Tuesday, October 22, 2013
So...the Lord feels my time here in Wanneroo, after 6 months, is up. I'm officially being transfered to Kwinana, with Sister L.........( I can't pronounce her last name yet, but she is from Samoa and I am so excited!). We will be in a biking area and summer is right on it's way, so it will be a fun adventure! With all that said, I am absolutely heart broken to leave my companion....Heavenly Father has helped me feel ok about leaving this area, because I truly feel like I've accomplished what he needed me to, and I feel like I've tried my best...but as for my companion...ahhh....we already had a good cry this morning, and neither of us cry very often, haha. It is going to be great to get to have the opportunity to love a new companion, but I know for sure that Sister Kanee will always be my "sister"...I don't even want to say much after that, cause I know I'm just going to cry. But you seriously have no idea how much the two of us have grown...we have learned HEAPS from each other and I will be eternally grateful for her!
Anyways, on the bright side- Karim and Parvonay are set to be baptised this week and President has given me permission to come back up for their baptism, which will be really great I am so excited for them! This week has been really, really good with them! They have been sooooo faithful to the Lord's commandments we teach them about! Karim has already finished the Book of Mormon 2x and he loves it, he knows it is true! Karim has so willingly gave up many bad habits, just so he can have the gospel and our Savior in his life more fully! Example#1- He was smoking a lot, we taught him about the word of wisdom, and he so willingly said he would stop...He then used nicotine patches for a couple of days, and hasn't had one since...he is amazing! Example #2 - Him and Parvonay have grown up having 4 cups of tea per day, and were addicted to it (get headaches if they don't drink it), when we told them that they can't get baptised if they drink it they said, "ok, I will not have any more" and that is that. They are so willing to do what the Lord needs them to, and they are just such great examples to me of children of God who give up their will for the will of the Father. Example #3 - We taught them about the Law of tithing (keep in mind they moved from Iran just a few months ago, and are currently just getting very little money from the government). Just after we taught them and committed them to start paying after they are baptized, Karim said so sweetly, "It's ok. We will pay now." (in his sweet broken English). They are AMAZING, and I KNOW that they will be blessed so much for their faithfulness. It has helped me reflect on my own willingness to do whatever the Lord has asked...do I do it as easily (with no complaints) like Parvonay and Karim because I know it will bless me?! I sure hope so, but they truly are such special people!
This week has been really, really spiritual for me. I have felt the spirit more powerfully this week, than…I don’t know. I think I always say that, but the spirit continually gets stronger and stronger and I am just so grateful for that! I have had some really good talks with my Father in Heaven as I have pleaded with him to rescue a few specific children of his (as I was hurting for them)...and wow...the power of prayer is REAL! I prayed with all the energy of my soul, and I have never felt "the plan of redemption" work as "immediate" as it did that night ...I know Christ can take away ANY of our pains, big or small. The minute we pray on bended knee, the Lord HEARS our cries, and will answer us and "WILL NOT LEAVE US COMFORTLESS". The atonement is real, and my testimony was strengthened in it even more this week!
Well cool story...so we met Parvonay and Karim because we prayed about where to go, and ended up in their little complex, and met their nephew Aryan! (arie-ahn). He is 13 yr. old and has grown up here in Australia, and is just awesome! Well, we started out teaching him, and his mom (Mandana), and then Parvonay and Karim came into the picture and Mandad and Aryn kind of slipped out (by their choice). Well last night we found out that Aryan's dad in Iran had died and their whole family was just broken! Well cool thing was, earlier that morning we had planned to teach them the plan of salvation. As we were able to teach this REAL, and absolutely gorgeous plan that God has for us, they were all in tears! (Time out: This week I have come to love the plan of salvation EVEN MORE- and many times while studying and sharing what I learned with my companion, was not even able to hold my emotions back, and just cried to my companion. I know it is the true plan that God DOES have for us and that our journey here on earth really is not the end!) - Time in: Well as we taught this lesson to this family who had just lost their dad, my love for it grew even more and the spirit was just so strong. Well, after explaining to them the importance of following Christ in our everyday decisions (while here on earth) Aryan and Mandana straight up asked if they could be baptized with Karim and Parvonay on Saturday! hahahaha We were like, "yes of course you can be baptized, but we need to teach you a little more because this really is a very big step!" Ahhh.... it was just beautiful, and now, out of this family, 4 of them will be baptised members:) What a beautiful thing this will be! Mandana and Aryan are going to be baptised on the 16th of November, so hopefully I'll be able to come back up for that as well because I think that Karim is going to baptise them:)
The last thing I want to share with you, is how grateful I am for the knowledge I have that I am literally, a ”daughter of god”! We are teaching a lady named Jane who is in her late 50's. When we first met her she was NOT INTERESTED at all, but (the Aussies probably hate me for it, but I am very persistent) we were not going to let her shut the door right away! She wouldn't take a pamphlet, nor a picture of Christ at first, but as we shared A LITTLE more with her about the Plan of Salvation she was hooked, and ended up taking a plan of salvation pamphlet. Then she wasn't going to let us come back but we offered her service......she accepted, we went back, had a lesson, she came to general conference, we had another lesson and now we are roping her in ;) haha She had no idea what was in store for her! jk...but seriously. She is awesome and this week we were able to introduce to her the concept that we are truly "daughters of God". She LOVED this and totally ate it up! She has struggled with loving herself and she said that this knowledge brought so much peace and reassurance to her. We are helping lead her to the truth she once knew, and this will be a beautiful journey for her! I reckon she will be baptised next month, she doesn't know it yet, but with the spirit working this hard on her, it has to be done;)
We currently have 30 ish investigators and so we are staying sooo busy! The key we have to finding so many new investigators is we TALK WITH EVERYONE! Every time we go on exchanges with the Sisters, they always laugh at me because we will be driving down the street, and then I randomly slam on my brakes and say, "we need to go talk to them", or "We need to go knock on that door" haha. Ya, it's funny, and I'm sure we look ridiculous, but our message is worth it! It's more important than the songs people are listening to in their headphones, or their "evening walk" they are on...any of that...it is the most important thing and we cannot pass up an opportunity to share it with someone! A goal of mine is to not be an elevator missionary...one who finds someone, works really, really hard on them and only them, and helps them gets baptized, and then has to start over again with finding someone...but rather an escalator missionary who is constantly putting people on this journey towards baptism...God needs all his children back, and working with many of them is a true blessing and something I'm so grateful he has entrusted my companion and I with. I am so grateful that my Heavenly Father has allowed me to work with many of his children here in Wanneroo....I have learned so much from the members, less actives, and non members we have worked with! Miracles are showering all around and I was only able to scrape the surface today! I hope you know that I love this work, I love my Father in Heaven, who has changed and softened the hearts of many people here in this part of the world, and I am eternally grateful for the people God puts in our lives, to learn from...I love being a missionary, and it sure is a "great day to be a missionary in Western Australia" haha ;) Have an awesome week, CHEERS!
Sister Diondra Ensign
Monday, October 14, 2013
K......talk about the best conference ever!!! This whole week, as I've had to wait in anticipation for it, i literally felt like a giddy little child waiting for Christmas, no lie! As i listened to conference, my testimony was strengthened heaps in the fact that Heavenly Father really has shown us that he loves us so much, by calling a modern day prophet and apostles! Their words truly were his words and were not only answers to prayers and questions I had personally, but also for like EVERYONE we are teaching! We truly are so blessed to have General Conference! We were able to have a few investigators there which was really good, and them along with Brian (our recent convert) were very moved by the messages given, the spirit was so strong and I know that Heavenly Father is sooo aware of us!
PARVONAY AND KARIM ARE GETTING BAPTISED ON THE 26TH!!! How amazing is that?!? This week we went over to talk to them about the book of Mormon, and they told us that they know it is true! They know the church is true, and they love it! During this time they had been looking for a house, and finally after the committed to baptism they were able to get a house the next day! God is blessing them for their righteous desires and actions, as he will for each of us as we do the same! Please continue to keep them in your prayers:)
This week was really really really good one. For a lot of different reasons. We had a lot of little miracles but probably the best part about my week (aside from Parvonay and karim committing to baptism!!!) was when Marc Lambert (the less active man I've been telling you about) called us Tuesday night. He reported how his meeting with bishop went! He sounded so excited the minute we answered, and he went on to tell us that HE IS GOING THROUGH THE TEMPLE ON NOVEMEMBER 16TH TO RECEIVE HIS ENDOWMENTS! He has been progressing little by little in the past 6 months, but the light switch just went off and now he is on fire! He prays and reads everyday, he has a calling, and is even a ward missionary now! Sister Kanee and I have permission to go with him through the temple on the 16th of next month and I seriously cannot wait!!! He couldn't help but just thank us missionaries after telling us about his great news, but really I know it was NOT us! The lord is the one who has truly softened his heart, and helped him see the bigger picture and it is just the most beautiful thing! I'm so excited for him to make more covenants with our Heavenly Father in the House of the Lord!
Last thing, was this week we taught a family of 6 (another answer to a prayer- I had been praying for my companion and I to find a family to teach...sure enough...prayers answered;)) and as I looked at them, and their wide eyes concerning the things we were saying...I realized again that the most important place to learn, is in the home and ESPECIALLY as a family! This week while reading in the bible dictionary about temples, I read that the second most sacred place (temple being the first) is the home. This is sooo true! As I looked at this family I couldn't help but feel so much excitement from my Heavenly Father that families are what need to come together in today's world. They need to be strong. and not just "strong" alone, but strong in the gospel. I know that Having the Savior AND HIS ATONEMENT at the center of the things taught and lived in the home, is most important. This family is coming along well, and 2 of the kids have already received a witness that the book of Mormon and the message we share is true! The lord is definitely working through the "rising generation" to convert the rest of his children, it's a beautiful thing to see.
Update on Rowena...she is down to one cigarette a day and is doing awesome! She loved conference, and she loves the Book of Mormon...she is getting close to committing to baptism...but is still waiting for an answer from God that she needs to be baptised again (she was baptised as a baby) so please keep her in your prayers as well. There is so much potential in our area right now, and our sweet ward mission leader and bishop prayed about a number goal for baptisms to reach, until the year ends...and came to the conclusion that Heavenly Father needs 20 of his children (in our ward) baptised before the end of the year! This is HUGE!!! Our whole mission aims for 25 per month, but with nooooo doubt, as we exercise our faith and work our hardest, this goal can be met! We have already started to see so many miracles, with 2 girls now, telling us that they are ready to be baptised (members friends). Gordon B. Hinckley said that the day would come (in western Australia) that non members would be coming to the missionaries looking for the truth...we have already seen this begin to happen in our zone and in our companionship. I have never seen the work hasten so quickly...it's kind of scary haha. Our Saviors coming is nigh...we need to be ready. We need to repent NOW. There really is not time to procrastinate. As we declare repentance to our investigators, I literally feel as if it's not me moving my mouth...it is the most surreal thing...but I know that "this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God" (Alma 34:32)...we truly cannot put off repenting any longer. We have the free gift of the atonement waiting to be used...don't take it for granted. I have felt the power of the atonement in all things, both big and small...I testify it truly swallows up our pains. As I bore testimony of this yesterday, one of our less active lady's flipped at me for saying that; but I cannot deny it... the power of the atonement is real. it is powerful, and it is the means for CHANGING!
This week i had a lot of little tender mercies when my eyes were opened even more, to how much Dad has done for us! Lets just say, when I'm home I'm going to help dad with ANYTHING he asks, WHENEVER he asks...He has done so much for us kids and it's all been done purely out of love...dad, you are such a good example to me. There are a lot of missionaries who struggle with talking to people...they are scared of rejection. Many of my companions, and even the sisters in our zone right now struggle with that, but I feel soooo grateful for you as my dad because through your example/the things I've watched you do growing up...I LOVE TALKING WITH PEOPLE! I can probably count on one hand the number of times, I've felt intimidated to go talk to people...dad...your the best. I owe this gift to you! I also thought back to the time when Hunts and I were pulling the weeds in the massive garden, (feeling like we had been there 293847298374 hours...beginning to feel tired, and just being a girl ;) ) and I began to cry. As I told Hunter how nervous I was to move out for college. Well Hunts was the perfect example of Jesus Christ, because rather than telling me to toughen up...he listened to me. He told me that he loved me and that everything was going to be ok! I will never forget that experience:) The Savior (just how hunter demonstrated) is here to listen to us no matter what we've done...I've learned that we are NEVER "unworthy" to pray...if we feel like that, it's Satan telling us that...Satan is the one who teaches us not to pray. I know that Heavenly Father and the Savior will always listen, and send comfort, which is all possible through the beautiful atonement Christ made. I also thought back to a funny experience with Sammy, when her and I were sitting in her room and I would tease her by saying, "if you can get out of the room without my tagging you, I'll buy you ice cream." And then I would stand in front of the door making it totally impossible for her to ever "win the ice cream". I was such a stink Sammy...I'm sorry haha. Thanks for being such a good sport though, you have definitely brought heaps of smiles and laughs into my life. I am also grateful for your strong spirituality...if more children were like you...the whole world would be a different place. I hope you are always making sure to recognize the spirit and the little miracles in your life that bring you closer to Heavenly Father. Be sure to thank him each time you feel the spirit, or feel him help you- it is very important that we acknowledge him and his hand in our life. Then mum, as I listened to conference and heard several talks on the importance of having Mother's IN THE HOME to raise their children, I couldn't help but just feel so much gratitude for you doing this while bring us kids up. Not only did you always cook us beautiful meals, sing to us at night, take us to the park to play, and endless other things...but you told us about our Savior, Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father and the things that they have asked us to do. And even better than that, you lived the things you taught. Having a mother in the home truly is not a common thing anymore, and I'm just grateful that I had you and dad to follow the council of our leaders by putting your family first. Yesterday my companion leaned over to me in conference, and said, "You're parents form their lives around you kids ,didn't they?" I humbly said, "yes, they did". She hasn't had this growing up and hearing and seeing her family life has truly made me so grateful for mine! My companion has literally become my best friend. I can't even begin to explain how close we have grown. She will be an eternal friend of mine. I can't wait to tell you all about her one day, and all the things we've been through...you're in for a treat. But I have learned more from her than I have anyone else while being in the mission. She is one of the best examples in my life, of being truly converted to the gospel, the work, and our Heavenly Father. With transfers being next week...and considering I've been here for 6 months...we will probably get separated and I will leave the area...but I'm just so grateful for all that I have learned!
This week in my interview I was able to account to president on the area, my companion, the sincerity of my prayers, my testimony and many other things...like wise I know we will account to the Savior one day, of all our thoughts, actions, and desires as well. This is something I've really come to understand, and as a result it pushes me to try my best each day. I love you and hope you know how much I pray and fast for you! As my family, next to the Savior, you motivate me and truly have played a role here in the work in Western Australia!
Sister Diondra Ensign
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
I am grateful for the transformation I see in others and myself as we each make Christ the center of our lives.
K...I'm like already crying just thinking about how miraculous this week has been! The temple on Wednesday....speechless...we sat in the temple, and AS SOON as the temple video started playing I just cried...and cried...there is absolutely nothing like the literal house of the Lord. I feel so close to my Father in Heaven, and Savior Jesus Christ when I am there, and I am so grateful for that piece of Heaven here on earth! This week i have gained a stronger testimony than ever, that GOD LIVES! JESUS CHRIST LIVES! I feel like i say this over and over, but it is just becoming more and more real each time! I love this gospel, and in the end, it is what will save us when we stand before our maker!
Yesterday us missionaries helped out in Sharing time for primary, and just before we walked in the sweet, humble, and innocent children were singing "If the Savior stood beside me"...gosh, that song is just beautiful, and especially when it's coming from little children! But i was sweetly reminded that each action, thought and word, needs to be pure enough to do/say in front of the Savior, because He truly is standing beside us every second of the day!!! Along with that, his brothers and sisters (that he gave his life for) are right beside us as well, so I have made a stronger commitment, to treat them (ALL OF THEM) how the Savior word, in both deed and thought. "inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."
Ok, now for the humbling experience I have been so excited to share with you! So if you remember last week, me telling you about the Iranian couple, Parvonay (wife) and Karim (husband) ,probably in their 30's, who said they had prayed for help from God, and the next day we knocked on their door...Well this week we were able to teach them twice, and they came to watch a baptism some other missionaries had....Oh.my.goodness! amazing! So before I explain the last lesson we had with them, I want to tell you about another Iranian, who is a recent convert, his name is Ben and he is in his late 20's. Ben is pretty much converting all of the Iranians here in Western Australia...no joke! Like everyone around here knows about him. He has become us missionaries best friend when it comes to teaching the Iranians because he is able to help translate. And the cool part is, is he recognizes that his ability to translate is from God, considering he only came here 6 months ago, and so has just recently learned English. He has the most sincere testimony, especially on the Book of Mormon, but also is sooo REAL, hilarious, and is definitely one of Heavenly Father's elect sons! Ok...so Ben helped us out with the lesson this week and it.was.unreal!!!! We were teaching the Restoration to Karim and Parvonay at the chapel, with our sweet recent convert Brian present in the lesson, haha love him more and more each week! The spirit was just so incredibly thick! When reciting Joseph Smith's first vision, Sister Kanee and I did not slow down for translation because we just figured, would let them FEEL the spirit.. As soon as we finished we waited for Ben to start translating...and he just sat there and then finally said, "I don't want to talk...it feels to nice" haha. Just as he started explaining it to him, they began to talk instead and told him that they were feeling SOMETHING good, happy, and special!!! Well, Karim then continued to talk to Ben in Farsee...and kept talking....and talking...and pointing to me as well...?...and talking... and I started getting a little nervous thinking maybe he had a concern...Well, Ben then translated back to us that they ,Karim and Parvonay, knew that what we had shared was true! And that this IS the true church! And that ever since they had come to our church they have felt that this is what they and their family need, and that this is what God needs them to do! Ben then shared an experience that Karim had just 3 months back, while in Iran. He had had a dream...and Sister Ensign was in his dream:) He saw me and knew that I had something he and his family needed......As he shared this with me I couldn't help but just cry! God truly has prepared his children, and placed me...in this area, for specific people. Working with them I have also learned even more of the importance of teaching by the spirit. When they come to church, and when we teach simple lessons (without Ben), they can understand very little, but always express how they feel so "good" inside when we do! The Lord truly is in the work, and is preparing his children ,from all parts of the world to enter his kingdom, by receiving the restored gospel into their lives! Parvonay and Karim will most likely be baptised on the 26th, so please continue to keep them in your prayers!
Another miracle, we have been working SO HARD with a less active named Marc ever since I've come here to Australia (6 months), and yesterday....He has been progressing soooo much this whole time, by reading and praying daily, studying his patriarchal blessing, and preparing to go to them temple (spiritually) and constantly surrounding himself with good members, but had not come to church...it was so killer! Well yesterday we saw a beautiful miracle when we saw MARC AT CHURCH!!!! I just wanted to cry and cry, and I can't even imagine how happy it made our Heavenly Father! Well after church while eating, we get a call from Marc and this is what he said! "Hey sisters, I just wanted to thank you for being so persistent in getting me back to church! Today was really good, and I really enjoyed it and it just feels good to be back!". Sister Kanee and I just were speechless, hearing those words meant to world to me and I was so thankful that God helped him break through that last barrier, I have no doubt he will be able to enter the temple, and receive his endowments in no time! How great is our God for working mighty miracles within the hearts of his children! We have been working a lot with less actives and it's just the sweetest thing to see them back in the chapel, renewing their covenants with Heavenly Father.
Yesterday in fast and testimony meeting, Malad (11 yr) and Blessing (12 yr) [recent converts] bore the most beautiful testimonies! I seriously am blown away with them, and the whole ward was as well. Malad bore testimony on the power of the Book of Mormon, and how much it has helped them. Blessing talked about how after going to so many different churches growing up, she is so glad that she has finally found the one an only true one. She loves that our church actually teaches more about Jesus Christ ,where many of the other ones didn't do that so much. She sweetly shared her conversion story, and mentioned on how the night she met us missionaries at her family party , she noticed a glow about us missionaries and knew that we had something she needed!
I'm so grateful for the people God has allowed my companions and I to work with here in Wanneroo, and my life has been forever changed by them. I am grateful for the transformation I see in others and myself, as we each make Christ the center of our lives. I love changing, and love it, because it is evidence of the reality of the atonement. I love you, each one of you. I mean that, ok?! ok! xoxoxooxoxoxoox
Sister Diondra Ensign
mother- this week while reading in the new testament...i came across the best scripture! Go look it up, it's Genesis 31:49. Background for this scripture, this is when Lavan is upset with Jacob because he has secretly left (because the Lord commanded him to) with Laban's daughter's (his wife's), which made Laban mad. So they make a covenant of peace and this verse is what they say in/after the covenant of peace. I hope it makes you smile just like it did for me:) love you!