Wednesday, August 28, 2013

August 28, 2013, Independence, Missouri

Dear Family,

Man, this has been a crazy last 6 days. I'm not going to lie – Thursday (when I e-mailed and had just met my companion that day) and Friday were my most stressful days! I was in charge and felt very overwhelmed trying to remember all of the people we have been visiting and need to visit (members,  recent converts, less actives, investigators and potential investigators). I came to realize that Sister H and I did not keep our area book up-to-date, which really turned out to bite me in the butt.  So, with Sister A, every night after we finished our daily planning, I have been sitting down and going through the area book to update it with the people Sister H and I have come into contact with in the last 6 weeks. So now our records are up to date and help us organize and plan our days more effectively. It has been a lot of work, but it has really taught me the importance of record keeping. Things are going a lot better now!

Anyway, my new companion Sister A is amazing! She is such a hard worker I love it. I feel like she is putting me through a spiritual and physical boot camp! She really tries to make every second count, no wasting time with her! On Friday, when we did our weekly planning and as Sister A and I talked about using time the most effectively, she told me there are a lot of missionaries that can keep busy, but we don't just want to be busy; we want to really maximize our time and efforts to finding those who are prepared to hear the gospel. Missionary work with Sister A is definitely a lot faster paced, which is exactly what I had been yearning for. I have been seeing a lot more success in the area and I know it is because all of our time, talents and efforts have been in the work. It is so wonderful to see how the Lord really does bless us, when we work as hard as we truly can. I definitely look up to Sister A and am already getting sad that she will be leaving me in 5 weeks. But I am going to try to learn as much from her as I can.  I know it won't all come at once, but there is so much I have to learn from her and that I want to become a part of me.  Also, the reason I say she is putting me through a physical boot camp is because we both decided we want to shed some pounds. I have put on 15 pounds since leaving home and I want to drop at least 10 pounds this transfer. Sister Allen and I have been running every morning, and eating really healthy. She just motivates me to do better in everything I do! She is amazing.

Also, I don't know if I have mentioned this already or not, but I have decided to read the Book of Mormon again. I am only in 1 Nephi, but I have come to realize that Nephi was one of the greatest missionaries in the Book of Mormon. He always wanted to know for himself if what his father was saying was true and so he would pray to the Lord about it. Once he came to the knowledge, he would go tell his brothers. He never withheld the gospel knowledge from them. He always taught them and tried to help them understand how they could become better and what they needed to do to change and receive of the wonderful blessings of the gospel. That's something I am beginning to admire about Nephi so much. No matter what, he always tried to warn his brothers. Even though he knew that they would curse him or beat him up, he never gave up on them and I know it is because of the love he had for them.

Well, Independence is beginning to heat up a lot more. It has been a hot week and it is supposed to get hotter. I have never been so grateful to do laundry in my entire life. I'm not really too sure how to describe the people of Independence....they are definitely interesting and very different than the kind of people I am used to. They are just odd, but I love them, ha-ha! Some people are just down right crazy though, and I am not kidding. We have had quite a few laughs after meeting some people, lol! But, hey amongst some of the crazy people we find people who are prepared to listen. I'm really glad that Sister Allen and I are having success out in our area because the Visitor Center has really slowed down, but I figure it will give me some much needed time to read more of the history packet I was given and try to relate it more to us in our day.

Mom it sounds like that giant ward sale went awesome! I love you. Your diligence, sacrifice, testimony, and patience have always been such an example for me. As I take people through a video presentation about God's plan for his family, it always reminds me of you and dad and how much you have sacrificed for us. Keep up the great work. I can't believe that you are getting so many hours at work. Just don't burn yourself out. I love you so much and all the sacrifices you and dad are making to allow us kids to be able to serve our missions. This is the greatest gift I have ever been given and I am so thankful for it.

As for a package.....I can't really think of anything that I want or need, lol! I think I have just learned to live with what I've got and can't think of anything specific that I would like or need. Have a great week!

Dad thanks so much for your e-mails. It sounds like you are doing awesome and learning so much in high council. Ha-ha, I'm glad to hear I am keeping you entertained, and I love you so much. Your words of encouragement mean a lot to me.

Elder Luening, keep up the great work in Hamburg! Keep making every second count. I look up to you so much and am so proud of you and of how hard you work!

Anziano Luening, I'm so excited for you to finally be able to go to Italy. I know you have learned a lot from the MTC and in your area in the Vancouver mission. I hope all goes well with your flight and I will be praying for you that the language will come naturally to you and that the things you have learned in the MTC will come back to your memory.

I love you all so much, keep letting your light shine to the world and remember to be bold in the sharing the message of the Gospel that has blessed our lives immensely!

All my love,

Sister Luening

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