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Monday, September 15, 2014

My mission has been the sweetest, most sacred experience of my life. Words will never be able to explain it.

How exciting about our new stake presidency, they will be sooo good, and just what we all need! We had stake conference this past week and it was really good:) I had the opportunity to speak at it about how members and missionaries can work together to hasten the work and I talked about the 2 keys to success (that I have found while serving), which are first, Faith in Jesus Christ, and second, Working with members!!! The whole meeting was really good-we really do have such incredible members here in Western Australia, they have become some of my greatest hero's! This week has been sooo good because it has been veryyyy hard (haha). Satan has been working really hard on all those we teach and it's been one of the greatest tests of our faith- but I feel like I've learnt so much and grown a lot from it! This week will be another really good one as well, because we have a lot of really exiting lessons with our progressing investigators, as well as Bryan (recent convert from my first area)  is going through the temple for his endowments :) and to finish it off Matt is getting baptized!
It really is incredible how much Faith in Jesus Christ can effect the work. Just Friday, Matt experiences some of the most challenging trials of his life, having his family split up being one of them...we thought we had lost him cause he disappeared and we worried he might have fallen back into old habits...but that afternoon, and night we prayed out hearts out! The next morning for personal study I spent it on my knees with my scriptures...I studied Faith in Jesus Christ. I finished personal study and went back to my companion for companionship study...we sang, got on our knees for our opening prayer and then just into our prayer we got a call....Matt had finally come home. we immediately went to see heart just broke as we listened to how he felt, but it was made so whole as I listened to him bear his testimony! He shared in tears with us and also in the addiction class later that day, that he is NOT GOING BACKWARDS! He is determined to move forward because this is the closest he has even been to succeeding and he knows it's because of the Lord and His church. It was so sweet in He expressed how he really felt Satan working on him so much but that he was not going to let him bring him down, but rather "I will keep preparing for my baptism on the 20th". When he shared those things we knew our faithful  prayers had ad been answered and we just wept on our knees in prayers of gratitude!
One day this past week we went to see a returning less active man and upon our arrival he told us he had no food and hardly any money. we talked about a few things, and then said a prayer with him. as soon as we said "amen" the spirit opened my mouth and said, 'How are you going paying your tithing?". He went on to tell us he didn't have enough money to pay...we were able to teach him about the miracles and blessings that come as we do show Heavenly Father our love for him by paying an honest tithe. I was grateful the spirit had us ask that because as he pays, we KNOW things will work out for him and it will be much easier in the end- he agreed to start paying:)
Yesterday after stake conference I got to see 3 recent converts get the priesthood...sweetest experience ever!!! And a cool part was, a recent convert Bryan (who is going through the temple this week) was able to give the Melchizedek priesthood to someone else as well. It's just beautiful to see people progress and to see them work towards the potential heavenly Father sees them at. Adams blessing was one of the most incredible ones I've ever heard. he was told he will serve a mission. he will be a leader, and that he was strong in the premortal life. Ahhh,  I just cried! I love those we teach so dang much and it's just so special to be with them in those sacred moments!
Matt wasn't the only of our investigators to experience an extremely difficult's really interesting to see that Satan will do anything and everything to get us down, and to keep us from being near the Lord and the truth! But I love being a missionary, and listening to those who ache, as well as help guide them to their Father in Heaven who will bring comfort- I really do have the BEST calling!  Life truly is filled with various challenges, some harder than others, but they are here to build us and to turn us to the Lord. I really have found that when I am broken down the most, is when I am the strongest! I am so grateful for my Father in Heaven who does hear each and every one of our individual prayers and WILL send us the strength and the comfort we need. My mission has been the sweetest most sacred experience of my life. Words will never be able to explain it. Yes it's been hard, but i am so much stronger because of it! I trust the Lord and will forever and ever. Yes I am still a natural man, but my fears have greatly diminished because I have HIM on my side. I better understand my purpose on this earth, and how i can more fully keep my covenants! He is the reason I am who I am and I will boast in Him and His strength forever! I have never been happier! I love you guys so much and can't wait to be in the temple with you! (yes that will be the first thing we do:))
We are working so hard...literally exhausted every night,  and don't you worry, we aren't slowing down for anything- but please do keep praying for Matt, Les, and Kim! They all need your prayers! :) and us...:) your prayers mean a lot to us!
Love always,
Sister Ensign

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

I am in the Lord's hands ............

Hey Sister Ensign is back.... :/

This past week I prayed, got in bed, and felt the spirit tell me to get on my knees and pray I did...I went into my changing room, and knelt to talk with my Heavenly Father...I wept, and wept and wept. I realized that the aching spot in the corner of heart was because I am honestly having the hardest time accepting the fact that my full time mission is coming to a close. It kills me...but then I felt this sweet peaceful feeling that I am in the Lord's hands and he will help me in the various stages of life I go through, I felt much more confident...still very bittersweet, but a lot more confident in the Lord and His plans for my life! As I re-dedicated my whole self to him I have felt greater strength and the spirit more abundantly! I love my Father in Heaven and our Savior Jesus Christ so much, and especially this sacred time they have give me to serve them!  I will be forever grateful!

So anyways, it was because of that experience that I am able to say more to you this sorry about the last few ones,  haha. This week has been incredible though! ...where to even start? :) Well earlier my companion and I were a bit worried about teaching our progressing investigators (who want to be baptised) about the Law of Chastity, because they are partners living together....but after studying HEAPS and being spiritually uplifted (especially after MLC),  we felt the power and authority of our calling in the need for us to "cry repentance". We got to Nick and Nhiari's house and felt so confident in the Lord. Initially you think, "Do I really have the right, to enter into someone else's home and tell them what God needs them to do, and ask them to start living the Law of Chastity, and leave behind their old ways?!?" But then I am always sweetly reminded that "I AM A DISCIPLE OF CHRIST" and so.... yes, I need to invite them in behalf of Him! As we taught the lesson the spirit was so strong (it honestly is one of my favourite lessons to teach, because it is so sacred) and Nhiari said she wanted to live it and felt it was right, but Nick doesn't think it's necessary...he luckily did commit to pray about it and ask God, and then committed to act upon the answer God gives him! Please pray for him that he will be willing to live the Law of Chastity with Nhiari!  :)

This week we got to go to the temple with Adam (recent convert) for his first time, and also with Jordan (a retuning less active who has come sooooo far!) It was soooo special:) Adam is progressing so well in the gospel! This past week we taught him the new member lesson, of tithing and he shared a really cool experience. He said since he has been baptised, he has been setting aside 10% of his money (keep in mind he is a uni student who also works, so he doesn't have an abundant stash of money like most young adults) and yet, as he has shown obedience and faith, he has seen the blessings in return! He said he is working less hours than he was in the summer, but somehow is able to save more money! He is so committed to the gospel and yesterday in church spoke about his conversion story! He said he now knows who he is, his potential, and what Heavenly Father needs him to do with his life. This week we feel it's time to teach about serving a full time mission, and commit him to fast about it this Sunday. We have talked about it here and there and he seems keen, but the big invitation is coming this week, pray for Adam:) He will make the greatest missionary!

Last experience I want to about a year ago when I started my mission, I became good friends with a YSA girl who was working on getting her temple recommend back, and her boyfriend was taught and baptised by the together, they were doing really good :)....well this past Sunday she came to my new ward and as I excitedly asked her how she was and if she was still preparing for a mission.  She said things aren't going good and she has had some setbacks and is really struggling.  AGH!!!!  The ONLY thing that came to my mind and heart, was to embrace her and tell her how much I loved her! As I did I told her how happy I was that she had come to church and that she should just keep moving forward by relying on Heavenly Father, I felt that our Heavenly Father probably feels the same way about us...when we mess up Satan says, "run, and hide, you can't talk to anyone, especially God about your sins" where as the Lord says, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of my, for I am meed and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls" (Matthew 11:29-29). He invites us to come to him, to find rest and peace. This morning while reading in the Book of Mormon, this scripture touched me so much, Jacob speaking to the Nephites says, "and the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate"...Christ is our only chance, and the only way. His way is the way to happiness. Eternal and lasting happiness! I am grateful for his mercy with each of us in our sins and weaknesses, he truly is quick to forgive when we are quick to repent! The atonement is the greatest gift we have ever been offered!

Well,  I love you guys and am so grateful you are all so strong in the gospel! There honestly is nothing else I would want more than to be with you guys for eternity! Thank you for your examples, you lift and inspire me daily!

love always,
Sister Ensign

Funny experience: We were at the train station contacting these two guys (probably late 20's), one from England and one from Scotland...well after telling these two atheist men about our loving Heavenly Father an committing them to read the pamphlets we left, they then said, "we need a hug bye", and went in for the kill...I ducked and tried to push them away,  haha,  but then my sweet companion nearly karate chopped them away ,hahaha , I was laughing so hard but she was just way freaked out;) we laughed about it really hard after......lesson learned: Don't contact drunk guys at the train stations at night,  haha. My sweet companion makes me laugh heaps!

Highlight(s) of the week:
Getting texts from Matt (baptismal date) who is so converted now! he shares his experiences of receiving answers from God, and feeling the spirit, and it's just the sweetest thing to read about! He is so grateful for the gospel! I can't tell you enough how much he has changed! he seriously has come from the absolute lowest of lows...amazing what the Atonement of Jesus Christ can do!
And second high light is seeing my companion grow! She has been really nervous to talk to people but has been working so hard at relying on the Lord and the spirit to know what to say, and I have been giving her a lot of opportunities to lead;) Yesterday as we would quickly pull over to talk to someone I would, "Go sis! you got this I'm right behind you!" and there was one time when she walked over quickly to this couple, looking confident as and contacted them sooo incredibly well! I love seeing the Lord strengthen others in their weaknesses, and I'm just grateful for my companions example to just bite the bullet and do what she knows she needs to while patiently waiting for greater strength and ability to come from the Lord! I love her!

Monday, August 11, 2014

With the Lord's help it will be a great journey ...................

Well this transfer has come to a close, I  just wish they'd slow down haha, time goes way too fast!  This next coming transfer President Lindsay has asked me to train a new missionary and be a Sister Training Leader for the zone, haha. With the Lord's help it will be a great journey in fulfilling these 2 responsibilities- I'm excited!
Fasting....again....has brought incredible miracles! The day we were fasting, we were also in our flat for part of the day doing weekly planning when all of a sudden we heard yelling we ran to the door to see our neighbor at the top of his driveway, crying on his knees...we ran to see what had happened and his sweet cat had been killed by his own dogs and was in his front room on the floor, dead,  when he came home from work:( he is the sweetest man (who honestly is way cool), has the biggest heart, and a great love for animals...this cat had been with him for 11 years so he was pretty sad...well turns out that that same week he had had 2 other deaths happen in his family/friends...he spirit was broken down, and from our eternal perspective, we know it is so the Lord can rebuild and refine him...well after taking some "love" over later that evening, we met with him and his partner (ahhh , she is the cutest thing ever!!!)...keep in mind they are our NEXT DOOR NEIGHBORS (who just moved in a few months ago) and they became our 2 new investigators! #fastanswered. They came to church this past Sunday and the speakers first words were "each of us have lost a loved one, but it is through the Atonement of Jesus Christ that..." my companion and i just about died of gratitude and love for the inspired speakers who spoke and addressed perfectly our investigators needs! I LOVE CHURCH!!! :)
This past week we have been able to teach some really powerful lessons where we felt the spirit very strongly and as a result saw more of our investigators hearts, soften even more! BUT the one I want to share with you is when I was on exchanges with Sister Atkinson (like one of my favorite sisters ever...we experience wayyyy to much joy together:)). So last year when I was in Wanneroo we took some of our investigators to another set of sisters baptism when there was a mother and a daughter being baptized. Seeing them at the baptism and then later at general conference, we just hit it off (even though I've never been in their area/ nor their "missionary"). well since I had last seen them, the dad also got baptized and that leaves their family to two other sons who have not been baptized! Well before my exchange with Sister Atkinson this past week, Wister Atkinson and rogers had taught one of the sons (18 yr) twice and tried to commit him to be baptized, but he just said he wasn't ready...well...this past week sister Atkinson and I went for another lesson with him and were able to teach the plan of salvation! ...:)....ahhhhh......the spirit was so strong as we taught him about THE ONLY way to live with our families, Heavenly Father, and Jesus Christ for eternity in the Celestial Kingdom is to have faith in Christ, repent, BE BAPTISED (by water and the Holy Ghost) and enduring to the end...(after the lesson his mum told me that when I started down this path she though, "oh Sister Ensign, don't bring up baptism again" haha) but I just felt the spirit so strongly prompting us to invite him to be baptized on September I did as commanded, haha. And guess what?!?! HE SAID YES!!! He explained that he does want to be with his family for eternity and so he is willing to repent and be baptized! He said the most beautiful closing prayer and we left just totally filled with the spirit! The Gospel really is the ONLY WAY and I love being able to remind others of the path back HOME!
Monday night we knocked on a door of a referral given to us by our patriarch and when the door opened, a wonderful lady answered crying, and saying, "I've been waiting for you!" This sweet less active lady has gone off track but KNOWS THIS IS TRUE! She has such a deep desire to come back and it will be ONLY through the atonement that that will be possible, but she CAN DO IT! She explained that she knew what the Atonement was, but was unsure of how she could apply we taught her, I could hardly even talk i was so overcome with emotion for several reasons. one, Heavenly Father led us to one of his precious daughters who had fallen "lost", second, that we do have the Atonement which can cleanse and strengthen us and lastly that i have this chance to sit in people home and teach and invite them to repent...this will NEVER happen again! Since Monday, Giselle has progressed so well (along with her two young daughters!) . They came to church on Sunday and just couldn't have been happier, they felt "home!". Her partner is a non member and it is extremely rare that we can catch him sober...please pray that he will be sober this week for us to be able to teach him and help him and his family become an eternal one!
This morning my companion and I put together a zone sisters companion study and Sister Lindsay joined us, it was wonderful! We focused on the Book of Mormon and as we asked the sisters about their conversion through the Book of Mormon it was so special to hear how much this 431 pg book has CHANGED OUR LIVES! We must share it with everyone !! It is true. it brings us nearer to God and Jesus Christ and it does hold the map back to our Heavenly Father! I have spent so much time on my knees holding that book as i pray and search for guidance and direction from our Heavenly  Father and not ONCE has it let me down! I wish i had more time to share with you about how it's been able to do the same for those we are teaching, but I'm out of's powerful! Please take your study of this sacred record more seriously, i promise that as you do you will find a greater ability to resist temptation and to become like the Savior in turn> Love you all!
Love always,
Sister Ensign

AUGUST 3, 2014 -
It all started when I held up a picture of Jesus Christ....

This week my companion and I were able to see the power of fasting and prayer as we came together with a hope of finding more families to teach and baptize! We invited Matt, our baptismal date, to share what he has learnt/how he has felt about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, with his fiancé...The following night the member who Matt is living with said they had read the Book of Mormon and prayed together over the phone!!! On Saturday Amanda (Matt's fiancé) and her kids were able to come join us for the lesson. As we shared the plan of Salvation with their family she said she felt "secure" and "hopeful". The Plan of Salvation does exactly that, and we are just so grateful for the member who had courage to open his mouth and extended and invitation, which has led to another soul being brought to Christ, and potentially his family with his as well! We are so exited to hear what Amanda and her 10 year old son have to say when we follow up with their prayer to know if they should be baptised on August 30th!!!

MLC this week was incredible!!! It has helped Sister Tupuna and I a lot to focus on our own conversion through our covenants, and as a result we have been able to teach so much more powerfully and with more of our hearts as we invite, promise blessings and testify! One lesson in particular was with a less active who recently has fallen confused and is considering going back to the Hindu faith, meaning she would no longer worship Jesus Christ as her Savior but rather, a good man who walked this earth... We went over and watched a general conference talk with her from Jeffrey R. Holland which talked about Faith in Jesus Christ. As we finished and invited her to exercise faith in Jesus Christ by coming to church to renew her 'covenants' and also to keep her promise to "keep the commandments" (Moroni 4:3) (keep the Sabbath day holy) we promised her blessings that we knew would give her reason to change, the spirit was so strong!!! She almost committed, but still just said at the end that she couldn't...We did all we could in that lesson, and then promised we would call her Sunday morning to give her another chance, so sure enough we called her just to hear her say she wouldn't make it...we were 'devastated' :( Well as we were greeting people in the chapel Sunday morning we saw out of the corner of our eye, KAY!!! We had done everything we could to teach her simply, and by the spirit, we had called to remind her, showed our love, and also sadness when she failed to keep a promise she had made with God, but her heart was softened and SHE CAME!!! She was "brought to sing of redeeming love and this [was] because of the power of His word which is in us, therefore have we not great reason to rejoice?" (Alma 26:13). We did all we could, and the Lord made up the rest! :) The spirit truly is the greatest and most important tool to have, because IT is the one that drives people to act, along with their covenants:) Sunday was so good because we had less actives, recent converts, and investigators there! I love being able to worship Jesus Christ with all  of them!!! :)

While on exchanges this past week, I was with an amazing Sister whom I learned so much from about charity, and teaching from your heart! She is a full purpose missionary and is so effective, but struggles with making that first initial contact with people and so while on the exchange I tried to help her with it. One night we were driving down a dark street, and I saw a lady walking and thought...'I shouldn't go talk to her at night, when it's dark, it will probably freak her out'...but then the Spirit told me again, to "JUST GO"- so I pulled over:) When we first contacted Kylie she told us that she didn't believe in God, tried to prove us wrong, and even gave a small laugh about some of the things we had said... but as we shared personal experiences of how we have come to know God, and about the role he has played in our lives she said, "alright, fair enough" and explained that what he had shared was convincing, but we knew that our words weren't enough so we taught he to pray so she could really find God herself...I have to say, reminding people (for this first time here on earth) how to communicate with their father in Heaven has to be one of my most favorite things!!! Then just before we left she then said, "ya know, it's pretty random that you are talking to me about God...on the side of the road...and night...but I think it's actually a sign because I just split up with my partner, and have really been struggling and just feeling...lost". We reminded her that yes Heavenly Father was aware of her, and that she could access his divine guidance through prayer!! It was definitely a success for her, and us missionaries in reminding us that we need to talk to anyone Heavenly Father tells us to, rather than attempting to be the judge of who is and isn't ready to hear our message:)
I've recently been trying to work on Charity and Love and Heavenly Father has given me so many opportunities to grow in this area!:) We were on our way to see Marisela (single mum, from Chile, referral from Member) and we just felt so much love for her! Well,  when we got there she was trying to clean and move heavy Furniture. We were able to help her right away, and she just couldn't believe it,  haha. But as we were able to serve her our love for her increased, and it softened her heart so much! Later while i was talking to her two little boys (5 and 8 years old), and Sister Tupuna was talking to her, her little boys, who were just with Heavenly Father not to long ago, were able to unload their souls questions about God and Jesus Christ. It all started though when I held a picture of Jesus Christ, and little Benjamin said, 'I know who that is...Jesus Christ'. .We truly do  "need to become as a little Child". Their questions touched me so much and I loved nothing more than being able to remind them of what they were recently just taught, back up in heaven by their heavenly parents. my favorite is when we got to kneel and teach them to about sweetest moment ever. I was again reminded that there are no greater teachings that can take place in the home, than gospel teachings! I love this family so much, and they are getting closer and closer! They came to the potluck dinner Sunday night and stayed for the message after, they feel something special they say...and they say that they want what we have :) I love that the gospel light that comes into our lives when we live the teachings of Jesus Christ, is actually something we can's not just something that they have to go "shopping" and "searching" for, but that we can offer it to them and then "immediately" it can begin to swell within their hearts, and grow into something magnificent! I love this gospel, and love being able to teach people about the plan and path back to our Heavenly Father!!!:)

Love you guys heaps, please pray for my friends:
-Adelle and Allister, to be able to recognize answers from God as they pray sincerely
-Doug to have his heart softened to at least pray
-Marisela  and her boys to come to church
-Matt to overcome his addictions, and his family to join him in baptism!
Love Always,
Sister Ensign