Monday, August 18, 2014

As a Zone Leader

Howdy y'all!

 They have started putting Christmas lights on the trees on Temple Square.  CHRISTMAS LIGHTS!!  What?  Sister Thacker and I have been making up a song about this and it goes to "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas":  "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.  Lights on all the trees.  We haven't had Halloween, or that Turkey thing, but yet the lights are all over the trees!"  It is a work in progress, but it is coming along. :)

Being a Zone Leader is crazy.  I am enjoying it so much because I have the chance to serve so many sisters!  One of the hard parts, is being able to get close with each one of the sisters because we have 9 companionships in our zone.  Sister Thacker are planning on going on exchanges with everyone by going in trios with each companionship.  We both will not be able to go with each companionship, but this way, we will be able to help the sisters more.  It is amazing how much we talk about the sisters in our zone and how much I love them already!  I am so excited for this transfer!  I hope that I can do enough to help the sisters and let them know that they are loved.  We have been working on making our zone focus for the transfer and what we can do to help the sisters achieve their baptism goal for the transfer and also how to feel like successful missionaries.  I am amazed by how much time and effort goes into these things.  It makes me think back at my past zone leaders.  I love all of them, but there are some that I see now, that did not magnify their calling to the extent that they should have.  I hope and pray that I will be able to magnify my calling to the fullest extent.  Sister Thacker is an awesome zone leader and I know that she will help me fulfill this hope/goal.

On Sunday Sister Andrea Scott and her two kids as well as Sister Burgoyne or Cristal (one of my companions from outbound) came and found me one the square!  It was really cool and we were able to take them an a really good and spiritual tour.  it was really good and the spirit was really strong.  Cristal and Caitlin (sister White- my other companion from outbound) are going to come and try to visit me on Thursday.  I told them, that if they found me then great but that work came before and they totally understand.  I am really excited to see them though!!

This week, I studies a lot about baptism and what it means and why we need to be baptized.  This is something that I have thought a lot about my entire mission.  In PMG, it talks a lot about covenants and that we make covenants to strengthen our relationship with Heavenly Father.  Covenants are also another opportunity to grow and to show God that we love him through our actions and choices to keep our covenants.  God sets the terms of our covenants and it is up to us to accept the terms or to reject them.  We make covenants with God through an ordinance which is a sacred ceremony that show we have entered or made a covenant.  I still don't know everything about baptism, but I do know that is is an essential ordinance in order to live again with God.  It shows that we will give up our old lives and commit to follow the Lord Jesus Christ to return to live with God.  It is a covenant that we will always follow God and not just for a short time here on earth, but that we will follow him for the eternities.  Covenants are not something to be taken lightly, but they are such a wonderful blessing to make with the Lord.

Mom reminded me that I did not give any of you a commitment when you came and visited me on Temple Square!  Shame on me!! How can I call myself a missionary and not give you an commitment!  But the atonement is real and I am now going to repent and give you a commitment.  This commitment has two parts.  Part one, Will you study from the Book of Mormon every day for 2 weeks?  Start your study with a prayer and ask that the Holy Ghost will help you to learn from what you will read.  Please read at least 3 verses.  Part 2, at the end of 2 weeks, will you pray and ask God if the Book of Mormon is the word of God?  It does not matter if you have already prayed about the Book of Mormon or not, but this will help to strengthen your testimony.  I know that God will answer your prayer when you pray with real intent.  Real intent means that you really want to know the answer and that you will act on your answer.  God knows you and will answer your prayers.  I know that he will because he has answered my prayers to know that this Book is from him.  When I first started my mission, I had come here because I knew that the Lord wanted me here and because I wanted to come closer to him.  Those things still matter to me, but the reason why I am here has changed.  The reason that I am here is because I know that this is the true church.  I am here because I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that the Gospel makes me so happy and I want to share that with others.  I want each of you to have a firm testimony of the truth of the Gospel so when things happen that you will know the truth and be unwavering.  I know that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ and that they called him to be a prophet and to restore the church of Christ here on the earth.  I know these things are true with all of my heart.  I want you to know them as well.  I love each one of you so very much and that is why I desire for you to know this for yourself.  Don't wait to find out or to re-find out.

I love you all so so very much!!
Love Always,
Sister Stephen

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