Monday, July 30, 2012

Sister Randall is getting "trunky" and Sister Owens is getting "chunky"!

Kristen Owens
10:49 AM (1 hour ago)

to me
Dear Mi Familia,

Sister Randall said, "I'M NOT TRUNKY!" :) She really isn't though. I just thought it was a clever title :) the part about me getting chunky is true though...I think I am a stress eater...oops.

The battle is great here.  The summer heat is always...lovely. Time is really flying by so quickly.  Sister Randall leaves in two weeks and I will be getting a new companion and leading the area which stresses me clear out of my mind. But, President says the new companion will be great so it all works out! :) Minnesota has been such a neat experience.  The Lord really is blessing us with people to teach and lessons and many blessings.  For the first time since being here in Minnesota Sister Randall and I reached our goals and the standard of excellence for our mission. It was such a sweet feeling! Looking back on when we first arrived in the area and had no one to teach and absolutely nothing to now, it's so crazy! The Lord has provided so many things for us as we have striven to be obedient and diligent and consecrated.  We are teaching a lot more, and we have people interested and set for baptisms.  They are progressing and it is so great to see the change the gospel has and the effects of it on their lives.   I love testifying of blessings that come from living the gospel.  The Lord is so willing to bless us for our obedience and love.  And I love living more like my Savior every day.  I know it is only by living like Him that we truly come to know Him.  I have found a lot more weaknesses and shortcomings in myself than I ever imagined possible.  I would be helpless if I didn't have a Savior who knows what and who I am and how to help me.  He has literally walked in every single one of our shoes to know how He can help us overcome the effects of sin, mistakes, pains, illnesses, trials, you name it.  He is my elder brother, my Savior, my friend. 

Satan is working over time on our investigators as they get nearer to baptism.  We just have to work extra as well. Pray a little harder, listen a little harder, be a little more obedient and diligent.  There are always people spreading anti about our church and it drives me crazy.  So many people say "Oh, I know all about your church" and "you believe this and this.." and it's never true but they won't let you even say two words back.  However, the Lord is preparing hearts everywhere for us to teach and we have come into contact with the sweetest people.  The West Africans here are amazing.  They are very spiritual people and have a love for the Lord and a desire to serve Him.  They are so fun to teach and I love listening to them talk! They have many spiritual experiences.  They have lived so many hard lives with war and despair, but yet they know in whom they trust who is God.  We've had to warn all of our investigators about anti-mormon stuff because it's everywhere and people are vicious.  But, it just proves to me how true this work is.  All we want to do is help people come closer to Christ and help them receive all the blessings He has in store for them including living with your family forever.  I love this work.  You all motivate me to be a better person and missionary.  And mom and dad, I am so far from being perfect it's insane. It's almost overwhelming how far we still have to go.  But, He doesn't expect perfection, He expects immediate progress.

We had a zone meeting last week and it was neat to hear President Clements train us on how to love.  He shared experiences from His mission and how he used to be very inverted and shy, but the Lord helped him overcome that shyness and he said he learned to love. Love really is what it is all about.  Having charity is something I've been trying to work on.  It's so hard sometimes! There are so many things to think about as a missionary yet it really comes down to your love for the Savior, Heavenly Father, and others.  These people here need what we have.  Everyone needs the gospel.  I just want everyone to understand the love He has for them!

We taught the mom and her son this week and it was so cool.  The spirit was very strong in the lesson and the son even cried for the first time! He was so cute! We moved their baptism date up to the 18th of August right after Sister Randall heads out which they are sad about.  We just love them so much! The members of the ward are great and have helped a lot with the people we are teaching.  This week was hard but so rewarding! The area is blossoming and it's fun to witness it! we are working on replenishing our teaching pool because pretty much by August 18th our investigators will be baptized! Keep praying for me, I really do feel your prayers.  I'm humbled at being a representative of the Lord, but as I am striving to do my best and really work and look outward, He has blessed me with a greater peace of mind and love for the people here.  There is so much work to do!

Sometimes I can't believe I'm actually on a mission. I really wake up sometimes and think "I'm a missionary???" And it's going by so fast. But, in answer to your question mom, I think the greatest change I have seen is the softening of my heart and my ability to look outward.  I've learned I'm pretty selfish and prideful.  Leaning on the Savior and His Atonement to help change my heart and striving consistently to live what I know to be true has increased my faith and love for those around me.  I still have a loooonnnnggg way to go, but oh how grateful I am for the Atonement and the opportunity to be refined and polished a little bit more.  I love you so much and miss you like crazy! Seriously though.  But, thanks for all your support and prayers--they make a big difference. I can't imagine living life without you family.  It's one of the greatest blessings He has given us to help us along this path.  Keep up the good work! :) I'm doing my best and I will try a little harder to be a little better this week! The people here are great! And always so nice! You meet such different people from all over the world! We started teaching a couple from Sierra Leone and they are awesome! we had a baptism in our ward for a sister the Elders were teaching and it was neat to experience the feelings of the spirit as she was baptized and confirmed a member.  I can't wait for the 11th because three of the people we are teaching will be baptized! :) whoo!

I hope all is well at home :) and thanks for emailing britt's and em's letters they sound like they are doing great! :) I miss them! I even cried a little reading them haha don't judge.  Tell the family to write me letters whether it's emails or hand written please! I want updates!


   Sister Owens

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