California Fresno Mission May 2013 to November 2014

Friday, June 21, 2013

4th MTC Email

I can't believe I've been here for a month!

I have seen some friends from Colorado:  Sister Briana Barkdull, Elder Craig Eves, and Elder Andrew Krueger.

This week Fabian agreed to be baptized! Then the next lesson he was very depressed. He felt hopeless, overwhelmed and felt like he had no self-worth. Hermana Stoeltzing and my hearts just broke! He has such a good heart, but he is so hard on himself because he is such a perfectionist. Then we had the opportunity to talk to Hermano Wells (he is one of their teachers) and explained what we thought Fabian was feeling. He was stunned by how much we were able to understand about Fabian. He said that feeling that much for a practice investigator and being able to understand them and how they are feeling is a wonderful trait.

On Sunday night we had a devotional by Elder Stephen B. Allen-- (one of the church leaders in Utah) this time he gave the talk he had originally prepared. He used clips from the Homefront commercials.  these are some messages sometimes seen on TV)  Here is what I learned:
1. "When everything says you can't, believe in the part of you that says you can!    --essential for our missions and our lives
2. "It's not who you aren't, it's who you are. And being who you are is part of being great!"  --Focus on who YOU are
3."Sometimes the most important thing you can share is yourself" 
4."Give of your time"   --give all your time to your family, the Gospel, and the Lord
5."It's often life's small moments that bring the greatest memories."  --listen to the Holy Ghost in the small moments--that it super important!
6."The people in your heart can't see inside your heart, you need to let them know it everday!  --let your family, investigators, and companions know you love them!
7. "It's not who you aren't it's who you are. Being different is being great!"   --The Lord called YOU! He needs You! Trust in Him!
8. "Whatever you do in life, just do your best!"  -Finish the race you have started! You can make a real SPLASH just by giving it your all when you serve your mission.
On Monday night we bonded with the new hermanas. (New Sisters who have just entered the Missionary Training Center) It was very fun to meet new people! What a wonderful opportunity the MTC gives us!

On Tuesday we taught in the TRC (Teaching Resource Center). To those who are attending BYU, go volunteer at TRC! It is wonderful! The missionaries love teaching there! It is such great practice for the field! When I get home, I want to go volunteer there!

On Tuesday night Elder Gay of the 70 ( one of the church leaders in Utah) spoke. He came with no specific prepared message--he taught by the Spirit! Some of the things I learned were:
1. What is the power you have as missionaries? You have the power to astonish this world!
2. The Savior is your real companion in this work!
3. Any blessing you receive comes through obedience
4. D&C 50:13-14----what missionaries are called and ordained to do
5. Missionary work at the end of the day is Revelatory work! Through faith we can receive revelation on what we can do to hasten the work. We need to follow the spirit and do all things He tells us to do even if it doesn't make sense. Missionary work is all about revelation!
6. With revelation, the more you act upon it, the more you will receive.
7. The Lord gathers, but He reveals how to go about His work through the Spirit.
8. Missionaries have 2 responsibilites--Listen to the Spirit, and listen to the investigator.
9. Baptism brings the powers of heaven in to your life and your family's life.

On Monday we had the opportunity to teach our companions. We both taught each other about Grace and putting all of our faith and trust in God. It was a wonderful experience!

I'm so glad that the fires in Colorado are becoming more contained! You are all in my prayers.  I know this work is the work of God! I know this Gospel is true! I know the Grace of God is sufficient for all men! Yo se que el Evangelio es verdadero. Yo se que Dios nos ama. Yo se que nuestras familias podemos vivir para siempre.

Te amo mucho!  Hermana Anne VanWie
Here is a picture of all the missionaries in our district and zone. (a term for organizational units of missionaries)



Thursday, June 13, 2013

Third MTC Email

Querida Amigos--
All is well here at el CCM.
We have a new investigator! Her name is Eliana. She lost her husband a few years ago in a car accident. She is such a sweet spirit! She is pretty receptive to our message and right now we are trying to help her understand the Plan of Salvation and baptism right now. How we love her! I hope and pray that our lesson goes well tomorrow and that she will feel and understand what will be most helpful to her.
We are continuing to teach Fabian. I love teaching him too! He is so sad and has so little hope about life, but as he has learned about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we are beginning to see a light of hope in his eyes.
This gospel is so amazing! It gives meaning to and a purpose to life! It helps us answer those important questions of "Who Am I? Where did I come from? and Where am I going?"
This week I learned to be flexible--just because we have a lesson planned does not mean we will/should teach it that day. Sometimes going a completely different route is much better. That doesn't mean don't plan--it just means plan as best you can and allow your plans to be changed and  follow the Lord's plan for you and for the investigator. I also learned it is much more beneficial to keep it simple, teach from the heart, and LISTEN! Listening is so important!
The weeks seem to be flying by. I can't believe I've been here 3 weeks!
On Sunday Sister Anne Clegg taught Relief Society. She is on the General Relief Society Board. (Sister Clegg is a womens' leader in the church in Salt Lake City) She taught us 3 things we need to know before we leave the MTC: 1. Know your purpose, 2. Be bold, and 3. Expect miracles. Then for the Fireside that night Brother Richard I. Heaton (another church leader) taught us about not worrying about what to say--we need to rely on the Spirit.

On Tuesday, we had the FIRST EVER missionary devotional at BYU's Marriott Center! (Usually the missionaries just meet at the Missionary Training Center but there are so many of them, that they changed the venue. The Missionary Training Center is located just up the street from the BYU Campus) We all got to walk over and have choir practice and then have a devotional there.
Elder Mervyn B. Arnold of the Seventy spoke. (Elder Arnold is a Church leader in Salt Lake City.) 
Over half of the MTC was in the choir--over 2000 missionaries in the choir! We sang a neat arrangement of "Called to Serve." (It sounded a lot like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Version.) What an amazing Spirit was there!
Elder Arnold then talked about 5 things we can do to be successful missionaries: 1. Understand who you are, 2. Each of your has been given specific gifts and talents, 3. Understand the sacredness of your call and what you covenanted to do when you accepted your call, 4. Understand and observe the law of the Gospel, and 5. Understand your purpose.
What a blessing to be here at this time and to experience the hastening of the work!
How grateful I am to be serving the Lord! I know this is the Lord's work. I know The Book of Mormon is the word of God! I know that God loves us and blesses us when we are striving to follow Him. I know that the Gospel blesses families!
I love you all so much! I hope you all have a wonderful week! Se amo mucho!
Hermana VanWie

This is a picture of Anne and her companera (companion) Hermana Stoelzing


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Second MTC Email

This week has been wonderful! We taught M again this week. Our district is now doing HSI(Hablar su idioma) or Speak Your Language all the time. This means that we speak in Spanish all the time and every lunch we speak only in Spanish. It is helping us improve.
We received a new investigator (someone who is looking into the church) this week--Fabian. He is from Lima, Peru and is very confused about life and what his purpose is. We had a first lesson with him on Monday and a had planned a (what we thought was) lesson plan. But then he started talking to us. When he started talking, we knew we had to go in an entirely different direction. So through the guidance of the Spirit, we taught him an entirely new lesson and pulled in bits and pieces of the old lesson. It was amazing to me that my companion and I were able to stay on the same train of thought the entire time without conversing. That is one of the workings of the Spirit. We shared the First Vision with him in Joseph Smith's own words. What  a fantastic spirit comes when the First Vision is recited! (in Spanish)
Yesterday we had our first day teaching in the TRC which is when we teach members. We had no lesson plan, but we taught them about the Restoration, and becoming more yoked to Christ. I can't wait to teach there again! We have to completely rely on the Spirit and on the Lord for help. We are limited in the language and knowledge about the people we are teaching, but with God's help we are able to help them learn and feel of the Spirit and be taught by the Spirit. Each time we sang a hymn in these lessons the Spirit testified of the truthfulness of the doctrine in the hymn. Hymns and the Spirit are invaluable teaching aids! We sang If the Savior Stood Beside Me and Joseph Smith's First Prayer. The help that it gives us to feel of the Spirit is incredible. That is why they have us sing in church!
Yesterday was also our last lesson with Manuela.--we were "transferred" I will miss her sweet spirit! We now have an investigator named Eliana. We teach her tomorrow
The fireside Sunday night was by Brother Ted Gibbons--he spoke and acted as Willard Richards and bore testimony of the prophet Joseph. Then we were able to watch the movie Legacy. It was a pretty great day!
On Tuesday the devotional was with Elder Tad R. Callister (one of the church leaders)  He spoke on how the New Testament is a blueprint of the church and how our church fits the ENTIRE blueprint. When I have a chance, I will send you the notes I took from his talk.
This week I learned many things, but one of the main ones was that as we as missionaries(and as members) come closer to Christ and to the investigator(and our friends), the investigator by default will become closer to Christ( the distance becomes smaller)
I know that God loves us! I know that He hears and answers our prayers. I know that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ and that through him the fullness of the gospel was restored. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that we have a living prophet today, President Thomas S. Monson. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know that when we live by its teachings we can be truly happy!
I love this work! I love you all so much!
Hermana VanWie

First MTC email

Estoy excellente y muy entusiasmada de ser en el CCM(MTC)! (translation -- I am excellent and very enthusiastic to be in the MTC)
This week has been a wonderful week! While I was very sad to leave you all, I am so exctied to be serving the Lord and learning how to teach the Gospel in the Spanish Language.
My companera (companion) is Hermana Stoeltzing. She is from Sacramento, CA and is going to be serving in Colorado Denver South Mission --so we are just kind of switching states. (I have some pictures of us and the district that I will send next P-day when I have a camera cord). We get along very well. The other companionship we share a room with is Hermana Johnson and Hermana Guzy. They are going to the California Fresno Mission too and are also wonderful! Our district has 4 companionships--2 sister companionships and 2 elders: Elders Palmer and Kane and Elders Brown and Davis. We are still getting to know them, but we all work well together and are patient with one another. Our teachers (Hermana Sherwood and Hermano Wells) are fantastic! They never speak English unless they ask permission first(which is hardly ever). I am pleasantly surprised at how much I can understand. Occassionally(at least once a day), I slip into Portugese or some French, but everyday is getting better. I can now pray and bear my testimony completely in Spanish.
We taught our first lesson on Friday. It was entirely in Spanish! We are teaching a woman named Manuela (it is actually our teacher acting as un investigador-- someone who is investigating or looking into the church). She is so sweet and loves her family so much. She had a child in the hospital in a coma and was very worried about that. We have taught her 4 times (completely in Spanish) since then--Friday, Saturday, Monday, and Tuesday.We teach her again tomorrow and are hoping to do it competely without notes! During these 4 lessons we taught her about the love that God has for all of His children, the Holy Ghost, Prayer, Faith in Jesus Christ, The Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith and the Restoration, the Atonement, Repentance, the Priesthood, and Families being together forever. During each lesson we sing a song about the topic that we are teaching about. Hymns always bring such a wonderful spirit into the lesson!

During our lesson on prayer, we had her pray at the end. In that lesson the Spirit was so strong! When she prayed, I was overwhelmed with the Spirit--like I was receiving a huge hug. This is why we are doing missionary work--to bring others closer to Christ and to help them feel of God's love for them and allow them to experience the feelings of the Spirit. We challenged her to be baptized that same day. She said she would! On Monday, we set a date for her baptism--it helps her and us to be focused on her goal--to follow the Savior's example and be baptized by the proper Priesthood authority. She said that she would be baptized on the 22nd of June. We are so excited for her!
On Sunday we were able to listen to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Broadcast of Music and the Spoken word--it was amazing! It was celebrating Memorial Day! Then we had Relief Society (a church meeting for adult women) with all the Sisters. There are 1,254 sister missionaries here right now! AMAZING! We all sang the new version of "As Sisters in Zion" by Janice Kapp Perry together. It was so wonderful to feel the spirit that entered the room when we sang about sisters enlisting in the army of Helaman (a prophet in the Book of Mormon). Please go read the lyrics! They are truly inspired! (see below)
That night we had a devotional with Elder Stephen B. Allen--Managing Director of the missionary department. He had come prepared with a talk, but said that when he came into the room he was inspired to change topics.It was amazing to see him teach completely by the Spirit. During part of his talk he had all of the missionaries sing with a recording of the Tabernacle Choir singing "Come, Come Ye Saints." (lyrics below) Wow! How powerful! There was barely a dry eye in the room. He explained to us that this hymn was a missionary anthem. He then explained that as we watched Sister Monson's Funeral afterwards that we should try to feel joy--joy for her wonderful life and joy that she has returned home to her Heavenly Father and that she is preparing a heavenly home for her and President Monson. What a wonderful perspective! I am so grateful for the knowledge to know that families can be together forever! Elder Allen also said that "All is Well!" because the most difficult part that anyone can ever play has already been done by the Savior.
I know that we have a loving Heavenly Father and Elder Brother, Jesus Christ. I know that the power of the Holy Ghost is real and that the Holy Ghost can touch our hearts and testify of truth. I know that Jospeh Smith was a prophet of God and that Thomas S. Monson is called of God and is the prophet and leads and guides our church today. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that it teaches us the doctrines of Christ that we need to know to be able to return back to Him again. I know that my Redeemer lives! I know that He suffered and died for us so that we can return to live with Him and our Heavenly Father again! "Oh sweet, what joy this sentence gives, I know that my Redeemer Lives!"
I hope you all have a wonderful week!
Hermana VanWie
Here are the lyrics of "The Sisters of Zion" and "Come, Come Ye Saints" and "I Know that My Redeemer Lives" that Anne refers to in her email. Music is such a part of her!
The sisters of Zion are called to God's labor,
We willingly serve Him with spirit and might.
We go to the nations with truth everlasting,
We teach of the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ.

We thank thee, O God, for a prophet to guide us,
We trust in his words and our purpose is clear.
The angels of heaven are walking beside us,
We'll share our glad message with all who will hear.

We go forth enlisted with Helaman's Army
In numbers much greater than ever before.
With power and spirit we'll faithfully witness
The heavens have spoken and truth is restored!
Come, Come Ye Saints
1. Come, come, ye Saints, no toil nor labor fear;
But with joy wend your way.
Though hard to you this journey may appear,
Grace shall be as your day.
'Tis better far for us to strive
Our useless cares from us to drive;
Do this, and joy your hearts will swell—
All is well! All is well!
I Know that My Redeemer Lives
He lives! All glory to his name!
He lives, my Savior, still the same.
Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives:
"I know that my Redeemer lives!"