O Little Town of Bethlehem – Bethlehem #1

Hello friends and family! What a crazy week! It started early Tuesday
morning! Sister Larsen and I went to the other sisters house and made
a car switch and the ones who were staying got their new companions.
Sister Larsen and Sister Robison are now companions in Susquehanna!
After saying goodbye, Sister Brown and I drove the van three hours
down to Broomall! Apparently everyone and their dog already knows
where I went though (social media is dumb). But, I get to spend
Christmas in Bethlehem!! Whoo!!! My companion is Sister Torres! She
has been on her mission for a year (one transfer more than me)!

Bethlehem is so cute! It reminds me a lot of Downingtown, which is
funny because when I was in Downingtown with Sister Ipson, she would
always comment on how Downingtown looks a lot like Bethlehem. Needless
to say, there are so many cute houses, nice people, actual stores, and
no dirt roads! I miss driving a truck! (Dad, I still want one when I
go home!)

We share the area with another set of sisters and Sister Agado is one
of them!! (She was at the priesthood restoration site with me).

On Thanksgiving we went and visited TONS of people! And we only had to
have pie twice! (Gross) There are two less active ladies who live in
the other sister’s area, but are staying in our area at a rehab
center. We’ve gone to visit them a few times and wow. They are SO
funny!! This week we’ve done a lot of trying to find inactive members
because we have SO many in our area!

A miracle that happened this week was, a few weeks ago the ward
council had asked the sisters to go and try to find an inactive man
whose records had just been transferred over to our ward from the
Nazareth ward. The sisters hadn’t been able to find him, so Sister
Torres and I went over. We parked the car and prayed before getting
out. While we were praying they pulled in to their driveway!! So we
get out and this man comes out to greet us. We ask him if a man named
T… lives there. At first he wasn’t too sure about us, but then we
got talking and he talked to us for awhile. He is SO cool! T…
joined the church when he was 15, but when he was almost 17 he stopped
going. He loves he church and wants to come back; but he feels a lot
of pressure from his family and his wife belongs to another religion.
He has experienced a lot of trials with his family believing something
different than him, but he said that now his family doesn’t go to
church at all. We gave him our number and the address to the church
building, and he is hoping to be able to come to church soon. Wow. He
is so cool! I can’t wait to see where the Lord takes him!

This week we also had a man come to gospel principles and after class
we were talking to him. He was baptized when he was younger, but
doesn’t know anything about the church. He had met some elders and
told them that he wants to gain a testimony and he thought talking to
the missionaries would be a good place to start. After Sunday School,
he went to sacrament meeting with the ward that meets after us. We are
meeting with him later tonight, and he is SO excited to learn more and
‘gain a testimony.’ It’s funny, it feels like teaching an
investigator, but he was already baptized! I don’t know all of the
details of his story, but I am excited to get to know him better!!

I am excited to make a change in Bethlehem! We don’t have any
investigators right now, but I am excited with what this Christmas
season will bring! It must be good, right? I’m spending Christmas in
Bethlehem!! I can’t wait to develop a greater love for the people
here! That’s actually something I’ve been thinking about a lot. Christ
and God’s love for each of us. If there is one thing I know for sure,
it’s that Heavenly Father loves all of His children. I know I can’t
teach these people unless I love them. Christ is our perfect example
and I’m so grateful I get to learn from His example and follow in His
footsteps.

I hope you all have a wonderful week! I love you to the moon and back!

Love,

Sister Sammy Gomm (:

Susquehanna has my heart! – Susquehanna #24

*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
Susquehanna.

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
about them.

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
trials.

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
back!!

Love,
Sister Sammy Gomm (:

Concert Week – Susquehanna #23

Hello friends and family!!

This week we were basically at the visitors’ center all hours of the
day. Any second we had we were trying to find people to teach,
inviting everyone to our concert that we were having that weekend, and
trying to meet with our less active and recent convert members! It was
crazy. I’ve never sang so much in my entire life.

But wow. Hearts were changed this weekend. Our concert was on Friday
evening. We had tons of less active members, members who are just
getting reactivated, President and Sister Anderson came, almost all of
the active members of the Methodist church, some other people who we,
and Great Bend (other proselyting sisters in our branch) had invited,
and our investigator, R… came!

It was an interesting week, because for numbers it was not a good
week. We were scheduled to be at the visitors’ center from 2-9 every
day, but it was all worth it because of that concert. It’s an amazing
thing to feel the spirit because of how strongly someone else is
feeling it. I have mentioned a lot of times how I think there were
ministering angels around us; and maybe that’s just because ever since
I’ve been in this area I’ve been studying the priesthood, so I’ve been
more aware of it. But I really do feel as though there have been
continuous times when there were ministering angels among us. The
concert was one of those times. The spirit was just so strong. On the
last song I was standing next to Sister Simmons and halfway through I
can tell that she’s crying. I grab her hand and see in the audience
other people crying as well. After the closing prayer a member of the
Methodist church came up to us in tears and hugged us all. When she
hugged me she couldn’t stop talking about how wonderful it all was and
how she felt so good and she thinks we are so great. Although I
definitely, definitely, definitely appreciated her comments I couldn’t
help but pause and think of all the gratitude I have for the
missionaries who served in this area before us. If they hadn’t had
such a great relationship with so many of the people in this area,
these people wouldn’t have felt the need to have relationships with
us. This community is such a unique one, but I’m grateful for the
unity that it has and the fact that we can go to the Methodist bible
study class on Mondays and feel welcomed and people of other faiths
can come and feel welcomed at our church.

Nothing may happen right now with that lady, but somewhere down the
road she might come across two girls in skirts with black name tags
and a white truck and remember her experience that evening and invite
those two in. All my mission all I’ve done so far is plant seeds. But
how important that is! If you don’t plant seeds you won’t have
anything to harvest. Sister Larsen and I have made sure that we talk
to everyone we come across, and not just talk to them, but help them
feel of Heavenly Father’s love for them. Because somewhere in the
future they may have someone offer them a Book of Mormon, and they’re
going to think back to how the last two missionaries they met made
them feel.

That being said, transfer calls are this Friday. All I know so far is
that Susquehanna has my heart.

The gospel is true. President Monson is the prophet on the earth
today, he receives revelation directly from God. He has the authority
to act in God’s name, and God loves us. That’s why He gave us a
prophet; the Book of Mormon; the gospel; His Son, Jesus Christ, our
Savior and redeemer. The knowledge and opportunity to live with God
again is available to all of us, we just have to live worthy of it.

I hope you all have a wonderful week! I love you to the moon and back!

Love,
Sister Gomm (:

Susquehanna #22

Hello friends and family!!

I hope you are all well! We had a lesson with an inactive man and his
girlfriend this week, I can’t remember if I talked about them or not,
but they are so cool!!! We just got to know them and talked about the
Book of Mormon and eternal families. Wow. They are so cute! They have
the two cutest boys, and they were showing us their dance moves! It
was so cute. Something President Anderson has asked all of us to do is
sing a hymn before each lesson to better invite the spirit. I was
nervous to do this because I didn’t want it to be awkward! But Sister
Larsen and I did it anyways; we sang I am a Child of God. It was so
cool to feel the spirit fill the room while we were singing. Any
uncomfortable feelings I had were quickly replaced by the spirit when
we started singing. It was great to see how that just set the tone for
the rest of our visit with them. They are the cutest family! I can’t
wait to teach them more!

Remember last week how we weren’t ‘in and safe’ until 10 one night?
Well…. The same thing happened again!! We weren’t as late this
time… But we apparently didn’t learn our lesson the first time! We
made it a goal to be in on time every day!

We finally got back in touch with the D… family again this week.
They’ve been having a lot going on with their family, but we are
seeing them this Friday! I love them so so so much! We’re sending them
a scripture reference every day and they told us they really like when
they do that because every time without fail the scripture helps them
with something that they’ve been going through. It’s so cool to see
how the gospel can affect your life if you are willing to let it.
Heavenly Father wants to bless each and every one of us. When we do
what He asks, He blesses us more!! I am so grateful that the D…
family understands that and I’m so grateful we can all strengthen each
other’s faith when we meet. They are such great examples of faith,
I’ve learned so much from them!

We had two investigators show up to church on Sunday! One of them was
R…, L…’s mom. R… has been coming consistently, and I am
praying and praying that we will be able to teach her the lessons
soon! She is so amazing, I just love her so so much! She already knows
the gospel is true, she just wants her husband to take the lessons
with her. Wow. They are an amazing family!

On Sunday we gave a tour to my mom’s friend from high school! What a
cool family! It was so fun to hear their testimonies, plus their kids
are the cutest! I have felt the spirit so much while giving tours at
the visitors’ center. There are so many people who are truly converted
to the gospel. There have been some amazing experiences within the
walls of these homes. All of them had one thing in common. The Holy
Ghost. The spirit is continually testifying of truth here. It’s funny,
so many people mention how they could tell they were getting close
because they could feel the spirit get stronger and stronger while
driving on the highway (or dirt road, depending on which direction
they’re coming from:). There are some local people who keep coming
back because they think it is so peaceful here. The spirit is so
strong here; but half the time I don’t even notice. I notice while
sharing my testimony or while someone in the room is reading a
scripture, but I don’t notice it while I’m driving there. I don’t
notice it while I’m waiting for someone to show up so I can show them
around here. I prayed that I would be more aware of the spirit this
week, and wow. Heavenly Father answers prayers. Twice just this past
week a family has walked in and the spirit filled the room. One time
while watching the video it was unmistakable that someone’s life was
changing while they were watching the film because the spirit was
radiating through the entire room. I knew I was feeling the spirit so
strongly because someone else was coming to realize that this gospel
is true. While showing a family around the spirit was undeniable just
while walking on the trail in between the Hale and Smith homes. The
spirit was so strong on Sunday when we sang for Sister Anderson and
her daughters who came to visit for Sister Anderson’s birthday. Since
praying to be able to better recognize the spirit here, it has changed
significantly for me. The spirit is everywhere. It’s everywhere
because these things are true. The Book of Mormon really was
translated by the power of God here, the authority to baptize was
restored to the earth here, God has shown His love by giving us
revelations that have helped in restoring the gospel. The spirit
testifies of the truth. And all of this really did happen. The spirit
testifies that to everyone who learns about it, whether they recognize
it or not, it’s still true.

I hope you all have a wonderful week! I love you to the moon and back.

Love,
Sister Sammy Gomm (:

In and Safe at 10 – Susquehanna #21

Hello friends and family!!

Wow. What a crazy week! The week went by so fast, but looking back on
it, it feels like last Tuesday was years ago! (So…basically it’s
just like any other week).

This week was interesting. It’s always heartbreaking to see people not
living the covenants they have made with God. We found out that a
family (they’re members) we’ve been teaching started smoking again.
Despite those things though, there were positive things that happened!
We got in contact with a less active man, C…, that we’ve been trying
to get in contact with for weeks!! We are hoping to help him get back
to church and to start teaching the lessons to his girlfriend, S…!
We are seeing them later this week, I can’t wait to see where the Lord
takes them!

On Thursday the other half of the mission came up to the Priesthood
Restoration Site!! It was so fun to see so many familiar faces!
Including a new golden, Elder Campbell!!! Whoo! I’ll attach the
picture we took (: something that I really noticed the past two weeks
with our whole mission coming up here is that you can really tell
which zones are being obedient back in their areas. The feeling from
different groups of missionaries was so transparent; and it’s not that
certain groups were being disobedient… But the ones who are exactly
obedient carry the spirit with them more abundantly. I thought a lot
about that, and what I am going to do about it. Now that I’ve
recognized it, how am I going to let it affect me? How do I come
across to others? Can they tell that I have the spirit with me? DO I
have the spirit with me?

After everyone left on Thursday Sister Larsen and I had interviews
with President! In my interview we talked about how I want my mission
to affect the rest of my life. My mission isn’t a separate part from
the rest of my life, but rather, I’m learning things here that will
help me forever. So many people come into this visitors’ center who
are members of the church, but they do not have a testimony of this
gospel. It’s crazy to see the difference in those who do understand
Jesus Christ and His Atonement, and those who do not. Wow. I just love
President and Sister Anderson, they are the best!

On Halloween since we all had to be in by dark unless we were with a
member, all of the visitors’ center missionaries went to the Walker’s
(the site director) house and had dinner and sang hymns while Elder
Walker played the guitar! It was super fun! On Sunday we went to the
visitors’ center and had a lesson that evening at 8 with the S…’s.
Well we didn’t get out of the visitors’ center until 8:30 so we were
super late to their house, but we had a great lesson with them! It was
kind of crazy, but it was awesome! Then Sister Larsen and I were
trying to wrap things up because it was almost 9:30 and we needed to
be home by then, but it just wasn’t happening. It was great though
because we all committed to helping the S…’s strengthen their
faith and I think it was exactly what they needed. So finally we say a
closing prayer and head home. We’re on our way to our house and look
at our phone and we had 5 missed calls from our district leader, so we
go to call him but before we can get it to start ringing we get a call
from our zone leaders, so we answer.. “Hello, this is Sister Gomm,”
“Hi Sister Gomm, this is Elder Margetts. We heard that you have not
reported in and safe yet this evening.” “Well, we can’t report ‘in and
safe’ if we’re not in and safe!” “Wait, what? What happened? Where are
you?” Needless to say, our district leader called us two other times
while we were on the phone with the zone leaders, but finally he got
ahold of us and was so relieved that we finally answered so he didn’t
have to drive all the way out here to make sure we were in. So
basically we were just causing a lot of unnecessary stress….and the
lesson to be learned here is don’t be disobedient and not get home
until 10, or else your district leader will be very stressed. (Sorry
Elder Foster!)

The past two transfers since the visitors’ center has opened have been
so interesting for me. I’m really learning that Heavenly Father has
specific plans for all of His children. And your plan is not the same
as anyone else’s. It’s not even the same as your companion, even if
you’re with them 24/7. Sometimes it’s okay that we don’t have a lot of
time to proselyte. It’s okay that we don’t get to go finding every
hour of the day. It’s okay that we are constantly talking to people
who are already members of the church. Because that is what God has
called us to do. He does have a plan for each of us. What is your plan
and what are you doing to fulfill God’s plan for you?

I hope you all have a wonderful week! I’m sorry this is so
scatter-brained! I love you to the moon and back!

Love,
Sister Sammy Gomm (: