Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Why do YOU go there?

Dear Family and Friends,

If you have never been a missionary in Sparta Tennessee, then I really pity you. This is seriously the best thing in the whole world. Let me tell you why.

1. You get to see amazing members like Sister Youngs who is on oxygen, has a less active husband, was ex-communicated and then re-joined the church 2 years ago, and decide of her own free will that she is going to come out to lessons with the sister missionaries. Whoa. What dedication! And members like Sister Spears who has a million and one things on her plate still take the time to drive you around to visit all of her non-member friends and offer them discussions with the missionaries just completely out of the blue. How many of you have ever done that with the missionaries?? She's my hero.

2. You get to have supper at all sorts of different houses. And a lot of them eventually become another home. You know you're welcome (or just really oinky) when they eventually designate the candy jar to you.

 3. You get to join together with the best district ever and some how pull together a whole training on covenants and apply that to missionary work while still having so much fun!

4. You get to see MIRACLES happen when part-member families who haven't been to church in 20 years tell you that they're going to come to church... and then you see them there on Sunday along with 8 other investigators and it feels like half of the branch is non-members that you've been teaching.

5. You can experience the authority that comes from missionary work as you are brought into homes and sat down so that someone else can tell you why your religion is incorrect... and then you are able to draw upon the power of the Holy Ghost and perform exactly how you know Christ would want.

6. You meet awesome people.... Like a World War II Veteran and people who have beat cancer 9 times and people who are just married and people who have been searching for truth and YOU get to tell them where they can find it.

7. You get to experience the most beautiful family baptism in the history of ever and then watch them be confirmed on Sunday by a deaf man who signs a gorgeous blessing and you just know you've somehow become a part of GENERATIONS. (The Lewis family has already changed so many lives as a result of their baptism, and I know that between their missionary work, the missions of their children, and raising future posterity in the gospel- that they have just done something monumental in the history of the world ^_^) 

The Lewis Family!

8. You get to see the fruits of your labors as President Andersen tells you that they're closing down one mission, just so they can put MORE missionaries in yours!! YUP!! I can't even believe it. Elder Randall and Elder Fennwick (from my MTC district) are coming to Sparta (technically Spencer, a part of the Sparta mission) because the work is just exploding here and we need help!

9. You can go and teach the Restoration of the gospel to the Barfield family and watch the father cry for one of the first times in his life while you commit all of them to be baptized next month. (HELLO AUGUST 16th!).

10. Or you can even end every evening standing on chairs outside your apartment with 2 shoes in your hands while you and your companion, Sis. Kohler, courageously squash all the giant spiders lurking around your door (because you'd rather not put your lives in danger of getting eaten or something).

Oh yeah.
That's exactly why you all should be very sad you are not here in Sparta being a missionary. lol ;)

On a calmer note, I have discovered something this week that I want to share with all of you.
Every day, we go knock on doors for at least an hour. We meet very interesting people this way. We meet a lot of people who go to different churches and have different religions. I always make it a point to ask these people WHY they worship the way they do. What is it about their church that makes them go there? And then do you know what they say every single time?
"I don't know... I was just raised in it."
I'm not even kidding. I could meet the head hauncho of almost any church and 99% of them would not be able to tell me why they went there. Isn't that so interesting?!

So last night, after many weeks of asking random people why they worship the way that they do, I decided to ask someone from my own faith. They are recent converts and kind of less active. Teaching them lessons is always kind of  a struggle because they don't seem to understand why we have the doctrine that we do. Anyway, we went to their house and I asked them the same question I had asked everyone else. "Why do you go where you go?". I was expecting them to not really have anything to say... a lot like everyone else that I had spoken to from other churches, so what happened next really surprised me.
The brother said: "I go to the Mormon church  because it is the only thing that brings me closer to God. The things that they teach have actual meaning to me, and you are never NOT learning and growing" ... His wife then said "I am a Mormon because I went to SO many different churches, and none of them were right. So, after so much searching I felt that I needed to go back to the church I was baptized in as a youth, the Mormon church. Now that within this past year I've come back,  I'm here to stay because I know it's where I belong".
Their testimonies astounded me. And I just couldn't deny that there is most definitely something special about this church.

I know that I go where I go because this is the only religion that has told me it's okay to ask. In fact, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was restored to the earth all because a 14 year old boy decided he had a question he wanted to ask. I go where I go because it answers ALL of my questions, and has taught me that it's good to question, because God doesn't want to withhold truth from us and there ARE answers.
I am a Mormon because it has brought me closer to my Heavenly Father in ways that I didn't even understand were possible. I can honestly say that I have come to establish a relationship with my God, and that I have felt His love in many ways.
Lastly, I am a Mormon because it has provided me with a purpose. I know who I am, why I'm here, and where I'm going. I'm not alone, and I will never be lost.
I testify to you that this Church is true!

I ask all of you to please help me finish up with this experiment. It won't take long. All I ask is for a short sentenced reply. But please, tell me:

Why do YOU go where you go?

Sister Hochstrasser

p.s. to all of the great people out there who have commented, liked, and added me on facebook, THANK YOU! Keep it up! But as far as messaging me goes, I will always read it but I'm not allowed to respond to it. Sorry! That's a "mission area only" privilege! ;)

p.p.s So there's this family here who breeds Pomeranian and I kind of really want one. Mom, Dad, can we pllleeasssee get a dog?

Write to me!

Sister Jennifer Hochstrasser
Tennessee Nashville Mission
105 West Park Drive Ste 190
Brentwood, TN  37027

(MOM says, sadly, we can't have a pet due to our current lease in the new house we just moved into this month, but if Sis. Hochstrasser wants to get one, that is up to her!)

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