Monday, September 28, 2015

So this week was my last produce to the people.  Man, I'm gonna miss this place.  I'm down to about a week and a half left in Butler....

Broadcast with some of my favorite sisters:)  The Hoy sisters

My new favorite family- Genevieve and Hiawatha.  Genevieve is adorable.  She's all hugs all the time.  She invited us back for a macaroni and cheese dinner Thursday night. I got myself a new pen pal.   Genevieve says she'll be writing me my whole mission.

We finished painting Waltraub's farmhouse this week.  She was so happy when she saw it.  We restored it to the same way it was when her husband built it. Of course she had an applie pie ready for us at the end of the day.:)

Moving trucks are like gold to missionaries....

 Hey fam,

Not a whole lot to report. We had zone conference this week but I was sick as a dog that day, which makes for a very long seven hours. 
     This week we had a lesson with Robbie feat. Lamont. He is such a missionary! He showed up to the lesson with a back back and pulled out not only his Book of Mormon, but his bible, Duty to God, articles of faith, his baptism program, True to the Faith, and all the missionary pamphlets and laid them on the table. Hahah. The topic happened to be baptism and confirmation. When we asked Lamont what his baptism day felt like he said "Like Christmas. No really, I was so happy." 
     Robbie is really struggling, he really wants to get baptized but his parents would not even be okay if they knew he was meeting with us. So now..... We wait. 
     Mom, Lamont wrote you a letter back last week, I still need to send it to you, but I need to make a copy of it for me before I send it to you. It was so awesome! 
     We finished painting Waltraub's farmhouse this week, she was so happy when she saw it, we restored it to the same way it was when her husband built it. And of course she had an apple pie ready for us at the end of the day.(: 
     So Monday night we were leaving from dinner at Ivan's and there was a family with a moving truck outside the house next door. Moving trucks are like gold to missionaries, hahaha. So the next morning we went back and helped them move. Same as the Speeds, it was just Sister Welch and I moving the house in. The family couldn't help. They are such a great family! Hiawattha, the dad moved here to start a ministry. His daughter Genevieve is adorable. She's all hugs all the time. She invited us back for a macaroni and cheese dinner Thursday nightSunday night we went and watched Meet the Mormons with them because they weren't able to make it to our movie night at the church Friday. They loved the movie! Their dad stopped the movie halfway through and started rapid firing questions at us. He explained how they are non- denominational Christian and that it didn't matter what religion you are as long as you accept Jesus Christ into your life. Then he said "Well, you aren't Catholics so you must be a Protestant church." When I explained how unlike any other church, we fall under neither, he was intrigued. We finished the movie and they all really enjoyed it. I know we never would have gotten in the house or gotten a chance without helping them move. (And who will say no to free labor, haha) and I got myself a cute new pen pal. Genevieve says she'll be writing me my whole mission! Haha. Service softens hearts! 
     There's a talk by Elder LeGrand Richards that's awesome, called "One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism." I wish I could read this talk to everyone I meet hahah. Read it!
     "Many years ago a learned man, a member of the Roman Catholic Church, came to Utah and spoke from the stand of the Salt Lake Tabernacle. I became well acquainted with him, and we conversed freely and frankly. A great scholar, with perhaps a dozen languages at his tongue’s end, he seemed to know all about theology, law, literature, science and philosophy. One day he said to me: ‘You Mormons are all ignoramuses. You don’t even know the strength of your own position. It is so strong that there is only one other tenable in the whole Christian world, and that is the position of the Catholic Church. The issue is between Catholicism and Mormonism. If we are right, you are wrong; if you are right, we are wrong; and that’s all there is to it. The Protestants haven’t a leg to stand on. For if we are wrong, they are wrong with us, since they were a part of us and went out from us; while if we are right, they are apostates whom we cut off long ago. If we have the apostolic succession from St. Peter, as we claim, there is no need of Joseph Smith and Mormonism; but if we have not that succession, then such a man as Joseph Smith was necessary, and Mormonism’s attitude is the only consistent one. It is either the perpetuation of the gospel from ancient times, or the restoration of the gospel in latter days.’” (A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, LeGrand Richards, Deseret Book Co., 1958, pp. 3–4.)
     Now if the members of these 697 different churches could realize the consistency of that statement, they would want to know by what authority their ministers are performing the ordinances in their churches, because if the statement of this prelate is true, they either must be Catholics or Mormons. Then I always add that the Catholics and the Bible can’t both be right because the Bible definitely proclaims an apostasy from the original church and a restoration in the latter days.
     How could the people of the world, if they love the Lord, hear such a message and then not want to know whether it is true or not?" 

I want to ask that last question to people all the time. Anyway, read the rest of that talk, (especially if you're a missionary, hahaha.) 

     So this week was my last produce to people. Man, I'm gonna miss this place. Im down to about a week and a half left in Butler.
     Friday night was our movie night, we watched 17 Miracles. That's a real tear jerker. We had a pretty good turn out! 
     Cynda is doing so awesome! She came to movie night and to the women's broadcast on Saturday night. Her member friend, the Piotrowski's are just blown away that she is so open to all of this, they have been so afraid of inviting her to anything for years. Right time right place I guess. After the broadcast she said she loved it, and felt like it was just for her. (Uchtdorf you the man.) 
     Sunday was my last week at church in the Butler ward, it was fast sunday. Ivan was at church, and I bore my testimony in Spanish for him. Ivan is one I'll miss. My "Hermano en fe." Brother in faith. 

Til next week. 
Hermana Sears💜

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La Iglesia es verdadera

Hope Ya Know, We Had a Hard Time (3:23)---->

Monday, September 21, 2015

What a great day it was....

Allright, my highlight....We were visited by the newest member of the quorum of the seventy.  Elder Stanfill's visit changed what the rest of my mission will be.  It was an answer to my many prayers.  I guess if you're lucky sometimes the answers to your prayers can come in the form of personalized advise from the general authorities...Any attempt to share it won't measure up to how great it was.  

Good week. Lots of tender mercies came my way....

Norah with her Chinese copy of the Book of Mormon.
Try explaining who God is to someone who knows nothing about Him.  It felt kind of like trying to explain the color red to someone who is blind....

Sisters Sears and Welch

Mrs Waltraub Webber

This Friday we got to paint Mrs Waltraub's farmhouse.  She's an older widow, her husband passed away a few years ago , and the man she paid to paint her farmhouse took the money and ran with it.  

" I am learning that obedience is the most important when it's the hardest..."

Hey fam.

     Good week. Lots of tender mercies came my way, some in the form of answered prayers, some in the form of experiences that were answers to prayers, some in the form of USPS and FedEx. (: 
     Shekera's confirmation was yesterday in sacrament meeting. A very sweet blessing was given, and all the Hoy kids- Shana, Tiara, Lamont, and Shekera are now members. Now we wait for the parents. They will be there soon. In the meantime, Lamont continues to be rock solid. Mom, I gave him your letter last night. He told us last night he convinced his friend to come to church with us this week! Lamont really wants to serve a mission, but he is already signed up for the marines, which means a four year commitment of active duty..This week he said he talked to his sergeant about serving first, he said he didn't get a definite answer yet. So please keep him in your prayers! Lamont would make the most amazing missionary, and if anyone knows anything about getting out of the marines- help a sister out. Haha. He is already talking about mission papers. I love that family so much! The AP's requested a video of Lamont sharing his testimony and conversion story that will be shared with the entire mission. I was surprised when he willingly agreed to do it- maybe I'll share it with you next week. The two questions we were told to ask him is 1- how the missionaries (us) played a role in his conversion and 2- how the gospel has changed his life. 
     This week at our regular dinner at Ivan's I got to talk to his sister from Puerto Rico on the phone. It was pretty intimidating, talking on the phone makes understanding that much harder, especially when they speak 100 words/ minute. I said a silent prayer in my head, meanwhile missing everything she was saying, to help me understand her. And then I tuned her back in, haha. And I heard "Era hermoso y blanco, me sentí tan tranquilo y feliz cuando yo estaba allí. Era una cosa muy especial para mí." (It was beautiful and white, I felt so peaceful and happy when I was there. It was a very special thing for me.) She was describing the Salt Lake temple! What are the chances his sister from Puerto Rico, happened to have been to the temple when she was visiting for work in Salt Lake? I hadn't even asked her, she didn't even know I was a missionary at that point. So in my broken spanish, I got to tell her about the temple. 
     Robbie is doing great. Good news- he has decided he wants to be baptized! Bad news- his parents will not let him. So he will have to wait until he is 18. The family friends of his in the ward said they would keep writing me and keep me up to date until he gets baptized. He is only 16 right now, so it will be some time. But such an exciting decision for him. 
     Phyllis has officially been dropped. This week we had our last visit with her. She let us in, we sat down to begin, and she asked us to stop coming. She had talked to her catholic priest, who- obviously told her she needed to tell us not to come back. (What did you think he would say? It's like going to the Honda dealership and asking about a Toyota! Of course he's going to tell her to stop.) I asked her to pray for us one last time before we left, and in her prayer she still said she knew it all to be true, but couldn't continue. 
     Ross is trying to quit smoking. If he could give up drinking and cocaine, he can quit smoking. He already quit drinking coffee. It may take a long while, but he can do it. Pretty funny this week, we were at our usual spot in the park where we teach, and Joe, the local wanderer- came by and started chanting "nun sandwich." He's quite the character. He's homeless, we see him all the time. Sometimes he follows us around as we street contact downtown hahah. 
     So Perry's baptism was supposed to be Saturday, but he decided to hold off because of his girlfriend.. She is really trying to pull him towards the Jehova's Witnesses. It got pretty intense in a lesson with them.. She and her mom were there with us and Perry. Her mom started asking us about what we do as missionaries. Perry told her some of the things we sacrifice, including contact with our families. She started putting us down, saying how "anti- Godlike" that was, and went off. Perry had our back.. He threw down. Hahah. His response was 
"Well your 19 year old granddaughter is working at Walmart and on heroine, so I'd say what they're doing is pretty great." Hahaha. We just sat there silently.. And then continued with the lesson. Haha. Pretty awkward. I hope Perry decides to choose for himself, and not let anything else sway his decision. Nothing else matters. 
     On Friday we got to paint Mrs. Waltraub Webber's farmhouse. She's an older widow, her husband passed away a few years ago, and the man she paid to paint her farmhouse took the money and ran with it. So we said we would do it. She's the cutest little old lady ever. She is from Germany, she has the greatest accent. The whole time we were painting she was up at her house up the road, and when we had finished all the painting we went to check on her before we left. She has been baking us pies and muffins and treats all day. She was all upset that we were finished before they were done baking, so we went back later and had pie and hot cocoa while she told us stories of when she moved to America from Germany. She moved here in the 40's or 50's, and shortly after met her also German husband. Her husband was a "master baker." She shared some of his experiences, including when her husband was a prisoner of war in Africa. We are going back to help her with the second coat on her house this week, man I love that lady. She is a character. 
     On Sunday we finally got to give Norah a Chinese copy of the Book of Mormon, which we just received months after requesting. Teaching was very different. Try explaining  who God is to someone who knows nothing about Him. It felt kind of like trying to describe the color red to someone who is blind, haha. We simply explained that like we have a father here on earth, we have one in heaven, who created us, and loves us. Next we taught her about who Jesus Christ is, and then promised that by reading the Book of Mormon she could get to know them. It was different than any lesson I had taught before, but it went well. She seemed to understand, and was eager to read. She's a smart girl, she will learn quickly. 
     Saturday we had a multi stake relief society event which was perfectly timed and themed "I can do this." (I can do hard things.) My favorite speaker was one who taught how it doesn't matter how you start, it's how you finish. He told the story of an Olympic athlete from Africa who was severely injured during a race, but decided to finish, despite the fact that all the other runners had already crossed the finished line an hour before. He said "My country didn't send me 5000 miles to start the race, they sent me 5000 miles to finish." I could relate this to myself, the missionary, like any other, always struggling with feelings of inadequacy. 
     Alright, my highlight. We were visited by the newest member of the quorum of the seventy. Elder Stanfill's visit changed what the rest of my mission will be. It was an answer to my many prayers. I guess if you're lucky sometimes answers can come in the form of personalized advice from general authorities. Haha. Any attempt I make to share it won't measure up to how great it was. Maybe I'll share some notes I took from it throughout the next few weeks and weekly emails. President invited me to tell the story of Lamont during the meeting, he's a mission wide celebrity by now. 
     After the meeting, I got to talk to Elder Stanfill for a few minutes and meet him and his wife. I thanked him, and he noticed I was a spanish speaking missionary. He asked me if I had much success here, or use it much. I told him I did here and there, but not much, and how honestly I am really struggling with the language. There is just no substitute for being immersed in it. I'm in a place where not even my companion speaks the language. He shared some insight with me, some I'll never forget. Something to do with my personal future. I know that I am not just learning Spanish for the next year and a half of my life, but for the rest of my life. 
     He told me that this was where I needed to be, and that nothing else that I could be doing right now could be more important, that nothing else could be "changing the eternities." Some of what he said to me I will share:

     "I promise you, that whether or not you see a baptism, that when you pass through the veil you will be greeted by thousands, if not millions of people who will know your name." 

     These men are inspired. All this came from a man I had just met. A few other things were said that are too special to share. But what a great day it was. 

     It couldn't have been a more perfect night, we finished the day with dinner at a members home with Cynda, the friend who we met from our Meet the Mormons movie night. 
     It was such a great night. The members, the husband being a member, shared with me that it took him 20 years of going through missionary after missionary after missionary until the right one came. They told me they thought I was the one for Cynda. And this was the time for her. The spirit was so thick in that room, everyone knew it. 

     I will share some of my notes from Elder Stanfill's visit next week, and you'll hear from him yourselves on the Saturday morning session of general conference! (I know him.) Thanks everyone for the letters and support. Love you all! 

You know it's a good week when you can't pray without crying. 
I am learning that obedience is the most important when it's the hardest.

And hey, if you didn't know it, the church is true. 
 “Sacrifice allows us to learn something about ourselves--what we are willing to offer to the Lord through our obedience.” -Elder M. Russell Ballard

Hermana Sears💜 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Hi fam.

     Hi again. This week has gone surprisingly fast, considering I was sick all week. Funny story, never take anti nausea meds on an empty stomach. Hahah lesson learned. Anyway, I think the stress is just getting to me.
     I'll start with my Spanish amigos. We saw Temo and Omar Monday night, the ones from Mexico. We hadn't seen them for a while, but they has both been reading in the Book of Mormon. Temo told us every time he has read he feels paz, peace. They both said they plan on attending our church when they return to Mexico in November. It's too bad the Spanish people I teach here can't even come to church because we don't have a Spanish branch or ward. Anyway, they are both giving us their family's addresses so we can send the missionaries in Mexico to them. Las familias son eternas.(: I guess all I'll really be a part of with my special Spanish speaking people here will be to do the hard part then pass them on to the missionaries back home in Mexico.  
     This week we saw Nefdali, he is something. We committed him to baptism, but he stopped me mid sentence as soon as I said baptism, he was like woah, when I change I plan on changing for the rest of my life. I need some more time to think. He wants to read the entire Book of Mormon first. I guess he studied religion in college, so he wants to make an educated decision, which is awesome. We know if he commits, he's committed. 
     This week we got to spend some time with a sweet less active lady in the ward. The one who just returned from seven months in the hospital. She served her mission years ago in Argentina, so I have been spending my language hours practicing Spanish with her. This week we practiced teaching the Plan of Salvation with her, really we just wanted her to teach it back to herself. And at the same time, rekindle memories from her mission. Two in one. It really has made her so, so happy. She's a special one. We are going to take her to teach Nefdali with us. 
     Lamont has been able to teach with us a few times this week! First we had him teach Book of Mormon class with us. He was so excited to help, and didn't say a whole lot, but simply shared with the class the happiness that has come into his life. 
     Guess who else came to Book of Mormon class? Alphonso! Why is this so amazing? Because he has not set foot in the church building in five years. We invited him, and honestly didn't expect him to come. But he did! Before he left the bishop gave him a priesthood blessing, in which he challenged Alphonso to remember what he needs to do, to keep coming. 
     The other lesson Lamont came with us to teach was for Robbie and Bruse, the two guys from volleyball. He's already getting experience with missionary work.(: 
     Robbie has been reading like crazy in the Book of Mormon, we've seen him quite a bit this week. He has been doing quite a bit of research, in fact he's read everything from the Articles of Faith to the missionary handbook.. Haha. He wants to come to church, but his parents won't allow it. He may have to wait til he's 18. 
     Interesting story of the week- we were in the infamous island Wednesday night and there was a major drug and prostitution bust in the apartment building we were teaching in. 
     We did see Phyllis this week.. She has been praying and for now she said that the Catholic Church has been loyal to her for so long, she feels she needs to be loyal to them.. I didn't think she would let a social aspect influence her decision. But she agreed to continue praying and not close herself off the idea of "becoming a mormon." 
     We went to visit a less active lady who's been in the hospital all week s few times this week. She's great, we call her grandma Hartman. They're the ones who let us ride their tractor and we've always got an open invitation for grilled cheese sandwiches and pickles, they don't let us leave without one, haha. 
      We seem to spend a lot of time at Butler hospital. It is just up the street from us. This week as we were leaving a nurse stopped us. She told us she had noticed us here many times, and asked who we were, that there was something different about us. We got to tell her about missionary work, and ended up talking about families and sharing the family proclamation to the world with her. You never know who's watching.
     I saved the best for last. Shekera was baptized yesterday. Unfortunately their parents chose not to come still, but it was such a sweet day. One of the speakers, Sister Popa, spoke about the potential that that family has, how one day they would go to the temple together to be sealed. The spirit was so strong, it confirmed that to me- that yes, one day they will make it there. 
     And again, as we sang "families can be together forever" at the close, the whole room was in tears. 

     The Plan of Salvation, with the gospel of Jesus Christ as our roadmap are the literal way to "happily ever after." I love being a missionary and helping people see what true happiness is.. There are so many here who need that. 

"So often we get caught up in the illusion that there is something just beyond our reach that would bring us happiness: a better family situation, a better financial situation, or the end of a challenging trial.
      The older we get, the more we look back and realize that external circumstances don’t really matter or determine our happiness. We do matter. We determine our happiness. We shouldn’t wait to be happy until we reach some future point, only to discover that happiness was already available--all the time. Let us resolve to be happy, regardless of our circumstances. I pray we truly learn to live." -Dieter F. Uchtdorf 

"Why do the good suffer as well as the wicked? I believe it is because He loves us so much more than He loves our happiness. 
‘The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away; blessed be the name of the Lord.’
'For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth.'
We have much reason to hope. Joy can be ours if we are willing to sacrifice all for the Lord" -James E. Faust

Hermana Sears💜

Ps. The church is true 

Jesus es el hijo de Dios y nuestro Salvador. Por causa de Él, hemos conquistado la muerte, nuestra vida adquiere significado y podemos vivir con Dios de nuevo.

Monday, September 7, 2015

The gospel is so much more than how you spend your time on Sunday....

Hey fam. 
I'm just gonna call everyone fam here. Alright? Got lots to catch up on this week. Let's just say we were very busy this week.. Alrighty.
     I got two packages this week- thank you momma and Hunter.(: 
     Where to start.... Let's start with Ken on Monday. He is doing awesome. Things are really starting to piece together for him. He is sharp. His past attempts at understanding God and religion were studying physics and quantum physics.. I mean A for effort, really. Haha. He's learning all it takes is a couple 19 year old girls to find all the answers. And in reality, what we do is simplify the gospel into terms that anyone and everyone can understand. No master's degree needed. That's what I love about the gospel. It is so simple. It is only us that complicate it.
     Side note, Ivan lost his job this week so keep him in your prayers as he looks for a new one. Some good news, the Chinese woman we help with her English passed her drivers test this week and got her license! We've been trying to help her pass for five months now! She is going to make us a Chinese dinner to thank us. Such a sweet lady. 
     Monday night we had our lesson with Bruce and Robbie, two guys from the volleyball team. It is difficult to teach the two of them together, they're both on completely different levels. Bruce has read almost half of the Book of Mormon previously. After our lesson, he told Anthony he was "really getting into this Mormon thing." Haha. We taught the both of them again Tuesday night before volleyball. Robbie had read 20 chapters since the night before. What teenager does that? Haha. Anyway, it went really well. It's so different teaching people our age. Robbie surprised us later that night by texting us and asking to meet again. He had read almost all the way through 2 Nephi already. We asked him what had changed and made him so into it, and he said that during our lesson on Tuesday night he got "that feeling that he gets right when he's about to win something." He also said he has grown up seeing elders walk past him on the streets of his neighborhood every day since he was a little boy and wondered what made them do what they do everyday. He felt like he was close to the answers. The only thing that will stop him is his parents are very against the church. We will see him next on Tuesday. 
     Wednesday night we went on splits, sis welch went out with sister cook and I taught Book of Mormon class. It was strange teaching by myself, without a companion. I had planned to read from Alma chapter 32, one of my favorite chapters, but Perry showed up with his girlfriend Dawn, so I felt I should switch topics and ended up teaching all about the Atonement and the Plan of Salvation. Such a broad topic to attempt to cover in a one hour class. It went so well, I really enjoy teaching. As I was teaching in the back of my head I was thinking about Dawn, who has Jehova's witness background. As we spoke about how the Atonement covers everything, I included how the atonement is infinite because it isn't limited to who it applies to, how many it applies to, etc. (Remembering the JW's believe only 144,000 will be saved.) Yeah, slipped that one in there. Surprisingly both she and Perry really enjoyed it, both nodded and agreed through the whole thing, and they both texted after and commented how much they did. 
     They both came to church on Sunday, they are awesome- they fit right in. I'm always nervous for testimony meeting, because you never know what crazy or irrelevant things are going to be said, but it turned out to be a great meeting. They stayed for all three hours, we sat with her at Relief Society, she really enjoyed it. 
     Katie's was an adventure this week. A fight broke out and someone threw coffee in a woman's face. Never know what you're going to get. This week they were searching for a man who is wanted, and I had the idea to check our teaching records, and found him! Hahah. Our teaching records are full of Butler's finest. 
     Bill is still trying to quit. We fasted with him yesterday, and he made it through the day. It was a rough day for him, would have been his wife's birthday. But he showed up for church. He's really working so hard, and so ready! He's been coming to church and Book of Mormon class every week since we met him in May. Dang cigarettes. 
     We saw Renee, our informant, who keeps us up to date what houses we cannot go to. She does her research. Found out there's TWENTY drug dealers on our street alone. Nice.(: 
     So we stopped by to see Joshua, our minister this week. Kind of interesting timing, he had just gotten married the day before and was leaving the next day for their honeymoon. But we got to meet his new wifey and taught them both the Plan of salvation and eternal marriage.(: haha. So... He finished the Book of Mormon. He told us he knows it is true...... But is still happy with his church. Makes no sense.. Just too involved in the social aspect of his own I suppose. 
     We also saw that man Gary for the first time in a while. He too had finished the entire Book of Mormon..... But no results. He said he enjoyed it but it didn't change his desire to learn more. 
      I always thought as a new missionary that if I could get people to read the Book of Mormon they would be begging to be baptized. That that was all it took. Both of those, Joshua and Gary go to show you can read the entire Book of Mormon and get nothing from it if you don't read it the right way. You have to really read it. 
     Friday we got to help Karla Clark bail hay! I'm a true Pennsylvanian now. Farming is... Hard work! They have five fields.. Which meant unloading 1,200 hay bails into their barn. Those things aren't light! But we got the experience. Tractor riding and all. Been finding hay in my hair all week since but it was good. Her husband and her brother were both there who are both nonmembers. Karla is the only member in her family. In fact, when she joined the church, she was originally disowned from her family. Her dad told her he wasn't her father anymore. But she went through with it. Since then her family relationships have been mended, and her family has seen that mormons aren't really so horrible. In fact, they enjoy us, the missionaries quite a bit. Her dad's quite the guy- engineer/ super genius inventor/ farmer/ drummer in a Polynesian string band. His heart was softened by all his Polynesian friends who are members of the church.
     This week Karla was really upset because she received a letter from her visiting teacher.  The letter included the assigned message of the month- keeping the sabbath day holy, and she said her visiting teacher told her she needed to be a better example of that for her kids and this and that, (she doesn't come to church much.) The ward has not done much in the way of reaching out to her or getting to know her, her mom told her to leave the church when she read the letter. But, she decided she "doesn't go to church for _______." (Visiting teacher.) 
      I wish more people had that attitude. We meet so many people who have decided to walk away from the church, and the gospel because someone offended them or did something stupid. My question is what does this one person have to do with the gospel, or the church as a whole? It's as simple as this- the gospel is perfect, the church is perfect, but it is made up of very imperfect people who do a lot of stupid things. Nuff said. 
     My highlight of the week was watching Lamont pass the sacrament for the first time this week. He came to church in one of the multiple suits members had given him, and he couldn't help but smirk as he passed it to the two beaming smiling sister missionaries. Proud momma moment right there. Haha. We gave him a whole bag full of ties that the Elders in my district gave us for him- he's set up real well. Today he officially signed up for seminary, next week he will be baptizing his youngest sister, Shekera. He is so excited. We are taking him out teaching with us this week- to get a taste of missionary work! He's going to do good things. He's always had a good heart and a desire to help people. This week I read a talk which included the speakers very own story of coming back to the gospel that reminded me of Lamont. He said:
"So, was it worth it?
Was all the effort over all the years, worth the effort to have just one boy be baptized?
Whenever the gospel is shared, it is never “just one boy.” Whenever conversion happens or someone returns to the Lord, it is a family that is saved.
Oh yes, it was worth it." 
     This week we met a really awesome guy named Troy. Many times the people we meet just can't be described adequately. Kind of a "you had to be there" thing, but he is so prepared. He, like our many others, has had quite a rough life. He had quite a promising career in hockey, in fact he had a walk on scholarship to Duquesne university, which he lost due to his struggles with his addictions. At only 30 years old, he is now single, but supports five young children in his home, only two of his own, the other three he has taken in so that they have a father. He has always known there is some kind of higher power, and he shared that he really thinks this is where he will find it. 
     It is so hard meeting such amazing, promising people all the while knowing I will be leaving long before they will reach the end- I will never see the fruit of our labor. I guess that's why they say you're constantly planting seeds. There are many "gardeners," that carry on the work for you. 
      I have about a month left here in Butler, but I really am not ready to go. There is so much to be done here. This area has been back-breakingly built back up from the ground. The work does not seem close to finished here, and I can't imagine packing up and just leaving behind all the people I have come to know and help here. I guess I'll just have to trust all of them with my trainee and her successors. I just wish I had more time. I also worry about the many Spanish speaking investigators, like Ivan and Nefdali, when there is no longer a Spanish speaking missionary here. Nefdali is doing well, he's been coming to church every week. I translate sacrament meeting and teach gospel principles duo- language for him. A member in the ward who served a Spanish speaking mission translates for him during priesthood. 
      It may seem as if not much has been accomplished here due to a lack of baptisms, but that is not the case. The work progresses slowly here, but surely. And much of the work I have been a part of here is more than "find, teach, baptize." Working with those struggling with addictions is not an overnight process. It took me a long time to get over the discouragement and realize that my true purpose was to better people's lives through the gospel, and for many it may not include baptism now, but down the road we will never know the impact. 
     This week President called again, a member from the quorum of the seventy is visiting the mission, and he wants me to share some of the efforts here in our area- specifically Lamont. Speaking in front of a seventy.. No pressure, huh? We don't know who the visitor will be yet. 
      Last thought. The past six months I have had the chance to bear my testimony to numberless people, all of which I have promised the joy the gospel can bring them, and how it can change their lives. To which many ask, okay, how? So I've been able to think about this question for a long time. How do you explain to a person how much it can influence them, in every aspect of their lives? 
     I remember all growing up sitting in sacrament meeting Sunday after Sunday hearing people say "I don't know where I would be without the gospel in my life." And I always thought, "Probably at home watching tv and napping?" Haha. 
     Now I can see that being active in the gospel is so much more than how you spend your time on Sunday. It is everything. The way you think, the way you live your life, how you treat others, everything. I can see so clearly just what it can do to a person's life. Only problem is nobody can take my word for it. They have to see that for themselves.
 "The Lord does not call the qualified, he qualifies whom he calls"
The church is true! 
Sorry for the rant. 

Hermana Sears💜

Obedience to the Ten Commandments (3:10)

Obedience to the Ten Commandments (3:10) As children of God, we have been given the wonderful gift of choice. The truest happiness and peace we can have comes by choosing to obey His laws.