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 (:

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These are the days of Harmony – Susquehanna #12

Friends and family!! Hello! First off, happy birthday to my older brother Keyan!! You. Are. Old. (; I hope you have a wonderful day! Just so you all know, my pday has officially been changed to Tuesday! So the rest of my stay in Susquehanna I’ll be emailing on Tuesdays!

Wow. This has been the best and craziest week of my entire life! Last Monday we had “Susquehanna” golden retraining! Whoo!! It was so good! As always (: on Tuesday it was just a normal proselyting day, which was great except we had 5 companionships in our area alone! Crazy. I don’t know how we didn’t all run into each other every five minutes! But needless to say, a great day of finding! Wednesday is when everything got CRAZY!

So we show up to the visitors center Wednesday morning and I went over to President Anderson to ask him a question then he told me he needed to tell Sister Robison and I something, so he calls her over and asks us if we will be the sister training leaders for the visitors center! Whoo! Except how does that even work because Sister Robison and I aren’t even companions?? Don’t ask, we’re still trying to figure it out ourselves… And we’re apparently supposed to go on exchanges every Wednesday. Crazy! So after that visitors center training starts!!! Brother LasVarde (don’t ask me if that’s the correct way to spell his name because I have no idea!!) from Salt Lake came and did our training. We talked a lot about preach my gospel and he complimented us because he can really tell that we are a preach my gospel mission. We also got to see the video that they are showing at our site and the video they will be showing at the Whitmer Farm. Wow. The video they are showing here is amazing!! Seriously, everyone needs to come here! So we had training from 9 am until 6:30 pm! Once we finally left we saw we had a missed call from our branch mission leader, so we listen to the voicemail he left and he was inviting us over for dinner! So we call him back and ask if they already had dinner, luckily they hadn’t, they were just getting ready to eat! So we go over and they’re literally finishing setting the table right as we get there! So we eat and share a message and are out the door all within 35 minutes! Talk about fastest, best dinner appointment of my life! And there wasn’t even dessert! (I’m so tired of having dessert every meal appointment!)

So Thursday we are at the visitors center again by 8:45 am and we go right in to training. We talk more about missionary work and helping people and talking about preach my gospel, etc. then around 5 they give us our study guides for the visitors center and tell us that we need to study this and get to know all of the information in it! Sister Larsen and I had to go to an appointment after that, so we left and taught this couple M… and K… the restoration! It was so great! You know when you have that moment of everything just clicks and from then on you and your companion teach in unity and everything goes great? Well that happened at this lesson for Sister Larsen and I! And! Sister Larsen invited them to be baptized and they accepted a date for October 17!! I am so excited for them! They invited us over on Thursday for a lesson and pizza!! K… put a reminder in her phone that says “Mormons and pizza” haha! So after the lesson we go back to the visitors center and ask the visitors center director, Elder Walker, what we missed, and he said that we didn’t miss anything but we are free to go and study for the rest of the night, that he wanted us doing that rather than going out finding (it’s so different being in a visitors center). So we break into our study guides and wow. I feel like I’m back in school! There is so much to study and learn and know! It’s crazy.

Friday consisted of more training and then our first tour! Local people (as in members from our branch) had volunteered to be the first ones to have tours so that the missionaries could practice. Sister Larsen and I had the branch president and his wife, their friends, and two members of our branch in our group! The spirit was so strong when we were with them and at the end of the tour we took them to the chapel and watched Because He Lives on the big screen there. After the video we had such a spiritual conversation with all of them and it was one of the best experiences! After all of the tours were done and we all came together to discuss what happened we were free to go home and sleep and study! That would be great except literally every night since Tuesday we have to make so many calls and we don’t have time for anything! Friday was also transfer calls, and there are only three elders in our whole zone being transferred! Crazy.

Saturday was amazing.

These are days never to be forgotten.

Saturday was our opening day! Wow. It was so crazy and so great! Sister Larsen and I were in the back where we put our bags getting ready to go out, and we said a prayer right before and after we finished our prayer we saw Sister Simmons and Sister Anderson waiting for us and they told us that F… (one of our investigators that we’ve had a hard time getting in contact with) was here and wanted a tour from us!! So we go out and see F… and two of her kids with her! So we go and give them a tour and when we got down to Joseph and Emma’s house we sat down on some benches and just talked. We talked about what F… is going to do with her life and what God wants from her. She told us that she thinks this might be true, that this could be the pathway that God wants her to take! Sister Larsen and I testified of truth to her and promised her blessings and shared a scripture with her, the spirit was so strong! The Smith home has become one of my favorite places. (: after that we did a tour with the cutest family from New Jersey! After that we had to go to a lesson but once we got there the lesson fell through! 😦 I had a prompting that we should go to someone’s house but they weren’t home.. Then I felt like we should go to someone else’s house but they weren’t home either! At this point Sister Larsen and I were trying to figure out what Heavenly Father’s intentions were for sending us to two different houses where no one was home. So we drive back to the visitors center feeling confused about why that would happen. Then right when we got back we did a tour with L… and her family. L… was baptized a little over a year ago and she is the only member of her family. She came with her parents, her aunt and uncle, her grandmother, and another aunt. Wow. This was why Heavenly Father directed us to go stop by those two other people. If we had been any earlier or later we would have missed L… and someone else would have given them a tour, which would not have been a problem, but it was definitely inspiration that we were with them. They had SO many amazing questions and insights! It was great! When we got to the Smith home I quickly asked L… if she would be willing to share her testimony of the Book of Mormon. She happily agreed and we went into the room with the benches. We sat down and talked about the Book of Mormon, the priesthood, and faith. The spirit was seriously so strong and then L… shared her testimony of the Book of Mormon and it was so great!!

Days of Harmony.

It’s funny because no one who lives here knows that they used to call this place Harmony, but all of the members who come here think that it still is called Harmony. But these are days of Harmony! On Sunday we had 5 investigators at church!! We’re still meeting in our little house on the prairie building until the dedication, but L…’s parents both came to church!! It was so great! At 4 pm we had to be at the visitors center and when we walk in L… and A… (she was baptized at the same time as L…) and E…, the branch mission leader’s daughter were waiting for us so we could give them a tour! So we go and it was another amazing experience!!

Days of gratitude.

As we were going through the Hale home E…’s brother, C…, joined us and finished the tour with us. When we got to the Smith home we all sat down on the infamous benches and talked about the gospel and A… shared her testimony and talked about how she recognized her answer to the Book of Mormon. L… talked about how she felt when she received her answer and then we asked C… to share his testimony of the priesthood. Wow. What a great experience!!

Days of hope.

The spirit was so strong afterwards and none of us wanted to leave so at L…’s request we sang “Praise to the Man”. It was beautiful. Sister Larsen and C… were singing different parts and L… was singing descant for part. The spirit was wrapped around us and it was testifying to each of us that this is true. The things that happened here in Susquehanna were key to bringing the church back to the earth. This place has such a special place in my heart. It’s true. The gospel is restored. The priesthood was brought back to the earth and we have it today. Yesterday we got to give a tour to a few of the Manhattan temple missionary temple workers. Seeing them watch the video for the first time and talking about the Book of Mormon with them helped me strengthen my own testimony. I am so grateful for this time that I have to be a missionary! It’s been such a crazy week, but so many miracles have happened!

“These are days never to be forgotten. Days of harmony. Days of gratitude. Days of hope.”

I love you all! I’m sorry this is an eternity long, but it was such an amazing week! I love you to the moon and back!

Love,

Sister Sammy Gomm (: