Monday, November 11, 2013

October 23, 2013, Independence Missouri

Oct 23
Dear Family,

     Thanks so much for all the e-mails; it really is great hearing from everyone and seeing what changes are happening in everyone's lives. This last week been CRAZY!!  So on Thursday, Sister S. and I sat down for 3 hours to do our weekly planning. Well, in that time, by the end of our planning session we had 2 of 4 of our investigators drop us, one of which was on baptismal date. It was discouraging, but we went on with our day and went to see our 87 year old investigator. At that visit, she also dropped us telling us that she was RLDS and knew our intent was for her to eventually be baptized. She said that would never happen because she had seen to many miracles happen in her life in that church. We asked her to pray about it and asked if we could come back, she ultimately told us that wouldn't be necessary. So in the course of 4 hours three of our four investigators dropped us. It was a hard pill to swallow, but I also looked at it in a way that God was blessing us with the time we desired to now go out and find those who are truly prepared to hear the gospel. He is making room for us to see more miracles, ha-ha! J

     Although, this week we were struggling out in our area, I was able to see a lot of miracles at the Visitor Center. Over the weekend I have taken some of the best presentations I have taken my entire mission so far. It's been really neat to be able to really be led by the Spirit and teach people, not lessons. With each presentation I took something new was learned and gained. I was able to extend a new challenge and commitment to the members, to cause them to reach and stretch and continue on in their spiritual progression. Last Saturday was a really crazy day. I took 5 presentations, which was about as many as I would take during the crazy busy summer season. Anyways at the end of the night at the visitor center about a half an hour before closing, I went downstairs to clean the kitchen. I noticed that two ladies who had come in about an hour ago were almost finished watching the New Joseph Smith movie. So I rushed to the kitchen, did as much as I could and then dashed to the theatre to look after those members.

     At that moment I was definitely feeling in a rush with needing to get things done. I popped in and asked what they thought of the movie. I figured they would just say that  it was good and then get up and leave. Well, they were actually really emotional and I could just tell looking at them that they had really felt the power of the spirit. I realized in that moment that I needed to calm myself, give my entire attention to them and pray that the spirit would guide me in the things that they needed to hear. I sat down and they both completely opened up to me about what they had felt as they watched Joseph's experiences that he endured through his life.                  We ended up having such a spiritual discussion on how they themselves had been going through a lot in their own lives over that last couple months and how Joseph Smith was such a great example for them of how to endure trials patiently and with faith. The spirit was so strong as we talked. I testified of God's love for her as an individual. I felt impressed to relate her trials to Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail and how Joseph Smith's time in Liberty Jail was almost like a time -out for him from the world in order for him to refocus, rejuvenate and re-center his attention, relationship and life to God. God knew what was coming next in Joseph's Life and he knew that it would be hard and that he would need the spiritual strength and unwavering trust in God in his life for the upcoming events leading to his martyrdom in Carthage Jail. I know that trials are very hard, they aren't easy and they aren't fun. However, they are God's way of reminding us of who we need to rely on and who we need to turn to. As we turn our attention to God and build our faith even more in him, he is able to strengthen us for greater trials that await us ahead. I ended up spending until closing with these two ladies and they appreciated it so much, and decided that need to come into the visitor center more, ha-ha. It's been really neat to truly be an instrument in the Lord's hand and a mouth-piece for the spirit on occasion.

     I also got to take some non-members through the Visitor Center over that last few days. I took a couple from Edmonton Alberta through the Visitor Center and they had their non-member mom with them. Using the different resources at the visitor center I was able to go over the Message of the Restoration with her. I also took them through God's Plan for His Family video which is really powerful and then I ended at the Christus and let them sit and ponder together. It was really great! Later, the Spanish speaking elders, Elder R. and Elder K. came in the VC and said Br. M. was bringing a friend to the VC and wanted to take him through the history. I was super nervous because I usually stay upstairs and don’t go down into the Independence history area with investigators, because they don't have the foundation of Joseph Smith or anything which is better to start with upstairs. Anyways, I had a huge prayer in my heart and we went down to the history. As the spirit directed, our discussion ended up focusing on prayer, faith and recognizing the spirit. The elders and Br. Martinez did awesome in sharing personal experiences and also talking about the history.

   Also it was Elder K.'s birthday yesterday and so Sister S. and I sang him “Happy Birthday” over the phone at 6:30AM. We probably sounded like men, because we were really groggy and still had our "just woke up" voices-- you know what I mean. We also celebrated at the end of the night by eating cake with everyone that one of the sisters had made for him. It was fun!

     Anyways, things are going well in Independence. The 4 elders in our ward are great! They are always looking out for us and asking if there is any ways they can help us. Also, we were able to meet with our
Bishop on Monday night. We had dinner and he invited us to stay for Family Home Evening and then asked if we could meet with him right there and then and go over some things. He is a great man. We got to know him really well and he shared a lot of experiences with us. Sister S. and I have had our prayers answered by being able to know that our ward leaders trust us, and that they are excited to work with us.  Bishop gave us some counsel, told us he respects us and is excited to work with us and hopes to meet with all 3 companionships of missionaries more often. He has also set up a meeting where all the missionaries and Ward leaders in the Ward will get together and establish the Ward Mission Plan and what we can do to get the ward more anxiously engaged in missionary work. We left his house full of so much gratitude to know that bishop is excited to have us in the ward and that hopefully within the next couple of weeks everyone will be on the same page and things will really start moving forward in the ward.

        Sister S. and I also got news yesterday that we and the sisters above us will finally get to move out of our nasty apartment.....all I have to say is it is super ghetto! There is a hole in the ceiling in the bathroom where shower water from the sisters above us drips down with plaster. The sink pressure went and the hot water lasts for about 5 minutes, so we almost always have cold showers, and the carpet has so much dust and grime in it that whenever we vacuum it (once a week)  we have to empty the vacuum three times. Sister S. refuses to kneel on the floor, and we are convinced there is black mold in the ceiling and then the mouse trap went off yesterday. So we are so excited to finally be moving to a new place on Friday. All four of us sisters will be living together and there is a washer and dryer so I won't have to go to the Laundromat anymore, yay! Oh and there is unlimited how water. Things seem to be going so well here, that I am getting nervous that in three weeks at transfers I'll get transferred, which I really don't want to have happen. But, I know that if things are starting to go well, that means I need a new challenge so that my spiritual progression doesn't stay stagnant, right! I'll go where the Lord wants me to go!

      Jeremy, it’s typical that you would get home and then just start spending money on whatever, lol! Enjoy the snowboarding season... I didn't know that you snowboard. I hope you get that job at Source J! Oh also could you do me a huge favor? In my night table should be my P-90X book. Could you scan the pages in the back that say what each exercise is and e-mail them to me. I know the titles of the workouts, but I don't remember all the work out moves that are in them. But if you go toward the back of the book it lists the title of each exercise and a short explanation of how to do the moves. If you can't scan it, could you please just type the names out of each exercise and e-mail it to me. Just the names of each exercise from the Core Synergistic, Cardio, Shoulders & Arms, Legs & Back, Plyometric, Yoga X and Kenpo X workouts. Thanks, I know I'm asking a lot, but with it getting cold I really need indoor exercise, thanks!

     Elder Luening, Holy smokes congrats on being the longest zone leader. I bet in your last two or three months you will become an Assistant to the Mission President! You are the best!! Don't get too stressed, just know that as you do your best the Lord is pleased J!

     Kassandra, man things are sure moving forward. I didn't know you were looking for nannying  jobs, but that’s cool! Good luck I hope you find something fast. Why is Scott working, I thought he was in his last year of school? I hope things keep going well for you both and good-job for being the Cooking Queen at Thanksgiving.

    Mom and Dad, thanks so much for everything you do. Don't get stressed out about the family communication seminar that you have to do. You two are communicating pro's. I think the thing that always stands out to me the most, is just the fact that you two always took the time to sit down and talk to us. Even though you two were always busy with work and errands you would just sit down and take the time to give us your attention and just talk. So thank-you for always being there for us! I love you so much and appreciate even more now all you have done for us as a family. You two are the greatest parents in the world, seriously!!

Anyways, I gotta go. Sister S. and I are sharing a P-day with 6 other Sisters today and we are going to go the The World War I National Museum, I am so excited! I love you all and hope you have a great week, and I can't wait to hear from you next week!

Love, Sister Luening

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