Monday, February 1, 2016

"For I know these words aren't mine"

Hey mom, dad, and sis! 

I just wanted to send you a copy of the talk that I gave in church yesterday. I have never been so inspired in my life. The topic of choice came on Saturday evening and the words just flowed. The whole time I was writing, I just kept saying "Thank you, thank you. For I know that these words are not mine." 
Every word was inspired and the topic of choice fit perfectly into our Gospel Principles lesson and quite a few members came up to tell me that it was meant for them. It was definitely a cool experience to be speaking to a ward that has never heard me speak before! I thrived off that opportunity! It was so fun! Talking in front of people is something that brings me great joy! Writing is definitely my outlet from the world and the Lord is my guide. I know it is a strength that I have been blessed with and I will be given many opportunities to use it on my mission, which is the coolest!

Anywho, enjoy!

[Note to the Reader, I have included a copy of her talk at the end of todays blog entry]

Dear people that I love so much, 

 I hope you all had a good week! We had quite a few interesting experiences this week! No, there aren't any new biking accidents, but it was a good one! :) On Monday evening, we found ourselves knocking on a door 3 times before a man came to the door. When he answered, he sounded quite abrupt when he asked who we were. He was kind of deaf, so we had to say "Missionaries from the..." 3 times. Following the third time, there was a pause and he lunged forward and exclaimed "Oh no! You get out of here before I choke you! How dare you disturb my evening! Get off my doorstep before I choke you! Get out of here!" Mercy.  Have never been so terrified in my life. Literally scared the greenie spirit right out of me! We went to the next door on the street and received the prompting to go home instead of knocking the door. As we came around the corner, we ended up seeing a recent convert who reminded us of the goodness in the world. She was definitely our tender mercy! 
Me with my sad looking umbrella after the storm.

 Tuesday, on the way to a dinner appointment, a winter storm the size of China swept right over the whole of Wales! The wind totally demolished my umbrella and soaked us straight to our bones! It was pretty miserable, but we couldn't help but laugh because it was so bad! 
We made chocolate crinkle cookies at the bishops last night and Abigail made them with us! She has the voice of an angel. So much fun!

 Wednesday came and so did the follow-up trainers meeting! We hopped on a train at 6am and didn't get home until 6pm! And I must say, I absolutely love riding the train! I just feel so metro and ssmmmooottthhh. Hahah man. I don't really know, it's probably just the fact that we don't have to ride our bikes anywhere, but I love it nonetheless. :) The meeting was great and President and Sister Leppard are genuinely the greatest people I have ever met. Their training was about having faith in times of strife. It was extremely encouraging! I was also able to see the day 1 crew and our family from the MTC. Ahhh, it was a breath of fresh air and so good to see everyone. Seeing Sister Belnap was just wonderful as well! 
The best family in all of Wales! The Williams/Schuck family makes Caerphilly feel like home! :)

 On Sunday, I was asked to talk and it was such a cool opportunity to speak in front of people who have never heard me speak before! Just a really cool experience for me. While preparing my talk on Saturday evening, I have never received such incredible revelation about what to speak on. I knew I was being lead and guided to prepare in the ways that I did, which was extremely reassuring! The topic I spoke on was that of CHOICE. How we were given a call in heaven to come to earth and this is our mission, an earthly mission. We all have a divine purpose and reason for being here. And while we are here, we have to make choices each day that will either bring us closer to our Father in Heaven or further away. It was great and I learned so much through preparing! 


Richard! He is a recent convert and we love teaching him!
Anthony came to church on Sunday and is so ready to be baptised on Saturday! I feel extremely spoiled to be having a baptism so quickly on my mission, but I know that it is all because of the Lord and we are just stewards in this great work. He is so prepared and the ward is great with him! I cannot wait to brag all about him next Monday because he really is so great! Miracles are real and they happen daily! If you open your eyes a little wider, you will be able to see God's hand in everything! 

After church, we were able to spend time with the ward and enjoy our time together. This ward treats us like we're one of their own and I really am feeling like home here! (: This work is something that brings me so much joy and I am learning so much! I am so grateful to be here and to be in the midst of so many wonderful people. I don't know what I did to receive these incredible people in my life, but I know I am richly blessed. Thank you for all of your support, love, and prayers! Your words do so much for me.

My brothers and sisters, CHOOSE joy. CHOOSE to be an example of the believers. CHOOSE to live each day as the Savior would. Be strong. Fight the good fight. And hold to the rod! God is oh SO good!

I love you and I love this work! 
Talk to you soon (:

Sister Sydney Jones
Sister Scherf and I with Sophia who is going to California next week!

Explanation of pictures: 
The day 1 crew! Sister Belnap, Elder Ofasi, and Elder Turnbow

Sacrament Talk January 31, 2016
- Good morning brothers and sisters. I am greatly honoured to be speaking today with the Williams family and for Sophia. 
- I was in her shoes only two short months ago and I remember having all the same feelings/worries. 
- This time is so very precious. Just before you embark on a monumental adventure and your trying to capture every single special moment with family and friends. I remember this time being particularly hard for my mom and I.
- It's hard to let your baby go to the other side of the world. But you know that this time will be one of so much growth and dedicated service to the Lord.
- I look at Sophia and I wonder how she got so darn prepared because I definitely missed that boat, but regardless, I know she will work many miracles because of her faith in Christ and obedience to God.
My talk today is focused on choice how it relates to our mission here on earth.
- Let's start from the beginning. The very beginning.
- ***Please close your eyes***
- Once upon a time, we were all in the spirit world, with our wonderful families and friends, doing whatever spirits do in heaven.
- While there, we made the choice to follow God, so we awaited our calls to come to earth. 
- An angel comes to you and hands you a letter. As you open it, you are filled with great anticipation and excitement! Just as Sophia was before she received her call.
- You begin to read "Dear Sister/Brother, You have been called to earth in a special time and to a special land. You may or may not be born into the true church. You will be born into a land of plenty, in a land of freedom. You will be born in Wales, America, South Africa, Holland, whatever the case may be."
- Filled with excitement and ready to begin the journey. 
- ***Open your eyes***
WELCOME TO EARTH! (Arms stretched out wide) YOU MADE IT!
- When we received our calls, we thankfully accepted and made the choice to come here to experience miracles, growth, and complete joy. 
- But upon beginning our journey, we also knew we would have to deal with unimaginable heartaches, sicknesses, and turmoil.
-       Yet, we still CHOSE to come.
- Just as Sophia and many of you have made the choice to serve missions, you knew that it would be a time of hardship but also that you would experience joy beyond anything you could imagine. 
- You are here, in this chosen land, on a mission. You were called at a specific time and to a specific place and to a specific family. 
- You all have a divine purpose, you all have a mission to complete. Isn't that so cool to think about?! 
- When we got to earth, we were immediately given the gift of agency. We were then free to make choices, according to the will and intent of our hearts. 
- As we grew, we learned to make choices; good and bad ones. 
-      One choice of a friend of mine, in particular, was that of stealing a cookie out of her Great-grandma's cookie jar, when she was 7. This friend remembers distinctively walking by that cookie jar a good 5 times before she decided to make her move. She grabbed the step stool from the cupboard and placed it down gently, hoping grandma wouldn't wake. As she stepped up, she remembered thinking, "Should I really do this?" And the answer came quickly to her head, "Probably not" BUT the answer that came to her stomach was a little louder saying "Feeeeedddddd me!" 
-       As she reached far across the counter to pull the top off the cookie jar, her foot slipped; dragging the whole glass cookie jar with her to the floor. She remembers wincing from the pain of the fall, but more from the scream that came from her sweet sleeping granny in the other room. 
- From this experience, she learned, very well, what the difference was between a bad choice and a good choice. And of the quiet prompting she received right before she chose to steal a cookie from Grandma's cookie jar. 
- That day, her Grandma taught her about the importance of the Atonement. She said, "When we do things that we aren't supposed to, we feel icky inside, don't we?" "Well, this is why we have the Atonement to get rid of that icky feeling." 
- From that day forward, she told herself that she would never do anything again that would make her feel icky inside, ***didn't work too well***
- Thank heavens for our Savior Jesus Christ who knew we would make these mistakes and granted us the opportunity to be clean again through baptism. 
- Coincidentally, just a few weeks later, she chose to be baptised and become a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. 
- Just as Jarom did last Sunday and Anthony will get to do this Saturday
- Soon enough, Sophia will be extending that chance to her brothers and sisters in California. And once that invitation is extended, they will have the opportunity to chose to be baptised, just as many of you have, and to experience the joy that this Gospel brings.
- After baptism, we must choose to use the Atonement daily to become clean again, through repentance and having a true and sincere desire to come closer to our Father in Heaven. 
- As we continue on our journey here on earth, we learn of the many decisions we have to make that will bring us back to our Heavenly Father. Many of these choices are simple, but are hard to make because of the visions of the world. 
- Let me give you a few examples of these decisions. 
1. Chose to follow God and the example of His son Jesus Christ.
2. Chose to use the Atonement to become clean each week with the sacrament.
3. Chose to to be an example of the believers at all times and in all things and in all places that you may be in.
4. And finally, CHOOSE joy! 😀.
-     In 2 Nephi 2:25 it says that "men are that they might have joy." 
We are literally here on earth to experience joy! Isn't that neat? Sometimes are easier than others to feel true joy, especially when you have those days of overwhelming stress and nothing seems to go your way, it can be quite difficult to find the joy in your day.
- In missionary work, we often have those terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days where doors are slamming constantly, appointments fall through, and no one wants to hear a word you have to say. On these days, if we don't choose joy, it can lead to destruction. 
- So for these hard days, I challenge you to dig a little deeper for that ounce of optimism and chose to find joy in the little things. Ponder on this thought as I read the poem called "Finding Gratitude in all Things".

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