Monday, August 27, 2012

Our Faith Must Be Tried In All Things


Man, I cannot believe that my little baby bro is entering the Missionary Training Center this week to go to the Angeles Philippines mission. SO INSANE! I swear I was just at the Missionary Training Center, and now here I am- an old timer in the mission.

Sister Adams & me
Well yesterday was a humbling experience for me at church. While Sister Graff and I were sitting there listening to Bishop go through the program after sacrament had finished, I heard, "First, we will hear from Sister Conrow, and then... so and so and so and so..." Haha I was like a deer in the headlights. That has never happened to me before on the mission where a Bishop has called me out of the crowd to give a talk. It wasn't just a testimony, but a straight up 10 min talk because one of their youth speakers never showed up. Ha. So I get up there, nervous as can be, and NOTHING is coming into my head. For the first time on my mission, I honestly had no idea what to talk about. So I nervously stumbled over my words and talked a little bit about my family, while trying to think of what this ward needs to hear about.. and still nothing is coming.. So I decided I would just open up my Book of Mormon to where I was reading during sacrament and the chapter I was reading was all about sacrament, so I thought, "Ya, I can speak about this.." Haha. Needless to say, the beginning was a little rough, but somehow I made it through and just bore powerful testimony of Jesus Christ and how important it is that we have His light about us. I'm sure half of it didn't make any sense, but I learned how important it is to always be thinking about what we, as missionaries, can share with those around us and be prepared to give it at any moment in time. I was sure to thank Bishop for giving me the opportunity to speak. Ha and afterwards one of his counselors came up to me and said, "I asked Bishop if he wanted me to talk to you before sacrament started to give you a little notice, but he said, 'Nahhh, she'll be fine,' so I never said anything to you. Haha sorry." I will never forget that experience, that's for sure. Thanks Bishop Garcia.  
Anyway...This week has been a test of my faith- to which I am grateful for. Sister Graff and I have had a lot of faith building experiences while tracting all day, and not one person answering their door. I have to say this has been my hardest area in that people aren't as willing to listen to the messages that we have to share with them that will change their life. According to many that we have spoken with, "we have everything we need.." Agh, isn't that just awful?! They think they have everything they need when in all reality they have nothing that they need. I have to constantly remind myself that they aren't rejecting me, they are rejecting the Savior. Sister Graff put it pretty well when she said that, "The Savior tests our faith by allowing us these experiences so we can have a tiny taste of how He felt when He was here." I know that is true.

But- despite our hard times, the Lord always reveals His hand through the tender mercies he provides, especially when we feel as though there is no hope left. Yesterday Sister Graff and I decided that we would fast for our current friend Ola, who is amazing. We also fasted that we would find those whom the Lord has prepared to receive His gospel. Well, within a few minutes of being out in our area we contacted this lady Isabel, from Peru, who's brother recently joined the church. Anyway, she wanted a Book of Mormon (I think just so she could see for herself what was in it) and so we gave her one and testified how we knew it was another testament of Jesus Christ. And then she said, "Oh, I always thought this was just some book you guys wrote up." I love when people say that because it gives us an opportunity to testify and to clear up the many misconceptions people have about our church. Long story short, Isabel ended up telling us how her and her family have been looking for a church that is focused on families and brings them closer to Christ. So we said, "It's right here! Here is the Lord answering your prayers.." So now we are teaching Isabel and hopefully her family soon. Then right after we talked with her, we got a call from some other sisters that told us about a lady they met who wants to meet with missionaries tomorrow but is in our area! So now we are going to meet with this lady they told us about, who is from Africa! So many answers to prayers!

Oh yes, I almost forgot- we had the most amazing experience earlier this week with one of our investigators we found outside of a restaurant, Greer. She is so awesome. When we pulled in to her house, we prayed and as I was praying I just had this overwhelming impression to talk about baptism with her. So I told Sister Graff how I felt and she said, "Ok, let's do it then." So we get inside and we start teaching her about the Restoration of the Gospel and the Book of Mormon, and when she took the book, she looked at it and with the most sincere look in her face said, "thank you." It was like she knew and could feel how special this book is. We then went on to teach about how Christ's gospel has been restored to the earth and the same authority he gave to his apostles, was given to Joseph Smith. And then, that same prompting came to my mind as it had in the car- "You need to teach her about baptism." And so I just said Ok, even though we weren't really talking about it at the moment, I somehow segwayed into baptism and how she can be baptized by someone who holds that proper authority from God and she said, "That is so weird that you say that because I was just thinking about being baptized. I have been wanting to be baptized my whole life, but I've just never known when I should be, by who, or when." Man, that was the coolest thing ever to hear. I knew, at that moment, how important it is to follow the spirit. The spirit really will tell you all things which ye should do. So we continued to talk about baptism and how she can be cleansed of her sins and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, which must come after baptism in order for our baptism to be complete in the eyes of God like John talks about in the bible. Ah it was just the neatest experience. She said she could feel the spirit as we were there, and so we invited her to be baptized and she said she would be when she comes to know what we have taught is true. SO GREAT! Sadly, she actually isn't in our area, so the Elders will continue teaching her, but that's ok! I'm just happy she has found her way, and received her answer. Now all she must do is act on what she knows.
My baby brother

I am so grateful that the Lord is aware of me and my companion and our desires to do this great work, and I know that if he is aware of us- he truly is aware of everyone! Never doubt that, and never question a prompting from the Spirit. If you do, you'll never know what would've been. I love this work, and I love my comp. We have lots of fun together. We always talk about how lucky we are to be serving together and what a blessing it is. I love you all! Good luck Bry Bry! Go out and work hard!

 Love, Hermana Conrow :)


Monday, August 20, 2012

Resolving Concerns

Sister Graff & me

OH MY GOSH!- I love it here! It's so much fun. I love serving with Sister Graff. She is amazing. I'm sad that she'll be going home at the end of this transfer because we'll only for sure have six weeks together, but it's all good. We will make the most of every minute! Also, Historic Liberty Jail is just.... ah so great. Words cannot even tell you how spiritual and powerful this place is. I feel so, so, so blessed to be able to end my mission in this area!

So my first night here at SCV... we visited with an investigator that hasn't really been progressing for about a year. When we got there I was surprised to find this 76 year old woman from Boston with quite the feisty attitude. I instantly loved her, and just felt like I could be very bold and upfront with her. I love being real on the mission. It's just the greatest, and I love it when people appreciate my "realness." So we got talking, and eventually made our way to a gospel discussion. She just had this big wall up and so I finally was just straight up with her and asked her what has been holding her back. She said, "I like this doll, she reminds me of me (in her Boston accent)." Long story short, we had one of the most powerful lessons. We sang a song for her which really brought the spirit, and then she opened up to us about her life and all of the things that she had been through and just how she had lived on her own since she was a teen and how she felt like God had abandoned her. And so I told her that God hadn't abandoned her but that she had abandoned herself from God. IT WAS SO COOL! She finally realized that God had been in her life all this time, but was too far away from him to ever realize it. Sis Graff taught her about baptism and the power of being cleansed from all of our sins and mistakes and being able to let go of the past. Audrey was deep in thought and said, "I don't know, but I will think about it." Audrey kept telling us how she had hit rock bottom and couldn't go anymore and just wanted to be done with her trials, but we told her that's not the way the Lord intended it to be. He wants to hear from us, and so we taught about prayer, and right then and there, she opened her heart to God and started praying, and was crying- and it was just awesome! We really had a break through appointment with her in the entire year that she had been taught she told us she had never told the other sisters this or cried in front of anyone. She is one tough woman. Ha, it was just so cool to see how the Lord puts people in our lives that we can relate to so we can help them. I love it!

Then, the next night we taught Ola, another one of our investigators from Nigeria. He heard about the temple open house back in April, took himself, and then referred himself to learn more about the church. He is the coolest guy ever! Well, Ola has had some reservations about being baptized, but loves the church and during our appointment with him we found out that when he prays he only thanks Heavenly Father and doesn't ask for anything because he feels like God has already given him so much (ya, that's just how humble he is). So we told him how important it is to ask God for the things that we stand in need of and how that is the only way that we can receive answers and make decisions.. The members that we were with bore some powerful testimony of receiving answers to prayers and Ola was like, "Yes, ok I will try to do this." So I was super excited because now he can gain a relationship with Heavenly Father and know what he should do about being baptized. I love resolving concerns. It gets you all sorts of places.

Oh ya, Saturday I got to go to Platte City (which is only 20 min away from my new area) to attend a baptism of someone that I taught, Ashley. She was the first in her family to get baptized and her husband and daughter are planning on following suit come September. It was such an awesome baptism and I was so grateful I was able to go and to see all of my family in Platte. I love that area so much. It just felt like home when I got back there. The Lord is just so great. My whole mission I've always wanted to see a family I taught be baptized, and now here it is-happening. It just doesn't get any better than this!  

Church on Sunday was just great. The ward was very welcoming and almost everyone got "Conrow" right.. A few still said, "Conroy" but I guess I'll forgive them ;) I've been able to take a few tours through at the Jail and I love it so much. I love the insights that the people have as they come through. It's just very spiritual. I feel like such a lucky duck to be serving here! Well, everyone I love ya lots and lots!

Love, Hermana Conrow :) 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Going To Jail


Transfers are here- I am being sent to the Historic Liberty Jail to serve with Sister Graff in the Shoal Creek Valley ward! I AM SO EXCITED! I get to end my mission at Liberty Jail, which according to the Prophet, is the 2nd most sacred place to visit. How cool is that?! I feel so blessed and so privileged to be serving there. The Lord loves me a whole lot! As exciting as it is to be going to Liberty, I will miss Independence 3rd and my dear companion Sister Caudel- we've been through thick and thin, she and I, and I will forever be indebted to her for all that she has done for me this past transfer. I cannot believe that my time has come to an end at the Visitor's Center. I have so many wonderful memories and experiences from serving there. It has changed my life, and lifelong friends have been made there.

In all honesty, so many things have happened this last week but I don't have lots of time to write so I will just share with you what I feel I have learned. That is:

FULLY SUBMITTING OURSELVES TO THE LORD. I know that when we do this, we can feel true freedom and our desires increase. There's just something about giving all we have to our Heavenly Father, even things we think we do not have the power to give. I promise you that there is always more to give over to Him and when we humble ourselves and let go of our pride- that is when He can bless us and show us what He has in store for us. Many people keep reminding me that I only have 3 months left, and instead of being frustrated by it, it really just makes me want to work that much harder. Time is precious as a missionary and there is no point in wasting it, because when we do, all we feel is remorse. How often do we get to wear the Savior's name on our shoulder and represent Him? Very seldom in this life. I love my Savior, and my Heavenly Father. I have gained such a deep and abiding testimony of the power of prayer on my mission. There have been times when I've prayed and heard nothing, and times when I've prayed and instantly I receive my answer. I love Him and I know He loves me. How grateful I am for my Heavenly relationships.

This is Christ's church here upon the earth, and It is true. I will never deny that.
I love you all!

Love, Hermana Conrow

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Mighty Change Of Heart

Fausto's baptism was amazing! It was a little crazy at first because we couldn't get the font to turn off and it was about to overflow, but then one of the Elders jumped in on the side and managed to get it to turn off. Haha. It was quite the evening. Fausto was glowing. He could not stop smiling and so many of the ward members came out to support. It was really neat. His children gave the talks in Spanish and they were so precious. Very simple, but full of love. Sister Sibbett and I sang a musical number for it too and the spirit was just so strong. Fausto really is such a humble guy, so willing to submit to the Lord and to follow the example of the Savior. Gosh, I just love that family. They truly are amazing. After the baptism, Fausto came up to us and shook our hands and with a huge grin on his face and tears in his eyes, he thanked us for all that we had done for him and his family. It just doesn't get any better than that. I love seeing the change that comes into the hearts of those who are prepared and ready to make promises with their Heavenly Father. We are excited to continue to work with Fausto and to prepare him to receive the Priesthood and go to the temple!

On Sunday, as Sis Caudel and I were fasting to know where we could find those souls that are ready to be baptized, one of the members came up to us and said, "Sisters, there is a family from El Salvador that need the gospel. The children are members of the church, but the parents are not. They have been taught numerous times in the past but were never baptized because they had not been married. But now they are married and want to be baptized! In fact, the mom is here right now with one of her sons- let me go introduce you to her!" It was like a dream. I honestly could not believe how quickly the Lord had answered our prayers and fast. It turns out that this family is a family that we've actually been trying to contact this entire transfer and had spoken with one of the daughters who then told her parents that we stopped by.. We had no idea that the two were related because they had different last names. Isn't that just great? Heavenly Father really does love ALL of his children and I know that He is fully aware of each and everyone of us and the things that we stand in need of. The other day Sis Caudel (I was unfortunately sick) was able to go over and teach this family, including the father- who told her that he knew the church was true, he was just afraid of making more mistakes after he is baptized. Which is great, because then she was able to explain to him about how the Atonement works and why church is so important because it is there that we partake of the sacrament and renew those covenants we made at baptism each and every week. Ahh, how cool is that?! So cool. I just love this gospel, I love being a missionary. I truly have felt so much love this past week for my mission, for my companion, and for this sacred opportunity Heavenly Father has given me to represent His Son Jesus Christ. 

I know that even though there will be hard times in our lives, and even though we may feel completely abandoned, our Savior will never leave our side. And if we allow Him to, He can carry our trials and shape us into who He needs us to become. All we must do is TRUST IN HIM. I know that if we can give everything over to Him, we will be truly converted. Just as the Lamanites buried their weapons of war and were converted, they never again did fall. We can be the same way. This week I have made a conscious effort to bury my "weapons of war" or whatever it is that might be holding me back from fully giving myself to this work. As I am doing so, I have felt the hand of the Lord in my life, and have been given the strength to overcome my weaknesses. I know that by doing these things, we will be better prepared for future trials and challenges that come our way. Because if I know the Lord like I think I do, they will come regardless of how I live my life. I love the scripture in Mosiah 7:33 which says, "But if ye will turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart, and put your trust in him, and serve him with all diligence of mind, if ye do this, he will, according to his own will and pleasure, deliver you out of bondage." I know that is true, I know it's not easy, but with God all things are possible. 

Love, Hermana Conrow :)  

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Did You Think to Pray?

This week has been special to me in that I feel as though a principle of the gospel has really hit me. And that is, the power of prayer. I mean, I've always known how powerful prayers can be, but I guess I had just never realized the many times that my prayers have been answered.

On Sunday, our Bishop got up and shared a story about this man in another ward who had recently passed away from cancer. He shared with Bishop, before he passed on, about how there were moments during his cancer where he felt complete relief from pain and that the spirit would tell him that it was because of the prayers of others in his behalf. It was just such a powerful story to me. I knew this man he was talking about, he was actually in my first area. Every time he would come to church, he would be sweating profusely because of the amount of pain that he was in, yet he would still come faithfully- when he could- and would even strive to bring others to church with him. Such an amazing testimony he had. Bishop shared another story about how he was having some struggles with his business to the point that he had to work almost 50 hours straight through to solve the problems that were going on. He said he knew that the only way he was able to make it through was because of prayer. I know that is true because I have felt that on my mission. President Keyes once promised us in a zone conference that every time we prayed for strength that the Lord would always answer that prayer. And that it was because we are missionaries doing his work. It was a pretty amazing promise. I have felt that be fulfilled time and time again while serving. 

Yesterday, as Sis Caudel and I were on our way back to the Visitors Center to pick up other sisters at the end of the night, we passed the church parking lot and I looked over really quick, only to see the husband of my first recent convert on the mission. So we turned around and went back to the church parking lot. His car had broken down and he had no phone or any way to get hold of anyone. So we let him use our phone, and in the process I was able to talk to him about his wife Tina, who hasn't been to church for the past couple of months. Later, when I returned home, I realized what a huge answer to my prayers that had been. I had been praying that some missionary would be able to get back into contact with them, and there I was- the missionary who was able to talk to them. Who would have thought that cars breaking down were a blessing from above. Haha. 

Fausto is still doing amazing and ready to be baptized this weekend. His daughters are speaking and are so excited. I love that family so much. Sis Caudel and I were talking about the people that we have been able to see baptized on our missions and I realized how blessed I have been to teach people from all over the world. First Samoa, then Africa, and now the Dominican Republic. It's just so neat to learn about all these different cultures and to be apart of their conversion process. I love this gospel so much. I love waking up knowing that for another day, I get to be a missionary and representative for my Savior Jesus Christ. What a blessing!

This work is true! I promise you that if you take the time to pray and have a real conversation with your Heavenly Father, He will answer your prayers and in the process you will create a relationship with Him that will carry you through all things. I know that is true. I love you all very much! 

Love, Hermana Conrow   

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