Monday, April 29, 2013

Do what you want . . .

In honor of Pres. & Sis. Weaver

Until you're told otherwise.
I was sitting in sacrament meeting, up on the stand.
Rewind: Saturday night, we went to visit our bishop.
Like the good missionary I'm supposed to be I aks what we can do to help.
He asks when the last time was that I spoke in sacament meeting.
Resume story.
I'm sitting on the stand trying to think of what I'm going to talk about.
First off, I was weirdly emotional singing the opening hymn, "Hark, All Ye Nations."
I think it's my favorite missionary song.
I had 18 hours of notice and I am a champion procrastinator as it is.
Even in my personal study I could only get a somewhat vague idea of what I was going to talk about.
All I could think of was one sentence from PMG.
"By revelation, Adam learned of mankind’s proper relationship with God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost; of the Atonement and Resurrection of Jesus Christ; and of the first principles and ordinances of the gospel."
That's it. That's what the gospel is about. Receiving revelation about our relationship with God, the Atonement, and the gospel.
These things are restored to the world as a whole.
Then they are restored to us as individuals.
Christ works one on one.
The war for the sould of men is fought one soul at a time.
That's how much we matter.
We are sent out, by the thousands and ten of thousands, to go two by two and find the one.
Progress is slow with our people.
I've resorted to practically begging for miracles and new people to teach.
Now I have to live for it.
Go live for the things you want.
Ask, knock, receive, open.
It's up to you.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Baby Brady

I love dogs.
I hated them in the city.
I rediscovered my love of them out here in the country.
Especially puppies.
Puppies are the best.
After a week of having Brady with me, I have decided that my two trainees are my little puppies.
Brady is a chihuhua (she's super tiny and a little jumpy-it's pretty funny actually).
Crosby is a golden retriever.
So there you have it.
My pups.
Things are a little slowish right now.
I've been straight up fasting and praying for miracles.
We have no time to beat around the bush here.
I'm busy trying to teach Brady everything I know about being a missionary and about Happy Valley.
I don't have long to teach her and she doesn't have long to learn.
I pray that miracles come so I can show her what it's like to lead someone all the way down the track to baptism.
I can't believe how fast everything is flying.
I have been able to come up with a few words that have come to mean a lot to me:
I'll be putting those words to use soon.
Gotta put together all my experiences and see how it turns into a final report.
I love being a missionary.
I don't want it to end.
We did have a really cool miracle with Ciara last week.
Monday night, the night before Crosby left, she wanted to meet with us one last time.
We taught her the Plan of Salvation and ended up talking about forgiveness.
I literally saw the change in her face when she understood how this could help her.
That was amazing.
I can't forget seeing that.
Two days later when she met Brady I asked her how everything was settling in her mind with the Plan.
She said it made sense, perfect sense.
That's the first time I've ever heard her say anything so definintive about what we've taught her.
It was a huge step, and a huge miracle.
Now we just have to work for a miracle to happen with her sister so she can be baptized when she wants to.
I believe.
Peace errbody.

Monday, April 15, 2013

We are daughters of a Heavenly Father who loves us and We Love Him!!

A few weeks ago I was able to meet up with Sara's companion, Sister Crosby's Mom (got that??)  It was great to have that connection with our daughters.  They are wonderful and doing great things!!  We love their example and their willingness to give up part of their young adult life to serve.  And, we loved sharing that we both have 2 kids serving at the same time.  Her son just left this week.  It's a difficult time as a parent to lose so much contact with your child.  However, you feel the Lords love as they learn to serve even though you miss them terribly!

As Sara's return approaches it is such a flood of emotion!!  I remember a year ago, Cindy Balmforth (Sara's first companions Mom) was emailing me with encouragement as her daughter Katee was about to return home.  She also had a son serving at the same time.  The connections that we have as Mother's binds us to each other, our kids and the gospel.  The Lord blesses us in so many little ways!  At the time I remember thinking, Sara will never make it home.  Well, it's here and it's going to be a great reunion!

Sister Sara Chronister is coming home May 29th.  She will deliver her Homecoming address on June 9th at 11:00 am at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on 6150 E. Fairmount Drive,  Tucson, AZ.

If you're planning to come and/or need more information, please be in touch  Thanks to all the support you have given me and my daughter!  Michelle Ballantyne

At least it will be a Happy Death!!

Well folks, it's that time. It happens to every missionary.
Final transfer call.
Final transfer.
I am staying in Happy Valley and will be training a new missionary.
More Chronic posterity.
Crosby is off to Tacoma (which, if anyone cares, has now expanded so much with the massive influx of missionaries that they have split it into 2 zones) to the Highland Hills ward where she will be the first set of sisters there in a couple years and will be serving with 2 other sets of elders. You read that correctly: 6 missionaries in 1 ward.
That's my kid.
Chronic and the Cheerleader. Gotta say bye to it tomorrow. It's been fun.
There are some really crazy things happening with missions, specifically this one. Actually, being out here in China I don't hear much of what's going on in the rest of the mission. Ha, President called us this week. He asked how I would feel about training again my last transfer. Some missionaries are ok with it, some are not. I was ok with it. Anyways, he told Crosby he had this sinking feeling that she would be closer to Tacoma this week. That didn't give us much of a hint though since pretty everything is closer to Tacoma than we are.
I've had this cool epiphany this week about God.
In Revelation, John is writing about the things that he is supposed to tell these 7 churches. Each one is a specific message to them from the Lord, and for each one He gives a different description of Himself (i.e. he who holds the seven stars, he who is the first and the last, that which was dead and is alive). What is fascinating to me is that just because the Lord gives a different description doesn't make Him any less God. We all have different experiences and different perceptions of God. Why? Because we are different. One day we will have the whole picture, but for now we get little bits at a time. It just all matters on where we are at spiritually. I think of the verses where the Lord is talking about the destruction that comes because the people are wicked and He says that in all of these things, His hand is stretched out still. There are two ways to look at that. Either His hand is stretched out to bring punishment to those who refuse to repent or to offer a hand to those who are willing to turn and reach out for Him. His hand is stretched out still. This carries into the tree of life as well, just to continue that idea from last week. I don't know what the tree of life looks like. I like lots of trees, how could I pick just one that would be THE tree of life? I don't have to. The tree itself is huge and has a lot of different sides and parts. One part might be an evergreen, another might be a cactus (technically not a tree, but just go with it) and another might be one of those that you see in the beginning of the Lord of the Rings movie where Frodo is sitting in the branches reading a book. It's still the tree of life. The requirements to get there are still the same. But we all have different perceptions of paradise. That's cool.
The work is chugging along. I love teaching and I love feeling the Spirit.
I'm going all out, guns blazing these last few weeks.
There's no other time to do it.
Much love.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

What was once a tiny SEED

Has grown into a TREE of LIFE.
I love the tree of life. 
The imagery is so cool.
I've always really loved trees and big green things.
Good thing I grew up in Arizona.
And then came on my mission to Washington. 

I'm not even really sure what it is about a tree, but I just love the story of working toward this amazing goal and striving and working so hard and then at the end falling down at the tree, partaking of the fruit, and enjoying rest. You know, rest isn't a bad thing. Even God rested on the seventh day. We can rest from our labors too. When it's the right time. I'll rest when I'm dead.

Conference highlights:

-the gospel is part of the blueprint that anchors us to the foundation of Christ. 
-renewing the call for a return to virtue
-the Lord WANTS to forgive and He wants us to understand His willingness to forgive
-priesthood power: to bless, sanctify, and purify us
-most often the love of God is felt through the simple actor obedience
-we are under covenant to lift up those in need and to stand as witnesses of Him
-peace is the gift of God--an abiding deep happiness
-it takes an act of faith to open our eyes to the LIGHT.
-start where you are, turn your heart to The Lord, walk in the light
-belief is the first step toward conviction

Great, grand stuff. I love conference as a missionary because every applies. It's easy to see the ways that these things are useful for your life and for the lives of those that you are teaching. +1 for being a missionary. 

Things with the work are going well. We are seeing some pretty cool things happening with a family that isn't super active and one of the boys isn't a member. When we first started seeing them he wouldn't talk to us at all. Now he actually declines to join games on Xbox live to listen to the things that we teach and to listen to general conference. That's pretty cool for a 15 year old kid. The gospel, the light of Christ does absolute wonders in the lives of every human soul. There's nothing quite like it.

Take a minute to go and review some things from conference. It's amazing what you'll miss the first time and catch a second time.

Hope on,
Journey on.


Monday, April 1, 2013


Easter Sunday.
It was a fun day at church.
Crosby and I sang in sacrament meeting. I'm turning into a regular performer here on the mish.
Not really, I still feel super uncomfortable doing it, and I look like I'm uncomfortable too.
One of the YW mentioned that to me today. Awkward. Some things never change.
Despite my awkward tendencies though, I pulled through and the Spirit provided the needed boost to really carry the message.
I know that my Redeemer lives.
Easter is a fantastic holiday.
This was an interesting week for me. I have started doing a lot of pondering. It's now a regular occurrance for Crosby to come in at night and I'm laying on my bed, staring off into space and she asks, "Doing some deep thinking?" Yes. Yes, I am. For the most part it's not about in anything in particular. Just normal "end of something big" contemplation. I realized that I have been blessed with a lot of gifts while I have been on my mission. I don't say that in a "look at how cool I am cause God gave me all these cool gifts" but very humbly, I am grateful for the ways God has chosen to bless me. One of my fears is to lose those gifts when I come home and am released. I frantically write down everything that I study and hear, trying to ink it into my brain. I don't want to lose what I've gained. I don't want to go back to what I was before. I want to grow and progress from here.
The good news is that I can.
These things are not just promised to missionaries. God doesn't just give us things for a time and take them away. If we want them, He allows us to keep them. IF we want them. IF we work for them. Salvation, exaltation, is not an easy thing to obtain.
"Eternal life. It hurts to get there. But it's the only way to get there."
"The path tho salvation has always, one way or another, led through Gethsemane."
Nothing is unattainable for us. NOTHING. As long as we "look unto [Christ] in every thought. Doubt not, fear not."
In other good news, we have had some really sunny days, in which I actually heard from the mouth of Baby Crosby that it was "hot." It was 60 degrees. And I got a sunburn while we were out tracting, but it was all worth it becuase we met a dog named Jessie that followed us for a couple of miles and kept us company. It was sad to leave her behind when we had to go.
Have a blessed week everyone. Work hard at whatever you do.