Tuesday, May 27, 2014

May 27th, 2014

It doesn't get much better than this! :)
This week I was very blessed to hear Elder Holland speak! As we all know very well, he is an incredible speaker, and an incredible person. He said so many wonderful things, and I don't have a lot of time, so I'm only going to be able to share a few with you.
First, Elder Holland told us that EVERY single night, he prays for the second coming of the Savior. As he spoke of this, he was very still and said in a quiet voice that he pleads with the Lord for this to happen because there is so much pain and suffering in the world that needs to end. He quoted a verse in Revelation that says God shall "wipe away all tears from their eyes" and spoke of how he yearns for the day when that shall be fulfilled. He then told us that upon making that request, he knows Heavenly Father is saying, "I am anxious for it too! But I cannot allow it until you do your work Jeff!" He continued to speak about how vital our role is in preparing the earth for the second coming! We must do everything in our power to keep our covenants and preach of Christ in all aspects of our life.
Second, Elder Holland spoke to us missionaries of how we are God's investigators. He told us to think about how much invest into those we are teaching, our prayers, thoughts, studies, etc. are constantly focused on them and how we can help them progress. Well, doesn't it only make sense that God does the same with us? This was especially meaningful to me because I could recognize all of the wonderful potential I have seen in Garett and the amazing things that he can accomplish through this gospel! It really made me sit and ponder what those things are that Heavenly Father sees in me and for me, that I need to be striving to discover and do!
There is so much to share!! But I only have a few minutes so I wanted to tell you really quickly how Garett is doing!! :) HE IS INCREDIBLE!! He is absorbing everything like a sponge and really investing himself, it is truly miraculous to see. He is already over halfway through Alma and well on his way to finishing before his baptism! He has been taught almost all of the lessons, we have been meeting with him almost every single day. He has develop friendships with so many members that now at church activities we are not needed to introduce or integrate him into conversation or the activity in any way! He is just part of the crew and everyone loves him :) After reading Alma 34 the other day he texted us and said, "I'm freaking out, everything just clicked!" He told us that Alma 34 helped him realize how awesome the Atonement really is, and how truly NOW is the time for him to prepare to meet God! He said that now he understands what he should do while he is alive!! He was so prepared to receive the gospel and my testimony has been fortified that the Lord truly does either lead us to those who are prepared, or leads them to us. In Garett's case, Heavenly Father did both :)

I love you all so much!! I hope you have a wonderful week!!

Sister Walborn

Monday, May 19, 2014

May 19th, 2014

I WISH THAT I COULD ADEQUATELY EXPRESS MY HAPPINESS RIGHT NOW!!! Uh... This week has been one of the best, if not THE best, of my entire mission!! First off - I am sorry I didn't write last week, there was a goof up on the computers and I only got 15 minutes. I will try to make up for it :)

So do you remember the kid I mentioned named Garett? We met him at Forums and didn't really think he was interested but then he came to church! And FHE! Alrighty.... well, he is the main source of my inexplicable happiness this week! Here is a timeline so it will make more sense :)

May 2nd - That Friday that we met him was.  

May 3rd - He came to church FHE

May 4th - He came to FHE and totally ROCKED at ultimate frisbee!! he was the star of the night! 

May 10th - When we actually sat down and were able to have a lesson with him for the first time. His first lesson went GREAT!! He has never been to church before coming with us, and he has almost zero religious background! His only knowledge of Jesus Christ was "that he died... and that he walked on water". Crazy! As we sat down and explained how God is our loving Heavenly Father and that the fullness of His gospel has been restored to the earth, Garett seemed to understand, not fully but with childlike faith - incredible. At the end of the lesson, we testified of the Book of Mormon and asked him if he wanted to know for himself if the book was true? His response was, "well.. I think I should find out if God is actually there first." Yeah, I guess that is a pretty good place to start ;) 

May 11th - He came to church for the second time! While at church he volunteered to drive people to the service project the following Saturday... this kid is amazing!! 

May 12th - He came to FHE! That night after FHE, he texted us and said, "Hey! I read the first book of nephi and embarrassingly I'm already a little confused. Could we set up a time for me to ask some questions?" ...of course!! Sister Moss and I (being the unfaithful/lame missionaries that we are) assumed that he meant to say "chapter" instead of "book".

May 14th - we arrived to the lesson to discover he really had read the entire first book of Nephi!!! He had so many questions, little things like what does the word "gentile" and "abominable church" mean? He also wanted us to explain all of chapter 20 & 21 because he couldn't understand them at all ( they are Isaiah chapters so we didn't understand them very well either!). He had really been studying the Book of Mormon! It was so incredible!! We asked him how his experience had been when he prayed to know if God was there and he responded, "well, I didn't get a warm feeling in my heart or anything like that.. but it was like I just gained the knowledge somehow that I had always known he was there! I just didn't know that I already knew!" HE IS RECOGNIZING THAT HE IS RECEIVING ANSWERS TO HIS PRAYERS!!! HE IS SO AWESOME!! Then he shared with us how he really liked Nephi and how no matter how many times his mean brothers bound him up, he always forgave them right away when he got free. So awesome.

May 15th - We met with him again to teach him the 1st half of the Plan of Salvation. We had given him the commitment to read 2 Nephi 1 & 2 in preparation. When we asked if he read, he responded, "yeah! Chapter 2 was a game changer!" ...uhh... we froze a little bit, unsure if he meant in a positive or negative way. haha Then he continued, "it answered the biggest question I've had - if God loves us then why isn't it all happy and good here, but it said in the chapter that there has to be both sides, good and bad, to actually have happiness." AH!! He said that if it hadn't been 11:30 at night when he read, he would've called us! But instead he just prayed and got a few answers he needed! At the end of the lesson we committed him to be baptized... and HE SAID YES!!! GARETT IS GETTING BAPTIZED ON JUNE 7TH!!!!! :D

May 17th - In the morning he came to the branch service project - cleaning up a highway! It was so fun! Really cold and rainy, but that didn't stop us!
Later, we met with Garett at a different location for this lesson and he is the coolest person ever because he didn't think he was allowed to park there since he didn't have a permit, so he walked 30 minutes to come to the lesson!! He said he had to use google maps and it was taking him all sorts of crazy places - down little trails and through "no trespassing" areas, through fields, etc. We were all in total shock that he did all of that just to come and he was STILL on time!! After describing all of that to us he said, "yeah, google maps is the great and abominable church!" HAHA we all died laughing.. :) This was probably my favorite lesson with Garett so far! He told us how he loved 2 Nephi 9: 21 which says, "he cometh into the world that he may save all men if they will hearken unto his voice; for behold, he suffereth the pains of all men, yea, the pains of every living creature, both men, women, and children, who belong to the family of Adam." Garett shared with us how for some reason in his mind, Christ always assumed the role of a "slave driver" in a way, but because of the Book of Mormon and specifically that verse he now knows to think of him as truly the Redeemer. :) He said that as he has read and is learning about Christ, it just makes him want to learn more and more about Him and the Atonement!  Later that night, we got a text from him saying he had finished the 2nd book of Nephi :) Oh my goodness family... this kid is incredible.

May 18th - He came to church for the 3rd time :) 

I could go on and on about things that he has said and accomplished, and the incredible, valiant spirit that he is!! In one of his lessons, he said how he feels so lucky that we talked to him out of all the people coming out of the library that day.. I hope I will be able to convey to him and to all of you the strength that my testimony has received because of his righteous pursuit to know God and to know truth. This gospel is true! I know it so strongly and I can never say it enough!! I love you all so much and I cannot wait to give you an update next week :) LOVE YOUU!!!

Sister Walborn

p.s. Pictures: 1) Sister Moss and I with Garett at the service project!! 2) Sister Wade, Sister Moss and I :)  Have a wonderful week!!!


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

May 5th, 2014


Family... I cannot even put into words the overwhelming joy and gratitude I feel!! Life is so amazing because of this incredible gospel!! It gives us so many opportunities to show our faith and as a result, see so many miracles and tender mercies from the Lord placed in our lives! This week particularly, was amazing. :) I wish I could tell you about the whole thing, but I know I do not have the time for it, so I'm going to focus on a few people who were a huge part of a lot of the miracles through the week. Here we go:

ABRIAM! We have been teaching Abriam for several weeks now and he is doing so well! He initially wanted to talk to us because he wanted to compare it to his own faith, but he has been sincerely studying the Book of Mormon meeting with us diligently! Last week he came to FHE and made a lot of friends with members of the branch! It was wonderful! He is unfortunately going home for the summer, BUT he asked us to have missionaries come visit him at home!!! He gave us his address and told us the date he is moving back! When he comes back in the fall, who knows? He could be baptized!! :)

BENAMI! This is a less-active member that the sister missionaries have been working with for months and months but he has never come to church... I had a hard time with that, because we only have so much time everyday and using part of that on someone who isn't taking this seriously didn't sit well with me. So, in our last lesson with him (a little over a week ago - it was my 2nd lesson with him) I tried my hardest to be very bold with him. He knows the gospel. He knows the principles and he knows the commandments he is breaking but doesn't have the motivation to change. He told us that when he graduates in a few years he will move to Utah and then it will be easy to live the gospel and so he will start making changes then..... haha.... The biggest problem though, was that he was feeling that he was getting his spiritual nourishment from his lessons with the sisters and therefore didn't have a desire to get it from church. So, we called him to repentance in a lovingly bold way, and made it very clear that it is our responsibility to act upon the knowledge that is given to us. A light seemed to go off in his head when we told him that he has become "comfortable with sin". He sat there and said, "whoa... you are right. This is bad.." We told him that when he was ready to make changes in his life, we will be right there for him along with the rest of the branch, but until then we cannot continue meeting with him. Guess what.... he came to church yesterday :)

GARETT! I am soooo excited for Garett!!! We met Garett Friday during forums and he seemed so shy and uncomfortable as we talked to him. So we talked with him for a little while and he loosened up a bit. He is a local from State College and is studying pre-med. When we began talking about God and asked him if he had any religious background, he told us he has NEVER been to any kind of church service his entire life!! ...what?! That is so rare for Pennsylvanians it seems like. So after recovering from shock, we told him about our church service and he nonchalantly said he would check it out. So he took our number, we got his and he went on his way. Saturday night we texted him to give him the info in case he forgot, and all he responded was, "thanks" So... we were terrible missionaries and had little faith in him actually coming. But, Sunday morning Garett comes waltzing into the Memorial Lounge of the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center (where we hold sacrament meeting) and a huge grin stretches across his face when he sees us :D He stayed for all 3 hours, so many people of the branch reached out to him and became his friend instantly, and he set up an appointment with us for this week because he said, "I love this but a lot of it is going over my head, I'm gonna need you to explain!" :) haha Someone asked him if they would be seeing him next week and without any hesitation he excitedly said yes! He is coming to FHE tonight too!!! Ah.... life is so good. :)

CIARA!  Okay... this one is still blowing my mind! This is the same Ciara that I taught when I was serving in Elizabethtown!!!! Ahh!! I don't know if you remember, but she was one of my absolute favorite people!! She wanted to be baptized and worked up the courage to ask her parents, they were super supportive, and then President Topham said no because she was moving shortly afterwards back to Altoona for school! We were so bummed but knew that it would all work out... Well, upon returning to Altoona, she kind of lost contact with missionaries and didn't continue taking the lessons! But at our most recent zone conference, the Altoona elders came up to me to ask me about her (since I was the one that referred her) and I about died because I didn't realize that she was so close! They gave me her phone number to see if I would have any luck with getting a hold of her and we both we so incredibly happy to talk again!! She was so insistent about coming down to see me, which I was so happy about because I desperately wanted to see her too but didn't think it was appropriate to ask her to make the trip, and so yesterday she came to church with me in the branch!! :) It was a huge tender mercy for me because she was one of the first investigators of my mission that I truly developed a deep love for! The best part was that she told me when she gets back to Etown next week (she is graduating this week from Penn State-Altoona) she is going to call up the sisters :) I LOVE THIS WORK!!

So.. I hope that gave you a little taste of the happiness that I feel. I am so grateful to be here at Penn State. I know that I am meant to serve here at this time, and that as I put my trust in the Lord and work my hardest everyday, He will place those in my path that He needs me to share the gospel with. I also know that that doesn't just apply to me! Every one of us, as Latter-Day Saints, have been called to preach the gospel and that if we are open to it, the Lord will provide a way for us to share what we have with those in our lives! I love you all so much!! There are so many incredible women in my life that I look up to and admire with all my heart - please know that I think of you often and especially with Mother's Day approaching, I will be pondering the amazing roles you have played in my life. I am so grateful for you!! Have a wonderful week and happy Mother's Day! Love you mommy ^_^

Sister Walborn

p.s. Pictures: 1) Ciara and I reunited again! :) love her!! 2) Sister Moss and I with Sister Ying and Sister Wade (the other sisters in the branch with us) out to lunch at the historic restaurant of State College called "The Corner Room"!  LOVE YOU!!