Monday, March 26, 2012

Welcome into the Church of Jesus Christ!

Connie's baptism was AWESOME! Seriously, it was honestly just the greatest baptism. The speakers were perfect and the spirit was so strong. He was prepared and ready to receive the blessings of baptism, but also to take upon himself the name of Christ. After he was baptized, and getting changed, we had all those who came to support him write down on a note card, their testimony and how they felt. One little boy wanted to write on a card, and this is what he wrote, "Connie, welcome into The Church of Jesus Christ." It was such a simple statement, yet so profound. I will never forget that statement. That is exactly what baptism is, a welcome into The Church of Jesus Christ. It is a gate by which we can receive salvation and come unto our Salvador, Jesucristo.
Boy, this ward is on fire, they are so involved with missionary work and so loving to all of our investigators that come. They instantly reach out to them with open arms and are willing to do whatever it takes to make them feel loved as individuals. What a blessing it is to be serving in this ward at this time. The YSA Branch that we serve in is pretty great too. All of the singles are strong and active and ready to do whatever they can do to help. We've been teaching a young man from Kentucky who is now getting baptized next Tuesday, April 3rd! We are sooooo stoked fro him. He has such a strong testimony of Christ and such a desire to come closer to Him and to know the will that Heavenly Father has for him. I know it's because of the faith and love of the Branch that he is here, and that we have been able to teach him. Ahh, I just feel so grateful to be here in Platte City, to be so close to a temple that will be dedicated shortly.
The temple open house is next weekend. I can hardly believe it. I can hardly believe that it's almost April?!!! That means I have been out for nearly a year. WHY does time go by so quickly?
Even though I may look like a frumpy missionary now, I still can't wait to go through a house of the Lord and feel His spirit! I could, "yump for yoy," as my Grandma Clawson would always say. Haha. 
This last week we had an interesting experience, well at least it was for me. We tried to contact a family in the ward who hadn't been in years. As we approached the door (this being our 3rd or 4th attempt to contact them) finally, a man answered the door. We began to tell him who we were and he looked at us with anger in his eyes and said, "We're not interested, yep, we're STILL NOT INTERESTED!" And slammed the door in our faces. I started thinking about how many times the Savior comes knocking at our doors and we say that through our actions, "yep, Jesus Christ, I'm still not interested in what you want me to do. I'm happy doing my own will, thank you very much." Ouch! I really hope we are not doing that. I really hope we are not shutting Christ out of our lives. 
Another little experience we had the other day- we contacted this lady, who was a friend of someone in the ward. We started chatting with her and she was pretty nice, and then someone walked in her door. Right as that person walked in I could just feel a dark spirit, I don't even know how to describe it, but something in that atmosphere of the room changed. Up walked a man who was probably in his 60's. We'll call him Bill. So Bill starts talking to us with a big smile on his face, seeming to be the nicest guy. Well as we continue talking with Bill, he begins asking very manipulative questions and eventually drove us out of the house. Something wasn't right with Bill and he definitely did not want us there talking to his, I think, girlfriend. Anywho, this experience reminded me of a talk I read the other day by President Eyring called, "Beware of the evil behind the smiling eyes." I would invite all of you to read it. It was an awesome talk that opened my eyes to understanding the spirit of discernment. 
Well, I better get going, but I want to invite all of you, also, to watch all of conference this weekend. Make it your goal to listen to every session. Go into it with a prayer in your heart and with questions prepared to be answered. I know that as you do, that your answers will come and that the Lord will bless you in your efforts to listen to his prophet and apostles. I love you all, lots and lots! 
Love, Hermana Conrow :)    

Monday, March 19, 2012

What do you DESIRE?

Desire: demonstrated by what we do and how we act. It denotes a real longing or craving.

The all mission conference was amazing. Absolutely amazing. I could spend all day typing about what I learned from Elder Evans (click on his name to see some other talks he has given) and how powerful that 6 hour meeting was. He is my hero. Seriously. Ahh... I just don't even know where to begin. He's so awesome. The minute he walked into the room, there literally was this palpable spirit about him. We all stood up as he walked in and we got to go up and one by one shake his hand. I got to shake the hand of a General Authority, who has shaken the hand of the prophet! How cool is that?! Ya, I feel pretty blessed to be in this mission!

So, the title of my email is desire because that's what we talked about the entire time pretty much. When Elder Evans started speaking to us, he explained that if we wanted to make a comment we needed to raise our hand and then stand up and say what we wanted to say. Prior to his coming, he had us read Alma 17-42, which is basically all about missionary work. So he asked us to stand up and say some of the things that we learned. The first thing on the chalk board was desire among 30 other principles people stated. So Elder Evans says, "Alright, let's start with desire..everyone turn to Alma 29:1-4..." We all turned there and read out loud and he began to break down those 4 verses. He focused mainly on :4, which says:

 "I ought not to harrow up in my desires the firm decree of a just God, for I know that he granteth unto men according to their adesire, whether it be unto death or unto life; yea, I know that he allotteth unto men, yea, decreeth unto them decrees which are unalterable, according to their bwills, whether they be unto salvation or unto destruction."

Isn't that just so great?! Ah, I love it. I'm going to randomly write some of the notes that I took throughout his comments-

My notes: Don't mess with what God says. He grants according to my desire and my will. Am I really doing the things that I need to do to receive the blessings I ask for? If you want to overcome something, avoid all things that tempt you to do that thing or lead you to thoughts that lead to acts. Just don't mess with it! We demonstrate our desire by what we do. If I want to change my desire, that I must act upon the things that will lead me to that. The hope of every parent is that their kids will take the good from what they've learned, and leave the bad things behind. Take the good from what you learn, and be better than that! What we insistently desire, will be what we become. You can do it! You can become what you want to become. What are you willing to live for and work for? Desire more than just being good. You can go beyond. Do you really care enough to do all these things that will make you a great person and a great missionary? The answers to tonight's questions will come in this mornings studies.

 "The kind of desire that carries a soldier is relentless! Men and women who desire seats in the celestial kingdom, must battle everyday, EVERY SINGLE DAY!" Keep battling, make the choice to battle everyday. "Desire is the springboard to success. The most pathetic and forlorn of them all, is the one who has no desire." Desires are the pulse of the soul. Pray about your feelings to Heavenly Father if you don't know how to gain a desire. Ask if what you want is consistent with what He wants. You are here because you have the desire and because God called you here! If you understand what Heavenly Father wants you to do, and align your will with his, every great blessing is yours. This is the challenge of our lives, to desire what Heavenly Father wants us to do (Helaman 10:4) If you want to change your will, then do His will. Pray for strength. Want to be blessed forever? Start changing your will. When the Lord knows your heart, and that your desires are for Him, He can trust you to do His work. Why do we even try? So we can show the Lord our willingness. Why do we do what we do when we know what we know?

Anyway, those are just some of the notes I took. A lot of those were quotes of what he said. Well then, I raised my hand and asked Elder Evans, "How do I help those I love gain the desire to know what I know?" He looked straight at me and said. "You pray to Heavenly Father to know how to help those you love, and then promise Heavenly Father that you will act upon those promptings and impressions you receive." He went on to say that's all you can do, that the word FORCE has no place in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Throughout the rest of the conference he would always refer back to my question and would talk directly to me and would give me additional pointers. Ah, it was honestly just so neat, I don't know how else to express how happy I feel. The last thing that he said that I wanted to tell you all was this...Over and over again he told us how we shouldn't wish to be somewhere else, that this is where we are supposed to be, that this is our time and our season. That we are special and that we are lucky and blessed to be serving under President Keyes. He said, "You won't find a kinder and more understanding judge in Israel than President Keyes." I totally believe it. Then he got very serious and said, "I express to you my witness (3x with tears in his eyes) that this is where you are supposed to be. You have been called here for a purpose and this is where Heavenly Father wants you. Let the future take care of the future. This is your time- NOW!" It was sooooo incredibly powerful I think all of use missionaries were in tears. I have never heard a disciple of the Lord be so strong in what he wanted to get across. I know now, more than ever, I am supposed to be here at this time, in this mission, with who I'm with, and where I'm at. Never shall I doubt again. 

Ok- so more exciting news really quick- Sister Stoker and I got a call this week from Elder and Sister Jensen who are over the temple work in this area and they told us our schedule of when we will be serving at the Kansas City Temple Open House. We get to be there 3x a week! I am so stoked! Then he told us that on April 4th all of the sisters in the mission will be attending a special meeting in which we will be pleased to hear from Elder Walker of the 1st Quorum of the Seventy! Ya, I get to listen to another General Authority of the church speak to us about our role in the temple open house! AHHHHHHHH!!!!! SOOOOO EXCITED! I am so lucky to be here. I know it's not coincidence that the Lord sent me here at this time. I love this gospel. I know it's true. I cannot believe how quickly my time is going, but I'm grateful for the time I do have left to continue to serve my Heavenly Father and His children! 

Oh yes, funny story really quick. So S. Stoker and I are walking this week and it's been pretty hot. So we'd been walking all day in the hot sun and decided to have dinner at Dairy Queen (bad idea) So we eat all this food and drink a ton. Well then we start walking to this one area to contact a referral. Right before we get to the house Sister Stoker says, "I think I'm going to throw up.." Well I didn't think anything of it because I felt the same way, I just thought we were both full... so we contact this lady and teach her on her doorstep... So we finish and are saying goodbye and Sister Stoker starts looking around and I'm thinking, "What is she doing?" So we say bye, the lady goes inside. Two seconds later, Sister Stoker steps off the porch only to throw up alllllll over this random lady's sidewalk and green grass... Hahaahaha, I was laughing so hard, but felt so bad. I felt like I was in a movie. I couldn't believe it had just happened. I turned to poor Sister Stoker and said, "I thought you were joking about throwing up?" She said, "When I say I need to throw up, I'm usually not joking." Haha we both laughed it off, and it ended up being a pretty funny night.

Haha, well now that you all are sick to your stomachs, I best be going! Love your guts!

Love, Hermana Conrow :)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Look To God & Live!

Well, I must say this certainly has been a crazy busy week! But I have absolutely loved it! When you're busy as a missionary time flies and you get a lot done.
It's been nice, since last transfer was like molasses. So many things have happened this past week, I hope I can remember them all... Here it goes-
First off, big news- WE HAVE A BAPTISM ON THE 21ST! Ahhhhh I am so excited. His name is Conny and he is just the coolest guy. He's in the army and his girlfriend is a member and she has been helping him a lot. There's also members in the ward that have really been supporting him and answering his questions. It just goes to show that member missionary work is amazing, and that we, as set apart missionaries, cannot do the work without the members! I haven't been able to see a baptism since last summer when I first got out, and I'll admit, for the longest time I felt like a failure as a missionary- but I've come to learn that a baptism doesn't just depend on your work alone. It's you, your companion, your ward mission leader, the ward and the members, but most important the Lord's will. My work has been to plant seeds these last 6 months, but now I am being blessed to be able to have a little harvest this season :) I love to see baptisms, not because of the baptism itself, but I love to see the change and happiness that comes to that individual who is baptized. It's just... awesome. This truly is the Lord's work, if I haven't said that enough already. 
Second off, another bit of big news- The Kansas City temple open house is coming up quick and we get to help out almost every other day at the open house!!!!! AHHHH! I feel so lucky to be able to be apart of this! Sister Stoker and I are pretty pumped up about it, and we are trying to do all that we can to really be prepared for those who come through that have questions! This opportunity is like once in a lifetime! April 7-21st! Here we come!
OK, third off- Elder Evans of the Quorum of the Seventy is coming to our mission tomorrow to speak to all of us for 6 hours!!!!!! How insanely awesome is that. He had us read Alma 17-42 over these past few weeks to prepare us for his talk. I have never felt so prepared to hear a talk in my life. I love the Book of Mormon and as I have read this past week I've truly come to see how the Book of Mormon was written for everyone in this day and age. It has helped me be a better missionary in these past few weeks than ever before, I feel like. Ah, I just love it! I know that if you ever have any questions or concerns, to take those to the Book of Mormon and I promise that you will find the answer that you are searching for as long as you have an open heart and a sincere desire to know! I know that is true, without a doubt!
This past week, has been so much fun. We started teaching a man from Liberia, Africa. And he is the coolest!!!! So humble and so willing to learn, but also very intelligent. He teaches math at the college so he thinks very logically, but he also has an incredible amount of faith. He has 2 little girls that are just the cutest, and I wish I could take them home with me. Having Kansas City as part of my area has been really neat, because I've gotten to meet and teach so many different kinds of people from different cultures. You don't need to go foreign to be immersed into culture, or experience culture shock! It's right here in America! For reals. 
We taught another guy on his doorstep the other day and boy was that an interesting experience. I think both Sister Stoker and I have been scarred for life. Haha. Lenny's the name and he certainly has a crazy past. I'm pretty sure he was drunk when we were talking to him, but he's been through a lot so we were trying to help him. After all, it's not the first time I've taught a drunk person on their doorstep. So Lenny's talking to us, and then he stops- leans close to me and says, "Boy you sure are prettttyy," all slurred like. At that point, I stood a little closer to Sister Stoker and said, we should probably come back when he's sober. The poor man had lost his girlfriend, a brother, and his mom, all in the past 6 months. He needs the gospel more than anything, but he just couldn't see how by coming closer to Christ would solve all his problems. He wanted an instant solution, but it just goes to show that instant gratification is never the answer! When we think we're happy by living according to the world, the Lord will show us that we really aren't. 
Ok, last story for the day- On Saturday we went up to the Independence Visitors Center with our investigator, Conny and some members. Ah, it was so much fun. It really made me miss serving there. Anywho- I had one of the sisters who had just started serving there last week take us through. Her name is Sister Touile and she is from New Zealand. Just the cutest Polynesian sister. It really made me miss my Polynesian ward too. They're just the most loving people. Anyway, so she takes us through and brought a spirit like no other. I was just amazed at how powerful her presentation was and how in tune she was to the spirit. At the end of God's Plan, she told us how much the plan of happiness had blessed her life because she lost both her parents in a car accident when she was 16. I couldn't believe it. What a powerful example of how the gospel can bless you. When she said that, I thought, "Wow, you just never know the trials that we have to go through in this life, or what people have been through." I love her so much. I hope one day I'll get to serve around her. She has forever left an impact on my life.
Well, before I leave I wanted to leave you guys with some of my favorite scriptures over this past week. Enjoy, love you all!

This is when Alma is speaking to his son Helaman in Alma 37- you should all just go read Alma 37. It's awesome!
 13 O remember, remember, my son Helaman, how astrict are the commandments of God. And he said: bIf ye will keep my commandments ye shall cprosper in the land—but if ye keep not his commandments ye shall be cut off from his presence.
46 O my son, do not let us be aslothful because of the beasiness of the cway; for so was it with our fathers; for so was it prepared for them, that if they would dlook they might elive; even so it is with us. The way is prepared, and if we will look we may live forever.
 47 And now, my son, see that ye take acare of these sacred things, yea, see that ye blook to God and live. Go unto this people and declare the word, and be sober. My son, farewell.

Hermana Conrow

Monday, March 5, 2012

Short, but sweet!

Sadly my time is very short, so here are 10 things I have to say today:

1) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is true.
2) God speaks through other people
3) When we fast and seek for an answer, it will be given us.
4) I'm still in Platte City 1st and the Young Single Adult Branch with Sister Stoker (and Sister Edwards is still crazy funny)
5) Thanks for all those who wrote, sadly, I won't have time to write back today
6) Here's a quote that I really love by Elder Packer-

"True doctrines, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior. That is why we stress so forcefully the study of the doctrines of the gospel."

7) My Spanish could be a lot better, but it's coming along.
8) I only have that many months left come Wednesday- I have a lot of learning to do!
9) Dwelling on the past gets you nowhere
10) Read Alma 31:25-35. It's my favorite this week. Prayer is our passport to peace.
I love you all to the moon and back!
Love, Hermana Conrow :)

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