Monday, August 27, 2012

Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling

What a week. Plenty of activities and things to keep us busy. This past week we had our park day where we don't use the car, which is totally fine cause we walk around a ton anyways, BUT without thinking, we planned a baptism for that day. I know what you're thinking, big deal, missionaries do it all the time, but humor me and just tell me I did a good job cause it was really unusual not having our normal means of transportation and preparation. Plus with our ward mission leader being out of town, the majority of planning and coordinating fell on our shoulders. Lesson learned: plan better in advance.

So, with the baptism of Da'Marr (yeppp....) that pretty much wraps up everyone that we were teaching and now we have NO ONE. Lesson learned: plan better in advance. When you are always diligent about finding and teaching, then you never have to worry about lulls in the work. It's always going, it's always consistent.

The last 3 days we have been eating our guts out. People are feeding us like crazy. I'm not surprised that sisters here in the past have gained upwards of 15-20 pounds. Last night we had 2 dinners, both fed us dessert, and then another family we went and visited made us dessert also. So good, but so much. I came home and just had to lay on the couch. By 10:30 when I was going to bed my stomach still had ot recovered. I never want to eat again! Oh but wait, we have a dinner and a dessert tonight....oh well, you can't have everything you want. I really shouldn't complain, it means that people care about us and want to take care of us. I really, really appreciate it. I hope to be like that one day when I'm not a missionary (curse the day that happens.....)

A member of the ward passed away very suddenly a week ago and his funeral was on Friday night. I didn't know him super well, but I had been to his house a few times for dinner with him and his wife and I remember always feeling really peaceful and relaxed around them. They were just those kinds of people. Anyways, he passed away very suddenly and we got to attend his funeral. His two children sang an amazing a capella version of "Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling." I loved it because of the ending line: "Calling, oh sinner, come home." The Savior is always calling us home. We had to leave the presence of our God to come here, but when we follow Him and become more like Him, we are taking the steps toward home. Home is a place that is happy and joyfull, where sweet reunions take place, there's laughter and joy, and no heartache is felt. Our homes here are not always like that, but when we look back at our homes that we grew up in, those are the things that we remember. We remember the good, not the bad. Home.

Lately I have been struggling with some things. Mostly just to stay motivated and diligent. I got caught in this little current that ended up dragging me pretty far from where I need to be. I refer to this as "jellyfishing." Don't jellyfish!!  As soon as you stop doing what you're supposed to, you move backwards. If you are not progressing, you are digressing. The biggest thing that I noticed was that my personal studies have been less-than-stellar. I could tell that my testimony, and the power I felt behind, was lacking. The center of everything that we teach and are is Jesus Christ. He is the Rock and the Foundation. To know Him is to love Him. To love Him is to follow Him. To follow Him is to keep His commandments and be like Him. That is my quest right now: to know Jesus Christ. Not jus to know things about His life, but to know Him as my Savior, my Brother, and my Friend. When we become more like Christ and strive to become like Him, then EVERYTHING else will fall into place.

The gospel is true. God knows us and loves us. He will do anything for us that will get us to where we need to be. A lady in church gave a talk yesterday about justice and mercy. Justice is fair and mercy is not, but thank God that it isn't because through mercy we are granted blessings and gifts beyond measure. Thank Go for that matchless gift. Love you all.

Sister Sara Chronister

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

There is SUNSHINE in my soul today!

Cause apparently summer is already over, so I have to carry it in my soul instead of in the sky. One day it was hot and sunny and sweaty and the next it was cold and cloudy. Awesome.
We are continuing our baptism craziness. Robert, aka the happiest guy ever, got baptized on Saturday. It was funny to hear him giggling from the locker room as I was bearing my testimony about the joy of the gospel. Demar is getting baptized this Thursday. He and some friends sang "I Believe in Christ" in sacrament meeting. It was AMAZING!!! The last verse blows me away every time.
"And while I strive through grief and pain,
His voice is heard: 'Ye shall obtain.'
I believe in Christ, so come what may."
We watched a video in our district meeting last week called "The Bridge." It was a very moving experience. It's about a man who operates a bridge for the railroad. One day, the rails don't quite line up so he has to go and hold a bar so the rails line up and the train can safely pass over to the other side, except that when he looks up, his little son is running toward him cause his wife needs him. He has to make the choice between his son and the lives of everyone on the train. Go look it up if you haven't seen it. It's the best analogy for the Atonement that I have ever seen. It's from the perspective of our Heavenly Father and shows just how hard that sacrifice was. The Atonement is something most of us will probably never understand fully. But, this was an amazing way to understand just a part of it, and how much love was involved in helping us on the train cross the bridge to live with our Father forever.
I am grateful for my Savior. He is the bridge, the light, the truth, and the way. And He loves me. What's greater than that? It's only through Him that we can make it through this life. Trust in Him always.
I hope you have a great week. Love you all!!
Sister Chronister

Monday, August 13, 2012

Thank you, Jesus

Those were Jane's first words when she came out of the water. Then she asked if she could be dunked again.
What a weekend! Jane's baptism was Saturday afternoon. I've never seen someone more excited to be baptized. I went to go help her get ready and she was already sitting by the steps of the font, with her knees pulled up to her chest, just staring at the water and it finished filling the font and humming to herself. She looked so peaceful.
Then that evening the rest of the Tangaro family (Landon, Leticia, and Liam) were baptized, making them all members. It was awesome!! Both were very spirit-filled events, and I felt so so lucky to be a part of both of them.
THEN after the baptism we got our transfer call (this one flew by, I couldn't believe it was already time) and I was totally expecting to leave, but we are both staying! So that's cool.
Sunday, Jane and the Tangaro's were all confirmed. In the ward that Jane was baptized into the bishop invited her to come up and bear her testimony. She kept saying over and over again, my name is Jane and I'm a Mormon! She's so proud of it. Every time she calls she says it. She said she has no doubts that this is the true church. It has to be. I've never seen someone who so firmly believes in the truth of this gospel. It's so amazing.
That night we road-tripped down to Centralia, about an hour away, for the first missionary musical fireside. It was AMAZING. It was pretty powerful and so many people came to watch it. We all felt like we were floating on little Spirit clouds. I even got teary-eyed during one of the songs! Who knew that could happen.
I'm looking forward to the next few weeks. I feel like I've won the lottery cuase I get to spend so much time in Steilacoom. It's already been 4 1/2 months, and this will make it at least 6. Wahooo!! This really is such a great place to be and there is so much work. I am so blessed. We all are. Go Jesus. Love you!!

Sister Sara Chronister

Monday, August 6, 2012

My chains are gone, I've been set free!!

Have you heard that song? It's a good one. Especially when it's sung by Josh Groban or a missionary choir. Last Monday we got a call at 10:20 pm from Sister Weaver asking my companion to be the director for the upcoming musical firesides put on by the missionaries. There is going to beone in every stake for the next few months. It's a chance for the members to see the missionaries en masse and for us to have a fireside all by us and all about Christ. So, that meant that we got to drive to every zone conference this week so that we could practice for the first one, which is this Sunday, the 12th. I got to go back to the blessed land of Silverdale on Tuesday, down to Olympia on Wednesday, and over to Tacoma on Thursday. Man, I was wiped, and all I had to do was go and look pretty and sing with everybody else. But, I might get the chance to accompany one of the songs, so that will be pretty exciting. Really, there is nothing that compares to a missionary choir, especially when they sing about Amazing Grace, Called to Serve, Battle Hymn of the Republic, and Because I Have Been Given Much. Should be awwwwwesome. I think Sis. Weaver is going to post some videos of us practicing on the mission blog, so look for it.
Ready for the big news, the one you've all been waiting for....?
She came to church on Sunday and loved it. The ward has gethered her under their little hen wings. They love her and she loves them. When we asked her if she wanted to get baptized on Saturday she said, "I want this with all my heart. Let's go for it!" Best. Commitment. Ever. It's going to be a beautiful, beautiful day.
I had a cool experience at 2 of the zone conferences that we went to. President Weaver shared part of Jane's story over the pulpit. On Thursday, at my zone conference, he asked me to come up and share how she came to church for the first time. He didn't know this, but it was something that I really needed, to share what happened with her. This is one of those stories that you read about in the Ensign or as a missionary fable. Only this time it's real. It's real and it's happening and I get to be a part of it. How blessed am I to be able to be a front-row witness to this great miracle and many, many others.
The other day Jane told us how she went somewhere for a job interview and while she was waiting the secretary asked her is she was Christian. She said, "My name is Jane, and I'm a half-Mormon. Becuase I'm not baptized yet." Bless her heart, Jane my little half-Mormon. She's almost there.
The Book of Mormon reading is going great! I love reading it again. If you haven't in a while, you should pick it up again. Start at the beginning, Nephi's a cool guy. Anyways, gotta run. Love you!!
Sister Chronister