Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Canadian Bacon, no passport needed

It snowed on Thursday. Everyone here is pretty upset with Mother Nature. This winter has been unusually long and cold. Sister Lee and I keep hoping we can put our boots and tights away, but that hasn't happened yet. Someone even joked with us this last week that the week or so we've had of sunshine was our summer and we're back to winter already. Time may go pretty fast, but I'm glad it doesn't go that fast!
Wednesday evening was a night of miracles. Sister Redden, a member in the ward, spent the evening with us. She fed us dinner (a pizza topped with Canadian bacon that she said we wouldn't need our passports to eat...too funny!). She introduced us to a less active woman in her neighborhood and then drove us to another less active member's home in Kentville. While we were driving there, I had an overwhelming feeling of peace from the Spirit that we were doing what the Lord wanted us to do. We arrived at the home and knocked on the door. The less active member wasn't home, but her boyfriend was. He answered the door and we ended up teaching him a lesson. Sister Redden bore powerful testimony to him about trusting the Lord. Afterwards, the three of us went to a lesson with Sister Lowthers, one of our investigators whose daughter is a YW in the ward. Sister Lee and I needed Sister Redden that night. As we were driving back to Wolfville that night, we couldn't help but feel so grateful for Sister Redden and her willingness to be our "third companion" that evening. She is an amazing woman, and it is such a privilege to serve with her!
My testimony of the Book of Mormon has really been strengthened over the past six weeks. Sister Lee and I set a goal to read it by Easter, but unfortunately neither of us made it farther than Alma by that day. We're still reading every day, and it is amazing how much I learn each time I spend reading the Book of Mormon. I know that it is the word of God, that it testifies of Jesus Christ, and that it has the power to soften our hearts.
Scripture of the week: Alma 34:31
"Yea, I would that ye would come forth and harden not your hearts any longer; for behold, now is the time and day of your salvation; and therefore, if ye will repent and harden not your hearts, immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you." 
How quickly can the Savior come to our aid? As quickly as we repent and harden not our hearts. Our part usually takes the longest, but once we do it, the Savior's Atonement can heal us and change us immediately!

Have a great week! 

Sister Renda

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter,
In Nova Scotia, Easter weekend is four days long. It begins on Good Friday and ends with Easter Monday. We had some wonderful opportunities to share the spirit of Easter with others this week. A couple weeks ago we gave an elderly gentleman a copy of the Book of Mormon, Each time we call him to see if we can come by to talk to him about it, he says, "I haven't read enough of it yet. Call me in a couple days." Last Friday, we called him and asked if we could come by to watch Finding Faith in Christ with him. He agreed, and when we got there, his Book of Mormon was lying on the couch, opening to where he had been reading. He's read at least 100 pages if not more. He says he is really enjoying it, but it takes him some time to really digest what he is reading. We watched Finding Faith in Christ with him and set up another appointment to come back and teach more about the Restoration. He lives alone after his wife past away. As we left, he showed us a picture of her when she was younger. It is evident he still loves her dearly. We are looking forward to teaching him more about the Plan of Salvation.
We spent some time this week working in some of the neighboring towns in our areas. The students are slowly leaving as their finals finish and Wolfville is becoming quieter and quieter each day. Sister Lee and I are figuring out how to be effective missionaries on bikes. We rode through the countryside in Port Williams last week and both of us felt like we were in the middle of nowhere. The adventures of sister missionaries in rural Nova Scotia. :)
On Saturday, we had a powerful experience in the Lord guiding us to where we needed to be. We were trying so hard to set up an appointment with a family that we are teaching, but that morning, it fell through. Our back-up plans were to go to the BYU-I Sinfonietta concert in Halifax that night, but we needed to find a ride with a member from our ward. Out of the blue, one of the members called us and offered us a ride. We felt like it was an answer to our prayer. We arranged for her to pick us up in the area we were working in. We arrived at the designated spot (Tim Horton's, a coffee shop like Starbucks) and waited for an hour for her, but she never arrived. She doesn't have a cell phone, so we had no way to contact her. We were worried about her and frustrated that our plans weren't working out. We decided we would contact a less active family that we met a month or so ago. (Finding them last month was a miracle as well because the address on the ward list was wrong. We knocked into them randomly!) Sister Spencer invited us in and told us about how she had been at the hospital all week with her sick husband. She told us her conversion story and about how much she feels the rising generation needs something to believe in, including her boys. In addition, she told us how when we knocked on her door a month ago, she had been thinking a few days earlier that she hadn't seen missionaries in a long time. Then boom! We showed up. After we left, Sister Lee and I both knew why everything we were trying to do that night fell through. We needed to be there. The Lord amazes me. I don't understand His plan and it's an incredible feeling to see Him work through us as we humble ourselves and seek for His direction.
For Easter, the BYU-I Sinfonietta (which has been touring the mission the past week and this week) and a 70 person choir made up of missionaries and members did a fireside at the stake center. Sister Lee and I participated in the choir. It was AMAZING! Wow. Words can't even express the Spirit that was in that fireside.Sister Lee sang a solo, "O Divine Redeemer." I am so blessed to be serving as a missionary. I can't even comprehend all that the Lord has given me over the last six months. Jesus is the Christ. This is His Church. He lives!
Sister Renda

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Come and Be Baptized!

 Hello all,
We had two baptisms in the ward this weekend. The first was the son of two recent converts. His father baptized him and it was a tender moment. The other was for Stefan, who we have been teaching since I arrived in Wolfville. The Spirit was so strong during the baptismal service. I couldn't help but smile the whole time. I reflected on the events that led to Stefan's baptism and cannot deny that the Lord's hand was in all of it. During the lesson that Stefan decided on a date to be baptized, we read Alma 5. He was unsure of being baptized so soon. We read the whole chapter and the final verse reads:
"I speak by way of command unto you that belong to the church; and unto those who do not belong to the church I speak by way of invitation, saying: Come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye also may be partakers of the fruit of the tree of life."
He thought about it for a moment after we finished and then said, "Okay, let's plan on that date in April." The Spirit is amazing! He changes our hearts. I cannot convince people of the truth of what we have to share. Only when they feel the Spirit testify to them will change (repentance!) happen.

 Yesterday, while I was listening to the confirmations in Sacrament meeting, I had a powerful witness that this is the Lord's work. He knows who He has prepared to hear the gospel. I have such a small understanding of the eternal significance of the work I am doing. I am so humbled that the Lord trusts me to do His work. He knows I need the tutoring and the experiences that will mold me into the woman and mother He needs me to be.
My zone had a conference call last week during which we talked about being accountable to the Lord. As long as I am seeking to be in tune with the Spirit, to be an instrument in the Lord's hands, I know that I am doing what the Lord wants me to do. His approval is more important than what others think of me.
I hope you have a wonderful Easter weekend! Remember that Christ is the reason. We are so blessed to know the Savior. We can each come to know Him personally. He lives!
Sister Renda

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Week Of Miracles

I don't even know where to begin in explaining the miracles that Sister Lee and I witnessed last week. The amazing thing is that miracles are easily missed if we aren't in tune with the Spirit and seeking to see the Lord's hand in our lives. Many of the miracles we received this last week wouldn't seem grand, but they were real and powerful witnesses to me that the Lord is in charge of His work and that He loves all of His children.

As a mission, we have been focusing on increasing our faith and skill as missionaries. Faith without works is dead. Works without faith is dead also. As missionaries, we seek for the Lord's inspiration in setting goals for each day and each week. As I have worked with Sister Lee, my understanding of faith in setting goals and making plans and then working as hard as we can to accomplish what the Lord wants us to do has dramatically changed. Much of the time, the plans we make and expect to fulfil those goals fall through. This last week, we pushed and worked to accomplish our goals as the Lord wanted us to accomplish them. It was incredible to look back at the end of the week and see how the Lord provided a way for us to accomplish each of our goals, even though we had no idea how He would. 

One particular night stands out. A series of events led to us spending an evening working in the Hantsport area. One by one, each of our plans fell through and we proceeded to knock a street that we chose the night before. It seemed like any other night of knocking. A young girl named Christine answered the third door that we knocked on. We chatted for a bit and then she invited us in. We invited her to listen to the message we share and she accepted. The Spirit was so strong in our lesson with her! She told us as we were leaving that she was skeptical when she opened the door, but in our lesson with her, she felt closer to God than in fifteen years of attending church. As Sister Lee and I left, we both just looked at each other in disbelief of what had just occurred. Reflecting back on everything that led us to Christine's door, I have no doubt that the Lord's hand was in all of it. I didn't see it when it was happening. I could have easily been frustrated with each change of plan that led us to be in Hantsport and knocking at that time. When things go wrong, when we experience change, remember that the Master is at work. Trust in His plan. Act in faith and maintain hope when things don't go the way we want or foresee. He has a greater work to accomplish. 

General Conference was AMAZING! I know that Heavenly Father speaks through His chosen servants. There is a living Prophet on the earth!!! We are so blessed to live in this day and age. There is a great work ahead. Our own testimonies and conversion will provide us with the assurance and safety we need in the coming years. There was a great urgency in many of the messages shared in Conference, and as Sister Lee and I talked about that urgency, we came to the conclusion that what matters most is that we follow the Savior. If you are prepared, you shall not fear. 

Have a great week! :)

Sister Renda