Friday, December 18, 2015

Christmas Time is Here!

Last week was a good one. We had zone conference with Elder Arnold from the Seventy and man was it spectacular! Elder Cornwall was there and we got a chance to talk about our areas! Both are doing great!

We also had the chance to go to the Temple this week which was so much needed. The Portland Temple is just so beautiful and our area is only about 10 minutes from it!

The ward Christmas party was amazing! SIster Kraus did an amazing job on it and we had the opportunity to help out with it! It was a "star search" play with christmas characters who showed their talent (including the bishopric dressing as justin beiber and lip singing to "mistletoe") and in the end, "mrs. claus" (one of the judges) talked about how there was only one star we were searching for and it ended with a manger scene. It was genius!

Looking forward to another great week! Including our Mission Christmas party on Friday

Wishing you a very Christ-centered Christmas!

-Sister Waite

Burned Cookies, Bad Back, and Nike

I LOVE my mission. I know we missionaries say that all the time, but missionary work truly is the most fulfilling activity you could ever do. There really is nothing better! And I refuse to allow myself to take my mission for granted so I will continue to express my love for being a missionary every week!

Missionary work was fantastic this week, as for my personal life, it was a bit of a wreck. On Saturday I was feeling some stress and so I decided to write down a list of everything that went wrong this week:

-broken back (just messed up)
-broken car (it was just the mud guard that was falling off)
-broken fridge
-broken drain
-forgot to call a certain person to let them know we would not be at a certain service
-3 canceled lessons
-Don't know what to do with certain investigator
-stressful service project
-got yogurt on my shirt
-Investigator canceled for nativity
-burned 2 dozen cookies
-lost the keys at the Cantrells

It was the fridge that broke that Saturday morning and I just was feeling down. For whatever reason, my back has been having sharp pains that caused me severe pain this week and I still have no clue why. It was just a rough week. As I finished the list, I obviously still didn't feel much better. 

I then felt prompted to list the miracles I saw this week and man was it long! A few highlight were:

-the car took a screw and 3 minutes to fix so we didn't have to lose our car!
-had a fantastic lesson with our new investigators and the wife hadn't even wanted to listen but as we told her of the first vision, I watched as tears began to pool in her eyes.
-the service project was so GOOD!! After 3 long weeks of being a middle man, we accomplished what Heavenly Father had sent us to do when we felt prompted to knock on her door. It was truly the best
feeling ever to help out a lady with nothing in her house, and walk out knowing they will be more than comfortable in their house with all their furniture.  
-the tide pen took the yogurt out
-Sister Eddy made us more than enough cookies to make up for the ones we burned
-Brother Papworth gave us passes for the Nike Employment Store
-Elder Coronel was able to give me a Priesthood Blessing of healing

EVERY TIME something went wrong and it seemed like there was no possible way we could find a solution, Heavenly Father blessed us and made it work. Sister Armstrong commented yesterday, "Sister Waite, every time you have a rough week personally, your week goes great mission wise!" When I wrote down this list and saw the blessings in everything that went wrong, I just sat there and cried. I felt the love Heavenly Father has for me, His daughter, immediately. And I know that I can rely on my Savior who has suffered for my pains and knows how I feel right now. How amazing is that? I want EVERYONE to know about the Atonement and the love of our Savior and Father in Heaven.
Christmas is the best season of the year to show Christlike love for others and bring the spirit of the Gospel of Jesus Christ into their homes. I challenge you each to invite someone to come closer to Christ by inviting them to the ward Christmas party, a Christ-centered family night taught by the missionaries, or to the Christmas program in sacrament meeting. There are so many opportunities for missionary work this month! Don't let them slip by. Also, ask everyone and anyone!  Don't ever assume (especially based off of appearances) that people won't want to have this gospel in their lives because you just never know.  I love you all! Enjoy this beautiful week! I know we will! We have a Mission Tour with a Elder Arnold from the Seventy and a temple trip on Thursday! Wahoo!

-Love, Sister Waite
This picture explains our day: POURING RAIN, Nike, and free hot chocolate from the founder of Al-Poly Sports.
-Ice skating last week!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Tigard Approach

My testimony of Heavenly Father's love for us all grew a tremendous amount this week.

Saturday was a weird day. We spent a lot of time with the Cook Park sisters doing service and a split-blitz in our areas. Around this time, the sisters were getting calls from this landline number and the guy talking was hard to understand (maybe an Asian accent?) but would only ever say his name and number. It was very strange. However, a call is a call and any missionary loves to get an investigator to call them! The next time the guy called, it was someone else who clearly set up an appointment for 8 that night. The sisters frantically called EVERYONE in their ward to get someone to come since they cant go in a man's home alone. NO ONE could come. Some of them felt uncomfortable going. At this time, I had a thought that maybe sister Arm and I could go with them. I quickly dismissed the thought because I knew that was just strange. However, Sister Arm later asked me the same thing. This time I didn't dismiss it and I asked Sister Martin what she thought. She normally would have said no also but decided to ask our district leader anyways. He was hesitant but said if we had to, we could go. He later texted and asked for the address "just in case." We didn't get why everyone was so worried. After all, we do this everyday. None of us felt bad about it and we knew we would if it was a bad situation. The sisters planned to ride their bikes over and set up another appointment while on the doorstep. 

We pulled up and immediately an Asian guy walked out and said the other guy was "over there." The guy walked behind us as we knocked on the door. Immediately, the guy opened the door while we watched a third guy pacing behind the second. The guy at the door was wearing sunglasses, a hat, gloves, and a heavy coat.. AT NIGHT. We all began to feel a bit uneasy and the guy hesitated, looked almost behind us, then said he didn't remember calling us but the sisters could come back next Saturday, same time. We got in the car and it all began to dawn on us:

This didn't come out of no where. These guys had been planning this the last few days. They expected two girls to come to their door, the guy behind us could have easily pushed them in the house and they could all take car of them. NO ONE would have known because we would have never asked to come and therefore the district leader wouldn't have known either. No one would realize they were missing until Sunday afternoon. We had to go with them because it a good number. They could have easily taken on three people too. While in the church afterwards, I commented that it wasn't just 4 of us there. We all were stunned as the Holy Ghost testified of the truthfulness in my words. There were definitely angels around us at the door. Whatever the guys saw, there was more than 4 of us. The ward mission leader sent in a report for suspicion. Yesterday the guys called again and we were told be the police that it is a mental illness home. The caregiver must be out on Saturday evenings because the caregiver was not there that night.

I testify to you all that Heavenly Father is there. He does care for us and loves us so much and will protect us as long as we are living worthy for the Holy Ghost and heed the promptings we are given. We would not be here, the cook park sisters would definitely not be here, if not for a loving Heavenly Father. Always be worthy of the Holy Ghost. There is no other way to be safe in this crazy world. 

I love you all and thank you for everything you do for me and the letters/emails I receive! Have a blessed week! We are thankfully going to be celebrating Sister Martin's birthday today! Also, transfers are today. The Cook Park sisters and us are staying! Wahoo!

-Love, Sister Waite 
Our district! Elder Turnbow (far left) is going home! Everyone else is staying in our areas.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

If You're Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands

Buenos días!

I went into this last week with a question in my heart: "How can I be an even happier person?" Well, let's start with what made me so happy this week..
  • Following promptings from the Spirit always makes me happy. In this case, we ran into a less active we have tried to contact for awhile because of following the spirit. 
  • we have two new investigators! One from knocking on her door (she is inviting her whole family to the lesson) and the other through a member. 
  • Zone meeting this week was on point. Everything said was so inspiring and motivating. Plus, Sister Ballard is probably one of the best mission moms ever. 
  • Sister Berry, my Sister Training Leader (STL), did exchanges with me! It was a blast! And we got so much done and I learned a ton. And someone bought us dinner which was very sweet. In fact, we were sandwiched between a member, a man taking the discussions, and a member from the Spanish branch. See, you never know who is watching! You best always be doing what you are supposed to be doing! 
  • We found the YSA a new investigator while doing service in the community. It's all about Opening Your Mouth (OYM). 
  • We got pumpkin shakes from Burgerville and they were amazing. 
  • We lost our phone and then found it! The second part made me much happier than the first part. 
  • I have an awesome grandmother who taught me how to use a sewing machine and because of that, I was able to help sew dresses made from pillowcases for girls in Africa at our wards Soup'er Service night. That was a very fun and good night 
  • I lost my voice but the good news is it is back again! 
  • We were able to move a recent convert out and then we helped direct runners and cheer them on at the Holly Hoop, a 5k-10k for the little girl in my ward who has a brain tumor. We got a big group of missionaries to help out and although my voice was practically gone, we were still so happy and energetic while we watched as everyone willingly supported Holly. It brought tears to my eyes at times as I saw the happiness in everyone's eyes and how happy Holly was. 
  • I received an awesome package from my amazing sister Chani. ️ 
  • There was a Missionary Leadership meeting in the same building and Sister Berry's companion had no one to go with. We had her join us for an hour and it was so fun to have a full car with the cook park sisters as well (who always make me happy!). Well, when we had to drop her off again in Lake Oswego the sisters came with us again and we were all going to go out to eat together. The traffic in Oregon is terrible and so we were a bit late to get Sister Berry. We saw at President Ballard was still there too so we felt bad. What I haven't mentioned yet is that Elder Richard J. Maynes, who spoke at conference, was the one speaking to the missionaries. We walked in and President Ballard saw our gang and laughed then invited us to come meet Elder Maynes! We got to shake his hand and take a picture but the best part was the things he said to us. You could feel his testimony the whole time. It was a way night. -We then had chipotle with the sisters and Sister Berry told us all about what he said. It pumped me up even more! 
As you can tell, we had a great week! By the end of the week, I could barely contain my "exceeding joy." But I believe this happiness also came from seeking the answers to my question. It was in my personal studies that I began to truly open up my heart to Heaven.

As I began to research "Happiness" I was led to countless scriptures, 166 to be precise. There were some that stuck out more than others. Such as:

James 5: 10-11 (count them happy who endure)
1 Peter 3: 14-15 (when you suffer for righteousness sake, happy are ye)
Proverbs 14:21 (happy is he who has mercy on the poor)
Proverbs 16: 20 (happy is he who trusteth in the Lord)
John 13: 17, Mosiah 2: 41 (happy is he who know and keeps the laws, ordinances, and commandments)
The scriptures lay it all out there for you. There is no secret to happiness, the mysteries of God have been unfolded before you! They are within reach! Literally, you probably have a phone in front of you that has access to scriptures, or maybe a Book of Mormon on your bookshelf. Happiness is waiting for you.

In Alma 41:10 it says, " Do not suppose, because it has been spoken concerning restoration, that ye shall be restored from sin to happiness. Behold, I say unto you, wickedness never was happiness." I love that. Someone recently tried to convince us that following Satan is fun and worthwhile, that it brings happiness. Before leaving, I told him that Satan might bring him temporary happiness, but God can bring eternal happiness. We saw the gears working after that. How insane is that!? Alma says it right there: WICKEDNESS NEVER WAS HAPPINESS.

Then in 4 Nephi it talks of the Lamanites and Nephites coming together in righteousness. It verse 16 and 18 it says, "...surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.

And how blessed were they! For the Lord did bless them in all their doings; yea, even they were blessed and prospered until an hundred and ten years had passed away; and the first generation from Christ had passed away, and there was no contention in all the land." And in Alma 50:23 it mentions that there was never a happier time. So here is my question again: "How can I be that happy??" Well if you read in 4 Nephi 15-7 it tells you:

15 And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people.
16 And there were no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness; and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.
17 There were no robbers, nor murderers, neither were there Lamanites, nor any manner of -ites; but they were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God.

It is so simple. Stay on he straight and narrow path! Keep the commandments, endure to the end, serve and love others and trust in the Lord! Doesn't this sound familiar? Could it possibly be the baptismal covenants we take upon ourselves when we enter into that bright gate? It sure is folks! Don't forget to Remember Him. When you do that, everything else comes into place. Read your scriptures prayerfully, pray always, and attend all three hours of church! It is easy! And much less expensive than "the happiest place on earth." Think of the eternal perspective, with the end in mind. Isn't that what we teach all the time anyways? The "Plan of HAPPINESS?" I love what Elder Joy said at zone meeting, " The two most important days of our lives are the day we are born and the day we understand why we were born." Never forget that. There is a purpose. Learn all you can learn and then share what you know. How "exceedingly joyful" will you be when you stand in front of your Father in Heaven and he proclaims unto you, " How blessed are you thou good and faithful servant!"

The Gospel of Jesus Christ brings me so much happiness! I know for a surety of its truthfulness. I am more happy than I have ever been in my entire life! I LOVE MY LIFE SO MUCH. I wish you all could be on a mission right now because it is honestly the best thing I have ever done! I CANT EVEN CONTAIN MY HAPPINESS RIGHT NOW!! I love you all! Have a great week!! Happy Halloween!

Love, Sister Waite 

At Lee Farms Pumpkin Patch Pickin' with Cook Park sisters

Pumpkin carving with Lake Oswego
Add caption

Proof that I did sew

Holly Hoop with Holly

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Spread Your Light

Daryl and Sister Armstrong

Daryl's zone hiking on their P-day

This week was hectic and crazy. We had a lot of new missionary meetings and training but it was truly a good week. It has been raining more often which is fantastic! 

On Wednesday, we had the opportunity to spend some time with a young 8 year old girl in our ward who has cancer. She is so sweet and we were blessed to have spent a few hours with her. I have never met a stronger family in my entire life. They cling to the gospel and cherish the Atonement that Christ has provided for us. What a testimony builder they are in my life. 

Keep spreading your light with others. You never know who it can touch and change. A huge theme I noticed from conference was "Always Remember Him." When we do our best to think of our purpose in life and who has given us life, it keeps us on the right path. 3 Nephi 14: 13-14: "Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, which leadeth to destruction, and many there be who go in thereat; 

But straight is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."
Be the one to find that straight gate and narrow way. How blessed you will be if you do so. 
I love you all and pray you have a great week! Remember whose you are.

Love, Sister Waite 

Pictures: with our friend Holly! We were wearing our matching "Team Holly" bracelets!

Monday, September 28, 2015

It Isn't a Sin To Be Weak

"Sister Shannon" one of our investigators took US on a
 tour of the Visitor's Center and Temple. She told us
 she took a picture of the first moment she touched
 the Temple and said we should too. 
Our tiny district at the Temple!

What a fantastic week!

We had the opportunity to go to the Portland Temple on Tuesday with our district! It is GORGEOUS. I love going to the Temple! The rest of the week was full of service and lessons! 

Saturday was a busy day. A lady whose father passed away in our ward asked if we could get some Elders to come and help her move some boxes and dressers into a u haul that morning. Apparently that was the day everybody decided to move because all the Elders in our zone were already moving other people! In the end, Sister A and I went over there and moved all the stuff for them. Never doubt the strength of a Sister! However, we also had a baptism and so we had to rush over and change at the church. Previously, we had filled up the font and when we came to check up on it before the service, we found out that there was a mix up in scheduling the building and there was another baptism at the same time! Luckily we sorted it all out and had a combined baptism. It was a crazy morning. 

We had the opportunity to go to the General Women's broadcast and a potential investigator came! We met her at the Stake Women's triathlon last Saturday and invited her to come. She said she would and she kept her word! She loved it and we hope to see her again this Saturday! The session was so amazing!

In the April 2015 Ensign, there is a talk titled "It isn't a Sin to be Weak" by Wendy Ulrich. As I read this talk, I came to find that this was exactly what so many of us need to hear. Sister Ulrich defines sin as "a choice to disobey God’s commandments or rebel against the Light of Christ within us. Sin is a choice to trust Satan over God, placing us at enmity with our Father." And she defines weakness as "a limitation on our wisdom, power, and holiness that comes from being human." I am definitely human...

The second week I got here I had so much anxiety and homesickness (something I know a lot of missionaries these days have). I had never in my life felt these emotions so strong. In the morning the alarm would go off and before I had even opened my eyes, my heart was racing a hundred miles an hour and I thought that I couldn't possibly do this for 18 months. At the time I thought I was going to feel this way my whole mission. I didn't even know what these extreme feelings were until someone told me that it was anxiety. The rest of the day was a "just get through it" kind of deal. This went on for a straight week. It was the hottest week so far, I didn't know anyone yet, I was still adjusting to the missionary life, and I had this weight on my shoulder. It was the darkest time in my entire life. 

I wondered everyday "why me?" Why, while I was on my mission doing what the Lord called me to do, did I feel like I couldn't do it? Why was I so weak? Was I wasting my mission by "just trying to get through it"? Was I just weak? 

Sister Ulrich goes on to say, "Human weakness plays an important role in [the] essential purposes of mortality. When Moroni worried that his weakness in writing would cause the Gentiles to mock sacred things, the Lord reassured him with these words:

“And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them” (Ether 12:27)

The implications of this familiar scripture are profound and invite us to distinguish sin (encouraged by Satan) from weakness (described here as a condition “given” to us by God)."

I had a weakness and I felt completely alone. How was I ever going to make it the whole time? Then the answer came: pray. All I literally could do was pray every day, every second. I don't think I have ever prayed so dearly to my Heavenly Father than I did that week. I needed His help and I knew that He would help me. I needed to turn to Him, lean on Him, and learn from Him. It was the only way. But nothing happened over night. I didn't suddenly become strong and my weaknesses were not taken from me. I was able to overcome my challenges and weaknesses through Him. I fully turned myself to our dear Father in Heaven who gave me peace in knowing that could make it, one day at a time:

"While Satan is eager to use our weakness to entice us to sin, God can use human weakness to teach, strengthen, and bless us. Contrary to what we might expect or hope, however, God does not always “make weak things become strong” unto us by eliminating our weakness. When the Apostle Paul prayed repeatedly for God to remove a “thorn in the flesh” Satan used to buffet him, God told Paul, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:7, 9).

There are many ways the Lord makes 'weak things become strong.' While He may eliminate the weakness through the dramatic cure we hope for, in my personal experience this is somewhat rare. For example, I see no evidence that God eliminated Moroni’s weakness in writing after the famous verse in Ether 12. God may also make weak things strong by helping us work around our weaknesses, gain an appropriate sense of humor or perspective about them, and improve on them gradually over time."

I found my way. It was the hardest week of my life but the most humbling. We later found out that we had taught 29 lessons that week. For our mission that is a very high number. How could we have possibly have done that, especially that week!? It was through the Lord. 

I know that He cares for each and everyone one of us so much. He loves us and knows our struggles. Go to your Heavenly Father and humbly ask for help. You don't have to go through ANYTHING alone. He will help with even the tiniest of things. I know this to be true. I have a huge testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that it has been restored upon this Earth through Joseph Smith. I know that our Heavenly Father and Christ love us now just as they loved the people back in the day. I know that because of this love, they not only had prophets then but we have prophets now. Prepare your hearts and minds for General Conference this week. I encourage you all to go into the sessions with a question. You will be amazed by the way the answer will come to you.

-Love, Sister Waite

Monday, September 21, 2015

Dear John

Friends, countrymen, hipsters!

We had zone conference this week! That was fantastic! President and his wife are always so inspired. This was the day that Sister Barlow, all the way from New York, sent out a group email. In it, she talked about having faith in your investigator and setting baptismal dates that show your confidence in them. After having read that, we went to a lesson where we were going to set a date with our investigator. We chose to invite him to be baptized and he said yes! This is someone who previously was invited to be baptized and told the missionaries not to come back. Thank you Sister Barlow!

"Dear John (Bull Mountain Sisters),
I have been reading and praying and have decided that the LDS is not for me."
-our "Golden Investigator"


Sister A and I got this text on a bright and beautiful morning and our hearts were crushed. We were going through the breakup blues and it was a terrible feeling. During this time, I received a miraculous package from Grandma Clark that I wasn't aware was coming! In it, Grandma told Sister A and I to hang in there and to look to the scriptures when we were feeling low. We took that literally. Sister A and I said, "we are feeling pretty low, lets listen to Grandma Clark!" we kneeled down right then and there and said a prayer then opened up our scriptures to a random page. I turned to Alma 36 and sure enough, it was just what we needed! This chapter is when Alma is testifying to his son Helaman and explains his conversion story. In verse 18 it reads, "...O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death," and verse 21," ...there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains..." Gall of bitterness? Yepp! Bitter pains? Check! Okay, so maybe we weren't encircled by the chains of death but we sure felt devastated! What did we do wrong?? The more we read, the more it opened up our eyes. In verses 23-25, and 27 it says:

23 But behold, my limbs did receive their strength again, and I stood upon my feet, and did manifest unto the people that I had been born of God.

 24 Yea, and from that time even until now, I have labored without ceasing, that I might bring souls unto repentance; that I might bring them to taste of the exceeding joy of which I did taste; that they might also be born of God, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.

 25 Yea, and now behold, O my son, the Lord doth give me exceedingly great joy in the fruit of my labors;

 27 And I have been supported under trials and troubles of every kind, yea, and in all manner of afflictions; yea, God has delivered me from prison, and from bonds, and from death; yea, and I do put my trust in him, and he will still deliver me.

Yes, missionary work is already hard as it is but it is even worse when someone tells you that they no longer what to see you. But as we listened to Grandma Clark and the words of the prophets, we realized that we can do this. The Lord knows our efforts and he knows when we need strength. By the time we were done reading, we were on our feet ready to go get back to work. How great the scriptures are! They help with everything! I have a huge testimony of the Book of Mormon. I know that it does contain the Christ's Gospel in it. I testify to you all that it is the word of God and encourage you all to read it everyday. I promise you that as you do so, you will be filled with strength to carry out the work that you need to do. It can help you with your problems and fill your soul with "exceeding joy."

I want to thank all of you that support me and help me carry out the Lord's work. Those little words of encouragement and inspiration really are so helpful and keep us going. Thanks Grandma Clark for helping Sister A and I get back on our feet. I love you all!

Remember, the gospel is true and the book is blue! 

-Sister Waite  
-during weekly planning: as if there weren't enough of us
hooligans running around, here is two more of us!

-before zone conference

Friday, September 11, 2015

Angels, Investigators, and Cook Park

-I found my middle name! Got a piece
of my grandmas in Oregon!

Sister A and I in the actual Cook Park 
and our "white stallion" in the background
I have been dreading writing this email because there is SO MUCH to update you all on. First off, the zoo was fantastic! Sister A and I saw some great miracles this week from our finding efforts the week before. When we tracted two Saturdays ago, the last door we knocked on we kind of were sick of tracting and gave them our card and ran off for dinner. From the moment the family closed the door I knew we should have set up an appointment to come back but I didn't know how to go about it. I just pushed that prompting aside and we left. Finally after being pestered by the Spirit for a few days, I told Sister A that we had to go back. Then we almost died.. crazy story but all you need to know is that I could have been dead except an angel literally steered around us in the car. 5 minutes after this incident, we knocked on the door and walked away with a new investigator. Then 15 minutes later we had our SECOND investigator. This second investigator is golden. She told us that she has always wanted to be Mormon and sometimes she watches general conference on for fun. She is 28, just married, and completely AWESOME!

So that is the Angels, and investigators part.. now here is Cook Park:
On Thursday, after a super fun dinner with our Ward Mission Leader and his family, we recieved a text from the Cook Park Elders which we immediately dismissed (Elder Jacobson and Smith who are our really good friends).. and underneath that we had two texts from President.You know things are pretty serious when President texts. Turns out that a missionary broke his leg and another missionary is sick or something and so they took the Elders from Cook Park and WE HAVE COOK PARK NOW. We had a week and a half of one ward bliss and now it is time to go back to work. (: We weren't sure if we were ecstatic or overwhelmed by this. But it has been great and they have some of the best investigators and family! Bonus: we get 10 hours of church again!! Speaking of church...

"You have to share a testimony to gain a testimony." -Brigham Young

Fast Sunday was yesterday and during the testimony meeting I felt impressed to talk about testimonies. As Bishop Glazier said yesterday, "my testimony is fragile." I think we can all agree that our testimonies are fragile and we must do all that we can to nourish them and keep them in one piece.

 I like what it says in True to the Faith about testimonies:
"Having obtained a testimony, you have a duty to nurture it throughout your life. Your happiness in this life and throughout eternity depends largely on whether you are 'valiant in the testimony of Jesus.' The quest for a testimony begins with a righteous, sincere desire."

In the words of my father, "It is easy to teach someone a correct principle.  But unless they put effort forth the effort of studying, praying, pondering, and obeying it, it is difficult to gain a testimony that will change there lives." He also likened it to being spoon fed the gospel. If you are just being told what to believe, your testimony will only go so far before you begin to break under the weight of Satan's forces. And you better believe that he is working harder and harder on us all these days. We are powerful children of God with more potential than we might realize at this moment.

It goes on to say that it is through the quiet influence of the Holy Ghost that testimonies come and through experiences your testimony will grow. What I want to focus on is "your testimony will increase when you share it." Do not wait for your testimony to be fully developed before you share it. Part of a testimony's development comes when it is shared. In fact, you will find that when you give what you have of your testimony, it will be returned to you-- with increase."

Don't wait to share your testimony with others. You have one for a reason! Don't be ashamed of it and hide it away. It is powerful and amazing, as well as fragile. Tenderly take care of it. "Your testimony will be most powerful when it is expressed as a brief, heartfelt conviction about the Savior, His teachings, and the Restoration." -True to the Faith I know that personally I was always very active in the church and I thought I was doing pretty good, but it wasn't until I came here on my mission and put my whole heart into this work that I realized I wasn't doing quite enough. I wasn't actively doing my best to learn, to grow, and to nourish my testimony. I might have been doing what I was supposed to but I wasn't doing it effectively. I was allowing myself to be spoon fed the Gospel. I listened and I did believe but I wasn't applying. My mission has changed that all. It has changed me. And it has only been 2 months...

You don't have to serve a full time mission to gain a strong testimony. Turn your hearts and souls to Christ. Move full speed ahead as you search the scriptures, actively look for missionary
opportunities and ways to serve others, do what He would do. Start in the home, then work to the rest of your home. Nourish what you have and gain more.

I love you all! Have a great day!

-Sister Waite

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

God changes plans


What a week. On Friday, President asked us all to fast and then to designate Saturday as a day of finding. So we were all able to do a mission-wide fast! What holy ground this mission was on that day! We were blessed with rain on Saturday and a beautiful breeze throughout our finding which was so nice. As far as mine and Sister A's finding, we did A LOT of tracting and nothing really happened immediately, we found a few potentials here and there, but we know that our efforts are never wasted! We know that God's timing is much better than ours. Plus, when I saw that our ward is called Bull Mountain, most of our ward literally lives on this steep "mountain" and we tracted that practically all day so we are in tip top shape, sore, and hoping to see those blessings!

Speaking of God's timing, He performed another sign for us! During weekly planning Sister A and I sunk our ipads and then I looked at our calendar. I was the one who put in the plans for the day and so I was confused when I looked down and saw a man's name, all in caps, in our plans. I asked Sister A about it and she said she had never seen his name before, yet there he was, in blue (meaning he was a teaching appointment) and the time was set specifically for 5:15 AND he was tagged in the appointment which is something that takes an actual person to do. There was no way that anyone else could have gotten into our ipads and put that in. We knew in that moment that God had literally changed our plans around.. AGAIN! We did go over, but unfortunately the wife was home instead and said they weren't interested. As Sister A and I walked away we wondered why, if there hadn't been any miracle response, we were supposed to go there. We wish we could ask, but for now we have to be patient and trust that everything will work out the way it is supposed to. Perhaps we just weren't supposed to be somewhere else at the time. Hmm..

A lot of people have a hard time with the Fall of Adam. They can't understand why we believe that it wasn't a bad thing, but in fact a great thing, that Adam and Eve partook of the fruit. The Lord never leaves us comfortless. Our kind and loving Heavenly Father allowed his son and daughter to step away from his presence and grow on earth. Once they were led out, they were given direction and guidance as they were taught the Plan of Salvation once again. We can receive that same direction and guidance when we turn to Him.

 One Jehovah Witness lady even tried to convince us that we were sent into Satan's domain because of Adam's decision. How could such a loving and just God decide to send us into Satan's domain? This is earth, not hell. Heavenly Father created, through Jesus Christ, this beautiful world that we live. No, this is not purgatory. The Fall of Adam was indeed part of the Plan. It always was, it always will be.

I say, that this is the man who receiveth salvation, through the atonement which was prepared from the foundation of the world for all mankind, which ever were since the fall of Adam, or who are, or who ever shall be, ever unto the end of the world. - Mosiah 4:7
Christ was ALWAYS part of the plan from the very beginning. Had Adam and Eve chosen to live in the Garden of Eden forever, there would have never been any reason for the Atonement, and we would not exist. But the best part? The atonement is the center of the Plan of Salvation. Agency is a huge component also:
Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself. -2 Nephi 2:27

Adam and Eve were given the choice in the Garden because agency is part of the plan. Christ chose to suffer for all mankind. Through his actions, the Atonement was created and we can all be cleansed from our OWN transgressions. We might not be accountable for Adam's sins, but we do have personal responsibility. The Atonement is there but Christ will not heal or cleanse us against our will. That is still our choice and what a fantastic one! The Atonement is there, do we choose to access it? Or are we allowing ourselves to be comfortable in our trials and sins? What choices are we making with our agency? Are we giving all of our time and talents to the Lord?

This is the time to do so. Don't let yourselves become "retired Mormons," even if you really are retired! There is work that needs to be done, right here, right now, maybe especially at 5:15.
I have never been so happy in my entire life than I am on my mission. There is so much joy in coming to Christ and proclaiming to everyone that He lives! That the true gospel has been restored upon this earth! You don't have to be a full-time missionary to know these things for yourself. Ask Him! Don't just hear His word, READ IT!

I love my life, I LOVE Oregon, and I LOVE MY COMPANION.
I hope you all take a few moments to think about your own life and how you can add even more happiness to it. I love you all and thank you everyday for the prayers you send my way! Have a good Monday, now I am off to the zoo!
Love, Sister Waite
Sister A and I right after some great tracting and some beautiful weather
One of the steep hills we tracted.  What a beautiful view though!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A Sad Farewell to Gaarde

Transfer day

Good day everyone!

Well it is transfer day and things have been changed a bit. Sister A and I already knew for a week or so now that we were losing Gaarde ward and we are so sad. After the last lesson with one of our investigators last week, we promptly got in the car and started crying. But we know that this is for the best. We started preparing for only one ward and it just felt like a huge weight was taken off our shoulders. We never even realized that we were so overwhelmed until this moment. People were getting lost in the cracks. President must have trusted us a lot because we are both so fresh and we were given the amazing and rare opportunity to cover two wards in this mission. 

We had interviews with President Ballard last Wednesday and he has been challenging all the missionaries to write home "small plates" instead of "large plates." He is all about making sure our personal studies are beneficial because that is what starts a good missionary for the day. He asked us to ask a question going into studies and seek to not just understand them, but really know why it is important and how to teach it (gain the intelligence). This week I didn't have a set question but I did want to study more about Joseph Smith and his life as he translated the Book of Mormon. It shouldn't come as a surprise that many people out here have read anti material and I really wanted to build that extra shield to protect myself against it and just gain a stronger testimony of Joseph Smith. 

As I read a lot of great material, including the Testimony of Joseph Smith at the beginning of the Book of Mormon, I came to realize more and more what I already knew. Joseph Smith was simply a human; a human that went through more trials than I can even imagine. Sure, he had thoughts that weren't exactly in line with God's will, but he overcame them. Joshoph Smith History even states that he had "frequently [fallen] into many foolish errors, and displayed the weakness of youth, and the foibles of human nature." However, he was conscious of his shortcomings and pleaded for forgiveness, doing his best to remain pure. He never said he was a perfect man. Doesn't that sound just like us? "Saints are sinners who keep on trying."

 In the article "The Coming Forth of the Book of Mormon" by Matthew S. Holland it talks all about the lose of the 116 pages and how after that point, the plates were taken from Joseph and he was very sorrowful for what he did. That was what changed everything. Sure he made mistakes, HUGE mistakes. But the Lord did forgive him and from that moment, Joseph "began a pace of religious contribution the likes of which the world had not seen since the personal ministry of Jesus Christ." Joseph and Oliver Cowdery then translated 588 pages of the Book of Mormon in 65 working days. I encourage you all to read this article if you haven't already because it goes on to talk about how correct every bit of information is historically and how no mere man could have done that alone. 

What strengthened my testimony the most was in Doctrine and Covenants 135:3:
"Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it. In the short space of twenty years, he has brought forth the Book of Mormon, which he translated by the gift and power of God, and has been the means of publishing it on two continents; has sent the fulness of the everlasting gospel, which it contained, to the four quarters of the earth; has brought forth the revelations and commandments which compose this book of Doctrine and Covenants, and many other wise documents and instructions for the benefit of the children of men; gathered many thousands of the Latter-day Saints, founded a great city, and left a fame and name that cannot be slain. He lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his people; and like most of the Lord’s anointed in ancient times, has sealed his mission and his works with his own blood; and so has his brother Hyrum. In life they were not divided, and in death they were not separated!"

This church is the true and living church upon this earth. Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer and he did come upon this earth and perfected His Gospel. Joseph Smith did restore the Gospel of Jesus Christ once again and the Book of Mormon does contain the fulness of it. It is another testament of Jesus Christ and should be read "EVERYDAY, EVERYDAY, EVERYDAY." I know these things with a surety in my heart. 

Have a grand week and I can't wait to hear from all of you! Love each and every one of you!
-Sister Waite 

Picture:  Saying goodbye to the Grimmius family.

When missionaries and balloons unite