Saturday, September 28, 2013

September18, 2013, Independence

Dear Family,

     Ok,  so I love Elder J Luening's term “Miracle Fence”, because, that's right,….. definitely blew threw one this week!J Last week we had a lot of dropped appointments, and then I took two days off of my foot, but it was all in preparation for this week! My foot is back to 100% function after the two days I took off of it, woohoo!
     Sister A and I went on exchanges and it was awesome. My companion for the day on Monday was Sister L, she is so awesome! We went out into our area and all the people we planned to just drop in and see weren't home. After about the third planned person not being home, I was like, “OK, let’s knock a door”. I looked around and a door stood out to me, so I told Sister L., “Let’s try that one”. She agreed. Well that was definitely the Holy Ghost making that door stand out, because a lady in her 40's answered. She had hurt her ankle and so was hobbling around. We talked to her for a few moments relating injury stories and found out she was Baptist. Then sister L and I told her who we were as missionaries. As I began to tell her about the restored Gospel and about the pattern of prophets and that God does call prophets in every dispensation, I stopped and asked her what it would mean to her to know there was a prophet on the earth today. She paused, Sister L followed up with saying, “You probably haven't really wondered that before." Cindy (the lady), said she actually had wondered if there could be a prophet on the earth today. I testified that there is a prophet and that the message we have to share can help her know for herself that there is. We gave her a Restoration pamphlet and set up a return appointment. Leaving her house Sister Lettig and I were stunned. We were filled with gratitude and walked a few houses up and stood in the street and said a prayer of gratitude. Out of the two hours we had spent in the area, C was the only one who had been home. We were meant to find her, and I can't wait to teach her tonight.
     Also, things are going really well with our investigator J. He originally came into the Visitor Center and said he wanted to learn about the church because his less active girlfriend wants to get married in the temple. We have been very open and bold with him in helping him realize that the gospel of Jesus Christ is a lifestyle and he needs to be doing this for himself not for anyone else. We have been praying the last few weeks for him that he will develop real intent, and, well, he definitely has! We went over lesson one with him and he has started praying and believes that Joseph Smith is a prophet. On Monday night, Sister Allen and I taught him about The Plan of Salvation up to the Atonement. In our first meeting with him he had a lot of questions concerning the Plan of Salvation. As we were teaching him, I could see him getting excited that there really was a plan and purpose for him in his life. As we explained the atonement, he stopped us and asked how he can repent of his sins. My mind was exploding with happiness. Did he really just ask us how he can repent?!?! Oh my gosh, so then we explained what repentance means and the steps of repentance. We also invited him to read the Book of Mormon and invited him to church. We are hoping work won't interfere with him coming to church. His original baptismal date was for September 28th, but since he hasn't been able to come to church, we are going to need to move it up. It is so cool to see how much he has progressed over the last few weeks and how much he is beginning to realize what the gospel will do for him. I love missionary work and I love the spirit of conversion. Witnessing its power in other people's lives is an amazing privilege!!
     This week, I have really been trying to develop humility and gratitude. I have seen as I have strived to have more gratitude each day, that I have been able to witness the little miracles God blesses us with each day. Even just being able to share the message of the gospel with people for a brief moment is such a blessing to me. I feel so grateful for the people I am able to come in contact with. Ha-ha-ha, the other day Sister A and I were tracting and we went to an apartment complex. We knocked on about 10 doors and nobody answered. I just looked at her and told her, “Sister Allen we are not leaving until either someone answers the door and allows us to share a message or slams the door in our face”. I hope that is the kind of attitude I can have every day of my mission. Desiring every day to fulfill my purpose of inviting others come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
     I'm so thankful for the gospel of Jesus Christ. I'm so thankful for the atonement and power it has to work miracles in our lives. It truly is there to help us overcome anything and everything that comes our way. In preach my gospel page 32, it says: "Our father's plan for us to be successful in this life and to return to live with Him is called the gospel of Jesus Christ, with Jesus' Atonement at the center of that plan". I am so thankful for the plan our Father in Heaven has for us. I'm thankful for how it is a perfect and complete plan. It is there for us to partake in. The Saviour says. "Come unto me"! It requires us to take steps toward him. He is there waiting for us, all we need to do is decide and then act! I love you all and I am so thankful for your examples. I pray for all of you and hope that the Lord is strengthening your conversions, that you are taking hold of the scriptures and truly feasting on them. There is so much to be learned from them and the application of their teachings into our lives is remarkable and creates the atmosphere of conversion to be able to continue throughout our lives. Have a great week!
Love Sister Luening!

P.S. Mom, it got really cold here this week. Could you send the box of my winter things you have at home. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

September 11, 2013 Indepenence

Dear Family,

     This last week has been great!! Sister Allen and I have been able to see so many miracles. It has been kind of bummer with my foot since only walking on it for about 20 minutes causes it swell up quite a bit. So we are only able to walk around in our area for about 1 hour before we are back at the Visitor Center to ice it. We have mainly been staying in our area closest to the Visitor Center, since we haven't had any car days. But I can see that the Lord sees the desire of my heart and my willingness to work my hardest and as diligently as I can. He has blessed us with so many opportunities to share the gospel and I am definitely improving with talking to people about the gospel in a more casual and personable way. It is all thanks to a great trainer and a loving Heavenly Father. Of that I am sure!

      So on Thursday night as we were trying to get into our apartment to do our daily planning and go to sleep,  Sister A and I realized that my key with my key clip and everything, had fallen off my pack sometime when we were in the area. We called some of the senior couples, and they tried breaking into our apartment, but it didn't work. Our landlord didn't answer the phone, so we stayed with the other sister missionaries in the apartment above us. It was so gross! We had to wear the same clothes the next day and weren't really able to brush our teeth. But at least we had a place to sleep. The next morning a senior missionary couple took us to our area to retrace our steps and our keys were nowhere to be found. Our landlord finally got back to us and we were able to get some keys cut and get into our apartment. I had never been so thankful for clean clothes in my entire life!

     Saturday Sister A and I were on exchanges, so I had a different companion that day in my area. It was fun getting to know Sister R. Unfortunately all of our appointments fell through and we had to go to the Visitor Center early because my ankle kept swelling up. So we spent the last hour of our day making phone calls to potential investigators in our book. As I was flipping through the pages,  I came across a name which I thought would be a woman. I gave the number a try and a man answered. It was soo cool! I was able to have a good 10-15 minute discussion with him about the gospel. He said I could call him back in a few days to get his address to go teach him. It was such a miracle and such a cool experience.

     On Sunday we had another miracle happen. After church and our visitor Center shift, Sister A and I started walking over to our dinner appointment. As we were walking, Sister Allen pointed out a house and said we should knock on that door. An older man came to the door and we started talking to him. It turned out he used to be RLDS, but had left that church and was attending a restoration branch. As we were getting to know him, and telling him about the gospel, we mostly focused with him on the scripture Helaman 5:12. He said just an hour and a half before we showed up he was praying to God to receive more guidance and direction for his life. As he said that I had to control myself from letting my jaw drop to the floor. Sister A and I looked at each other. We testified to him that it wasn't a coincidence that we knocked on his door. We let him know that he was the only door we had knocked on all day and that us arriving at his house was God's answer to his prayer. He seemed to slightly agree with us, and he said he would have to pray about it to know if this is what God wanted him to do. We set up a return appointment. It was amazing! Out of all the houses we walked past that day, Sister Allen followed the prompting of the Spirit,  knocked on that man's door who had been seeking for direction and there we were.

      ".....has the day of miracles ceased? Or have the angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? Or has he withheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them?.....Behold I say unto you, Nay! for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister into men...." Moroni 7:35-37

     I am so thankful for the gospel in my life. I am so thankful for the opportunity that I have to be a servant of the Lord and take part in these miracles. I am thankful to have the privilege to be a servant in the Lord's vineyard. And I know that as I thrust in my sickle with all of my might, that the Lord continually blesses me. I know that for me, "the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak" (Matthew 26:41). I know the Lord recognizes the desires and intents of my heart and although I am not able to spend as much time in my area as I would like, I see the Lord blessing us with miracles. I'm so thankful for the atonement. I am beginning to understand that it truly is more than just a cleansing power, but as President Uchtdorf has said, " a healing balm". It is not just there to strengthen us from sin, but it is there to comfort us and give us aid when we are in times of desperation or in times of despair. It is a gift given to us to cleanse us, comfort, us lift us and help us endure all things that come our way. I am so thankful for that and I am so thankful for my saviour who endured it all patiently and willingly.

     I love you all and hope you have a great week! Please pray for my foot. I got it checked out again and the doctor said if it does not get better in a week, I should get an MRI to make sure nothing got torn....torn things could mean surgery. I don’t think anything is torn, but my Zone Leaders, District Leaders and my companion have ordered me to stay completely off of it for two days to see if it gets any better, so I am going to have a lot of phone time in the VC. But as a missionary my purpose will still be the same, inviting others to come unto Christ and for that I am grateful!

     Mom,      I'm sorry the lesson went kind of rough, and I know the Lord is recognizing all of your efforts in what you are doing. Keep it up, I'm sure it is not always easy, but I know that the Lord is always blessing you and is aware of you. If you get a chance, I would love for you to read about Joseph Smith's experience in Liberty jail and the Lord's answer to his prayer it is so powerful! D&C 121:1-9

     Dad,       Thanks so much for all of your encouraging and kind words. I love you and mom so much!  I hope you keep having a great week and continue to be a great light to those as you fulfill your calling in high council!

Elder Luning,      HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! I hope your day is wonderful and that you see miracles! What better place to celebrate a birthday than in the service of the Lord! Keep up the great work, I pray for you :)

Anziano Luening,      You lucky dog! I cannot believe how beautiful the place is where you are serving. I know that as you go forth continuing to plant seeds, the Lord is blessing you. I will continue to pray that the language will come to you quickly. Good Luck out there and slay it! J

Love Sister Luening 

September 4, 2013, Independence


Dear Family,

First of all I just want to tell you Mom, how  GRATEFUL (Did I spell that right?  
J) I am that you are posting my e-mails on my blog. I know you are really busy and it means a lot to me to know that you are taking the time to do it. You are amazing, you are like super-woman!

Dad, thanks for you e-mails and your great insights into missionary work. Over the last few days I have been thinking about how I really do need to use the scriptures more. And it is true, the scriptures bring the Spirit of conversion in a way that our own words just can't.

Elder Luening, keep up the great work in Hamburg. It sounds like you are bringing the Spirit everywhere you go. That is so wonderful that you have been able to reach your goal of bringing three souls unto Christ.

Anziano Luening, Zyanya told me that you were able to teach K's mom in Kamloops that is so awesome! I am really excited to see how things go for you in Italy! Funny how wherever you are serving the Lord, that is the area that you grow to love and it each person finds it personally "the best mission ever". I know just as you have grown to love the Vancouver mission you will grow to love the Italy mission. Keep working hard and being exactly obedient and the Lord will bless you with miracles.

So, this last week has been crazy!! This last week has been wonderful even though I have been a running accident! Allow me to explain. So, on Thursday, Sister A and I went running for morning exercise and the tree branches were hanging really low on the sidewalk and one of the branches was hanging right out of my view but low enough that it stabbed me in the forehead and then ran down my face towards my eye. It barely missed my eyeball, but gauged me pretty good underneath my eye. Then on Saturday, Sister Allen and I went running and as I was running I felt a sharp pain in my heel with every stride I took it got worse, so I stopped and told Sister Allen that we needed to head back to the house. We called the mission nurse and she was worried it was my Achilles tendon, so she told me to stay off of it for 48 hours, and to ice it.  They found me crutches which were a good 5 inches too short for me so they sat at my ribcage. I was dumped at the Visitor Center for the day and spent 6 hours calling potential investigators and former investigators to try and do missionary work over the phone. I really wished I could have been out in the area, because of all the days I could have been injured, it was on our Full Proselyting Day, which I had been really excited for.

     On Sunday, we went to Church and once again I was Visitor Center bound. By Monday my heel was feeling a little better, but the nurse wanted me to go get an X-ray. Nothing was broken, hooray! So, the doctor said I probably pulled some tendons, but cleared me to start walking on it a little more. Then on Tuesday, I slipped in the shower and fell on the edge of the tub! That hurt so bad, but luckily it only bruised my thigh and hey, it made me forget the little pain I still felt in my heel. However, my heel was feeling good enough that I didn't use crutches yesterday and we went out into the area with Sister A. And that concludes the injuries in the last 5 days, ha-ha-ha-ha! Sister Allen said every single one of her companions has been sick or injured when she has been with them, and it is something that President Keyes has also recognized. He said Sister Allen has been given a special calling on her mission: that is to care for her companions. I'm lucky though, because all the other companions that sister A has had, she has had to rush to the ER and they have been hospital bound for a few days.

    The work is really moving forward and Sister A and I have been blessed with so many more teaching opportunities. This last Fast Sunday we had a mission wide fast to have a "Finding Fall": to have Heavenly Father guide us to those souls who have been prepared to hear the gospel. We have already seen the fruits of the fast come to us. We have had so many teaching opportunities, and the work in our area seems to be progressing quite a bit.

     The last few days have made me so thankful for the gospel and for having been raised in it. There are so many families that don't have the gospel and their lives and families just seem to be surrounded in chaos. They yearn for that peace in their life that I know only the gospel can bring. One less-active woman we are teaching in particular has expressed to us how much she wants that peace in her life, and seeing her family situation is just so sad.  It could have been so different had she stayed faithful to the things she knew to be true. However, that is the great thing about the atonement. It allows us to repent and change. In preach my gospel it says: "Families torn by discord can be healed through repentance, forgiveness and faith in power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ" (p.3). I'm so thankful for this gospel. I'm so thankful for the knowledge that we know the kind of peace it truly brings into our lives and how much stronger it can make our families.

     Sister A and I are already beginning to experience the fruits of the mission-wide fast. It is amazing! We have been able to find quite a few people that we have been able to share a quick message with and invite to learn more. It has been happening by just going forth and sharing a message with all those that we see. I am feeling so blessed by having teaching opportunities and finally being able to use the things I have learned and try to be a better teacher. The thing I am struggling with most is “teaching people, not lessons”. I know it comes over time and through coming to recognize the Spirit more. Sister Allen has been so wonderful with leading by example and showing me new teaching skills and methods. She is helping me to express the message of the gospel more naturally. At times I recognize that I become a little robotic. I am learning so much from her and it saddens me to think that she will be leaving me after only one transfer together.  But I am trying to soak in as much as I can, because she is truly an astounding missionary and I feel so blessed to be her companion. She has been such a blessing to me and is so charitable. I have truly seen that as she has served me, I am realizing there really is nothing to fear when it comes top missionary work. You just share what you know to be true, pray that the Spirit will touch their  hearts and allow them to  use their agency. No second is ever wasted when we are diligently going forth and doing the Lord’s work, and for that I am so thankful.

I know this gospel is true and that it truly does bless individuals, families and societies. My mission is helping me to be even more grateful for having been raised in a home that had the message of the restoration and the knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This knowledge creates an even greater desire for me to share it with others, so others may see and feel the blessings the gospel brings to families. I love this gospel and my Father in Heaven. I am thankful for the testimony I have and am thankful to be in Missouri, Independence Mission.
     To all of you:  remember the verse in Doctrine and Covenants 64:33-34    “Wherefore be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great. Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days.”

     I love how it says, “for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.” We don’t fully know the impact what we are doing is having on those we serve and those we invite to come unto Christ. But it is out of small things we do, out of our everyday actions  and invitations that great things will proceed out of the small things.

Just remember that! I love you all and pray that you are having a good week, don’t worry about me. I am doing well and will continue to heal. I know this gospel is true and that by following Jesus Christ we will be guided through this life along the path that will bring us the most joy and happiness that we can experience here on earth. Not a temporal joy, but an eternal joy. The same joy that caused those Book of Mormon prophets to collapse to the earth because their joy was so great!

Love Sister Luening