Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Really the BEST week of my Life!

  This week has been the most AMAZING week OF MY LIFE!!!! But really!
    Better just give you the week according to my journal.
              Practiced, practiced and practiced some more. Finally hunted down the frozen yogurt place in Mentor (Sis. Johnson is obsessed:) Shopping: Almond milk, hummus, eggs and TONS of Vegetables. Went home and cleaned the whole house just in case Elder Holland decided to drop in and inspect any apartments. Thankful for...Cliff bars and Panera cups (it helps us drink more water:)

             Sites were really busy so Sis. Johnson and I had to split up and take separate tours. This was the first time and to be honest I was kinda excited..it just sounded fun to take a whole tour all by yourself! It was not even fun at all!!!! That first moment I went and sat in the theater with my group all by myself was soooo weird. I suddenly realized how much I love having a companion! Sigh...it was rough but I made it through;)
     Sis. Johnson's mom sent her some fake mustaches so today she ran around with it on saying "My name is Inigo Montoya...you killed my father...prepare to die" Bwah! I died laughing. Thankful for...friendship...its so good to have a friend with you 24/7:)
                 Playing for Elder Holland was the most incredible 15 minutes of my life!!!! AHHHH!!!! 
  We were at the Visitor's Center when he walked in. So we just crouched upstairs by the balcony eavesdropping. His voice is so deep and kind and loving. He was just talking to a million people "hi how are you? whats your name? etc.." so cool. Then Elder Sorenson calls us and says "head over to the house right now. We are coming over for lunch pronto" so we run over there and try and calmly wait...yeah right! They walk in, Elder Sorenson introduces us "these are our Sister Training Leaders, they are here to do a musical number for us!" So we meet them all, they ask us where we are from, what are names are again. (Inside we were just freaking out!!) Then we sing/play for them....so nerve wracking! It went really well though, the spirit was so strong and at the end Sis.Johnson was just crying...she could barely finish, it was so sweet. When we stopped Elder Holland said "that was perfect....just like you two" (best compliment ever!!!! An apostle told us we are perfect!!!!) We talked with them for a bit longer. Elder Sorenson asked "would it be appropriate to get a picture with these sisters" Elder Holland was like "Sure!" It was so surreal. Then we shook all their hands again (it was Elder Holland, Elder Hallstrom and Elder Seldon). They complimented us, told us we were wonderful and doing everything right and then we ran out! 5 steps out the door we realized we had forgotten our phone inside...turned around and then were like "ahhhhhh better not..." so we then ran off to the Stake Center so I could practice for the other musical number for the meeting.
     The next 3 hours we gathered with all of the missionaries to learn from them. They walked in and Elder Holland says "We are going to shake all of your hands okay:)" so row by row we all go up and shake hands with an apostle. (3rd time that day for me!) He said "thanks for playing earlier!"
     His talk was so powerful! I will just share a few of the best quotes but when I get home remind me to read them all to you!
       "I had a friend in High School who went on to win 4 olympic gold medals in swimming, I asked him what his secret was and he said 'Kick when you don't want to kick and stroke when you don't want to stroke'"
        "Everyone looks pretty good the first few yards...its the end that matters. They don't give the blue ribbons out at the start, they give them out at the other end of the Lake at the Finish"
        "We are God's Investigators"
        He was telling us how he feels about returned missionaries falling away and them saying "but Elder Holland...that's just real life!" he said "THIS (referring to a mission) is Real Life, capital R , capital L. This is it! This is the closest you will ever get to it Real Life and what its supposed to look like!!" he said "DON'T go back to your old life. NOBODY can be what they were before. You CAN'T go back to that!!"
         "Nobody, NOBODY on the face of this earth has a PARTICLE of the Priesthood, except us." (he pretty much yelled this)
     Aw man...he said so much and every bit of it was so good. I pretty much could take any sentence and cross stitch it on a pillow it was so good!
       He taught us a lot about teaching with Power and Authority. It was amazing! He said..."We need to go out their and Astonish them."
        I still haven't taken it all in!:D

   That night we were over at Elder and Sister Sorenson's when the Palmer's walk in with Cindy (their investigator) On Tuesday, she told us, she had apparently called the Palmer's and told them that she was done. That she couldn't do this anymore. Well they got here to meet with them one more time and then took her to one of the meetings with Elder Holland. Afterwards she goes up to meet him and says "Elder Holland, I need a favour! Can you extend Elder Palmer's mission so he can baptize me!" Elder Holland just grabs her face in his two hands and says "You need to be baptized now! Be baptized before he leaves!" And so she is going to be!!! Its so cool! The Palmer's leave one Tuesday and she got baptized on Saturday! Coolest story ever!!!
 Thankful for...Meeting an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ.

                District meeting...I made us sing a Christmas song for the opening hymn:) so fun! Had an awesome lesson with Susan. She says she believes Joseph Smith was a prophet and that Thomas S. Monson is the prophet today. WHY ISN"T SHE BAPTIZED?!?!?!?! She just says she isn't ready....we think its her husband. He supports her but just isn't into it and I think that scares her.
       We also saw Sandy, she is a recent convert and is so hilarious. She reminds me of Stephanie  a lot. Such a brilliant storyteller!
     Thankful for... Those moments when you and your companion have the exact same though and so you know it was inspired!!! Happens all the time! LOVE IT!

              Training meeting was so great! We had Elder Householder and the Palmer's bare their testimonies as their missions are all up! So sad. It was powerful to hear them testify of the power of the Gospel and what Kirtland means to them. It went way over though and then we were just about to announce that we would have to push the rest of our meeting to next week when Elder Sorenson pops up and says "This meeting is not about time....we will go as long as we need to" So we continued. Sis. Johnson and I got up and led a discussion about what we learned from Elder Holland. It was so neat. He had told us that "this mission is simmering...just under boil, and its just going to take a little extra push to get it to really explode!" So, we decided that to help the sister apply that we are going to start reporting Key Indicators (just like we do in our are with the number of lessons we teach) from sites every week (frankly, I am really surprised we haven't been doing it already)! Its going to be really fun and it will just gives us all more motivation to take tours and make phone calls and chat so that we can find more people to teach here at sites. Its going to be really powerful!
      Thankful for...Awesome tours.

           Miracle day! We had some crazy bus tours coming through and the schedule got all messed up so Sis. Johnson and I actually went to serve at the Johnson Home in Hiram OH. I have been waiting my whole mission to go their and I finally made it!!!! I was sooooo excited! It is such a beautiful place! We first went to do some service for our Bishop in the morning, his wife sent us away with the most delicious salad with Spinach and Kale and Avocado and cranberries and sunflower seeds. yum. Then we headed down to Hiram. It was kinda crazy because I really didn't know the tour. We had gone over it a little bit because Sis. Johnson served almost her whole mission down in Hiram. It, just made it extra exciting though:)
    It is such a beautiful place and I loved being there for the day!
    That night our investigator Jason came down for a fireside with Bro. and Sister Dalton (recently release Young Women's General President) He loved it so much. Then we took him around to meet Pres. Haymond (Kirtland Stake Pres.), Elder Sorenson and the Daltons and they all were like "You need to get baptized...you are missing out on the blessings" it was perfect! Just what Jason needed. He is seriously considering it so really pray for him!!!!
        It was the perfect day!
 Thankful for.....The Spirit. What a special gift it is!
            Kinda a so-so day. This week just wiped us out. Sis. Johnson wasn't feeling good and I just felt so lethargic. Just had to keep kicking and stroking our way through it even when we didn't want to.
    Thankful for... A companion. On days like this you just wouldn't have the will power to keep working unless you had someone right there to keep going with you.

       Well there you have it. I feel so uplifted and inspired! That truly was the best week of my life. I am so grateful to have been able to learn from an Apostle of our Savior. Life-changing!
    I love you all! Thanks for reading this forever long email!!
                  Have a super fabulous week!
         As President Vellinga says "Go, to Heaven:)"
                  Sis. Newren

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