Monday, February 16, 2015

Many Are Called, But Few Are Frozen

Greetings from the Great White North!

We had quite the blizzard yesterday. A Nor'Easter, as they are called. We had a short sacrament meeting yesterday morning with only 8 in attendance (4 missionaries, 2 non-members, and 2 members). Afterwards we spent over two hours trying to get people out of the parking lot and safely home with all the snow. We ended up leaving our car at the church because we couldn't get out and walking to the senior couple's apartment down the street. We spent the day with them yesterday as the wind and snow continued. It cleared up a bit this morning but is snowing again now. There are drifts 5 to 6 feet tall! The pictures attached are of Sister Gochnour and I at a French fort on the New Brunswick border and of the snow outside the back door this morning. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!
 Sister Gochnour and I at a French fort on the New Brunswick border 
Snow outside the back door this morning. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!
I was supposed to speak in sacrament meeting yesterday with the high councilman, but because of the storm that assignment is postponed until next week. All four missionaries shared our testimonies on the Restoration yesterday during church instead, so I didn't get out of speaking completely! Sister Lockhart and I also did a musical number.

 Despite not giving my original talk yesterday, I learned so much this week as I prepared for it. My topic was obedience. As I pondered on why God asks us to be obedient to His commandments, the Spirit bore witness to me that it is because He loves us and has our best interest in mind. Our obedience is how we show and increase in our love, faith, and trust in Him. As the third article of faith teaches, obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel is the only way for us to be saved through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The Savior is the perfect example of obedience. As I continue to learn about His life, I am in awe of His complete submission to His Father's will. His view of obedience was doing those things that pleased His Father (John 8:29). Here are some of my favorite quotes from my studies this week:

"Spiritually mature obedience is 'the Savior's obedience.' It is motivated by true love for Heavenly Father and His Son."
"Our love for the Savior is the key to Savior-like obedience."
-Elder Robert D. Hales

"Obedience is an emblem of our faith in the wisdom and power of the highest authority, even God."
-Elder L. Tom Perry

As I reflected on experiences, both good and bad, that I have had in regards to obedience as a missionary and in my life, I recognized that consistent obedience in the small and simple things created a strong foundation for me to build my life centered in Jesus Christ. Prayer and scripture study both individually and with my family, observance of the Sabbath day, temple attendance, small acts of kindness all led to miracles, whether I realized it in the moment or not until years later.

I know that God lives and He loves each one of us. His ways are not our ways, but His ways are best. Obedience is the price that brings joy to our lives! 

Christ is the reason!

Love you!
Sister Renda

Fear Not!

Fear Not!


"For as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."
1 Corinthians 2:9

That was the theme for this week. I feel such love for my Heavenly Father and my Savior Jesus Christ. Although I cannot comprehend the joy that awaits for those who are obedient to His commandments, I know more than ever that it is worth any sacrifice. We may not be able to see the end from the beginning, but He does and we must learn to trust Him and His plan for us.

We had a zone conference this week in Moncton. President and Sister Leavitt bore testimony about God's plan for each of us individually. I feel such love and gratitude for my mission president and his wife. They are powerful examples to me of consecration and wholehearted service to the Lord. I heard once upon a time that missionaries are called to their mission president, more than their mission. The more I serve with President and Sister Leavitt, the more I believe that. 

It's hard to believe that back home it's practically spring weather! We got a lot of snow this week and it has been cold, but we manage. :)

Sister Gochnour and Sister Renda
One of the best surprises of this week was a visit from some members from Newfoundland! Brother and Sister Martland were travelling to PEI and back this last week and got lost in Amherst... It was so good to see them! My heart was filled with love and joy for the people I have met on my mission. Each area has such a special place in my heart and I hope someday that I will be able to return to each and visit the people I have come to love so much.

Another surprise this week happened while we were visiting an elderly woman in a neighboring town. She took us out to lunch and while we were there she began having a hard time forming her words. Then she started to space out and began shaking and falling from the chair. A phone call to 911 and a drive to the local hospital later, we found out she suffered a mini stroke. She recovered fairly quickly and her sister came to pick her up. The life of a missionary for ya. 

Another miracle this week was teaching one of our investigators. Her daughter joined us for the first time and she told us that she started praying a week ago and has received answers to her prayers. We watched the Restoration DVD with them and the Spirit was so strong! Heavenly Father is so aware of each of His children! It is moments like that that make all of the rejection and heart ache and bitter cold worth it! 

Keep calm and pray on. The Lord is ever near and He wants to help each of us reach our full potential. Doing so will require us to set aside our own will and trust His plan. It will require us to be obedient and patient. 

Christ is the reason!

Sister Renda

Brother and Sister Lockhart with Sister Gochnour and Sister Renda

Sister Leavitt (Mission President's wife in center) with Sisters at the New Brunswick Zone Conference

New Beginnings

February 2, 2015

Transfers went well! I made it safely to Amherst and I love it! Sometimes I forget how different the culture of each province is. It's fun to be back in Nova Scotia! Amherst is a cute little town. It's bigger than Bay Roberts. Average attendance at church on Sunday is around 20. Yesterday due to the snowstorms, we had 9 at church and that includes 4 missionaries, us and the senior couple, the Lockharts. He is serving as branch president. They leave the end of February. Though we were small in numbers, the Spirit was so strong! There is a great feeling in the branch and I am so excited for the transfer ahead!

Sister Gochnour is from Holladay. She is so great! She has great joy and love in the work, and I am so excited to be serving with her. She has reminded me the past few days of the great joy that comes from being a missionary. We have a couple of investigators right now and we are hoping to see them progress towards baptism.

It has been frigid since I got here. Thank goodness for all of those tights you sent me. I'm going to have to wear all of them to keep warm! Haha. I bought some new boots a couple of weeks ago. I was hoping my other ones would survive another winter, but the zipper broke on the first day we had a big snowstorm in Bay Roberts. What are the chances? I didn't get to go to the temple this time around. We flew into Halifax around midnight Wednesday night and I got on the transfer van Thursday morning at 6 to drive to Moncton. Amherst is on the border of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. The missionaries in my zone are the French areas of New Brunswick, us and everyone on PEI. Sister Gochnour and I are STLs and all of the sisters are on PEI. Should be an adventure. I haven't heard back from President Leavitt yet. I'll let you know when I do.

This week I am filled with gratitude for trials. Looking back on my time as a missionary, I know that the Lord has allowed me to go through difficult things because He loves me. Every trial is an evidence of His love and His desire for me to be perfected in Him. If we allow ourselves to wallow in despair and suffering, we miss out on the great opportunities for the Lord to heal us and for us to get to know Him better. We just have to take a step back from the pain we feel and quickly our vision expands to an eternal perspective. There is something more and something greater in store because of the refinement we receive during our fiery furnaces. 

This quote came to mind this week as I have been thinking and reflecting. It's by Elaine S. Dalton:

"You are young women of great faith. You brought your faith with you when you came to the earth. Alma teaches us that in the premortal realms you exhibited 'exceeding faith and good works.' You fought with your faith and testimony to defend the plan that was presented by God. You knew the plan was good, and you knew that the Savior would do what He said He would do--because you knew Him! You stood with Him, and you were eager for your opportunity to come to earth. You knew what was going to be required of you. You knew it would be difficult, and yet you were confident not only that you could accomplish your divine mission but that you could make a difference."

What comfort I receive from knowing that I stood with the Savior before I came here. I can do it again. I know He lives and that this is His Church. He will always be there to uplift and strengthen us because this life was not meant to be easy.

I love you!

Sister Renda