July 2012- January 2014

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

This is the mildest winter I have ever experienced! But I did hear a rumor that Lubbock has been entered in to a contest for the city with the most unpredictable weather.  And I just might have to agree. We’ll go from a freezing morning to an incredible dust storm that makes EVERYTHING brown. But….. I won’t have to worry about that anymore. I got my transfer call Saturday night and I am headed to Canyon, a little college town just outside of Amarillo. Everything about this transfer was a direct answer to my specific prayer. It is truly amazing how God really cares about the details of our life. I’ll still be serving with the Young Single adults which I am so happy about, and it’s a branch. But I was talking with the Sister that I’m going to be serving with and she said everyone there is so excited to do missionary work. Also, in Canyon is Palo Duro Canyon which has been my favorite natural wonder here in West Texas…. Well, the only mountainous area…. But it’s in my area.

I may be excited to go to Canyon. But I am really going to miss the College Park Ward. There has been so many good things happening here. Especially this past week. We have met some wonderful people.  Like always, new people to talk about! My first new friend has been dating a member for 2 years and is finally at a point where she is ready to learn about his faith. She is a very devote Catholic and you can tell that meeting with the missionaries has been a big step for her. We’ve met with her twice this week and it has gone really well. She is very sensitive to the spirit. When I was preparing for the lesson on the restoration, the part that stood out to me the most was the “Gospel blesses families” so I spent the majority of the time studying that. The lesson ended up being just that subject especially focusing on the blessings of the temple. The reasons why she was attracted to (the member) is because of how strong he was in his faith. When we are living righteously, people notice. You never know what kind of impact you can have on someone.  Oh! Also this… She cooked Mexican food for us, and it was AMAZING. I’m really sad to leave them.

We also met with another couple in a similar position (man, this week was couple’s week.) They are learning more about each other’s religion because they are approaching marriage. She has been going to the Catholic Church with him for the past 4 months and she has learned a lot. In turn, she has been sharing truths of the gospel with him. When we met with him he admits that the more he learns about our beliefs the more it all makes sense. That’s the beauty of the gospel, the honest seeker will recognize the truth.

I am so excited for this week, with Easter approaching. I feel my thoughts are more focused on my Savior and the sacrifice that He made for me, those that I love and everyone.  As my understanding of His love and sacrifice for me grows, my desire to follow him and His commandments deepen. I want to become the person my Savior has intended me to become because it is built on that foundation of love. I know that everything in life, the experiences we have or the challenges we face or the weaknesses we need to overcome can all be directed back to our Redeemer and His Atonement.

I sure do love y’all all the way from Texas! Have a Happy Easter!
Love, Sister Luke

Thursday, March 21, 2013

IMG_0149[1].JPGGood Morning,

Earlier this week, I was heartbroken when I realized it was March for a number of reasons….. First because my mission is going by much faster than I’d like it to and second…… I won’t be able to participate in March Madness! I started plotting on how I could still participate. Even talked with a member about printing a bracket out for me and I would send it to y’all…. But then I thought it could potentially strain some of my relationships with SOME of my family members.  You know…. Having your little sister beat you when she had access to information on teams is one thing….. But having your little sister beat you when she is far removed from the news on the NCAA games is quite another. SO I decided against it. I’m excited to hear the unraveling of these next couple weeks. And don’t worry; I’ll be back next year to put ya'll in your place. Haha.

So this week had some difficulties because of spring break. (like a mini Christmas break…. Are you tired of hearing me complain about student holidays yet? ) But we were able to continue to work hard and find success! We were definitely able to see the little tender mercies of the Lord that just made me love Missionary work so much more.

One experience in particular was when we met with two guys who were over at a recent convert’s home when we went to visit. We got on to the subject of prayer and faith and how they work together. The spirit was definitely strong and guiding me and my companion's words. At the end of our conversation, we asked if we could leave with a prayer. We got down on our knees and asked one of the boys to say it. He was nervous, but accepted our invitation. As soon as he opened the Spirit was felt even stronger. The heavens were opened and he offered a very sincere prayer.

Another experience with prayer is last Monday night we met with someone that we had taught once. He offered the closing prayer which was full of determination to read and study to gain his testimony back. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room. I’m so grateful for this opportunity to be a representative of Christ so that I can be a part of these sweet little miracles.

This week, we have met some amazing people and my faith has been strengthened so much. This church is true! This gospel is the path that will bring us true happiness and everlasting joy. And I know that Jesus Christ is my personal Savior. Thanks for your love and support, I wouldn’t be where I am today without a loving family and supportive friends.

Love, Sister Luke

Ate Fried Cheese!


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Man, this week flew by. I feel like I say that a lot, but today I really mean it. I’ve never been so focused on one of my investigators before. I think it was because all my thoughts, prayers, and studies were on how to best help my friend prepare for baptism. When we spoke with her on Monday she was sharing her doubts with us. . We fasted for her midweek and it truly produced miracles. We had a couple really amazing lessons, one in particular was with our bishop. Amazing Man. He too is a convert from a home that has negative feelings about the church. His testimony proved to be the confirmation that she needed. She is a strong girl and I am so impressed with her. I keep telling her that, “God has something great he is preparing you for.” I wholeheartedly believe that. All the trials and tribulations that we go through, while they might seem ridiculously hard, are for our benefit.
At her baptism I realized how much I take this restored gospel for granted. It is one of the greatest gifts God has given us. I was talking with her on Sunday after she had received the Gift of the Holy Ghost and she was telling me that she has already started to see the blessings of the gift of the Holy Ghost. Answers to some of her questions (and her mother’s questions) are already coming to her by the power of the Holy Ghost. I feel so blessed that I have that gift to discern what truth is and what is not. Because there is a lot of counterfeits out there that may look appealing and right, but we have that still small voice that is our guide throughout this life. How blessed are we!

There are some other great people that we are working with who are really progressing! Man, I just love this work. It really brings me a lot of happiness. Great things are happening here in the College Park Ward! I love you all so much! Thanks for your love and support!

Love, Sister Luke

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Holy cow…. What a week. It seriously feels like I was emailing just yesterday! It really went by so fast, full of awesome experiences.  But I guess first and foremost, we met with our friend on Tuesday as planned. And it was an amazing lesson. That girl has so much faith. And her testimony is so strong in the gospel, it brought me to tears. I guess anxiously waiting for over a year will do that to you! You can definitely tell that she is converted to the Lord. I wish you could have heard her testify of the Prophet Joseph Smith, of being baptized by the proper authority, and doing the Lords will even when things are hard. I’ve never personally met someone who has such a desire to do Gods will. While her testimony is so strong, we have also seen how Satan is attacking her with all his might. Her family is proving to be the only stumbling block in her getting baptized. But she is determined and set her baptismal date for this weekend. That has only made the adversary work harder. Needless to say, she is in my prayers constantly. This experience made me realize that it is needful to have opposition in all things. If it were easy, it wouldn’t be worth it! On a large scale such as my friend's example, or a small like me dragging myself out of bed at 6:30 am. I know that the opposition is all for our benefit and makes us stronger more devoted servants to the Lord.
We had a couple funny experiences at church yesterday. I’ll tell you my favorite. We are teaching this kid. He is a funny sort, and is…. Well. A free spirit. Well, he decided to bear his testimony at church. He gets up and shares this experience he had while he was in the rainforest. He tells this story about how he was driving on a beautiful clear day when the car flipped and he fell down the mountain. He was unconscious for a full day and when he woke up, he found that half of his bones were broken. He said that that experience changed his life. He said he had a vision after that and was told to receive the Holy Spirit, he needed to travel to Malaysia and carry baby goats up the mountain. Then he SLAPPED the podium and said. “Nah, I’m just kidding.” I tell you what that kid had me going he is good at telling stories, too good. Then he said, “today I learned that the Holy Ghost speaks to us all differently. Which I’m grateful for.” Then he came down from off the stand. Oh man, it was so funny. But I didn’t tell him that because I thought I shouldn’t encourage that behavior….
Church was also awesome because we had a lot less active members come that we visited this past week. So that was awesome.
We’ve had a really good week here in Lubbock. I am learning and growing so much! I love y’all and take care this week!
Love, Sister Luke

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

So as you can tell, I am emailing you a little late. I think Lubbock might have more spontaneous weather than Utah. Yesterday, there I was standing outside without a jacket when we receive a sever blizzard warning. That’s right folks, a blizzard in west Texas. I thought it was a joke….. but sure enough we woke up the next day to a blizzard. Our cars were parked so we couldn’t leave the house. In Utah, It would have been manageable. But our Mission President didn’t trust the Texan drivers in snow…. And I’ll admit. Neither do I. Luckily it was Pday so we didn’t miss out on too much (except emailing you!) But it was really frustrating because we had a really awesome lesson scheduled and we couldn’t go. But don’t you worry; we are seeing them later today. It is with that girl I told you about in a past email. She has known the church is true for over a year now, and she just celebrated her birthday so now she can meet with us. and her mother can’t stop her. I am so excited; I will definitely let you know how her lesson goes next week. Any who for the rest of Pday, we just wrote letters, cleaned, and ate something called monkey bread. So delicious…. You should make it!
This past week has been awesome. We have really worked hard. I’m really happy to be serving with my companion. I have already learned a lot in the short time that we have spent together. This past week we have seen a lot of effort put in by the members. They are really great about sharing the gospel and introducing us to their friends.

This past week, we were teaching a new friend about the restoration. As we were teaching him, a roommate came home and sat in the lesson to listen. We continued on with our lesson and their third roommate came home. By the end of the lesson, we had a full house! That’s the great thing about serving with young single adults. They seem more open minded and they even encourage their friends to learn more.

We have been really focusing on helping the ward missionaries to fulfill their calling. It has made me reflect on how I handled my callings in the past. And I am ashamed to say that I did not give my full attention to what I was asked to do. Just as a missionary is assigned to a specific area for a reason, I know that the callings we receive in the church are divinely inspired. God gives us a portion of his children for the perfecting of the saints. I would like to encourage you in whatever God has asked you to do in His church to reevaluate your responsibilities and find ways to do your calling more effectively
I love y’all so much! Thanks for your support and examples!
Love, Sister Luke

West Texan Blizzards aren't for sissy's. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

I have good news to report! I am staying here in Lubbock in the College Park Ward! I am so thrilled to stay! I feel like there is a lot that I can learn from serving here. My new companion is actually serving in a different ward here in Lubbock so she doesn’t even have to travel! I’m really excited to serve with her; I hear she is a fantastic missionary.
This week had its peaks and lows, like usual. We haven’t been able to get in contact with one of our friends again. This makes me really sad, because we had such a great lesson with her and I know she felt the spirit. Hopefully we can talk with her again.
But….. There is always something good that happens! One of the people we briefly met like a month ago contacted us. Apparently his phone busted and he lost our number. Well, he wanted to meet with us again! So he came to a baptism yesterday, and then stake conference on Sunday! He’s a pretty neat kid. We have an appointment with him on Wednesday.
One of our main focuses is helping the recent converts stay. Trying to motivate the ward missionaries to do their callings and really fellowship those who are new.
I don’t have a lot of time today! Sorry! This email is kinda lame.... But I am happy and working hard!

Love, Sister Luke

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I survived another week in Lubbock, Texas. So this week I had some pretty neat experiences, then some sour ones. But it’s a new week! To finish the rest of P-day, we went to this park and climbed some metal horses. I have heard all the missionaries talk about it so I was expecting something really awesome. But I soon came to realize that it was just one of those things that only missionaries think is cool because there isn’t much else you can do in Lubbock. But nonetheless, we climbed them! I was slightly terrified because I was on the tallest one. And everyone just stood around laughing. But I did it. And I have the pictures to prove it. We also went to a little place called ransom canyon. Basically a baby Utah.
This week I did exchanges with another sister missionary! She is really an awesome missionary from Indiana and she is a convert. We went out to work in Levelland and had some really neat experiences. We met a girl who is thrilled to learn about the Gospel. My companion and I went back to meet with her on Friday and she is working on preparing herself for baptism! We also met with our other friends while we were out there. And our Bishop came with us. He was a great help for them! He was a convert and can relate to a lot of things they are going through. We made some headway with them, I’m really hoping they progress. One of them really ponders on the things we talk about after we leave, the spirit works on him. He had a hard time with the priesthood and why it was necessary. Later, he texts us and tells us that he has thought more about it and the priesthood is a good concept. “How do I be a part of it?” “Well…. You have to be baptized.” “Ah….. I see what you plan is!” haha He gets this idea that all we are here to do is baptize him. But he really does recognize truth.
So this week we get transfer calls. I know for sure there will be some change. But I just don’t know how much will change! I’ll let you know next Monday!
I love you!
Love, Sister Luke
I celebrated my 7 eleven day! 7 months down, 11 to go!