Monday, November 3, 2014

In Remission

Meet Sarah Gould. Sarah is an insurance adjuster. AKA she is the one who gets to go check out the damage done to your property and write you out a check in return. One day after going to a claim, she came to a lesson with the missionaries! She told us how during this claim, the customers were saying really inappropriate things. Their manner of speech was crude and the topics unwholesome. After having to listen to them for so long, she finally left and ran to the store to buy all the sanitizing products she could find. Sarah felt DIRTY and she wanted to get that feeling off! 

2nd Corinthians 7:1 says: "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God"

When we sin, we become dirty. Maybe not physically dirty, as Sarah felt, but spiritually dirty. When we are full of sin, we feel fettered, grimy, unhappy, and we are unable to receive the blessing that Heavenly Father wants to give us. The scriptures teach that no unclean thing can dwell in the presence of God. 

Because Heavenly Father loves us so much, he has provided a way for us to become clean so that we can be happy and successful in this life, and live with Him in the life to come. That way is through Jesus Christ. 

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me". (John 14:6)

Because of Jesus Christ, we can be cleansed from sin. Often times this is referred to as a "remission of sins". When cancer patients go into remission, it means they are cancer free. Similarly when we receive a remission of our sins, we are sin free! My dear friend Sarah felt the stain of sin. As a result, she chose to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by one holding the priesthood authority. Baptism is how we receive a remission of sins. During her baptism, the spirit was so strong. When Sarah came out of the water she was beaming!! I had honestly never seen her look so happy before. The rest of the day she sort of just floated around, receiving hugs and welcomes and gifts from the ward. I sure am blessed to have been even a small portion of her journey in coming closer to Christ. 

Granted, we will continue to sin. "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Heavenly Father realized I'm sure, that we can't stand in the baptismal font all day and night trying to stay clean, so he gave us the ordinance of the sacrament! Every week members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints have the opportunity to partake of the bread and water to renew their baptismal covenants and be cleansed again. This is how we are able to retain a remission of our sins. I know that this is true because I have felt it take affect in my life. As I teach it to others, I feel the spirit witness to me and to them that this is true. 

Last Monday we were teaching a 14 year old girl and her grandma. At the end of the lesson I bore my testimony, and let them know that the spirit was there to witness the truth of what we had shared. "If this wasn't all true, the spirit wouldn't be here. He doesn't come to support lies," I told them. This seemed to strike a cord in them.  
After that lesson, we taught Andy, the one I told you about last week. Sister Cotton and I felt like we didn't do a very good job teaching, but at the end of the night he texted us saying how strongly he had felt the spirit with us, and how excited he was to continue to meet. 
It is probably the greatest feeling ever to know you are worthy, because of Jesus Christ, to bring the spirit to the heart of those listening. It takes a lot of repenting though. I never realized how much I mess up until coming on a mission, that's for sure! But also, I've seen a lot of my strengths. 

 I am so grateful for the Church's youth program. Because I grew up with so many young women, Sister Cotton recently pointed out that I have a gift in working with them. We went to go meet a less active family, and immediately the young woman there became my best friend. Her father was so so grateful, because he is too sick to bring her to church and he wants to eventually serve a mission. He told me he was excited that she took such a liking to me, because maybe Sister Cotton and I could be the means of reactivating her.
We got to go to the church fall festival, in which I was able to talk with a lot of the young women investigators that other missionaries brought, and form good relationships with them as well. I really am so appreciative of the great young women leaders I had growing up, who taught me how to get along and be kind to all young women, despite their differences. 
Notice the SNAKE around Sis. Hochstrasser's neck?! Oh my goodness!
We have had many miracles this week in saying specific prayers and being given specific answers. We met a lot of great new investigators, taught some amazing lessons, and laughed a TON. 
So, want to hear a good story? Since Sandra's baptism date fell through, we decided to bring Sister Jones to come talk to her (side note: Sister Jones is an AWESOME sassy woman). After giving Sister Jones a debriefing in the car, we walk in and before even getting to the opening prayer Sister Jones puts down her purse and goes, "Okay, I'm just going to cut to the chase. Why aren't you baptized?" So in reply Sandra just tried to give all her standard answers about how she'll do it when she's ready and God's ready, and how God still loves her no matter what... then Sister Jones goes, "What? You don't think God wants you to be baptized right now?" So of course Sandra is just going "well yeah... yeah I guess". Then Sister Jones asked,  "Well what got in the way?" And Sandra talked about all the times her baptism date fell through. So Sister Jones asked her, "Do you think that is coming from God, or do you think that's coming from Satan?". 
"Well, Satan!".
"So, are you sayin' that you're following Satan more than you're following God?". Sandra seemed a little taken back by that. So Sister Jones had to switch into her nice voice. She gently reminded Sandra that she is essentially just wasting time. Sandra seemed to see her point. At this rate, Sister Cotton piped up: "Sandra, you realize this is only the first step, right? Like, baptism is the gate to eternal life, and you're hanging out right outside of it! You have to walk through the gate!"
Sandra suddenly felt a cool breeze rush through her. The spirit had confirmed the truth of what Sister Cotton said. Sandra told us she felt really good. Following the spirit, Sister Jones brought up the fact that she had lost a daughter, just as Sandra had. She told Sandra that not only was she waiting outside the gate, but Sandra's daughter was too. She needs her. And then from there we picked a new date for Sandra to be baptized. November 30th here we go!

 A midst the excitement, the week ended a little traumatically. Friday my bike was stolen off the back of our car, so that on top of having my ipad run over has just been enough to send me into a panic attack. If that isn't enough, we didn't even have time to go get icecream to make it better!  Luckily I have insurance on both items, and I'll be getting my ice cream fix later today, so no need to fear, I'm happy and all is well :).

I guess I'm just really grateful for the Atonement. I can't imagine living a life where I didn't know the power of repentance or what it felt like to be cleansed of sin. What a blessing it is to get to share this with others. It is my prayer that we can all do our best to share the gospel of Jesus Christ  so that everyone can feel the healing, happiness, and hope that our Savior brings. 

As they say in the south, "Ya'll have a blessed week!"

-Sister Hochstrasser

Write to Me!!
Sister Jennifer Hochstrasser
Tennessee Nashville Mission

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