Wednesday, May 28, 2014

May 27, 2014, Liberty, Missouri

Dear Family,

Thank-you so much for all the emails. I love hearing about your week and of the testimonies and gratitude each of you have for the gospel in your own lives. It truly is amazing!! This week was full of Miracles, aside from Saturday, haha! Saturday was hard on Sister McDonnell and I. It was our full proselyting day and only 3 people opened their doors and talked to us the whole day we were out. So we went home at the end of the night kind of bummed, and then on top of it we found out that our 17 year old investigator named K, who isn't really allowed to meet with us, now her parents have told her she isn't allowed to come to church until she moves out of the house in August. It was a low blow and hit Sister McDonnell pretty hard. In the last hour of the night as we reflected and pondered on our day, I thought about what these low experiences do for us. As we laid in bed, I mentioned to Sister McDonnell, how blessed we are to have these experiences.
I hope the way I explain this makes sense.  I know that K has a strong spirit and that although at this time she is faced with this trial that she will eventually be able to receive and accept the gospel. I thought about how just like in Adam and Eve's experience they recognized the necessity of experiencing trials so they could really see how sweet the good experiences are. I feel the same is with us as missionaries. The devastation that came to Sister McDonnell and I when we found out that K couldn't meet with us, really reminded me more deeply of what a blessing the gospel is in our lives. It deepened my determination, conviction and desire to want to share it with everyone. If we were successful all the time and teaching all the time, I think that I would get into a pattern and would slightly lose sight of how amazing this gospel truly is. But when I see people reject it or lose that opportunity in their lives, it pierces my soul and causes me to wonder,why don't they just accept the gospel. Don't they know its going to bless their lives. It helps me to regain the vision of what the gospel can do for others, and helps me to re-enforce what my purpose is here serving the Lord as a missionary. Through the hard days I am able to recognize how sweet the experiences really are when people accept the message of the restored gospel and bring it into their lives. 
 Well, I feel pretty blessed. We only really seemed to have one hard day last week, and many great teaching experiences out in our area. Last week in my email home, I mentioned that we were hoping our investigator S could come to the Relief Society Activity. Well, after exercising our faith with 2 straight hours of calling everyone in our ward on our P-Day, miracles did not cease and we were able to find people to drive us and S to the activity as well as to other appointments we had that night. The activity was really great, it was a poor turnout only about 9 sisters came, but it actually was really good for S because she was able to comfortably mingle with all the sisters and built some great relationships with them. S really seemed to enjoy herself and later on Saturday we invited her to come to church, and guess what! She came to church! Normally, she would have gone with her grown daughter to the Liberty 2nd ward, but with our invitation she decided to come to the proper ward. She really enjoyed it and she signed up to bring something to the "munch and mingle" after church next week, and she signed up on the missionary calendar to feed us, haha! We were kind of worried about her coming to church because we were asked to teach the Beehive class. In Beehives we taught about Testimonies and how to strengthen testimony through praying with faith and reading our scriptures for revelation. It went really well and luckily because we had prepared for the lesson, when I was asked by the Bishop to bear my testimony on scripture study in place of the youth speaker in sacrament meeting, I was directed by the Spirit what to say.

Also, on Sunday, we took Laura Blanch tracting with us. She has her mission papers in and is waiting for her call. The day before, on Saturday, we had taken Sage, one of the young women with us, and one person actually talked to us, so it wasn't as successful as we had hoped. But, on Sunday, we had a miracle with Laura. All day we had been praying that the street we had decided to tract would produce some sort of miracle. Well, the third door we knocked on a guy in his late 20's answered. His name was C and as we introduced ourselves, he just kind of smiled at us and said, "Oh, ya I know you're church. " We asked how he knew of it and he said that he had actually gone to our church for the first time earlier that day. We were so shocked and asked him what he thought of it. He said he had a blast, and that he loved how family oriented it was. He said he went to the Liberty 2nd ward because his friend, Br. Edwards, had invited him and his wife to come. So they both went and had also brought their two year old son. He had a few questions for us and as we answered them for him, we asked if it would be okay if we set up a time to teach him and his wife more. He said he would love that. He told us he wasn't normally the church going kind of person, but that he would love to come again. We asked about his wife, and he said that she was Baptist and would maybe be more hesitant about learning more, but that he would talk to her. He was super friendly and it was such a miracle that we were guided to his house, on the same day that he came to church for the first time. So cool! We're excited to see what happens with C. We'll find out this week if we do have the blessing to teach him, or if the Liberty 2nd elders will be given that opportunity. I'm just excited for C and his wife to experience the joy and blessing of the gospel. 
On Thursday, we met with our investigator L for the last time as she went back to Brazil on Saturday since her student exchange program was finished. We shared with her some verses out of 2 Nephi 4 to help her remember the testimony and feelings she has felt here and that it will be hard for her going to Brazil, but that as long as she leans on the Lord for strength that he will help her and direct her closer to the gospel and lead her to her goal of baptism. On Friday, we had a great discussion with our Investigator R over the phone. We are teaching R through teaching center in the Liberty Jail. He lives in Washington and we call him every week. Well, this time our conversation was very interesting. So we called him and asked him about the usual, you know how his week has been and everything, and then all of a sudden we heard someone say to him, "welcome to the temple. What brings you hear today?" We heard some mumbling in the background and then someone said" are you meeting with the missionaries?" we heard R explain to them that he was talking to us on the phone, and after saying that we heard a man pipe up and say" well, that's wonderful, I met with missionaries 27 years ago and it blessed my life". Sister McDonnell and I were in shock and disbelief. Then all of a sudden the phone went dead.  We were so confused. He knows about the temple?! What is he doing at the temple. So, Sister McDonnell and I called him back and asked him about where he was. He explained to us that he went on and saw a picture of a temple and later discovered there was a temple nearby, so he decided he wanted to come and check it out. We asked him if he ran into people he knew and he said that they were complete strangers, but very friendly. I think that is so cool, that whoever those members were, saw him and followed the promptings of the Spirit to say hello and bear their testimonies to him.

We asked R what he thought about the temple and he said just sitting on the grounds he feels so peaceful and happy. He again mentioned that he wants to have this feeling for the rest of his life. We taught him the rest of the Plan of Salvation and we just felt very prompted to help him recognize that the peace and joy he feels as he learns about the gospel is just a sliver of what he will feel in the eternities living with his family and with Heavenly Father. He just seemed so amazed and over-joyed about that. At the end of our discussion he told us that he is really beginning to know that all of this is true and that he just wants to keep learning more and more. He said this is bringing him so much hope and happiness into his life. He also, told us he wants to tell his parents about this amazing knowledge that he is receiving. I feel so blessed that Sister McDonnell and I have the opportunity to teach R. He is so prepared and has a great desire to learn and apply the gospel into his life. When the Lord says that we are to come forth with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, the way R feels and acts is the definition of those two words. He is incredible and I am so grateful to be a tool in the Lord's hand to be a vessel for the Spirit to flow through and to bring him that greater light and peace.

I love this gospel! I'm so grateful for the love that our Heavenly Father has for each of us. I know that he knows us perfectly and what we need in every moment of our lives. I know that as we sincerely pray to him that He will be able to bring us the comfort and blessings we need at that time in our lives. The answers don't always come right away, but I know that through the hard times as we try to look at it through an eternal perspective that we will be able to see the blessings and miracles amidst the trial we are being faced with. I love my Saviour Jesus Christ, I know that through his infinite love and atonement he truly is able to take our darkest night and help us to direct our attention on the brightest star and allow us to feel and see the brilliant glow of the brightest star. I love each of you and I pray that you will have a great week. "Remember God in every thought, doubt not, fear not. "


Sister Luening 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

May 22, 2014, Liberty, Missouri

Dear Family, 

Well, it sounds like it has been another eventful week back home. I must
say your mentioning of Kootenay lake and camping adventures soon made me a
little sad that another year I will miss family camp, but hey, I am
really excited to be at the Liberty Jail! Now thinking about it I can't
believe it is already almost June, man time really is flying by here! Its
crazy! I'm sad to hear that the YSA in trail are not really participating
in the activities Jeremy is putting together, but I hope he knows that he
is doing all he can to fulfill his calling and doing his part, and for that
he will be blessed. 

So yesterday we had our mission-wide temple conference. It was amazing!
Before we went to the temple for our session we gathered in the stake
center across from the temple and heard a few words from President Keyes.
He talked a lot about the importance of the Family in our day today and
sticking to God's Laws on the Family. He went over "the Family: A
Proclamation to the World". He also mentioned the importance of the temple
and covenants. The theme of the conference was D&C 82:10, " I the Lord am
bound when ye do what I say, but when ye do not what I say, ye have no
promise." He talked quite a bit on marriage and how with the lowering of
the missionary age change some of us will find our eternal companions on
our missions. That was kind of surprising to hear from our mission
president, haha! But, he tried to emphasize that it is okay to develop
feelings for another missionary, but to make sure that we stay true to our
covenants as we are serving the Lord and continue to serve the Lord with
all our heart, might, mind and strength. He said that as we do this, we will
be blessed as the Lord will be bound to keep his promises. At the end of
our meeting we sang the EFY Medley " As Sisters in Zion/ We'll Bring the
World His Truth". So much power filled the room as we. elders and
sisters, sang that song. The Spirit was so strong and about half of us were
crying. It was incredible! 

We then went to the temple and went through the
session. It was wonderful. We sang called to serve in the chapel of the
temple. At at the end of our session President and Sister Keyes greeted each
one of us in the Celestial Room. President Keyes shook our hands and Sister
Keyes gave us a hug and they thanked us for our diligent service and for
the opportunity they have had to know each one of us. It was our final
good-bye to President Keyes as a mission president. It was so peaceful in that room
and was so cool to see an Army of the Lord's set apart servants standing
together in that beautiful room looking like angels. 

 Well, this has been a wonderful! We've seen quite a few miracles this week
:) So in our area, one of our investigators who sister McDonnell and Sister
Halverstadt were working with, wasn't really taking the discussions, but
they spent quite sometime building a really good relationship with her and
trying to open her heart through service. She is Nazarene and her grown
daughter is actually taking the discussions with the Liberty 2nd sisters
and is planning on getting baptized in September. So it has sparked a lot
of curiosity in S. The other day she was over at her daughters house
and baptisms for the dead was mentioned, she was really confused by it and
asked us if we could explain it to her. We told her we would love to and
asked her if we could share with her our beliefs of what God's Plan is for
us. She said that would be fine. Well, last week we taught S. the Plan
of Salvation and in that were able to explain to her baptisms for the dead.
In preparing the lesson, I really felt like we should base a lot of our
scriptures from the Bible, which normally we would focus on Book of Mormon
verses. Well, it was good we did, because S. is very firm in the bible
and kind of has the "see it to believe it" attitude, haha! Because she is
Nazarene she doesn't believe in Pre-Earth Life and she also didn't have any
concept of Spirit Prison. It was amazing to see her eyes light up as we
shared with her scriptures in Jeremiah 1:5; 1 Peter 4:6 and 1 Corinthians
15:29. As we explained to her the Plan of Salvation and the importance of
temples, the spirit testified to her the truthfulness of what we were
sharing. She just sat quietly for a moment and then looked at us and said,
" I just don't understand why my pastor has never taught any of this?!" It
was neat to see how she recognized that she was missing some important
truths in her life. 

She's really been opening up, and she even is willing
to come to a relief society activity tonight. She has gone to church with
her daughter before, but we hope she will be willing to come to our ward on
sunday so that she can build relationships in the ward.

Otherwise, another neat miracle we had happen was at the Historic Liberty
Jail in our teaching center. So, basically where we go to make calls all
over the world and answer phone calls and online chats of people who go on to learn more about the gospel. So a few months ago, before I
was at the Jail, a guy in Washington state called the Liberty Jail. He
mentioned that he was 18 years old and Jewish. He said he heard a girl in
his school talk about how amazing the liberty jail is and how much it
teaches us that God really does answer prayers. He was calling to learn how
God answers prayers and how he could recognize the answers to some of his
own prayers. Sister McDonnell had taken the call and talked with him and
got his information, but since that first call she hadn't been able to make
contact with him for 3 months. Well last week she decided to give him a
call and left a message and he actually called back. Sister McDonnell
taught him the message of the restoration over the phone. The spirit was so
strong in that room as she talked with him. Its so cool, how even over the
phone talking about the gospel, the Spirit just fills the room and still
boldly testifies of the truthfulness of the gospel. I only could hear what
she was saying on her side of the conversation, but I could tell that he
was so excited to know that God loves him and made this plan for him. He
said he really wants to learn more, and Sister McDonnell invited him to be
baptized. He said he would need to wait until September to be baptized when
he moves away from home to college, because his parents would not approve
his decision to be baptized into another faith. In fact, we learned that if
his parents even knew that he was talking to us they would probably kick
him out of the house and dis-own him. 

 Well, the other day we were able to talk to him over the phone again.
This was my first time meeting R. and talking to him. Sister McDonnell
and I figured it would be good to teach him the Plan of Salvation.
He expressed to us that he feels so happy learning about the gospel and
that he feels there has got to be more that he doesn't understand. As we
talked with him and I introduced myself and tried to get to now him a
little better, our conversation was directed to The Plan of Salvation
because he asked if we knew if we lived with God was like the
perfect question to go into what we wanted to teach him. Since, he's Jewish
he really doesn't have a very good understanding of who Jesus Christ is and
what the atonement means for him. As we talked about God's Plan for us
and Christ's mission and his atonement and what that means for us, he was
so excited! It was amazing to be able to talk to him and hear of the
happiness and excitement he was gaining in his voice as he realized that he
has a Saviour, and that as he prays that he can receive comfort and
guidance from someone who completely understands him. It was so cool!! We
can tell his understanding of how much God loves him has really grown! He
loves learning about the gospel and is continually expressing to us how
good he feels when we teach him. We've helped him understand that that is
the power of the Holy Ghost testifying to him truth. He told us he really
wants to go to church and be baptized when he goes to college in Virginia.
I know the gospel is really blessing R's life and bringing him the
happiness, peace and answers to the questions his soul has been searching
for. I feel so blessed to be able to teach R. with Sister McDonnell,
seeing how much R. is changing and just hearing of the new light and
happiness that is entering his life as he learns brings me inexplicable joy
and happiness. Every time we talk with R. we end the conversation just
in shock as to how powerful and strong his Spirit is in directing him to
want to learn more truths and to be able to recognize them. He is truly

 I love it here in the Liberty 2nd Ward! We are trying everyday to find more
and more people to teach, but right now I feel so blessed for the
opportunity I do have to teach people. I am learning so much from Sister
McDonnell and she is a powerhouse teacher. She teaches with the Spirit like
the Book of Mormon prophets! She is awesome! I'm grateful to be out hear
and I miss you all so much. I'm glad everything is going good back home!

I love you and can't wait to hear from you next week! 

Sister Luening

May 12, 2014, Liberty, Missouri

Dear Family!!

Holy Cow it was so AWESOME to see all of you!! I was really glad that we skyped at the end of the night, because I kind of went home afterwards in a daze, I guess trying to get in grips with the fact that I had actually just seen and talked to all of you :) It was great and I was glad to see that all of you are still as crazy, fun and hilarious as ever. I love our family!!

After skyping the Gale's cut a piece of cake for me, put a candle on it and then sang happy birthday. I was still kind of teary eyed from our skyping session, but it was wonderful. After the small celebration there we went to the Visitor Center where they also had a card and cake for me and once again sang Happy Birthday. :) Man, missionaries who serve in the Visitor Center or Liberty Jail really get spoiled! They made a cute birthday note for me using "Canadian Bacon" and "Canada Dry" Ginger Ale. Speaking of Ale... Kass told me of the exciting cake experience this last weekend. Well mom, at least you got what you wanted right?! A traditional Black Forest Cake. Hahahaha!

Well, not too much new happened since I talked to you two days ago. But the reality of how fast the next few weeks are going to fly has hit me, since my companion reminded me that we have interviews with President Keyes tomorrow and then on Thursday Sister McDonnell gets to go up to Adam-Ondi-Ahman for half the day, which means I will be in Jail all day. But I must say I don't think anyone is as happy to be stuck in Jail as the Sisters here in the MIM (Missouri Independence Mission). It is such an amazing place! Then next week we have the mission wide temple day, so my P-day won't be until next Thursday. But time is flying!

Yesterday, Sister McDonnell and I had the opportunity to visit a less active lady. She attends church on and off. I think that was the best visit we have ever had with someone who is less active. She was very sweet and really open with us. She let us know what her concerns and struggles are and as we shared our own personal experiences with her, I could see a change in her. We asked her if she would allow us to come by weekly to help her overcome her concerns and help her strengthen her faith and testimony in the Gospel. She was delighted we asked and agreed to weekly visits. She also agreed to read over Alma 32 and said that she would love for us to come back and discuss it because she really doesn't know how she can go about strengthening and growing her faith. I know its going to be a long road for her, but I also know that the spirit will help her to slowly make changes in her life that will allow her to live in harmony with God's commandments and that it will bring great blessings into her life.

Well, that's about all that has happened. Today is P-day and so its nice to just have a day where you can relax. I got lots of emails this week, so thanks! I love you all so much and like I said on skype I really am so grateful for the opportunity I have to serve the Lord. It was funny, my companion was trying to make my birthday a big deal, but I just kept thinking about how I still didn't want the attention on myself. I just felt blessed to be alive serving the Lord! What greater way to spend a birthday than in the service of the Lord! I love you all and I am so grateful for all of your prayers and love. As much as I miss you, there is no place I would rather be than in the MIM, sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ that has blessed my life more than I even realize.

I love you all and I hope that you have a great week! Thanks for all the birthday wishes and for the German Birthday Song :) Oma thank-you for the online birthday card! I love you and pray for each of you daily :)


Sister Luening 

Monday, May 12, 2014

May 6, 2014 Liberty, Missouri

Dear Family!

Wow! It sounds like everyone has had quite the week with the moves and church functions going on. But, I'm glad to hear that the hand of the Lord has been present in all the craziness and business of your weeks to have helped you be successful in it all :) And, I almost had a heart-attack when I saw the pictures Chris emailed to me of him and Madisen. I literally thought they were engagement photos, haha! then again, I still think if they do get engaged that they should use them as engagement photos because they were beautiful! SKYPE!!!! Yup we get to skype this week and dad is right that this will be a tri-skype event! Mother's day, mom's Birthday and my birthday! It is all very exciting :) And I am so excited to see everyone. I was nervous a few weeks back around Easter when I got kind of homesick that skyping this time around would be a lot harder on me than last time, but now I feel at ease about everything and I'm just excited to see all of your faces :)

Well, I have officially been TRANSFERRED!!! I am now serving in the Liberty 1st ward :) I'm not going to lie it was really hard leaving Kearney! I cried in the car on the way to transfers. It really did become my home here in Missouri over the last 6 months and it was hard leaving all the wonderful families and investigators there. But I've adjusted to this area really well. My new companion is Sister McDonnell. She is awesome! She is from Vancouver Washington and juts finished being trained by my first trainer. So its been a lot of fun being companions with her because we do everything in a very similar way. It was like instant companion unity and we communicate with each other really well :) Its been awesome and she has been great at filling me in on all of the things about this area and our investigators and members. Hopefully I will have it all down soon! I am living in a house right behind the Historic Liberty Jail with 3 other sets of sisters.

 I AM SERVING AT THE HISTORIC LIBERTY JAIL! That's right the same place Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, Lyman Wight, Caleb Baldwin, and Alexander McCrae were held prisoner from December 1, 1838-April 6, 1839.  A very humbling and trying 4 and a 1/2 months for those great men, but also a time that refined those men into the greater leaders and witnesses of the church that they needed to be to really solidify the foundation of the early restored Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It has been so awesome to be able to learn of all the events of the early saints here in Missouri and of the rumours and persecutions that led up to those men's arrest into the Liberty Jail. the historic Liberty Jail really is a sacred site and there is such a strong spirit that resides in the dedicated building. The Lord has really blessed me with a sharp memory. I only had about an hour to memorize an hours presentation worth of history, but I managed to do it. My first day at the jail I took a few presentations with Sister McDonnell my fabulous new companion, and then the second day I took my first two presentations by myself. I love being back at a Visitor Center! Its so nice to be able to meet so many different people and be able to share my testimony with them.

Yesterday, I had a miracle! In the last ten minutes before our shift ended. A couple walked in, I could tell they weren't members of the church. they obviously and rightfully looked confused as they walked in the building expecting to see and old abandoned jail and rather walked into a nice lobby with pictures of Christ on the wall. I introduced myself to them and asked them what brought them in today. They inquired if this was where they could see the jail. I told them it was and that this was church owned property  because we consider the jail very important to us because our first prophet was held prisoner here for a time. Of course the expression on their faces were very quizzical. I asked them if they would be interested in hearing the history of the jail and how our prophet came to be a prisoner here for a time and they responded that they would love to hear what I had to say. So I took them into them into the room and I found out that they were a baptist couple heading to their home in Arkansas. I started them off at the panel which shows pictures of the Original Liberty Jail and talked about the logistics of the jail. Then I told them about Joseph Smith by bringing them over to our panel all about Joseph Smith. I told them of Joseph smith's experience in looking for a church to attend, and then I recited the first vision. As I recited in Joseph Smith's own words the vision he saw, the Spirit filled the room. After I finished explaining his experience and bearing my testimony, the woman said "Whoa, that gives me chills".....SPIRIT!!! It was so awesome! I told them how the church was organized through Joseph Smith under the direction of Jesus Christ. I also explained the Book of Mormon to them. It was great!

After sharing the history of the persecution of the saints and the unlawful arrest of Joseph Smith and his companions, I took them to the rotunda where the reconstructed jail stands. they listened to the narrations of Joseph Smith's experience in entering the jail and also his experience while there. Including the revelations given to him found in Doctrine and covenants section 121-123. The spirit was so strong as the narration played the response of the Lord to Joseph's plea for help for all the suffering saints and their desperate situation. This couple was so touched by the things that these men went through. After the presentation I asked them if they would be interested in learning more about the church. I told them I could send missionaries like myself to their house to discuss more. Haha, they said, "wow! you mean they will send YOU all the way to Arkansas to see us?!", unfortunately they declined the offer after realizing I wouldn't be able to go to them in person. so, I asked them if they would be interested in a copy of the Book of Mormon. they said they would like a copy and that they would check it out. I really hope that they do read and pray about the Book of Mormon. They were so open to all types of religion. In fact they even told me they don't like to say they are Baptist because titles segregate everyone and ultimately what it comes down to is that we are all Christians. I really like that :)

Well, I have really enjoyed my time so far at the Liberty Jail and I am so thankful for the spirit that has been with me to lead me and guide me in the things that I can personally share with those who enter into this sacred site. I have been guided and directed in the experiences I have shared with them and in the testimony that I have gained myself that this church is Christ church restored on the earth again through the prophet Joseph Smith :) I'm so grateful to have a companion to help me readjust to the time crunch I am now facing for proselyting in our area. I used to have the whole day and now we only have about 3 or 4 hours if we are lucky after we serve at the Liberty Jail. But, Sister McDonnell has been teaching me the important lesson of "being where your feet are!". Basically when we are in the jail not worrying about the things we will need to do after shift but dedicating all of our heart might mind and strength to the Liberty Jail while we are there and then when we leave focusing and devoting all of our time and attention to the Liberty 1st ward area. It been a lot of fun so far, and I can't believe how fast the days are flying by being here. I'm so grateful for how my testimony is being strengthened through all the experiences I am able to have on my mission. I'm so thankful to be able to serve in this sacred site at this time of my life. The spirit in that dedicated building is so strong and my testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith and more importantly of my Savior Jesus Christ is being deepened every day! I love this work. I love this gospel. I know that this gospel is led by the Lord Jesus Christ. This is His church! I love you all and I can't wait to see many of you on mother's day! I know the Lord hears our prayers and is aware of each of you at this time in your lives. I love you! Have a great week!


Sister Luening

April 28, 2014 Kearney, Missouri

Dear Family,

Well, I must say I was disappointed to click on mom's email and see absolutely nothing, haha! So, I guess mom had technological issues ;) But, thanks dad and Chris for your emails! I'm glad to hear things back home are good. Dad I am super proud of you for getting the online college classes done, that's awesome! Mom, I bet you had a crazy weekend at the stake relief society conference. Well, I'm assuming you guys don't keep up with the weather down here in Missouri, but we were on Tornado watch all of sunday! It seriously looked like we were going to get hit by a tornado, and were told to get inside and find shelter by our Assistants. I was excited and Sister Jarman was terrified, haha!

Well, a tornado didn't hit, but it looked like one would come down any second.  We went out to the rural area to eat dinner yesterday, and the sky turned so black, and then you know how everyone says "you know a tornado is coming because the sky will turn green"....well it literally turned green!! I'm not kidding it was a gross dark sage color and the whole storm cell was right above us, it was SCARY!! The whole drive home, we kept telling our member, we should just turn around and spend the night at her house because we are going to get stuck in a tornado on the way back home, but our member was convinced everything would be fine, and it was, thank-goodness. It was down-pouring and lightning and thundering the whole way home, but she was all like, "oh no, if there was a tornado coming there would be hail and lots and lots of wind".  

Chris sent me lots of pics of his adventures with Madi :) It sounds like they had a lot of fun and really took advantage of all the fun and beautiful places to see up in the Kootenays and Okanagan. It also sounds like you guys had a good time interrogating her and finding out lots about her. 

Well things here in Kearney have been good! We had a super crazy miracle happen this week. At first it was really frustrating because of the way the whole situation was handled and handed over to us, but all in all it was a huge miracle! To sum it up the elders gave us a referral of a girl they were supposed to go teach out in Plattsburg, but they couldn't find any members to go with them and they didn't have a ride to take them out there, so they asked us if we could go teach her. We didn't have too much going on, so we went out there with Kyrie, a girl who is planning on going on a mission. Well we got to the investigator's house and she was awesome! She is 20 years old and her name is K. She invited us in right away and as we talked with her and got to know her, we testified of how the gospel can help her in her life. She has a 5 year old son and has been living on her own since she was 16 years old. She's had a hard life and she says she wants to be forgiven from her life and find greater peace in Christ. She is so cool and we invited her to be baptized on May 31st. She accepted, and we are excited to keep working with her.

Also, later on in the week, Sister Jarman and I had to go on exchanges. Sister Halverstadt ( my first trainer) came out to Kearney and spent 24hours with me. We ended up going out to Plattsburg to teach K. We got to Plattsburg about 40 minutes before our appointment so I looked at Sister Halverstadt and said, well lets tract our way to her house. Luckily it was a gorgeous day and so there were a lot of people outside. Unfortunately the first 5 people we tried to talk to didn't want to listen to us, but we still kept moving on trying to talk to everyone we saw. Eventually, a man finally stopped and talked to us. He was older and outside doing some yard work, but we started up a casual conversation with him. His name is C and he was so nice. He ended up telling us he doesn't attend a church because he doesn't like the hypocrisy of many of the preachers. We talked to him for a while and asked if we could come back next week to which he agreed. We headed back to our car, because we realized we were only halfway to K's house and we were already 10 minutes late because of the long conversation we got into with C.

As we headed back to the car, a black guy sitting on a picnic table grilling yelled at us " you Mormons?" We yelled back, "ya!" and headed his direction. We talked to him for about 2 minutes to find out that his name was R and that the elders had stopped by his house 3 weeks ago and left him a book ( the Book of Mormon). I asked if they had stopped by since their first encounter and he said they hadn't. I asked him if he wanted to learn more and he said he did. So we set up an appointment with him and invited him to check out We told him either us or the elders would stop by. Sister Halverstadt and I decided it would be best to have the elders teach him, so we referred the elders to him, and hopefully they'll go see him this week, otherwise we will :)

On heading to K's house we got a text from her telling us she couldn't meet today because she had to go into work. Unfortunately we had to reschedule with her, but thankfully the Lord saw how we were talking to everyone and so he placed people in our path who really were prepared for the message of the gospel. It's awesome and I got a nice tan from being out in the nice weather ;)

Well, this week is transfers and all the members and my companion are convinced that I am leaving. I've been here for 6 months and Elder Brenchley the Visitor Center Director says he wants the experienced sisters at the Visitor Centers during the busy summer season. So, it sounds like I will probably get transferred to the VC or the Liberty Jail. But who knows; its all in the Lord's hands. I would love to stay and continue helping our investigators and especially last week we have seen so many miracles happen of finding people to teach.....but usually that is also a tell tale sign that someone in the area is going to get transferred. So, we'll see what happens.

I'm so grateful for the time I've been able to spend in Kearney. I'll be grateful to continue being able to work in this wonderful ward if I don't get transferred. So many of the members are like family to me. Especially the LeNeaves, Shafers and Dietrich Family! It was funny on hearing transfers are coming up, Sister Shafer asked when do you have a dinner open before transfers. We had Tuesday open and she said we are CRAZY busy that day, but we will make it happen. Also, Brother Shafer was insisting I give him President Keyes number so that he can tell President Keyes what's what and have me stay here, haha! Also, Diana, our catholic neighbor was ready to cry when Sister Jarman told her I'm probably getting transferred. So basically its going to be hilarious if Sister Jarman made everyone make a big deal out of transfers coming up and I stay, AND it will be really sad if I really do get transferred. Kearney even with all the challenges, frustrations and all has really become my home on my mission!

I love having the opportunity to serve others and reach out to share with them what I know to be true! I love all of you and guess what?! 2 more weeks until Skype time!!!  :) :) :) Have a great week!


Sister Luening

April 21, 2014 Kearney, Missouri

Dear Family!

Well Happy Easter Monday! I was glad to hear that you guys had a really fun Easter at Auntie Kirsten's and I'm glad that Craig got my letter :) Haha, where did the time go. Also, you guys are crazy with rushing all the house projects in one day. But I guess at least its done and now you don't have to worry about it anymore :)
We had a ward party and our investigator Jeff invited a coworker to the party. His friend came with his wife and her sister and mom. The three women are originally from Iran and we ended up teaching them the entire Restoration lesson in front of the bon-fire. It was awesome! They are seriously the sweetest people ever and said they would come to church. They live outside of our area though and didn't ended up coming to church. It was really cool though getting to know them. 

Our Easter was pretty good! Our investigators Sam, Jeff and Charlie all came to church, and Charlie brought his mom, Barbara! I talked to her a lot in between classes and everything and she is the sweetest lady ever. She's Baptist and her husband passed away last August. She loved church and is so excited that she has Sundays off now so she can keep coming to church with Charlie. I asked her if she would be interested in learning the basic beliefs of the church and she wants to. BAM! New Investigator. Seriously, our investigators are the best NON- MEMBER missionaries I have ever met. All of the referrals we get comes from Jeff and his friends he invites to church. Its pretty awesome! Sister Jarman and I got to participate in the Musical Program in Sacrament meeting. We sang with the Young Women and then Bishop asked me to bear my testimony on the Saviour at the end of Sacrament meeting. After church we went to the Dietrich's house for Easter dinner. They hid some plastic eggs with our initials on them, and there were goodies inside the eggs. They also gave us an Easter basket. They are so sweet! Also the LeNeave's, the members we live with, spoiled us with a cookies n' Cream Easter chocolate Easter bunny, on top of which I have the Easter goodies you guys sent to me, which I made a paper Easter basket for Sister Jarman and gave her half of my chocolate. There is too much chocolate around the house right now, lol! 

But, I love the true meaning behind Easter. Not the fluffy stuff like Christmas where people get caught up in the candy and toys and mythical creatures like egg laying bunnies, lol! Its great to stop  and think about the hope and happiness that comes from knowing that Christ truly is Risen! He is amazing and He overcame everything that we too can have eternal life.  I was pondering Moses 1:39 and how God's purpose is "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man". Well, lets think about it, Christ overcame death and was resurrected and so he has fulfilled the immortality part, but how about eternal life. What does that mean? Well as I thought about that I thought of how eternal life means progression. We continue living and growing. Looking at Christ at what he has done since his death and resurrection( at least looking at what we currently know about from the scriptures). Christ has eternal life, he is a living example of what eternal life means. Since His resurrection he has continued the work of the gospel. He restored it back to the earth, he has visited and strengthened many people. His living power of the atonement continues to touch the lives of millions everyday. To me, thinking of the Saviour, eternal life, means we keep living the gospel everyday. We go about doing good and helping others for eternity. We live a Christ-like life forever and from it we find incomprehensible joy and happiness. How cool is that!

I love being a missionary! I love being a disciple of our living Saviour Jesus Christ. He helps and strengthens me everyday! He brings the hope that we too can not only live forever, but that we can eternally progress with Him. I hope you have a great week! I love you and miss all of you.
Sister Luening

April 14, 2014 Kearney, Missouri

Dear Family,

Well, this has been quite the email session....let's just say all this news about Chris has got my mind going 100m/hr and I can't focus on anything, haha! Definitely jealous that you are doing a family temple day on May 10th.....just a reminder the family isn't complete because the Golden Child (Moi) is still in bi-polar Missouri, don't worry I'm not perfect yet, I'm still working on humility....its a lifelong pursuit ;)

Anyways, as time goes by I am getting more and more and MORE excited for mine and mom's birthday because we get to Skype, wohoo!! Can't wait!! This week was awesome! On Wednesday we had a zone conference. The focus of it was "Being Anxiously Engaged". A lot of the focus was also on getting Investigators to church and the importance of church attendance. Our mission president told us the statistics for how many investigators in the mission came to church and he said it looked like our mission probably looked somewhat like the Canadian mission statistics because it looked like our Mission was having a heart-attack all month long, because one week we would have 120 at church and then the next day it would go down to 8 for the whole mission. He said it was because of the crazy weather patterns we've had lately. So every other week church was being cancelled in certain areas. I just looked at my companion and said, that's not Canada weather....we put on our chains and go to church, haha! Just so you get an idea, on Saturday it was 80F outside and it was AWESOME! Now, today, two days later, its 40F and it snowed this morning, that's Missouri for ya.

I love Mission conference! Actually, this was the last mission conference we are having with President and Sister Keyes. They go home on July 1st (Canada Day!). But, they told us that in May they will travel around to each zone and do interviews, and then on May 20th and 21st the whole mission is doing a temple day with President and Sister Keyes! I think that is soooo cool!! I'm really excited for that :)

Also, on Tuesday I went to an occupational therapist for my finger. He compared both of my hands and took measurements and all this stuff. He said it could take up to 5 months for my finger to get back to normal. He said I probably have a "button hole" tear on my middle knuckle. So what that means is there are some tendons that lay on top of your knuckle that allow it to bend, but there is a slight slit between them both. He thinks when my finger got jammed the knuckle popped up between the tendons and is now pushing the tendons down, which is why my finger is so swollen and crooked. He made a splint for me to wear at night, and gave me some finger exercises to do. My next appointment is on next Tuesday with him. The exercises right now are just for the tip of my finger and then he said we will work our way down. He hopes that the exercises will help my knuckle and tendons to slowly readjust themselves back into place without surgery. So, we'll see how it goes :) While I was with the doctor, Sister Jarman was a champ and tried to teach three other patients about the gospel, lol! They weren't interested, but it was worth a try.

The Lord definitely blessed Sister Jarman and I this week. This week was our no car week, and we were blessed with wonderfully sunny weather :) On Saturday, the S. family invited Sister Jarman and I over for dinner with a family they have become really close friends with over the last couple of years. The S. family were worried that if we tried to push a lesson or church on them that they would lose their relationship with that family, because that's whats happened in the past with other missionaries and families they had over. We reassured the S. family that this would be a good opportunity for us to build a better relationship with the family in a casual setting and that we would follow the Spirit in a message we could share with them. Things went really well and on sunday the S. family told us that the T. family love us! We stuck to the safe side and told them what we as missionaries do and the blessings we've seen come into our lives and other, so they wouldn't feel like we are just trying to convert them, haha! They are the sweetest family though and we thought it was so sweet how much B. loves A. . We thought they were married, but it turns out they are engaged and want to get married, but if they get married A. will lose all of her school grants because she got them because she is a single mom.....I hate how much the world doesn't support good morals anymore :/ The T. family is planning on coming to another ward activity next week, so we're excited to see how they progress...slowly but surely we know they will be drawn to the church and eventually be baptized :)

I'm so excited that its Easter time! There is a really cool new Mormon message that you should check out online. Its on It should pop up on the home page and its called "Because of Him". It is pretty powerful! Br. LeNeave was talking to us the other night and mentioned how so much of the world doesn't even acknowledge Thursday night, which is where one of the greatest acts of love was performed by Jesus Christ; His suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane. I'm so grateful that through modern revelation and prophets we as Christ's church know Christ's personal account and feelings of what he did for us (D&C 19:16-19;23).

Also, as I think of  how incredible it is that Christ paid for my sins and overcame death, it fills me with amazement and in awe in our Heavenly Father's eternal plan of happiness for us. Christ literally overcame death that we also may live again eternally. I feel as Ammon felt in Alma 26:8. "Blessed be the name of our God; let us sing his praise, yea, let us give thanks to his holy name, for he doth work righteousness forever".

Here is something for us to ponder on. Obviously what Christ has done for us we can never give back. We will never be able to pay back the debt, and will always be in debt to him. But in Omni 1:26 it gives us a pretty good idea of what we can do to truly show our Saviour Jesus Christ and our Father in Heaven our appreciation and love for all that they do for us.

"And, now my beloved brethren, I would that ye should come unto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of his salvation, and the power of his redemption. Yea, come unto him, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him, and continue in fasting and praying, and endure to the end; and as the Lord liveth ye will be saved."
I love how it says in there "...come unto him, and offer your whole souls...". I just want to leave that phrase with you guys and allow you to ponder this question, how do you offer your whole soul unto Christ?

I love you all, thanks for keeping me updated on everything back home. I hope you get all the house projects done before Madi arrives, lol! I love being a missionary and I am so grateful to have Christ's name on my chest, and remember so do you :) Christ Lives! HAPPY EASTER!


Sister Luening

P.S watch the video I mentioned