Monday, July 28, 2014

High-Five Yourself!

Good afternoon! (Or morning or evening or night... Depending on when you read this)

Can I just start off by saying how BEAUTIFUL Tennessee is!? We began this week with a hike in Burgess Falls with the Lewis family (the ones who just got baptized) and it was a blast! 

Being a missionary has me WAY stoked to go home and be a member missionary. You guys don't even realize how much The Lord is DEPENDING on you to help with the work. I know it can be a little intimidating, but even just little things like using "Mormon words" in your day to day conversation, posting a Mormon message on Facebook (or sharing one of my posts), creating a account, or inviting a friend to a relief society event or a youth dance! You come in contact with SO many people! People who would slam the door on us missionaries, but would open it for a friend. For example, we were out running on the high school track the other morning, and it was an awesome way for us to talk with people in a non threatening way. We actually cleared up one ladies misconception of our church's beliefs and taught one man the first lesson!

So miracle of the week, you ready for this? Bum bum bum buuummm! (Pretend like that was a trumpet fanfare) ... WE ARE BAPTIZING ANOTHER FAMILY! The Dobbs' family baptism will be held August 23rd :). Sister Dobbs is an amazing lady, who has been less active in the church. Her husband has been taking their family to a Baptist church for some years now, but God didn't give up on them and neither did we :). We went to their house this week to teach them the plan of salvation and before we began, Brother Dobbs (the dad) asked us what the difference was between the "Mormon baptism" and any other baptism. We explained to him that all baptisms are special to Heavenly Father, because it is you showing your willingness to obey his commandments. BUT being baptized in this church is different because it is done by the priesthood authority (the power to act in the name of Jesus Christ, the same authority he gave to his apostles). We explained that in this baptism, you are coming closer to Christ than in any other way. You also receive the gift of the holy ghost, the third member of the godhead, to be your constant companion (he provides us with direction and comfort in our lives). Brother Dobbs thought about it, and then told us that even though he didn't understand all the doctrine, he saw a difference in this church compared to all the others, and he was ready to baptized. Their 11 year old son, Hayden, has been wanting to do this, too. We are very excited!!!

Now for my awkward story... We went out to a Mexican restaurant with a member and it was super good food! We were all enjoying ourselves, even though the waiter was a little odd. I asked him what his favorite enchilada on the menu was ( I was having trouble deciding) and he said something in Spanish and then ran away. Eventually he came back (I think he was just in a rush, he seemed to be the only server there) and actually took my order. Then at the end of the meal he came to take our plates. I handed him mine, and while grabbing on to the plate I was passing him, he leaned in and asked me my name. It caught me way of guard, so I blurted out: "JENNIFER" and everyone at the table kind of looked at me, surprised. I myself was startled. He walked off and I sat in my chair, confused. "Why didn't I say Sister Hochstrasser?" I wondered. I figured it was just because I was unprepared, and after 19 years with one name, it's still not embedded in me to use my missionary title. HAHA. Anyway, the waiter came back and instead of handing the member the receipt (after her explaining she was paying) he handed it very slowly to me, with a weird smile. I grabbed it, confused, and then saw his name was written on it.... needless to say, we will not be returning to that restaurant any time soon. HAHAHA. 

So on a less awkward note, this week has been filled with positive notes! Like literally notes everywhere. Sister Kohler and I are basically our only friends out here, so we always write messages to each other and leave them in random places. The best one this week was when she decorated the mirror with markers for my "5 month birthday" and hung toilet paper streamers all over the bathroom for me to find :)

                                                      We also got a lovely note from the scale at a members house the other night... hahaha
"Dear Sister.... As your friend the scale, I ask that you enjoy the nice dinner tonight and not step upon me as it will only cause you grief. You look great! Yours truly, Weighnes the Scale    P.S I will always be truthful. Yeah Right!!"

I've also received some awesome notes from friends!
Shout out to CHANDA HUNT for getting her mission call! Chanda is amazing. I've never met her, but we're both great friends and I draw on her testimony of the atonement a lot on my mission. Okay I'm sure you're thinking "back up... you've never met?!". Do you remember Elder Nez? He's probably one of my best friends out here on the mission, we were in the same MTC district and we both immediately trained on our missions. Anyway, when I was in the MTC I had a prompting that I needed to write to his girlfriend. Weird... I know. BUT It ended up being incredibly inspired. Chanda has gone through and is still going through some crazy health issues. She had her mission papers rejected once, but God told her to try again. And now, she's going on a mission to Arizona! I'm so excited for her :). In her last letter she said something that hit me. She said "EVERYTHING does workout". I feel like my whole life, I've always put the emphasis on the word "does" in this saying. Like, yeah, it DOES eventually work out. But I've never thought about the fact that literally EVER SINGLE THING will be worked out in the end. So all these little moments I stress over right now, all of these choices I second guess or the mistakes I dwell on, they really don't matter in the grand scheme of things, because they will work out. That's what Christ DOES. He makes sure everything works out :).
Second shout out goes to LAUREN REEDER who also got her mission call... Texas Spanish Speaking!!! I was introduced to Lauren by my best friend Monica Renda. Monica came and visited me when I was in college, and brought Lauren along! She also brought her when she came to visit me right before my mission. So yeah, we've only met a few times... but I just think it's so cool that true friendship isn't measured by miles, it's measure by memories. And her and I have some AWESOME memories ;). I'm super proud of you Lauren!

Today's blog isn't anything profound, I know... but I still appreciate all of you who took the time to read it. We went to a members house for dinner, and left a commitment with the family to invite their friends to the potluck we were going to have. One of them made the comment that you just can't mix church friends and school friends like that. SO if there is one thing I want to leave you with, it is this:

If on the one hand, you love people, and on the other hand, you love the gospel, then high-five yourself- and bring the gospel to the people!

President Henry B. Eyring (one of the 12 apostles that we have today) explained why we must high-five ourselves:

“Why should I speak to anyone about the gospel who seems content? What danger is there to them or to me if I do or say nothing?“ Well, the danger may be hard to see, but it is real, both for them and for us. For instance, at some moment in the world to come, everyone you will ever meet will know what you know now. They will know that the only way to live forever in association with our families and in the presence of our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, was to choose to enter into the gate by baptism at the hands of those with authority from God. They will know that the only way families can be together forever is to accept and keep sacred covenants offered in the temples of God on this earth. And they will know that you knew. And they will remember whether you offered them what someone had offered you” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1998, 41; or Ensign, Nov. 1998, 33).

 I look back at all the times in my life when I totally could've brought the gospel to my friends, acquaintances, and strangers I barely met. I regret not high fiving myself more, and I am SO thankful for this mission in preparing me to go home and be a better member missionary.

So go out-- high five yourselves, high five your friends, heck, you can even high five me, so long as you've got the gospel on the one hand, and the people on the other, there's always going to be plenty of high fives to go around, until the day comes when all we hear anymore is thunderous applause- because there's just so much high fiving!! ;)

Your tacky missionary friend,

Sister (Jennifer) Hochstrasser

Tennessee Nashville Mission
105 West Park Drive Ste #190
Brentwood, TN  37027

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