Monday, February 24, 2014

Lessons on Gratitude

Hi everyone,

Transfers are this week. Sister Aslett and I are staying here, as are the Elders in the Kentville Ward (Elders Beckert and West). There are nine new missionaries coming this transfer! Four new areas for sisters were opened/re-opened to accommodate the incoming missionaries: Bridgewater, Truro, Bathurst (a French area), and Houlton Maine. 

We had a baptism in the ward last week. David and Angela were baptized on Friday and confirmed on Sunday. I love attending baptisms! The Spirit is always so strong. 

Sister Aslett and I spent some time this last week in some of the other towns that we cover. It's always really interesting to see how other people live. Some of the areas we spent time in this last week are very rural. We visited a widow named Sister Hickey who lives out in the boonies last week. She told us about her family-children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren. They take good care of her and she is so happy. We shared Moroni 10:32 with her and asked her how she "comes unto Christ." Her response taught me a great lesson about coming unto Christ. Her first response was "waking up in the morning" and then she began sharing with us the blessings and tender mercies she sees each day. I am grateful for the lesson that Sister Hickey taught me about gratitude. 

I'm looking forward to the concerts this week. What is Aunt Heidi's friend's name? I will have to keep my eye out for her. I'll work on sending my camera home. It won't happen today. I'll think about buying a new one and let you know what I decide. At this point, I don't really want to buy a new one. Also, I did get your Valentine's Day card. Thanks!

Sorry for the short email this week. :) Love you! 

Sister Renda

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Rain, Hot Chocolate, and Scrabble

Hi Everyone,

Thanks for sending those comments to me from the blog. (Note form Lory: I am actually the one who posts Maren's letter each week, she does not get a chance to read the blog. If you want to send a comment to her it is best to email her directly.) Do you know if my camera has a warranty for a year or something? It's broken. Sad day, eh? I think the cold got to it. I'm thinking I will send it home to you this week or next. I'm looking forward to hearing what will happen with the stake. Splitting it! Wow.

For Valentine's Day this week, we handed out free hot chocolate in downtown Wolfville. It rained that day, so we were pretty wet by the end, but it was worth it. After that we went to a nursing home and played games there. We go each week for what they call "Happy Hour" which usually consists of board games or baking or something fun like that. Each week I play Scrabble. I'm getting pretty good. The ladies I play with are fun. It was also Sister Aslett's birthday on Friday, so we went to dinner with a less active member from England.  Sister Aslett and Sister Pizzey met her during last transfer or the transfer before. She and her husband live in Kentville. We love them both and want so much to help them.

The Elders have been teaching a family. The parents are being baptized this Friday. They got married the day after Valentine's Day. Sister Aslett and I attended the wedding, the second one I have been to on my mission. Never would have thought I would attend so many weddings as a missionary! We are excited for them. They have four kids. Hopefully in time, their kids will also have the desire to be baptized. 

Some of the people we are teaching are taking steps towards baptism, which is exciting. We had a lesson this week with someone we meet the first week of the transfer in downtown Wolfville. We invited him to church when we first met him and he came twice to church before we could even have a lesson with him. He is a rather reserved guy, in his late twenties. He told us this week that he has been thinking more about baptism and wants to take the steps and make the changes in his life to be baptized. He has great desires and a solid understanding of Christianity. We are excited for the progress that he will continue to make! 
Next week is transfers, so on Sunday, I will find out what's ahead for next transfer.

Sister Aslett and I are working on going through the ward list to identify and update information at the request of Bishop Spinney. President Monson's counsel to find the lost sheep came to mind as we were calling people yesterday. (Church was cancelled yesterday due to a storm, so we spent the day going through the ward list.) It's sad that many members seem to fall between the cracks or choose to distance themselves from the church. All we can do is reach out to them in love and invite them to come back. 

I learned a really valuable lesson this week about teaching to people's needs and trusting in the Lord's timing for each of His children. We are teaching a young mother. Sister Pizzey and Sister Aslett were teaching her for a bit, but didn't feel like she was progressing. They stopped visiting her, and a few weeks ago she contacted one of the members and asked them why the sisters stopped coming by and requested that they come back. So we have started teaching her again. After a lesson with her and a member named Sister Bond this past week, I realized that some people need time. Each person's journey to coming to know the truth is going to be different. The Lord understands each of our circumstances perfectly. My role as a missionary is to be in tune with the Spirit and to do and say what the Savior would say and do if He were here Himself. I can't force my "agenda" as a missionary. I can invite and testify with boldness, but it is only successful if I do so with the Spirit and with love. 

Have a great week! Enjoy the warmth while it lasts!

Sister Renda

Monday, February 10, 2014

Happy Valentines Day

 The concerts went well this last weekend. We've finally got the hang of things, we hope. We went to Moncton and St. John. Moncton is a French area, so it was fun to listen to some of the missionaries speaking French while we were there. There will be two more weekends of concerts: Truro, Charlottetown, Caribou, and Fredericton. I think the picture Sister Hendrickson sent you is of Sister Sharp and me. Sister Sharp was my MTC companion. She is still serving in PEI and her companion is Sister Broadhead, one of the Sister Training Leaders. They were in Moncton for visits with the sisters there and came to the concert that night. It was good to see her! 
Sister Renda and Sister Sharp
We had a district meeting this last Thursday in Sackville. It was really powerful. Elder Woodward, the district leader, gave a spiritual thought about fear. We read from the Bible Dictionary entry of "Fear." It says, "The first effect of Adam's sin was that he was afraid. Sin destroys that feeling of confidence God's child should feel in a loving Father and produces instead a feeling of shame and guilt. Ever since the Fall God has been teaching men not to fear, but with penitence to ask forgiveness in full confidence of receiving it." I gained a greater understanding of my Heavenly Father and His plan for each one of us as we read and discussed this as a district last week. 1 John 4:18 says that "perfect love casteth out fear." That perfect love is the only thing that can heal us and make us feel safe. Heavenly Father teaches us not to fear, but to trust Him. One of Satan's greatest tools is fear. Fear paralyzes us and keeps us from progressing. Heavenly Father sent His Son Jesus Christ so that fear can be replaced with love, with healing, with safety. All we need to do is live the gospel of Jesus Christ: have faith, sincerely repent, be baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end. Heavenly Father is just and He is merciful. As I come to understand Him better, my faith increases."And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." John 17:3

I know that I am a daughter of my Heavenly Father. He loves me perfectly and I have no reason to fear as I put my trust in Him and in His Son's perfect Atonement. The Savior stands at the door; it's up to each of us to let Him in. When we do, He can change us. He can heal our broken hearts and bind up our wounds. This is the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I hope you have a good week. Tell everyone I love them and say hello!

Happy Valentine's Day! Make someone's day brighter by sharing God's love with them.
Sister Renda

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Happy February

Hello all,

That missionary fireside sounds like a great idea! Hopefully the next one will be more successful in terms of non-members attending. You should offer to go to a lesson with the missionaries in the area if they are teaching anyone nearby. I love when members come to lessons with us! There is a powerful Spirit in those lessons. Mom, I am so grateful you got that job. I know the Lord is looking out for us and that He is blessing you for sacrificing to help David and me serve missions. I am excited to hear about the fun adventures ahead of you at work! 

 My new address is 204 Pleasant St. #505 Wolfville, NS B4P 1N6. Sorry that I forgot to send it to you last week. Sister Aslett is from Berkshire. I haven't picked up on any of her words yet, but she keeps surprising me with new ones each day! Today she said, "Sorry! Did I jog you?" while I was writing a letter. Took me a second to understand what she was trying to say. I love working with her. She's always very positive and sweet, yet goofy at the same time. She loves sugar as well. Her favorite thing to eat this last week was melted chocolate on toast. Love her. :)

We had two baptisms in the ward on Thursday! WAHOO! Jordan and Brandon are the newest members of the Kentville Ward. The baptismal service was wonderful. So many members came to support them, as well as their families. Jordan's dad and sister came. His sister is a vocal performance major at Acadia and she sang a musical number for the baptism. I'm excited to see the progress that these two young men will make as they continue their path in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

We've been having a YSA FHE on Sunday nights for the YSA in the ward. We've had two so far, and it's been a great opportunity for fellowship in the ward. Jordan and his sister, as well as another guy we are teaching named Stefan came to FHE last night. I'm getting to know the members more and more. I am so grateful that I can go anywhere and have a ward family! 

We have two more concerts this upcoming week, one in Moncton and one in St. John. I'll have to get a pirate hat or something to fit in with the rest of the crew. :)

I finished the Book of Mormon this morning! Three days late, but better late than never! It was an awesome experience to read it so quickly. I love Mormon and Moroni's final testimonies. Their words become more bold and powerful each time I read them.

I know that Heavenly Father is aware of each of us. He knows our needs and how to best help us. I had some neat experiences this week with feeling Heavenly Father's love for me and for those that we are teaching. We met with a retired United Church minister at his home this last week who wanted to know what was different about our church. We shared the message of the Restoration with him. He told us about his family and his wife who passed away last year. I felt Heavenly Father's love for this man and how much his wife wanted him to hear this message. It was powerful! Afterwards, I shared what I had felt with Sister Aslett and Sister Redden, who is a sweet member who came with us to the lesson. Sister Redden said she felt the same thing, almost as if his wife was there. We gave him a Book of Mormon the next day. I don't know what will come in the future with him, but my testimony was strengthened as we met with him that day that missionary work continues on both sides of the veil. That is something I will never forget. 

Love you! Have a good week!

Sister Renda