Monday, October 15, 2012

The Atonement

The Atonement

Kristen Owens
11:01 AM (1 hour ago)

to me
Hey Family,

How's everyone doing??? How's the weather for you there? This week has been pretty exciting :) we set a date with one of our investigators and he is doing awesome. He is truly prepared for this message. We had a few investigators kinda drop off, but we are hoping to find more this week :) So I totally forgot to tell you the most amazing news! We had Gladys Knight and the Saints United Voices Choir here last week and Sister Mansfield and I got to help out with it. It was amazing! They sang so many beautiful songs! Sister Knight has a BEAUTIFUL voice! Holy Moly! It was incredible. Our members could only come if they brought a non member so it was fun. We had a few investigators there too and they loved it. It was mostly for the African American community and it was incredibly beneficial. They sang a rendition of "I am a child of God" and I want that song so bad! AH! Go buy their CD! You will love it! So something that is awesome that comes from the presentation is people fill out request cards where they will have a gift basket delivered to them of a Book of Mormon, a sample CD, and a Restoration DVD and guess who delivers them? "Ask the Missionaries, they can help you!" Yup, the missionaries do! So we got a few request cards (2 from investigators we are already teaching, and one from a less active member, and one from another person we didn't know). But, we went to deliver it to the lady we didn't know and come to find out her husband was a potential Sister Randall and I found a while back. We pulled up to the house and I told Sister Mansfield, "Hey, that's Benny's house." And she said, "That's where Sara lives!" Ironic--nope! So we gave her the most precious gifts you can give and have an appointment with her tomorrow night! We are super pumped. Gladys and her husband bore their testimonies and shared their stories about how they became members and they were bold about it too! :) some of the members from our ward brought friends and said, "Man, she was bold," I think it kinda shocked some of them. But, that's how it is :) This gospel is true, the church is true, and the Book is true. Who doesn't want truth?!?! I find it so interesting here that many of the Africans we meet have such negative misconceptions about the church. A lot of people think we worship Joseph Smith and stuff. Crazies. We are feeling urgency here in the mission and I have a renewed energy to work even harder. I am not holding anything back this week. I am putting all my laziness on the table. I am consecrating every thought to this work! There is so much to do and more people to find!

This morning I just want to share an experience I had, probably more for my benefit so I can look back at this letter and remember this experience...these are basically my journal entries.  So I have been feeling super overwhelmed, like heavy with who knows what...failure probably.. jk But, honestly I was just feeling low--promise I am doing so much better now thanks to all your prayers and faith :) I decided to sincerely pray and seek guidance and answers to my questions. After I prayed, I was directed to a talk given by Elder Holland about the Atonement. It really was a wake up call. It was exactly what I needed to here. I was overwhelmed with gratitude again for my Savior and realized I had been missing the mark. I had been looking beyond the mark like those silly people in Moses' time who wouldn't look because it was too easy. I had not been focusing on the Atonement like I should have. I had been worried about other things--missionary things--but little things that probably don't really matter in the end. It put things into perspective for me. My whole purpose as a missionary is to help people develop faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repent, be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, and endure. Those first two steps are so crucial--faith in Jesus Christ AND His Atonement, and repentance. How can I expect my investigators to take those first two steps if I myself am not? Why would I expect this work to be easy, when it most definitely wasn't easy for Him? Salvation is not easy. It's quite hard! haha But, it is possible only through the Savior. I love reading in the Book of Mormon of all those scriptures about the Atonement. He truly is the only way, it is only through His grace, merits, and mercy that we can return and receive such joy as we have never experienced before! As I was reminded of this most important event in history, I came to recognize the love that He has for us. When we focus on the Atonement, all other things fall into place. That's my goal this week--think about, ponder, and share the Atonement of Christ. Share of His love and mercy and service. He paid the ultimate price out of His love for each one of His children, even me a small insignificant being. He loves me. And it is because of that love that I am here. I know, without a doubt, my Savior lives. He lives. He loves every person I come in contact with. My Heavenly Father lives and loves them as well. He desires so very badly to see them return to Him again. My heart is seriously so full right now! Ah! This gospel is true! It's true! IT'S true! IT'S TRUE!!! Go and share it with people around you! Pray for missionary opportunities and do it! Something that the families do in our ward is they write down what we call "Family Mission Plans." On those family mission plans they write certain goals they want to accomplish such as "pray for missionary opportunities" "invite a friend over for FHE" "invite a friend to church" "share a Book of Mormon" and other ideas such as reactivation efforts and such. These family mission plans are awesome. I encourage you to make one. Each one of you--Mom and dad, Nate and Cherise, Shea and Nadine, Colton and Megan, Nicole and Craig. Seriously do it--you will be surprised as you write them down and focus on them. The Lord will provide a way to help you in your missionary efforts. Think about why you love the Gospel and why it is so important to you, then seek to share it with someone. But, most importantly, be a good example of service and Christlike living. I know as you write down these family mission plans and missionary efforts, the Lord will use you as His instruments. Will each of you make a family mission plan? ( I'm going to pretend I hear you say "Yes, we will") I promise you as you do this, blessings will come to you in ways you can't imagine. You will have the Spirit more with you and your families will be blessed :) Don't be afraid to open your mouths! Actually, lets make it a goal together--we will open our mouths and talk with everyone about the gospel (I know it's different for you, but seriously, don't be afraid, be sensitive of course, but don't be afraid :) And next week I will follow up with you on your missionary efforts--if you wrote a family mission plan and if you've had any missionary opportunities :) and it doesn't matter if the invitation is turned down by your friends or neighbors, what matters is you extended the invitation :) so keep it up! I love it! Look at me, being a missionary and extending invitations, committing, and I will follow up (its something I am working on doing better here in the mission field).

sorry this is such a random long letter. The weather here is great actually! it's beautiful and I need to take more pictures because the leaves are gorgeous! I'll send some next week! It's pretty warm :) it rained for the first time in a few months last week and it was nice--yes I wore my coat and then I left my coat at a members home... whoops. So now I can't find my black coat, or my bright coat, but I do have my brown coat :) it's nice :) and I will get the other two back asap so no worries :) I struggle with remembering things sometimes.... But, I am planning on buying boots at target this day ("this day?" really?) i mean, today. They will probably be just nice fall boots, nothing heavy duty. Apparently it's not suppose to be super snowy this winter so I don't want to buy boots if it's not going to snow! But, would you mind seeing how much money I have in my account? thanks :)

Also, Sister Wilson is coming to Utah to pick Brother Wilson up at the end of the month so if you would like to send anything with her feel free :) I am trying to think of some things I might need.... maybe another beanie. I bought gloves and I have plenty of scarves..... hmmmm.... would you mind actually sending some CD's with Church music? They have to be hymns. I have been listening to the same Motab CD (Called to Serve) for the past 6 months.... love it, but new music would be nice :) And just send me some of your love :) and faith :) that's all I need ;) Thanks for sending my awesome friends' letters in the mail! I love reading them! They are all so amazing! I am so proud to call them my friends! Britt sounds great! And Em does too! And Heidi sounds like she's ready to take over the world! I love it! And I'm super pumped for Kait and Jay! They are going to be amazing missionaries! Oh my goodness they are! :) maybe they will be lucky enough to get called here :) probably not though... But, we'll see :) I can't wait to here where they will get called!

Thanks family for making me so very happy! I absolutely love you and desire to make you proud! Thanks for all your prayers and love, I would not be able to do it without you! And Happy late birthdays to Cherise, Colby, Grandma, and all the others I'm forgetting! And happy anniversary Nate and Cherise--you're getting old! Just kiddin. But, seriously. Where does time go?

so sometimes I just want to keep typing because I miss you all so much and can just see your faces as you read this....I'm trying to think of something that might throw you off guard but can't really at the moment. actually here is a funny story. A while back Sister M and I were finding and we started talking to this man who was a little tipsy... at first he was fine, but the alcohol really started to set in after a few minutes... he touched my face and stuff because he said, "wow, you are getting sunburned,etc" and it really freaked me out... i believe I wrote about him previously. Well we were stopping by a former investigator who wasn't home so we decided to knock on some doors around the apartment. we knocked on one door and someone said "come in!" (who does that?) and we opened the door and it was him! He was just making kabobs, no big deal. It was the weirdest thing! but, it made for a good story.. Nothing really came of it other than a lighthearted walk down memory lane. maybe he'll read the Book of Mormon we gave him down the road and seek to change his life--who knows! :) But, seriously, I feel as though I've tracted every street here and met every person in this area at least once. it's fun to go to the store and see a person you met previously--they avert their eyes and such :) haha it's really funny. But, I love them all! They are all nice, God fearing people, full of charity :) I couldn't ask to be in a better place here in Minnesota. I am here for a reason and I will do my best to fulfill my purpose. I love you family! Thanks for all you do! Hope all is well! Keep up the good work and keep being awesome! Remember I love you! The work shall go forth and He needs your help to accomplish His purposes! BEEEE PREPARED!

  Sister Owens

p.s. sorry i'm so weird.... i get in these weird moods when I write you emails....
p.s.s. I will pray for Caden this week for sure.

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