Monday, January 20, 2014

Such an AWESOME week!!! :)

Mum, PahPea, Family and Friends, 

What a TREMENDOUS week!! Ah, I love this Gospel so much, I have seen so many miracles as I have been consecrating myself a little more each day to the Lord and His great and marvelous latter-day work! I saw the sweet pictures of Bailey at her baptism and she looks so beautiful! I especially loved hearing that she got her own set of scriptures and has been reading them non-stop! How precious that sweet girl is! :) So proud of you, B!!

Bailey, on her baptism day - January 18, 2014
Bailey loves having her own set of scriptures,
and has been sleeping with them every night!  :0)
I had a wonderful experience with fasting this week that I'd like to share. We committed many people on the street to come to church this past Sunday because, here in Mississauga, that's something that our district has been struggling with. Upon talking with everyone on Saturday, we came in contact with one, Victor, who's wife is in the hospital battling cancer for the 2nd time. He came to us and just started pleading, begging for us to help him. We committed him to come to church after bearing testimony to him of the reality of our Savior's Atoning sacrifice on His behalf and God's plan for our everlasting happiness, and then prayed with him. And I can testify to you of the almost tangible presence of the Spirit of God in that moment. As I prayed, I felt the most overwhelming love for this man and his wife. I couldn't help but cry as I felt the Spirit guiding my entire prayer on his behalf, and hearing him, through his tears, whisper beggingly, "Please, please". It was one of the most sweet and inspiring moments I've ever had talking with individuals on the street. Come Sunday morning, I was saying my morning prayer, and I felt very strongly that I needed to fast for Victor and Latavia, another one of our investigators, to come to church. Submitting immediately, I began fasting and praying for them all morning. Long story short, both Latavia and Victor were being swayed to go to different places, although they both said they knew they needed to come to church, and they came. It was so interesting to me how God is already willing to grant blessings to us but are made conditional on our asking for them and truly doing all that we can. 'Prayer and fasting oft' has become so personal to me and I love it so dearly. (Helaman 3:35) it's helped us have a tremendous week and I know it'll continue to do so in the future weeks. After all, it is the last week of the transfer; last week, best week! :)

1.  How's your teaching pool these days?
Right now, we have 8 people that we are teaching on and off (because of individual circumstances), and 4 that we're meeting with on a more regular basis. Victor and Latavia are two of them, and Shelly and Joan are the other two. Shelly is super busy but LOVES the Book of Mormon. She said she'll come to church this sunday and bring her sweet 4 year old son. Joan is a very nice lady we met on the street as she was driving her wheelchair past us. She has such a sweet and strong faith in our Savior Jesus Christ and a great desire to grow closer to our Father in Heaven.
2.  Shelda?
We called her and she said she's a bit too busy right now, so we'll continue to stop by and say hi and see if we can help, but for now, she'd prefer to read the Book of Mormon by herself. The Spirit really does prepare the hearts of individuals, and we have full faith that when the time is right, she'll come in contact  with missionaries again. :)
3.  Have you met the new Office personnel?  (the ones that took over for the Caldwell's and the Rees'?)
Sure have, about 5 weeks ago, actually. :) Elder and Sister Green are in our ward here in Mississauga and Elder and Sister Gillen (yes Pops, he remembers you. I told him you looked like Harrison Ford and he goes "Oh yeah! the good-looking one!" :) I have your back, pahpea! :)) we saw them after our mission leadership council, and we'll see them again next week :)
4.  Is this the week you will be meeting with President Scott?  If you already did, how did it go, and what was your favorite part about it?
This week, Thursday! SOO excited!! :)
5.  Did you ever find out where the Rees' are from?
6.  What was the most delicious thing you ate this week?
Panda Express, hands down. They opened about 3 weeks ago and we were so excited to go!! we were actually talking about how we wanted it before we knew it existed here in Canada! this is the 2nd one in Ontario! :) They manager liked us so much that he even gave us a free meal! So naturally, we're going back today!!!:)
7.  Other than Oreo's what "food from home" do you most crave (that you can't get in Canada)?
mexican food, but that can't really be sent...haha Oreos are great! oh and the cookie butter in the package that you sent this week...THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!! you're incredible mom!! thanks for the package!!!

8.  The BEST part about exchanges is....
learning from the examples of all these Christlike sister missionaries! ah, they're incredible!!!
9.  My FAVORITE teaching moment was....
Teaching Shelly this past Tuesday. She has such strong faith and wants to know if what we teach is from God. As we shared the first vision with her, we promised her that if she listened to the Spirit as we shared his experience, she'd feel the Spirit testify to her that these things were true, and sure enough, she did. By the end of it, she was crying and said "I believe it's true, but now I need to ask God in prayer after I read the Book of Mormon to know it's true." :) It was absolutely incredible, the Spirit was SO strong! :) I love the Spirit so much!
10.  This week I went on exchanges with (Hermana Okelberry and Hermana Dudley) and served in (Mississauga North and Mississauga North). Brought them both to our area! :)
11.  My favorite SERVICE opportunity happened when....
we prayed with Victor on the street. ah. so incredible. and also beginning to meet with the Sloats family. They are a family all born into the Gospel and feel they don't have a sure understanding of the doctrine of Christ, so they're allowing us to serve them by coming over and teaching them the lessons we teach as missionaries so they can become stronger in the Gospel. we invite ALL to come unto Christ and I already love this family SO much! seriously. so much. :)
12.  I laughed so hard when....
we had to run home to make it home on time for curfew and I was sore from intensely exercising the day before. why is it that I laugh when I'm in pain...? yeah, I don't really know. but it sure is enjoyable! :)
13.  Sister Edwards and I bonded over......
cookie butter and sharing miracles from exchanges in the car ride home when we reunite :)

14.  My FAVORITE scripture study time centered around...
keeping our covenants. just keep reading, you'll know. :)
15.  My testimony was strengthened when...
I realized why I needed to fast yesterday morning. God truly is aware of everyone, and if we listen, we will be the means of bringing peace to someone in their time of trial. but only if we hearken to that prompting.
16.  I am most especially grateful for...
Personal Study
Law of Consecration
Sister Edwards
Baptism by God's authority

I testify that this Gospel is true! and I only know that through personal study and prayer. You asked what my favorite scripture study centered on, and it was something I was so grateful I was able to learn. I had a realization this morning that seemed so silly that I didn't understand it earlier; one of the reasons I personally needed to come on a mission was to understand how to keep my covenants. I was reading in Helaman 3 and in the Book of Mormon manual talking about sanctifying our lives to our Fathers. In the manual it says this "Those who partake of the sacrament and temple ordinances with pure hearts and who faithfully keep their covenants have NO PROBLEM being modest, paying generous fast offerings and tithing, keeping the word of wisdom and Sabbath day holy, sharing the gospel daily, attend the temple frequently, conduct family history research, do home or visiting teaching, visiting the sick or serving those in need....These are the faithful saints of the Most High who keep the sacred covenants they have made in the house of the Lord and who continue faithful, having a determination to serve him to the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have received of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins. (D&C 20:37) Covenant the law of consecration. Their time, talents, and financial resources all belong to the Lord." (Elder Spencer J. Condie of the 70)  I have always had a testimony of the truthfulness of this Gospel, I've always felt it, but I guess I didn't really understand what I knew to be true before I came out here, I just knew I knew it. But now I know and it's so simple, covenant keepers live the law of consecration. Everything I am, every talent I have acquired and will acquire is meant for the building up of the Kingdom of God here upon on the Earth at this time, in this, His restored Church. I am so grateful for this enlightenment from the Spirit and I am so grateful that I get to apply it each and every day! What a blessing it is and how great is our calling!

Love for now and for ever,
Sister De Groot :)

Missionary Invitation: study keeping your covenants with your Father in Heaven, and make plans on where you can improve. One in particular that I know is undermined throughout the Church is home and visiting teaching. The impact that these visits have with families and individuals is crucial for one to grow in Gospel. Our bishop said to us the other day "there is no one so strong in the Gospel that they do not need a visit from their home or visiting teaching, a check up, a renewal. We need each other to conquer in this work. If we do it with merely ourselves, we will fail, we will become complacent, and we cannot become that person God knows we are capable of becoming. We have to serve and we need to let others serve us, for that is how we all grow. If your home or visiting teachers haven't called you or aren't visiting you, call them and ask them to come. tell them you need them, because you do. Help them to help you on your path to enter the presence of your Heavenly Father." oh. how wise our bishop is! :)

Here's a picture of my finished tree.  Thank you all SO MUCH for the ornaments!!  :)

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