*Disclaimer* I don’t know how this email got so long….. Sorry for
writing a novel!
My dear friends and family! What a crazy, fun, sad, exciting,
bitter-sweet week!! After spending six months in my very favorite
little country town of Susquehanna I will be leaving here tomorrow!! I
have learned so much and had so many crazy experiences in the past six
months! I’ve learned to love so many people, learned to try so many
things, and learned to follow so many promptings.
Since Susquehanna has such a special place in my heart, I thought it
would be appropriate to share 25 things I have learned while being in
1. Sometimes when three of you come brand new into an area and you
have absolutely no idea who is who or what is what, but it’s actually
really beneficial for the area and you start working with new people,
trying new things, and touching new hearts.
2. The 12 week program NEVER gets old!! The district videos are your
best form of entertainment and sometimes you just have to laugh at the
awkward law of chastity lesson, cry at the wedding, and smile because
you know the missionaries were inspired to say something. I’m going to
miss doing 12 week!
3. Sister Simmons taught me that even though you have every reason to
turn inwards, turning outwards will ALWAYS be more worth it.
4. Sister Simmons also taught me how to love my family
unconditionally. Her love for her family was so sweet, I couldn’t help
but think of my family and the love I have for them every time she
talked about hers.
5. NEVER judge a person by the appearance of their house. Every house
has potential, every person can progress, and repentance is available
to everyone. One interview we had with President while I’ve been here,
he told us to think of a weapon of rebellion to bury. Mine was
judgement. I didn’t want to pass by any house because I thought the
people living there wouldn’t accept the gospel. Everyone has potential
to accept it. I’m still working on this one, but it has made the
biggest difference so far.
6. Sister Brown taught me to be bold. If the Book of Mormon is true
then Joseph Smith was a prophet and the gospel has been restored to
the earth. If the Book of Mormon is false then everything about our
church is false. I was afraid to say this to people before I was
companions with her, and now there’s no doubt in my mind that this is
true, and I’m not afraid to say it to others.
7. We needed a Joseph Smith and a Nephi. Some people live up to that
role in their own way, but some people are Hyrum’s and Sam’s. Flying
under the radar is 150% desirable here because in reality no one can
fly under the radar in God’s eyes. Not everyone is asked to lead such
as Nephi did, but some people are asked to live like Hyrum Smith did.
Heavenly Father loves each of those people the same. You don’t need
approval from people here. God knows.
8. ANYONE can overcome any addiction. Don’t give up on people because
they give in one time. Keep trying! The Atonement is available to
everyone every time they need it! Even if they don’t think they need
it, or they feel like they can’t use it, they can!
9. The priesthood is in fact the authority to act in God’s name, and
it is here on the earth. We need that authority to perform saving
ordinances so that we can live with God again.
10. Loving everyone is so much easier than finding things to complain
11. We have prophets and apostles on the earth today. Meeting
President Nelson and getting to shake his hand, talk to him, and hear
his testimony; I can testify that he is called of God. He is an
Apostle and he has the authority to direct and guide us. The most
important thing I want to remember about meeting him is the feeling
that I had of the spirit testifying to me that he is called of God and
this is Christ’s church on the earth today.
12. Sister Larsen helped me understand that if you are sick you need
to take time to get healthy so you can more quickly give it your 100%
rather than just giving 20% for a longer period of time.
13. Sister Larsen also taught me to be reasonable and not try to do
everything at once. Lists are good, priorities are important and
enjoying yourself in the process is essential!
14. The gospel is such an enjoyable thing to live and when we do so,
we will be more in tune with the spirit and God will trust us to do
His will and help His children come into the fold.
15. Some spiritual promptings that you get lead you to something else
that was the real reason you needed to deviate from your plans in the
first place. One time Sister Larsen and I went to a lesson that fell
through, we were supposed to go right back to the visitors’ center,
but I had a feeling we should stop by someone. We went and they
weren’t home. Frustrated we got back into the truck and I was again
promoted to stop by someone else. We went and they. weren’t. home.
Confused and frustrated this time we made our way back to the
visitors’ center and within 5 minutes it was apparent why we needed to
delay getting back there. We gave a tour to a recent convert and her
family who none of them are members. It was so necessary that we gave
them the tour because I already knew them and they felt more
comfortable. The recent convert’s parents came to church the next day
and they are now starting to take the lessons!
16. Being a sister training leader taught me that everyone has their
own struggles and trials. That doesn’t mean one persons trials are any
less than another persons’, rather that Heavenly Father loves all His
children and desires to help us all, especially when we go through
17. Using the talents God has given you can change hearts and help
others feel the spirit. Our concert was such an amazing experience and
I’m so grateful we did it so that more people could be open to all
that we want to share with them.
18. Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.
(Our motto at the visitors’ center).
19. “Look unto [God] in every thought; doubt not, fear not.” Our
recitation this past transfer! Also quoted in the video we play at the
visitors’ center. (Doctrine and Covenants 6:36).
20. Faith. You can’t get anywhere without it. If you don’t believe it,
it won’t happen. If you don’t have faith, you’ll never know any of
this is true. Sadly, I learned this from examples of people who didn’t
have faith. It really won’t get you far though. It’s so essential to
the gospel. It’s the first principle of the gospel!
21. Joseph Smith. He is the prophet of the restoration. He truly did
see God the Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ. Christ’s church was
restored through him. He was called of God. God qualifies whom He
calls; but it doesn’t happen over night. Joseph was learning truths as
he was translating the Book of Mormon. He was learning how to be a
prophet when he lived here. That’s how he knew to ask about baptism
which led to the priesthood being brought back to the earth.
22. The Book of Mormon. So many people in this area thought the Book
of Mormon was a fascinating, cool book that had some good quotes in
it. But the Book of Mormon is much more than that. It is scripture,
another testament of Jesus Christ. It is evidence that Joseph Smith
was a true prophet. It teaches us how we can return to live with our
Beloved Father in Heaven again. It testifies of Christ and when we
know Christ is our Savior and Redeemer, we will know that the Book of
Mormon is true. When we know that the Book of Mormon is true, we will
know that Christ did all that He did for every single person. For you.
(2 Nephi 33:10)
23. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is available to us all. Christ’s
mercy covers everything. His grace is sufficient for all men. Through
the Atonement we can overcome the fall. We can be cleansed of all of
our sins. We can return to live with God again. Christ loves each of
us so personally, because He has felt every single thing that we have
felt. He loves us because He knows us. Our trials, our joys, He knows
it all. We can turn to Him always, and I know that even when we feel
completely and utterly alone, Christ is there. He has felt your pain.
He knows how to help you, you just have to turn towards Him.
24. God answers prayers! There were nights when I pled with Him to
help me understand His will. I asked Him for many things, and even
though I did not deserve it, He still answered me. He loves us so much
and He wants to help us. Often times we just need to ask Him for help.
We should pray about even simple things. One time Sister Larsen and I
were doing online teaching, and no one was getting on. We said a
prayer and had three people in a row to talk to and help understand
more about the gospel!
25. Although I have every desire to help someone and see them progress
and enter the waters of baptism, sometimes that is not what God has in
store for me or for them. Heavenly Father has His own timing, He knows
us all perfectly, and some people aren’t ready to accept the gospel
right away. Your mission is what you make it; if you have a good
attitude, you’ll have a good time!
I know that God lives. He loves us so much. He sent His Son, Jesus
Christ to atone for each of us. He gave us the Book of Mormon. He has
taught us how we can live with Him again. He has given us prophets
today to direct, lead, and guide us. I know this gospel is true. The
priesthood is on the earth today. The Doctrine and Covenants are
revelation from God. The Book of Mormon is here for us to apply to our
own lives so we can CHANGE and become better. I’m so grateful for all
that I’ve learned here in Susquehanna and all of the friendships I’ve
made. I’m grateful for the people I’ve met, and that they’ve touched
my life and changed me to become a better person. I can’t wait to be
back here at the Priesthood Restoration Site in the spring. I’m so
excited for what the next three transfers have in store for me until
then! I love being a missionary! I love the gospel! I love
Pennsylvania! I love Susquehanna! And I love you to the moon and
Sister Sammy Gomm (: