Monday, April 20, 2015

Don't Coast

We had a rough day. Nothing worked out except maybe the consolation of a Wendy's frosty and fries. Luckily, Dan the man came in and took us to Panera for dinner and then went with us out tracting. I don't think you all realize the impact you can have on us missionaries. Daniel made our whole day go from grey clouds to sunshine, just by being a friendly face for us to laugh with.

My exchange this week was with Hermana Eastwood, remember her from Paducah? Yeah she's here! So we had the most fun time together :). I just love the Spanish work here. I can't ever understand a whit of it, but that is what makes this so amazing. Because I can't listen to the words and understand, I have to focus on listening to the spirit. I wish we all listened to the spirit with as much intensity as a missionary when she can't understand what her investigator is saying!
We saw so many miracles, and it was amazing because whenever I felt prompted I would bare my testimony and Hermana Eastwood would translate. Every time she told me it was exactly spot on with the lesson and what they needed to hear. One of my favorite lessons was with Jeny and Pedro. Hermana Eastwood cried as she taught, our member shared powerful experiences, and I testified. Together we were able to witness a great spirit come into the room. By the end they asked if we could get a picture with them. They were sad I wasn't going to come back, even the member wanted to know if they'd see me again. There's something special about the relationships formed through the spirit instead of words :)
We had our quarterly interviews with President this week. They're always my favorite thing :). He taught me a pretty powerful lesson when he asked, "When is a missionary most successful? At the beginning of their mission or the end?"
I thought for a minute. "The beginning, because that's when they have to rely on the Lord the most since they don't know what they're doing, and they have that greenie Fire!"
"That's what everyone says, but you know I just don't agree with that!"
He explained how the Lord spends the first part of our mission training, shaping, and refining us- and it's not until towards the end that we are finally molded into what he needs. We can finally teach, coordinate, recognize the spirit, be bold, do the brave, train, and we know the scriptures. So really, the older missionaries should see more success than anyone else. This really struck me I have become a much better missionary, so now is the time to magnify it and be that fine tuned instrument for the Lord.
I have 3 transfers to make a difference. 3 transfers to bring others to Christ. 3 transfers to see miracles.
It's time to get going!  All I really pray is that I can be diligent to the end so that I can feel confident before God and know I did the Fathers will, all that I covenanted to do.
Similarly, it's vital that in life we do not coast. Think of all of the experiences and obstacles you have been given to shape you into who you are today. Those things weren't just for fun, they had a purpose and now so do you.
Much like the parable of the talents in Matthew 25, we must do all we can with what we've been given. Then we will be richly blessed. If not, it will be taken away and be a waste.

"Wherefore, I know by this thing which thou hast said, that if theGentiles have not charity, because of our weakness, that thou wiltprove them, and take away their talent, yea, even that which they havereceived, and give unto them who shall have more abundantly." (Ether 12:25)

With this in mind, I'd like to share a small but profound experience from this week.

We were tracting, and as we were tracting I saw two girls sitting on some stairs across the street. 
One was a young adult, one a little girl. Probably sisters. I payed attention to how I was feeling
and didn't feel any particular pull towards the girls. My companion saw them too, and I told her I didn't really feel a prompting to talk to them. She didn't either.
I thought about how in Preach My Gospel we are promised we will find those ready, but we need to talk to everyone. We decided to just go over there, because it's not like it would hurt anything. It was a little awkward walking across the street, because we were obviously bee lining it towards them. They watched us. As we approached, we introduced ourselves. "Oh I know," replied the young adult (Her name is Chelsie) Turns out, she grew up in Salt Lake, and had been to our church a few times! The younger girl (named Jade) had also seen us around before when she was playing at her friends house and we came over. She had always wondered who we were. It was a tender mercy from the Lord, and I learned a valuable lesson. 

Most of the time, you just aren't going to get a huge prompting to invite a friend to learn about the restored gospel. That doesn't mean you're not supposed to though. We grow up learning about our duty to be member missionaries, and learning about the blessings that come as we do. Sometimes you won't have a feeling to talk to someone about church, because you've been taught your whole life to do so! 
The Lord gave us brains and He's given us counsel and direction. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the holy ghost can't and won't lead you to a friend who may be prepared, but I guess what I'm saying is that Heavenly Father has given us members of His church a really precious gift, and if we truly love our friends, we will want them to have a part of it too! 

And I don't think our fear of doing that is necessarily that we are just too terrified to mention the church, I think we are just too terrified that it will offend them more than we are worried of offending God (who we've made sacred covenants with).

Robin C Oaks said it best:

"Consider that you are invited to a friend’s house for breakfast.On the table you see a large pitcher of freshly squeezed orange juice from which your host fills his glass. But he offers you none. Finally,
you ask, “Could I have a glass of orange juice?” He replies, "Oh, I am sorry. I was afraid you might not like orange juice, and I didn't want to offend you by offering you something you didnt desire.”
Now, that sounds absurd, but it is not too different from the way we hesitate to offer up something far sweeter than orange juice. I have often worried how I would answer some friend about my hesitancy
when I meet him beyond the veil."
(From the talk, "Sharing the Gospel")

I promise that you have and you will be given many opportunities to share the gospel with your friends. And to those "friends" of whom I speak, if the members of the church that YOU know haven't yet invited you to learn more, don't be afraid to do some research yourself and get the missionaries involved in your experience! :) I know that this gospel is the greatest gift the world has to offer. 

On an ending note, I just want to say how cool this ward is. We met the Dixons the other day, and she is the VP for the "values" campaign (see Like all those awesome billboards and feel-good commercials you see? Yeah, I know the lady who started that. Oh and her husband is the producer of all the efy cds, so that's cool.

And then after ward conference this Sunday, we had a potluck which consisted of  varieties of spinich salad and a sushi bar. You know, just typical Brentwood/Nashville living. LOL
homemade food from Hong Kong by the Jensens

Much love,
Sister Hochstrasser

Write to me!!
Sis Jennifer Hochstrasser
Tennessee Nashville Mission

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