This email might be a little shorter than most, but just know that Sister McDonnell and I are moved into our new place, and all is well. On Thursday morning in the pouring rain we spent 2 hours hauling stuff back and forth to the car out of the house and then down into our new apartment. Hahaha, we were drenched and then had to go on shift at the Liberty Jail. We were both physically and emotionally exhausted, but we survived :) We arranged the furniture, set up the beds, washed and put away all the kitchen stuff and unpacked our stuff, phew! It was a crazy week filled with a lot of emotions, but thankfully we are all settled in now, and we are already seeing how great the move has been for our companionship. Although it was a lot of fun livivng with the other sisters, now with no sisters running wild through the house and popping in and out of rooms, Sister McDonnell and I have realized in our new place alone we have had a lot more time just to talk to each other and build a stronger friendship and companionship. Its been great!
Over the last two days we've also been able to finally find some people to teach. We've struggled to find people who will listen. We were feeling getting kind of rundown having so many people challenge our personal testimonies and knowledge that the Gospel is true and has blessed our life, but our hard work and diligence has paid off and we have been able to sift through the wheat, plant some seeds and find some rich soil to work with. On sunday, Austin Gale gave his farewell talk and it was so good! Oh my gosh, he should of spoken in General Conference or something, the Spirit was so strong in the room, and he really followed the Spirit in what he should speak about in his talk. It was amazing. Sunday afternoon we went to our Investigator's house, S, and ate dinner with her. Lately, we've been feeling like she is stuck on something because her progression seems to be slowing down. We read through 3 Nephi 11 with her and talked a lot about The Gospel of Jesus Christ (faith, repentance, baptism, gift of the Holy Ghost and Enduring to the End). We focused a lot on authority and baptism. We were able to find out some of her concerns. She told us she feels she still needs to continue her search for the "right church", so we simply bore our testimony about the Book of Mormon and invited her to sincerely read it, study it, and pray about it to know if its true. For anyone who has watched "The District" missionary videos. you could say I kind of felt like Elder Marino, in one of their meetings with a lady named Jynx. We've been inviting her to read the Book of Mormon, but she hasn't been doing it. S feels like she hasn't received her answer, but she also hasn't been doing all she can to really know and receive that answer. Revelation requires a desire that will motivate us to act and do all we can to find answers.
Our appointment with S went really well and we felt like we were really guided by the Spirit in what we could expound on in the scriptures to help S. After we left we headed towards a members house to ask for a ride home, since by that time it was about 8:30 and we had some calls and things to make. As we were walking down the road, we saw a man outside on his porch with some little kids. We said hello and asked how his evening was going. He said great and asked the same question. We continued our conversation and mentioned that we weren't from around here. In finding out that I was from BC, he said he's originally from Seattle and has spent the last year in Missouri. We got into a discussion of why we were here in Missouri. His name is M and he said he was a church going guy and has a great faith in Christ. As we shared the message of the restoration with him, his eyes lit up. He said he feels there are "false prophets", but also that the Bible doesn't hold all the truth. As we told him about the Book of Mormon, he asked us if he could read it. The desire he had to know for himself what truths he was missing in his life was astounding. We testified of the blessings of the Book of Mormon and of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ here on the earth. We are meeting with him on Saturday. It was so cool to see how excited he seemed at the possibility that he had to come to really find Christ's church on the earth. It was truly a miracle!
This experience was amazing. Later reflecting on this experience I realized that in talking to M, I didn't even have to think about opening my mouth and starting up a conversation with him. Usually when people are already standing outside and we are approaching them I have to get my courage and confidence up because talking to strangers, quite frankly can still be terrifying. But it was cool to look back and see how the Spirit was with us the whole time. I know that as we spoke to M that it really wasn't us talking, but rather the Spirit speaking to his heart through us. This work is amazing, being a missionary, a witness of Jesus Christ is such a joy. It can be discouraging at times and hard, but our testimonies and knowledge that the Lord has prepared people for us to teach is that beacon in the distance that draws us forward and creates a desire in us to push through and work harder. I feel blessed to know that no effort is ever wasted. that through everything we do as members really does play a role in the eternal plan that our Father in Heaven has for us and others.
In Austin's talk he mentioned how Jesus Christ asked Peter if he loved him. He mentioned how it is interesting that after Peter tells the Lord, "thou knowest I love thee." The Lord responds "Feed my sheep". Austin mentioned how it is not good enough for us to simply just love the Lord. If we trust in him, if we love him and truly supported the Plan our Father in Heaven created for each of us in the pre-existence we will continue to be Valiant in that fight in Heaven and continue the fight here on the earth. Satan is working against us and the rest of our brothers and sisters. How great will be our joy when we are able to return to our Father in Heaven, and he will ask us, just as he asked Peter " Lovest thou me?" but we can respond to the Lord a little differently, by saying, "'Yea, Lord thou knowest I love thee.'.... and thy sheep have been fed and they are on their way. " Then God will embrace us, He will know and feel of our love and we will be able to greet those who have helped us in our journey, but we will also be able to stand with our Father in Heaven waiting to greet and embrace those we've cheered on in this fight and helped bring back to the fold.
I love the Lord. I am so grateful for his eternal plan of Happiness. A plan that each of us play a key role in. As it says in the hymn, "Put your shoulder to the wheel".
"then don't stand idly, looking on, the fight for sin is real. It will be long, but must go on, put your shoulder to the wheel."
I'm grateful for all of your efforts to share the gospel. I'm proud of all of you. I hope we will be able to retain in remembrance the blessing and responsibility of Discipleship that each of us bears. We are witnesses of Christ. We love the Lord, I love the Lord. I am grateful for His blessed eternal plan that brings us such great joy and happiness in this life. I know that others are searching. We can be the ones to help them find the path that they need to be on to be able to remember the Plan, become zealous in the fight and see us standing by our Heavenly Father standing victorious and embrace them. I love you all and I pray that you will continue to have missionary opportunities,
Love sister Luening