Monday, March 16, 2015

All Amazed

Today we went and hung out with all the sister downtown, which was so fun, but didn't leave me much time to put together a good email for ya'll... So bear with me!

First off, it's a problem serving in the city. I just love it so much! Big beautiful houses, fancy stores, all the best food places.... Haha. Not your average mission or life style to say the least! We had to go to the mall the other day to get our phone fixed. While we waited we did some store contacting. It was so fun because it's totally something any member of the church can do! It starts off with striking up a friendly conversation, then slipping in something about your own religious lifestyle. Then they will ask a question about it because they don't understand, then you introduce your church and tell them a little about it. Then if they're interested, you give them the church address and tell them to check out! Or in our case, we give them our number and set an appointment haha. We went into a fancy shoe store and talked with the sales lady there. "You've changed my whole view on Mormons!" She told us by the end.

My invitation to all of you is to reach beyond yourself while in public places and say hi to everyone. Look for the good in others and compliment them on it! Ask them a question, do SOMETHING friendly to break that barrier and then if God wills, you'll be given a missionary opportunity right there :). You could very well change someone's life just by a friendly "hello!"
As a side note, I also have a knack for convincing all my companions to buy something that I think they look good in... Lol. I wonder if I could get a job as a shoe sales person and give all my clients pass along cards? Do you think they'd allow that? Anyway...

A year ago on the 10th of March, Sister Oldroyd and I were coming in to Nashville as MTC companions, anxious and curious of what would lie ahead for the next year and a half. It was fun to look back and now see ourselves in Nashville meeting with Elder Keys and Elder Rumsey (the zone leaders) preparing trainings for our zone meeting and discussing the needs of those we serve as if we know what we're doing. I mean, I still don't really get it, but I've gotten better! Lol

Our first zone meeting went really well. I trained on how to work with members and we got to give all the missionaries their new iPads and kick them off Facebook for a little bit. Then I got to take one of the sisters back to my area to work with me for exchanges. I actually had 2 exchanges this week. Both with Samoan sisters... So you can imagine it was a blast ;). On exchanges it's become a tradition for me to make chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast and my mom’s fajitas for lunch. They're famous now! Haha

Hermana Lavou taught me some Tahitian dance moves as part of our morning workout. LOL

One of the sisters in the zone asked me for some advice on this boy she's writing. It was a neat experience to watch the Lord work through me to help her get the revelation she needs. I drew her a picture of a triangle with God at the top. I explained that if she's working towards God, and so is he, they will end up together if it's God's will. But, if all they do is focus on each other, then they will end up together but not as close to God. It made a lot more sense when I said it in the moment than now haha. The main thing is just the lesson I learned about how I can be an instrument for the Lord in helping these sisters, not just my investigators.

A great highlight of the week was doing family history with Domnecia.I was on exchanges and we had to find a member to take us and our investigator to the family history center in Franklin. We finally found Jered, an RM sister, to agree to help. When she arrived to pick us all up, she was in a tiny little sports car. Here's the struggle though: Domnecia couldn't find a baby sitter, and had to take her son. None of us are very small, so we had to literally cram in the back. Hermana Lavou is a lot bigger than me, so I had her sit behind Jered. There was only 2 seat belts so I had Domnecias son sit on the other side, and I fit one side of me in the middle and sort of laid on top of everyone, and Domnecia squished herself in the front. It's like a half hour drive there so you can imagine I was grateful to get adjusted at the chiropractor today lol. When we got to the family history center it was apparently the region wide volleyball tournament so there were kids running around everywhere! It was chaos! The family history people didn't really know how to help our investigator, so I just tried to pretend like this was all normal and not make this a bad experience for her....oh brother.

My mission just makes me really grateful that life is for living and learning. The atonement was given as a gift to protect us from our mistakes- and let us learn from others! In church this Sunday we sang "I Stand All Amazed" and this line really hit me: "That he should extend his great love unto such as I Sufficient to own, to redeem, and to justify"…I hadn't thought about it much before, but his "great love" or in other words, his atonement, is something that is sufficient for us to own. As children of God we literally own the atonement. It is always accessible to us no matter where we are in life. I am so in awe that this atonement is sufficient enough to redeem me, and to justify me! As a missionary, I get to teach people how they can apply the atonement through Christ's restored gospel. His atonement is healing, redeeming, enabling, and purifying. I am so grateful!

We had a miracle this week where my companion had a prompting to go tract a certain street. When we started, one of the houses told us the Elders had just been there last night, and we probably shouldn't knock the neighborhood again. Disappointed, we called the elders to ask them about it. They told us that really, they had only knocked on one door, the first one we had knocked on! Elder Ashton remembered that that was the street where he had a strong prompting to knock a specific house, but the people standing outside it kind of blew them off so he didn't bother. We determined that this was the reason we felt inspired to tract that street just the next day, and went back. With excitement to see what miracle lay before us, we knocked on the door and out came Ryan! Ryan is the coolest person ever and gladly accepted a Book of Mormon. We stood on that door step and taught and testified with more power than ever. Sister Oldroyd and I just knew that the reason it was such a successful contact was because we had so much FAITH going into it. We knew in advance because of both sets of missionaries promptings that it was going to be good- and it was! I just know that if we went to every door with that much excitement and faith, we could have that much success every time!

We drove home that night blasting "My Call to Serve" with all the windows down, so pumped to be missionaries :)
I sure love ya'll!

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

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