July 2012- January 2014

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

IMG_0064[1].JPGMerry Christmas Y'all!

Huzzah for snow! It happened. Snow really happened! It might be a white Christmas after all!

I was laughing with my companion at all of the emotions we experienced this week. It was somewhat of a roller coaster. My companion was sick so that meant cabin fever. I went crazy being held up in the house for days. Especially as a missionary because there is only so much you can do indoors to fulfill your purpose. I know sometimes it is required to slow down and take care of yourself, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was fine and healthy and I couldn’t do anything about it and our area really needs work done. And then I had to learn that hard lesson that it really is not all about me. Then I started to look at the bright side, I discovered that I had the opportunity to have some really neat studies that helped me strengthen my testimony in the Savior, and His gospel.

We’ve met some really awesome people that…… are leaving for the holidays. So we have some really solid people to visit in 5 weeks. Ha!  Last night was an amazing night. We met three new people who are so prepared to hear the gospel. Our first new friend was taught by some missionaries in New Mexico and has moved home for the holidays. He was raised heavily involved in another church, and his father is a minister there. He talked to us about how hard it is going to be to leave what he has been taught in the past. We explained to him that he will only build on his faith, not leave it all behind. He found a General Conference talk by Elder Eyring. In that, he talks about President Hinckley’s experience with a new convert from China who was moving home. President Hinckley asked him what kind of trials he would have to face now that he is a member of the church. The young man told him that he would probably be disowned by his family, and all opportunities would be taken away from him. President Hinckley said, “Are you willing to make that kind of sacrifice?” the young man responded, “It’s true isn’t it?” Our friend told us that he has been thinking a lot about this experience and is preparing himself to be baptized. Man. God really does prepare people for us to teach.

We also sat down with another fellow. He is dating a member of our ward and he called us up to meet with him. He has met with missionaries in the past so in my little optimistic mind, I thought…. “He got his answer that the church is true and he really wants to learn more!” Well…. Turns out that was not the case. He is in fact an atheist and told us that he has never been happier. He grew up trying to have a relationship with God and said he never got answers to his prayers. My companion and I were shocked. Then he proceeded to ask us a series of intense questions all aimed at understanding why we could believe in God. It was a unique experience to say the least. We learned that his Book of Mormon hero is Nehor. Really, what do you say to that? I have spent a lot of time thinking about this experience. There has to be a bigger underlying reason why he questioned God in the first place. I have been studying a lot out of the Book of Mormon about how Alma talked to Nehor. I feel like this isn’t going to be the last time I encounter a situation like that. In the end we just basically bore our testimonies of the gospel and how it can bring everlasting happiness. Because having no hope, faith or an understanding of your divine potential, where is the happiness in that? Life has no purpose. You know, growing up I remember my family, parents and teachers always telling me that prayer and scripture study is “your armor” as you live your day to day life. I really understand this a whole lot more. Satan is going to throw his “fiery darts” at you. The only protection you have is the scriptures, prayer and your testimony.

To be honest, we’ve met with a lot of interesting people here that have really made me think about charity; having that pure love of Christ for everyone. Whether a person attacks your beliefs or a complete stranger screams at you for no reason. This week has been a good week for me to practice charity. 

Love, Sister Luke

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Hi there family!
We had our Christmas conference yesterday so our Pday was pushed back to today! At Christmas Conference, I received your packages! Our Christmas conference was awesome and went by too quickly in my opinion. It was fun to see the missionaries that are back in Amarillo (they drove in for the conference).
So this past week has been a whirl wind! I can’t believe I’ve been here for a week already! When we got off the bus in Lubbock, we were greeted by the Assistants to the President. Their area is also college park. I guess because of their responsibilities (they have to travel all over the mission, and the mission is HUGE so they are gone a lot), they haven’t been able to give the ward enough attention. So that’s where we come in. The Assistants told us that we are basically opening up a new area. They didn’t really have much information for us, so we are starting from scratch. On our first day, we went to the institute building and we saw a handful of people there. They were really excited to have sisters in their ward and a lot of people have told us that they really want to come out and teach with us. It really means a lot when people are excited to see you and to see missionary work get done again. After the institute building, we went on campus to go email our mission president and I had a ridiculous smile on my face the whole time. I just loved being back on a college campus, in an awesome ward that is totally focused on missionary work. It definitely made it easier to leave Amarillo. We actually live 20 minutes’ drive from campus, which isn’t the most ideal. But technically, we cover the whole city of Lubbock, so it doesn’t matter where we live. We have this monster of a truck to drive around. My companion and I look absolutely ridiculous in it. We feel like we are going to run over small cars in it.
IMG_0103[1].JPGThere are some really great perks to living in Lubbock over the Holidays.  Every year, the stake puts together this huge, and when I say huge, I mean HUGE nativity exhibit. Members put in ridiculous amounts of time in this. There are about 350 people on a committee to put this all together. They plan this a year in advance, and were up till 3 a.m. last week setting up. Out of control. They have members of all faiths coming in to preform, like a Baptist choir, and Methodist pianists. The Nativity goes on for four nights and then concludes with the Christmas devotional. Pretty neat. Since we live in Lubbock, we were allowed to come and see it. And They had a missionary room where a set of missionaries stayed in case any member not of our faith had questions. They asked my companion and I to participate in this. Unfortunately, no awesome stories with that. We just sat in a room for hours and hours. Ha but we read a good deal of Genesis. Another perk is that we get to be

close to the mission home. I love that. It just gives me a little taste of home whenever I’m there. This morning all the missionaries in Lubbock helped decorate the mission home. It was so much fun!
The ward here is so awesome. We meet in the stake center and the chapel was pretty much full. A member walked up to me and said “Sister Luke, I was supposed to look out for you. My aunt is Kaye  and she told me you were coming to this mission.” And then he asked me how I knew Chelsea Kasen. I was completely shocked that someone knew who I was. And I had to have him reiterate what he said. Small world, right? When I was leaving, and everyone was telling me that I needed to look out for this person in this city, I thought, “yeah right, like I’ll ever meet them….” But happens!
Now I may be making it sound like butterflies and rainbows here in Lubbock but there is a catch. It’s a student ward, and the holidays are coming up…. So after this week (finals week), our ward and the student population in Lubbock is reduced to half. I am hoping and praying that we can stay busy and find some people to teach. Because when you aren’t busy as a missionary and constantly feeling like you aren't fulfilling your purpose, it’s the pits.
I better go. But I am so grateful for this opportunity to be a missionary. I feel my testimony strengthened every time I pray, study, and teach. Through the experiences I am having, I am creating firm foundation for the rest of my life. I love this gospel and day by day, my gratitude for my Savior increases. I love y’all! Have a splendid week!

Sunday, December 2, 2012


It seems that my journeys in Amarillo are coming to a close. My companion and I got our transfer call on Saturday night and we are both headed to Lubbock! We will be serving in college park, so that means we work with the young single adults. I am definitely feeling bittersweet about this transfer. I am thrilled to go and work with the singles ward there and to be going with my companion. I’ve just established some roots here in Amarillo and it’s hard to leave the people I care about. 

Probably the hardest person to leave is the last sister who was baptized. On Sunday, we couldn’t look at each other without tearing up. Finally after Relief Society, she came up to me and we both just cried. (I’m such a crybaby, I know. I get it from my grandpa!) She is amazing. We talked about how potentially the next time I will see her will be when she goes through the temple! Since our temple is so small, they are not equipped to have missionaries go through. But if you have a recent convert going through, Our Mission President will be sure that we are there.  I love the idea of being there with her. She came out to teach with us this week and when we took her home she said, “Is that it? I was prepared to go out with y’all all day.” I recently heard a quote that says “You can count the number of seeds in an apple, but you can’t count the number of apples in a seed.” I definitely see that in her. She has an amazing testimony and shares it with everyone. Even in opposition, she still holds true to the gospel!

We met a man this week that increased my testimony that this gospel is true and the Lord is truly preparing people to receive the gospel. He was a referral from some other missionaries. He has been taught two years before and then moved. We sat down with him on Tuesday night. The conversations started out with small talk and just getting to know him. When we asked about being taught previously, he bore a powerful testimony that he knows that the church is true and he wants to be baptized. He expressed how dark his life has been without the gospel in his life and he wants the continual companionship of the Holy Ghost. He even has a testimony of tithing. I was pretty much speechless the whole time. Let me tell you how many people sit down with us and ask to be baptized, none. So I didn’t know what to say. Luckily my companion took over and we went through the baptismal questions to find out where he still had questions. We found out that he has already read the Book of Mormon through till Alma.

Oh and Thanksgiving was fun! We have 6 turkey dinners still in our refrigerator. Ha! We stayed at a members home and played a game called Mexican train. So fun! We are playing when I get home. I’m sad to leave Amarillo before the Holidays. But it will be nice to be close to the mission home. 

Love, Sister Luke