Monday, August 25, 2014

August 25, 2014 The Power of a Community's Kindness

we got soaked in a monsoon of a rain storm walking around haha

This week has been filled with a myriad of fun, exciting, interesting things!
So we had zone P-day and we played Quiddich! (I'm not sure if I spelt that right, sorry Harry Potter fans.) Haha that was the funniest sport activity I've ever gotten the opportunity to participate in. And you thought missionaries couldn't get any dorkier... we spoke in english accents throughout the whole game as well. We even got the Senior couple to come and play for a bit haha! It's actually really really fun. I recommend it to anyone (:
We did a lot of fun service projects this week, we had a zone service project at a place called second harvest where we packed thousands of tortillas and tons of rice! we even got some new fashion accessories such as hair nets and arm gloves (: we all wore bright yellow helping hands shirts so we joked with the Senior couple missionaries that we all looked like minions from despicable me haha

We also got to help out with "gifts of the heart". 

Sister Jones from our ward and other ward members came up with the idea of having a yearly free giant garage sale which consisted of donated clothing, books, bikes, and household items that those who had children going back to school or just those in need could come and get items that they've really needed. We got to talk to those who came in and find out a little about each of them and where they came from. They shared many stories of how they had been desperate for clothing and they just didn't know how they were going to afford it. One had come from being devastated from the hurricane in Louisiana and had nothing, another her husband was in the hospital after returning from the military and the bills where becoming overwhelming, and this was an answer to her prayers. The way that we can help our community out can be impactful. If we put our effort in and some creativity, we can help others in need. The members in this ward who put this together I have great respect for and I really look up to their example, they are truly amazing people!! 

While we were at the church helping out with this, Sister Jones had brought with her a stick in a pink vase with 3 crystalist cocoons of soon to be hatched monarch butterflies for the children to keep an eye on.

 A sister in our ward was explaining to us the migration pattern of these monarch butterflies as we sat and watched the cocoons in anticipation. she told us that generations of Monarch butterflies fly all the way from Canada to Mexico each and every year. The butterflies from Canada fly to Minnesota, lay their eggs and die. The next generation of butterflies hatch and fly down to the southern states and do the same and the next generation make it to Mexico where they all gather by the thousands and just cover the trees in a certain area of the mountains where they stay throughout the winter until they lay their eggs and they migrate back up into Canada. It's so amazing because they are not lead by "older butterflies" back to where they are supposed to migrate, they just know.

Nature is amazing. I feel like that is an analogy for us as human beings as well. Truth of who we are is all around us. We are all genetically coded to fly back to where we came from. That is, back our Heavenly Father. We all go through dramatic transformations in life just as butterflies do and we all take our journey through the unknown. But we all have a natural pull to go in a certain direction. I wonder what would happen to a butterfly if it didn't have this natural migration pattern and it just flew about with no direction. I do know that we have our guides as human beings and it is all around us. We have the Holy Ghost within us to keep us heading in the right direction and our natural affinity to make it back home with those we love.

This world is so awesome!! I love it! 

Despite all of the turmoil in our lives, we will always have our natural affinity to be our guides to true happiness and if we listen to it, the results are eternally satisfying.

Monday, August 18, 2014

August 18, 2014 Receiving a Prophecy and Standing Up Alone

 Asian food! real curry! yum

pres. fireside with rachel

hermanas are on the move! this is how we look when we bike haha
hermana jones and banks

Una Prueba de su fe...

There's something so different about being out on a mission. It changes your life. It changes everything really. I've never been more stressed out, tired, frustrated, and discouraged in my entire life, but i've never felt so happy, filled with hope, peace understanding and added knowledge in my entire life.
I feel so alive, and my life is so exciting too! haha every night i go to bed feeling so complete because i've had such a meaningful day- and none of my day has to do with me! It's all about everyone else, and in return I receive back soooo much!  I feel important and understand daily my purpose. I feel how much of an influence I can be to others. The love I feel for everyone has hit a new level. I really just want to be a good person, and I really just want to serve others for the rest of my life. I'm not afraid anymore to show that I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I FEAR NO MAN!!!!!!! RAHHHHH!!!!!! haha I really don't though. It's pretty cool. I'm not afraid to let people know that I want to live the gospel and that I do live the gospel because that is when I find the true happiness in life.

I got asked to go to another Church this week and we went and they had "prophets" there who revealed revelation to me and sister Taito. the prophet got up in front of the whole congregation and called us out, he said to me specifically that he can see that I love God and thus I have gone deep into my religion, but that God told him that I needed to know the REAL Jesus, that I only knew a little bit of Jesus because of my religion, but that Jesus is so much bigger than my religion. He doesn't know that my religion IS Jesus. That I am becoming like Jesus more and more each day. That is what our church is all about. And I've never felt closer to my savior and redeemer!  At the end I got up and stood in front of the whole congregation and sang "I know that my redeemer lives" and I bore my testimony on how I knew that Jesus is our savior and redeemer. and then we left. haha that was one of the most gutsy things I've ever done haha but it was cool. and scary as heck... 

I know that there are many who do not believe that we are Christians, I've heard that many a time on my mission. We are indeed Christians. When I hear this I always think about what Jesus said, that anything that is good, cannot come from Satan, and a house divided against himself cannot stand. This also stands true for the Book of Mormon. If it is good, and draws you nearer to God, then, it comes from God.
We all search for peace and assurance in this life. There are so many places to search for temporal happiness here on earth, but the fountain of everlasting life and everlasting peace can only come through the Lord Jesus Christ. There was a woman in the Bible who asked how she could acquire this fountain of everlasting water. Where do we find true and everlasting happiness?

anyway, that was this weeks excitement. I've never had my faith tested so much as I have here on my mission. It really makes you think about how much you truly believe about what you believe. All I can say is the more others try to convince me that I am not in the right church, the more I study and the more I come to find that it is most assuredly true. That is the best feeling ever! 
This is the true and everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ and He shows us how we can return to live with Him in eternal happiness.
I know that he lives and he loves us. It is written within our souls and our hearts know truth when the Holy Ghost manifests it to us! I love this gospel! 
I love you all!  Keep seeking for truth and confirmation of truth always throughout your life, and then the mysteries of heaven will no longer be mysteries.
andele pues! 
Love, Hermana Ficklin

Monday, August 11, 2014

August 11, 2014 Hard Stories and How to Still Have Happiness

look at this cute pig that i bought!?
 cute lil japanese pig bread!

Good day!
This week I have had some tender experiences with those I have met and
I want to share some experiences of others today that have given me strength in my testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. 
Last week one of our investigators slipped us a few pieces of paper into our hands after a lesson as we left her fathers house, and in those pieces of paper she shared with us her whole life story of everything shes ever had happen, and the things she's done wrong in her life. She'd made many, many wrong decisions in her life.

But it came to a time where she took a look at her life and said that it was enough. She wouldn't live like that anymore. she's only 24 years old. a year older than i am and she'd been through so much bad in her life it was almost unfathomable that someone could live through it all. In short she'd broken just about every commandment. But she didn't want that anymore, she didn't want a life where she felt used, she didn't want to feel the blackness of dispair and loneliness and fear that came from all of these things. She wanted to change. And she did, she's very much turned her life around and you would have never guessed that she'd been through so much in her life. That is the blessing of the Atonement of Jesus Christ in our lives and baptism. To start over, a new slate, reborn again. We don't have to be our mistakes, that is not God's plan.
*This next story is a little graphic – you can skip the italics if you don’t want the hard part*

Another one of our new members who just got baptized is from Liberia, Africa shared with us her story of why she is always so happy. 

She told about the war going on in Liberia, she had two young twin babies at the time (she now has 3 sets of twins) when the soldiers came into her village and took her and her husband along with others of the tribe into a field and they watched the soldiers kill their husbands in front of them. she told us that they would chop up their husbands like you would cut up a dead animal-chop off their arms and legs while they were still alive and all you could do is watch. she says that she still remembers what her husband was screaming when they were doing that to him. Then she turned to me and asked me, what would you do if soldiers took your husband and laid him across your lap and they slit his throat right in front of you? 

 She said that after they killed all of their husbands the soldiers just laughed at them. She ran, and escaped, and eventually made it here to America. Most of her children are still in Africa now. she says that nothing makes her sad anymore. She said that so many people change after an experience like that. but she said she wouldn't, that she would be strong and that she would live life happily. she would be a good person. And she would take care of her kids. She is alone now and she told us that she and her bed have long conversations about it and sometimes she will just cry and cry, but she will not be that person in front of her kids and anyone else because she is not that person. She can be that person when she gets home to her room but she chooses to be a happy person everywhere else. And that's okay. she doesn't want to be alone, but she doesn't want to be an unhappy person either. she understands Gods purpose and trusts his will, and she understands that she will be with her husband again. This world is not the end.

Everything always works out when we choose to trust in the Lord and change our lives and live the gospel. That is what makes us truly happy. I have a testimony of that by seeing it for myself and hearing the testimonies of others, I really know that living the gospel and the commandments really are what makes us truly happy. But we have to be the person to do that. And we can't just believe in it, we have to BE it, we have to LIVE it, there is no other way to find out if it is true happiness unless we act and become like Christ.
I love you all and I know whatever trials or mistakes or sadness that you go through in life, it can be relieved by trusting in the Atonement of Jesus Christ and repenting, letting the Lord guide and comfort you, and that by being baptized- to be spiritually reborn, we can see the blessings of joy it brings, gaining the gift of the comforter-the Holy Ghost, and ever striving to keep the commandments of God. 
If there is anything that is keeping you from being happy right now, diligently search for the answers of true happiness now, through prayer, scriptures, and listening to the prophets. Meditate on the things you learn, and change! NEVER stop striving for that eternal joy. Because that is our destiny.
Have a great week! 
Love Hermana Ficklin

Monday, August 4, 2014

August 4, 2014 Visiting a Muslim Mosque!

this is me kuku, rudy, and angel

choose the right! 

 ocean buffet! finally i got to eat sushi!

 li chi fruits! 

So this week has been quite exciting! We had the opportunity to go with one of our investigators to a local Muslim church. As we have been sharing with him our message of the gospel of Jesus Christ the past two weeks, he has become more curious in the doctrines that we teach because a lot of what we teach is similar in ways but with a few major differences.

He agreed to come to church with us and also invited us to come visit a Muslim mosque. We agreed as well, and that, I think, surprised him haha. So we were given the traditional muslim attire (so that we would feel more comfortable there) and he explained what would happen at the mosque, that we would go and watch what they did.

 our muslim outfits

muslim missionaries! 

The women and men are separated by a veil. the men sit on the floor in the front, and the women sit on the floor in the back. We watched as they sang a prayer from the Quran and prayed, and they gave a sermon and talked about having unity, and ended again with a prayer sung out of the Quran. 

It is very interesting to see how others worship God. On our way home, Sister Taito and I talked about the experience that we had there as observers, and we both came to further appreciate the gift of the Holy Ghost. 

I thought a lot about how Joseph Smith must have felt as a young boy of 14 years old having the choice to choose for himself what church he wanted to join. Many of the churches have the core belief in God, but there are so many doctrines pertaining to salvation and eternal life. Finding truth amidst all of these is hard if you don't know how to find truth.

That is why our Heavenly Father has sent us the Holy Ghost. Without him, we would never know truth, and thus, never have the opportunity of gaining eternal life.

There are many attributes of Christ, namely faith, hope, charity, love, knowledge, patience, humility, diligence, and obedience.

At baptism, it symbolizes that we leave behind the "natural man" and we make a covenant to be like Jesus Christ.

It is great to know that knowledge is one of his attributes.
Our Heavenly Father wants us to know all things. That is part of becoming like Him. He wants us to learn for ourselves and gain wisdom in all things.
I was reading in the True to the Faith book on the subject of knowledge, and gaining education about the world, and also gaining spiritual knowledge. these are some of the parts that stood out to me:
"Seek learning, even by study and also by faith." -Doctrine and Covenants 88:118

"Of things both in heaven and in earth, and under the earth; things which have been, things which are, things which must shortly come to pass; things which are at home, things which are abroad; the wars and perplexities of the nations, and the judgments which are on the land; and a knowledge also of countries and kingdoms-that we may be prepared in all things."
-Doctrine and Covenants 88:78-80
                 --Use your eduction to be an influence for good--

In Preach my gospel it talks more on gaining spiritual knowledge:

"Seek knowledge, especially spiritual knowledge. Study the scriptures every day, and also study the words of the living prophets. Through study and prayer, seek help for your specific questions,challenges, and opportunities.”

"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally and abraideth not, and it shall be given him."
-James 1:5

Think about how you can apply gospel principles in your life. As you study diligently, prayerfully, and with pure intent, the Holy Ghost will enlighten your mind, teach you, and help you understand the meaning of the scriptures and the teachings of the living prophets.

"My soul delighteth in the scriptures, and my heart pondereth them...Behold, my soul delighteth in the things of the Lord; and my heart pondereth continually upon the things which I have seen and heard." -2 Nephi 4:15-16
                           -Knowledge, and attribute of God-
"Knowledge of divine and spiritual things is absolutely essential for ones salvation." -Bible Dictionary

"How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?"-Romans 10:14

Knowledge is one of the endowments of the Holy Ghost and one of the gifts of the spirit.

                 --One progresses only as fast as he gains knowledge—

It follows that the person who gains knowledge will have the "advantage in the world to come."
The Holy Ghost shows us all things in which we must do. If we ever have questions, Our Heavenly Father tells us plainly to pray, and He will answer us through the Holy Ghost and our diligence in honestly seeking for knowledge and truth.
I love this gospel and what it teaches, I love the Holy Ghost and I understand more and more the importance of him.
If you have questions, doubts or concerns. Search, ponder and pray.
Love you all! Have a fantastic week! 

Love Hermana Ficklin