Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2010 Christmas Time on Temple Square




Dreams Do Come True

So yes, one and all!!! My dreams are coming true!

Let me share with you how!!!! First of all, my mother and father are so amazing. Earthly and Heavenly but right now I'm specifically talking about earthly- I know they let a lot of you know I was struggling and that's a good thing because your letters and love helped soooo much!!! I will get back to you all asap! I love you! Thanks for having my back!!! I got support from all sides- heaven and earth! Ok so how are my dreams really coming true? Well let me tell you.............

I'm getting to be besties with the homeless people! No joke! Ok well one man in particular. I know a lot of them by name. But I probably shouldn't be name dropping on this blog!! Just know that my dreams are coming true! Sister Littlejohn and I were walking to the Beehive House (historical Brigham Young's house. GO BYU!) and on our way there to find where all the fire pulls and panic buttons were (because I'm a newbie) a homeless man stopped us! He was epic!! He said he just got off probation and therefore could now and would like to be baptized. I was like- GET ME A Q-tip! WHAT???? It was awesome. So he actually does have a place of address (even though he's "homeless"! we all knew that anyways) and so we could call him and we did call him!!! and have already begun teaching him more over the phone. The SLC elders will be getting in contact with him asap I hope :) and he knows now how to contact them as well! and he is so open with the biggest desire for
hope.

Well this gospel is all about hope :) Ether 12:4!!!!!!!! It was amazing! And I am learning the homeless people's names and I wish them a good morning and am so chipper with them!!!! This place is cleaning up one soul at a time :) Are you impressed? Well you should be- be impressed with the Lord and his work moving forward!

So another one of my dreams coming true: I went through the Salt Lake Temple this morning! I've loved it since I was a little girl and today I got to do a session! It was so beautiful! All the pioneer artwork and history! The unique way to learn about the Savior and I saw many brides!! It was very tender and it made me miss a HUGE lot the fact that Laur and Dall were just those cute couples a month ago-ish!!! But that's okay!!!! They can come to my SLC wedding :) Bahahah. I laugh, but I'm not kidding!

Ok so another story for y'all..... this is spiritual and funny. Which is what my mission can be summarized as!!! Ok so we are taking this Tennessee baptist couple around and this tour is intense! They are well-versed with the Mormon doctrine and he himself is a televangelists that travels all over the world. Basically by the end of the tour we agreed on many things, we just emphasized how the power of Christ and His authority is in this Church. He didn't deny it, but he didn't see the significance of it. He gave us these colored beaded bracelets that represent the steps we need to follow Christ's gospel (baptism, repentance, death, etc.) and I am actually wearing it right now- it's a legit bracelet. It's significant to me because I know this Church has that same power and priesthood that John the Baptist had!!!

It's amazing! It's okay that he wasn't jumping at the bit to be baptized. We were both edified and now I'm sure he's a little more prepared on his journey. I love learning about all of God's children and their love for God!!! So in the middle of the tour we are in the Tabernacle, and I am speaking first because I know the least about history so I say what I know and Sister Littlejohn adds on. So I'm talking about the acoustics of the rough and the dates and looking back at the couple taking them towards the middle aisle-BAMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!! yes that's right. As I'm looking back trying to make eye contact and invite the Spirit with my message I ran SMACK DAB HARD into one of the pillar columns. And not like- oh that's awkward she stumbled. But like BOOOOOOOOOM, bruised the side of my face and caused a commotion! Unfortunately Sister Littlejohn was looking down and missed the initial contact but she heard the noise and was doing a great job at holding in her laughter..... the couple was floored. They were very concerned and it was hard to get the conversation away from my stupidity and invite the Spirit again. But the tour went on and everyday I am reminded and we laugh. A lot. Oh mamma!

Ok so one last story- we took an awesome tour earlier this week with a beautiful couple (I think they're dating. maybe they're just friends. idk. we didn't pry) from San Antonio. They are in their young 20's and were on a road trip around the country for Christmas Break. It was one of the most spiritual moments of my mission. Yes, they had tattoos, gages, piercings, and a different style of dress but they were sooooooooo elect! They were amazing. I learned so much about love, kindness, and open-mindedness from them!

The most amazing part of the tour was when we were in the Conference Center looking at some of the paintings of the Book of Mormon, they were so stoked and shocked that more people didn't know about this other Testament of Christ. The Holy Spirit is such a source of truth and power!! Feeling it and having it as a companion- so amazing!!! It's amazing! Christ really did come and show himself after he was resurrected to the people of the Ancient Americas and to other parts of the world! 3 Nephi 16:1-3!!!! And it is amazing! How I can take this gospel for granted! But to see other people learn it for the first time- nothing like it! We get to teach them on the phone, after their road trip, the first week of the New Year!!!

There are fistfuls of stories everyday and these are just a couple I'm sharing now!!! Temple Square really is a beautiful place! I am so grateful for the prophet and his apostles calling me here and that I get to testify everyday of all that I know and that I am continuously learning!


If you are struggling at all- I've been there! Just start from where you are- Christ's atonement is infinite and eternal. He has sunk lower than all of you- I promise you that! If you have the smallest desire for hope and joy, just start reading, studying, and that will start your journey!!! The Spirit testifies and directs a moving vehicle. It's kinda hard to steer a parked car! Get going!!!!

There is so much joy in this crazy world and so much progress we can all accomplish in Christ's love and amazing atonement!!!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Miracles on the Square

WELL HELLO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's Marissa.

Thank you for joining me here on this site today! AND Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!! I am having a great time here.

Temple Square is beautiful. Adjusting and riding the high's and low's!! Let's see what shall I talk about- this weekend has been crazy with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and David Archlietta (spelling wtv) fiasco concert!!

It brought people from ALL OVER THE WORLD. sad story: a couple flew from South Africa just for the event but didn't realize it was ticketed. Um- heartbreaking! But we got to take them on a tour. This happened often this weekend and we were contacting like crazy!

I have to take my "history test" soon with my zone leaders. I'm not really nervous because I'll just be myself while holding hands with the Spirit of course (ps those of you who aren't Mormon- we don't really believe we "hold hands" with the Spirit. I'm just being poetic).....but the dates- I'm constantly quizzing myself with my companion. Temple 1853 -1893. Tab 1863- 1875. Assembly Hall 1877!! Oh yeah!!! P.S. with this crazy busy weekend that brings opposition- aka protestors. WEARING Santa Clause suits. WHAT? I had to laugh. I did laugh. Too loudly probably. But are you serious? ODD!

I got to use my French many times this week it was cool: on the phone with two Canadians, on the chat with some pepes, a man from Togo (Africa) came to the square, 3 RMs from Belgium,France, etc. missions, and me and my companion (Sis Littlejohn is awesome and we are really warming up to each other- but it's kept at an appropriate level of fun and reverance. shifty eyes. we're all good!) and she speaks Spanish so we speak back and forth in Spanish and French. We actually understand each other quite well. Pres Holmes promises me that I'll be completely fluent by the time I leave or even better than I am now- hmmmm miracles happen on temple square everyday!!!

OK SO SOME GREAT NEWS: our friend from Kansas from last week is an IRC (which is a temple square goal) Investigator Referral Confirm!! It means that the missionaries are in continous appointments with them. He is GOLDEN!!! I wanna meet him someday! He has really helped me gain a testimony for chat and Referral Center Calling missionary work! We also are teaching a man who lives in Bangkok for work but is from Nigeria and is dating an LDS girl on-line in Chile. It's NUTS and he is so prepared too!!!! I learn a lot from him and feel blessed for this crazy lifestyle to talk to people all over and work like crazy! I have talked to all continents multiple times (except Antartica).

Oh we are having a New Years Talent show within the mission- tell me why me, Sis Littlejohn, and another companion ship are doing a hardcore lyrical/contemporary piece. To a Christian rock band. Haven't taken dance seriously since Singapore but it's all coming back to me. It's good to dance and have that time of the day to let loose and do something I love. Video coming soon!!!!

Oh we also talked to a wonderful woman on the square this week that is soooo golden, too! Her husband received a Book of Mormon in the 90's and she just found it in their house and started reading. She was in town from Pheonix and we took her through God's Plan For His Family video and at the Christus, seeing the light of Christ light up in her eyes and feeling both of our testimonies strengthened- there is nothing like it!!!! I am so grateful for the opportunity to be an instrument in Christ's hands!!! We get to continue teaching her on the phone in Phoenix and she already said she wants to get baptized! Temple Square is a place of miracles!

The Pioneers went through a lot and I am glad it is turning over such miracles still 200 years later!!! I love this gospel! Even though I can lose perspective or become frazzled, this really has been one of the most amazing chapters in my life. My own testimony has been so strengthened. I have known for some time the truthfulness of this restored Church and the love of our Savior. But solidifying it and dealing with it 24/7 is such a blessing. Joseph Smith is the Moses of our day and how lucky we are to have a prophet now, Thomas S. Monson! We can talk to God personally and hear counsel for the whole church through the prophet. So many ways to receive revelation! Scriptures, prophets, prayer, church, etc!!!!! All of this is possible and centered on the atonement and love of our Savior. I am so grateful for him and this Christmas time where the whole world can be reminded! He is miraculous and the only way!!!! I love this gospel and hope you all are having a Merry Christmas!!!!

Until next week, may God answer your prayers! I am praying for you and love you all!!!

Merry Christmas

P.S. soooooo i really am an unfortunate soul in the health department. funny, sick story for the week. I took some of my new medicine (HIGH IRON PILLS) and I guess my stomach didn't like that too much but the shower was being used in our apartment. so I grabbed a trash bag for emergency. Then I knew I was going to throw up...... um..... I ran across the hall to the zone leaders apartment and knocked on the door. They opened the door (they're all having companionship study in their living room) and I'm puking in the bag. They are shocked! They rush me to their bathroom. It was embarrassing and a good way to be teased for the rest of the day! My poor issues!!!!! At least the WHOLE floor wasn't witnessing it. But of course I had to include my own apartment and another in my humiliation. That's just the way I roll!!!!!!! ok great!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

MERRY CHRISTMAS from Temple Square

Oh mammmmmmma!!!!! Struggles! Merry Christmas from Temple Square.

I've gotten the message from my many visitors- Thank you :) My days are very busy and of course it's crowded so seeing me is hard! I hope to see you, Taryn though!! And just hit y'all with the Spirit like crazy! Ok ok yah!!!! So Temple Square is amazing!!!

I have already found out how real of a mission it is. It's hard but very rewarding! It has it's own challenges- some that I didn't even imagine! So we spend half the day on the square contacting and getting referrals (which are essential! ALWAYS have a referral of a non-member when you come to Temple Square) and then the other half of the day on the phones, chatting, and using technology to teach! It switches off every day but it's amazing. I have seen many miracles already.

We found an amazing young man on chat from Kansas- wow he is prepared! It's awesome teaching him on the phone and the missionaries should be by this week. We get to talk to them on the phone until the missionaries have seen them at least twice. There are a lot of nitty-gritty rules and details but that's the gist of it. I also was calling some pepes from the Manti Pageant and MIRACULOUS (long story short) got to talking to this non-lds girl from Vernal! It was amazing. She is meeting with the missionaries, too! We are teaching her more later today!! I met an amazing man on Saturday night! We are out contacting and uplifting people at the bottom of the spiral staircase at the bottom of the Christus in the North Visitor Center and this college-age kid walks up
to me and asks "So I was wondering if I could get a Book of Mormon and meet with the missionaries!" WHAT???? It was legit! We got his info and back in Idaho, the gospel is spreading! I've met many people from all over the country and all over the world already! I can already see how amazing this Temple Square mission is! It's so different and cool as a missionary!

I feel like an insider of church head quarters! With our special cards that get us in personnel doors and in the back rooms! Suh-weet! I am making great friends and having great experiences already! My companion, Sister Littlejohn (yes I think of my fav movie RHMIT all the time) is from the Bay area in Cali and was going to BYU and she is
super sweet. A little more shy but a GREAT missionary. I'm learning a lot and struggling at the same time!! You get TOUGH skin on temple square. Had some run-ins with anti's already. Oh the Marissa within me has some struggles with that but Sister Schroedter takes over and is so pleasant and proper and spiritual. Bahhaa.

Of course this place has beautiful scenary. Amazing walking down with all the sisters in the morning and seeing Temple Square- a great way to start off your mission everyday! I've always been obsessed with the SLC temple- this just adds to that! Church was exciting yesterday- President Hinckley's son (Elder Richard Hinckley) presided. Apparantely that is a rare treat! It was awesome!!! Sister Phillips sang an amazing duet for the musical number! I didn't even know she could sing like that. Wonderful! The spirit is amazing here- so huge and such a blessing! SOOOO much to do this P-day. Stressed but coping. Thank you for all the shout outs. I'll try to get back to you all that have written over the last month as best I can.

Pdays and priorites are hard to balance. I am so focused on the work and feel so much love and prayers. Keep them coming! I love walking around temple square with just my badge, smile, and Book of Mormon. It's simple and that's all that is needed to spread the good word and bring people closer to Christ.

Christ has helped me sooooo much this past month! Especially this past week. Oh my word!!!!! Now something unique I mentioned is that we spend half the day on the computer. While that brings a lot of success- it also brings opposition. Opposition in all things! Um. okay..... let me just say- the anti's are everywhere and Satan is working hard! I cried the FIRST full day on Temple Square like a baby because of getting harassed. It was embarassing and a great impression but I am so glad you all cannot even imagine some of the things that get said to us.

And we use our first names. SO they will say "ALIGEOIUHOTUAHJLE OAIHGOEIJTLI *@($UHGLAJKIGE )@*(HJGNA, Marissa!" and it is the most shocking, offensive, perverted, satanic evil I have ever been exposed to. Ok well maybe not the most but it's definitely tied! It is incredible horrid!!!!! So the first day- I was so green. And BAM!!! It was like a cloud of evil!! I wasn't warned or prepared. It was rough! I felt so hopeless but that's why we have Christ on our side! I know that Jesus looks out for his missionaries and gives us strength! I am still appalled everyday.

How can someone talk to a woman like that? They obviously know when it says "Alison and Marissa" that we are girls. and they know we are young missionraies. What I wouldn't GIVE for them to talk like that to me to my face with Chase, my dad, Garrett, Dave, Chad, Lance, Dallin, Taylor, Grant, Josh, or some other protective guy nearby! Smackdown! But of course we handle it all with care and with love. But let's just say- If you thought I had hard skin before- oh mamma!!! A mission definitely has highs and lows- we get to be the sweetest, most endearing individuals and the most hardcore, tough individuals!

I am so grateful to represent the Lord and wear his name on my tag/badge/name thingy at all times!!! Oh yah- yesterday we got to go to Music and the Spoken Word. It was beautiful. My first time in person! We don't get to go next week because it's a ticketed event but have fun with Archilletta (those that are going ;)!!!!!!)

I love you alll soooooooo much and am seriously struggling but I know soon I will just be so adjusted and flying high. They always say the first transfer and the first three weeks are really a crazy time here. I can do this!!! Your mail and love and prayers are greatly encouraged!! I love you all!

And HAPPY BIRTHDAY WEEK, JOSH LOUD!!!!!! love you!!! and your wife and daughter :) you are amazing- you genuis soon-to-be doctor of Cali!!!!! I love you all and am doing my best and leaning to the Lord for all understanding and strength! I know he places you angels in my life, too!!!!! HELP!!!! The Lord helps me everyday! I love you! You are in my prayers!!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

4 MORE DAYS!!!!

Four more days till I'm in my white field ready to be harvested! aka
church headquarters! WOW WOW WOW!!! so since Wednesday I have been in
Temple Square district. It's just us and 25 Temple Square sisters and
3 Washington DC Temple Square Sisters! It's fantastic! I'm learning and
applying so much! My mission- I AM SOOOOO LUCKY! and I'm not just
saying that! It's absolutely fantastic. I feel soooo blessed to be
apart of this great work! Some interesting things: the sisters in my
district going to temple square: where are they from? Taiwan,
Pakistan, Bolivia, Hong Kong, USA, Fiji, Tahiti, Australia, Brazil,
Germany, Mongolia, Peru, Armenia!!! It's so crazy awesome! We all
leave at 6 am Wednesday on our shuttle. We go to the airport first (to
drop off the sisters taking planes) and then we take I-80 (I'm
guessing) to beautiful downtown Salt Lake! I'm so excited! Let me
tell you some cool stats and things I've learned about my mishy mish!
Visitor Center referrals have a 25% chance of baptism while tracting
in the field only has a 0.05% chance for every person you meet to
become baptized. Which makes sense because people feel a SPECIAL
spirit at temple square and are brought there for a specific reason.
Also, when visitor center sisters are picked.... (it's a little
different than Conference talks) Dallin H. Oak said that they pick the
Visitor Center missionaries first and that each apostle that picks a
sister can personally feel the relationship the sister has with Jesus
Christ and his Atonement. And after my last two years, I can tell you
that impression they got MUST have been strong! I've never learned
more about our Savior or his atonement and saving friendship than I
have in the past two years! It has really prepared me for Temple
Square :) I CANNOT WAIT TO GO THERE WEDNESDAY!! We also are going
there Saturday from 3pm -9pm (DO NOT HARRASS ME!) I'm just telling you
because I'm stoked to get paired up with an oldie sister and have her
show me around Temple Square. I know my excitement is going to grow
even more- I feel incredible!!! oh yah- we said goodbye to our Iowa
and New Mexico District Elders this week- that was hard! But I'm going
to their homecomings with Chase in arm! They are looking forward to
it! hahahahah! you all can come with me!!! enhance the awkwardness and
joy!!! happy birthday Dave Anderson (FFIL!!!!) yesterday!!!! I just
got out of the temple. Yes, mom we've been going. Well not last pday cuz
it was Thanksgiving. But we went as a district (elders and sisters)
and did a session my first pday and now we went as T square sisters and
did initiatories. I LOVE THE TEMPLE!!! Make it a goal, people!!! Me
and my 2 companions are singing in sacrament meeting. just us three!
"Joseph Smith's First Prayer" to the tune of Come Thou Fount! It
sounds awesome!!! ps thank you for the christmas package Andersons. I
love the stocking!!!! Kelly- kisses!!! So I wanna share two more
things!! This week I cried for the first time- WHY? Because the MTC
doctors ticked me off sooooooooo bad!!!! The doctor was saying how
dangerous Ulcerative Colitis is on a mission and the number one reason
people come home and how I really need to think about doing something
else and all this garbage. He was making me so mad and sad- well he
meant well but I was overanalyzing and being a freak about it! So he
said it's protocol for all ulcerative colitis missionaries to have a
check up in the MTC - ughhhh! So me and my companions got to go OFF
MTC grounds and go to my gastro in Utah Valley Medical Center. It was
weird and I was super bitter but we loved being out- WHY? because we
could breathe and realized that same spirit of the MTC was still in
our hearts and.....are you ready for how the Lord works in mysterious
ways??? WE DID MISSIONARY WORK!!! We got referrals, passed out pass
along cards, and talked all day about our Savior! I have the strongest
hope for this one referral we got for a man in Washington!!! I am
soooooooooooo stoked. I repented immediately for my bitterness and
realized this is why I needed to go to the doctor :) and it was nice
to talk to mom TWICE on the phone about the doctor. lucky duck!!!!
Last thing I wanna share- Sister Nichols shared the most inspiring
spiritual thought in our companionship study: when she opened her call
and struggled with it, her dad shared with her the story of Naaman (in
2 Kings 5! verse 13 is my favorite!!! look it up!!!) and it talks
about the guy who had leprosy. The Lord through his prophet Elisha
asked something simple of Naaman but he was stubborn. Her dad
related it to our mission call. If the Lord called us to Russia,
French Polynesia, Italy, Florida, etc. we would go with confidence but
sometimes it's harder to go to a simpler place (like Temple Square) or
to a place that you don't see why the Lord would call you there. Well,
ladies and gents- I AM NAAMAN!!! and even though it has taken me
sometime- I am finally so grateful for the simple small task of Temple
Square!!! I am so grateful to my Lord! I Know it's going to be hard
and it will be rough- but I know I can do it and it will be a
succesful mission! The Lord called me to this mission in the
pre-existence and I know I accepted then and I am accepting now!!! I
CANNOT WAIT!!!!!! I am loving life and I love all of you!!!! have an
awesome week! I know I will. you are all in my prayers!!!! I hope to
hear from you soon!!!!!!!!!! I know that our Savior lives!!!!!!