, as I write in my quote book
"Kaushik--say that 5 times fast and you'll probably swear!" Sister Clegg
"What did they feed me? I'm kinda hyper!" Sister Clegg
"The party don't start till Brother Petras (the ward mission leader) walk in" Elder Rasmussen
"let's not say that ever again" me
"You think conference is good, then you get on your mission and it's like Christmas! On steroids!" Sister Clegg

Sister Mckendrick's going away party at Anna's

Tracting in the rain with matching umbrellas

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