Saturday, August 15, 2015

You better check yo' self!

"29 Wherefore, as ye are agents, ye are on the Lord’s errand; and whatever ye do according to the will of the Lord is the Lord’s business.
30 And he hath set you to provide for his saints in these last days, that they may obtain an inheritance in the land of Zion.
31 And behold, I, the Lord, declare unto you, and my words are sure and shall not fail, that they shall obtain it.
32 But all things must come to pass in their time.
33 Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.
34 Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days."
(Doctrine and Covenants 64) 

It's interesting to me how every time a member has to cancel on coming out with us, and we just can't seem to find a replacement, our investigators end up not even being home. Or when those we had planned to see don't work, but someone else is put in our path who is even more prepared. This seems to happen daily. And every time it boggles my mind how personally involved the Lord is with each individual hour of the day. 

"1 The works, and the designs, and the purposes of God cannot be frustrated, neither can they come to naught." 
(Doctrine and Covenants 3) 

So I guess what I've learned is that if I'm frustrated, I should probably reevaluate whose work I'm doing- mine or the Lord's. 

Similarly, when my mouth spray tastes bad, I should probably reevaluate whose spray it is, mine, or my companions bug spray. #truestory

We had 18 member present lessons this week. It's Paducah all over again! Haha. It's so fun to see what happens when people put their friends and the missionaries together. For example, the Bishop had us over for dinner and also invited his friends. Sister Hughes (his wife) told us we could share a message, but just to make sure it was really simple because their friends already have a church and wouldn't be interested. So, Sister Gale and I followed their counsel and gave a brief message on the atonement (using the Bible and Book of Mormon). Their friends began to ask us questions to the surprise of the Hughes, and it totally opened the door for a whole lot of missionary work! "Well..." Began Bishop Hughes, "in the spring of 1820 there was a young boy by the name of Joseph Smith living in upstate New York" 
They TOTALLY taught them the first discussion on their own, and their friends were super receptive! It was a miracle to see. They agreed to come to church to see me speak in a few weeks, and happily took a copy of the Book of Mormon. :) 

We also went to breakfast on the square with Brother Caudle again. He brought his friend Jeff, who is a reverend in the Methodist church. He studies from the Book of Mormon using Hugh Nibley and a few other commentators almost every morning- and even owns a Preach My Gospel and Jesus the Christ! He says it started as a curiosity, and now he's just trying to figure things out- because joining our faith would go back on his whole life's work. He says he knows more than the missionaries who have tried to teach him, so I'm excited to work with him especially. 

I had the privilege to go on splits with some young women this week. Baylee drove me around... And around and around.... I think we did like 15 U-turns and she even drove on the off ramp of the free way once. Hahaha

Our Zone conference was this week. It was so strange giving my departing testimony in front of the zones (it's tradition that the missionaries going home bare it). It was really cool though to just sit in the audience and listen to the trainings instead of being the one giving them! Especially because my Sister Training Leader is Sister Kohler!! We had to get a posterity picture of course :) 

As usual, it was so fun seeing some of my mission friends. Sister Oldroyd, Elder Keys, Elder Sheffield, Sister Kohler, and the Hermanas to name a few. Some of them I said bye to and won't see again until we both are in pants! How strange! 

Speaking of strange, check out this rusting gas station bathroom we had to use... 

Back to zone conference though, President gave a stellar training in the importance of being exactly obedient. He shared instances in the scriptures where God commanded someone to do something specifically, and then they would only partly do it and change the rest because it made more sense. Like when God told Uzza in 1st chronicles 13 not to touch the ark but then they sort of stumbled so Uzza reached out to try to catch the ark and died. Hahaha it's an extreme example, but in 1st Samuel 15 Samuel it says "to obey is better than sacrifice".  How can that be? Well, because all the things we have to sacrifice to the Lord (time, money, etc) already belongs to him! The only thing that doesn't belong to him is our will, and we give him our will through exact obedience. 

It was a good reminder and helped me to check myself, much like the people that Alma and Amulek saw while they were on their mission. 
"17 Therefore, after Alma having established the church at Sidom, seeing a great check, yea, seeing that the people were checked as to the pride of their hearts, and began to humble themselves before God, and began to assemble themselves together at their sanctuaries to worship God before the altar, watching and praying continually, that they might be delivered from Satan, and from death, and from destruction--" (Alma 15)

It's like my aunt used to always say, "you better check yo'self before you wreck yo'self!"

These 2 missionaries have been great examples to me of exact obedience. Like when their investigator, Zeezrom, calls to them and asks them to come visit, it says
"he sent a message immediately unto them, desiring them to come unto him.
And it came to pass that they went immediately, obeying the message which he had sent unto them; and they went in unto the house unto Zeezrom" (Alma 15:4-5)

I just think it's so cool that even without it being a command from the Lord, it was in their very nature to be exactly obedient! In this area of Lawrenceburg there are just miracles waiting to happen, so I can't afford not to be obedient because we need so badly for the will of the Lord to be accomplished here! 

We are presently working closely with Doug, and also with Randy. There are many others, but if you would remember them in your prayers especially that would be great. 

There's also a less active lady, Sister Hill, who we taught the word of wisdom to this week. We actually didn't mean to, we were going to visit her granddaughter but she was just home and the spirit prompted us to teach her. We committed her to pray every time she smoked a cigarette, and she said she would. At church the next day she leaned over and told me that after we left she smoked one last cigarette and hadn't picked up another since. It was so sweet to see, I just know it's because she had felt our love and Gods love in that lesson, and love is the greatest motivator! Our Sunday school lesson was on the word of wisdom also. Go figure. 

One member we went out with this week is a Hispanic woman named Sister Lindsey. She taught me a valuable lesson. When she was raised, she was taught to give everything that she likes away. She told me, "and if you're not willing to give so, etching away, you don't deserve to have it". I thought that was powerful. 
It's much like the gospel. Sister Lindsey has helped many people come into the church because she is willing to give her testimony and her religion away to others. She of all people, deserves to have it. 

There's another selfless lady we met, Miss Denise, who we are helping to serve every week. She quit her job to work at this place called the "coffee house". It's actually a God centered hang out spot for kids in the community. It thrives off of donations, and the price of food is only enough to buy more food. Many people in this town remember growing up there, reading books and eating pizza and running around playing. It's really cool and the theme of it is "child of God".

I think my favorite hang out spot currently is Wendy's.... You can get a small frosty and 4 chicken nuggets for like $2. 
Sister Gale and I were at Wendy's one day just dying with laughter over the names of our take-out frozen yogurt company we're "going" to start at BYU-Provo one day. We were thinking either "Country 'gurt" or "YOLO FROYO". We're open to suggestions ;) hahaha

So I just want to point out that I'm definitely still in the South. A naked baby came and showed me a tick she had pulled out of her brother that morning. I became very paranoid about walking in grass after that. Also, everyone and their dog owns a confederate flag. 

Despite all the craziness, I know the church is true and I know the only way to know is through trying it out by obedience! (See D&C 93:24-28)

Sure love ya'll!

Sister Hochstrasser
Tennessee Nashville Mission
1646 Sunset Rd
Brentwood, TN 37027

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