Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Tongue of Angels

You heard it folks, there's trouble in this world! But we don't have to die to find peace, we just have to find the gospel, brought to you by the missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints!
(If that didn't sound like a television add, I don't know what does! haha)
So this week began with my first zone meeting as a Sister Training Leader! My training was on the importance of member present lessons, luckily between Sister Smith and I we were able to keep it engaging for the elders and sisters. President Andersen was there too, which added a little pressure. I think the best part of that meeting though was getting to watch "Meet the Mormons" before anybody else did! The movie was awesome! The Church has put out a movie about different members of the church all over the world. The cool thing about it is that it's not preachy at all. In fact, it doesn't really say anything about what we believe as Mormons. It just shows the variety of people that are members of the church. Each person they picked to feature is very different from the next, making it all really fascinating. By the end, I was really proud to say I am a Mormon! You can learn more about the movie and how to watch it in a theater near you here:   (again, I sound like an advertisement).

My exchange this week was with the lovely Sister Clark. She was actually in my district when I was in Sparta, so it was fun to meet back up and reminisce on old times :). Sister Clark is SUPER funny. We share a similar love for Doctor Who among other various nerdy delights, plus, she makes great pancakes, so as you can imagine we got along well. It was actually a really eventful night for us. 
We went to go see one of their investigators who they had just been reading the Book of Mormon with. Not knowing much about her and her story, I was able to ask questions about her and her meetings with the sisters to gage where she was at in her conversion. Because I hadn't met her before, I wasn't very worried about ruining an opportunity to see her again. Boldly, I invited her to be baptized, and got Sister Clark in on it as well. Together, we were able to set a baptismal date with this lady and witness a miracle! Then that night, we rolled into the house at about 8:30pm. Knowing that mission rules say we can't be in until 9pm, I made Sister Clark take us back out to go do missionary work. We ended up at Cato's, a clothing store next to Wal-Mart. We had a great time chatting with the two employees there about our religion, and were able to leave them both with a card. PLUS I got some really fun seahorse earrings, so I'd say it was a successful contact ;). 
I definitely think it's important to be diligent, obedient, and bold in your missionary work. I also know that you can't do any of that correctly without having fun, either. Often times you'll see me and my companion jamming out to Christian music in the car (I've got a mean set of steering wheel percussions) or dancing around dramatically in our room at night to the tune of "Danny Boy" [the BYU Vocal Point version, I am sure]. The gospel isn't boring, it can be quite exciting! I know God has a sense of humor for sure, so we should, too! Respectfully, of course. Don't go playing baseball with your bible just because Sister Hochstrasser said you could have fun with it! Instead, look for opportunities to make a memory that all can feel good about :). It makes the work worth it.
One thing I've been thinking a lot about lately is the way we use words. I was reading in the Book of Mormon and read a verse in Jacob 4:9 that said: "For behold, by the power of his word man came upon the face of the earth, which earth was created by the power of his word". I got to thinking about the power of speech, and came across this quote by Joseph Smith: "It is by words... [that] every being works when he works by faith. God said 'Let there be light: and there was light.' Joshua spake, and the great lights which God had created stood still. Elijah commanded, and the heavens were stayed for the space of three years and six months, so that it did not rain... All this was done by faith. ... Faith, then works by words; and with [words] its mightiest works have been, and will be, performed". Kind of complicated, but really really cool. If words have the power to move mountains, create worlds, fix ailments, and calm babies, than why do we so often use them to break hearts, tear down homes, lift ourselves up, and push others down? My mission has taught me that you can't be a hypocrite with your mouth. James 3:9-10 emphasizes this: "Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be".  Paraphrasing Matthew, it's not about what you put in your mouth, it's about what comes out of your mouth that determines character.
For example, when you think of the cruelest thing someone has done to you, often times it's an action made worse by words. The human body can't actually remember pain, but it can be haunted by words for a lifetime. It is a natural law that there be opposition in all things. So if there are powerfully evil words, than there must be powerfully righteous ones as well.
In the book of John we learn that Jesus Christ IS the Word. It is by Him that all things are created, it is His command and His will by which all things are governed. Think of the power we could all have if we but used our words for good! The scriptures call it speaking with "the tongue of angels". In other words, speaking by the power of the Holy Ghost. Or if you'd like to take it further, speaking the words of Christ.

While tracting on one particularly cold night, we saw a man putting bags into his car. Not wanting to put ourselves in danger because of how dark it was, we walked across the other side of the street to stay safe. I noticed that the supposedly scary man by his car in the dark, actually had a wife nearby. So we turned our tails around and went back over to them. They were a family. There were 2 little girls in the car. This family spoke Spanish. I'm not sure if they understood my broken attempt at "Hermanas" and "Misionera", but they heard the church's name and recognized the words of Christ. (Quite literally, the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints). They told us "Si" we could come back, so we sent the Hermanas over there to teach them! As they said the first vision, Caesar, the Hispanic father, drew near to tears. He and his family were hearing the words of Christ, and as Nephi explained it: "the power of the Holy Ghost [carried] it unto the hearts of the children of men".
Continuing with my foreign theme, our Hispanic ward mission leader brought an English friend to general conference on Saturday. No, not English like the voice you're reading this with in your head, English like Great Britain! I don't think I've ever had a more intelligent conversation in my whole mission actually. Words like "gregarious"  and "tip-top" and "cup-of-tea" were indeed used... it was splendid darling ;). haha. She found it quite fascinating that in general conference the different authorities were able to speak in their native tongue. There was Cantonese and Portuguese just to name a few. I think the amazing thing is, is that no matter what dialect, language, or syntax we choose to use, there is only one tongue for which we strive to speak. If we are speaking by the Word (who is Christ) than we are speaking with the tongue of angels. It actually bothers me to know that whenever I choose to gossip or use unkind words, and then turn around and speak words of Christ, I'm defiling not only my person, but the person of Christ.  It is my goal to work extra hard this transfer to speak with the "tongue of angels".
We were teaching an investigator about general conference this week, and explaining to her about how we have modern day prophets and apostles who speak to us. As I shared with her the words of Christ and my own personal testimony, she got this adoring look on her face. She couldn't stop smiling as she told both Sister Smith and I how she really just LOVED to watch us talk. "Ya'll just get this glow" she explained. We told her that's because the words that we spoke were true. How great would it be to always speak with a "glow", as she put it? She said the glow we had caused her own person to be happy. I sure wouldn't mind if every time I spoke, someone got happier! :)

Being a sister training leader, I'm learning how to give correction in kindness to my sisters. It's not about trying to iron out their flaws, it's about trying to catch them in their strengths. Using positive words of affirmation, instead of demeaning words of castigation [is that English?]

I think of how much happier I would be if I could go six weeks straight with only speaking positive words. Not only would my mood be brightened, but I think that my whole person would change. Those around me would be gladder, and I would be much quicker to forgive than to frustrate. I invite you to always join with me in my attempt to speak with the tongue of angels this transfer. It won't be easy, it will take a lot of grace, works, and faith. I'll probably mess up, but because of the atonement and the sacrament, I will have an opportunity to constantly be better and the chance to come closer, with Him.

The next time you hear from me, I will have a brand new companion! I'm sending Sister Smith home tomorrow, and welcoming Sister Cotton to Paducah :). Can't wait! Wish me luck!

Sister Hochstrasser

Write to me!
Sister Jennifer Hochstrasser
Tennessee Nashville Mission
105 West Park Drive Suite 190
Brentwood, TN  37027

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