Saturday, August 17, 2013

July11, 2013, MTC, Provo

Dear Mom and Dad,

I hope your vacation in Europe is going really well and that you are enjoying spending time with Oma and Opa! Tell them I say hello and love them sooo much!

Missouri is wonderful! It is pretty warm and mildly humid, but nothing like I was expecting. I straightened my hair the day I flew in and the entire day it was fine it didn't frizz up or anything, lol!  It is pretty flat here, a few rolling hills, but lots and lots of trees, which makes up for the fact that there are absolutely no mountains here. But maybe you could send me some pictures as a reminder of what mountains look like, ha-ha!. The trees are beautiful! So far everything has been great!

I want to catch you up on some stuff that happened last week. So last week on Saturday, we went to Temple Square to give tours. Right away once I was signed up with one of the sisters serving in Temple Square, Sister Yu from Hong Kong China, we went and gave Cantonese speaking tours to a group of 20 Chinese people. I had no clue what was being said, but any opportunity Sister Yu gave me to bear my testimony on the temple, pioneers, the Book of Mormon, etc., I did! As I bore my testimony in English she would translate it into Cantonese. It was so cool! After that tour we went up to the North Visitor's Center and went up to the Christus Statue. We were hoping to take a group through the Eternal Families video tour, but nobody really wanted to go. However an Indian man did want to talk to us and ask us questions. His first question was who we follow, Joseph Smith or Jesus Christ. I honestly was sitting there thinking about it, but Sister Yu without hesitation said, “Jesus Christ”. As soon as she said that, I was just shaking my head at myself for even having to pause and think about that for a second. Of course we believe in Jesus Christ. Yes we know Joseph Smith was a prophet, but ultimately everything is done through Christ! He said that our Christian faith is similar to his faith. We found out he is of the Bahai faith in India. He said most Christian faiths believe and talk of Christ, but none of them truly act like Christ and live his doctrine. He said he is really impressed with the LDS church in the fact that they truly live and try to emulate Christ in all aspects of our lives. He said he is so impressed that our church truly tries to better communities. For about 20 minutes he just was saying how proud of us he is and that us being on a mission serving Jesus Christ is incredible and we will be so blessed for doing that. He was so nice!! He did receive a copy of the Book of Mormon and said he would read it, and even gave us his information so we can keep in touch. Oh my goodness, he was just such a nice man! That was all that really happened at Temple Square, but it was such a great experience.

Yesterday at around 1:00PM (11:00AM Trail time) we landed at the Kansas, Missouri airport. President and Sister Keyes greeted us at the airport and took us on a tour of the area. First we stopped at the Kansas Temple which was just dedicated last year. It is beautiful! It has the same kind of structure as the Rexburg, Idaho temple, except it has a steeple at the back of the temple as well as in the front. The intricate designs make it so beautiful. We got a picture in front of the temple with the 30 new missionaries that arrived to Missouri from the MTC. Then we went to Liberty Jail and had a tour there. It is such a small visitor's center, but really neat! After that we went to the Main Visitor's Center in Independence. We had a tour there; it was really interesting hearing about the revelations that were given to Joseph Smith concerning Missouri and Zion. After the tour we went to the mission home and had a meeting with the Zone Leaders and all of the Mission Leaders. We had dinner, which was delicious and then we had more meetings and our interviews with President Keyes. In the Interview President Keyes told me I would be start off serving with Sister H in the larger Visitor's Center in Independence. I am also assigned to serve in the Independence Second Ward, which apparently has a lot of Samoans, hooray!! A member in the MTC Presidency, actually told Sister Anderson and I that the average weight gain in our mission is 30 lbs!! Apparently the Samoan people really want to keep us well fed.

Today is P-day!!  Kind of funny that my first actual missionary day here turns out to be my P-day, haha! It is a good thing its P-day though, because I was feeling a little over-whelmed I think. First thing in the morning we had breakfast and a quick meeting with President Keyes in the mission home where we stayed last night. After that we headed to the mission office to meet our new companion and start our first real missionary day. It was kind of overwhelming to see so many new people, leave the people and companions we did know and then just go and do whatever it was that we needed to do. I just felt very lost! I had no clue what we were doing or what we were going to be doing. Sister H is awesome though, and she told me we would go pick up some sisters, do laundry, plan, have companion study, etc.
 The thing I felt most overwhelmed about is the fact that Sister H told me I might have to give a tour tomorrow all by myself if it is busy. I don't know anything so that kind of scared me. She gave me Historic Information booklet (it is like the size of Preach my Gospel) to read and that is the information I need to get familiar with for giving tours. So I have to trust that God is really going to help me, because I have to teach about church history and then relate it all back to the doctrine of Christ according to the needs of the Visitors. But hey, all things are possible with the Lord's help and with His Spirit. That is what faith is, right!

Tonight we have dinner with the R family (don't know anything about them, ha-ha), but I am looking forward to it. Tomorrow we are at the Visitor's Center from 9am-3pm. Then we have companion study, a dinner appointment and two teaching appointments with progressing investigators. Apparently we have a baptism scheduled for next week. Oh yeah, I think I forgot to mention that our mission was split. So we basically lost all of the state of Kansas and Nebraska. So now we just cover the Missouri part of the map.

Anyways, I love it here so far. The sisters are great and I am slowly adjusting. Pray for me that I am able to pick up on the history quickly and pray that I will know how to relate it back to the doctrine of Christ. I know I can't do this alone and I need God's. I love you so much!

Mom and Dad, be safe and have a great time in Europe. I hope you are able to see lots of your friends. I know this church is true. I am so thankful for your examples to me and for the way you raised me with love in the gospel. I am so thankful for the family I have and I don't know how I was so lucky to be blessed with such strong and loving parents and with siblings that are so grateful for their Saviour Jesus Christ. I am so thankful for Christ, for His atonement, death and resurrection. The hope and joy that brings to my heart to know I have a way to get back to my father through repentance is incredible. I am so thankful for God's love and sacrifice in sending His Only Begotten Son. I can't even imagine how hard that must have been for Him. I am so thankful for trials. I know that trials are a way for us to not only prove to God, but prove to ourselves what our true characters are. Are we willing to go forth in faith down the right path that may seem difficult at times, or will we cower and shrink, abandoning the path that leads us to God's Vision of whom we can become. I know being on a mission is where I am supposed to be. I know that serving the Lord and inviting others to come unto Christ. And I know that doing all I can to serve the Lord, pressing forward with faith will allow me to truly transform and become God's Daughter!

I love you and pray for you,

Sister Luening

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