Thursday, September 12, 2013

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

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