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Monday, November 18, 2013

If He could just heal my feet.........

Wow...the atonement is real....................not only does it swallow up our spiritual and inner pains, but our physical ones as well.  

Last p day I was really smart and played soccer on cement, bare footed...after about 2 minutes I thought, "hmmm my feet are a little toasty" so I stepped aside. Well I looked at my feet to find huge blood blisters on both feet, the hot Aussie sun on the cement toasted my feet right up haha, it seriously killed! I literally could like...not even walk; well I could but it was sooo painful. The worst part was, was that we have a car...but this week it had to go into the shops so we would be biking all week...Trying to be tough I tired to just keep going, but I just wanted to cry! Well the next morning during personal study I just thought, seriously Heavenly am I going to do this? I can hardly walk?!?! Well I went into our bedroom, knelt next to my bed and just prayed, and cried, and poured out my heart to Heavenly Father, telling him how badly I wanted to work, but how I was so unsure of how I could do it with my feet. Well I promised God i would talk with everyone he placed in my path and I would try my absolute hardest if he could just heal my feet enough to do so...and then continued on with my personal study...The time came for us to leave the home and start work and I literally FELT THE ATONEMENT TAKING PLACE as I found it sooooo much easier to walk! We got on our bikes and began to work, and I hardly even remembered my feet. That day was incredibly hot, and we had a TON of biking to do, but BOY DID THE MIRACLES SHOWER DOWN OR WHAT?! 

It started when we had a lesson with a less active older lady, and her non member husband. They are welsh, super nice, and the woman has the sweetest, most tender testimony, but her stubborn husband (although he has been taught by missionaries heaps) is unwilling to 'change'. He said to us as we shared our message, "this just really isn't for me"- it was at this point the I could not restrain the spirit, and my mouth was opened as I told him, "Brother Smith, you may not think this is for you; but God knows this is for you and you cannot procrastinate, life is too fragile!" We then shared with him and he needs to prepare now to meet God, and the gospel is the way to prepare. He was left with not much to say. As the spirit moves us to be bold with those we teach, it also moves our mouths to express the deep and endless love that our Father in Heaven has for them! I'm so grateful for the spirit, for the spirit being the teacher, and also for a companion who is so in tune with the spirit- it truly is the spirit who does the converting! Something I was reminded of this week, is that I will not convert 1 person while on my mission...not 1!!!! It is our Heavenly Father who will do 100% of it. As a "teacher" (missionary, parent, Sunday school teacher, friend to someone who is struggling etc.) we each have the responsibility of allowing those we "teach" to feel the spirit, so the Lord can convert them and touch their hearts. That is all we need to do. It will never ever ever be the words we say that change ones heart, that's why the spirit is the most important part.   Anyways after this powerful lesson with the Smith family we continued on and God placed some very, very, very special people in our path, who were ready for the restored gospel. But one of the smallest yet biggest tender mercies came, as we were biking up a huge hill in the heat, when the elders called. The zone leaders said they had a referral for us- it was a woman in her 20's who they had taught and committed to be baptised and SHE IS FROM SOUTH KOREA! At this point in had to stop my bike, and I just prayed and cried and prayed and cried as I thanked Heavenly Father for blessing me way more than I deserved that day! My companion talked to them while I just sat there and let my tears and sweat mix knowing that the atonement is real, and that prayers are heard! I love this work. I love pain- both physical and spiritual and I love knowing that we are never left comfortless. (regarding my feet...soooo much better now so no worries, but it was such a special experience to have and to learn from)
This week was also incredible because our investigating FAMILY of 7 came to church and absolutely loved it! I was trying my best to have faith that they would come, but was a little unsure....But MIRACLES HAPPEN! The kids who have been investigating and coming to church for years will be getting baptised in just 2 weeks, and we will continue working with the parents. They have had a colourful past but are getting things sorted. They will need to be married first and so we have a little road to travel with them, but I know that it will be so worth it in the end. Please keep the parents in your prayers, their names are Justin and Stacey (one is from New Zealand and the other is from Australia)- and they are just beautiful people, I'm so excited for them!  Along with that miracle, we also saw 4 of the less actives we have been teaching, come to church as well. Seeing less actives come back is one of the sweetest thing, because it is not a number we report...which makes it even more meaningful. But it was just a wonderful Sunday yesterday and I was totally overcome with the spirit as we sand the hymn "I Stand all Amazed". I love of the last verse, "I think of his hands pierced and bleeding to pay the debt, such mercy, such love and devotion can I forget? No, no, I will praise and adore at the mercy seat, until at the glorified throne I kneel at his feet.  Oh it is wonderful that he should care for me enough to die for me! oh it is wonderful, wonderful to me".  The Lord is definitely working within the hearts of his children and I feel so grateful to be able to see it.

 Lastly, 2 more of our investigators Akram (50 yr old female) and Yashar (28 yr. male) committed to baptism- they are from Iran and just incredible! We have been teaching them for 2-3 weeks now and they have become our family. They used to be Muslim, but now love Jesus Christ as our Savior, not just a prophet. They have had some incredible experiences that have brought them to this truth, but i want to share one quick one with you. Th 15 yr old boy (Aresh- he will most likely be baptised as well, but he just wasn't at the lesson when we committed Akram and Yashar) was reading the BOM and asking God if it was true...he told us how he wasn't getting an answer, but we told him not to give up! Well the next day Aresh was in a TERRIBLE bike crash and his face was DESTROYED! But as we talked with him afterward, he told us how when he crashed 3 things came to his mind...his family, friends, AND THE BOOK OF MORMON! And for him it was at the point that he knew it was true. He told us, "I don't know why God had to answer my prayer that way, but i know it's true". haha- this family is amazing! They truly feel like family to me, and I am so excited for them to work towards the 14 of December, and then prepare to enter the temple. But if they want to be sealed in the temple, the dad Muhamed needs to be baptised, but he isn't make much progress now, please also keep him in your prayers so their family can enter together, to be sealed for time and all eternity! They truly are such humble people, who are so 'READY' and I feel so blessed to know them.  Miracles are raining over here in Kwinana, and I wish I had time to tell you about all of them! My companion is amazing, so humble and so in tune with the spirit and I have learned so much from her- I feel so blessed to be in the position I am right now:) Ahhh I wish I had more time, but I have to get going! I love you guys. thank you for all your prayers, packages, letters, and emails, you are all wayyyyy to good to me:)
Love always,
Sister Ensign

Monday, November 11, 2013

I am not "great", but I am great to him...................

Oh my glorious!!! It is soooo hot! We stand in the sun for like -5 seconds and I get burned, it's awesome haha! I love it! Finally warm weather...I went from a long winter in America, to a VERY LONG winter here in Australia, so my body is definitely craving the sun;) (hey remember when Nicolle would tell us things her body was craving, like protein haha- gosh I love her so much!)
Yesterday after personal study I went into my bedroom to have my good talk with God (it's my favorite part about personal study, being able to spend the last little bit on my knees talking with Heavenly Father!) and boy was it a tender experience! I was reflecting on myself and realized that I am no "great" person. I am not "known among others", I don't have GREAT talents that others remember me by, I haven't won any great awards, and I'm just not..."great" in the worlds eyes...but that does not matter, and that never will matter! All that matters is our personal relationship with Heavenly Father...NOTHING ELSE! God sees my heart, he sees my efforts, and he sees my sincerity and that's what will bring rewards and blessings. Having that true and sincere relationship with Heavenly Father is what will matter at the last day when we stand before him. The spirit brought these words to my mind, "I am not "great" but I am great to him" !   I love my merciful Heavenly Father, and I love his endless love! He truly does think each of us is pretty great....- how lucky are we!?
This week has been incredible! The Lord has definitely prepared the hearts of the people in this area and there are just so many of them who are ready to "change". We not only were able to find a lot of people who are ready to learn more about our Savior and His gospel, but some really special families! Elder Bunda and his companion gave us a referral earlier this week for a Persian family, and boy are they incredible! We met them and just in this past week, have had very tender experiences with them! While my companion and I shared the restoration, they felt the spirit so strongly then and were even able to explain what they were feeling. They have since come to church, loved it, and been reading the Book of Mormon- so yes a baptismal invitation (which I'm sure they will accept) will come on Tuesday;) I am so excited for this family, and even more excited that they already have a desire to enter the temple and be sealed as a family- they are definitely elect!
Another experience I had this week in personal study, that changed me  was when I studied more about our baptismal covenants, and examples of people in the scriptures who have done anything and everything they could to keep their covenants (seeing we have heaps of less actives). Well while do so the spirit opened my eyes and helped me see even more the importance of covenant keeping as well as enduring to the end. We were able to talk to many less actives this week, about their covenants and shared several examples from the BOM of those who did the same (my favorite example is the Anti-Nephi-Lehi's because I had a really tender experience before my mission at Quest when we were able to reenact this seen on the hillside in the Uintah Mountains) and it has worked MIRACLES! Because the spirit can't help but burn and testify as we read from the scriptures, at the end of the lesson when we invited them to "renew their covenants by partaking of the sacrament" (instead of just "coming to church") they can't help but say yes! The hearts of many less active members were changed this week, and it was the sweetest thing to see several of them (one family specifically) at church yesterday! I know that church...the sacrament, is for US AND GOD! No one else...this is something we have also really tried to help our less actives see this week! I love the sacrament, and have such a deep love for it! I am so grateful that our Savior Jesus Christ gave up his life for this world, for my family, for the people in Baldivis ward, for me, for EVERYONE so that we can be cleansed and healed. I truly "stand all amazed" at the love he offers me!
Last thing, quickly! We went and saw a less active yesterday who looked like the Grinch (on a good day) haha, jk,  but she was not a happy camper. being the mother of 7 kids, she was exhausted to say the least, and was not showing much interest! Well naturally I wanted to give up and just accept the fact that she is "not ready", but then I was gently reminded of my amazing older sister who has endless 'lOVE' for those she teaches...this allowed me to Love this less active, and my companion and I were able to have a really good lesson with her. by the end, her countenance had changed, and within a few hours she had texted us and told us all the things she had read in the BOM. The reason the Savior was a perfect teacher, was because of his endless love and compassion he had for those he taught, and I KNOW that as we truly care and love for those we teach and acquaint ourselves with, their hearts will be touched, and they will have a desire to change!
Sister Ensign

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

....... he was sitting in his chair in the back yard, thinking in his head, "God, where are you?!?!"

OK.....I don't even know where to start!...I have never been so exhausted my whole mission...this is by far the most physically and spiritually draining work,  but I LOVE IT!!! I seriously have never been happier than I have been on my mission! We seriously like run out of houses and dance and hug we are soooo excited with all the miracles Heavenly Father is sending our way! This week with the Lords help, we found 10 new investigators and committed 2 of them to be baptized! The first one we committed, her name is Fiona! While going through the area book we found a "less active" lady who we wanted to see, so we called her set up an appointment, and brought a member with us so go see her a few days later. Come to find out, this "less active" lady, not a member! She met missionaries a while back, and read the Book of Mormon...she loves it, and she knows it's true! We immediately invited her to be baptized (since that's what we are here to do...;)) and she said yes. We have talked to her several times since, and she is so excited for the 23rd! I'm telling you...this work is not is all the Lord! I know he is preparing the hearts of many people right now, but these people just need a little help and a little direction...that's why MISSIONARY WORK IS SOOOOO IMPORTANT!
We are working with HEAPS of less actives, and part member families right now! We have sooo ooo much work to do in this area, but it's just amazing! I wish I had time to tell you about all the lessons this week since they were all sooooo powerful and special, but I only have time to tell you of a few.
We met a man named Benjamin who we found out is less active...well not only less active, but now he is ATHEIST! He is a endowed returned missionary, and was recently released from being the gospel doctrine teacher!......what the heck right?! Well we started talking to him (in the blazing hot sun...I'm telling you it's getting SO HOT hahaha) and after like 15 minutes it was very clear that he was not going anywhere - changing his mind right my companion and I took the opportunity to call him to repentance, and share our testimonies(our job as missionaries;))! We reminded him of the most abominable sin, which is to deny the Holy Ghost and invited him to very closely consider this decision he is now making in his life, to distance himself from God (yes my last companion Sister Kanee taught me to be BOLD  haha). Just after saying that,  we shared with him of the endless love and mercy our Father in Heaven has for him. We were moved to tears as we bore testimony of the reality of our Father in Heaven, and our Savior Jesus Christ. This week in zone conference my testimony increased enormously in this...I came to a better understanding that this truly is the Lord's work and he needs it done. He needs his children back, and the only way that can be accomplished is through repentance and baptism and this is something that needs to be taught to everyone boldly, lovingly, and simply! I love my Savior so much, and I know he is by our side everyday...he is always waiting for us to turn to him. But as we bore testimony to this man Ben, I felt soooo much love for him (thanks for teaching me about "love" Collie;)) and after having said what we needed to, I left feeling so mad at Satan! I hate him! Our testimonies are so fragile and unless we are nourishing them, Satan will take hold of them, and drag us down. We cannot be fence sitters, we need to choose today to feed the flame, nourish our testimonies, and give our will up for the will of our Father.
This week while following up on a former investigator, we met Frets...a sweet man in his 40's from Chile!!!! (when he told us where he was from I used my sweet Spanish to say hello and introduce myself as a Sister missionary...yes you would be proud of my Spanish that I learned in Washington haha). But we had a really good conversation with him...come to find out, his wife had just left, he had lost his car, and some of his children left as well, and life was just not in his favor. He then took the time to explain to us that just seconds before we knocked on his door he said he was sitting in his chair in the back yard, thinking in his head, "God, where are you?!?!" (as he was reflecting on how much he has lost recently, which had led him to being an atheist). As we talked with him he said in his sweet accent, that he thinks it's a sign from God that we just knocked on the door. We told him that he didn't have to tell us that,  and that we knew it was a sign;) and then told him of the endless love and compassion that our Heavenly Father has for him. It ended up being really special and he just couldn't stop saying how much of a miracle it was that we came. My testimony keeps on getting strengthened in the fact that this is God's work.  And when we follow the spirit, we can accomplish what he needs done. So many people this week have told us, "you have no idea how bad I needed this, you came right at the right time!". I can't tell you how sweet these words are to missionaries ears...I love God, and I love that he leads us missionaries to those of his children who need him most at this time. I know that God's timing is perfect, and that if we trust in it, be "patient in our afflictions",  surely the day will come when we will "rest from our labors" and trials.
Australia is amazing! I love it because over here we can be totally REAL with the robotic missionary status...... doesn't work . But as we are obviously obedient, but totally ourselves, the people eat it up. I've come to realize (and not only is this true for missionary work, but our everyday lives) that we are placed in certain peoples paths (and around certain people) for a reason, and we need to lift them. we shouldn't be one who needs others to lift them, but lift is one of our baptismal covenants, don't forget it;)  CHEERSSS!
I have felt the spirit so much this week and haven't been able to keep my eyes dry,  holy cow! I know more than ever that Christ is real. The atonement is powerful, and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints really is Christ's grateful I am for this knowledge! Thank you for all your prayers, please keep them coming. We are now working with more people than  I have my whole mission combined (jk;) but there really are HEAPS) and amazing things are soooo close (like I can't even begin to explain). But now more than ever, my companion and I are trying to have a lot of faith that things will keep going well because right now, things almost just seem to good to be true:)  I love you and hope you have an incredible week! xoxooxox
love Sister Diondra Ensign