Hello my beautiful family and friends! I LOVE YOU! I am doing SO great. So last Monday night we had a lesson and it totally hit home for me. One of our teachers, Brother Makahilahila, had us each write down all of our expectations of ourselves as missionaries. I invite you to do this activity as well. Take a pen and a piece of paper. Put a line in the middle of the paper. On one side write down all the expectations you have of yourself in life. Now on the other side of the paper write down all of the expectations God has of you. Are they different? Are they the same? I noticed with mine I had SUCH high expectations of myself…which are good…but not to the point where it feels impossible. Our expectations of ourselves should be in line with what Heavenly Father expects of us. He is perfect love and mercy and justice. Align your will with His. Align your expectations of yourself with His. Read Proverbs 3:5-6. God trusts you. You trust God, don’t you? And if you don’t trust in yourself then you’re not trusting in God. You’re not trusting in His trust in you. Trust in yourself! I hope that made sense J haha. You’re stronger and more beautiful and capable than you know. God knows you. He knows what you need. Last week, my beautiful companion, Sister Worrall, and I had our first TRC investigator. His name is Theo. We were nervous beforehand and were feeling a little inadequate to be teaching him and then I remembered that Henry Ford quote you say all the time, Dad. “If you think you can, if you think you can’t- you’re right.” We said a prayer that God would be with us to help us teach with love and power and felt such peace. We believed that we could. Theo is such a beautiful soul! He's a 20 year old man- super sweet, hilarious, outgoing and strong. He’s planning on marrying his girlfriend, Lauren. She’s a member of the church and he asked to meet with us to learn more about what the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is about. Right when we walked in there I felt Gods love for him. I was so eager to share everything I know about the gospel with him. I just kept thinking: I want you to know God loves you. I want you to know you are a son of God. Christ died for you and because of Him you can live with your family again after this life. My heart kept rejoicing and I almost burst with all of the love I felt for a man I barely knew. We had prepared a lesson to teach him about the Plan of Salvation- where were from, why we’re here, and where we go after this life- and once we met with him everything changed. The Spirit guided us and we just spoke with him and learned about him and taught what the spirit prompted us to talk about. It was magical!
Then Tuesday night my companion and I went to a devotional. We sang in the MTC choir. It was such a beautiful experience. We sang “Be Still My Soul.” One of my favorite hymns. Read the lyrics if you can. It speaks about how we turn to Christ when we need peace. After the wonderful devotional we met with our district leaders and Brother Brown said something that really spoke to me. He said, “Think of a friend or a family member that isn’t a member of the church. Think of someone that doesn’t have all the knowledge that you have. Now you’re on a mission and going out to find people. When you’re teaching – you’re teaching someone’s family member or friend that needs to know about Christ. If you will start worrying about someone else’s, God will have someone else worry about yours.” Wednesday the fifth we read 2 Nephi Chapter 4. Read it! It’s so powerful. God answers prayers. He hears you and He knows you. You are His. He will and can give you divine revelation if you ask with sincerity and faith. Stand strong. You are a child of God. Let His arms encircle you with love. He will. He wants to bring you peace and love and He will send His holy angels to watch over you. Cling to light. Cling to goodness and happiness and trust in God. Cry unto Him. He will carry you. Christ will carry you.
Wednesday night we taught Brother Bryner, our other teacher, in a role play where he acted as an investigator and Sister Worrall and I were missionaries. He was a young man named Blake. We’ve had a few lessons with him and they’ve all gone really well but Wednesdays lesson was incredible! We shared inspired scriptures with him. We shared the story of Alma the Younger and how he was so wicked but through Christ he was able to change and repent and experience such happiness and peace. We knelt down and prayed with Blake and he said he wanted to be baptized. It was such an astonishing moment!! Makes me so happy that he’s willing to take this step and commit to Christ. Although he is our teacher, it felt so real. Then Sister Worrall and I took the new district around the campus and told them what to expect from the MTC. Since were zone training leaders that’s one of our responsibilities. Me, Sister Worrall and our zone leaders Elder Bertoch and Elder Skidmore all bore our testimonies and there was such a feeling of unity and joy that filled our hearts. When you bear your testimony and tell others what you know in your heart to be true, that is such a special moment. Do it. Share what you know in your heart. Don’t hold it all back.
Then Thursday the sixth we had in-field orientation all day. We had different lessons and teachers that shared such inspiring insights. It was so great! Man am I tired, but man am I happy!! Have you ever felt inspired to say something to someone, did it, and then felt so peaceful and good afterwards? Congratulations. You’ve been an angel. I realized something. I’m not here on a mission to become a better person. I’m here to FIND a person and make them better. And you know what’s cool about that? In doing so, I will become better. I just keep having this reoccurring thought: Find your brothers and sisters and bring them home.
Think about this: How do people feel being in your presence?
Exodus 14:14 is powerful. “The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.” Give your heart to God. Greater happiness awaits you than ever before. Friday was a hard day- just emotionally draining. In the morning I saw Sister Warren and she acted as someone she knew that wasn’t a member of the church and I felt the spirit stronger than I have in any role play we’ve done as I talked with her. I completely let the Spirit enter my heart and guide me. I asked inspired questions and just had an incredible experience. I felt questions and thoughts enter my mind and heart which allowed me to better relate to and help her. Read 2 Nephi 31:21. Christ is the only way and as we have faith God will appear to us. Maybe not literally, but in our hearts and minds and daily lives. That’s why missionary work is so important. Lead them to Christ. They need Him. We all need Him. Later that day there was someone that had done wrong to me and my companion and at first we were really upset and we felt betrayed. But then something happened. Although we were sad and hurt by the actions of this person, we still loved them and prayed to feel peace in our hearts and we prayed for them. Something changes inside of you when you let go of the anger and hurt caused by the actions of others and just allow your love for them to overshadow anything else. We prayed and as we prayed for them the words “Ether 12” flashed across my mind and as soon as we got off our knees we turned to the scriptures and read Ether 12 together. It was all about faith. It’s one of the most powerful chapters I’ve ever read. So beautiful. I’m so thankful that we have a loving Heavenly Father that cares about every detail of our lives, a loving Heavenly Father that can give us divine revelation. If someone has done wrong to you or you have ill feelings toward others, let it go. Give those feelings to God. Don’t allow that burden to stay on your shoulders any longer. He wants to help you.
Saturday was wonderful. We taught Theo and he prayed with us!! He was nervous to pray in front of us and he finally did it. We were so proud of him. I teared up during the prayer because I was so happy for him. He said he couldn’t tell if God was really there because he couldn’t see Him. I said “Theo, close your eyes.” And then I tapped his arm. “Open your eyes,” I said, and then when he opened his eyes I said “Okay did you see me?” He said “No.” I said, “Did you feel me?” He said, “Yes.” I replied, “Did you see God when you prayed?” He said, “No.” I said, “Did you feel Him?” He said, “Yes.” He just kept smiling and whispered, “I get it.” Just because you don’t see something with your physical eyes doesn’t mean it’s not there. Can you see love? No, but you feel it. Can you see the wind? No, but you feel it. Can you see God physically? No, but you can feel Him. He is there! Saturday night my district and I found a box of fresh donuts. These girls in our hallway didn’t want them and so they gave them to us! Then us 6 girls went up to Sister Jorgensen’s bunk bed and ate all the donuts and laughed and talked together. I love these girls. They’re my sisters. So thankful God has allowed me to be set up in the district and zone I’m in. My district is us 6 girls and my zone is the 6 elders were with. They’re all so spiritual and so fun! Were all learning and growing so much.
Then SUNDAY. I love Sundays! The Sabbath is seriously the best day of the week. How great is it that we get a whole day devoted to God and worshiping Him?! I feel such love and peace and hope on Sundays. We all walked to the temple Sunday morning and it was raining but it was so worth it. Sister Worrall and I were clinging to each other and laughing underneath the umbrella. We kept accidentally stepping in puddles and we were soaking wet but we were so happy!! Serving God= HAPPY SPIRIT. After that, we all changed into warmer church clothes and changed shoes and headed off to Sacrament. My zone sang “I Know That My Redeemer Lives” in front of everyone in Sacrament. It was so wonderful. Music can bring in such a sweet spirit. The closing hymn was, “God Be with You Till We Meet Again.” I teared up a little bit as I looked around the room. I’ve been around these people 24/7 for the past 2 weeks and I love them. What beautiful souls God has allowed me to learn from and love. Some of the lyrics in the song sang, “When life’s perils thick confound you, put His arms unfailing round you.” Perfect.
Today was Monday and its Preparation Day! We went to the temple. Best part of my week! Such a beautiful place. Such a beautiful spirit. I felt such love and warmth in my heart as I was there. Go to the temple if you can. It’s the House of the Lord and it’s the best place in the world. Christ walks those halls.
Some things I’ve been thinking:
It’ll be a great place if you make it a great place.
When everything says you can’t, believe in that part of you that says you can.
It’s not who you aren’t. It’s who you are. And being yourself is being great.
When you understand them, you’ll love them.
Out of everything, give them your time.
It’s often life’s smallest moments that bring you the greatest joys. Don’t let the magic pass you by.
The people in your heart can’t hear what’s in your heart. If you love them, tell them.
He lives. The tomb is empty.
All my love and more,
Sister Lauren Ashley Mork
P.S. Mom, my district and I fasted for you this week for your surgery. I pray for you and all the family every night. I love you all. I know God is watching over you.
D&C 6:36 is still my motto J “Look unto me in every thought. Doubt not, fear not.”