Monday, July 14, 2014

Could It Get Any Better?

You're excited about this post title aren't you? Well you should be!
This week was on fire! We saw so many miracles this week, it's unreal.
There are times when missionaries get down and think, "man, why am I
here? I'm tired all the time, people are jerks all the time, it's hot
all the time, and we aren't getting anywhere!" But this week was one
of those that shows us why we are here. I'll tell you all the good
stuff, and insert pictures of good and fun things in between.

First of all, we had like a zillion scheduled lessons, which is super
awesome! Usually, we have a few scheduled ones here and there and then
the rest of our time is spent trying people at random. But this week
was different! We had a scheduled appointment for almost every hour of
every day! Some of them fell through of course, but no worries. God is
just saving the miracles with those people for next week! I can't
really remember the actual order that everything happened in, so I'll
just tell you all the good things that happened in an unorganized
manner. (Sister Guilott? Unorganized? What?!)
"I made egg-in-a-hole with heart shaped cookie cutters!
Just showin my Daddy that I love him!"
We had an online/skype lesson with a friend from home! Okay, so
technically I've never met him in person, but he is a cousin of a
friend! His name is Dylan, and he currently lives in Nevada. I've been
teaching him via Facebook, and we were finally able to have a
legitimate lesson over skype this week for the first time! It was
super great! I love that we are continuing to find ways to utilize the
tools given to us as missionaries. These iPads are awesome! If you
have anybody that you think could use the message we have to share
(and that's everyone, so I WILL be expecting some names and responses
to this), please tell me! I would love to skype them or chat with them
and help them progress towards coming unto Christ! :) Anyway, it was a
really good lesson, and it loved that I had the chance to skype in
order to teach!
"Alaskan Malemutes (or however you spell it)!  I love these dogs!
There was this one time, we were heading to an apartment complex to
try someone, and Sister Duff was like, "Let's walk." I was like.
"A'ight." So she parked somewhere and we got out and started walking.
We picked the WORST time to walk! We were a good 12 blocks away from
our destination, and we chose to walk so we could OYM some peeps on
the street, but the sun was right over us, and NO ONE was outside. I
was sweatin' like Olaf in summer time! It was awful. We felt like
maybe we should turn down a street right before our destination, so we
did. When we got to the end of the street, we met Serena. She was
super sweet and she became a very solid new investigator! Moral of the
story: never doubt promptings of the Spirit. God knows what He's
doing, and sometimes He wants us to walk in skirts in the heat to earn
the reward. But it was quite the miracle!
"I got a SWEET package from my fam bam this week with a bunch of pictures of me
miraculously with them all in New Orleans!  My mom is super creative! I LOVE it!
This other time, we went over to our new investigator Rita's house.
She's the one from Jordan that is Arabic. Anyway, we went over to her
house to give her her Arabic Book of Mormon, and she happened to have
a friend over! Her name is Rosa, and she is from Nazureth, Israel. She
read a bit of the Arabic Book of Mormon, and then demanded that we get
one for her too! We asked her if we could send missionaries her way,
and she said "You better!" So we took down her name, number, and
address, and promised her she'd have a Book of Mormon in no time. We
called in the referral, and now the Elders in Gresham are teaching
her. #Miracles!
"Saturday we had dinner with the Pratt's.  They took us to Hometown Buffet, which is out of our zone...we were panicking a little, but we called the zone leaders and they gave us permission.  Turns out, they had planned to meet up with the Sisters currently serving in Happy Valley!  It was a super fun surprise. :)"
"MTC roomies reunited at a yummy buffet.  What more could ya ask for?"
Okay kids, here's where it gets REALLY good. Buckle up! On Wednesday,
we had an amazing zone meeting where we were trained on a lot of super
good stuff. For the past couple weeks, we have been texting in a
miracle or two to the zone leaders every day, and then they send out a
voicemail to the zone each night telling us all our miracles
collectively as a zone. This week though, they wanted to add
something. They wanted to add how many times we invite people to come
to church and how many times we invite people to be baptized. So we
made an extra effort to invite with real intent and a sincere heart
for these sweet people. After our meeting, we went to an appointment
with a part member couple. They are both in their 80's, and the member
(Helen) is less active. We taught her and her husband Jack, and at the
end of the lesson, we invited Jack to be baptized on a certain date...
It was terrifying. But he said yes! We were stoked.

The next day, we had a lesson with Sylvia. Have I talked about her
before? She is amazing. She's in her late 60's or early 70's I
believe, and her husband is a member. We've been trying to get her to
let us teach her the actual lessons, because she has expressed that
she is going to be baptized eventually, she just "doesn't have time"
right now. Well, she had an interview with the Bishop about a week
ago, and he said the time is now. She agreed, and we were finally able
to teach her the first lesson! There were two other nonmembers there,
and we brought bishop as the member present. It was a great lesson! At
the end, we invited her to be baptized on August 10th, and she agreed!
She then invited the two other nonmembers there to be baptized with
her! They declined, but no worries! They'll come around eventually.
Once you discover the lasting happiness that is this gospel, there's
nothing you want more than to be a part of it forever. We are so
excited!!! That makes 2 more people on date for baptism!

On Sunday, we had a lesson with our 14 year old recent convert and her
mom Jackie. We talked about baptism again, and we decided that Jackie
would be more at ease if she had a goal and plan in mind for baptism.
So we put her on date for November 15th! That's a little far away, but
she was comfortable with that goal in mind, and if she is ready before
then, we will baptize her earlier. Isn't this wonderful? That means
that in a matter of 5 days, we went from having only 1 person on date
for baptism (Richard) to 4!
"A member found these kitties abandoned at his apartment complex,
so he is taking care of them.  Aren't they cute?"
I am just overwhelmed by the many miracles we were able to see this
week. Things have been a bit difficult recently, but God has not left
us in the dark. He will always provide for His children, particularly
when we are doing His work! This week was absolutely wonderful, and I
couldn't have asked for anything better! Now, the hope is that this
upcoming week will be just as wonderful and just as miracle-filled! I
love this work so so much, and I really hope that every single one of
you is looking for ways to share Christ's true and restored Gospel
with those around you. You will see an abundance of blessings as you
strive to do so! Email me, write me, or comment on here some of the
missionary experiences you have had recently. I would love to hear
them! I hope you all have an extraordinary week! I know I will. :) I
love you!

Love Always,

Sister Nicole Guilott

We were both asked to speak in sacrament meeting this Sunday, and so
in case anyone is interested, here is my rough draft of my talk. I
promise it came out a lot better than it is written. This JUST a rough
draft! I was asked to speak on conversion. :)

What is conversion? Growing up, I thought it meant helping someone who
wasn't a member of the church come to a point where they could be and
wanted to be baptized, but I was wrong. It is much much more than
that. So if it doesn't mean just baptism, what does it mean? The
dictionary defines it as, "Cause to change in form, character, or
function." This describes conversion perfectly! Christ wants us to
live our lives in line with the plan of happiness that He has laid
before us, and we can only follow in His way if we first change OUR
ways. That is what conversion is: changing the way we live so that our
will matches with God's will, and doing so out of love, true desire,
and real intent. If we change begrudgingly, are we converted to
Christ? No way. It must be our genuine desire to come unto Christ and
become like Him, and then we must act on that desire in faith before
we can really count ourselves converted. It would be wonderful to have
a desire deep in our hearts to keep the commandments without anyone
constantly reminding us and to have a firm conviction that if we
follow the right path, we will have the blessings promised in the
scriptures. But how do we get there?

As I have studied, I have found a common factor in true conversion --
it comes through gaining a testimony of the Book of Mormon. In Preach
My Gospel chapter 4, there is a suggested activity for missionaries
that invites us to read Moroni chapter 10 in the Book of Mormon, and
then rewrite in our own words what Moroni is inviting everyone to do.
This was my interpretation:

"I would exhort you that you should read the Book of Mormon! That you
should recognize and remember how merciful The Lord has been. After
you have read it and pondered it for yourself, pray and ask God if it
is true. I promise you that He will answer you through the power of
the Holy Ghost. Everything good is of Christ, so if you feel good,
that is your answer. Have faith and don't deny the power of God, nor
the gifts of God, for everything is done by the same God as yesterday,
tomorrow, and forever. Teach the words of wisdom, knowledge, faith,
gifts of healing, miracles, prophecy, angels, tongues, and that they
are gifts of Christ. Remember faith, hope and charity! Come unto
Christ! Follow, and be perfected in Him!"

Reading, pondering, and praying about the Book of Mormon are critical
for an enduring conversion. Those who begin reading the Book of Mormon
for the first time take important steps toward coming to know that
Joseph Smith is a prophet of God and that the true Church has been
restored to the earth. Moroni's promise is incredible! It is so simple
too: read the Book of Mormon and pray about whether or not it is true.
If you have a real desire to know, and faith that God will answer you,
you WILL receive an answer through the testifying power of the Holy
Ghost. The Holy Ghost is so much more than I ever realized. As soon as
someone is able to realize the role of the Holy Ghost and recognize it
in their lives, they will surely be converted to Christ! The power of
the Holy Ghost can be felt by anyone before baptism, but the GIFT of
it is what is received through baptism -- the constant companionship
of the Holy Spirit and comforter.

So what about those that have not yet been baptized by the proper
authority and received the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost?
There are those that haven't found this happiness and the fullness of
the gospel simply because they know not where to find it. But YOU do.
You know where to find it. You have it! As part of your baptismal
covenant, you promise God that you will serve Him and be as Christlike
as you can. Christ was a teacher. He did all He could to share His
gospel with everyone He came in contact with. Which leaves you with
the same responsibility. Joshua 24:15 says it perfectly: "Choose you
this day whom ye will serve; … but as for me and my house, we will
serve the Lord.” Joshua’s declaration demonstrates true conversion to
the gospel. For Joshua and all of us, conversion to gospel principles
comes through righteously living the principles of the gospel and
being true to our covenants with the Lord. And in turn, sharing those
gospel principles with others. This work is so important! It is truly
the war for the salvation of souls! These are our brothers and sisters
that we are surrounded by every day, and most of them simply don't
know about the gospel and the happiness that awaits them if they
choose to follow it's principles and come unto Christ.

The plan of salvation is God's true plan for us to be eternally happy.
He has provided us with steps to take to make sure we are able to
return to live with Him again someday. In this past April General
Conference, Richard G. Scott spoke of the example Christ gave us, and
the importance of sharing the gospel. He said, "When you focus your
life on the basic principles of the plan of salvation, you will better
concentrate on sharing what you know because you understand the
eternal importance of the ordinances of the gospel. You will share
what you know in a way that encourages your friends to want to be
strengthened spiritually. You will help your loved ones want to commit
to obey all of His commandments and take upon themselves the name of
Jesus Christ."

Remember, loving them is the powerful foundation for influencing those
you want to help. In chapter 4 of Preach My Gospel, there is another
activity for us missionaries to try out. It has us search the
scriptures, and come up with a list of things that WE need in order to
help someone become truly converted to Christ, and a list of things
THEY need to feel in order to be converted to Christ. 2 Nephi 4:16-35
gives us this list: they must feel sorrow for their sins, love of god,
faith in god, the Holy Spirit, a desire to be rid of their sins and
truly change their hearts, a love for God and a desire to rejoice in
Him, and a desire to follow Christ forever.

Sorrow for sins is something that we all need to feel in order to be
truly converted to Christ, because that leads to utilizing the
Atonement of Jesus Christ and true repentance. The Apostle Paul taught
that “godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation … but the sorrow of
the world worketh death.” Godly sorrow inspires change and hope
through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Worldly sorrow pulls us down,
extinguishes hope, and persuades us to give in to further temptation.
Godly sorrow leads to conversion and a change of heart. It causes us
to hate sin and love goodness. It encourages us to stand up and walk
in the light of Christ’s love. True repentance is about
transformation. And transformation is change, which is part of our
original definition of conversion.

(Here I was prompted to talk about Enos and Alma the younger and their
examples of true conversion)

We can't convert someone past our own conversion. Lehi teaches this
perfectly when talking about the dream he had about the tree of life.
In 1 Nephi 8:11-12, he says, "11 And it came to pass that I did go
forth and partake of the fruit thereof; and I beheld that it was most
sweet, above all that I ever before tasted. Yea, and I beheld that the
fruit thereof was white, to exceed all the whiteness that I had ever
seen. And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with
exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my
family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirable
above all other fruit." Once Lehi knew just how glorious and wonderful
the fruit of the tree of life tasted, or in other words, how
phenomenal eternal life in the presence of our Heavenly Father will be
the first thing he wanted to do was share it with his family! That is
what it takes for us to be able to help others become converted to
Christ: True conversion yourself to the fullness of the gospel,
followed by a true and sincere desire for your brothers and sisters to
partake of it's goodness as well. Do we all have such a burning desire
to share the miracle of this Gospel with our brothers and sisters?
Mosiah 28:1-4 teaches us that the idea that even one soul should
suffer should sicken you, giving you a determination to bring
salvation to as many people as possible. Relieving them of their sins,
sorrows and guilt, and bringing them to the knowledge of an eternal
happiness that God has laid out for each of us.

All we need is a true love of Christ. When Christ asked Peter, "lovest
thou me?" And Peter assured Him he loved Him, Christ responded with,
"feed my sheep." Once we are truly converted to our Lord and Savior,
our Brother Jesus Christ, and we have a genuine love for Him, we will
do what He asks of us, which is simply to "feed His sheep." We must
anchor our lives in Jesus Christ, showing our love for Him by doing
what He has asked of us -- sharing His light and His love with others,
bringing them the eternal happiness of His restored Gospel on the
earth. That is, feeding His sheep.

I know that what Bishop Dean M. Davies said in the April 2013 General
Conference is true. Which is, that "by anchoring our lives to Jesus
Christ and to His Atonement and by carefully following His plans for
our happiness, including daily prayer, daily scripture study, and
weekly partaking of the sacrament, we will be strengthened, we will
experience real personal growth and a lasting conversion" for
ourselves and a greater understanding of the importance of helping
others to become truly converted as well.

I testify to you, that as we concentrate on our own conversion to
Christ, we will be able to better understand the importance of sharing
His gospel with others. I know that this work is incredibly important,
and I know that it helps me with my own personal conversion, as well
as the critical work of others lasting conversion.

(I then bore more testimony, and closed in the name of Jesus Christ.)

1 comment:

Delanie Doyle said...

Ahhhh. I love you so much. I had this super cool missionary experience on my flight home from London! Remind me to tell you about it later. :) Be excited!!!!