Wednesday, July 16, 2014

June 26, 2014, Liberty, Missouri

Hey Family! 
Well, sounds like everyone has had a pretty good week. Things here in the Liberty Stake are going well and the Lord is truly hastening his work. On Sunday ward boundaries were changed to create a new ward called the Doniphan Ward. About a third of our Liberty 1st ward area and families were taken into the newly created ward. So Sister Morris and I spent most of our day yesterday reorganizing our map boundaries, area books and ward rosters. We are sad to see people go and some investigators no longer being able to work directly with us, but we know this is what the Lord wants and we are excited to get closer to some of our other members.
 Sister Morris and I had the opportunity to go to a baptism of a girl named M that we both taught together for a little while back in January and February in Kearney. The Kearney sisters were able to finally pick M back up and she had some pretty amazing personal experiences that testified to her of the need to get baptized, and so she was baptized on Saturday. It was so awesome to see her take this step in her life. While we were there we also got to see J S, another one of our former investigators. He's still going strong in the gospel, but not yet baptized. It was such a tender moment being able to sit with him. He really poured out his heart to me in letting me know how much of an impact I really made on him and his family. He told me how much he misses me. I seriously wanted to just give him a big hug. It broke my heart to know that he still hasn't taken the step to be baptized. I asked him when he would take this step and he sighed heavily and told me he didn't know. He said he knows he needs to, its just things are complicated. He asked me if I would come to His baptism when the time comes and if I would be one of the speakers. I told him absolutely, but that he better get working on it cause I'll only be around for 5 more months, haha. I can tell he has a lot on his plate, and that there a lot of things kind of stopping this from taking place, but I know if he will really put his faith and trust in the Lord and commit to this step that he will be blessed so much. So, I've decided my one wish on my mission is that I will be able to witness the baptism of J S before I go home.

But, with everything else going on this week, I have felt so blessed. Sister Morris and I have been so blessed this week in finding precious souls to help draw closer to Christ. It's neat how the Lord places us in the paths of those who are prepared if we will just ask and then follow the promptings of the Spirit. This is such a special mission. I feel so blessed to serve in the New Jerusalem. Over the last few weeks I have really experienced how much the Lord has been guiding me in this work. While out in the Liberty 1st ward area and at the Historic Liberty Jail it has been such a miracle to have the Spirit truly fill my mouth and guide me to know what to say. I had a neat miracle at the Historic Liberty Jail. In fact this miracle took place on my mission year mark last Thursday on June 19th. I can't believe I've already been out a year now, and I felt so blessed to have this miracle and be able to see how much I have truly grown since my first day in the MTC. So here goes...
 While sister Morris and I were on shift at the Historic Liberty Jail, Sister Jacobs and Sister Albrecht came in with a recent convert named C and his non-member friend named A. This was Sister Jacobs and Sister Albrecht's first time ever meeting A. I had the opportunity to take them through the Liberty Jail and the Spirit was so strong. It guided me in what to share about the restoration of the Gospel. It talked about Joseph Smith's experience and recited the first vision and how the gospel was fully restored to the earth. I knew when to ask questions and when to invite the sisters and C to bear their own testimonies. It was so neat. Normally, I would have been kind of nervous, but I could feel the Spirit place words in my mouth, and it was honestly like I didn't have to think at all, it was just right there and then coming out of my mouth. It was amazing!
 As I focused on our Savior Jesus Christ and the Love of our Heavenly Father the Spirit was so strong. I felt very strongly that A needed to be invited to be baptized and so on several occasions throughout the presentation I touched on the importance of baptism and how that draws us closer to Christ.  Sister Albrecht, Sister Jacobs and C throughout the entire presentation bore their testimonies at the perfect moment. Before heading to the reconstructed jail site, I played the Christus narration. It brought the spirit so strongly and we were able to talk about the power of prayer, which was a perfect segue in talking about Joseph Smith and the sacredness of this place because of the prayer he uttered while here. In the rotunda after listening to the revelations Joseph Smith received, the Spirit brought such a great peace into the room. A could feel it and talked about the calmness she felt. We sang "I know that my Redeemer Lives". I bore my testimony on the truthfulness of the gospel and how she can come to know for herself how much this will bless her life, again I mentioned baptism and hoped that the sisters would invite her to be baptized right then, haha, but they didn't. We went up into the exit room. The sisters and I talked with A for a while and the sisters invited her to learn more about the gospel. A accepted the invitation to learn, but I still felt prompted that she needed to be invited for baptism because the spirit was so strong. I bore my testimony and told A that this would truly bless her life just as the sisters said, and that there will come a point when the sisters will invite her to be baptized and she will have that desire to follow after Christ. Sister Jacobs asked A if baptism is something she would want. She said yes, and the sisters were able to put her on baptismal date for July 19th. It was incredible. I feel so blessed to have been guided by the Spirit and to have been a part of this pivotal point in A's life.
I'm so grateful for the Spirit and for how it directs us in our lives. It has done miraculous things for me in my life and especially here on my mission. I feel so blessed to have the knowledge of the gospel. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God called to restore all the gospel truths and the priesthood keys for us in our day. I know that my redeemer lives. Jesus is the Christ and it is by following His gospel path that we are able to become like Him and return to live with our Heavenly Father and our Families. I love each of you, I pray for you everyday, and I hope that you know how much I miss you, and how grateful I am to be here serving my Heavenly Father and my Savior Jesus Christ. There is seriously no greater thing! I hope you all have a great week, and are continually kept safe in all you do!


Sister Luening

Celebrating my Year mark with some strawberry Short-cake and Sparkling Grape Juice!

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