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