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 Amazon.ca 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