Monday, November 24, 2014

Attitude of Gratitude

Thanks for the quotes, Mom, especially the experience from Elder Bednar about prayer. This week we had Skype studies with the sisters in the zone and we focused on praying with faith. There's a section in PMG about prayer that gives suggestions on how to improve your prayers. It says, "Always express gratitude for your blessings. A conscious effort to be grateful will help you recognize how merciful the Lord has been in your life."
Towards the beginning of my mission, I was studying Moroni 10:3-5 and wondered why Moroni first exhorts us to remember how merciful the Lord has been unto the children of men and to ponder it in our hearts. I realized that those are very important steps to placing our hearts in line with God, to prepare ourselves for revelation, which ultimately is our goal with any prayer we utter. We speak and we want to hear back from our Heavenly Father. 

Gratitude is so important to our communications with our Heavenly Father and those around us. It softens hearts. Studying that this week has made me more aware of how I pray. Do I always remember that I am communicating with the most powerful, loving, merciful Being in the universe? I owe Him a lot more than a surface-level, repetitious prayer. 

I got Grandma's package this week. I'll let you know when yours arrives.
Here's a picture of me with our truck finally. Also a picture from a Relief Society activity we had this weekend. The sisters made Christmas crafts.

Happy Thanksgiving this week! Sister Mangelson and I are going to celebrate it somehow on Thursday. All of the young missionaries in the branch right now are American (rarely does that happen). There were complaints yesterday at church that none of the hymns we picked for sacrament meeting were Christmas hymns. Canadian Christmas starts much earlier. None of us are used to that. :)
Thank you for everything, Mom! I am staying healthy. Don't worry. I hope that all of you are as well.

Love you!
Sister Renda

Monday, November 17, 2014

Colder in Utah than New Foundland!

Note: We asked Maren about where to send packages for Christmas.

Hey All!
You can send the package to the PO Box. They don't deliver mail to houses here.  In fact, a lot of houses don't really have house numbers on them. It makes tracting quite the adventure. I live on Country Rd. I want to say the house number is 141 or 140.
You got snow before we did! And it's colder there than it has been here. The other side of the island has snow, but it hasn't reached here yet. Today might be the day. We will see!
The branch does a Nativity display each year. They gather nativities from all over the world from people in the community and put them on display for a week and a half. It starts the beginning of December. We are looking forward to it and the great missionary opportunity it will be.
We had a zone conference on Saturday with all of the missionaries in Newfoundland. President and Sister Leavitt came up for it, stayed the night, and came to our branch yesterday to speak. President Leavitt gave a powerful doctrinal discussion on the Atonement. In order to truly understand the Atonement we must understand the Fall of Adam and Eve. I felt very inspired and was reminded powerfully that the Atonement is the reason for everything. This is the Lord's work, and He doesn't really need us to accomplish it. He is hastening it and we need to be ready to be hastened. We need to prepare ourselves and our hearts to receive what He asks us to do. I've realized the past few days that one of the most important things I can learn to do is recognize and act on the Spirit. Revelation is everything, and in order to receive revelation we need to take time to think and to feel. If we are so busy running from point A to point B, trying to accomplish everything on our to do list, we can easily miss the Spirit. 
I am so grateful for inspired leaders and for answers to prayers. 
I hope you have a good week! Love you!

Sister Maren Renda

Monday, November 10, 2014

No Dread Pirate Roberts Found in Bay Roberts

Note From Lory:
 If you are thinking of sending Maren something for Christmas, please send it soon and check out the limits of value you can put on the package. If the amount exceeds the limits we will have to pay the mission home for the extra customs fees, which can be quite high. Gift cards need to be purchased in Canada with Canadian dollar amounts. You can order from and have it sent to the mission home for her. Maren does have a debit card from her account here and if you would just like to deposit to that account and have her buy something for herself in Newfoundland, please contact us and we can give you the information. Thanks for all your support for Maren.Only 5 more months, where has the time gone?


Glad to hear things went well in Washington. I hope David copes okay when Lauren leaves. I haven't seen the dread pirate Roberts yet. Lots of boats that could belong to him, though! I'll keep my eyes pealed for him. :) The footless tights will work great. We haven't had any snow yet, but the temperatures have dropped. Daylight hours are probably from 8 am to 5 pm now. It will get shorter and shorter. We were out knocking at 5:30 pm last night and it felt like 8:00 pm. Hopefully everyone will adjust to it quickly.

My new companion is Sister Mangelson. She is from Payson, UT. She is 24 years old, been out for 7 months, and reminds me a lot of Kristen Steiner. Before her mission she coached softball. I love working with her so far. She was serving in St. John's before, so she only moved an hour away and we had a couple exchanges together while she was there. We are both stoked for this transfer. We are excited to serve together and to work with the sisters in Newfoundland. 

These past few days we have been reflecting a lot on D&C 4:4-5. I have learned so much from the Lord as we have sought revelation from Him to know what He would have us be doing here in Bay Roberts and for the sisters in the zone. We've determined that it's harvest time in Newfoundland and that by keeping our covenants and working in unity with the members and missionaries here that the work will move forward. I haven't felt so inspired and motivated in a long time. It feels so good to have a vision and a knowledge that what we are doing is in accordance with the Lord's will. 

My Book of Mormon reading is going slow. I think I told you about the branch challenge to read the Book of Mormon by December 20? I have fallen behind, but I'm grateful for the things I have learned over the past few days in my reading. I just finished Mosiah. I always love reading Alma's story of being delivered from bondage. The Lord always times it perfectly that I read that chapter when I feel a heavy burden and I feel Him speaking to me to let me know He will strengthen me to lift it and to deliver me in His time. 

A couple other verses towards the end of Mosiah hit me hard this past week. In chapter 26, the Lord speaks to Alma to instruct him on how he should judge those found in iniquity in the church. I love verse 30: "Yea, and as often as my people repent will I forgive them their trespasses against me." I felt powerfully the Savior's love and His invitation to each of us to repent. We never need to feel afraid to repent. Yes, it is a difficult process, but it will only lead to healing and joy. 

I also had an epiphany as I was reading about Alma the Elder in chapter 23. In verses 9 and 10, Alma talks about the sore repentance process he went through after being a priest for wicked king Noah and hearing the words of Abinadi. Most often, when I think of repentance, I think of Alma the Younger, but both Almas experienced a mighty change of heart. I thought about the significance of Alma the Elder's experience had when later he would see his son go through the very same thing. Because he had experienced the power of the Atonement in his own life, Alma the Elder could pray with great faith that his son would have a change of heart as well.

We cannot lift others until we ourselves are standing on higher ground. We must be converted first before we can strengthen our brethren. I am so grateful for the refining, converting process I am experiencing as a missionary. I know that Jesus Christ lives. This is His Church. As I experience the Atonement cleansing, healing, and strengthening me, I have a stronger desire for others to receive His love and mercy as well. There is no greater joy than this.

I love you! Have a great week! 

Sister Maren Renda  

Friday, November 7, 2014

Staying Put, New Companion

 I will be staying in Bay Roberts for another transfer. Sister Comfort is headed to Saint John, New Brunswick. My new companion will be Sister Mangelson. She is currently in St. John's and we've done a few exchanges together over the past three months. I'm stoked to be working with her.

Not too much to tell you about this week. A member's father passed away last week. They asked us to sing and play the father's favorite song at the funeral. We sang "Danny Boy" with piano and violin. Music is so powerful. There was such a neat spirit as we sang it. I know he appreciated it. 

Over the last transfer, I have been memorizing "The Living Christ." I have one paragraph left to memorize this week. The testimony of the Apostles is powerful. My own testimony of my Savior has increased and deepened as I have committed those words to memory. I know that He lives and He loves us. His path is the only way to happiness.

I hope you have a great week!

Sister Renda

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Trials and Laughter

Hey All,

I got the letter you sent after Conference, Mom. It was perfectly timed. This week was pretty rough and I have learned a lot about the Savior and His Atonement. Amid all the trials, Sister Comfort and I had some good laughs. One night we locked our keys in our truck and ended up eating our dinner outside in the rain. Long story but such a good memory. Laughter really is the best medicine.  
We spent most of the week in Corner Brook this week with Sister Aslett and Sister Pitcher. It was fun to work with them and see another area of Newfoundland. The fall leaves were beautiful! I wish I could have taken more pictures, but none of them came out very well. Pictures just can't do it justice. The picture I attached is the view from the Corner Brook sisters' apartment. 
We had a powerful lesson this week with a less active couple in the branch. We read the Joseph Smith pamphlet with them and talked about the importance of strengthening our testimonies of Joseph Smith. The Spirit was so strong and by the end of it they had resolved their concerns about coming to church. Yesterday they came to church for the first time in months!!! 
Also exciting news and highlight of the week: I found out that Nathan was baptized last week. He is the son of one of the families Sister Christensen and I were teaching in Presque Isle. So much joy! 
I hope that you have a great week. I love you, Mom! Tell Dad I love him too. Have fun when you go to Washington.
Transfers are next week. We find out on Sunday whether we go or stay. No more concerts. Elder Call went home this summer and most of the missionaries involved in the concert series are home or coming to the end of their missions.
Thanks for your prayers and support. 


The Gospel of Change


I can't believe that Braden Kirkham is back already! Nikki should be back soon as well. Time goes so fast! I love that he talked about the gospel of change. I've seen that in so many people. Even just reading from the Book of Mormon daily brings a change in their countenance. It's noticeable. As we continue to meet with Karen, I am amazed by the changes taking place in her life. We had some powerful lessons with her and her son Nolan this week. He is one bright ten year old. We taught them about baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost last week. We asked Nolan, "Why do you think Jesus was baptized?" He thought for a moment and then said, "I don't know for sure, but probably for the same reason we need to be baptized. He had to be obedient to His Father's commandments." We were all floored by his response! We told him that was exactly why Jesus was baptized and then Nolan said, "Wow. I've got all the answers today! Jesus must be putting the Spirit in me today. It's like He's telling me I need to put my knowledge out there or something." After the lesson, he said something like, "I think it's because I prayed today that I have the Spirit." He is an awesome kid! Karen is already planning to save money so he can serve a mission. I am so grateful for the opportunity to teach Karen and Nolan. Just like when I taught Brandy back in Presque Isle, I feel like I have gained some more eternal friends. I am so excited for them to be baptized!
We are heading to Corner Brook today to do a visit with Sister Aslett and Sister Pitcher. We will spend two days there and two days travelling. This last week we had an exchange with Sister Sharp and Sister Spencer who work in CBS. I worked with Sister Sharp and it was so much fun to work with her for a day. 

We found some more promising people this week: a young mom who has been thinking about God recently and has loads of questions, a newly wed couple that we met through a community choir we joined a couple weeks ago, and a grandmother who lost a son when he was in his 20s. There are prepared people here and it is always exciting to find them!
I'm sorry to hear about Grandpa Clark. I hope the Clarks are coping well with the loss. I'll keep them in my prayers.

Have a great week! Love you!