Monday, October 7, 2013

Hello there everyone!
 Wow, what an awesome week. General Conference was amazing. I loved hearing their wonderful words of wisdom and learning about the gospel with a deeper focus. After studying the gospel all day every day, the words of prophets meant so much more to me. I am excited to try to apply their teachings to my everyday work. Some of the themes that I noticed in Conference this year was becoming converted, enduring to the end, and of course :) missionary work! It was really exciting and helpful to hear so much emphasis on member missionary work, and helped a lot with preparing a talk I am going to give in Sacrament Meeting this next Sunday. The Spirit was strong and it was easier to stay focused this year. And...we had three investigators come to the Sunday Afternoon Session! (I'll leave you in suspense until you read further below...).
My favorite talks were probably Elder Nelson's on the amazing human body and self-mastery, David M McConkie (SS Presidency) on teaching with power and authority, and Elder Holland's on overcoming hardship and depression. A few little quotes from others that I really liked as well are, "tithing brings significant but subtle blessings", "when the Holy Ghost confirms that a principle is true, that is where true conversion takes place", "doubt your doubt before you doubt your faith", and the question "shall I falter, or shall I finish?". Overall I just felt super happy at the end of Conference. There is so much goodness and peace found through this Church and through Jesus Christ. I know that He lives and that the prophets and apostles are called through the inspiration of God.
The work is going well. The others missionaries in our district here in San Luis are hard working and we make a good team. We are always passing referrals around between us and learning and growing. This week in district meeting we talked a lot about meditation. It was something I always thought was kind of weird and have never really appreciated it, but this gave me a new view on meditating and how just a few minutes of thinking and contemplating to yourself can calm you down and help you organize your thoughts. We don't really have much extra time at all as missionaries, but with those few minutes after dinner or before bed I might take a little time to myself more often. I would highly recommend taking some time to slow down and enjoy the little things of life every once and a while.
Keep up the great work and be happy! Life is great!
I love you all!
Sister Marchant
Hello President Castro!******
It has been a fantastic week. There have been lots of miracles this week! We found some new investigators and had a few really great lessons. We also had exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders which changed my life. They were so helpful and encouraging. And then to finish it all off Conference was wonderful. I have never been so excited for General Conference and it has never flown by so quickly. I learned so much this year. It was neat to have a different perspective on all of the talks as I was focused on applying each talk to missionary work and our investigators. Every talk in some way included inviting others to come unto Christ and to gain a testimony of Him. Even more than before I now know that we have a modern day prophet who speaks directly to God and has been divinely appointed. Their council is real and if we follow it we will be able to endure into the eternities in happiness.
This week we had lessons with Sister Johnston, Leonard, and the Ruiz Family.
Sister Johnston is the recent convert who is trying to quit smoking and become active every week again in the Church. She has a huge desire to become reconverted to Christ and has an amazing testimony of the Holy Ghost. She can clearly identify when the Holy Ghost is with her and when it is not. This is something that is helping her to leave behind her addictions and to try to raise her daughter in the correct values of God. She has had many medical problems recently but is working to take care of herself and her family. I know she can overcome her challenges because of her great drive to do what God wants her to do. We helped her unpack some boxes this week (she recently moved into a new apartment) and taught her a lesson on scripture study. She knows the power of the scriptures and prayer. She also came to General Conference for Saturday Afternoon Session and said she has a greater appreciation for the role of the prophet. We are praying a lot for her because she is going through a lot right now.
I taught Leonard this week with Sister Burwell during exchanges. He is quiet and it is sometimes difficult to know if he is understanding what we teach, but he is very respectful and always willing to have us come back. We taught him the Gospel of Jesus Christ this week and taught a lot about baptism. Brother Griffith, one of our ward service missionaries, was also present at the lesson. I think this helped show Leonard that there are a lot of different people in our Church and that there are definitely people he could relate to. We taught a lot more about baptism as well. He said he has prayed a little bit but hasn't received an answer yet. He doesn't fully understand why he needs to get rebaptized since he was already baptized as a baby in the Catholic Church. We will try to reteach him the Restoration with emphasis on the loss and then restoration of the priesthood.
We taught the Ruiz Family our first lesson with them last Wednesday! It went super great. At first when we came they were doing some major house cleaning so we thought we wouldn't be able to have a lesson, but then Rihanna (17) said we could pull a few chairs outside and talk for a little bit. One by one the other members of the family started to come out and join the lesson. We taught about prophets and the Book of Mormon. We also explained the purpose of General Conference and invited the whole family to come. They listened intently and had good questions. Then for the Sunday Afternoon Session, Noah (19) and Gabe (23) came to the Church for Conference! It was a great experience. They said they felt the Spirit and felt peaceful and happy. Gabe said the speakers expressed the way he had been feeling in ways that he himself could not explain. We are very excited to teach them more and to get their whole family more involved in coming together to Church. They are such happy people and are always ready to learn with open ears and hearts.
We also met a man named Vance this week while street contacting. He happened to be a former investigator in Tennessee who had almost been baptized but had been offended and stopped coming to Church. We answered a lot of his questions about the Church here and the organization of the Church. We invited him to General Conference...and he also came to the Sunday Afternoon Session! It was definitely a miracle that we found him only a few days before Conference began. He had to leave soon after it was over so we couldn't talk to him long, but he said he liked Conference and appreciated the excellent music of the Tabernachle Choir (he was a music teacher). We will try to contact him this week to start teaching him the lessons once again. He has a good heart and already believes a lot of what we teach is true.
Exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders was amazing! I was with Sister Burwell and learned SO much. She is a very bold and brave missionary. I learned not to be timid about talking to anyone and that you never know who will want to listen. Sister Burwell also was very straight forward and said the truth of the gospel how it is. I need to be more bold in my declarations and to try to keep conversations going longer on the doorstep. We also worked a lot on transitioning anything that someone says into the Restoration. Anything they say really can highlight a resored truth and allow us to teach and testify. I am confident at testifying what I know to be true but have had a hard time connecting getting to know people with the doctrine. Sister Burwell helped a lot and taught me skills that I can use in not only declaring but also teaching. Our lesson with Leonard went really well and I learned how to explain the doctrine a lot more simply and clearly. Sister Burwell and Sister Bennett also talked a lot about trusting in the Lord and not getting down on yourself for any reason. We talked about how damaging self-depricating thoughts are and how they are all from Satan. Sister Burwell taught that discouragment will only bring you down and that this is not what we should feel as instruments of the Lord. I have a greater determination to always be bold, happy, and excited to spread the word. I am learning missionary skills slowly, but I am learning, and little by little I will become the missionary I want to be.
I received a lot of great guidance from General Conference this week. Overall I felt an enormous amount of love from our leaders and thought that all of their ultimate goals was to teach us things that will make us happier. That is what the doctrine and gospel of Christ is all about! It is the good news of happiness that will lead us to neverending happiness in the world to come. I love learning so much about this great work!
Thank you President,
Sister Marchant

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