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