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

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