Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Race of Gods

I can't even believe everything that happened in just this one week... Starting with hitting my 16 month mark! 

I had an interview this week with President Andersen, where he asked me what I've become on my mission. I was a little lost for words. Certainly not all I hope to be, but definitely at least more than I had known I could hope for. I've been blessed with perspective, and a greater understanding of who I am. 

I gave a training in this transfers Zone Meeting based off of Elder D Todd Christofferson's talk "A Sense of the Sacred". My purpose was to remind the Elders and Sisters what they do in the name of Christ, how they wear His name, and what we say under His name. 

Think of the greatest creation Heavenly Father has ever made. It's not the earth, or the solar system, or any sort of Galaxy... It's YOU! Because you were created after His manner in His likeness. You have the potential far beyond that of a Milky Way. You have the potential of Gods.

It was this week that I began to experiment with teaching this concept to people. 
While walking to someones house, we ran across a guy washing his motorcycle outside. He was shirtless, so I attempted to pretend I just didn't see him, but my awesome companion didn't let the act go for long before she was in his driveway talking to him. His name was Matt, a motorcyclist, a mathematician, and a musician. Matt didn't believe in God, in fact, about the only thing he really believed in was himself. He expressed his feelings that he didn't need any sort of higher power to bring him happiness or success, he was doing it just fine on his own. The thought occurred to me that Matt just didn't understand his potential. All he saw was a few decades in front of him. I was looking at light years. By explaining to Matt who he is and who he can become, we saw the spirit touch him and although he doesn't live here- he agreed to pray and find out one last time if there's a God or not. I have faith he'll get an answer.

A few days later we went to dinner with a less active. I'm sure I mentioned him before. I'll just call him Tony. Tony took us out to one of the nicest Japanese Steak Houses in town. We had the whole fire show with the Filet Mignon and scallops and shrimp being cooked in front of us. It was a lot of fun. Tony has tons of money, and all the fine restaurants know him. While talking to him about his goals, we learned that Tony really doesn't have any. He loves his daughter, but that's about it. He spends his time drinking and partying and doing dangerous things that bring him elation. He isn't sure really what he wants out of life, in fact, he doesn't care. It concerns him. I remembered Matt the musician, and identified that all Tony is really missing is an understanding of what it means to be a child of God. A sense of the sacred. We helped Tony to offer his first out loud prayer in probably 20 years, and he promised to pray everyday until our next meeting. On Sunday, Tony came to church with his daughter. I know that as soon as he understands his divine nature, he will become everything he never realized he could become. 

This Sunday was the grand opening of our new building! It's so gorgeous! :) here are the flyers we've been passing out. 

Since the stake boundary changes, our Ward has grown quite a bit. We have a lot more area to cover and it's been fantastic! I am blown away by the softening hearts here in Nolensville. We found 7 new investigators this week... That's like a record high for this area! I think one thing that's helped is just the way I've taken to talking with people. I've realized that no one cares what your similarities are with them, they want to know what's different. And as soon as they learn some new principle (be it the Book of Mormon, the spirit world, or eternal families) we tie it back to the restoration and they are able to feel the truth of it resonate within them. You see, we aren't planting anything foreign, the things we teach have a familiar ring to them. They've heard this before. And as we couple new information with testimony, the Holy Ghost is able to bear witness to them of the validly of our teachings. 

I've learned that there is power in my words. For with them, I can create. I can create negativity, I can create fear, I can create contention. I can also create positivity, I can create love and light. And as a missionary, I do all in the name of Christ. I have been given the authority to speak in His name and have covenanted to take it upon me for 18 months. 

60 Behold, I am Alpha and Omega, even Jesus Christ.

61 Wherefore, let all men beware how they take my name in their lips--

64 Remember that that which cometh from above is sacred, and must be spoken with care, and by constraint of the Spirit...
(Doctrine and Covenants 63)

When we pray before and after lessons, we are opening and closing in his name. Therefore, everything that is said in between is what we are telling others in the name of Christ, as if he were here saying it. 

My exchange this week with Sister Dillon was a great reminder of this. She is only 2 weeks out and from Iowa. Cutest thing ever. We had lots of experiences opening our mouths, and not opening our mouths, and together we learned a lot about the importance of our calling. We also got caught in a really crazy rainstorm. LOL

We've been teaching a few Muslims and Hindus, this is the Book of Mormon in Arabic!

Speaking the words of Christ, reading the word of God, and praying are all powerful recourses. We met a lady who said she felt uncomfortable praying out loud, so she would actually just text God at the number 777-7777 for her prayers.... 
Take of that what you will. 

The other part of my training I forgot to mention is the part about how we wear the name of Christ. I was assigned to talk about the dress and grooming standards and call a lot of missionaries out. I was seriously dreading it... But God is good and the spirit completely took over. The correction was taken very humbly and the mood was light as I trained on what we as missionaries should and should not be wearing.

I compared it to Gold. Gold is pure, it's smooth, it's beautiful, its malleable, it's the perfect conduit of electricity. 
Similarly, if we want to be conduits for the spirit than we need to be shiny like Gold. How we look, if we're smooth pure and shiny, has a direct affect on how we perform. We must dress our best not because we think we're important, but because the message we bring it. 

"Some say dress and hair don’t matter—it’s what’s inside that counts. I believe that truly it is what’s inside a person that counts, but that’s what worries me. Casual dress at holy places and events is a message about what is inside a person. It may be pride or rebellion or something else, but at a minimum it says, “I don’t get it. I don’t understand the difference between the sacred and the profane... "
(A Sense of the Sacred)

This message inspired the zone. This pday we went out to lunch with several of the sisters and then went to Goodwill in Brentwood (the fancy area) to find modest appropriate clothing to represent the Savior in. It was lots of fun and there was a great spirit. 

One of my favorite talks is one Sister Rawlings shared with me last transfer. I think it's called "Our Refined Heavenly Home". My favorite part says:
"Woman ought to be praised for all the gifts they possess- including their attentiveness to their personal appearance- that so unselfishly add to the richness of the lives of others. We must not become so casual- even sloppy - in our appearance that we distance ourselves from the beauty heaven has given us"

I testify that we are of the race of Gods, children of the most high. And true happiness comes when we understand that truth and let it shape us to be more like Christ. (psalms 82:6) 

Well, it was a great week. Miracles happened, the weather was humid, and sister Miller tried sushi for the first time :) 

Make it a great week! 
 Sister Hochstrasser

Write to me!!

Sister Jennifer Hochstrasser 
Tennessee Nashville Mission
1646 Sunset Road
Brentwood, TN 37027

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