Monday, July 25, 2016

Mom & Dad's Homecoming and their thoughts to Jessica

My Mom & Dad reported their mission yesterday. It was an incredible experience for me to see the changes in them and the impact they had on the people in Whittier.  There is no doubt in my mind that Heavenly Father sent Jessica to their mission for very specific reasons.  When her homesickness was almost unbearable the first few days, my Dad sat down with her and told her to give it a solid three months of full effort and dedication with no thought of going home.  She did it and it proved to be a turning point on her mission.  Here are my Dad's thoughts to her today as he is now trying to adjust to being home and missing the mission so much:

Well we are done.  We gave our talks in church yesterday and had the big family party.  Scott drove me down to Provo to hear Sharron and Val report their mission at 9am and came back to report ours at 1 pm.  When Judy told the story during her talk of you coming to the California, Long Beach Mission, their was an audible gasp in the congregation.  They laughed when she said, "When you go on a senior mission make sure to request that a grandchild follow you there!" 

I have not unpacked.  The adjustment is harder than I thought.  I think the axiom that I used with you that it takes 3 months to adjust is going to apply to me for coming home.  You cried when we came to see you after your had been out 2 days and we were strong.  I cried when you called the day we left and you were the strong one - thanks!  Really it is hard!  We will miss our Wednesday lunch at Blaze Pizza with you and your companions.  Good luck!  Pause during your prayers to feel the love coming from our prayers for you.  Love, Grandpa 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Strength from God

So this week... man... I don't even know where to begin. 

This week we picked up an awesome new investigator. She married a man who is LDS and she is Filipino.  They didn't really talk about church much at the beginning of their relationship, but now they talk more. She is interested in learning the gospel and she said she wants to join the church when she believes it is true. She is so sweet, and so is her husband. He is a return missionary that came home 10 years ago.  We had a powerful lesson with her. 

We also had brother Moriel at church and WOW WOW WOW . . . he's the BOMB.COM. He is the nicest guy in the whole world.  If I could give him a hug I totally would.  He is one of my favorite people I have ever met in my mission. He is so sincere and he really wants to change for the Lord. He has such a strong testimony. We also had a powerful lesson with Jake, but he wasn't at church this week. 

I ended up working with members quite a bit this week. We would go on splits and I have a few splits tonight. Until tomorrow morning, I am the only missionary in the La Mirada ward. My companion had to go home because of health problems.  I feel bad for her- I wish I could have helped her more. Since then my companions have been Sister Jones and Sister Glenn. THEY ARE THE BEST MISSIONARIES IN THE WORLD!  They have taught me so much and I really want to be like them someday. I will be getting a Greenie tomorrow to train and I'm so excited for that!  

I have been trying to think of what I want to talk about today, but I don't really know what to say except I want to express my gratitude to my Heavenly Father. I don't think I have ever typed out a testimony like this though, so bear with me. 

In short, this week has been hard, but God is so good. There have been times where I have felt weak and not in control of anything.  But He helps me feel okay. It's almost like He's right next to me.  Like I can feel His arm around me and He's telling me to keep going and that He loves me. He fills every single hole when I ask Him to.  Even when everything around me s uncontrolled and obscure, he gives me the ability to stand in the very center with a brilliant kind of courage and strength.  It's the kind of strength that is definitely not my own. I love him so much. I can't even start to express how grateful I am. 

THIS WEEK I WANT YOU TO SEND ME YOUR FAVORITE CONFERENCE TALK!  I'm craving conference talks. I love you all so much! 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Who I am becoming . . .

This week was one heck of a week. I saw miracles I have never seen before- and I felt the spirit so strong.  I wish I could bring all of you here with me and just show you what it is like to be a missionary.  I've learned it's difficult to be a missionary when you are so focused on yourself. It took me a while to become acquainted with the new environment and new lifestyle, but even after that it took months for me to feel like I was a missionary.  I don't know how to define the feeling of "being a missionary" except for to direct you to 2 Nephi 4 and Jacob 5 (yes I know that is a long chapter).  I'm better than I have ever been but I feel like I still cry out like Nephi "O wretched man that I am!".  I can honestly say that I feel like "love consumes" me, and I have cried to God with all "energy of my soul". But I'm not afraid any more. I'm not afraid to be bold. I'm not afraid to go home anymore. I'm not afraid to be yelled at, spit on, or called bad things. I "trust in God" more than anything. I know he will help me with everything. I can't even begin to describe how my heart "grieves" for the people I love out here. I feel like I "labor diligently" so people 'might-may-perhaps' come to Christ. I can't begin to describe how bad it hurts to see these people hurt, or reject the salvation that God is trying to directly deliver to them through me.  

In simple terms I feel like I have seen a change in myself. The next eight months will be for me a study application. I would like to further my conversion and figure out how I can be my 'converted, awkward, bold, loving missionary self' inside the real world. I know who I want to be.  Granted I do not know all the steps I need to take to get there, and I don't know how I fit in with the real world now, but I will get there through the grace of Christ and through my own diligence. I can't give up- I know too much!  

I miss Grandma and Grandpa but I know this is where God wants me.  I don't understand why He loves me sometimes and why He blesses me the way he does, but I am so grateful to Him!  

Love, Jess

***Jessica's companion is being sent home to resolve her kidney stones.  When I asked Jessica what her week was going to look like, she said, "I'm not sure but I do want to go tracting till I have blisters, knocking till my knuckles bleed and LOVING ALL OF IT because I have missed it so much hahahahaha!"***

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Gratitude for "Leaders" & Goodbye to Grandma & Grandpa :(

This week we saw some miracles!

1) We had our investigator call us in tears and we were able to help her feel the Spirit as she was going though a really rough time. We prayed with her and she prayed too. We set a baptismal date and she is progressing!

2) We picked up a foster daughter of a member of our ward this week. She is a little hard-hearted but she went to girls camp this week and really felt the spirit.  We talked yesterday about homes and how we always have a home in this church.  No matter where you end up- you can find a home at church. 

3) We taught a little girl who is 13 and less active. She is the only member at home.  Her mother's side of the family is LDS but she is staying with her dad. She went to girls camp too and came home much brighter than before. She felt the spirit and we had a super powerful lesson with her.

4) We had been having a rough week (again... to say the least...) and we hadn't seen a ton of members this week because for some reason we didn't have any dinner appointments and we have so many people we want to try to see.  Sister Ingram got back from girls camp and called us that night and invited us to go to dinner with her and her husband.  She knew we didn't have dinner and she really takes care of us.  She was exhausted (you could physically see it) but we had a wonderful dinner and we got to  have a great conversation with her. She brightened out day.  

My testimony this week is of leaders. Leaders sacrifice SO MUCH.  Leaders can be anyone.  Leaders do not lead by doing everything right, by being perfect, or by always setting a stellar example all of the time . . . leaders lead by love.  If the leader loves you they are a good leader.  If they love you and everyone then other Christlike attributes rain down from heaven on them and because they love you- you have a desire to be like them.  To love like them and be like them.  Anyone can be a leader.  Anyone can love like that.  


Me and my companion at zone meeting

Grandpa took this of Jes . . . not sure if she was singing or teaching??

Last zone meeting with Grandma & Grandpa . . . Still can't believe I served a mission with them!  It will be one of my favorite parts of my mission!  I'm going to miss them so much!

Last lunch out with Grandma & Grandpa.  They always takes us to such yummy places!!