Yea, and from that time even until now, I have labored without ceasing, that I might bring souls unto repentance; that I might bring them to taste of exceeding joy of which I taste; that they might also be born of God, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. ~ Alma 36:24

Friday, February 19, 2016

Mission Reunion Provo, Utah

Front Row Mariah Noble, Lauren Reed, Rachel Scwartz, Kristen Taylor, ?, Hiliary Newton, Andrea Lopez, Ashley Burton, Eileen Crawford, Helen O, ?, Annelize 
Back Row: Emily Kranendonk, Michelle Shurtz, ?, Carrie Carlson, Mary Parker, Jessie Rosedahl, Alex Hartvigsen 

I absolutely love these sisters. It was a blessing to be able to serve with them.  

Thursday, February 18, 2016

My conversion by Sadee Dennee

My conversion unto the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is not too crazy, or out of the ordinary. It’s rather plain and simple. A conversion based on full trust in the Lord. But I’ll tell it anyway! About a year and a half ago, I was walking down the street pushing my brother and sister in a stroller. I was having a pretty rough day to end my super rough week. I just was not having a great time. I suffer from severe anxiety and it took a pretty firm hold over my life at that time. It was hot. It was midday. It was Arizona. It was not a good time. Two missionaries came from nowhere and ended up on either side of me. Completely blindsided me. I was raised with no religious background, but we had always hid from and avoided the missionaries. So to be caught in such a situation was a bit overwhelming. For awhile they didn’t say a word. They just rode along side of me in complete and total awkward silence. And then the missionary to my right, Elder Brown, said “You know that Heavenly Father loves you, right? Cause he does. Like a lot. And you’re gonna be okay. Because he loves you.” And then they rode off.  I will never understand how he knew that I needed to hear that. And I don’t think he’ll ever understand how much I appreciated those words. I had never been told that before. No one had every told me that I have a Heavenly Father who loves and cares for me. I grew up with all LDS friends, and they always seemed so happy, but I never knew why. I will forever remember and be grateful for that day. I ended up running in to those same Elders later on in the week, and I agreed to a lesson.
The first time they came, old habits kicked in and I hid behind the door until they left. The second time, I left the house before they got there. The third time I opened the door, and they couldn’t find a male to join us, so we had to reschedule. And similar stories went on for fourth to the eighth encounters with the missionaries. Eventually I gave up. I figured that if this wasn’t working out, then it wasn’t right. It wasn’t what I needed. But I knew I needed something. About six months later, I finally gave in to the 18 years of nagging I had been forced to listen to from my best friend Jazmin. And I came to church with her. Which was a huge deal for me. I walked into the building and knew within five minutes that I was exactly where I needed to be. I felt like I was at home. Which is a feeling I had never felt before. I was pretty upset with myself for holding out for so long. I was completely overcome with the Holy Spirit. After sacrament meeting I was introduced to the sister missionaries. These Sisters were placed into my life by the hands of my Heavenly Father. I know that with complete and total certainty. They answered every unspoken prayer I had kept pent up in all of my, then, 19 years. I agreed to take the lesson from them and we scheduled a time for later on that week. By the end of that lesson I knew that I was going to be baptized. The rest of the lesson flew by, and it’s all sort of a blur. Considering they happened so fast. I remember key parts, like praying for the first time by myself out loud. And I remember praying out loud in front of Jazmin for the first time, we both cried for hours after the Sisters left. It was such an amazing experience. Next thing I knew I was in the water with Colton, who baptized me. I remember we were both shaking so bad that the water had little waves. Coming up from the water was by far the best experience I’ve ever had. I instantly felt clean. I felt loved. I felt perfect. I vowed to do whatever I could to keep that feeling for the rest of my life.

 Which leads me to now. I’ve been baptized for almost 9 months, and it’s hard. And it’s getting harder. But there is nothing worth more to me than my covenants with Heavenly Father. And I know that by keeping those promises, and by keeping blind faith no matter how hard the circumstance, I will always be okay. I will always be saved. And I will always be grateful. I have a strong testimony of missionary work and the influence it can have on others lives. No matter how small the gesture, it will make a difference. Whether it be telling a stranger that their Heavenly Father loves them, or smiling at the old man at the market, it makes a difference. I know that if we trust in the Lord and all of his doings we will be blessed. We do not have to understand why things are happening to be grateful for them. I know that by praying and reading scriptures diligently we will find answers to questions we didn’t know we had. And I know that by loving everyone we meet, we will feel the love our Heavenly Father has for us more strongly than ever before. I am so grateful for all of the amazing people who are a part of my conversion story. And I love them with all of my heart.  All of these things I know to be to true, and I leave them with you in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Mike and Tami Grooms

Mike and Tami Grooms are a family I met in my first area.  They had friends in the Mountain Ridge ward. Mike and Tami live in the Las Sendas ward.  Sister Parker and I tried contacting them.  Sister Lewis and I tried contacting them.  Sister Avila and I tried contacting them and we finally were able to meet them.  

Tami's friend told us that Tami would appreciate some extra help around the house.  We offered and Tami was shocked that we would come in and offer help.  Sister Avila and I went in and cleaned the house for her.  We went three different times.  Each time we went we taught her more about the gospel each time.  Tami was surprised to hear everything we were sharing with her.  She was shocked that us young girls would come and serve a mission and leave our families.  

Tami thought that what we were teaching was beautiful.  You could see how much she loved hearing what we were teaching her.  We tried setting up a time for us to come and teach her with her husband in an evening.  I was transferred before we could continue to teach.  I don't know the rest of the story.

  When I got home from my mission is when I received this picture from Sister Avila.  She let me know that Tami and Mike did get baptized.  I was so happy and excited to hear it.  Made me cry when I heard about it.  This was a moment I needed. A lot of the time I felt my time was wasted as a missionary. I felt like because I didn't see people get baptized I wasn't a good missionary.  I was taught in this moment that my time was not wasted.  Even now as I write this I feel the spirit witness to me that my time as missionary was not wasted.  I am thankful for that witness of the spirit.  

One of the last times I went to visit Arizona I stopped by Tami's house.  She recognized me. I wasn't sure if she would but she did.  Tami was so excited to see me.  She had tears in her eyes being in touch with me.  She thanked me for what I had done for her.  

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Smile Elder Beckstrand!!

Elder Beckstrand is the visitor center director.  He is a good man. He knows when to be serious and get to work.  He typically has a stern face.  He calls it his thinking face.  We sisters have been teasing about his serious face.  We tell him he needs to smile more.  This is us with a serious face and a happy face.  I took pictures of all the sisters so to put in a frame for Elder Beckstrand as a surprise.  We decorated his office with balloons and smiley faces.  Elder Beckstrand definitely learned to smile more because of us sisters.  We could bring a smile to his face.  We all love him dearly.  
Sister Boudet France and Sister Crawford Washington State

Sister Shurtz Clearfield Utah, Sister Kranendonk Utah, Sister Javed Pakistan

Say cheese!!!

Sister Mendoza Utah, Sister Miller Oregon, Sister Gordon Provo Utah 


Elder and Sister Livingston Ogden Utah 

Sister Brownell Oregon and Sister Smith St. George Utah 

Sister Schwarts Georgia and Sister ? England 

Sister Cottrell Kaysville Utah and Sister DeMille Cedar City Utah 

Sister Hamstead Georgia and Sister Weber Mexico 

Sister Noble Indianna and Sister Holladay American Fork Utah 

Sister Dashjav Mongolia 

Sister Avila Texas and Sister Lewis Taylorsville Utah 

Sister Aquino Mexico, Sister Slater Tulsa Oklahoma, Sister Watkins Alpine Utah Sister Christensen Kearns Utah

Elder and Sister Jenkins Vernal Utah 

Here we are decorating his office.  We wanted it to be a big surprise for him.  He got a good laugh out of it.  

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Transfer with Sister Carlson

 Zone breakfast! It was super cold this morning. But we had a wonderful time.  Sister Carrie Carlson and Sister Rachel Scwhartz.  
Sister Schwartz, Elder Davidson, Sister Carlson 

 Group picture 
 These are pictures of the members home in which we lived in.  Sister Carlson and I would practice songs together.  We actually performed a song together that she had always wanted to perform. It was called May I serve Thee.  It came from the Ensign magazine.  Sister Carlson's sister performed the same song on her mission.  
 We spent a lot of time and I mean a lot of time here at the Superstition Villa Apartments.  You could find the most interesting people here.  This is where my little India family lived.  Jackie and her family lived here.  Plenty of other adventures happened here. It was definitely always an adventure when we came.  
 Sister Carlson and I making phone calls. A regular routine on the mission. 

 Here is the kitchen.  Sister Carlson broadened my horizons of things that I could eat.  She was always mixing together the most interesting concoctions.  She would buy a lot of canned food and throw them all together in the same bowl.  She always made sure she had a meat, a vegetable and a grain.  
 Our bedroom and our desks where we studied and spent a lot of time planning.  My puzzle quilt made by mom was my favorite thing.  

Sister Carlson and I on our bikes.  We had so many adventures on our bikes.  You feel like a REAL missionary when riding a bike. The craziest things happen and you meet the most interesting people.  We had different guys be flirty.  Sometimes you would feel weird and want to run the other direction.  Sister Carlson and I had the best time together.  She was a great example to me. I learned a great deal from her.  She was always striving to have the gift of Charity.  She taught me much about that topic.

Christmas at the Visitor Center

Christmas at the Visitor Center 

Back of the visitor center with the reflecting pool.  Lots of members came to help put up the lights and take them down.  Each stake was responsible for an area to make.  There are literally millions of lights that are on the temple grounds.  Members volunteered to come and invite people into the visitor center.  Inside every year there are nativities set up. There is a woman who collects nativities from all over the world.  She comes and puts the display up every year.  She tries to make the display different every year.  There are other members who loan out their nativities for this display. It always helped to create a special feeling about Christmas.  

This quilt was sewn by a member that lived in the area.  She spent many hours making it.  The church asked if she would be willing to donate her quilt to allow the world to see it.  There is much symbolism within the quilt.  

This is comet representative of the second coming. 

The doves represent the Holy Ghost descending in the form as a dove when Christ was baptized.  
This tree is representative of the tree in the Garden of Gethesemane.  The red berries are symbolic of his blood being spilt for us. 

Like the scripture as hen gathereth her chicks under her wing so will Christ do the same for us.  
The parable of the ten virgins.  Reminding us to fill our lamps with oil to be prepared for when Christ comes again.  
The three rings around the flame are symbolic of the three degrees of glory. 
A complete picture of the whole quilt.  It was magnificent to see in person. I loved teaching people all about it.  I felt the spirit many times while teaching about Christ.  This was a very special quilt. I met the woman who made the quilt.  She had very special experiences in making the quilt.  
This painting was amazing.  The artist had a unique experience in painting this.  She painted on the glass.  I can't remember all the details but it was incredible to see this in person.  
She put much symbolism in her painting.  She wanted to portray how much Joseph loved Mary.  She also tried to show the plan of salvation throughout the entire thing.  

I absolutely love this place. It is so very special to me.  This is one of my sacred groves.  I am thankful to have served here. I was grateful for my time there.  I met many wonderful people there and felt the spirit touch their hearts and change lives.