Monday, April 27, 2015

"In His plan there are no true endings, only everlasting beginnings."‏

A year and a half has come and gone. This will be my last email from the Great White North. It's hard to believe!

This past week, Sister Howell and I focused our contacting on sharing the First Vision. My testimony of the Restoration has been strengthened each time I share that experience with someone. We are so blessed to know that Christ has restored saving truths to the earth! What happened on that spring day in 1820 changed the world and if you let it, it can change your life. 

I'm filled with a lot of different emotions as this journey comes to an end. I listened to a talk this morning by President Uchtdorf called "Of Regrets and Resolutions." In it he speaks of a nurse who asked her terminally ill patients if they had any regrets about life. Three common responses were, "I wish I had spent more time with the ones I love," "I wish I had lived up to my potential," and "I wish that I had let myself be happier." In reflecting on my mission, these three statements adequately describe some of my emotions about different areas, companions, and experiences. 

During my personal study this morning, I read this statement from Preach My Gospel: "You can feel certain that the Lord is pleased when you feel the Spirit working through you." In spite of my regrets, I feel those sorrows and inadequacies swallowed up in the joy of recognizing the many moments the Lord worked through me to help one of His children. I would never trade my mission for anything because of the lessons I have learned and the conversion I have gained. To anyone thinking of serving a mission, young or old, please do so! It will be the best decision you will ever make! It is worth every sacrifice to be an instrument in the Lord's hands. 

I know that this is the Church of Jesus Christ. He lives! Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. The Book of Mormon is the word of God and by studying it each day, your heart will change. I know these things for myself through my own experiences and through the power of the Holy Ghost. 

I love you all! See you soon!

Sister Renda

"The Spirit is the key 
that unlocks the doors to eternity.
Love is always in season,
And Christ is the reason!"

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Exchange of a Lifetime

This past week has been a blast! I am still in Charlottetown with Sister Howell and was able to do an exchange with the Summerside sisters. It's been a challenge, but so worth it! Someone once told me that in order for the Spirit to comfort you, you have to go outside of your comfort zone. I have grown so much over the past week, diving into two new areas and serving with two new sisters. I have felt the Lord strengthen me to do His work this past week, and while I am still exhausted, it feels so good. I once thought that putting myself in a position or a light or an environment in which I felt weak was something to avoid. This past week has reminded me that whenever I feel weak, it is an opportunity to rely on the Lord even more and to glorify Him by allowing Him to work through me, in spite of my weaknesses, to do His work.

"Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever."
Alma 26:12

"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all me that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."
Ether 12:26

"And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
"Therefore take I pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
One of the neatest experiences for me this week was meeting Heather Hirtle and her family. My uncle, Wayne Baldwin, served in this mission and baptized her. It was a powerful witness to me of God's eternal plan. Small acts of sacrifice bring forth great blessings in the lives of others. It's fun for me to imagine where many of the people that I have met and taught will be in 20 or 30 years, and it's a comfort to know that I don't ever have to leave them behind. I may never see them again in this lifetime (hopefully I will!), but I will see them and the many others they will bring into the gospel in the eternities. 
Maren and Heather Hirtle

Sister Renda 

Day Of Pentacost

Hello from Charlottetown, PEI! I will be in PEI for most of the week on an exchange or two with the sisters here. It's going to be a grand adventure!

It has been a crazy, incredible week. Tuesday we had another mission leadership training, which included a session at the temple. Oh, how I love the temple! General Conference was so powerful and I am excited to go back and study these inspired words. It's incredible how every question I brought to conference was answered. I know that those who spoke are inspired by God. I know that the men I sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators are called by Him to raise a voice of warning and to be His mouthpiece on the earth in guiding and directing His kingdom. What an incredible blessing! The most important questions to ask yourself after listening to them are: 1) What did I learn? 2) What am I going to do? If you don't, you will miss out on the great blessings of aligning your life with God's will.
Of course, Conference is never complete without cinnamon rolls. I made a batch with all of the mayhem of the weekend.:)

Yesterday between sessions of Conference, Jeremy, Walter, and Connor were baptized! It was so powerful and it reaffirmed my testimony of the necessity of this sacred ordinance being performed the right way by the right authority. I know that that authority was restored to the earth and resides in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is His Church! I am so excited for all that is in store for these three good men as they receive the priesthood and invite many others to come unto Christ. The attached picture is (left to right) Walter, Jeremy, and Connor, Elders Craig and Woodbury, me, Sister Curtis, and Sister Gochnour. I just can't help but smile when I think about all that has happened over these past few weeks. The talks in the last session of conference could not have been more perfect for these men to listen to after being baptized. 

On April 6, I share my witness that Christ lives. His Atonement is real. He can heal us and change us into the men and women He needs us to be--like Him. Always remember, Christ is the reason!

Sister Renda

Monday, March 30, 2015

Because He Lives

"I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy."
Alma 29:9

It has been a crazy few weeks in Amherst. This upcoming Sunday we will be having a baptismal service in between sessions of General Conference! Walter and Jeremy and hopefully one of the Elders' investigators will be baptized on Easter Sunday! The conversion that these men have experienced is incredible. I know that the Lord answers prayers, that the Book of Mormon is true, and that the Spirit changes hearts. I know because I have experienced it myself as I have seen it change these good men. The Lord is aware of each of His children. He knows these little branches. He knows their struggles. When we exercise faith to be an instrument in His hands, His work goes forward. It's amazing to me that the Lord provided three prospective priesthood holders just when the branch needed them most. Those that have fellowshipped these individuals in their conversion have also been touched by the Spirit and deepened in their conversion. They have returned to full activity in the church.

Yesterday we had church for the first time in three weeks due to weather and stake conference. Partaking of the sacrament was a joyous experience for me and I felt so powerfully my Savior's love. During our testimony meeting, I felt overwhelmed by the Spirit, especially when I realized that it would be my last fast and testimony meeting as a missionary. Truly God is our Father, Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer, and Their love for us is perfect and unconditional. 

Because He lives, I have hope and joy, despite my imperfections, my sins, my weaknesses. His love and His Atonement fills me and makes more of me than I can ever comprehend. My testimony has become my most prized possession as I have served as a missionary. It has been tried and tested in so many ways, and while I still get nervous sharing it with others at times, I know what I know. I know where I stand now and where I want to stand in the eternities.

If you haven't already seen it, please watch the new Easter video that the Church produced at It is so powerful! On Easter, the Church will be the sole advertiser on the YouTube homepage. How cool is that? The Church is true! I am so excited to see how many people this video reaches over the next week. 

As you prepare to celebrate Easter and to hear from the living prophet and apostles, take some time this week to ponder and reflect on the Savior and His love. Write down some questions to seek revelation at General Conference. The answers will come.


Love you all!

Sister Renda

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

How Great Shall Be Your Joy

Another week of not enough time. The next few weeks are going to be like this, just a heads up. I want to take a family name to the temple when I go in Halifax. Any suggestions on where I can look on our family lines to find someone?
Also, thanks for the money! I want to get you all something Canadian. What shirt sizes does everyone wear?
Thanks for setting up my schedule!

This week was incredible! I am learning so much. Walter and Jeremy are doing amazing! The Elders came into the area at just the right time to help those here to progress. I will have to update you next week on everything. 

Love you!


I don't have much time today. We had another Nor'Easter yesterday. Church was cancelled. Sad day. Life is great when you are in the service of your God! I love serving with Sister Gochnour and Sister Curtis! Look out little Amherst! We are three sisters on a mission! I am so excited for the transfer ahead and for the miracles that we will see. President Leavitt is holding three mission-wide leadership training meetings this transfer. It's going to be a whirlwind and I am grateful that I have the opportunity to be a part of it all. 
This is the Lord's work and when we put our trust in Him, we will not fail. I love you!
Sister Renda

A Mighty Change of Heart

Transfers are this week and I am staying here with Sister Gochnour! We are getting another companion, Sister Curtis, who is from Alberta. There will also be two Elders coming to Amherst, one to serve as the second counselor in the branch presidency and the other to serve as the branch clerk. It's going to be another great transfer! It's hard to believe that this one is already practically gone. Time goes by faster and faster, which makes me nervous about this upcoming transfer. More than ever I feel a great sense of urgency to share the gospel. 

This last week was incredible! I think I mentioned last week that we met a man Sunday night that we gave a Book of Mormon to? He was pretty skeptical about it all, but had questions that he wanted answers to. We testified of the Book of Mormon, gave him a copy, and then on Monday night we called to follow up with him. He had read Alma 34 (the chapter we left with him) and then started at the beginning. We met with him that night and he told us that he prayed for the first time in a long time and that he felt what he read answered his question. We met with him every day last week and he is preparing for baptism on April 18. It is incredible to see the light that has come into his life this last week as he received revelation through prayer and from the Book of Mormon! He has been through a lot in his life and recently hit rock bottom. When we first started meeting with him, he didn't believe that God loved him, but now he KNOWS that God loves him. The gospel of Jesus Christ is true and it is real! It has the power to change each of us.

Reflecting back on meeting him last week, I am amazed at all of the little things that led us to his door that night. The week prior we had a fast as a zone to find new investigators. That day we had to change some of our plans and had questioned when we should go knocking. I felt an urge that day to share the Book of Mormon with someone after asking a member to write her testimony in the front cover of it. The testimony she wrote particularly applied to him. Heavenly Father is so amazing! All these small and simple things would be easy to overlook, but I know that they were subtle promptings that lead to miracles! Never push aside a good thought, especially to do something for someone else! God works through each of us to meet the needs of His children, our brothers and sisters. I feel so blessed to be a part of God's work and His glory!

Walter came to church again yesterday, despite feelings that he should just go back to bed that morning. Yeah! His friend who is a member has been reading the Book of Mormon with him between our visits. He is happier and full of life now. We are so excited for his baptism in a couple weeks!

I love this quote from Ezra Taft Benson:
"The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of people, and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature...Yes, Christ changes men, and changed men can change the world."

The gospel of Jesus Christ empowers us to change and to become! I know that this is true for I have seen it in myself and in the lives of others. Christ lives and He loves us. He came to help us. Through His Atonement we can be changed, renewed, enlivened. He is the reason!

Sister Renda

Sunday, March 8, 2015

There is Sunshine In My Soul Today (Even if there isn't any outside)

Another amazing week! AH! I just love being a missionary! There are so many incredible things happening right now in Amherst and I feel so blessed to be here right now. Next Sunday is transfer letter day. It's come so quickly. I just feel like I arrived in Amherst. I hope that I get to stay here next transfer with Sister Gochnour...but I know that whatever happens is what the Lord wants.

Walter came to church yesterday for the first time and he loved it! We learned that he met with missionaries about ten years ago and came to church in Amherst. He is so happy, which is so amazing because when we first started meeting with him, he struggled with feeling purpose in life. He is smoke-free now since January 1, the longest time in 35 years that he has stayed smoke-free. He quit before we started teaching him and he is experiencing tremendous blessings for keeping the commandments of God. 

Another miracle this week was meeting a young man who never felt like he found answers to his questions about religion. He was pretty skeptical about talking to us at first, but we were able to testify of the Book of Mormon and give him a copy of it. He told us he would start reading it that night. It's such an incredible feeling to find someone who is prepared like that.

I hope you all have a great week! I know that this is the Lord's work and He is aware of each of us and our needs. Love you!

Sister Renda
Yes, that is a car!!

Small and Simple Things

By Small and Simple Things

Can I just say that I love being a missionary? This week was awesome! Not for any grand reasons. Just the small and simple things. I started reading the Book of Mormon again. I set a goal to finish it by the time I go home. 65 days in total. Each day in my studies, I just feel so excited to read it! My testimony of its power to bring us closer to the Savior increases each time I read it. Do we realize how blessed we are to have this book of scripture? Studying it each day makes me want to share it with more people.

We taught a powerful lesson about the Restoration to Paul this week. The Spirit was so strong as my companion and I and the Lockharts shared our testimonies. He has undertaken the challenge to read the Book of Mormon and has already finished 1 Nephi. I am excited to continue teaching him!

I feel today to say with Nephi: "O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm. Yea, I know that God will give liberally to him that asketh. Yea, my God will give me, if I ask not amiss; therefore I will lift up my voice unto thee; yea, I will cry unto thee, my God, the rock of my righteousness. Behold, my voice shall forever ascend up unto thee, my rock and mine everlasting God. Amen." (2 Nephi 4:34-35)

Heavenly Father is ever mindful of us. I feel that more and more as I seek to see His hand in my life. 

I love you!

Sister Renda

Monday, February 16, 2015

Many Are Called, But Few Are Frozen

Greetings from the Great White North!

We had quite the blizzard yesterday. A Nor'Easter, as they are called. We had a short sacrament meeting yesterday morning with only 8 in attendance (4 missionaries, 2 non-members, and 2 members). Afterwards we spent over two hours trying to get people out of the parking lot and safely home with all the snow. We ended up leaving our car at the church because we couldn't get out and walking to the senior couple's apartment down the street. We spent the day with them yesterday as the wind and snow continued. It cleared up a bit this morning but is snowing again now. There are drifts 5 to 6 feet tall! The pictures attached are of Sister Gochnour and I at a French fort on the New Brunswick border and of the snow outside the back door this morning. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!
 Sister Gochnour and I at a French fort on the New Brunswick border 
Snow outside the back door this morning. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!
I was supposed to speak in sacrament meeting yesterday with the high councilman, but because of the storm that assignment is postponed until next week. All four missionaries shared our testimonies on the Restoration yesterday during church instead, so I didn't get out of speaking completely! Sister Lockhart and I also did a musical number.

 Despite not giving my original talk yesterday, I learned so much this week as I prepared for it. My topic was obedience. As I pondered on why God asks us to be obedient to His commandments, the Spirit bore witness to me that it is because He loves us and has our best interest in mind. Our obedience is how we show and increase in our love, faith, and trust in Him. As the third article of faith teaches, obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel is the only way for us to be saved through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The Savior is the perfect example of obedience. As I continue to learn about His life, I am in awe of His complete submission to His Father's will. His view of obedience was doing those things that pleased His Father (John 8:29). Here are some of my favorite quotes from my studies this week:

"Spiritually mature obedience is 'the Savior's obedience.' It is motivated by true love for Heavenly Father and His Son."
"Our love for the Savior is the key to Savior-like obedience."
-Elder Robert D. Hales

"Obedience is an emblem of our faith in the wisdom and power of the highest authority, even God."
-Elder L. Tom Perry

As I reflected on experiences, both good and bad, that I have had in regards to obedience as a missionary and in my life, I recognized that consistent obedience in the small and simple things created a strong foundation for me to build my life centered in Jesus Christ. Prayer and scripture study both individually and with my family, observance of the Sabbath day, temple attendance, small acts of kindness all led to miracles, whether I realized it in the moment or not until years later.

I know that God lives and He loves each one of us. His ways are not our ways, but His ways are best. Obedience is the price that brings joy to our lives! 

Christ is the reason!

Love you!
Sister Renda

Fear Not!

Fear Not!


"For as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."
1 Corinthians 2:9

That was the theme for this week. I feel such love for my Heavenly Father and my Savior Jesus Christ. Although I cannot comprehend the joy that awaits for those who are obedient to His commandments, I know more than ever that it is worth any sacrifice. We may not be able to see the end from the beginning, but He does and we must learn to trust Him and His plan for us.

We had a zone conference this week in Moncton. President and Sister Leavitt bore testimony about God's plan for each of us individually. I feel such love and gratitude for my mission president and his wife. They are powerful examples to me of consecration and wholehearted service to the Lord. I heard once upon a time that missionaries are called to their mission president, more than their mission. The more I serve with President and Sister Leavitt, the more I believe that. 

It's hard to believe that back home it's practically spring weather! We got a lot of snow this week and it has been cold, but we manage. :)

Sister Gochnour and Sister Renda
One of the best surprises of this week was a visit from some members from Newfoundland! Brother and Sister Martland were travelling to PEI and back this last week and got lost in Amherst... It was so good to see them! My heart was filled with love and joy for the people I have met on my mission. Each area has such a special place in my heart and I hope someday that I will be able to return to each and visit the people I have come to love so much.

Another surprise this week happened while we were visiting an elderly woman in a neighboring town. She took us out to lunch and while we were there she began having a hard time forming her words. Then she started to space out and began shaking and falling from the chair. A phone call to 911 and a drive to the local hospital later, we found out she suffered a mini stroke. She recovered fairly quickly and her sister came to pick her up. The life of a missionary for ya. 

Another miracle this week was teaching one of our investigators. Her daughter joined us for the first time and she told us that she started praying a week ago and has received answers to her prayers. We watched the Restoration DVD with them and the Spirit was so strong! Heavenly Father is so aware of each of His children! It is moments like that that make all of the rejection and heart ache and bitter cold worth it! 

Keep calm and pray on. The Lord is ever near and He wants to help each of us reach our full potential. Doing so will require us to set aside our own will and trust His plan. It will require us to be obedient and patient. 

Christ is the reason!

Sister Renda

Brother and Sister Lockhart with Sister Gochnour and Sister Renda

Sister Leavitt (Mission President's wife in center) with Sisters at the New Brunswick Zone Conference

New Beginnings

February 2, 2015

Transfers went well! I made it safely to Amherst and I love it! Sometimes I forget how different the culture of each province is. It's fun to be back in Nova Scotia! Amherst is a cute little town. It's bigger than Bay Roberts. Average attendance at church on Sunday is around 20. Yesterday due to the snowstorms, we had 9 at church and that includes 4 missionaries, us and the senior couple, the Lockharts. He is serving as branch president. They leave the end of February. Though we were small in numbers, the Spirit was so strong! There is a great feeling in the branch and I am so excited for the transfer ahead!

Sister Gochnour is from Holladay. She is so great! She has great joy and love in the work, and I am so excited to be serving with her. She has reminded me the past few days of the great joy that comes from being a missionary. We have a couple of investigators right now and we are hoping to see them progress towards baptism.

It has been frigid since I got here. Thank goodness for all of those tights you sent me. I'm going to have to wear all of them to keep warm! Haha. I bought some new boots a couple of weeks ago. I was hoping my other ones would survive another winter, but the zipper broke on the first day we had a big snowstorm in Bay Roberts. What are the chances? I didn't get to go to the temple this time around. We flew into Halifax around midnight Wednesday night and I got on the transfer van Thursday morning at 6 to drive to Moncton. Amherst is on the border of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. The missionaries in my zone are the French areas of New Brunswick, us and everyone on PEI. Sister Gochnour and I are STLs and all of the sisters are on PEI. Should be an adventure. I haven't heard back from President Leavitt yet. I'll let you know when I do.

This week I am filled with gratitude for trials. Looking back on my time as a missionary, I know that the Lord has allowed me to go through difficult things because He loves me. Every trial is an evidence of His love and His desire for me to be perfected in Him. If we allow ourselves to wallow in despair and suffering, we miss out on the great opportunities for the Lord to heal us and for us to get to know Him better. We just have to take a step back from the pain we feel and quickly our vision expands to an eternal perspective. There is something more and something greater in store because of the refinement we receive during our fiery furnaces. 

This quote came to mind this week as I have been thinking and reflecting. It's by Elaine S. Dalton:

"You are young women of great faith. You brought your faith with you when you came to the earth. Alma teaches us that in the premortal realms you exhibited 'exceeding faith and good works.' You fought with your faith and testimony to defend the plan that was presented by God. You knew the plan was good, and you knew that the Savior would do what He said He would do--because you knew Him! You stood with Him, and you were eager for your opportunity to come to earth. You knew what was going to be required of you. You knew it would be difficult, and yet you were confident not only that you could accomplish your divine mission but that you could make a difference."

What comfort I receive from knowing that I stood with the Savior before I came here. I can do it again. I know He lives and that this is His Church. He will always be there to uplift and strengthen us because this life was not meant to be easy.

I love you!

Sister Renda

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Voted Off the Island

"In the Lord's service the path is not always easy. It often requires sacrifices, and we will likely experience adversity. But in serving Him, we discover that His hand is truly over us. ... The Lord expects us to be as faithful, as devoted, as courageous as those who went before us. They were called to give their lives for the gospel. We are called to live our lives for the same purpose."
-Elder Robert D. Hales

I know you are all anxiously awaiting transfer news...I have been voted off the Rock and am headed for Amherst, Nova Scotia. My new companion will be Sister Gochnour. I don't know much about her, but I am looking forward to working with her! 

As always, it is sad to leave an area. I feel so blessed for the time I have spent here in Bay Roberts. I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude and love for the people here last week. Naturally when that happens, the Lord tells you it is time to move on. :)

Attached are some pictures from adventures in Bay Roberts.
The group photo is from Gosse's Manor and my friends there.
Sister Mangelson, Elder Hunt, and Elder Walker...goobers that I've had to deal with the past few months. ;)

Have a wonderful week! 
Love is always in season, and Christ is the Reason!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

"She Hath Wrought a Good Work"

Sorry to hear you are all sick! That is no fun! There's definitely something going around here as well, but I am healthy. Multivitamins, Vitamin C and exercise does an immune system well. :) How is your foot doing? Is it all recovered now? I got your package for my birthday! Thanks for the lotion and soap!

I feel a great sense of gratitude today for the blessing it is to be a missionary. One of the zone leaders taught me a powerful lesson this week. He referenced the story in the New Testament of Mary of Bethany anointing Christ's head and feet and wiping His feet with her hair and taught that my mission is my opportunity to be like Mary. That image stayed with me and the next day during my studies I read the different accounts of this story in the New Testament. Piecing the story together from John 12:1-3 and Mark 14:3-9, I imagined kneeling at the Savior's feet as Mary and wiping His feet with my hair. What love and reverence this faithful woman had for her Savior! The disciples watched and some of them said she wasted the oil (spikenard, one of the most expensive ointments or oils) which could have been sold and the money given to the poor. They told her that her sacrifice was not worth it. 

In return the Savior said, "Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me. For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always. She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel is preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her."

Though the world may mock at the sacrifices we make to follow the Savior, He is grateful for our sacrifices. 

This story of Mary reminds me of the last verse of A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief: 

"Then in a moment to my view
The stranger started from disguise.
The tokens in his hands I knew;
The Savior stood before mine eyes.
He spake and my poor name he named,
'Of me thou hast not been ashamed.
These deeds shall they memorial be. 
Fear not, thou didst them unto me."

Our service to others is how we show our love for our Savior and those small acts of kindness will be a memorial of our devotion and faith. 

I hope you have a great week! Love you! Transfers are coming quickly again. Sunday is transfer letter day. 

Have a great week!

Sister Renda

Thursday, January 15, 2015

My Missionary Commission

Hi Dad!

Good to hear you are still teaching Sunday school. Those Bible videos are amazing! One day I just want to have a Bible video marathon. Sister Mangelson and I were saying this week that we want the Church to make Book of Mormon videos with the same actor for Jesus from the Bible videos. I'm reading Jesus the Christ right now and I am always blown away by how much I don't know about the Savior's life. Sister Mangelson and I have been talking about how important it is that we know the Savior so that we can represent Him. 
Each day we recite Our Commission: "I am called of God. My authority is above that of the kings of the earth. By revelation I have been selected as a personal representative of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is my master, and He has chosen me to represent Him, to stand in His place, to say and do what He Himself would say and do if He personally were ministering to the very people to whom He has sent me. My voice is His voice. My acts are His acts. My doctrine is His doctrine. My commission is to do what He wants done, to say what He wants said, to be a living, modern witness in word and in deed of the divinity of His great and marvelous latter-day work. How great is my calling!" It's so important that I take that to heart.
There was an incredible worldwide devotional last night for young adults. Everyone should watch it! The message was the culmination of so many thoughts and ideas and conversations that I have had over the past transfer or so. Brother Ridd spoke on real intent and living life with purpose. David, especially, should watch it. How is he doing by the way? Is the Altima still kicking?
This week we prayed to know where we should go after providing service at a local thrift store. The thought came to go to a neighboring town and I started driving, still not really sure where we should go specifically. As I drove I felt to turn down the main road, thinking this would be our destination but then kept driving. I turned down another street that I felt good about and then told the Lord, "Okay, now I need a place to park." We kept driving and the houses became more spaced out. I spotted a car and felt I should park behind it. We got out and knocked on the door, to meet a woman who just rented the house that day and was only there for a short amount of time to get the heat turned on. She said she would be interested in listening to our message as she is going through some big life changes right now, but didn't have time then. We offered to shovel her porch and driveway. She left while we were still shoveling and as we continued, I knew that the Lord had directed us to her home. I don't know much about that woman, but I know that God is aware of her. I hope that the small act of service we provided her lightened her load. 
As Sister Mangelson and I talked about that experience later, we both felt that the most important thing we can ever do is love God and love others. When that love is our motive, everything else will fall into place. I've been thinking about my own motives and intentions. Why do I do the things I do? Is it because I love my Heavenly Father and my Savior? Do I have an eye single to the glory of God? If I don't, my seemingly good acts won't profit me any good. I must do the right things for the right reasons. 
In our Relief Society lesson yesterday, I learned something new about charity. I always thought about it as the pure love of Christ, the love that Christ has, that we all need to be striving to be filled with that same type of love for others. It hit me that charity can also be the pure love of Christ or the pure love for Christ. Christ lived the first great commandment. He loved God. If we truly have the pure love of Christ, then we will love God and Jesus Christ. They will be our priority and our focus. That love for Them will lead us to love all of those around us because we will see the great love that They have for each and every one of us. 
Loving God with an eye single to His glory means that we will do anything to help Him bring His children back to Him. 

I hope you have a great week! Remember that Christ is the reason, and love is always in season.

Love you!
Sister Renda 

Birthday Celebrations!

 (We realized there is a possibility that Maren could be home the second week of March. That is so soon. We have been missing her lately and are excited that she might be home sooner than we thought.)

Hello mudder! (That is how Newfies say mother) 

Thanks for the birthday wishes. We're having lunch with the Priests today, and I am making a fazookie. Mmmm. :)
Thanks for sending another entry from your journal. Those are definitely things that I have thought about as well. I was thinking about it yesterday, just reflecting on some experiences I have had this past week while knocking. It's interesting how I feel the Spirit more when I am talking with some people than with others. Your comment about how sometimes our contacts aren't ready for that powerful Spirit makes a lot of sense. A few different people invited us in over the past week, most of them because it was freezing outside and they invited us in to get warm. We had different gospel conversations with each of them, none of them willing to learn more. I recognized the Spirit's presence each time I bore testimony. It's interesting how at some doors, I could say the same thing, but I would not feel the Spirit as strongly. Perhaps it's the condition of my own heart in those situations, but I feel that the condition of that individual's heart has a bearing on how fully the Spirit will be present as well. 
With the start of a new year, it hit me how soon my mission will be over. Now more than ever, I need to be committed to the Lord's work. There is much for the Lord to teach me over the next few months, to prepare me for the work ahead in my life. 
I am so grateful for the knowledge of the restored gospel, for the perspective it gives me. We are so blessed to have it! We should be the happiest people on the earth, for we know that God is our Father, that Jesus is the Christ, and that the path to happiness and peace is marked clearly. I may not know everything, but I know that God loves me. Simple truths, simple acts make all the difference and are the means by which great things come to pass. 

I hope you have a great week! Love you!

Sister Maren Renda

A Great Week


Thanks for the email, Mom. It was what I needed to hear today, so thank you for sharing it with me. It's always good to know that someone else has experienced the same things you are going through. This last week I tried harder to focus on the Savior and felt the Spirit more than I have in awhile. I am so grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ, for His infinite love and compassion. It was wonderful to spend Christmas focusing on the Savior. Like you said, the most important thing is that I share His love with others. It was great to talk with you all on Christmas. It's crazy to think that the next time I see you all will be in person! 

We had a district meeting on Christmas Eve. I shared our tree of life tradition for the doctrinal discussion. As I get older and think more about that tradition and study the symbolism of Lehi's vision and Nephi's interpretation, I am so grateful for the impact of that family tradition in my life. Like Elder Bednar said last conference, "The greatest manifestation of God's love for His children is the mortal ministry, atoning sacrifice, and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. The fruit on the tree can be considered a symbol of the blessings of the Savior's Atonement. Lehi's instant response to partaking of the fruit of the tree and experiencing great joy was an increased desire to share with and serve his family. Thus, as he turned to Christ, he also turned outward in love and service."

 I know that each time I experience the Atonement working in my life, I feel a greater desire to share it with those around me. There are so many who need to experience the peace and joy that come from following the Savior Jesus Christ! I know that the Lord is preparing His children to receive this glad message. He has promised: "And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up." (D&C 84:88)

We taught J and T again this week. We asked T about reading and praying about the Book of Mormon. She said that she has never felt more grounded in her life. After she prayed about the Book of Mormon, she felt a stronger desire read it, whereas before sleep or other things would seem more important. I know that Heavenly Father hears and answers every prayer. His answers are always in His timing and in His way. I am excited for her to continue to read and pray each day! Tracey and I have the same birthday, so we decided we are going to celebrate together next week. :D

Love you! Have a great week! Remember Christ is the reason. And I will do my best to remember that too. :)

Sister Renda