Wednesday, October 29, 2014


"When you give a testimonial, you are declaring your satisfaction/recommendation of a certain product ( gained from personal experience) to your customer",  Ms Reed told my high school advanced marketing class.

Two years later, I'm starting to apply it.

In his early days as a missionary, President Brigham Young was reminded of the power of testimony. He perceived: "I had only traveled a short time to testify to the people, before I learned this one fact, that you might prove doctrine from the Bible till doomsday, and it would merely convince a people, but would not convert them. You might read the Bible from Genesis to Revelations, and prove every iota that you advance, and that alone would have no converting influence upon the people. Nothing short of a testimony by the power of the Holy Ghost would bring light and knowledge to them- bring them in their hearts to repentance. Nothing short of that would ever do."

We met an inactive man this week; he was actually really cool. He had a terrible experience growing up, and so he doesn't want to come to church, even though he knows the doctrine is true. As we stood at his doorstep, I wondered what on earth we could say to someone who had such a different concept of religion and of the church that would make a difference. He didn't seem to want to listen to anything we had to say, so instead I testified of the power of the sacrament in my life, and the reasons that I attend church. It was then that his heart completely softened and he pointed directly at me and said that I should never ever lose that. He then said that he actually liked us, we were "real", and we did stuff for the "right reasons". He invited us to come back, and even to take his daughter to church if we wanted! 

Brigham Young was right, we can teach all we want, but when we testify, that is when the spirit can come in and make miracles. The Lord has said  "Therefore verily I say unto you, lift up your voices unto this people; speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts, and you shall not be confounded before men... I give unto you this promise, that inasmuch as ye do this the Holy Ghost shall be shed forth in bearing record unto all things whatsoever ye shall say." (D&C 100:5,8)

Sister Cotton (my companion) and I were asked to teach the young women for mutual on Wednesday evening. Our topic was "Christ-like attributes". This ward has got a HUGE Young Women's program, and so trying to keep control over the class can be tricky! We knew we needed to invite the spirit and get the girls to be reverent, so my wonderful companion shared the most heartfelt testimony of Christ, and the happiness this gospel brings to her life. As I looked into the crowd of girls, I watched as they settled into soft reverence and I noticed the smiles on their faces. They were quiet and attentive. It was such a beautiful learning experience for me, especially. I so admire Sister Cotton's pure testimony of the things that she teaches. It is my prayer that as I am faithfully studying the word of God, praying, and obeying the commandments, that my own testimony will become strong enough to calm crowds and counter contentions.  

We had an amazing opportunity this week to go do service at the nursing home that one of our investigators works at. She is over the Alzheimer's unit, so we got to meet with quite the crowd of elderly people! When we arrived they were all sitting in one large room, waiting for us to come speak to them. We took out our restoration lesson and began to teach. The miracle in this is not the retired, but the hired! So many of our investigator's employees were present, and they got to ask questions and give comments and be apart of the lesson! At the end, we again bore our sincere testimonies that what we had taught was true, and left them all with their own copies of the Book of Mormon! I can't imagine that anywhere back home would we be allowed to enter a private retirement home and teach the gospel... they don't even let you take pictures there! It was truly a miracle, and I can't wait to see what comes of it as we go back and teach the lessons every week!

We are preparing for Sarah's baptism this Sunday.  It was soooo nice to get to finalize all the details and print out announcements and just make it official!

Speaking of official, our ward mission leader has been sort of secretly dating this girl who is the complete opposite of him. He is Hispanic, so in his broken English he tells us: "Elders and Sisters, I propose to [the girl]...". We were all shocked. They hadn't even been together that long! Was he sure? Why was he telling us? What should we say? Then he finished, " be a ward missionary". He had made us all think that he was saying he was going to propose to her, not propose she get a new calling in the church ! hahaha. I was laughing so hard! Luckily, he didn't understand why his comment to us was so funny. Otherwise I'm sure he would've been a little embarrassed that we all were very aware of his relationship. XD

Another funny thing was when we met a lady named Maude Prophet. She is 94 years old and just awesome. She doesn't take any medication and she drives and does her own errands and funeral arrangements and everything. She called us earlier this week and asked us to stop by. When we did, she told us how everyone was out to hurt her so that they can take all of her possessions when she dies. She then proceeded to give us a bunch of her belongings because she wants us to pay tithing with them for her. She gave us a used, dirty commode (one of those old folks toilet seats), some old jeans, an ancient sewing machine, a giant bathrobe, an old vaccum, and some keds. Yup.... and then she told us about how this random lady gave her a bacon cheeseburger and she knew she had poisoned it so she didn't eat it. Oh man. 

So my exchange this week was with Hermana Hoferitza! I just adore her! We had a lot of fun and we learned a lot from each other. I really respect the Spanish speaking missionaries- they have to learn a new language where they aren't immersed in it, and then they have to spend their whole day just looking for someone to use it on! She and I got to meet the grandma of one of the investigators they had found for us English speaking sisters. We talked to the grandma about what we are teaching her granddaughter, and were able to share with her our testimonies of the Book of Mormon. The spirit was strong in that room, and afterwards the grandma told us how much she admired us and said she was so happy we were teaching her granddaughter. It was wonderful!

In Revelations 12:11 an angel announced that in the pre-mortal world, Christ's followers conquered Satan and his followers "by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony". I think it's so cool that because we are all here on earth, we know that during this pre-earth life we had a testimony of Jesus Christ and His atonement and we used that to overcome Satan. I know that in this earth life, we still must conquer the devil with Jesus Christ and our testimonies of Him.

We ran into a man named James very recently. James was sitting in a wheel chair, and couldn't quite shake our hands. His maid answered the door and invited us in. We saw little kids sitting on the couch quietly, and it all just looked like a perfect teaching opportunity. Then, James began to talk to us about our religion. He tried to tell us things that we knew weren't true. He tried to sway us in our faith. He told us HE had established 5 churches, HE had caused people to fall out of their chairs, HE had healed the sick, HE had the power of God on his side.... it was very frightening. Sister Cotton knew we had to get out of this house. He wouldn't let us speak! She tried to tell him that we had to go, and we wouldn't come back. He got offended that we wouldn't return, he had much more to say to us. Quietly, I explained to James that we would not come back because our purpose was to share a message that meant the world to us. I had left my family and my loved ones back home for a year and a half to devote my life to this cause. Because he wouldn't accept the message, there was no point in returning. James became quiet, and he smiled and said he understood. He thanked us, and with a complete attitude change sent us on our way.

"And this is not all. Do ye suppose that I know of these things myself? Behold, I testify unto you that I do know that these things whereof I have spoken are true. And how do ye suppose that I know of their surety? Behold I say unto you they are made known unto me by the Holy Spirit of God..." (Alma 5:45-46)

To top off the week, we went and saw Deidra and got to sing hymns about Christ and testify of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon as another testament. She just kept smiling and said she loved it when we talked and testified because we glowed. Then we went to try someone in our area book we had never met, and instead we met Andy. Andy found Christ just 6 months ago and is on top of the world! He texted us last night and said he can't wait to learn more about Him with us! We are so excited to go teach him tonight, I have learned a lot this week about the importance of testimony, so I will definitely be applying it. Elder Thomas S Monson said, "Regarding one's testimony, remember, that which one willingly shares he keeps, while that which he selfishly keeps he loses... teach and testify. There is no better combination."

I testify that that is so true! The more that we bare our testimonies, the more the spirit can bare witness to us that what we say is true. I know Christ lives, I know families are forever, and I know the gospel has been restored! :)

Well, that's about it. Other than this hula girl. I saw her in one of the Elders' car and I put a sticky note on her with the bible verse about being a virtuous woman. The Elders looked it up, and said the next part talks about wearing scarlet, so they went ahead and made her more virtuous and gave her to me... hahaha. Missionaries have fun. We also eat lots of froyo!  (frozen yogurt)

Sister Hochstrasser

By the way, anybody need an extra commode for their grandma? We'll give it to ya for free! 

Write to me!!
Sister Jennifer Hochstrasser
Tennessee Nashville Mission

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