Monday, August 11, 2014

July 28, 2014 Liberty, Missouri

Dear Family!!

Well, this week has been crazy. I officially have P-day on Mondays again :) I'm super excited to be able to play sports on Mondays with all the other missionaries, wohoo!! So on Thursday I was supposed to get my new companion Sister Barrow straight from the MTC, but it turned out she was sick and so she was still at the MTC getting tests done at the clinic in Provo. That put a new spin on things. Needless to say, I was already really nervous and stressed that I was getting a brand new missionary so when Elder Moss (AP) told me that I didn't have a companion I started panicking a little bit. I asked what I was supposed to do and he just nonchalantly said, "Uh just find someone to go in a trio with." I asked who and he told me to choose. So needless to say there was no organization or planning made and so then I started worrying about what would happen to my area and investigators if I was in a trio in a different ward and had no time to work in my assigned area. I started to freak out and soon enough the senior couples began talking to elder moss and told them I have to have a companion because otherwise the Liberty Jail wouldn't be able to function...which by the way is very true. We are already down, technically half of our sisters since we half of them are new and can't take presentations because they don't know any of the history, which basically leaves one sister on shift and one senior couple to try and run the jail.
After an hour, president talked with the Assistants and they decided that Sister Heylen would be my companion temporarily until Sister Barrow came into the mission. Sister Heylen was actually being transferred from the Jail to the VC, so she grabbed some clothes and food and we headed back to Liberty together. Well, sister Heylen and I were together for a total of three days until sister Barrow came in to Liberty from the MTC on Saturday at 4pm :) The time I spent with Sister Heylen was awesome! We saw so many miracles. We found 2 new investigators and we put A, the R's non-member daughter in law, on baptismal date for August 23rd! It was 3 days full of miracles!
When Sister Barrow got dropped of at the Liberty jail we basically jumped straight into everything. We dropped her stuff at the apartment, went to dinner and then we taught S the message of the restoration. S has been struggling with excepting the Book of Mormon as scripture, so we decided to re-teach her the message of the restoration. We had Sister C come with us, and let me tell you, Sister C and S are two peas in a pod, so that was awesome. After the lesson, S said the Book of Mormon made more sense to her, and so she said she will read it and pray about it. We also found out that she has been tight on money which is why she hasn't been coming to church, she can't afford gas in her car, so Sister C offered S a ride to church. S came to church on Sunday, so that was awesome!

 Sister Barrow is from Herriman Utah, but grew up in Oregon. She is 19, but her personality and disposition actually reminds me a lot of myself. She isn't crazy all over the place, but she isn't really timid, she's calm, sweet, fun and confident. Its been a lot of fun being with her so far. She is super outgoing, loves to laugh, is going to school for vocal performance and has such a deep testimony. Actually she reminds me a lot of Zyanya. Her whole family is musically talented, in fact her dad sings in the MOTAB choir. So, she loves MOTAB! Seriously she only listens to MOTAB. I still haven't really been able to catch Sister Barrow up on our weekly plans because we've been busy busy busy which is awesome! Hopefully by tomorrow we will have a lot more order to things. Sunday was incredible! All of the talks were on missionary work. Brother B talked about his experience of working with the sisters to be reactivated, a youth speaker spoke on pure love, Br Bl our new ward mission leader spoke on how "the field is white all ready to harvest", and I spoke on conversion and true discipleship. It was such a powerful meeting and so many people cried throughout it. In fact by the time I got up there I had cried so much, I was a blubbery mess, luckily I only had 5 minutes to speak ;) Loved it!

I think it is incredible how much the Lord is truly preparing his children to hear the gospel. Yesterday we went to teach a lady who became our new investigator she kind of blew us off, so I decided we should try to see a guy named C we tracted into back in May. If you remember me talking about this guy basically he had been invited to come to church with his wife and child by his friend from the Liberty 2nd ward. He loved it and wanted to learn more, but we were never able to get a hold of him after that. Well, we went over and he was home and opened the door. Again, he just raved about how much he loved church and wants to have this church be his church. He said this is what he has been searching for his whole life, but his wife is baptist and at this point told him she won't change, so he is trying to respect her. He said she loved it to, but her parents and siblings have been really anti towards the church. But he said she doesn't have a very good relationship with her family and so its just a matter of time before they push too hard and she will no longer listen to them. We asked him if he got a copy of the Book of Mormon and he has read almost to the end. He said he knows its true. We left him with our number and told him when he and his wife are ready to come again the doors are open and we would love to see them. He said as soon as his wife gives the go ahead they will be there. Otherwise, we are just going to drop by monthly to see if any progress has been made. He is so prepared!!

The Liberty area truly is white and ready to harvest. I think about the last couple days and on one street alone where 4 member families live, the elders have 5 other houses of investigators they are working with and we have 3 houses with investigators. Seriously all on ONE street. How incredible is that?! With the ward split a lot of the members wondered how we would be able to keep the missionary work going. Well, let me tell you even though we have a very small densely populated  area to work, there are people prepared and they are everywhere :) It is amazing and I am excited to continue to help Sister Barrow find the vision of how great this place is and how much greater it will become as we find those who are ready.

Even the members are starting to get into the missionary spirit. Saturday night we had a last minute ward party put together and there were quite a few non-member families that came. It was a great success. I know that as each of us continue to deepen our conversion in the gospel we will see how much the gospel blesses our lives, we will gain a desire to share it and as we pray for opportunities to share the gospel and the courage to take hold of those opportunities sharing the gospel with friends, co-workers, and neighbors will be natural because we will be doing it out of sincere love for them. We are a doctrine of Christ people. We learn it, we live it, we love it and we share it with love through the spirit.

I love this gospel. This work is truly incredible! If we show the Lord our faith and our willingness to do his will we will find opportunities to share the gospel truths that bless us daily. Luke 22:32. I love you all! Thanks for all of your love and prayers it means more than you know! I have Monday P-day from now until whenever, so I hope to get an email next week :)

Love you all!!

Sister Luening

Sister Barrow and Sister Luening

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