I've been learning so much these past few weeks. I haven't been in Kirtland too long, but every day I count my blessings for being able to serve in such sacred land.
Our recent convert, Christy (16 years old), has a boyfriend, Geno (also 16). Yesterday we were able to have a great lesson with the both of them. We talked about the Book of Mormon and the strength that comes from reading it with a sincere heart and then praying about it with real intent (meaning intent to act on whatever answer you may receive). I talked about how the Book of Mormon truly helps me to be aware of my divine nature, in knowing that I am truly a child of God. Christy talked about how that was what really drew her to this church, the Book of Mormon and the knowledge it gave her that she was a daughter of God. So we commited Geno to read the Book of Mormon, pray about it, and be willing to act on any answer that he received. He said he definitely would. And then we said, "Geno, as you come to know these things are true, will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by the proper authority?" He said, "Yeah, I've been thinking about it." Christy's jaw dropped and then she couldn't stop smiling. We had only met with this boy once before and he was already thinking about baptism! I love Christy so much and am grateful for the example she is to everyone around her.
We had a lesson with our investigator Jan on Tuesday. Jan is in her 60s and cracks me up. I really felt that she wasn't going to show up to our appointment because she wasn't returning our phone calls. But we're sitting in the library waiting for her and she runs in to announce that she can't meet with us because she has lost her cell phone and has to go search for it. Well, we ended up teaching her for 30 minutes. Tender mercy that she lost her cell phone? She feels like she's been deceived many times before when it comes to religion so now she's scared. We explained to her that's what the Holy Ghost is for! Heavenly Father doesn't want His children to be deceived. Hopefully she won't take our work for it and take it up with the Lord.
As I've been struggling lately, I find such great comfort in walking into the Newel K. Whitney store, going to the first Bishop's storehouse and remembering Newel K. Whitney's story. Newel K. Whitney was a man that was being prepared his whole life for the Gospel. He went around town delivering Bible's to homes that didn't have a Bible. He had a part of his store (later the Bishop's storehouse) opened for people to bring in their goods to trade and barter. He was always giving to the community. And then Joseph Smith extended the call of Bishop to Newel and Newel replied, "But I don't see a Bishop in myself." Joseph explained to Brother Whitney that the call wasn't coming from him, but from the Lord, so take it up with him. He did just that and the answer he received was, "Thy strength is in me." It's SO vital for us to remember that. We cannot do anything on our own. We need the Lord. We can do all things through Him. I've been able to gather more strength than I ever thought possible by relying soley on the Lord.
Yesterday while singing "I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go" in Relief Society, I cried like a baby. We must do what the Lord wants us to do. We must. There is no other way. He will support us, strengthen us, stand by us.
Also, I found much strength yesterday in reading "Lessons from Liberty Jail" by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. The Church is true. Joseph Smith is a prophet. He endured. Jesus Christ loves us and the most perfect evidence of that is the great atoning sacrifice He made for each one of us. The Atonement is individual. Let it work in your life.
"Be ye strong from henceforth; fear not." (D&C 38:15)
Sister Nicole Hill
In a 2nd email:
Thank you so much for the package! I just got it a few minutes ago. I looove the journal. Those girls are the cutest. Also, thanks for all the prayers and fasting. I fasted yesterday as well and this is what came of it...
D&C 28:15 - "And it shall be given thee from the time thou shalt go, until the time thou shalt return, what thou shalt do."
D&C 38:9 - "...Gird up your loins and be prepared."
D&C 38:15 - "...Be ye strong from henceforth; fear not..."
D&C 35:3 - "...I have looked upon thee and thy works. I have heard thy prayers, and prepared thee for a greater work."
D&C 124:49 - "Verily, verily, I say unto you, that when I give a commandment to any of the sons of men to do a work unto my name, and those sons of men go with all their might and with all they have to perform that work, and cease not their diligence, and their enemies come upon them and hinder them from performing that work, behold, it behooveth me to require that work no more at the hands of those sons of men, but to accept of their offerings."
I was just flipping through my scriptures during Sacrament meeting when I read all of these verses. Then in Relief Society we sang "I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go" and I felt the most overwhelming feeling of love I have probably ever felt. I'm relying soley on the Lord. It'll all work out for the best because the Lord is in control.
I love you so much!!!! Thanks for all your support. All the sisters here are in love with you. So thank you for being the greatest.
Momma Note: I've run out of pictures from Nicole (she says "they're in the mail") so here's a quick look back at the MTC (Missionary Training Center)...I love the look of joy and anticipation on the missionaries faces!!...no captions needed...