Friday, August 23, 2013

August 22, 2013, Independence, Missouri

Dear Family,

So, this week has been crazy! My companion was transferred to a new area to open and has left me. But before I get into that let me tell you about how the week has gone.

Well, I have had some great experiences at the Visitor Center. I took a member family and a middle aged gentlemen, who was also a member, through the history presentation and I could feel the spirit so much through that presentation. I talked a lot about preparing ourselves to be people of Zion; a kind of people that could dwell with the Lord. There were just so many great insights and afterwards, the man told me he had come to Independence on a business trip, and had wanted to stop in since he was already here. He told me this was the highlight of his trip and that I am doing a fantastic job. It really made me feel good!

Also, my companion and I had a lot of training meetings with our zone and district last Friday, so we became re-motivated to be better at planning and focusing on those we teach. We had the best planning session ever! We would look at a goal and then individually pray about it, and come together on it and every time we did that our numbers would match up and we would discuss the people that came to mind when we made the goals. Our focus for this week was the number of people we would put on a baptismal date. We had hoped to put 3 on date and really wanted to focus on the RLDS M Family. We thought about each individual and made a specific plan of what we needed to focus on for each member of the family. So we had a great plan and it felt right.

On Tuesday we received transfer calls, and my companion was transferred to a new area that she has to open up with another sister who came out the same time as me. So, she will be opening a new area, going full proselyting and training. Needless to say she felt very overwhelmed and we both felt blind-sided. We thought for sure she would stick around another transfer to finish training me. So my new companion now is Sister A. She is from Logan Utah, and this is her last transfer before going home. My first "kill" J! I am excited to learn lots from her since she is such a pro, but I also feel very overwhelmed in basically being the senior companion in respect to knowing what is going on in the area. It is a lot of pressure.

So yesterday, Sister H (my old companion) and I went to the M Family’s house for dinner to teach lesson one and invite the family to baptism like I mentioned before. I was really excited and telling everyone about it, I knew the Lord would help us in that because we had received the direction and confirmation from Him through the Spirit. So, before the dinner appointment Sister H and I had even done a role play of me inviting the M's to baptism and them saying no to the invitation. I had to find out what was holding them back, address their concern and try and help them understand why baptism and setting a baptismal date now was so important for them. The role play went awesome! Sister H was being really tough on me and throwing at me a lot of concerns that I'm sure they would have, but I felt the Spirit guiding me in what to say and how to help them see that the gospel would help them and change their lives. It was such a cool experience. Unfortunately when it came time to go see them it turned out J, the mom, had to run out to help a patient, so we were only able to quickly eat dinner, briefly ask if they had read the Joseph Smith pamphlet and then leave. I was so upset. I was trying to figure out why our opportunity to finally teach them a lesson and invite them to baptism had been taken away from us. As I thought about it I realized that the Lord knows Sister H is leaving and that my new companion Sister A should be there from start to finish in teaching the M family, so that we are on the same page and can be a more effective unified companionship in teaching them. I'll just have to continue having faith and trust in the Lord and work according to His timing.

Otherwise things are going well. I feel like I am getting a better grip on door approaches. We had a neat experience where I chose a door to knock and an old lady lived there. She mentioned that she has been an active Presbyterian for 60 years. I love it when people say that. They always think it will deter us, but it doesn't. Instead we talk them and ask them how they have seen their belief in God influence their life or done for them. We always end up having a great discussion. Anyway, this lady, Betsy, was very nice and at first I could tell she wanted us to move on, but as I was more personable with her she opened up. We mostly stayed on common ground of beliefs, and we invited her to come to the Visitor Center. She said she isn't interested in learning more, but we are definitely going to pop by every once in a while to see her, because I see some potential there.

The Visitor Center has been kind of slow, but it is giving me more study time which is awesome. I have started reading the Book of Mormon again and reading it more to gain insights for my investigators, which is awesome. Sister H and I talked about the Book of Mormon and how it really is a source of personal revelation. A lot of times we think of specific passages to address specific concerns. For example if you want to teach someone about faith, Alma 32. But we discussed how no matter where you are in the scriptures if you liken them unto yourself and you have a specific question or concern, the Book of Mormon, no matter where you are, can answer that. So I have been trying to put that to the test more. Reading from the beginning of the Book of Mormon to end, and each day thinking of a different investigator we are teaching and seeing how what I read relates to them and new insights I can gain to help them. So far it is going really well and it is so cool to see. I feel like this is going to be a really great transfer and I am excited to learn so much more and become an even better missionary so I can really help others.

Elder C Luening, I am so excited for the two baptisms you had and that Opa was able to perform that sacred ordinance.

Elder J Luening, keep up the great work in Vancouver and I can't wait to hear about how things go in Italy once you get there.

Kass and Scott, I hope things are going well!

Auntie Kirsten, I'm glad to hear things went well at family camp, even though the trip to and from camp weren't the most pleasant. Wish Jocelynn and Laurel the best of luck from me and thanks for all your insight into 2 Nephi 33:2. I hope the move with Jocelynn and Laurel went well and with those two gone that things will calm down for you.

Mom and Dad,  I'm glad to hear that things are kind of getting back into order for you and your callings. I love you two so much and you both work so hard. I know the Lord is blessing our family so much because I feel it and see it every day I am out here. I'm so thankful for your testimonies and all that you do to fully consecrate your time, talents and efforts to the Lord and helping build up his kingdom. I feel so blessed to be in a place that will one day truly be Zion. That this is the place that is being prepared for the second coming of the Lord and I am able to have a direct work in establishing and preparing this place for the Lord. It is just so cool! There is so much history here and it makes me gain so much appreciation for the pioneers and for Joseph Smith. They had to be so strong, resilient and filled with so much love to be early members of the church and go wherever the prophet asked. They were an amazing people!! And I am so blessed to learn more and more from their examples and their history. I love you both so much!

All my love,

Sister Luening

P.S. My P-day has been changed to Wednesday!

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