Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Sacramento Week 15

Dear Family & Friends,

I can't believe another week has come and gone! What a busy week it has been. 

Our dinner with the family in our ward and our investigators Craig and Amanda finally worked out! After we ate, we watched the Restoration video and had a good discussion about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. The Ferkins, the family in our ward, did a great job fellow shipping them and they are all set to come to church next week!

We also taught the Restoration to Jason and Shelly, our miracle family from last week. Unfortunately, the didn't make it to church yesterday and Shelly told us she is a little bit overwhelmed. We had a good lesson about the importance of reading and praying to get answers so I am faithful that this little bump in the road won't hold her back. The Lord will continue to prepare them just as He already has! We'll stop by again this week.

We had a heart to heart with Ivan and Belen about the Law of Chastity and they told us after they prayed, they don't feel ready to give up living together yet. As disappointing as it was, I feel confident we as missionaries did all we could to teach and explain everything to them, and promise the blessings that come from obedience. I know the Lord will continue to prepare them too. They have come so far and changed so much since we first met them. Even though I wish I could just force them to separate, I am learning how Heavenly Father must feel when we disobey Him, despite the obvious blessings He is just waiting to pour out on us. Our agency, the ability we have to make our own choices, is a priceless gift that God has given us and we have to respect that in others.

We taught Julie the Plan of Salvation this week and started by singing the primary song"I am a Child of God". The Spirit was so strong and she was almost in tears as she told us how much that song reminded her of her kids. She wants us to sing it in Portuguese next week so she can record it. I am definitely not a singer but somehow Heavenly Father has blessed me with the ability to carry somewhat of a pleasant tune since being on a mission. That song is such a testimony to me that we each really are children of a loving Father in Heaven who cares so much about us. What a simple, yet so powerful, truth!

On Saturday we had exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders and Sister Dalley came to my area for the day. I wasn't nervous at all about having to lead my area. Ever since that emergency transfer I feel confident the Lord helps me take charge in this work. That morning we did service for a less-active family by scrubbing bird poop off their ramp and porch (for the second time that week). Maybe this cold I'm recovering from is bird flu... haha just kidding. I'm sure I'm fine. I learned a lot from Sister Dalley and I appreciate her leadership and her example of diligent missionary work.

As crazy as this week was, I just have to mention I am really grateful for the awesome members of our ward who feed us dinner each night. I always look forward to going to those families' homes after a long, often difficult day. Everyone reading this email who has the opportunity to feed the missionaries wherever you are, I want you to know how grateful we are for your service and sacrifice. Your home is a place of refuge for us and I know you are greatly blessed for sharing your home and family with us. Missionaries appreciate being in your home more than you'll ever realize!

No crazy biking in the rain stories this week. In fact, it's supposed to be 75 degrees today! No complaining about the weather here!

"When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God" (Mosiah 2:17) This has been a good reminder to me this week that the way we show God we love Him is by serving our fellow brothers and sisters. Throughout the past few months of my mission, I have truly come to love and appreciate my Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ. I know the best way I can show them is by serving here with all my heart!

Have a great week! I love you and miss you all!
Sister Jorgensen

P.S. Pics are of a sign in a store window about being "built for Brazil"- I couldn't resist :) One day I'll make it there. And our investigator Larry we ran into on our bikes one day.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Sacramento Week 14

Dear Family & Friends,

We had an AWESOME week and I can't even express how happy and blessed I feel right now. I'm still in awe! I don't even understand how all these great things are happening but it just goes to show that this is truly the Lord's work and He prepares the way.

On Friday night, after an appointment fell through, we went to visit a family who has been on our potential investigator sheet for awhile. They weren't interested in the past but always civil to what we had to say on the doorstep. This time when they opened the door, they invited us in immediately. The wife, Shelly, told us she had been chatting with missionaries on mormon.org and talking with a few of her Mormon friends. She said all of a sudden it feels like everywhere she turns there is a Mormon; even her new boss is a member of the church. She drives by our church building several times a week and asked us how she could get another copy of the Book of Mormon. We were SHOCKED! We talked to them a little bit about their religious background, set up an appointment to start teaching them, and BOOM! They came to church yesterday and stayed for all 3 hours. The husband, Jason, read the entire Restoration pamphlet we left them and did the additional study section in the back. What?! Who does that?! This never happens!!!

Jason and Shelly are a MIRACLE. Another family to teach!! There is no doubt the Lord has been preparing them. I have never seen investigators so ready. They have a baby boy and a 4 year old named Josie who calls us the "Jesus Girls" because sister missionaries always give her pictures of Jesus. This family is a testimony to me that Heavenly Father prepares people and even if they haven't been interested in the past, those little seeds from previous missionaries take root and miracles happen! I know our other appointment fell through for a reason and the Lord always has a backup plan, which is sometimes better than the original. Everyone at church was so excited to have a new family come! Jason and Shelly are golden. I can't wait to go back to see them this week!

We added another new investigator named Patty. Patty is in her late 60s and needs a sense of direction in her life after raising her son with down syndrome. Missionaries back in 2007 taught her son the lessons, though he was never baptized, so Patty is familiar with our beliefs. She calls us her daughters because she never had any. She is so sweet! My favorite part of the lesson with her was when we were asking her about the Book of Mormon and she told us that she knew it was true and enjoys reading it. YAY!! She, like Jason and Shelly, has also been prepared by the Lord to accept the gospel at this time. This is so cool... teaching people that are so ready and willing to hear what we have to share!!!!

Another highlight of the week was attending Zone Conference with the 50-60 missionaries in our area. The theme of conference was "What will I do to baptize many truly converted people?". We each had to write a 2-3 minute talk about that subject. In part of President Lewis' training, he read part of my talk where I talked about the picture of Christ that I have by my desk that reminds me of my purpose- this is His work, my words are His words, and He is my third companion. I thought that was neat that he read part of my talk, especially because only 2 people were called on to read theirs. As I looked around at all the other missionaries at Zone Conference, I had this feeling come over me that I was in the right place, that this was my mission, and that I could do this whole missionary thing with the Lord at my side!

Today as I write this email, I feel so overwhelmed with gratitude, love, and peace. I am so grateful for each and every one of you, all the support and encouragement you give me each day. Thanks for the countless emails, letters, and packages. They mean so much to me! I also am grateful to my Father in Heaven who has truly provided the way for us to accomplish many wonderful things this week. The work in this area is starting to pick up and it's so neat to be apart of! I am grateful to other missionaries who worked so hard in this area before me, because they laid the foundation, just as we are doing for future missionaries too. There is no doubt that the Lord labors with us. This is His work.

Enos 1:27 "I rejoice in the day when...I shall stand before him; then shall I see his face with pleasure, and he will say unto me: Come unto me, ye blessed, there is a place prepared for you in the mansions of my Father."

I can't wait for the day when I will see Christ, who is my Savior and Redeemer, my older brother and friend, and to have Him take me in His arms and say "Well done, my good and faithful servant". It is His love and approval I seek each day. This mission is for Him. I know He lives and I know He is right beside me every day, whether they be days of sunshine or rain.

I love you all and pray for the Lord to pour out His blessings upon you. Never forget who you are or where you came from. You are here for a reason and through our Savior, your life will be filled with hope and purpose!

Sister Jorgensen

P.S. Pic of a pretty flower we found... you know, just finding joy in the small things :) The other is of Sister Zenger and I at Zone Conference- so good to reunite with her!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Sacramento Week 13

Dear Family & Friends,

This week was very... wet! Yay for coming home at night drenched and smelling like wet dog! As we rode our bikes around in the constant drizzle over the past few days, we thought about taping signs to our backs that said "Ask me why I do this" (haha). There were a couple moments this week where I seriously had to ask myself that question. Despite my frustration, I can testify that tender mercies from the Lord are real and they come just when we need them most. 

So why did I chose to come on a mission, leaving my friends and family for a year and a half, ending up in a place that wasn't my original call, where I have to face constant rejection and ride a bike all day, every day no matter the weather? Let me tell you. It's because I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and I want to share the blessings of the Restored gospel with the world. It's because I love my Father and Heaven and His Son Jesus Christ, and the best way I can show my love is through serving others. It's because I am grateful for my Savior's sacrifice for me personally, and throughout my mission so far, I have truly come to appreciate His Atonement.

We read a poem at Zone Training this week called "He's Been There Before", and it gave me a better perspective about the hardships of serving a mission. Christ had the toughest mission of all, and because of that, He understands exactly what it feels like to be homesick, exhausted, disappointed. It's because of His divine mission that I am serving mine. Why would I do this if I didn't know this gospel is true?! I KNOW IT IS!

I learned this week there is a difference between disappointment and discouragement. It's okay to be disappointed- lessons cancel, investigators let you down, silly people tell you your religion is brainwashing you and that we need to 'wake up to the real world'. Missions, and life in general, are full of disappointments. But I have the choice of how I react; I don't have to let myself get discouraged. When I feel myself getting discouraged, losing courage, losing faith, I get stuck in a "pitty party" and I can't follow the promptings of the Spirit. So when disappointments happen, because they will, I can not and will not let myself get discouraged! Rather, I will count my blessings, and focus on the positive. Everything happens for a reason.

The Lord blessed us with many tender mercies throughout our rain adventures. Zarria is the 11 year old daughter of a recent convert and this week was her birthday. Guess what she wanted to do... have the missionaries over for a lesson and cake and ice cream! That made my day, especially because it was a place to go after dinner when we had to go back out into the rain. Zarria's mom, Sassy, is a strong single-mom who has been through it all. She always tells us we are her angels, but thankfully, they were our angels that night!

Here's another one. Right after I decided to get out of my comfort zone and talk to the guy who claimed we were being brainwashed, I had a bit of a melt down. I have to admit I reached the point of discouragement. Tears mixed with raindrops as they poured down my face. We rode past Sister Schmit's house, a lady in our ward, who immediately invited us in to dry off and warm up. A cup of hot chocolate and an eggroll later (haha), we were off on our way again. That's exactly what I needed right then and Heavenly Father blessed us through Sister Schmit's loving kindess. 

Other highlights of the week... Julie is starting to gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon as she read on her own this past week and felt like everything she read was exactly what she needed (yay!). We had another great lesson with Ivan and Belen, also about the Book of Mormon, and they are reading a few verses together each night. Overall, this week wasn't a bad one. The rain softened a lot of hearts and even though disappointments happen and we looked like wet rats everywhere we went, we were going about doing the Lord's will and we were never riding alone. Besides, at least we don't have to bike in snow!

"No matter what we feel like when we feel we can't take more,
Just stop and think about Jesus Christ, He's been there before". 

Valiant missionaries don't give up just because they get a little wet. Valiant missionaries keep pedaling!

I love you all and miss you more than you know. Have a wonderful week!

Sister Jorgensen

P.S. Enjoy the pics from Zarria's birthday!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Sacramento Week 12

Dear Family & Friends,

Well... it finally rained! California is in a drought right now and everyone here is worried. It rained a little bit this week for the first time in months. I have to admit, I didn't jump on the bandwagon to pray and fast for the rain (I'm a bit selfish because we are on bike) but I'm glad the Lord blessed this area with some moisture. Please just don't thunderstorm anytime soon!

Aside from the rain, this week has been another busy one! We had a great lesson with a family we've been trying to teach for several weeks, and we are having dinner with them and another family from church on Friday. The mom basically told us she really wants to join the church, she just wants to get her husband on board. Hopefully this family we are eating dinner with can be their friends and fellowship them so they'll feel comfortable enough to come to church. They have 3 super cute kids and our ward needs more young families! They are the perfect little Mormon family... they just don't know it yet :)

Ivan and Belin came to church yesterday! HOORAY! We taught them another lesson this week and they have been praying together every night. So proud of them! Ivan has completely changed. He went from doubting there was even a higher power to now having faith in God and His Son Jesus Christ, to the point where he is willing to make some major changes in his life to be baptized. They asked us what exactly needed to happen before they could be baptized so we were pretty bold about the Word of Wisdom and chastity, since they are living together. Even though it's going to be hard, they are already starting to see how much living the gospel can change their life. It's neat to watch them progress on this journey!

Another person who has completely changed since we started teaching her a few weeks ago is Julie. Julie, the girlfriend of a recently activated man in our ward, has had a very rough past and is overcoming all kinds of addictions. I have noticed the light come back into her eyes and face, especially this past week, and she smiles and laughs all the time. Even their home feels more happy! She told us "this all just feels so right" and loves when we meet with her each week. She can't be baptized for awhile because of several things she has to work on, but we're walking her through her conversion one step at a time. As I visually witness the truth of the gospel, my testimony is strengthened and I know lives and hearts can be changed through the infinite Atonement of Jesus Christ and His healing power- healing which we are ALL in need of.

Other updates... We're still working with Dakota who now wants to be baptized in March. We have our first lesson tonight with a part-member family who have 2 kids that want to be baptized. We have never had so many people to teach in this area. The Lord is pouring out His blessings and we are seeing miracles every day from our patience, obedience, and diligence! We have been working so hard and the Lord is filling our days with people to help and hearts to change. I feel so blessed! I have faith we can have a baptism soon. If it's the Lord's will, it will happen, and He will prepare the way.

A scripture that has really stuck out to me this week is Moroni 10:32, from the last chapter in the Book of Mormon."Yea, come unto Christ and be perfected in him". (The word "perfect" is a bit too overwhelming for me, so I am going to substitute the word "valiant".)

"Yea, come unto Christ and be [valiant] in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be [valiant] in Christ".

It's simple: forget myself and go to work! I must continue to deny myself of all ungodliness and strive to be more like my Savior, giving up my will for His will. Then I must love and serve God, love this work, and love the people all around me. Then His grace will make up the difference! Do all I can, and He will do the rest.

Though I will never be the perfect missionary, I can be and will be a valiant missionary!

I love and miss all of you so much! My thoughts and prayers are with you always. Have a great week!
Sister Jorgensen

P.S. Enjoy these pics from the rain! It was such a big deal we had to document it.