Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Happiness all around :)

My dearest family of mine that I love oh so much-

You are all the bomb! I can't tell you enough how much I love all of your stinkin' guts!
This week has been a trying one, but overall a HUGE blessing in my life. I have learned so many things it's just insane really.
Oh ya guess what- no more nylons for us sisters- this is definitely heaven sent if you're a girl and you know how hot those things can be.

Sister Conrow and Sister Loo
Yea!! No more Nylons ... LOL!

First off- yesterday for Monday morning sports- our whole zone got together, set up the gym as an obstacle course, and had the most AMAZING marshmallow war ever. It was super intense, and way fun! It's so cool to get together as Elders and Sisters and chuck these massive marshmallows at each other. It definitely releases some of the stresses and tensions we feel as missionaries. No worries, none were harmed in the making of this event. However, my companion and I suffered a loss- our precious phone. Ha ha. Oh well, all is well in Zion.

Next off- 2 neat experiences that I had with I guess you could say, the gift of tongues- Ha ha. So this huge Spanish tour came into the VC and all of our Spanish speaking sisters were not on shift. Well, they had just finished watching the Joseph Smith movie in Spanish and we really wanted to bear our testimonies to them. Well for some reason I remembered how Dan Garcia had taught me how to bear my testimony in Spanish, and even though it was 9 months ago that I had learned it, somehow the words came back into my mind and I was able to go down to that tour and bear my testimony to them in Spanish. It was so nerve wracking, but truly amazing. The Lord is just too good to me.
My next experience was with this big family of 10 that came in. Their oldest boy and their youngest boy were both deaf. They were just the cutest family ever and as we went through this tour of God's Plan for His Family, I wanted to be able to ask the boys their thoughts and feelings of the tour. Well, once again, the spirit brought back to my remembrance signs I had learned clear back in high school. I was able to talk to them through sign language and get to know them a little better. It was just such a powerful testimony builder for me. I remembered that scripture in Moroni 10:5 that says, "and by the power of the spirit you may know all things." Something like that, needless to say, the Lord loves me lots, and loves all his children.

OK- wow, I have been learning so so much so I'll try to type this up as fast as I can. The biggest thing I have learned this week is to trust in the Lord 1000%. He can see what we cannot. Even though we may think we know what we want, He knows exactly what we need. Exactly. I am so grateful for that, that He protects me from getting what I want, and in turn gives me what I need. We would certainly get ourselves into a whole heap of trouble if he always allowed us to have what we wanted. We would most likely be miserable with our choices. The Lord loves us, and he protects His own. He has protected me from so many things that I thought I wanted, and showed me that I really didn't want those things, because they weren't what I, Sister Conrow, needed for the future. I am reminded of that talk Elder Uchtdorf gave that talks about the study of where he gave the children a marshmallow and how if they waited for just 15 minutes without eating the first one, they could have 2 marshmallows. If we will but be patient, the Lord will give us all things we desire and all things He sees fit for our needs. Be patient with Heavenly Father everyone, He loves you like crazy. If you think you want this piece of chocolate cake right now, just wait, and he'll give you a lifetime supply of chocolate cake, AND ice cream. Way better. Ha ha.

Anyways, something else I have been thinking a lot about this week is the story of Jacob Haun. Jacob Haun owned Haun's Mill where the mobs were coming to attack the Saints. He knew this was going to happen, but "wanted the Prophet Joseph Smith's advice." So he went to the Prophet, told him of the situation and how he just thought it would be OK to move the saints to the center of town. Well the Prophet said, no you get those saints out of there or they'll be killed. Well that's not what Jacob Haun wanted to hear. So he went back to Haun's mill, twisted the words of the Prophet, and told the saints that the Prophet said that it was OK if they stayed as long as they just moved to the center of the town when the mobs came. Alas, the mobs came and many were killed. Joseph Smith said how he knew that Jacob Haun  didn't really want his advice, he just wanted the Prophet's approval for something he didn't really want to change. What an arrogant man Jacob was, and in his arrogance, he had many saints killed. I also think about how when Jacob was relaying to the saints what the "prophet had said," I don't doubt for a second that the spirit was whispering to the hearts of those saints telling them that what he was saying wasn't true, that they needed to get out of there as soon as possible. We learn from this story how vital it is for us to rely on the promptings of the spirit and to put our trust, once again, in the Lord and not in the arm of flesh. I just love this story, it teaches me so so much about how we should always follow the counsel of our prophets, for they know all things that are for our good.

Man, I could go on and on about the things I've learned. I was reading in Alma the other day and it was talking about how the Anti-Nephi-Lehie's buried their weapons of war so that their testimonies could burn bright. What are we doing to bury our weapons of war against the Lord? We need to stand strong, and put on the armor of God so that we can be protected from all things that Satan puts in our way. The Power of the Lord will be with you and you submit fully your will to His in all things, not just some things, but in ALL THINGS.

A mission sure changes desires, let me tell you that. I have come to know that this mission is the BEST thing I could ever be doing with my life. All of the cares and concerns at home will be swept and washed away as I FOCUS on the spirit and what the Lord needs me to do as his servant.

I love all of you so much. Dan Garcia- congrats on the engagement- I am just so super happy for you. Jess you're having a baby boy! AHHHH I can't wait to see pictures of this little cutie come December. Eric and Megan- I couldn't be happier for the both of you, you guys will make such a powerful team in your marriage- thanks for sending me the invite. I absolutely adore it.

Everyone know that I am doing so so so well amidst all the changes and challenges I have come to, the Lord has certainly been protecting me. I love this Gospel, I love my mission and I love my family more than life itself. This IS His true Gospel restored to the Earth in this dispensation. Trust in the Lord, and lean not unto thine own understanding, and you will be blessed, believe me. I am a living testimony to that. Love you guys!
Sister Conrow

Here are some friends from home that were on a church history tour and stopped to visit!! It was so great to see my former Young Women's leader while on my mission!!
Sister Conow and Sister Cara Basset

Sister Conrow and Sister Michelle Basset

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

2 months!

This week is my 2 month mark. Weird....

I don't have a lot of time, ya know, statement of the year. We had Derek's baptism on Saturday and it was so awesome. You could just see the light in his eyes and I'm grateful that the Lord allowed me to be apart of his conversion process. What a wonderful thing this Gospel is. The Prophets have told us that you don't need to have a name tag on your shoulder to be a missionary. It is our responsibility as members of His true church to be missionaries to the people. We invite all to come unto Christ- that means everyone.

This Gospel truly is His. I am so grateful for the blessings that I have received by being apart of this church. My heart burns inside with a testimony of fire that I do KNOW this is Christ's true church here on the Earth. Joseph Smith truly was a prophet called only of God to restore His Gospel in this last dispensation. Not only that, but I know Emma Smith, his wife, was called to be his companion like we learn about in D&C 25. She truly was an elect lady called of God to be Joseph's companion, his teammate, and his help for good. It is so important that we value our companions in this life because we are equal in all things and can make a wonderful work come forth. I love this Gospel and I know that the Chruch of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is true.

Keep up the good work everyone, thank you for the love an support. I'll try to write more next week. You're the greatest!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

3 Weeks!

Crazy how time flies, but at the same time, is slower than molasses...

I really do not have much time at all today, there is always so much that needs to be done on P-day but I'm working harder than ever.
Sunday was my first baptism! It was soooooo awesome. Tina is amazing, her husband was able to baptize her and he was just balling like a little baby. It was the most spiritual thing in the world, he is such a good husband and just treats her so well. The work here is still going good as ever. The Lord has placed so many people in our lives, literally.

We went to church on Sunday and a non member was there with her friends and came up to us and said, I took the discussions years ago but my parents wouldn't let me get baptized, but now I'm 18 and want to be baptized, when can I take the lessons? Me and Sister Loo were like, "whaaaa? uh right now!" ha ha. It was awesome. The Lord is seriously just preparing people left and right for us. My district leaders came up to me the other day and said, "Sister Conrow, don't get used to this because this is just straight up out of the ordinary, what are you doing to have this happen to you?" Ha ha, I just laughed and said, the Lord just loves me more.. ha ha ha teasing of course. I really don't know what my comp and I are doing to deserve all these miracles and blessings, but it's awesome.

Missouri is a wretched place sometimes. The weather is horrible. I don't know why I even bother trying to do my hair, it's a constant fro! Seriously...We also have spiders in our apartment like there's no tomorrow and they love to greet me in the morning when I'm about to take a shower, and it's always me who runs into them, never Sister Loo which is probably a good thing because she cannot stand them.. So I muster up the strength to squash them hoping their guts don't explode in my face because they are so massive.. I feel like I'm in Montana again... hello brown recluse. The first day I got here there was the most massive spider on our wall, our shoe was barely big enough to kill it.. Don't worry we have a recording of how gross it was.. 

Lets see... so much goes on that I don't even know what to write about anymore, all my weeks and days are blended and I can't remember what I ever write about.. We have another baptism planned for Saturday for Derek, our rock star investigator who dropped smoking and everything and has just completely turned his life around. We started teaching this awesome family from Mississippi that has 4 kids and they are just the most lovable people. They are so receptive to the Gospel and love what it has to offer for them and for their family. Gosh, I am just so blessed to be in an area with such humble people that love the Lord and are willing to listen to his messengers. 

The Polynesian ward is starting to get a little better and my fear of hugging and kissing everyone is starting to dissipate... crazy I know.. I find myself not even caring anymore and I'll kiss all the sisters on the cheek, don't worry I don't kiss the boys.. Boys are yucky. ha ha. The mission is having so much success. I have the most amazing sisters, zone leaders, district leaders, mission president, and senior couples. They totally take care of us and treat us like royalty. I am so blessed. I love this Gospel and I invite everyone to gain a greater love for it by not being selfish and teaching everyone about Heavenly Fathers plan for us and about our Savior Jesus Christ. 

I love you all!!!!! Thank you for all that you do for me. I promise I will catch up on my letter writing one day.. there is just not enough hours in the day.

Love, Sister Conrow  

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Happy Late 4th!

First off, this week I made a grown Polynesian man cry! (Story later in the letter)
Second off...Happy Late 4th of July everyone!!!!!!!

I'm not going to lie, I was certainly feeling a bit homesick yesterday knowing that everyone was outside enjoying their day with the family, having a bbq, watching the fireworks on grandma's lawn... but it's ok, I got to do something even better- the Lord's work!

We started our day with proselyting and had an app with our most awesomest investigator ever, Derek. He's just such a stud.. He stopped smoking, hasn't been smoking for a week, has completely cleaned up and is changing his life drastically...it's amazing, you can just see it in his eyes and through his actions his desires to do what is right. So he is doing amazing, and has a baptismal date for July 16th. I am just so super stoked for him, and for him to have this opportunity to just be cleansed and start anew with his life, even though he's already 50! Doesn't that just tell you how true and wonderful this Gospel it is? To know that no matter what we do in this life, or how bad it can be, we can ALWAYS be forgiven because of the atonement of Jesus Christ, that through him we can overcome anything! Even stopping smoking after doing it for 40 years. The power of this work is unstoppable, and the spirit that I am so blessed to have, is an ever constant companion to me, and for that I'm truly grateful.

We have another great investigator- her name is Tina- shes a mother and her husband is a member. They are both from Samoa I believe and just have such wonderful spirits about them.. Tina had been meeting with the missionaries before, so when we started meeting with her again she told us that when she knew we were coming by that she didn't even want anything to do with us, but that when her husband got her to watch the Testaments and to read some of the pamplets we gave her about the restoration, her heart was softened. As we taught, she just lit up and told us that day she wanted to be baptized. That she knew through baptism by the power and authority of God, she could be cleansed from all sin and start fresh, just like Derek... so she has committed to be baptized!!!! Her baptismal date is on July 10th. I am just so so so so happy and excited for her, and I already love her and her husband to death! They have the cutest little baby girl to, and I just die everytime I see her..
Oh cool story about her husband... he served in the Phillipines, and when he was there he and his companion were shot! They were in the hospital for months.. He told us that his companion ended up going home. He said that even though he was new in the mission field that being shot was no big deal haha, and kept on and served his full mission faithfully.. That just tells you how rock star solid this man is. Everytime we teach his wife you can just tell he adores and loves her with all his heart. He has never pushed anything on his wife and has allowed her to choose for herself what she wants. He is the hardest worker I know, and just such an example to me.

Ok, so the grown Polynesian man... he and his wife are separated, they have a boy- the husband is a less active and his wife and son have recently been baptized.. so we've been teaching him and his family- they come together- to help reactivate them in the Gospel.. long story short we talked a lot about setting goals and gaining a desire to overcome challenges in our life.. This man has an addiction to alcohol and smoking.. but he has a desire to change.. He's pretty stubborn sometimes, and can come off to be quite the meanie, but one night as we were teaching, I felt impressed to share a personal story of how I had to learn to let go of things, and to learn how to forgive. I told him it was hard for me to do, but that I realized I was only hurting myself by not letting go of the anger I felt for this situation.. As I talked about this, tears streamed down his face and he shared an experience that he had had that caused him to fall away from the church. We talked about how we can learn to forgive others, and that through forgiveness we will become happier than we have ever been before.. It was just such a neat experience for me. I thought because my companion is Polynesian, that the last person he'd want to hear from was this skinny little white girl that knows nothing about culture.... but alas, the spirit was able to speak through me, and he was humbled to hear me out. It was awesome.. 

On Saturday, I had an interesting experience at the visitors center. This lady and some guy walked in wanting a tour- they were super knowledgeable about the church, and knew a lot about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith... The lady even told me that she had read the Book of Mormon.. Well we started clearing up some misconceptions they had about our church and asked about the trinity.. I then told her that no, we believed in God, his son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost, and that they are all separate beings.. I then explained that Heavenly Father has a body of flesh and bones and we know that in Genesis, and in the Book of Mormon. We know that we are created in Gods image.. She was like, "oh honey, I don't think you know what you're talking about.." haha turns out she was Jehovah's witness and then started te belittle me to the max... hah it was quite the experience.. She told me all about how as apart of their church they go to bible school and know the bible inside and out so they know how to reason with people.. and was telling me that I didn't know my scriptures well enough, which was probably true, but then I said this, I said You know, I know it's important to have a knowledge of the scriptures, but if you do not feel what you know, than what good is it to you, or to anyone else? I said, we learn for ourselves and through the spirit if something is true, along with reading.. I said even though I don't know every scripture in the Book of Mormon or Bible, I do know that it is true by what I feel and by the confirmation I receive through the holy ghost.. at that juncture, I asked her if she was happy with her church, she then replied back in a very angry tone, "of course i'm happy.." hahaha, i'm glad she was convinced.. I think.. haha.. I know she loves her church, but she couldn't see that it's what you feel that matters most, not always what you know... 

It's crazy how small this world is.. I've served with so many people who know people in Bigfork, who know people in St. George.. my ward mission leader served in the same mission as greg winger and went on exchanges with him. A senior couple I work with know the Eddingtons from our ward in Bigfork.. it's just crazy how the Lord puts people together, and how they are constantly able to find connections to one another, no matter where you may be.. 

Even though many times, I feel extremely out of place because I'm pretty much the only white girl in my ward, I love the culture..... They feed me like there's no tomorrow and tell me all the time that I need to eat more, haha its funny.. I've definitely had my challenges and struggles as I've been out here. I can finally say that I have experience what it's like to feel homesick.. but, I know that what I am doing is the work of the Lord, that as I turn my will over to him, and do it gladly I will be blessed, and that I will be able to fulfill his work in all that I do.. I love this gospel so incredibly much. I know that it is true.. I was able to watch the Emma Smith movie today and just gained a greater appreciation for her and for the Prophet Joseph Smith and for the sacrifices they made to restore Jesus Christ's true gospel to the Earth once more. She was an amazing woman, and I honestly admire her so much. Joseph and Emma's direct descendents will be coming here to the visitors center on thursday, many of who are completely out of the church and know nothing about their rich heritage.. and it is up to us, as sisters there, to teach them about the great ancestors they come from.. What an honor to be able to teach them, but also what a nerve wracking experience. Haha. 

I'm doing well, the work is great, its super humid here, my hair is a disaster everyday, I'm certain i'm gaining weight, surprise surprise, I miss everyone like there's no tomorrow, but I KNOW that I am doing the right thing. I love it so stinkin' much! Do not, do not, give up on the Lord, press forward in all things, and you will be blessed. 

I love all of your guts!
Love, Sister Conrow  


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