July 2012- January 2014

Friday, September 28, 2012

Hi Y’all,
Can I just say that I am a PROUD AGGIE!  I heard my team beat the U, and then the U beat BYU. So….. Pretty much Utah State #1. Wow. I wish I were there…. I probably would actually go to the football games.
It’s been another splendid week in Texas! On the bright side, I am feeling so much better….. On the not so bright side, my companion got sick. So we were house ridden for another day this past week.  She had something similar to the flu. But we still had an awesome week!
On Monday night, we taught our ladies lesson. My companion and I take a great deal of preparation for these lately because we are trying to help our friend get an answer if whether she should join the church. Well, we felt like we should teach last weeks lesson on personal revelation. We modeled the lesson after a mormon message series that we saw by Elder Bednar, called “Patterns of Light”. It’s amazing. You should watch it http://www.lds.org/pages/mormon-messages?lang=eng#patterns-of-light-the-light-of-christ . We showed these videos throughout the lesson. And it was really powerful. The spirit was so strong and our friend committed to reading her scriptures and praying everyday so she can get an answer, even before we asked if she would. She committed herself three separate times before the end of the lesson. The Spirit can do amazing things y’all.
On to another amazing lesson...We met another friend in a park. We taught about the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We started the lesson and it was going well. When we got to the part that we talked about Joseph Smith, all of our friends concerns came out.  And basically our friend knows change is what is needed. Our friend said, “It’s like a battle between wills, Gods and mine, and I know that I need to submit my will to God’s will." I know our friend has been prepared for this!  At  the end of the lesson, we asked if our friend got the confirmation that the things we taught were true, and would our friend be baptized. The answer was “Yes!” We set the date for in October! Since then, we have seen our friend almost every day. We have had some great lessons, about chastity (not as awkward as I thought it would be), temple, and read Moroni 10. One day our friend had some temptations instead of acting on it, pulled out the Book of Mormon and read! AH!!!! Isn’t our friend great!
I don’t know about in Utah, be there sure is a lot of excitement going on about the upcoming elections. Because of Romney’s faith, all of the denominations in Amarillo asked if they can hold a meeting in OUR stake center. What an amazing opportunity to explain to others what we believe in a sacred building! I had a dream about Mitt Romney earlier this week. It was a nightmare. I was talking to Mitt and he told me that he decided he wasn’t going to pay his tithing anymore because all his money needed to go to his campaign. Wow, I am now an official missionary because THAT is my worst nightmare. Haha
Aw…. I love you all so much! Thanks for your love and support! I sure am blessed to have the family and friends that I have to love and support me. The mission would be a whole lot harder without y’all. Dad, Thanks for always honoring and upholding your priesthood. Mom, I feel so blessed that I was raised in a loving home where the spirit can always be felt. I definitely took that for granted. So many don’t have that here.  And it is definitely something I want in my future home! Love you!
Love, Sister Laura Luke

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Hola Familia,
Can’t believe it’s been another week. I must say this a lot, but missionary time is so weird. It feels like one long day. People ask us what we did earlier in the day and I can’t remember. And when I do, it feels like it happened 3 years ago. And my companion said that I am a “real missionary” now because I dream about my mission. And that’s saying something because I never dream. True to form, this week just feels like it has been one long day.
The weather has been pretty great. It’s cooled down significantly. Well…. 80’s when it's really cold, 60's and my companion and I turned on the heater. I’m so glad both of us can’t tolerate cold. It’s been rainy here also. Which sparked my cold. I don’t want to sound winey or anything…. But being sick on the mission is hard. I wished I was at home or at work where someone would make me mint tea, or hot tang, or tell me to leave work and go to the doctor. Because I have a healthy companion ready to go to work, and I’m dragging. And I have to carry on conversations and lessons, and my head is all fuzzy. One investigator we taught this week looked very concerned for my well fair. He fetched me a box of tissues. But despite being sick, we got a lot accomplished.
We had an amazing follow up lesson with one of our friends where we read Mosiah 27. As we were reading Alma the Younger’s words, our friend began to cry, and told us that his words perfectly describe how she felt. It was amazing. And that my friends, is how you apply the scriptures to yourself.
This week was Stake Conference and we got a lot of our friends to come! Two came to the evening session. One of our friends is a whole lot more interested than the other (who is still focused on "saving our souls"). And another friend came to the Sunday Morning session. Which was a huge step. This friend works Sunday mornings so has never been able to come. Well, this week our friend decided to just come even if they had to leave work. And that's just what happened. I’m so happy! Our friend could really use the blessing of the gospel (but don’t we all?).
Holy cow. I’m out of time. Sorry this letter was pretty uninteresting. For some reason, writing just doesn’t sound that appealing right now. I really wish we could just do a big conference call! That would be fabulous! But I love my family and I am so blessed that I can be with y’all forever. I can’t think of exaltation without my family. The moments I am happiest are when I’m with y’all. Thanks for your love and support! I pray for y’all every day!
Love, Sister Luke

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Alrighty y’all,
Another week down! I am now in my 2nd transfer. I can’t believe time has flown by that quickly! Well, with the transfers we now have 3 sets of sisters in Amarillo and two of them are fresh out of the MTC. So…. The good news is I am no longer the “baby” of the mission. Bad news… I have no more excuses. I can’t pull the “sorry, I’m new. I have no idea what I am doing.”
Can I tell you how blessed I feel to be with my companion. Seeing and meeting other Sisters in the mission makes me realize that the Lord truly knows me and who I work best with. She isn’t super uptight, yet still expects a lot of effort in our work. It’s great because we both are motivated to be good missionaries and work hard. On weekly planning days (where we end up being in the apartment for hours……!) she makes it fun. They usually end up with some ridiculous interpretive dance (because our “dancing" music options are slim).
Speaking of interpretive dance…. There was a mega rainstorm this week. Last time this happened my companion and I swore we would go watch the “flood areas”. Ok…. So maybe that wasn’t the brightest idea. But honestly, we didn’t have to look that hard because of Amarillo’s poor drainage system, EVERYTHING is a flood area. After our appointment, the rain got super bad. Our next appointment cancelled on us and it wasn’t exactly “prime door knocking weather” we sat in the car and watched. On my side in the gutter, the water was up to my knees. I know this because we might have gotten out of the car to test this out. Yep. We were drenched. So we thought, “Might as well dance to Josh Groban’s “remember when it rained”. We are such girls. Well, on our way to our next appointment we really found the “flood area”, she happened to live in it. It turned out to be a good experience though; we got to help a woman whose bumper got torn off by the “raging river” in the street.
Yesterday was a super busy evening. We went up to the VA hospital to do our singing to the patients there. I have a little soft spot in my heart for my time spent in the VA. You can feel such a strong spirit there (Especially when you add music.) I have learned so much by speaking to the people there and feel my relationship with God grow. At the VA, I have come to realize that you can have “sacred ground” in any moment in your life. It doesn’t have to be a place or with a certain person. You just need to invite the Lord in. While we were there, I felt prompted that we needed to go see someone in our ward who is battling cancer. But there really was no time in our day to see them. I prayed that if we are supposed to see this person, to please help us have the time. Well, the Lord truly does direct our paths because one of our appointments called and canceled. This was just enough time for us to see the person! I definitely saw the Lords hand in this whole experience because I had learned something in Relief Society that I felt prompted to share with them. I was also able to share some of the experiences I’ve had with mom, during her treatments. This person just is so amazingly positive. It was such an uplifting meeting. That is my little miracle for the day. I am beginning to recognize that we are guided in our "day-to-day" activities. That God is detail-oriented. Because in those little moments, is where miracles happen, hearts are lifted, and we learn to trust in him.
I sure do love you all! Thanks for your support and love! It means so much and motivates me to be a better missionary.
Love, Sister Luke

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Mountain biking and jumping on our P-day in Palo Duro Canyon

Hi Y'all,

How are y’all doin? Emails from Mom and Dad made it sound like it was another busy week at the Luke residence! So fun that Bryan and Jo got to come to town AGAIN. Boy, that is sooooo much driving for your little family. I’m so glad to hear that you are happy and safe! Jo thank you SO much for the General Conference CD’s! I love them. And they are from Gordon B Hinckley’s time. I love that! I’ll be responding to your letter next Pday! And Em, Thank you for the calendar! It was such a nice surprise and I was in desperate need of it! So because it was Labor Day, we are just now getting to a computer to communicate with y’all. Mom, Yes, I use my companion's bug repellant. If mosquitoes like you in Utah, they LOVE you here. And yes, I am eating. Transfers were actually this week on Tuesday. My, it was nuts. One of our Sister friends transferred to Lubbock and this is her last transfer. My companion and I have gotten really close to her so we might have shed a few tears. Man, for a girl who says she doesn’t like change, this is my worst nightmare!!! Change is a given every 6 weeks. We were sad to see a lot of our elders leave us in Amarillo. Bugger. But my companion and I are still here (it was kind of a given).

Alright shall we talk about a few things that happened this week? My companion and I spent a great deal of time knocking and trying to find new friends to teach because our last two friends are baptized members now. We met some one named Rambo! Yes, I know what you are thinking…. Rippling biceps and a red bandanna tied around his head. This description does not quite capture our friend Rambo. Anywho, our friend is an avid member of a nondenominational church down here. On one of our Pdays he took us on a tour of this MASSIVE facility. It was far different than anything I have every grown up with. The building was HUGE and held playgrounds for the kids while the adults went in to service. Tithing booths were strategically placed EVERYWHERE. And they had stores and coffee shops right next to the auditoriums where they worshiped. These stores are opened on the weekend (Saturday and Sunday). I tried to feel the spirit there, but it just wasn’t happening for me. Touring that church just strengthened my testimony in my own religion. I know that the Lord does not put any worth in money. He is in search of the meek and humble.

We have taught Rambo a couple times and helped demolish the bathroom in our friend's home (I know, it must be my calling in life). It was good old time! Rambo’s neighbor that referred us, came and helped. I think this neighbor  is amazing. I just think this neighbor truly understands “dropping your nets and going to work.” What a great example for Rambo. Our friend was so grateful to us. Our friend planned to march up to the preacher during his sermon and tell them that the only people who helped demolish the bathroom were a bunch of Mormons.

We met another friend that has a 2 year old son and spouse. I know the Lord has been preparing our friend for this! He wants our new friend to hear the gospel because my companion and I felt prompted to knock at the door when we weren’t even planning on knocking on our friend's street. Our new friend has a sister in-law who is a member and brother who is taking the lessons. At our return appointment, my companion felt prompted to change the lesson from the restoration to the Plan of Salvation. What an inspired girl, I am so grateful for her.  When I told our new friend that we can be with our children forever, our friend got emotional. I know that the spirit works through both of us as a companionship to help our investigators feel of God’s Love.

Another friend that we have been working with wants to know that this is the true church before joining. We are struggling to help our friend. Really the only way to come to that knowledge is by study and prayer. If our friend does not take those two steps, God cannot speak to our friend. Our friend is also expecting a huge “lightning bolt” answer. We explained that it may not come like a lightening strike but more like a sun rising (Bednar Analogy). Which do you think is more substantial and long-lasting?  I know the Lord works line upon line; here a little, there a little. I know that as we do the small and simple things, it is the nourishing soil for miracles. You will receive answers, peace and comfort. That is the Lords promise to us. And he always keeps his promises.
Know that I love y’all! I feel so blessed to be a missionary during these times. I feel like the Lord is protecting me from the worries and cares of the world. He is providing safety for my soul. I know he is in every single one of your lives blessing you, even in the fine details. Thanks for the letters and support! I really do love them! It just makes my day to hear from family and friends!

Love, Sister Laura Luke

P.S. Since I do not have contact information for my friends Kailey, Rick , and Jeanette …. You get a very impersonal email. HAPPY BIRTHDAY Y’ALL! Hopefully you read these….