Monday, June 30, 2014

Diligence in missionary work is an expression of your love for the Lord and His work. PMG pg 121

Mum, PahPea, Family, and Friends!

What an incredibly humbling week! President and Sister Scott have now returned home to their families and we love them so much, and we are SO excited to have President and Sister Clayton here!! Sister Fisher and I will be able to meet them on Wednesday for MLC and then again on Friday with the zone, we're excited to be around them and get to know them better! :) What a blessing! We saw so many miracles this week, especially with the blessing of finding people to teach and teaching our investigators even though we had zone conference, and an exchange completely out of the area! Our Father in Heaven is so aware of all that we do and what we can do with the time and resources that we have! How merciful He is!! :)

Let's do a little shout-out to the birthday girl...HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!!!!! I wish I could adequately express how incredible you are and all the things that you have taught me, but really, only the Lord knows that. Maybe you'll know in the Millennium. :) I hope you have the greatest birthday ever and know that I'll be praying for it! and I may or may not eat cake just for you!! ;) Have a wonderful birthday and know that I love you dearly!!! You're the greatest mom in the whole wide world, that's for sure!!! :) HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

***ok, so...I've been required to answer all of the questions but I have limited time so I apologize that these answers are quite short, but I'll do my best! :)

1. Have you received any mail since you arrived in Oshawa (packages, letters, etc)?
Sure did! got the American package I mentioned last week! Picture will come from the 4th of July!:)
2. How are your investigators doing?
Right now the people we are teaching are Kaffi and Shonteya, a mother and her 9 year old daugther who are preparing for baptism in the middle of July! I haven't been able to teach them because I've been on exchanges when they've been taught but apparently they are AWESOME! ahha I've met them and they are so sweet! Kaffi's little boy got sick yesterday so they were unable to come to church but they said they'll come this next week! :) They were VERY excited to hear that God has called a prophet again to the Earth and are excited to read the Book of Mormon to come to know its truthfulness! Laurie and Derek were also taught with Sister Fisher while I was on exchange again this week, Laurie is doing very well, wants to be baptized but is waiting for her boyfriend to marry her. He has issues with the government. This week we will be teaching them the joy of commandments and teaching him the lessons as well, because apparently when they were being taught in the past, he wasn't really involved. So this week, we're going to help him feel the Spirit to have a desire to change! That's the only way the work continues! :) Ruth is doing very well as well! She's an absolute sweetheart, an older lady who has many physical disabilities but an incredibly strong faith in Christ. We were able to teach her the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ yesterday and at the beginning, she didn't understand why we were inviting her to be baptized again, but we invited her to listen to the Spirit whisper to her why as we taught. As she did, there was one part in the lesson, towards the end when we were talking about the appearing of John the Baptist to the Prophet Joseph Smith to restore the priesthood by the laying on of hands, that something just clicked in her eyes. The Spirit flooded the room. and she understood. she said she's going to pray about what she felt after we left and let us know when we see her on Thursday, so if you could, please pray that she'll recognize that all good things come from God. She's a very special person, and would truly appreciate the prayers for that as well as strength to fight the physical pain she is in daily. Thank you so much! I love you all so much!!
3. Any plans to sing, etc in church in the next few weeks?
I was actually asked to sing at a missionary night in the park we're having next sunday evening, and so because I don't sing solo, I asked an elder to sing with me, but because I'm not creative, we're singing the same song that I was asked to sing with an elder at zone conference last week. I don't know how it sounded. but boy, did I feel the Spirit. I was so immensely grateful.
4. Does Sister Fisher sing? Soprano, Alto, or both?
Soprano (well, the melody), but in Alto range. She can sing so low it's AWESOME!!!! I tried to have her teach me. uh. that didn't go very well. ha! :)
5. What was the last thing you cooked to eat?
omelets :) mmhmm!
6. What are your plans for the remainder of Preparation day today?
lots of cleaning and practicing musical numbers! The assistants are having 4 of us missionaries sing 2 musical numbers at MLC on Wednesday and then they want to make a CD of musical numbers that have been performed. lots of practice! haha!
7. If you had 3 extra hours each day, how would you fill them? 
Well naturally, we'd perform our Book of Mormon Musical-the TRUTH (not the south park one. heard too much about that one....yikes! haha) and then we'd perform it in the park and invite people to see the lessons in action. :) it's bound to be incredible! :)
8. Besides the people, and missionary work, what do you like most about Oshawa?
the fact that it's GORGEOUS!! oh my goodness, it's like a clean London, Ontario! I LOVE IT!!! also. I contacted 2 people that were of the Hindu and Muslim faith and I got SOOOO excited!!!! I haven't really talked with many people from those faiths since Mississauga and I was SOOOOO happy! I love bearing testimony of my Savior! ah. ask Sister Fisher. I was so happy I was close to tears. like really. :) hmm, I love this work!!
9. How did exchanges go this week?
SOO good! Brockville with Sister Lee, the sweetest sister in the world! so bubbly and happy! and a trio in Belleville with Sister Ogden and Sister Hadley! and get this?! The place they live has our name on the mailbox!!! I WAS SO PROUD!!! :)
10. What was your favorite thing that happened at church yesterday?
partaking of the sacrament. It's incredible the literal feeling of being cleansed when you prepare adequately! :) 

11. Something new I learned about Sister Fisher is...
She has the coolest middle name of ALL time! and I still can't pronounce it! ahah "tikoimereke" try that one out!! haha
12. I couldn't believe it when...
President and Sister Scott allowed us to hug them at the end of our Zone conference because they were going home! I love those two so much, I can't even express. 
13. Something I will always be grateful to President Scott for is...
the spirit he carried and the love they showed. They literally help you recognize your eternal potential, and then wouldn't let you settle for anything less, because they loved you too much. and how eternally, and inexpressibly grateful I am for that love!
14.  Did you receive any last minute counsel?
We actually did! in zone conference, we received "life lessons from President and Sister Scott" :) yeah I was SOO excited. one of them was "live to serve and serve well" Missionary work is meant to be eternal. not time limited. :)
15.  What would you consider your most profound moment of the week?
teaching Ruth was absolutely incredible. The Spirit was so strong. As well as singing at zone conference. I don't know how the Spirit got there so strong. but I literally tongue tied with the power of the Spirit. God loves us. that's all. :)
16.  I am so grateful for....
My family
The Spirit 
The Book of Mormon
The Sacrament
Our Savior
You. yes. you. :)

I'm sorry, but because tomorrow is Canada Day, all the libraries are closed and so all the missionaries in the surrounding area need to come to the church and use the computers, so I apologize for the lack of answers, I'll try to answer the rest next week, but at this time, I would like you to know of the immense love and joy I feel for this work and for my Savior Jesus Christ. I know that He died for me, and I know that He died for you. But one greater than dying for you and I is rising for you and I. He lives today. I know it. I know that He and the Father have not ceased working miracles among our Father's children, for I know that He has called a prophet again in this last dispensation, the Prophet Joseph Smith, to prepare for the second coming of our Savior and Redeemer. How incredible that message is!! A prophet of God living upon the Earth! How INCREDIBLE! And to come to know for ourselves, all we need to do is read the evidence, the Book of Mormon, and pray and ask the all knowing, Almighty God if it is true. I know these things are true! and I love the calling that we have to declare it, unceasingly, and joyfully with our brothers and sisters! How GREAT is our calling!!

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

Missionary Invitation: Read "Your Four Minutes" by Bishop Stevenson from the April 2014 General Conference, and record impressions that come to your mind of things you can do to make the best out of your 4 minutes :) I love you dearly!

 YOUR FOUR MINUTES by Bishop Gary E. Stevenson
The recent Olympic Winter Games enthralled the world as athletes representing 89 countries competed in 98 different events. Remarkably, 10 of these athletes were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 3 of whom earned medals recently highlighted in theChurch News: Christopher Fogt, Noelle Pikus-Pace, and Torah Bright.1 We offer our congratulations to all of the athletes who competed. Well done!
I speak of these games this morning directing my thoughts to young men, young women, and young single adults—you who are in your critical years which set the course for your life. I feel a great sense of urgency in addressing you.
For you to feel that urgency, I first share the story of Noelle Pikus-Pace, one of those Latter-day Saint athletes. In Noelle’s event, the skeleton, athletes build momentum as they sprint and then plunge headfirst on a small sled. With their faces inches above the ground, they race down a winding, icy track at speeds that top 90 miles (145 km) an hour.
Remarkably, years of preparation would be considered either a success or a disappointment based on what happened in the space of four intense 60-second runs.
Noelle’s previous 2006 Olympic dreams were dashed when a terrible accident left her with a broken leg. In the 2010 Olympics her dreams fell short again when just over one-tenth of a second kept her from the medal stand.2
Can you imagine the anxiety she felt as she waited to begin her first run in the 2014 Olympics? Years of preparation would culminate in only a sliver of time. Four minutes total. She spent years preparing for those four minutes and would spend a lifetime afterward reflecting on them.
Noelle’s final runs were virtually flawless! We will never forget her leap into the stands to embrace her family after crossing the finish line, exclaiming, “We did it!” Years of preparation had paid off. We saw her Young Women medallion around her neck as the silver medal was placed there beside it.3
It may seem unfair that Noelle’s entire Olympic dreams hinged on what she did during just four brief minutes. But she knew it, and that is why she prepared so diligently. She sensed the magnitude, the urgency of her four minutes, and what they would mean for the rest of her life.
We also remember Christopher Fogt, a member of the team that won the bronze medal in the four-man bobsled race. While he could have given up after a devastating crash in the 2010 Olympics, he chose to persevere. After a fantastic, redemptive run, he won the prize he so diligently sought.4
Now, consider how your pathway to eternal life is similar to these athletes’ “four-minute performance.” You are an eternal being. Before you were born, you existed as a spirit. In the presence of a loving Heavenly Father, you trained and prepared to come to earth for a brief moment and, well, perform. This life is your four minutes. While you are here, your actions will determine whether you win the prize of eternal life. The prophet Amulek described, “This life is the time … to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day … to perform [your] labors.”5
In a sense, your four minutes have already begun. The clock is ticking. The words of the Apostle Paul seem so fitting: to run the race, that you may obtain the prize.6
In the same way that certain steps are essential in the very brief performance of an Olympic athlete—jumps or maneuvers for ice skaters and snowboarders, negotiating the turns of a bobsled run, or carving through the gates of a downhill slalom course—so it is in our lives, where certain things are absolutely essential—checkpoints which move us through our spiritual performance on earth. These spiritual markers are the essential God-given ordinances of the gospel: baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, priesthood ordinations, temple ordinances, and partaking of the sacrament each week.
“In the[se] ordinances … , the power of godliness is manifest.”7
And in the same way that the discipline of training prepares an athlete to perform elements in his or her sport at the highest level, keeping the commandments will qualify you to receive these saving ordinances.
Do you sense the urgency?
My young friends, wherever you are in your “four-minute performance,” I urge you to ponder, “What do I need to do next to ensure my medal?” Perhaps during this conference, the Spirit has whispered to you what that may be: to prepare more thoughtfully for an ordinance in your future or to receive an ordinance that you should have received a long time ago. Whatever it may be, do it now. Don’t wait. Your four minutes will pass quickly, and you’ll have eternity to think about what you did in this life.8
Self-discipline is needed. Daily prayer, scripture study, and church attendance must be the foundation of your training. A consistent pattern of obeying the commandments, keeping the covenants you have made, and following the Lord’s standard found in For the Strength of Youth is required.
Perhaps you’re aware of things in your life that are threatening to slow or stop your spiritual progress. If so, follow this scriptural counsel: “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.”9
It is not yet too late to repent. But it soon may be, because no one really knows when your four minutes will be over.
Now, you may be thinking to yourself, “I already blew it. My four minutes are already a disaster. I may as well give up.” If so, stop thinking that, and never think it again. The miracle of the Atonement can make up for imperfections in our performance. As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland has taught:
“To those of you … who may still be hanging back, … I testify of the renewing power of God’s love and the miracle of His grace. …
“… It is never too late so long as the Master … says there is time. … Don’t delay.”10
Remember, you are not alone. The Savior has promised that He will not leave you comfortless.11 You also have family, friends, and leaders who are cheering you on.
Although my remarks have been directed to the youth of the Church, for parents and grandparents, I offer the following:
Recently, Elder David A. Bednar described a simple way to conduct a family assessment to mark progress on the covenant path by essential ordinances. All that is needed is a piece of paper with two columns: “name” and “plan for next or needful ordinance.” I did this recently, listing each family member. Among them, I noted an infant grandson, soon to be blessed; a six-year-old grandson, whose preparation for baptism was essential; and a son turning 18, whose preparation for the priesthood and temple endowment was imminent. Everyone on the list needed the sacrament ordinance. This simple exercise assisted Lesa and me in fulfilling our role to help each member of our family along the covenant path, with an action plan for each of them. Perhaps this is an idea for you which will lead to family discussions, family home evening lessons, preparation, and even invitations for essential ordinances in your family.12
As a skier and a snowboarder myself, I was deeply impressed with the “four-minute” silver medal-winning performance of Australian LDS athlete and snowboarder Torah Bright in the half-pipe competition. She dazzled the world as she finished a virtually flawless run culminating in a backside rodeo 720. However, even more impressive and surprising to the world was the way she reached out and demonstrated Christlike love to her competitors. She noticed that American snowboarder Kelly Clark, who had a bad first run in her final round, appeared to be nervous about her second run. “She gave me a hug,” Clark recalls. “She just held me until I actually calmed down enough and I slowed my breathing. It was good to have a hug from a friend.” Kelly Clark would later join Torah on the winners’ podium as a bronze medalist.
When asked about this unusual act of kindness toward her opponent, which could have put her own silver medal at risk, Torah simply said, “I am a competitor—I want to do my best—but I want my fellow competitors to do their best, too.”13
With that in mind, is there someone who needs your encouragement? a family member? a friend? a classmate or fellow quorum member? How can you help them with their four minutes?
Dear friends, you are in the midst of an exhilarating journey. In some ways, you are racing down the half-pipe or sled track, and it can be challenging to perform each element or navigate each turn along the way. But remember, you’ve prepared for this for millennia. This is your moment to perform. This is your four minutes! The time is now!
I express my utmost confidence in your abilities. You have the Savior of the world on your side. If you seek His help and follow His directions, how can you fail?
I conclude with my testimony of the blessing we have in a living prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, and of Jesus Christ and His role as our Savior and Redeemer, in His holy name, Jesus Christ, amen.

NOTE to Janelle from Sheryl (sent last Monday, upon realizing she did not get my weekly email):
After seeing that you didn't answer any of my questions, I looked in your inbox, only to discover that you never got my email!!  I feel just terrible!!!  Know that I would NEVER forget to write to you!!

Janelle's reply (received today):
don't even worry mom!! haha I figured that's what happened anyway! haha

Feeling VERY relieved that she took it all in stride...  :0)

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