Saturday, August 17, 2013

August 8, 2013, Independence, Missouri

Dear Family,
Thanks so much for the e-mails and letting me know what you have all been up to and how your week has been going. I definitely needed to hear that. This last week has just been kind of slow and my companion and I have been struggling to know how to help those we are teaching.

We have a less active woman who invites us over to teach her son who is turning 8 soon and so she wants him baptized. But ultimately having him baptized while she isn't active isn't going to do him very much good if he isn't going to have the support to help him in the church. So, we have been trying to figure out how we can teach her son, but also help her build her own testimony and allow the power of the spirit conversion work in her. Also our non-member family we are working with we are finding it really hard to know where to begin teaching them. They are RLDS and so they have the same foundational beliefs, so really what it comes down to is the proper authority and the fact that our church has the Priesthood Keys. Figuring out how to get to that point with them, is the tricky part.
The last few days I have been focusing on how to teach with the Spirit, and how to create an environment in which the Spirit of Conversion will be present. I came across a scripture in Preach my Gospel while I was focusing on the personal study on page 93. The scripture was in 2 Nephi 33:2. I have come to realize I love the last chapter in the books of the Book of Mormon, because it really is a final testament and pure testimony from those prophets of old and are just filled with so much power. It reads: "But behold, there are many that harden their hearts against the Holy Spirit, that it hath no place in them; wherefore they cast many things away which are written and esteem them as things of naught."

I pondered that scripture and reflected on my own life and in what ways I "harden my heart against the Spirit" and if I "cast many things away which are written and esteem them as things of naught". Thinking about it in that light actually helped me a lot in figuring out what small things I can do better each day to more fully have the Spirit with me. It will take time, but I am excited to see how hopefully I will be led and guided more and more by the Spirit and help others also feel of the spirit as we teach.
Some things that have been really awesome this last week are: On Sunday,our ward mission leader told us our ward correlation meetings are going to be changing and become much more productive and effective in really helping the ward missionary effort. Sister H and I had been praying to know how to make those meetings more effective and had planned to bring up a few things in that meeting, but obviously Br. B had been inspired as well and addressed all the concerns we had had, which was really cool to see. So sister H and I are really excited to see how our correlation meetings will really help strengthen and unify member and missionary efforts in the ward.
Also on Sunday Lesi was confirmed and received the Holy Ghost, the Holy Ghost burned within me and witnessed to me that the ordinance that was taking place was truly of God. It was so amazing. Also later that night, we invited Lesi to come to the Visitor's Center to bear her testimony at President's Devotional. It is something that happens every Fast Sunday and gives new converts the opportunity to share their conversion stories and bear their testimonies. It was the first one I had ever been to and it was a lot bigger than I expected. There were a good 60-70 people. It was so amazing to hear the simple, yet powerful testimonies of these new members and just re-affirmed to me of the importance of the missionary work we are all doing.
Mom and Dad, I so glad to hear that your trip has been an amazing experience and I agree that you two have to go on a couples mission when you are older. It is so cool to hear of your re-union experiences and how your missionary service has touched people’s lives.
Elder C Luening, I am so excited to hear about the investigators in Hamburg. Keep up the great work and I can't wait to hear more.
Elder J Luening, woohoo!! Italy next month, that is awesome! Don't allow the negative things of what others say about the church get you down. I find it funny that people would exert so much effort to be negative and down other people's beliefs than just simply share what they themselves believe to be true. Just keep that in mind though when you meet those people who are very negative, don't argue, just bare your own testimony and leave. Keep trying to work with those members, if you pray and really ponder about how you can get the ward more involved I know you will be inspired and lead by the spirit in knowing what to do.
I love you all so much and can't wait to hear from you next week. Keep letting me know how things are going!  Know that I am doing well and pressing forward in the work J!

Sister Luening

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