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Sunday, August 25, 2013

I will never forget this day..................

Wow! I'm still trying to figure out if I'm still in a dream, or in real life...VICKIE XU WAS BAPTIZED!!! Seriously, my companion and I were trying to have a lot of faith, but we were nervous for her, since she viewed a baptism as a HUGE deal (almost as big as a wedding ;) ha she is so sweet). But of course Heavenly Father 'made it happen' and she made her first promises with the Lord on Saturday at 1:30!!! It was not by chance that her and her family got their visa's so quickly to come to Australia right away, and get a job with some of the strongest members of our church...God prepared her, and made the necessary adjustments so that she could receive the beautiful gospel into her life as soon as possible. I can't even begin to explain all the miracles that have happened with her and all the little tender mercies shown that have made it possible for her to finally be baptized, it is just amazing! It is so cool with Vickie too, because as missionaries we try really hard to help the investigators connect with God on their own, rather than through us missionaries to God... but unfortunately sometimes they do rely on us missionaries...But with Vickie, it's different; it is her and God.  And that is it! She has the most beautiful relationship with him, and loves him. She loves our Savior Jesus Christ, she loves the book of Mormon, and her family, and she CANNOT WAIT to go to the temple next month with us to do baptisms for the dead for her ancestors who have been waiting to receive the gospel!!! She told Ian Dunlop, the man who baptized her that she knew her ancestors were there, and when she was in the water she could feel them around her! The people in China, including her family, have not had the opportunity to be taught the gospel, but through Vickie they will be able to receive it:) Vickie has such a sweet and tender spirit, and is very receptive to the things of God. She just cried and cried during the program and especially when she came out of the water/finished being baptized. she just buried her face in her hands, and cried! Sister Kanee and I of course were just bawling as well and while she was getting changed, we just hugged and cried. I will never forget this day, and I will never forget Vickie! She is someone that I will strive to be like for the rest of my life! She was then confirmed yesterday at church and oh my goodness! Her confirmation and blessing was one of the most amazing blessings I have ever heard. The words spoken to her were so powerful and unforgettable! Brother Dunlop told her that she was blessed to have the strong husband that she does, and that one day they will enter the temple together...gosh I'm crying now...but that day will really come. God said it himself through Brother Dunlop. David (her husband) is a toughey, but he will come around, we will continue to work on him;) But it just made me happier than ever to hear that one day, they WILL be sealed as a family in the temple, I can't wait to hear about this one day! It will be remarkable! God has brought so many miracles with Vickie and other investigators who are truly "elect". it is amazing to see, and even better when the members go off about how awesome and "ready" our investigators seem to be as well! I love my calling as a missionary, and am so grateful for this chance i have to serve
Elder Tautfest told me the other week, about how him and his companions are working on finding and teaching "families" and "Kingdom builders"- people who are REALLY ELECT, and so my companion and I have both decided to do the same! would not believe the one investigator specifically, we found...and get this, his name is BRYAN! haha,  What's the chance right?! Anyways, he is a man in his 60's and is nothing short of "ready to receive the restored gospel" #solid. But last week we were walking in a caravan park saw him working outside. we began to talk to him and came to find out of the remarkable life he has lived. he has traveled the world, died once, raised his family on his own, loves the heck out of his children and grandchildren, and once was a very successful business man. He knows pretty much anything and everything about religion, science and history, but has not found peace and contentment in any philosophy's or religions he has come across...well not until now;) We were able to go back to him this week and teach his an EXTREMELY powerful lesson on the restoration. He was feeling it.  we were feeling it, we couldn't deny it, and we didn't want it to end, so we invited him to be baptized.  His response was "wow we really are getting right down to things aren't we?" haha. we laughed with him and just invited him to be baptized WHEN he finds out that the things we are teaching are true- and he agreed! Since then, he came to Vickie's baptism, and even church yesterday and everyone is just blown away with him. He could not be more "ready" and we are just so excited for him! Tonight we are having a family home evening with him and another family and we are going to invite him to be baptized on September 21st, please pray for him to accept the invitation to follow our Saviors example and be baptized! Then on Friday we are having another lesson with him and some members who want to have him over for dinner and a lesson! He is literally going to be a bishop one day, mark my words. He is no ordinary man, but he is special. he has beautiful gifts, and so we helped him see that he could be EVEN better and have even more gifts, once he joins the church (gift of the Holy Ghost, power of the priesthood, and temple ordinances). This man is going places in the gospel, he is feeling it. he has felt something really special these past few days, and has been reading the book of Mormon. I am so excited to see where this journey of his in the gospel takes him!
I wish i had more time, but i don't....but along with him we have met so many other people. One man specifically named Paul (I can't help but think of you dad, every time we see/teach him). HE has been looking for  anew life for 3 years, and we promised him it is finally at this finger tips. All he has to do is accept it. He too has been praying for help and see's us missionaries as an answer to his prayers. He told Sister Kanee and i that he hopes his daughter turns out half as good as we are one day;) it was the sweetest thing, it just shows that people really do recognize missionaries as disciples of Christ. How great is my calling, i love it! i love you guys and hope you are being missionaries! Hope all is going well. good luck with your senior year bubba! Live it up! and samma- wha the heck sista, junior high seriously!? Remember to be yourself and everyone will just fall in love with you! Mom and dad thanks for all you do and all your love and support. I think about you guys all the time, and can never stop sharing with people how if their children are anything like me, they will grow up and thank them for allowing them to be raised in the's an amazing gift! Thank you!
love always,
Sister Diondra Ensign

Monday, August 19, 2013

When we work in faith and obedience, God is with us in the work

Ok, talk about the most amazing week of my life. You ready for the best news ever...OK...VICKI IS GETTING BAPTIZED IN 5 DAYS!!! Ahhh I'm like crying right now, i am so excited! So last week we went over and taught her the importance of baptism. she cried as she told us how happy she was to be baptized. we asked her to pick a date. she said she wanted to buy a house and a cat first (haha). and so this week we were like, "OK we're going hard out on baptism, and we are so getting her to receive this ordinance!". So Wednesday night we went to Ward Council where our Ward Mission Leader (still my hero) so lovingly, but boldly just laid it out and basically rebuked everyone on their missionary work. he then got us all so pumped about it, and us missionaries just like dying inside of happiness and excitement seeing how much i ward is going to work on their missionary work! Seriously though, our  Ward Mission Leader is fully the man! OK,  so anyways, sister Kanee and I left just feeling like we were ready to go baptize all of Western Australia ;) and just totally filled with the spirit, headed over to Vicki's. We got there and seriously like SO boldly, (but not overbearing;) ) told her how she needs to be baptized NOW to receive the blessings, and also that her family on the other side of the veil NEEDS their work done. Ahhhh...... i literally just have goosebumps now just thinking about it...but ya the spirit was just so heavy as we helped her see the importance of being baptized NOW....well we start telling her that a Chinese investigator is getting baptized on the 24th and so we want her to come watch it, but she misunderstood us and thought we asked her to be baptized on the 24th and she was like WAY EXCITED about it, so we jumped right on board with her and now she is getting baptized on Saturday and couldn't be more excited! :) She is so ready and has, by far, the best relationship with God that I have ever seen begin and continue within a person is such a short amount of time. God has prepared her. members have played a huge role in her conversion. and now she is going to make her first promise with God. When we are with her we just cry and hug each other, she is seriously amazing and I love her sooooo much. Sweet Vicki has caused a lot of heart ache and tears, and been in heaps of prayers and fasting purposes, but we didn't give up, and God didn't either, and look at her now. There were times when we questioned as to whether or not to drop her, but Heavenly Father kept pushing us, and I'm so glad he did because now she is INCREDIBLE! I didn't realize i could love someone so much in just a short amount of time haha but really, she is just amazing- i wish you could meet her so badly, you would just love her as well. Considering she has less than a week until she is baptized, Satan will be working very hard on her, so please keep her in your prayers!
Another cool tender mercy was when we went to see a long term less active, Marc. He is from London and a single father of 2 kids. He hasn't come to church in a while and so yesterday we had an awesome lesson with him about the plan of Salvation and how God is really with us and wants to be apart of our lives. Well the discussion with him was just awesome and the spirit was so strong, and this week we are having a FHE with him, and he is coming to church on Sunday and is way pumped about it;) Well later that night we got a text from him saying how his garage door was broke and he couldn't get his car out to leave; so he tried to fix it for a while, then decided to pray. in less than a minute after his prayer, the door opened and it was all fixed. he recognized that God answered his prayer and shared with us his experience, and it was just way cool to see God continuing to work within the hearts of his precious children in our area. I am so grateful for little experiences like that. I know it is really little, but it was huge for Marc, and i LOVE IT! 
Another miracle! So this week Sister kanee and I fasted to find a family to teach, one that can be TOGETHER FOREVER! ;) Well the day we were fasting we were out tracting a street trying to find a former investigator (who on his teaching record just had the name of his street but no number)  who seemed pretty golden...well we had knocked on 3 doors and had no success with anyone because it was mid day and like everyone is at work...well keep in mind sister Kanee and I are also working on our "faith in Jesus Christ" right now, and so at each door we would be like, "come on sista, lets have faith in Jesus Christ"...well we had knocked on the 3 doors, still trying to keep our faith high...and see this man walking down the street towards us, so we were like "OK lets go talk to him:)". So we go over, start talking with this man...guess who it was?! ....ANDRE- the man we were looking for. When he recognized we were missionaries, he was so excited to see us and invited us to his home. We sat on his front porch and talked with him for a while. this man has died two times, but through CPR and God's help, has been brought back to life. We told him that God literally preserved his life, so that he could meet us missionaries, because we KNOW that the message we have is one that he NEEDS to have before he returns back to God. She shared more about his relationship with God and his family, and we of course shared our message, and now he is INVITING HIS WHOLE FAMILY OVER THIS WEEK BECAUSE WE WANTS US TO TEACH ALL OF THEM! "when we work in faith and obedience, God is with us in the work" -President Lindsay, and this is so true. The power of prayer and fasting is real. God loves us and is aware of us in our needs. he places each of us on certain paths for a certain reason, and it just so happened that we were placed in Andre's path for a reason as well.
I love you guys so much and am so grateful for you and your support, you have no idea how much it means to me. I talk about you guys all the time in my testimony as i share with people about how the gospel blesses families! I love you so much and can't wait to give you a big fat hug in just over a year;)
xoxo forever,
Sister Ensign
p.s. ok...side note. My companion,  Sister Kanee and I ,  we are like literally best friends! And you know what did it?! CHRISTLIKE ATTRIBUTES! I honestly cannot even explain how much the 2 of us have learned and grown. like i have learned more about patience, love, service and giving in the past 4 weeks than i have in my whole life put together. i really am a new person in a way. i am so grateful that i struggled so much at first with some difficulties because now i won't need to wonder how to deal with things, but I've learned and it is Heavenly Father who brought me out on top. i am so grateful. Seriously though, Sister Kanee and i just can't get enough of each other now. We hate doing exchanges with the other sisters because we just love working together. We are both totally different but when we work together...;powerhouse! (I'M still working on my humility ;) haha) but serious like it is so cool to see how far along we have come. We love each other, serve each other all the time, pray together all the time, and just laugh so hard every day. We work so hard and totally just bring both of our personalities into our lessons/when we talk to people, and so many people are receptive knowing that we are still  normal, fun people, but ones that have a message centered on Jesus Christ who can change their lives. I hope it doesn't sound like I am boasting it's just that Sister Kanee and I just can't get over how far we have come as a companionship and are just so excited about the work:) I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!

Sunday, August 11, 2013 is so important because unless the "messenger matches the message", no one will ever listen

This week has been MIRACULOUS! We have found 5 new investigators who are just so awesome, and one of them even has a family we may be able to teach! Vicki is doing so awesome!
I have learned that Companion unity is so vital in missionary work, because without the spirit you LITERALLY cannot teach ANYTHING! Something that really helps mine and Sister Kanee's companionship, is serving each other, and also praying together by our beds, each night and morning (and holding hands, ya, sweet i know...haha). It is something I'm going to do with the rest of my companions for the rest of my mission. As we have love and unity with those we are around everyday, we honestly can see miracles galore! We really do need to love those around us just as the Savior did, regardless of whether or not they love us back . The Savior loved perfectly, and so he expects us to love others as well. Each person means the world to God and Christ and just as it says in the scriptures as well as in our baptismal covenants, they have asked us to help lift and carry one another. We can't make it alone here on earth which is why we need our Father in Heaven, and Savior Jesus Christ, but lets help others around us, lets make their journey a little more enjoyable. I know that when I try to help others and smile more often, my journey is better as well! Try to do something to make someone's week, this week:)

This week was an extremely good one! We went on exchanges Sister Simon came and served in Wanneroo with me:)  We were able to see sooooo many miracles! I know that the reason we saw so many miracles, was because of the strong spirit in our companionship, the diligence and willingness we both had to get out and WORK, as well as our obedience and faith! In just 2 days we found 4 new investigators )and they are AWESOME) and were able to teach heaps of lessons! We got to the house of (now) one of our new investigators, Dawn, a woman from South Africa in her 50's,  just to hear her say that she had been praying for Missionaries to come back to her house. She then told us that she still has a desire to be baptized! As she was telling us this, my spirit just cried with joy:) I can't even imagine how happy it made Heavenly Father! Each time we meet people like this, it rings more and more true to me that the elect really and truly are out there! They are everywhere! They are just waiting for us, and we WILL find them WHEN we do what the Lord has asked of us- I have complete faith and trust in this!
Today Sister Kanee and I did a sisters specialized training meeting on the Christ like Attributes with the sisters in our zone:) and  It went really well! It was something that was super good for me to study as I prepared! Having Christ like attributes is so important because unless the "messenger matches the message" no one will ever listen. Christ was a perfect teacher and it was because he lived what he taught. Being a missionary, and talking to so many random people, I have come to realize how important our examples are. So many non members we talk to, know at least 1 Mormon and it really just motivated me to be even better so that those who know "mormons" have something good to remember them by!
Lastly and quickly, Vicki is amazing! Seriously! We had such a powerful lesson with her this week and she straight up told us how excited she is to be baptized! We were like...ahhhh what the heck, seriously?!?! So we pulled out the calendar and invited her to pick a date,  since last time she said, "too soon" (to the date we chose) and she said....moment of truth..., "I want to buy a house and a cat first"...k seriously...hahahahahahha...we are working with her on helping her see the great importance of baptism, but also that it is not something we have to wait for! When it comes down to it, she realizes how important it is, and life changing, and so she wants her family from China to be sweet, and she really is so ready! She loves the book of Mormon, and loves the gospel, and it is so cool to see her finally have that solid connection with Heavenly Father on her own *(and not through us missionaries, to God). She WILL be baptized soon. were not letting her put this off;) it's to good to wait on the blessings- but please keep her in your prayers! She needs baptism NOW;)

K well i have to go, but i love you so much!   Your emails and pictures, small or big, mean the world to me!xoxoxoxooxoxox
Sister Diondra Ensign
the less active family we have been working with since I came to Australia.....well, they told us this week that they WANT TO BE SEALED IN THE TEMPLE! They have come so far , they literally are 2 different people now, for the better! I just can't help but cry inside, I'm so grateful for how far they have come! much love again@

Monday, August 5, 2013

"The greatest battles you will ever fight will be within the silent chambers of your heart" (-David O. Mckay), it is so true.......

SO I'M STAYING IN WANNEROO (thank the heavens haha) and also staying with Sister Kanee and are both serving as Sister Training Leaders. Yes this means that Sister Beckstrand got transferred and yes that means part of my heart broke! Gosh, she was such an amazing companion and such a hard worker! It was sad to see her leave, but everything happens for a reason;)

This week has been so good! hahahhaha I'm laughing because it was super hard, but soooo good, seriously!! Between yours and Collie's letters and emails, AND OF COURSE talking with Heavenly life was literally changed.   Your advice, love, testimony, along with Nicolles' and her personal experiences helped and lifted me more that you will ever know! Just after I finished reading the things from the 2 of you, i decided to go kneel and talk with God. Lets just say that quite a few tears were shed as i pleaded with God, but it was literally one of those experiences that i am so grateful for as a missionary! The quote,  "The greatest battles you will ever fight will be within the silent chambers of your heart" (-David O. Mckay) is so true, but through prayer I KNOW THAT WE CAN COME OUT ON TOP! We don't have to "wait" to overcome hard times, but rather, if we IMMEDIATELY fall to our knees with real intent and sincerity, we can loose those heavy chains and be lifted up IMMEDIATELY! As i prayed with God my heart was softened tremendously and I felt, almost more than ever, God's sweet mercy and endless love towards me.  I am grateful for a Heavenly Father who doesn't expect us to be perfect (thank you mom for helping me realize this even more) and grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ who made EVERYTHING possible. I have come to realize even more than ever, the reality of the atonement and the cleansing power within it- and that it can literally CHANGE lives. Christ was the ultimate teacher who taught out of pure love and that is something i have done my best to apply this week. I said it last week, but I've realized it even more this week, my real purpose of why i am here...I AM HERE TO BRING OTHERS TO CHRIST! The Gospel is true! Every single part of it! it's simple and it's beautiful!  It is what brings us lasting and eternal happiness, and I will NEVER.EVER.EVER be able to deny these things!

Yesterday at church I felt the spirit almost stronger than I have felt in a really long time! We had an amazing fast and testimony meeting- and Wendy and her kids were there (which was awesome). Afterwards, the spirit so easily carried over as we went into our Gospel Principles's all i can say! Ha, k,  not really but it really was the best Sunday I have ever had! Our mission leader is the most amazing teacher ever, because he teaches purely by the spirit. He does not even say that much, he lets the spirit do it, and that's why his lessons are some of the best ones I have even been in! As he taught about eternal families the spirit was almost stronger than I have ever felt before! Literally like almost everyone in the class, members, less actives, and investigators were just overcome with tears. At one point Wendy turned to Sister Kanee and I and Said, "I haven't cried in 3 year,  I dunno why I'm crying, the tears are just like coming out and I can't help it". k cool is that?!?! My eyes were wet as well, and i couldn't help it ha. We helped Wendy recognize that it was the spirit she was feeling. The power of God was so strong as we discussed eternal families, our loving heavenly father, and how the gospel had changed the lives of many of the members (converts) who were in the class. It was amazing and Wendy is really starting to "get it" more and more each time we teach her. She is still on date to get baptized on the 31st of August, and her 2 children (alex, 14 years old, and Jennifer 11 years old) will most likely be baptized with her!!! I am just so excited for this family:)

Vicki is progressing well, and we are hopefully going to commit her this week to be baptized on the 31st of August! She is stronger than most members, and her prayers are more sincere than any other prayers I have ever heard! This week after our lesson on the Plan of Salvation, we knelt down around her table in her cozy front room, and she prayed (what i love is that we don't even have to ask her to pray any more, she just starts praying when we all kneel down). She offered a beautiful prayer and TRULY talked with God, (how we all should, ya know without using "vain repetitions", but rather speaking from our heart) and as soon as she finished- we sat for just a bit longer and she said, "i feel warm" in her cute Chinese accent! GOD ANSWERS PRAYERS! The power of Prayer is real! He may not speak in words to us, but rather "warm feelings" (as vicki describes;)) and also through peace, comforting, and happy feelings! I love that I no longer have to explain to her what it's like to receive answers from God, but now SHE KNOWS! SHE HAS CONNECTED WITH GOD! 2 months ago she didn't know if God existed, and now she has one of the best relationships with him. Vicki loves the Book of Mormon, she treasures it and can't get enough of it! My heart honestly couldn't be more happy. When i hear her bear testimony of it, my own testimony of it is renewed and strengthened again. Missionary Work is the best, especially when you see that light switch go off in the investigators mind and eyes. The message contained in the gospel is real! if it wasn't, people would not be changing their lives, and having these remarkable spiritual experiences...I love it. i love my Savior and Heavenly Father who do the work in missionary work. It is not us missionaries, all we do is open our mouths with the things we know to be true, and God, Christ and The spirit do the rest, it's the best thing ever!
Well i have to get going, but thank you for everything! Seriously...(my companion says i say seriously all the time..i know i do...agh, shoot) haha, but really I'm so blessed to have an eternal family in the gospel, there is nothing more i would ever.ever.ever want! WE are so lucky and i owe this great blessing to you mom and dad. love you to the moon and back. always and forever, to infinity and beyond. xoxo
Love you so much:)
Sister Ensign
mom you would like this:) Mosiah 28:7
"and the Lord said unto the Ensign's ; let Nicolle and Diondra go up, for many shall believe on their words, and they shall have eternal life; and I will deliver thy daughters out of the hands of the Auzzies and Koreans"
- I hope you like my "likening" of the scriptures;)