Monday, October 6, 2014

October 6, 2014 Blue Springs, Missouri

Dear Family! 

Holy Cow what a spiritual powerhouse week! I must say I was so glad to have been able to go to the temple last week. I feel like it really prepared me to hear the messages from General Conference. I loved that the messages seemed to be centered around the necessity and blessing of having a living prophet on the earth today. I also enjoyed the many addresses that helped us know what we can do in our lives to develop and strengthen our testimonies that will keep us safely guarded on Ship Zion. I was blown away by the power that was truly projected from those who were speaking. It really reminded me that the Second Coming is truly creeping up on us. On sunday morning I studied in 3 Nephi chapters  6-7. It was amazing to me to be able to compare and parallel the things Elder Lynn G Robbins spoke about concerning our society and lowering their standards far beneath God's standards and laws and how the Nephites did the same thing in those chapters. It was interesting to be able to look into the Book of Mormon and see what was happening to the Nephites at the time right before Christ appears to them. It was kind of like a look into the present and future of things to come before the second coming of our Savior Jesus Christ. How blessed we are to be able to be guided by living prophets and apostles. 

Here is an amazing experience that happened this weekend. Sunday morning Sister Kang and I decided to stop by our investigators house to invite him to come to General Conference. He was sitting out in his carport and he ended up asking some questions about how a prophet or leader in our church is called. We briefly explained to him that it is through revelation and then told him about General conference. We invited him to come with us, but he said he was going to be leaving around noon to go see his son. We invited him to watch the morning session and before hand to write down questions. We promised him that if he would watch conference he would come to have his questions answered and that he would be able to know for himself that we have a living prophet on the earth today. Well, what do you know, amazingly the very first talk by President Henry B Eyring was on continual revelation through prophets and down the line. And then Elder Russell M Nelson's talk was on "How do we sustain a prophet?". It was  like the sunday morning session was formatted specifically for D. It was awesome!! 

I can't wait for the ensign to come out so that I can more thoroughly feast upon the words of our living prophet and apostles. Their messages were inspiring and uplifting. Their words truly added to the trainings I received in Zone training this last Friday. We have a few changes in the mission. We don't have a ton of memorizations anymore. The only things that we recite and memorize is "Our purpose" and "The First Vision". Some of our weekly key indicators have been changed as to the procedure of counting some things as a key indicator. It is amazing how all of the changes are to help us to refocus on "having the end in mind" for our investigators. To keep the real reason of what we hope for those we are teaching, which is to bring them back to our Father in Heaven through repentance and making covenants. We were also instructed on how we can better use the resources and tools we have to do missionary work and bring others unto Christ. We were instructed on how we can have shorter more powerful spirit filled lessons. It was great!! Ultimately these changes we were told are to help us be more effective and efficient missionaries in preparation for getting I-Pads at the end of the year. It is hoped that by incorporating these changes now we will better be able to utilize the tools that we will be given in the upcoming months and truly be Preach My Gospel missionaries. 

I love this work. It is an exciting time of change for the better. There are so many changes all the time that we need to make sure that we are changing with it.  As Elder Carlos A Godoy of the Seventy mentioned, the difference between misery and happiness comes to just a few small errors. We need to be fine tuning ourselves every day. I love this gospel. I feel so blessed to be living in a time when we have the restored gospel here on the earth. I know without a doubt that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I feel blessed to have walked and be serving where he himself served the Lord with all of his heart might mind and strength. I am so blessed to be serving in the Alpha and Omega mission. I have been called to serve where Our Father in Heaven's Plan for His children truly began and where all things will be restored to its perfect order and frame, when Christ, our Savior Himself,comes to rule and reign here upon the earth. I feel blessed that I am able to change daily through the power of the atonement. To access it each week through the sacrament and be spiritually armed and fortified with the Spririt. What a sacred privilege I have to carry this mantle to be at this time a servant of the Lord and a messenger of His truth. I'm so grateful for all of you. For the support, love and prayers. I feel blessed to have such a supportive and loving family. I love each of you dearly and I know that I wouldn't be here if it hadn't been for each of your great influences that have touched my life. I love you and hope you have an amazing week! 

sister Luening

September 30, 2014 Blue Springs, Missouri

Fear not Family, I am Alive! 
So, you were probably expecting my email yesterday, but Sister Kang and I switched our P-day so that we could go to the temple today. It was definitely needed since neither one of us had gone to the temple since May, CRAZY!! It was great to be able to feel the peace and serene surroundings of the temple, and to be reminded of the promises and blessings of our covenants. 
This last week was wonderful. K was baptized on friday and confirmed on sunday. She was so happy and her family was there to support her. I really hope they felt of the very special spirit that was in our dedicated church building. Today at the temple I ran into my old ward mission leader from Kearney. He said that they have about 13 scheduled baptisms for the month of October and guess who they are. J, S and G are supposed to be getting baptized on October 25th at 6pm!! I am so excited!! Also, the T family are going to be getting baptized on that date as well. It is so exciting to see how 7 months ago these individuals were in the beginning steps and now they have deep testimonies and are excited to take the sacred steps of baptism. YAY!! I was so excited!! 
Saturday was great with the Women's General Broadcast. I loved how everything pointed back to the temple and being prepared to go to the temple. I think when people hear "prepare to go to the temple", we automatically associate it with going to the temple for the first time. But we should be preparing to go to the temple every time we go to the temple.I was reminded about how preparation precedes power. Power that comes through revelation and inspiration from the Holy Ghost. I loved being reminded about the wonderful blessings of the temple. It truly is a sacred place where we go to more fully understand our Father in Heaven and His plan for us. The more we understand God, the more we will understand ourselves and our eternal path. I am so excited for General Conference. I can't wait to hear from our living prophet and apostles. How blessed are we to be living in the latter-day restoration in which we truly receive modern day revelation. It is incredible! 
The other day we were talking with one of our investigators named D, and he told us that he was stuck on something. He said, he just can't wrap his head around the fact that both God and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith. He said if it had only been Jesus Christ, he could believe it, but God too. He talked about how looking in the bible there was only one case in which God, Himself, actually showed Himself to man, he was referring to Moses. He expressed that it would have had to have been pretty important for Jesus Christ and God to show themselves to a 14 year old boy.  As I served at the Liberty Jail and took a phone call a man had this same concern. I just wish I could say in a way that they would understand and penetrate to their hearts that you know what, you're right! It would have had to have been pretty important. And it was! The Restoration of the Fullness of the Gospel in this last dispensation was the most important thing that would happen to mankind here on the earth. This is the last dispensation of the fullness of times. This time period is ultimately for the world to prepare for the second coming of our Savior Jesus Christ.....I would have to say that is pretty important, yes, even so vitally important that even God Himself with His Son would appear to a 14 year old boy who would later become His chosen prophet on the earth; A prophet to restore back to order all saving ordinances that would allow ALL mankind past, present and future to have the opportunity to accept or reject the gospel, ultimately bringing to pass God's eternal purposes for His children to be able to "receive immortality and eternal life" (Moses 1:39).  I'd say since everything past present and future hung on the balance of the need for a restoration that yes, even God himself would appear to usher in the dispensation of the fullness of times here upon the earth. The restoration was necessary for God's children to be able to fully access the power of the atonement in their lives because it is through sacred covenants to our Heavenly Father and the power of the atonement combined that we are able to overcome the effects of "The Fall" and be brought back into our Father's presence. We cannot have the one without the other. So, yes indeed, I think if the most significant point in history was hanging in the balance, God really would have made an appearance to signify to everyone the importance of the events to follow: The restoration of all things in this last dispensation.
I just want to add my witness that I know that these things are true. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is God's Kingdom established on the earth in preparation to our Savior's Second Coming. I know that God and Jesus Christ did appear to Joseph Smith, and that he was called as a prophet of God. I know that through Joseph Smith the Priesthood Authority was restored back to the earth making it possible for saving ordinances to be received by the living and the dead. I am grateful for temples and for the sacred places that they are. They truly are a refuge from the world and a place to receive instruction and a renewed commitment to return to our Father in Heaven. I am grateful for the sealing power that binds families together eternally. That ultimately our greatest happiness can come through our families as we individually and collectively strive to make and keep sacred covenants with our Father in Heaven. I am grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ and all that He has done for me. That through Him I can become perfect, "even as my Father in Heaven is perfect". I love you all, and I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. 
Have a great week!
Love, Sister Luening