Monday, November 25, 2013

I'll Be What He Wants Me to Be

First off, since I am not in America, you all have to promise me that you will eat a piece of turkey for me this Thursday. Okay? Okay. :)

Sister Renda and Sister Laxton in Saint John, New Brunswick
This past week was filled with blessings from the Lord. Sister Laxton and I had so many wonderful experiences with finding people and teaching them. We had a concert in St. John, New Brunswick this weekend. It went pretty well. I wasn't nearly as prepared as I would like. We didn't even run through all of the pieces in the rehearsal beforehand, but somehow I survived! It was the last concert of the Orange Blossom Special series. We won't have another concert until the end of January.

I feel so blessed to be a part of this work. Yes, it's hard, but it is so worth it. I continue to learn each day about how the Lord wants His work to be accomplished and who He wants me to be. More than anything, He wants me to be changed by this experience. As long as I serve Him with all my 
"heart, might, mind, and strength," I will be a successful missionary. We had a lesson this past week with a recent convert, who asked us why we decided to serve missions. He said that he keeps having thoughts about serving a mission. His question made me think about my decision to serve. As we bore testimony about the power of the Atonement to him and I reflected on my experiences of the last month, the Spirit was so strong. I know that this is where I need to be right now. It may not be easy, but I need to trust the Lord that He knows what is best for me and that He can mold me into the person He needs me to be. It's easier to give Him my heart and my will than to continually wage a war between the Spirit and the natural man.

I hope that you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving, wherever you may be this week! Love you!
Sister Maren Renda

PS We're going to Peggy's Cove today! I'll send pictures next week.

PPS We have a Facebook page for the missionaries serving in the Halifax YSA branch. Like us so we can spread the word! It's "Mormon Missionaries on Campus-Halifax." We don't have a picture of Sister Laxton and me on there yet, but there is a picture of Elder Clark and Elder Nzojibwami. We're hoping this will help in sharing the gospel with YSA.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Communication is the Key


This past week was filled with many learning opportunities, including district training, exchanges with the sister training leader, a district pow-wow with the zone leaders, and a sisters conference call. Communication is always the key, but open communication can only happen when there is a relationship of trust. This applies to every aspect of our lives. I am grateful for communication with my Heavenly Father through prayer and personal revelation. Understanding His nature and love makes this communication natural and easy. I know that Heavenly Father hears and answers my prayers. He answered so many of my prayers this last week through the scriptures, experiences, and through other people. Some of my favorite moments as a missionary are running into people around town that we have taught or talked to previously. I always feel Heavenly Father's hand in those experiences!

We continue to teach a lot of students from the various universities in Halifax. Finals are coming up, and we are very grateful that despite the stress in preparing for exams, people are still willing to meet with us. 

One of our investigators right now is the sweetest girl!  Her heart and desires are so good and pure! One of the members from the branch comes to each lesson with her. His input and testimony are always so powerful. The work of salvation can only be successful when members and missionaries work together. I love hearing about all of the missionary work going on back home. If you don't already know who the missionaries are in your area, get to know them! Offer to help them and serve with them. We are all seeking to come closer to Christ, and as we actively participate in the Lord's work, everyone involved will come closer to Him.

I love you all! Have a fantastic week! Happy Thanksgiving! :)

Sister Renda

Monday, November 11, 2013

Disney and the Lighthouse

What a week this past week has been! The Lord is continually teaching me to trust in Him and I am grateful for His watchful care of me in His work.
On Saturday we had a concert in Yarmouth, which is about three hours from Halifax. We performed in the Beacon United Church and approximately 150 people attended the concert. The next day we attended church with the branch and performed a few more musical numbers and many of the visiting missionaries spoke or bore testimony as part of Sacrament meeting and the third hour of meetings. I am so very grateful for the talents that the Lord has given me and that He has found a way to use them to bless His children! All of the missionaries involved in these concerts feel the same gratitude and we stand in awe of Heavenly Father's ability to make this happen. These concerts are truly an opportunity for the missionaries and the members to become one in the work of salvation. We always invite the audience on Saturday night to join us for church services the next day. The concerts provide an opportunity for members to invite friends, co-workers, and acquaintances in the community to feel the Spirit and come unto Christ. Hearing the missionary experiences of the members the next day taught me that the Lord's hand is definitely in these concerts. This concert was a family concert--lots of Disney music, Peter and the Wolf, Phantom of the Opera, and a few hymns. I learned how to play the cymbal for Peter and the Wolf. I never imagined myself playing the cymbal! I can't wait to see what other things I will learn over the next year and a half! Our next concert is in two weeks in New Brunswick. It will be a classical series concert. Starting in January, we will only be doing the family concert series.
After the Yarmouth concert. 
By the way, the concert series is highlighted in the Canda Mormon Newsroom right now! Cool, eh? Here's the link:
After church on Sunday, we went to the Cape Forchu lighthouse. When we arrived, the Calls and a few of the Elders were already there and the Elders were belting "Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy." I have come to love this hymn and the powerful symbolism of the lighthouse in the work of salvation. (It's hymn #335.) "To us he gives the keeping of the lights along the shore." I'll send some pictures of our adventure.
The Cape Forchu Lighthouse
The view from Cape Forchu.  The sea is green!  It is so beautiful.
Sister Laxton, Sister Renda, Sister Lee, and Sister Echols at Cape Forchu.  It was just a little windy!
 I'm glad that all is well at home. No snow here yet. It's tried a few times, but it's only ever flurries. We've had a bit of rain, though. Thanks for the updates, especially on the typhoon in the Philippines. One of the members told us about that last week and I immediately thought of Sherlock and Pocahontas. I hope that all is well with everyone there and I am praying for them.
I realized I never told you which scripture I would like for my plaque. Alma 26:12. Choose whichever picture you like.
I love you all and pray for you. Keep putting your trust in the Savior Jesus Christ. He is the Son of God and through the power of the Atonement we can be cleansed and healed. I love the words of the Savior in 3 Nephi 9:13-22. His arm of mercy is continually outstretched to us. I know that He is my Savior and Redeemer. He is the reason!
I love you all! Have a wonderful week!
Sister Renda


Monday, November 4, 2013

Amazing Things!


This past week was filled with so many amazing things! FHE with the branch, Zone Conference, Halloween, CES Broadcast last night, and progress in the work of the Lord. Sister Laxton and I are feeling more comfortable in the area than before and we are starting to get to know the members better. The members here are amazing! We are trying to invite more members to our lessons and multiple times last week the Lord worked through the members that came with us. It was amazing to see the Lord's hand in those experiences. This is His work. I can't do it on my own. In fact, if I try to do it on my own, I will fail. I can trust in Him to guide my efforts as long as I give my heart to Him and His work. 

Christ is the reason and He makes all the difference in our lives! "Lift up your head and be of good cheer" for Christ lives! (3 Nephi 1:13)
I hope that all is well. Thanks for your love and prayers!

Sister Renda