Week 30 in the Utah Orem Mission

With Ruth and Greg Davidson

Our former bishop from England and his wife saw Hermana Kathleen at the Provo City Center Open House. They had not seen her for many years. Hermana Kathleen remembers Bishop Davidson coming to our home in England dressed as Father Christmas. Great memory.

Monday night we visited again one of our referrals. As soon as we came in and were invited to sit, on his request we began with a prayer. He showed a true desire to continue learning. He has a strong testimony of the power of prayer and of the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We felt impressed to read a chapter of the Book of Mormon with him (Alma 22:1-33), and he was so intrigued and drawn in to what he was reading that he didn’t want to stop reading. From what we read, he felt that it was true. We extended him a baptismal date, and he accepted it. He told us that he has waited to be baptized for a long time, and he knows that this is his time. He is just amazing, and the Lord has been preparing him to receive the gospel.
Kitty cat at the home of the referral. So cute. Wouldn't stop purring

Hermana Kathleen feels the Lord keeps putting cats in her life to brighten up her days.

Throughout the week we were at the Provo City Center Temple Open House. I saw so many miracles there — I wish I had more time to write about it. And with Hermana Mena — she is just amazing. I had another sacred experience with her this week, through which I have come to understand myself more and understand God’s love and plan for me. He is helping me see the reasons why He has blessed me with certain weaknesses/trials so that I can come to develop certain Christ-like attributes and come to know Him better. Ether 12:27 has a whole new meaning for me.
Provo City Center Temple 1

Hermana Kathleen and Hermana Mena at the Provo City Center Temple.

Sunday night we visited a family, and we can see the hand of the Lord preparing them. While there, we explained the importance of saying specific prayers to receive specific answers and of the purpose of the Book of Mormon as another testament of Christ. (It was amazing to me how the Lord has prepared us to help them, as a few days earlier I had been studying about the connection between the Bible and the Book of Mormon, which helped me explain it more simply. And Hermana Mena was able to testify of the power of intent prayer, which she had been studying. I know that the Lord helps prepare each of us as we seek to do His will and help others come closer to Him.) We also read 1 Nephi 1:1-12 and Moroni 10:3-5, and the family felt the spirit and committed themselves to praying about the message we shared. They are so excited to read the Book of Mormon.
This morning we had interviews with President Killpack. I know that he holds priesthood keys over this mission. He has the spirit with him, and I know that what he told me and reminded me is what the Lord would say to me. And he helped me come to realize the importance of KNOWING WHO I TRULY AM and NOT LETTING NEGATIVE THOUGHTS CROWD MY MIND. He told me that I need to be Tigger, not Eeyore. 🙂 I am so grateful to have had two mission presidents. President McCune and President Killpack who both knew and know exactly what to say to me — they keep themselves close to the spirit, and they are both dear to my heart.
Throughout my mission I have been learning SO MUCH about myself, my relationship with the Lord, and how I can serve by His side in this marvelous work — how I can develop and exercise faith in His Son — that alone I am weak but through His Son I am enough.
At the car shop

Hermana Kathleen and Hermana Mena spend time at the car shop getting their car repaired.

And this afternoon (on a Preparation-day) we saw the Lord guiding us to those He is preparing. While getting our car fixed, we were able to talk with a man and share our testimonies. Later on we were hungry and decided to stop by a Thai food restaurant, and while there we met a sister and were able to sit down and eat with her. She is less active but wants to come back into activity. We invited her to read her patriarchal blessing, and we testified of God’s love for her.
Provo City Center Temple 3

The Provo City Center Temple at night.

It has been an amazing day. Pray to know with whom you can share your testimony.

Week 29 in the Utah Orem Mission

I had a really hard morning, and this is what I found -- Hna Mena cooking me lunch.

I had a really hard morning, and this is what I found — Hermana Mena cooking me lunch!

This week we have seen the hand of the Lord guiding us, and He is truly softening the hearts of these families.
Yesterday we saw some more miracles. After a lesson cancelation, we went with the member of the branch presidency who had agreed to accompany us, and Hermana Mena felt impressed that we should go and contact a referral. When we arrived at the address, we realized that it was a trailer park and there were a lot of trailers and we had no idea which one it was. I felt impressed that we should say a prayer, so we did, thanking Heavenly Father for guiding us there, admitting that we didn’t know quite why we were there, neither where we could find that referral, and then pleading for His help to help this individual come closer to Christ.
After the prayer, the member the branch presidency felt impressed that we should talk with a family heading out the door, and when we asked, they knew exactly who it was and where he lived. As we walked over to the trailer where the referral lives, I saw a kitty cat inside that trailer, and I knew we would see miracles!
I am so happy.

Here is one of my little angels. I’m so happy!

We knocked and he invited us in, and he is so prepared to receive the gospel. The Lord truly works wonders, and even if plans don’t go the way we hoped, the Lord has bigger plans in store.
That is how I view the Provo City Center Temple as well. There are so many special memories with the old tabernacle, and when it burned down, we were all in shock and didn’t know what would come out of it. And now we can see that the Lord had bigger plans in store for that location, and now it is a temple. And that is what the Lord is doing in our lives — He is molding us and building us into grand mansions.
Tuesday morning we received training about how our purpose is to “Teach Repentance and Baptize Converts,” and that has helped me remember the importance of ordinances and conversion, and I am coming to appreciate the temple more and more.
My mission president and president's wife

President and Sister Killpack of the Utah Orem Mission.

We enjoy serving at the Provo City Center Temple Open House. It is such a beautiful experience — not only is the temple changing other people’s lives, but it is also changing mine; its spirit is touching my heart and helping me remember that the most important things can’t be bought in a store — Christ, family, and ordinances and covenants are most important, and the restored gospel and temples help make that possible.
Last night we had the privilege of staying over at the mission home with other sister missionaries serving who have long drives to the temple open house. (So it was a mission sleepover kind of.) And before we went to bed, we all knelt down with President Killpack and Sister Killpack, and President Killpack said a prayer. The spirit that filled my heart as we heard him pray for us is a feeling I will never forget. Even though we barely got any sleep last night and are absolutely exhausted from the stress and energy put into the open house, it is a joy.
The Temple changes us. After entering its walls and serving, we can later leave edified and refined.
We went to visit an investigator at a restaurant where he works. And I got sweet potato fries. 1

We went to visit an investigator at a restaurant where he works, and I ate sweet potato fries.

We have a full week ahead of us with the temple. Keep going strong!
Other pictures from Christmas celebration 2

Here is picture of the excited and dedicated missionaries in the Utah Orem Mission.

Week 28 in the Utah Orem Mission

Hna Mena and me at the temple open house 1

Hermana Mena and I are so blessed to serve at the Provo City Temple Open House.

This week has been absolutely exhausting, but amazing. This last week I was praying that if it were the Lord’s will, He would let me see some of those families whom I served in my last two areas, and the Lord answered that prayer magnificently. [These families came to the Provo City Temple Open House for the special week having missionaries bring their investigators and less-active members on special tours of the temple.] I am so humbled and grateful for the chance to see them, and sadly I haven’t had the time or the energy to write all these miracles in my journal — that will be one of my goals this coming week. We had the opportunity to bring those we are teaching to the Provo City Temple Open House, and because of it, many hearts are being softened, and we have seen so many miracles.
Provo Center Temple Open House 5

Here we are having our picture taken as a memory of serving here.

One thing we did hear is that the temple department has extended the hours each day for the temple open house; now the first tours will start at 7 am and the last one will start at 9 pm. We have not received our schedule yet for the temple open house (and it is due to change and be mixed up throughout the open house — they told us to breathe, relax, and be flexible), but we will be serving every other week starting next week, taking half-day shifts every day.
One thing that is beautiful is that the temple open house is focusing on three powerful principles: Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer, families can be together forever, and ordinances are essential for exaltation.
Provo Tabernacle artifacts

Here are some of the Provo Tabernacle artifacts being displayed in one of the open house sections.

This last week after a long morning in the temple open house, we came back home and finished our Weekly Planning. And it was amazing. And as we were planning, our eyes were opened and the spirit illuminated our minds. One of the CCM (Mexico City Missionary Training Center) teachers was here staying with a family in our branch, and while out on splits with us a couple months ago, she taught us how each of the lessons in Preach My Gospel has a central doctrine: revelation with the restoration, the Atonement of Jesus Christ with the Plan of Salvation, and Ordinances and Covenants (specifically baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost) with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And each one of these doctrines can be applied in each principle in the lesson. Preach My Gospel is amazing and has helped me understand the gospel more simply.
Kitty Kat 2

I just have to take pictures of cats as they are just like angels.

This morning Hermana Mena and I cleaned out our wardrobe. After doing so, we felt this burden lifted, and later on we went to the DI [thrift store] and bought some essentials. It feels so nice to clean out and get back to the basics.
We received my last transfer information, and I will be staying here in American Fork with Hermana Mena. I am so grateful for her and for this time I have to serve her with her. We were hoping to stay here together.
Eating at Se Llama Peru

Eating at Se Llama Peru. Great food!

It feels so strange only having six weeks left in my mission. Time has flown by SO quickly, and I am loving every minute. I was enrolled in the program “My Plan,” so now I will be completing an experience for that every week. The mission is amazing. If I could stay longer, I would, but I know the Lord has plans in store for me.

Week 27 in the Utah Orem Mission

Driving around Provo, and look at what we found

Look what we see as we were driving in Provo! It’s the Provo City Center Temple. I’ll be serving here in the open house for the last six weeks of my mission.

This week has been so crazy but absolutely amazing!

Wednesday we had exchanges. Hermana Mena went with Hermana Ortiz to serve in Highland, and Sister Taylor came here with me to serve Spanish speaking in American Fork. That day we went and visited different families, and the spirit guided us to those the Lord was preparing. We felt impressed to go visit a family, and while we were there the mom began to cry and shared with us her recent struggles. We shared the video “Why We Need a Savior” and testified of the healing power of the Atonement. She was very grateful for our visit and for having followed the spirit.

Another night we felt impressed to go visit a sister, and she let us in. She opened up to us, and we answered her questions about how the Book of Mormon came to be, and, using scriptures from both the Bible and the Book of Mormon, we explained where she came from, why she is here on earth, and where she will go after this life. She agreed for us to come back, and she truly has a desire to come to know these things for herself. It is an inspiration to me, especially when she received multiple calls during the lesson, and she told the people on the phone that she was with the missionaries and wanted to learn with us at that moment. They hadn’t even eaten dinner, but apparently the spirit she was feeling was more important than food. The Lord is working miracles in the lives of His children.

In the reception tent

I’m standing in one of the reception tents which will tell the story of our temples and their purposes.

Here on the mission, I am learning about the power that doing the little things brings into our lives: going to the temple, praying, and reading as a family, a couple, and individually helps us keep in mind the eternal perspective.

I am truly grateful for this time with which the Lord has blessed me to serve here in the Utah Orem Mission. This afternoon I received an email with a link to the My Plan program, something that I will do during the last 6 weeks of my mission. We have transfers this next week, and it is starting to become real that I don’t have a lot of time left on the mission. But that experiences I have had in the temple help me go forward. This coming week we are going to be at the Provo City Temple every day with the families we teach and visit. The spirit is so strong within those walls, and it hasn’t even been dedicated yet. The open house will begin with a new video that introduces the tour, and it talks more about the purpose and power of temples. As we continued through the tour this morning, a feeling came over me, and I almost heard – “Look around you. This is the Provo Temple. Remember what I told you in Rexburg? This is where you are bringing these families. Don’t give up.”

I almost began to cry, as now I reflect back at all this time I have spent, and with this new year beginning, I can testify that the Lord knew what He was doing when he prepared me throughout my life to come and serve here. He blessed me with my companions, and each one has changed me for the better. On my mission, more than anything, I am developing a greater love for my Savior as I walk here by His side in this marvelous work and a wonder.

Bananagrams -- Spanish Temple version

We played Bananagrams–Spanish Temple version. It was amazing to see what words I could come up with.

Thursday morning we had lunch with a sister, and she told us that she wants our addresses/emails, as her goal this year is to be sealed in the temple, and she wants to invite us to that special event. (All of these families are so precious to me. We truly come to love the ones we serve.)

Thursday afternoon we received some training in preparation for the Provo City Temple Open House, and we got to see the other sister missionaries from the Provo Mission. (I have not received my temple open house schedule yet. I won’t be receiving it until next week on transfer day). It was nice to get together with the Provo Mission sisters again, and I was able to hear from the missionaries who currently serve in Provo Slate Canyon about the progress of families I taught while in Provo.

Weekly planning...... Centers on Christ!

Hermana Mena and I make sure our weekly planning sessions center on Christ!

During the training, the director over temple construction talked about Lehi’s vision and our role as missionaries in that vision. He said that once we grab hold of the iron rod, we will find that it leads to the doors of the temple where we can find the tree of life. The fruit of the tree of life is literally the ordinances of the gospel. He then invited us to ponder our part in this process. I am helping others come to the iron rod and take hold of it, and it will lead them here to the temple. It is what they feel — the spirit of the temple — that will touch and change their hearts.

Later on that night we got together as a district and watched the movie 17 Miracles. I cried as I watched the one couple who kept their eyes on the temple, serve each other — even one giving his life for her — and the light that glowed in their eyes as they put the Lord first in their relationship. Their dedication and true love brought tears to my eyes, and that is what I want for these families here as well.

The sister missionaries from the Orem Mission

These are the Orem Utah Mission sisters who will be serving at the Provo City Center Temple Open House.

Sunday we visited a family. The father had been praying, and he accepted the baptismal date that we extended to him. He wants us to send him daily scripture references to help him read every day. We testified of the help the Lord will provide him and his family as he continues to follow Christ with the purity in heart and work towards the temple.

The temple truly is the house of the Lord. It is within its walls that we make sacred convents with our Heavenly Father, where families are organized by the power of God. It is the celestial university that helps us prepare for eternity. It connects heaven and earth. As we enter its doors, we leave the world and enter a place more sacred and divine.

Keep your eyes fixed on the temple! (Mosiah 2:5-6)

Week 26 in the Utah Orem Mission

Pretty Snowflakes 2

I feel like I’m part of this beautiful frozen world.

We’ve continued to see many miracles this week. More cancellations, but we have grown together and have learned some powerful lessons.
1. Happiness isn’t found in things. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day we thought it would be difficult to find people home to visit and teach, but on those days new doors opened and we were able to help others come into Christ. We’ve even had the privilege to serve a lot this week –from washing dishes to cleaning out the snow from driveways to giving a loving hug to those who are lonely. It was a wonderful way to spend Christmas — and I have never felt happier. Presents and mistletoe don’t bring happiness — it’s the spirit of Christ that bring happiness, and as we reach out and serve those who are in need, as we lend a listening ear to and take time to visit those who are lonely, as we bring happiness to others, then we are filled with happiness and peace as well.
Snow covers our car

Here is one of our presents on Christmas morning–a snow-covered car.

2. Being prepared leads to less stress and more peace.

3. The little things count. Saturday night we went out caroling with other members in the ward, and the looks on the faces of those families we visited were priceless. 🙂 Tuesday evening we ate dinner with a sister, and at the end she was crying and so grateful that we had called her. She told us that she had needed us that day, and we were an answer to prayer. Christmas morning we shared a message with the family where we are staying, and at the end the grandmother had tears streaming down her face and thanked us for the message and testimonies we had shared about the purpose of Christmas and the power of the Atonement. We had created an environment where the Spirit came and touched her heart.
Hna Mena, me, Sis Inmann, and Sister Inman's trainee.

Here we are at our Christmas Zone Conference: Hermana Mena, me, Sister Inmann and her new trainee sister.

4. “Through the ordinances of the gospel the power of godliness is manifest” (D&C 84:20-21). This past week I was having more ups and downs. Yesterday I came to church with a heavy heart. During the Sacrament, I poured my heart out to the Lord, and after partaking of the bread and water prepared, blessed, and passed by priesthood holders. I felt a burden lifted from my shoulder. And through the talks given in Sacrament Meeting and the lessons in the classes in Gospel Principles and Relief Society, I received the answers to my prayers.

Christmas with Randall family 4

Here I am on Christmas morning at the Randall’s (our landlord’s and landlady’s home).

5. The Priesthood power has been restored to the earth. On Tuesday at the end of the Mission Christmas celebration, we asked President Killpack if he could give me a blessing. I will never forget that blessing and the feeling of love and comfort. In that blessing the Lord reminded me of my purpose and also gave me counsel and a warning: I need to remember who I am. And Satan will try to deceive me and try to make me feel that I am not of worth. Those are lies, and I need to dismiss and repel him. Tears streamed down my face and President Killpack’s face, and I know that what he said came straight from my Heavenly Father. I did not tell President Killpack about any of the problems I have been having. I just asked for a blessing of comfort. And everything he said came directly from my Heavenly Father. I know that Christ has restored His priesthood to the earth, and I am grateful for worthy priesthood holders who can be conduits of God’s power and be in tune with the spirit in order to receive this precious counsel and blessings in our lives.

Randall family

Here is the Randall family with whom we started our Christmas morning. We share a portion of their house.

6.  Nothing is more important than the temple. Saturday morning we had the amazing privilege to witness the sealing of a family we serve. The spirit I felt there, the blessings I heard pronounced upon their heads, the power present in that room — it was amazing. That is what I hope for each of these families with whom we come in contact. We want them to come to the temple.
This is Sister Spellman's beautiful Christmas tree.

I thought Sister Spellman’s (we helped her with her tithing) tree was beautiful.

Today we received Temple Open House Training, so we are running tight on our schedule. So more pictures and less words this week. I love you! Have an amazing New Year’s! 🙂

P.S. Do you have any questions for me? About the mission? For the temple open house? Love you!