Sunday, September 29, 2013
OH, HAPPY WEEK! Mercedes Davis entered the waters of baptism! She was so ready and so excited! The night before her baptism, we all knelt down to pray and she said it because that's tradition. In her prayer, as she was telling Heavenly Father how excited and ready she was, she had tears in her eyes. It was such a tender moment! It was such a great service and so many members of our ward came! From day one, Mercedes always said she wanted to sing at her baptism. So, Sis. Rackham, Emily, Hannah, Mercedes and I sang "Nearer My God to Thee" a Capella and it actually sounded pretty good.
At the end of the service, Mercedes was invited to go up and bear her testimony. She shared her conversion story, about how she was born into a home where both of her parents were Baptist preachers, but that the spirit in the home was always so "cold"( how she described it). She talked about moving in with the Emmett's (the family in our ward) about a year and a half ago and immediately feeling such a strong spirit there and feeling so loved. She was so funny, she said she got in an argument with one of her friends the other day when she told him she was getting baptized and he said, "You know you're black, right?" and she was like, so.....then he said, "Black people aren't Mormon, they're Baptist!" She said she had never gotten so worked up about defending something before like she did then. It was cute! On a more serious note though, she ended her testimony with a few lines that just touched my heart.
"My whole life has been a testimony." (not really sure what that means, but it sounded cool!)
" The things I've wanted have changed into the things I need."
"I've found what I've been looking for and I don't have to search anymore."
"I hope, no, I know, my testimony will keep growing stronger."
Isn't she so awesome?! Anyway, after we went over to the Emmett's for a barbecue with them and some people from our ward and it was so great! It's the closest thing that's felt like Family Dinner in a long time. This ward seriously feels like our ward at home and I love it!
Another wonderful thing that happened this week, is that we found out Lisa Burch has quit smoking! :) I guess it's been about a month since she's quit, she just never told us! But, we were oh so happy! This week we talked to the Burchs about the Plan of Salvation, focusing heavily on the importance of the temple, but before we could even talk about the temple, Lisa brought it up. We were talking about the spirit world and Lisa started talking about how it is there that people wait for their ordinances to be done. She started to list the ordinances and then looked at John when she said sealing. I know she wants this so bad! They have seriously progressed so much. I wish you guys could see it! Like, I know Sister Rackham and I will be going to their sealing one day. We invited them to go to Stake Conference last week and they actually committed to coming. THIS WAS HUGE! They haven't been to church in at least 15 years. We knew they'd feel more comfortable in Stake Conference because then the ward wouldn't surround them and make a project out of them. It was the perfect baby step they needed and then, guess what, they didn't come because the stupid toilet guy could only come during the conference. I know it sounds like an excuse, but I think this one was kinda legit because they were really sad they couldn't make it and Sister Rackham and I were devastated to say the least. But, looking on the bright side, they are progressing! YAY!
Well, I love you guys mucho and can't wait for you to get here to meet all these people I keep talking about! Someday soon, but until then, let's keep enjoying this precious time! I only get to be Christ's representative (with a name tag at least) for such a short time, but I am so grateful for this opportunity. My testimony of the truthfulness of this gospel has grown so very much. I know that only through living the gospel can we find full joy and happiness. We are so blessed! LOVE YOU! XOXOXO
2. The Book of Mormon Book Club after the baptism. The two girls on the left are leaving on missions soon. How cute is Mercedes in her modest dress! She went and bought it that morning because she wanted to wear something modest!
September 17, 2013
I wish I could say that I had a million funny stories like Ashy's past week, but I feel like most of my crazy stories have ceased to happen since I left Kaw River. I mean, there definitely still are moments when Sister Rackham and I look at each other and are both just thinking, "I cannot believe we are here. This is so awkward.", but that's just the life of a missionary. There are some days when I miss Kaw River, like yesterday when I took a family through the jail that were in my last ward, but then at the same time, I love being in a ward that is more stable and functioning. I have really gotten to experience the best of both worlds so far! I'm so blessed!
So, as for notable things that happen this week...... We started teaching a lady named Leslie. I don't know if I told you about her last week, but we met her last week and since then we've had two lessons with her. Actually, the way we met her was pretty funny. We received a referral from a family in our ward and they told us that a lot of other families in the ward also knew this family. They told us they lived across the street from the Jones (another family that lives in our ward). So, Sister Rackham and I went to the house across the street from the Jones and asked if they were the Knuths and Leslie said, "No, but my husband does." We were a little confused, but started asking her if she knew the families in our ward that had referred her. She had no idea who any of them were but we kept going and eventually got a return appointment. At the very end of the conversation, we realized there were canoes outside their house. She thought we had asked if they canoed and that's why she said her husband does. HAHA Oh well, we got a new investigator out of the mix-up. I'm actually always really tempted to just knock on doors and ask if random people are there because it's always less awkward and breaks the ice, but Sister Rackham reminds me that that would be dishonest. I love that girl! So anyway, our lessons with Leslie have been great! She's very prepared and has been reading the Book of Mormon so were excited.
We met with the Burchs again this week and watched the Joseph Smith movie at the jail. They both loved it and afterward we talked about them coming back to church. We asked John if he had prayed about it and he said he still hasn't. We asked him if he hadn't because he was afraid that Heavenly Father was going to give him an answer that he didn't want, and he said yes. They know they need to come back and it is only a matter of time. Sister Rackham and I just want that time to speed up! We want to see these two get to the temple! They truly are making progress though and when they haven't seen us in almost a week they always say it feels like something is missing. Love them!
Oh also, it was the 50th Anniversary of the dedication of the jail this past Sunday! We didn't do anything huge to celebrate because were waiting for next month when Elder Ballard (yes, a member of the 12 :D) is going to come and speak! Were also going to have Alex Baugh and Susan Black (remember how I took a class about J.S. history from her) come and give lectures on the history here since they're professional. It's going to be so fun! So, on Sunday we decided to all come back to the jail at 9 and sing some hymns. Oh, what an incredible experience! We sang Praise to the Man and I was completely in tears. The spirit was so powerful. I seriously felt like the prophet was there in spirit to hear us sing to him. I have never felt the spirit confirm to me that Joseph was a prophet of God like I did on Sunday night. I will forever be grateful for his willing sacrifice to do all that our Heavenly Father asked him to do while here in this mortal life. Praise to the man who communed with Jehovah!
I love you all so much! I am seriously the luckiest missionary ever! You are all so supportive and I can feel your love just a few miles away! LOVE YOU! XOXOXO
con mucho amor,
We decided to dress up like the elders. Just missing the ties :)
Monday, September 16, 2013
September 10, 2013
HELLO MY BEAUTIFUL FAMILIA!
So, this email probably won't be as long as others because we don't have too much time on the computers today. We spent a lot of the day in Kansas City so there just aren't enough hours in the day to do everything! Today was a lot of fun though. We went with one of the Senior Couples that serves with us at the jail. I don't know if I've told you about them. They're the Stevenson's and they're so wonderful! This was our 3rd field trip together. Today we went to the Federal Reserve Bank, Union Station, and a WWI Museum. So although I definitely don't have as many cool things to do and see here as Ashy does, we're still finding ways to have fun on P-days.
Well, I guess I'll just start off with the sad news of the week. We got a text on Wednesday from AJ telling us that his dad will not let him get baptized. :( We were heartbroken and there really isn't much we can do because without that permission, he can't.
On a brighter note though, Mercedes is progressing really well! She is feeling so great for her baptism on September 21st! She kinda reminds me of Ashy in some ways. She's hilarious, obsessed with Rihanna, and just a people person! Funny story of the week about her..... So on Sunday, I guess one of the girls in the ward was telling her that converts have the strongest testimonies and how lucky she was that she was going to be a convert. Mercedes turned to her and said, "I'm offended, don't you dare call me a convert." She was telling us this story later that day and we think she was confusing the word convert with convict. haha We told her what it meant and she was like, oh gosh, I feel so dumb, I need to go apologize to that girl. Another Mercedes story this week..... On Sunday we went to the Independence Visitor Center and when we walked in, one of the sisters greeted us and we introduced Mercedes and told them that she was going to get baptized on September 21st. Then Mercedes said, "Yep, I'm getting baptized on the day that the angel Moroni first visited Joseph Smith." Sister Rackham and I both looked at each other and were thinking, "WHAT, who is this girl?" She then told us she was reading in the introduction of the Book of Mormon and found that date. This girl is so cool! She has been so prepared and is so ready! It has been so neat to get to be on this journey with her. I just love thinking about how she has her whole life in front of her and what a blessing it will be for her to now have the gospel. I cannot wait for you guys to meet her!
Well, I love you guys mucho! I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve the Lord! This is His greatest work! I know with all my heart that this is Christ's church, restored again on the earth. WE ARE BEYOND BLESSED! Count your blessings! LOVE YOU! XOXOXO
Con Mucho Amor,
3. On the STEPS at the jail with my beautiful hermana =)
4. We went to the VC in Independence on Sunday. It was such a great experience for Mercedes!
5. This is Mercedes Davis and she's getting baptized on September 21st! Can I just tell you, I love this girl so much! She is such a hoot!
Monday, September 9, 2013
Sept. 3, 2013
Another week has come and gone. My goodness, time is flying. I was reminded yesterday, by Sister Rackham, that I hit 8 months in the mission. Can you believe it?! Well, this week was wonderful! Probably one of the greatest weeks in the mission thus far.
Most everything that happened this week that I'm going to talk about happened last Friday. We got to go to the temple! :) Sister Rackham and I got to do a session together, and then after we went to the baptistry and got to be there with 5 of the recent converts in our ward. It was the best day ever! I cannot describe the feelings I had as we all got to be in the temple together. TRUE JOY! Although I haven't been here for any of their baptisms in the last year, I have come close to many of them because we visit them on a regular basis. One of the couples (Carl and Ernestine) that have been recently baptized, brought a family name. Sister Rackham and I held Ernestine's hand, as she watched her husband enter the water to be baptized for her son who committed suicide two years ago. She cried the entire hour and kept saying, "My baby's free." It was definitely a tender mercy to be able to witness such an incredible day. My testimony of the temple has grown immensely from the sweet experiences I've been able to have in the temple throughout the mission. I truly know, in a way that I haven't before, that the temple is the Lord's house. That it is there so that we can receive all the blessings our Father in Heaven has in store for us. How blessed we are to live in a time where the gospel is restored and temples dot the earth!
After the temple, we went over to the Burch’s and had such a powerful lesson with them about the importance of praying and reading the scriptures. John has had many health problems in his life and is a walking miracle. He has expressed to us that he knows that it's only through God that he has been healed. We used these experiences and talked about how the process of physically and spiritually healing can be the same. We talked about how prayer and scripture study are our spiritual "medicine" and showed a Mormon Message (btw thanks for those , I use them all the time!) about how the atonement can heal us. I love starting our lessons with a Mormon message because it brings the spirit in strong right away. At the end of the lesson, they committed to praying and reading 10 minutes in the Book of Mormon together everyday. We will see how it goes. We see them tomorrow for a lesson and dinner. We're having brats and corn on the cob! Totally Wisconsinites and I love it :) I really do love these two though and I know that with time their hearts will soften and they'll be ready to come back. We've already seen them come so far.
Another incredible thing that happened on Friday..... Mercedes is getting baptized!!!! I don't know if I've ever mentioned her before. She lives with a family in our ward and we've always been good friends with her, but it wasn't until last week that we started officially teaching her. She has come so far in this past week. In our lesson on Friday, we were talking about the spirit and she said she had felt it in the room, but never in herself. We invited her to pray that night for the spirit to tell her that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that the Book of Mormon is true. As we asked, tears started to stream down her face, and she said, "I think I already know it's true. I've been searching for truth for so long and it's been right here in front of me this entire year." She then said that she was feeling so hot inside (aka a burning in the bosom) and from this time since, she said this feeling hasn't really left her. SHE IS GETTING BAPTIZED ON SEPTEMBER 21ST! I seriously love this girl! She just graduated high school and is such a hoot! It has been incredible to see how much she has grown this past week and a half. The Lord never ceases to amaze me! Miracles still happen!
Well, sorry I feel like this email was so long. I read Ashy's and Kaleb's email each week and think, man, they must hate having to read the novels I write every week! haha I sure do love you guys! Keep being missionaries! I love it! LOVE YOU! XOXOXO
CON MUCHO AMOR,
tu Hermanita Jorgensen (numero uno)
1. BEST DAY EVER! Us, the ward, and some of our recent converts after they did baptisms!
2. Sister Rackham and I :)
3. This is Betty! She got baptized like three days before I got transferred here. We've spent a lot of time with her. She's so sweet. She's from Sudan and is 22. She's study here at William Jewell. I love this girl!
Sunday, September 1, 2013
August 27, 2013
My dear FAMILIA,
Oh my goodness KK's going to be a misionera! :) YAY! She's going to be so great! That is seriously the neatest thing that her and Nick will have served their missions in the SAME CITY! WOW! So lucky! I guess at least Ashy and I are linked with a language! Although I haven't spoken any Spanish the past almost two months and I've been being a bad girl and not studying it like at all. There just is no time. I don't want to take time out of our area because we typically only have 2 to 3 hours out proselyting everyday as it is, but that is one of my new goals this transfer. Oh ya by the way, last week was transfers. Nothing changed for Sister Rackham and I, which we weren't really surprised. I'm so glad I get to be with her another transfer! I really do love this girl! She makes me want to be a better person every single day! Last transfer was a little slow, but we feel like were moving now so it's exciting!
Last night we went to dinner at one of our member's house and they had a little girl named Ashlyn and a boy named Preston! Can you believe it! I was in heaven! Made me miss you guys!
Well, getting to the missionary part of this week, AJ came to church! Can I get a HALLELUJAH! We were so very excited! That has been something he has been hesitant about for the past 3 weeks and we couldn't really narrow it down to why. So, we decided to invite him to the church on Saturday for a church tour and lesson so that he would be comfortable and come the next day. The lesson was wonderful! We taught him the gospel of Jesus Christ (faith, repentance, baptism, gift of the HG, and endure to the end) in the chapel. We also asked him if he had read 2 Nephi 31 because that's what we asked him to do the last lesson. He said he did and that afterward he prayed and HE KNOWS IT'S TRUE!!! AHHHH! He told us that's why he came, because he got an answer! Heavenly Father answers prayers! So, we got to church on Sunday and couldn't find him and Sacrament meeting was starting. We were so bummed, but as we went to sit down we saw him there sitting with three kids from the priest quorum. Seriously, this ward is the best! They just jump right on this whole fellow shipping thing! So, these boys went with him to the next hour and then took him to Priests. He told us he absolutely loved priests! Afterwards, one of the boys in his class invited him over for lunch with his family. This is so perfect for AJ because he's coming from a broken home where the parents have been pretty hands off. Here at church he will have a supportive, loving, ward family. Isn't this just the best news ever?!?! HOORAY!
Another wonderful story this week.......We finally made it back to see the Burch's (the couple from Wisconsin who are converts but have been inactive for many many years). We showed them this Mormon message about coming back and boldly asked what was holding them back. They finally opened up to us about how when they were converts of only 6 months, they were offended by a bishop about something. I won't go into details, but after we heard all of this, Lisa told us she still knows that his church is true, but John isn't completely sure. They are still very hurt about the whole situation. Sister Rackham and I testified that this is Christ's church, yes the people aren't perfect, but this is the real deal. We asked them if we could come share messages each week with them to help them build their faith. They agreed but John isn't promising anything. He's a little stubborn, but guess what, this girl can be stubborn too :) Yes, I told him that and he just laughed. They really do love and trust us and we truly feel like we are meant to be here to help them. So, this was an exciting break through moment.
Well, this whole time on the mission thing is the weirdest. Weeks are just flying by and it makes me so nervous. I've already been out for almost 8 months. Can you believe it?! I am so grateful for the time I've already had to serve the Lord and look forward to the next 10. Being able to serve a mission is the greatest blessing! To be a part of our Father in Heaven's most precious work every single day is incredible! There isn't a day that goes by that I'm not reminded that we have a loving Heavenly Father who knows us individually. He truly is a God of miracles! How lucky I have been to get to work alongside Him and see His hand in the lives of His children everyday! I sure do love you guys a whole lot! You're the best support any missionary could ask for! XOXOXO
This is my absolute FAVORITE family in our ward. Like, we will definitely be going to visit them when you guys come! They just moved here from India. She is seriously like my mission mom. She is always making sure we are being taken care of and cooks the best dinners! They came in on Sunday night and Sister Rackham and I got to take them through. It was so great!
August 20, 2013
So, today we got to go down town Kansas City to the Crown Center (headquarters of Hallmark). Our ward mission leader is an artist so we got an incredible tour! It was so much fun. How cool is this. He made it! Bro. Kesler's so talented and seriously the greatest ward mission leader ever!
Let's just start off by saying, I have the best family ever! I know I say this every week, but seriously. I feel so loved! Thanks for all the letters! They mean so much to me.
Well, my email this week probably isn't going to be as long because my time is short with going to Kansas City for most of the day, but I just wanted to tell you about a few great things that have happened in our area this week. Things are looking up! On Saturday, we had a great lesson with AJ about the plan of salvation and we invited him to be baptized and he said YES! :) HALLELUJAH! who knows if that's even how you spell it hahaha but you get the point, we are so very EXCITED! Bummer is, he didn't come to church on Sunday so it's a little rocky. We are seeing him tonight though. I talked to him on the phone yesterday for about 20 minutes trying to figure out what's really going on because he said he would come and we even had people go get him and then he didn't come. He said he's been feeling a lot of temptation in the past few days. Well, of course he is, whenever we begin to take giant steps toward Christ (like baptism), Satan steps right in to try and mess it all up. So, we talked about that and I invited him to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. He said he knows that the plan of salvation that we taught is from God but still isn't completely sure about the Book of Mormon. Logically it all makes sense to him, but I told him he needs to really know and feel it and that that comes through study, pondering, and praying. Isn't it funny that those three simple things are what build our testimonies. So simple, yet easily forgotten. He reminds me a lot of Jimmy.
We are also now teaching an older lady (she's 78) named LaRetta. Her husband died a few years ago and he was a member but never active during their 50 plus years of being married. So, she knows a lot about the church and has met with a lot of missionaries before. We are hoping that this time it will just click with her because she's in a very different place now with her husband having died and she's very lonely. We had a powerful lesson with her about the restoration and pretty much just laid it all out there. We're meeting with her tomorrow to teach the plan of salvation and were really excited!
We also got to finally teach this lady named Gale and her two daughter Ashlyn (16) and Emma (10). They are good friends with a lot of people in our ward. They are so great! Gale's a lawyer and Ashyln's name is Ashlyn Danielle! Can you believe that?! FATE! We've done some service at their house in the past few weeks (like picking up the dead toad from her driveway ;) ) and the previous sisters got to teach them about the Book of Mormon before I got here, but we finally got to teach them about the restoration and it went really well. They are very receptive so were so excited!
So, long story short, this past week we have been very blessed with a lot of sit-down teaching appointments and it looks like that's the way this week is hopefully going to be too. It feels so fulfilling! It has taken us a while to get to this point, so we are really praying that this next transfer we will see a lot more of it!
So, for a quick Liberty Jail moment, I've been thinking a lot about the very first verse of section 121 and the very last one in section 123. 121:1 says, " O God, where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place?", and 123:17 says, " Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed." There is truly a different feeling about these two verses. In describing his experience here in the Liberty Jail, the prophet Joseph Smith said that he came out of jail a different man, that his heart would forever be more tender than when he went in. I've thought a lot about our own "liberty jail moments" and how we get through them, we can either become bitter or better. That truly, all our experiences can be for our good, but it is our choice to make them that way. I believe that it was here in the Liberty Jail, that the prophet came to know his Redeemer in such a deeper way and that it is in our own "liberty jail moments", that we can do the same, by clinging to the rock. I know that Jesus is the Christ and that this is his restored church on the earth once again today. We are beyond BLESSED! Love you guys to the moon and back! XOXOXO MUAH!
Con Mucho Amor,
tu Hermanita Jorgensen
Finally got some pics of Sis. Rackham and I at the Jail :)