Sunday, June 25, 2017

tender mercies

Hi, all. 

Here are some things that happened this week that don't really matter too much but that made me really happy and thankful:
1. I got to play a trumpet this week! A member had one at their home and let me play it after we ate with them and I still have the fight song and national anthem memorized and it was so awesome and I totally need to get back into that when I get home. 
2. A member brought us pizza this week and I haven't had pizza since I left home which is super weird because I used to have homemade pizza like... weekly. Anyways, it was so so good and Sister H doesn't even like pizza so I've been eating leftovers all week. WIN.
3. No matter how much water I drink I always feel a little bit dehydrated. This week, someone gave us water every time that we went out tracting and it was so wonderful.
4. On... Thursday night there was a huge thunderstorm and we sat on the porch for like an hour after we got home and watched the lightning and ultimately ended up pretty wet but it was so happy and good.
5. We ran into a member at the store this week and they bought us ice cream. I love ice cream.
6. A family in the ward made salsa and jalapeno pepper something-or-other and they gave us a jar.
7. We got to pick blueberries with Bishop's family from someone's little farm in town. 

It's the small stuff. Tender mercies do abound. 

We currently have one really solid investigator. Her name is Angela and we've been able to see her about 3 times a week which is a HUGE blessing. We gave her a Book of Mormon on Wednesday and when we went back to see her on Saturday she had already read all of 1 Nephi. She had really amazing questions about who Gentiles are and why Laman and Lemuel were always rebelling and why Ishmeal needed to bring his family and so on. She retained like.. everything she read and said that she can't wait to keep reading and learn more. She is feeling her testimony of Jesus Christ grow. The Book of Mormon is so powerful. When combined with the Spirit, it is the most powerful tool in conversion. 

I finished reading the Book of Mormon today! Truly, it is the word of God. I could never deny that. I have a testimony that everything in that book is of great worth unto us - that by studying, pondering, and praying about the principles found in the Book of Mormon we can find real answers to real problems and receive heaven's help in our lives. I have been pondering as I have approached the end of the Book about what light I want to study it in next - I think I have decided to focus on the Plan of Salvation. I am way excited.

Have a happy and safe week!
-Sister Gore :)

Blueberry picking

Bucket of berries.  And a smile  on PDAY

Another Awesome week!

We had such an awesome week! We stayed busy and were diligent and as we put forth our best efforts, Heavenly Father brought about miracles for us. 

On Tuesday, I was on exchanges with Sister B. We spent the day in Fort Valley. At one point we were going to try a referral from some missionaries in another area who had met a lady living in our area. We found her home but she wasn't there.  One of the houses we tried in the neighborhood didn't have anyone home - I reached into my pocket to find a pass along card to leave at the door. I pulled out a Book of Mormon card and then had the thought that it might be better to leave a Bible card since most people already know the Bible and might be more receptive to that invitation. So I found a Bible card and we went on our way. We ended up knocking the whole street, and had made it back into the car for the next thing we had planned when the phone buzzed. Media referral! I remember saying "I hope it's in Fort Valley" and then, as I read it, "Hey it's on Edward St.... Hey we're on Edward St!". The man living at the house that we had just left a Bible card at 30 minutes previous had already called! We were so thrilled and went right back to his house and talked about the goodness in the Bible and also gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon, committing him to read 2 Nephi 31. It was such a neat little miracle! The Holy Ghost prompted us to stay and knock that street, to leave the Bible pass along card, to be in that area and that time and it resulted in us meeting him right quick. What a cool thing.

 Also - at dinner that night we had blackberry cobbler and vanilla ice cream that was TO DIE FOR. Just sayin'. 

On Friday we were in an area tracting and for an appointment from 6-8. However, our 8pm plan fell through. As I wondered how we could best spend our time I thought of a family in the ward whom Sister Vand I tried hard to get to see but were never successful in doing so. I'd only seen them at church once and hardly knew them - I didn't feel hopeful that they would be home or open the door. As we left the area we had been working in, I first opened the ward directory in our binder and wondered if there was somewhere better to go. Then the Holy Ghost reminded me of something taught in conference by Elder Rasband in the most recent General Conference: "We must be confident in our first promptings. Sometimes we rationalize; we wonder if we are feeling a spiritual impression or if it is just our own thoughts. When we begin to second-guess, even third-guess, our feelings—and we all have—we are dismissing the Spirit; we are questioning divine counsel. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that if you will listen to the first promptings, you will get it right nine times out of ten." The absolute last thing I ever want to do is dismiss the Spirit - Remembering this warning and counsel, I followed through on my first impression and we drove to this families home. Their 9yr old daughter opened the door almost as soon as we knocked - we spent the next 45 minutes in their home, and had a wonderful visit. I am so thankful that the Spirit helped me to have that experience - to see and understand that acting on the very first prompting is always best. It still takes practice to do this but I am learning so much about how the Holy Ghost speaks to me and it is so awesome. Without the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost it would be literally impossible for me to have any measure of success as a missionary. It reminds me of the words of Mormon :  "And I do this for a wise purpose; for thus it whispereth me, according to the workings of the Spirit of the Lord which is in me. And now, I do not know all things; but the Lord knoweth all things which are to come; wherefore, he worketh in me to do according to his will."
Allow the whisperings of the still small voice to guide you - to teach you the Lord's will. Then be sure to act promptly on the things you receive - it is the best way, every time. 

In closing: This week a member asked me why I was here. Here as in on a mission. I knew the answer but it made me think and ponder on that answer in coming days. Then this morning as I was studying I was so struck by the scripture in D&C123 about how many of God's children "are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it". I have heard that over and over again, but it really pierced my heart this week as I reflected on why I am out here serving the Lord. Ultimately, it is because I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that the fullness of the gospel was restored to the Earth by a prophet, Joseph Smith. I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ can change hearts and create peace and lead us back to our Heavenly Father. And because I have a testimony of these things, I have a need to share them and testify of them and invite others to come and know these things for themselves. It is exciting and this work is so sweet. I am eager to continue doing my part by opening my mouth and sharing - I will delight in the agency of those whom I share truth with, for I know that the Lord is preparing hearts and minds for us to find who WILL accept the restored gospel and that we will be led to them on Heavenly Father's timeline. 

Sister Gore

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Another Monday! They come and go so fast - I feel sure I was just here writing to you.
Yesterday, June 4, marks 2 months since I made it to GA aka The Promised Land. :)

I am so happy to be in this area - the members are wonderful and take such good care of us, and the Lord shows us His hand every single day.

Sister H and I have been focusing on miracles lately. If miracles have ceased, it is only as a result of wickedness or lack of faith. Miracles have not ceased and we have been working on expecting them and looking for them every day. It has helped us to be more humble, more thankful, and more optimistic. 

One particular miracle that we saw happened just last Sunday night:
We needed to find new investigators to meet our goal for the week and had changed our plans for Sunday evening to be contacting such that we could accomplish this goal. After about 1.5 hours we were out of pamphlets/pass along cards to leave behind. We had great desire to stay out contacting and do all we could in the last few hours to accomplish the goal we had set with our Heavenly Father, but were unsure if we could really be effective without something to leave with those whom we met. We prayed and asked God if we should continue to contact anyways, or go to visit a less-active lady who lived in the area. Once we had finished praying, I found about 60 pass along cards in my bag that I had previously not seen! We were able to continue contacting and found a new investigator at the very next home we knocked on after finding those cards. It was such a faith promoting experience - I am thankful for the tender mercies of the Lord and for His perfect love for me and for all those in my area that I am privileged to serve.

Truth is on the Earth in its entirety. Gain a testimony of it. Cling to it.  Treasure it. Live it. Share it.
-Sister Gore

No caption needed  
Fun family pets at a dinner appt 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Hey, y'all!

To be honest, I feel obligated to say that in every email because this is the SOUTH. 
It's fun for me. 

It was one heck of a week in Perry.
We have.. basically 0 progressing investigators. (Progressing basically means that we see them regularly and they keep their commitments.) So we do a whole TON of finding people and contacting people and knocking doors. We do as much walking as we possibly can because that makes it easier to talk to everyone.

But we had the most incredible miracle on Sunday! In the mission we do this thing called Windows of Heaven. We do it at least once a month. We prayerfully pick a 2-hour chunk of time in which we plan to go to an area and stay there the entire time, talking to EVERYONE that we see - no justifying, no fear. We decide the area the morning of and spend the whole week prior to windows of heaven pleading with the Lord to show us where to be that we might find His elect. The whole idea of WoH is that we covenant with God to talk to everyone we see in a place - a parking lot, a street, downtown - for the two hours. We just ask that God will put people in our path whose hearts are soft and who are prepared to receive the restored gospel. Sister H and I had planned to go and do windows of heaven downtown. However, as we arrived we learned that ALL of the stores are closed on Sunday. We were the only souls in the whole area. We did talk to one lady, taught her a 5 minute restoration, but she didn't feel that she was willing to change and accept the gospel right now.  We both felt we needed to leave downtown Perry and walk further down into a neighborhood. We talked to one other lady, who also wasn't interested. It was now 1 hour into Windows of Heaven and we had no new investigators. However, the Spirit continued to guide us down the street and then right onto another street. I recognized where we were - we had contacted on that street my first week in the area. The last house on the street belongs to a woman we met in a parking lot one night and shared the Easter initiative with her. She said that we could come back, we had an appointment scheduled, but she ignored us each time we tried to make further contact with her. A little half-heartedly, we knocked on her door. She answered. "I don't know if you remember us but we met you in a parking lot about 6 weeks ago. Would now be a good time for us to share more of our message with you?" She allowed us into her home and we taught the entire restoration - the Spirit was so strong in her home. . Sister H and I had never taught an entire lesson together, but the Spirit unified us and we were able to teach by the Spirit. As we testified y about the Book of Mormon and how she can know of truth, she beamed. We invited her to be baptized and she accepted! She will be baptized late June/early July. WeI were so amazed as we left her home - the Lord had guided us to her, via beginning downtown for windows of heaven.  I cannot even describe the Spirit that was in that living room - I am so humbled and in awe. It was such an incredible miracle and we are going back to see her on Tuesday. It just.. filled me with this incredible joy and enthusiasm. As I reflect on it now I just.. can hardly conceive of the great privilege it is that God has allowed me, weak l as I am, to take part in the building of His kingdom - in preparing the world for the Savior's return - in inviting others to come and receive truth. I actually can't think about it without just crying and.. I am so thankful and God is good and I think I'll just be a missionary forever and ever and ever. 

It rained a WHOLE TON this week - like 4 days straight. It was pretty fun, actually. I enjoyed it and we managed to not have to go out and contact while it was raining. But I did miss the sunshine.

Today, as in Memorial Day, the Perry Ward had a cook out at a big old park in Byron, GA. The ward used to do it all the time but quit about 3 years ago because the turn out was so bad. They did the cookout again this year. The ward was planning for about 50 people to come, and got more like 100. It was such an awesome turnout and tons of families that haven't come to church in WEEKS came. We got to wear sweats because it's p-day and we literally spent 4 hours playing soccer/wate rballoon volleyball with the ward. We met so many people and it was just such an amazing ward social. I was super thankful that I got to play sports for so long - it feels good to be really tired. We are going to sleep so hard tonight!!

Sister Gore

The picture of us with the books is at that place called Loaves and Fishes. It is a food bank and also a free library kind of deal. I love going - the people work us so hard and it is awesome to be of any kind of help to such a good program. We counted hundreds of books last Thursday! 

At loaves and fishes

Rain for days