Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Burdens Made Light

Every Monday we teach one of my favorite people in the whole world, Dub. That's not actually her name, but it's a nickname. She works with lots of Mormons and that's how she got to meeting with the missionaries. Our last lesson with her was awesome. She opened up to us about how there was something different about Mormons. Like, things just always seemed to be greener on their side of the lawn- because everyone and their dog comes to work on it!
She explained that Mormons just always had each other's backs. They live their religion every single day, and it's like their God-given goal to make someone else's life easier. Even their kids are the most respectful clients she's ever had! 
This got me thinking about a talk by Elder Eyring called "Witnesses for God". Elder Eyring explains WHY we are different from the world in this aspect: 
"Every member has made a covenant to do works of kindness as the Savior would do. So any call to bear witness and to care for others is not a request for extra service; it is a blessing designed by a loving Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ... a chance to prove what blessings flow from being a covenant people, and each [call for service] is an opportunity for which you agreed to be accountable. Each is a sacred responsibility for others accepted in the waters of baptism but too often not met because it may not be recognized for what it is."

We made sacred covenants when we were baptized. That's why we do this. When we taught Cheryl this week (she doesn't know a whole lot about God and Christ) we began with explaining God's nature and and about the Savior's. The peak of the lesson was when we taught about the Savior's example in being baptized--the feeling in the room changed and Cheryl told us that she wants to be baptized. We read about the importance of making that covenant with God from the scriptures. I have a testimony of the Savior and his sacrifice which made it possible for us to draw near to him through the sacred promises made at baptism and going to the temple. It got me thinking a lot about my own covenants. 

That same day we went community service hunting around town- trying to find places we could volunteer and serve. It struck me that it felt really good to help others, and I wondered why I had never really taken to volunteering back home very much, except for in cases where it was required, or spruced up a resume.  I remembered one of the things I covenanted at baptism and even in the temple was to "bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light; Yea, and... to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in" (Mosiah 18:8-9). 

I have seen so many examples of Latter-Day Saints fulfilling their baptismal covenants through volunteer work, visiting and home teaching, serving their neighbors, and being a true friend to those in need. My own mom is the greatest example of Christ like service to others that I know! 
Even Sister Andersen, my mission "mom" has been a good role model to the sisters of the mission on how to do this. 

She (Sister Andersen) came out teaching with us the other night in spite of her busy schedule, and also took us to dinner. We felt inspired to go to a new restaurant that a less active in the ward has just opened up. It was a MIRACLE MEAL MOMENT. Because not only did the less active come and eat with us, but also her kids came, and all the employees came, and she introduced us to all of them, and we got to teach the people sitting next to us, and basically proselyte to the whole restaurant!! So aside from getting great food, we also did a ton of finding, taught lessons, and got free dessert ;). And then that Sunday the less active came and brought her whole family to church! :D 
I had an exchange this week in Antioch (East Nashville) with Sister Svedin. She's a pro soprano so we of course went to put on a concert for the local nursing home. ;). Okay so it wasn't quite a concert, but we had a ton of fun singing hymns with each other and the member who had brought us. The funny thing is that the member had a hard time holding the tune and so we kept messing up and it was just so funny. So we're trying to sing the hymns all cool and then we are singing wrong notes while the member is also yelling at us to slow down.... LOL. I loved it. She was such a good sport to do that with us! She took us out to the local BBQ place after. 

The miracle of our exchange was after several missed buses, lots of asking for directions, and tons of walking- we contacted a lady who had requested missionaries on Mormon.org. This lady is actually less active, and has family in Lebanon who the missionaries are working with. She said that her sister was getting married, and she wanted to rediscover her roots without telling her so she can find out for herself if it's true. She told us that when she finds out, she really would like to serve a mission since her sister isn't getting to. How cool is that?! She's like 30 years old and just a rockstar! :) 

We ended our night going out with Sister Christensen to visit a less active. The car ride home from her really changed my perspective. Sister Christensen is one of those people who does literally everything right, but has had literally everything wrong happen to her. She shared her testimony with us of trials, and how sacred her experiences are to her because she used them to bring her closer to Christ. No matter how messed up the people in the church may be, or how bad she has to suffer, she has a testimony of Jesus Christ and that he's the head of this church. And that's all she needs! 
I know that because of the covenants Sister Christensen has made, those trials were able to yoke her with the Savior and make her burdens light. Not that they went away, but she used their weight for traction and stayed close to the Savior all throughout. 

You may not know this, but this Sunday was fast Sunday- and fasting is really hard for me. I was sitting in sacrament meeting yesterday thinking about how on earth I was going to be able to get through a whole 24 hours without eating anything and still stay happy- when I remembered the sacrament prayer: 

"that they may witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they do always remember him, that they may have his Spirit to be with them..."

Duh! Of course I could do this! As long as I kept my focus on the Savior by doing what he would do and remembering what he had said- the spirit would be with me to keep me going. And I just want ya'll to know that I had probably the best fasting experience yesterday. Those covenant promises are REAL. 

Sister Bustos bore her testimony about lifting burdens and how the Ward had pooled together to lighten their families load. It just amazes me how 15 million people around the world can create this network of support for the one. This is in part what the Savior meant when he said to take up his yoke that our burdens may be light. By taking upon us his name through baptism and our covenants, we promise to lift others burdens, and as we lift others and they lift us, we are all so much stronger! 

I definitely feel it from the Savior and from others. We got dropped by a lot of people this week which was hard, but we were okay. 

Our 4th of July was really crazy but fun. We met a less active who shot off fireworks for us, had a lunch date with a member and investigator, mentioned forever families to a lady on her doorstep and she burst into tears, found a less active who was wanting to come back to church, ate a "black pearl" not realizing it was the spiciest thing on the planet, and got caught in a flash flood with the tornado sirens blaring all over the place.

All in all, a good week :). 

I encourage all of you to remember the promise that you made at baptism to lift one another up and I promise as you do so, you will find your own burdens being lifted as well. It's a real thing :) 


Sister Hochstrasser 
P.S I've been told my specific area is officially the wealthiest county in the whole state of Tennessee! It's a high-class blast! ;) 

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