Monday, November 14, 2011

Shouldn’t I feel whole and completely happy in the temple?

Can you believe that on Friday I’ll have been out 6 months! How amazing is that?! To me it doesn't seem that long, but I’m sure it seems like forever at home. I remember what it was like waiting for Andrea to come home. Some days were easier than others. But I was okay as I found things to do and filled my time with meaningful things.

Read Doctrine & Covenants 50:41. I love that scripture because it reminds me that I am a daughter of Heavenly Father and He will help me. There are so many times each day as I go up to someone to talk with them and I feel so nervous! But then I remember who I am and whom I serve. I don't have to worry about what I’m going to say because he will help me. Never mind that all He really wants me to say is that I know Jesus Christ lives and that as we follow Him we can have peace and happiness in our lives right now, and that we can live with our families again. All Heavenly Father wants us to do is be ourselves and bear our testimonies. There’s a quote in the little mother daughter flip-quote thing mom sent me that says, "Be yourself, who else is better qualified?" YOU'RE AMAZING! I talk about you all the time to the missionaries! I tell them how you’re such a great example of charity. They all think I’m charitable but it's because I learned it from you. Don't have fear but choose faith. Have faith in Christ that he can comfort you. I love you!

We have two baptisms scheduled for this week. Miracles are happening! Three baptisms in one transfer is amazing! We’re very blessed. All week we've been telling ourselves, "We're just workers in the vineyard. It’s not our work. The Lord is in charge. It will all work out." There have been many times when we've wanted to just cry or scream in frustration and worry. But we remembered who we work for and we were lifted up.

This week we had Elder C. Scott Grow visit for a half mission conference and then last night we had our area seventy, Elder Packer visit. Both were excellent. Elder Packer gave a fireside for the stake about how missionary work is changing. Basically we're getting the ward even more involved than before. We’ve been instructed to visit all the members on the ward list. Especially the less active, part member families, and recent converts. We’ve had some neat experiences already.

One morning a sister came with us to an appointment, but it fell through so we went with her to see some of the sisters on her visiting teaching list that she hadn't seen. At the first door the husband answered and was very nice and welcomed us back at another time. The second was where the miracle took place. As we pulled up we realized we had talked with this lady before. We had felt impressed at the time to talk with her and afterward felt it didn't do much. She didn't give any indication that she was a member. So we forgot about her until we went with Sister Davidson, then we remembered. So we knocked and the mother answered because the sister was sick. But as Sister Davidson (the sister with us) introduced herself the sister heard and asked, "Are you married to Steve Davidson?" She answered, “Yes.” And the sister said from inside the house, "He baptized me." They continued chatting for a minute and set up a time for Sister Davidson to come back. As we walked away Sister Davidson was so touched. She was moved to tears. It was amazing to see how before this sister was not receptive to us but as soon as she had a connection to Sister Davidson she was open. It’s so neat to see how the Lord works through his children to help his other children. We reported this to the Relief Society President and she was amazed too. Because she had no idea they had a connection. It just goes to show you that even in a seemingly "random" selection of who should visit who, it is not random at all. The Lord is very much a part of His work; the saving and exaltation of His children.

It’s so important to be happy. Hermana Anderson was looking at a picture of her family this morning and at one point turns to me, shows me a picture of her brother's wedding and says, "Look at these people. I love them. I get to spend eternity with them." My eyes almost filled with tears because I thought of you all and how grateful I am to know that we will spend eternity together. There isn't anyone else I would rather spend eternity with. I’m grateful for the ordinances of the temple. I remember sitting in the celestial room of the Sacramento temple and loving it. But I felt only a shell of what I could be. At first I was a little troubled by it. Shouldn’t I feel whole and completely happy in the temple? Then I realized that you weren't there. My family, my heaven, wasn't with me and therefore I wasn't whole or truly happy. I would rather be in the darkest, coldest, wettest abyss with all of you, than to be in the sun, warmth, and comfort without you. I compare it to premortal life. We lived as one great family. We were happy. But we knew there was something more and therefore we wanted to come to earth and gain bodies and have families, and to then grow and progress and return to Heavenly Father as families. Do we have that vision? Is that our goal? I think it is, but what are we doing today to achieve that? It comes down to the very small and simple things. Shall we not go on in such a great cause?!!!

I’m glad you like the blog entries. I’m trying to be better at updating it every week. Oh one more thing. Elder Packer said President and Sister Cook were at his house ten days ago!! How cool is that?! When he asked me where I was from he replied with, “What stake?" he then said, “Oh, I'm very good friends with your last stake president. We grew up together." It was so nice to meet someone who knows someone from home.

Hermana Anderson is great! I’m enjoying every moment with her!! My cold is gone. Friday morning was a little rough. I’ve had stomachaches off and on. Transfers are next week. Crazy how time flies.

I love you all! You’re amazing! I love every little thing I have that reminds me of you.
Forever and Always,
Hermana Whitney
over and out

No one should be called that!

Next week I’ll be out six months!!! Time flies so quickly! Although I know it may not seem that way at home.

This week was amazing! We carved pumpkins as a zone Monday night. Tuesday we had zone conference. Wednesday was district meeting. Thursday was a day of teaching. Friday we taught some more. Saturday we went to the Sacramento temple. Amazing! And yesterday was a great Sunday with zone leader council in the evening.

Zone conference was great! He talked about real growth and what that means personally, for our area, and just in general. President told us we need to have a vision and work towards that. Doing something without a vision is drudgery. But with a vision it's a dream.

We had president interviews after conference. Mine was really quick and good. He just asked how I was doing and told me he doesn’t think the lord will let Hermana Anderson stay another transfer. (She’s been here her whole mission, since June.) So he told me to enjoy her while I have her. That was pretty much it. As we ended he said, "Thanks for being easy." He's such a loving president. He really does care about us and wants us to be happy as we serve our missions. It was a good meeting. I love President Bunker!

Transfers are the Monday before Thanksgiving. I think it's the 21st. It will be a sad day, but we're enjoying our time now. It’s an adventure every day with Hermana Anderson! She’s amazing and we have a lot in common.

This week we had a number of funny moments that made us laugh really hard. The other night we were talking about names that could be for both genders. (We had just returned from the temple and were talking about the German names we were pronouncing as if they were Spanish, which was funny in and of it self!) At any rate we were listing off names like Jamie, Jessie, Kim, Courtney, Whitney, etc. I suggested “Frances” and Hermana Anderson said, "Oh no, that's a no-gender name. No one should be called that!" I kind of chuckled and responded, "... that's my middle name." There was a moment of silence as we looked at each other before we both started laughing and holding our sides because we were laughing so hard. It was hilarious! She put it as her status and we've got some comments about it yesterday. We are still laughing about it. :)

… I'm so glad it made you all laugh. I had to contain my laughter here in the library as typed it.:)

Tell Nancy I loved her letters. They came in one day but it just made it better. I love the photo of her and of the three picking blueberries. That’s a pretty cool picture. I’ve been trying to take more pictures. I haven't been as good as I want to be but at least I’m remembering.

Yesterday, I was reading in Alma about all their wars and the destruction. But what stuck out to me is it said that there never had been a happier time among the people. It reminds me of today. There is so much to be unhappy about. There are wars, natural disasters, and evil all around. And yet we have every reason to be the happiest we have ever been. I am happy and my heart is full. I know Jesus Christ lives. I know that as I live his gospel I have the direction, peace, and joy I need in my life. There never has been a better time in the history of men where we have every reason to be happy. We have the fullness of the gospel. We have a living prophet that speaks to us. We have temples on the earth that seal families for eternity. We have the Bible and Book of Mormon and other modern day scripture in our homes. There is so much more to be joyful about. How can I not be happy? My Heavenly Father loves me. He knows my name. He knows who I am. My heart is joyful!!!

Thank you for your support and love. There have been times when I just look at your pictures and reread your letters just to remind myself my family is rooting for me and knows I can do what I have been called to do. I love you and am grateful that we are an eternal family. The celestial room in the temple was wonderful but I could feel the void of having my family around me to share in the abundance of the Spirit and love of the Lord. I suppose that 's what the premortal life was like. We were happy to be with Heavenly Father but we knew there was something more and we wanted to be together as families for forever. I felt close and far from you all at the same time as I sat in the celestial room of the Sacramento temple. It gave me a greater desire to return with honor and love you more.

With all my love and gratitude
forever your
hermana whitney bunny
over and out

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

we marveled at how the Lord works through us

I have a cold. But am doing great otherwise. I haven't read your emails yet.
Our schedule for today was flipped upside down. Because of Halloween President Bunker doesn’t want us out. So instead of working tonight we worked this morning. We’ll be having a zone meeting tonight. It’s going to be fun day. We’re going to carve pumpkins afterward!

We did have the baptism. It was great! The missionaries in the zone sent our messages and invites to their wards to let them know about he baptism. The YW room was almost full! It was great! Hermana Anderson and I with two elders; Elder Spendlove and Elder Brower, sang I Know That My Redeemer Lives in Spanish. It was really good. We’re thinking we might record it today on our cameras. I’m hoping we get the chance.

We’ve had some great lessons this week. We set another baptism date with a man who's been taught for a while. The spirit was really strong. We basically told him that he knows it's true and what he needs to do and if he doesn't get baptized it'll be a greater sin. In the beginning he said he wanted to wait until next year sometime. By the end, after much testifying and reading some scriptures he thought hard about it for a while, looked at a calendar, and then said, "How about the fourteenth? In three weeks?" We were filled with joy. On our way home we marveled at how the Lord works through us, 20 year olds that are weak and simple, to bring His children back to him. He uses us, his weakest tools/instruments, to bring about the greatest work possible. We’re just grateful to be a part of it and to watch the miracle of a life changed because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

My zone is amazing! I love the missionaries and am grateful to be serving around such fine missionaries. Elder Bringhurst, my zone leader in Santa Rosa transferred here with me. And I found out he served in Napa when Rorey went home. So he knows Rorey! He said he loved hearing his homecoming talk. He also said that Rorey went out a lot with them and was great to have in lessons. Apparently he helped and was a good influence on Elder Bringhurst. It was very fun to find out they know each other!

There’s a family we are teaching that the mother has a cake business (so we get along really well!) and she made a Halloween cake for a class she took. It was really cool! Then she gave it to us. It’s a lemon cake with pistachio custard filling. So good! She also made cupcakes to look like candy corn. She took different cake batters (yellow, orange, and white) and poured it in the cupcake tins. They were pretty neat looking and delicious. She also gave us the biggest, thickest, softest, and most delicious snicker doodles I’ve ever had! She spoils us to no end. The other week we had peach cobbler from her. And dinner with her is like eating at home. They’re the best family. We also got to serve them this past week with a few missionaries. They needed the garage emptied out so they could get the fridge in the back to the front so she could use it for her cake business. It was emptied, fridge moved, and everything replaced in an hour. With four elders helping, the job was done quickly. We all love it when we can put on our yellow [helping hands] shirts and serve someone.

We have zone conference tomorrow. I’m really looking forward to seeing President Bunker and all the mission office staff again. We have interviews following that too. It’s going to be a great couple of weeks, because we'll be going to the Sacramento Temple within the next couple weeks. We’re hoping to go as a whole zone.

I’m glad to hear Dad made it safely to and from Canada. The snowman sounds so fun! Right in front of Nana and Grampa’s door?! How do they get out? I love the idea that he is a ghost! How cute! I’m excited for Andrea! I’m glad she got housing! And she'll be babysitting a harp! How cool. Tell her I’ll be sending her a letter this week.
I can't believe you have snow!!! Crazy! I’m enjoying 70-degree weather at 10 in the morning! :) I keep forgetting it's October. That November is tomorrow is weird. I think I might be in a perpetual state of summer. Which is perfectly fine with me! I love the warm weather!

Well, I hope you're all staying warm and dry. Keep being amazing and having fun. I wish I could be so good with my ... I can't think of the word in English :) with my meals, that's it! I don't have much choice as far as dinner is concerned. Oh well. Breakfast and lunch are fine though. We’re eating fruits and veggies too. I am taking vitamins and staying away from sweets and dairy. We have almond milk at home.
Sorry if my emails today don't make much sense. I don't feel myself with my head cold. Hermana Anderson's went away quickly so I’m hoping mine does the same.
I love you all and love looking at your pictures every day on my dresser. Thanks Dad for your most recent letter. It really helped me. I’m learning who I am. What it is Heavenly Father wants me to be. It’s a crazy journey! And fun. And I’ve never been happier! Thank you for you support and love. I’m grateful I have a family that supports me.
Hermana Whitney