Monday, September 29, 2014

September 29, 2014 A Baptism!!

sis robertsons baptism!

grace me sis robertson sis taito and signs and wonder (one of the twins is hiding behind grace and me)

st paul temple
me sis abrahamsen and sis taito

our district

Sister Robertson is now a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints! I know you can share with us the joy that comes from watching someone you love walk through the gates that lead to the celestial kingdom. The longer I am out on my mission the deeper the symbolism gets and the more I come to deeply appreciate Jesus Christ. 

And the work isn't finished yet! Sister Joyce is hot on her heels! man, she is amazing. She has one of those testimonies that is grown through trial and tribulation and her heart is in the right place, she has already began to be a good friend to Sister Robertson and we hope that it will continue with the rest of the sisters in the ward. 

We had a lesson last night with two young Liberian sisters who have family opposition, yet their determination to make it to church is impressive. We taught them last night about the sabbath day and they told us that what they search for is peace and guidance and they have figured out a way to make it to church and not only that, but they want to bring 5 of their friends with them. talk about leadership, willingness, and determination! I know they will make it to church somehow, because I can feel the Lord is on their side.

Sister Taito and I got to witness a sealing of a couple of our ward. I've never gotten to witness a sealing before. Haha Sister Taito and I joking seriously about the fact that this will be us in two years. As we watched them look at each other across the alter with a light of hope and joy, who doesn't want that. As we drove home from the temple, happy to feel that feeling the temple leaves with you, man I've missed that so much, It's been almost a year since I've been able to go to the temple. I realize how much I want this, I want to go home to our Heavenly Father, and I can't go there without bringing as many people with me as I can. I really am beginning to see the vision and wisdom our Father has for us. What an amazing journey we have that doesn't start or end with our mission.

My mom will send me a talk with a paper full of quotes about once every two weeks. She is an inspired woman I tell you!
she sent this quote to me this last week:
"You enter the MTC to prepare you for your mission, but the mission is the MTC in preparation for the rest of your life." I never heard a truer statement!
Selfless missionary work brings a joy that you've never been able to feel before.
I recently watched a documentary on the Life of President Thomas S. Monson. wow, talk about a man of charity and devotion to God. He was a bishop at 22! and he cared for more than 80 widows.Not only that but he was called to be a mission president soon after and raised a family at the same time. As they recounted some of the service he offered to the ward, I was just amazed and I thought about, what would it be like if I were called to be a bishop at 22? How would I deal with caring for a family and trying to take care of an entire mission. What a selfless person you would have to be, and a true love for the Lord. 
I really respect and love Thomas S. Monson for his love, example, service and obedience. He truly is a Prophet of God. And I love him for it!
Continue on searching for ways to serve those around you, to be the angel and the missionary to others who are in need of your aid. 
I love you all! 
Sister Ficklin

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

September 22, 2014 Your Influence Makes a Difference!

I found a car from Utah!!!

fifi one of our investigators haha shes so funny, her and her crazy clothes

zone service project in the cemetery

President’s fireside
Bennetta Robertson (getting baptized sept 27)
Nick Robertson (her husband who is awesome!)
Grace Simpson (a recent convert)
Sister Taito (my comp)

The joy of serving others

So we had a fun zone service this week where all of us missionaries put on our bright yellow helping hands shirts and went and leveled headstones and markers in a local cemetery!

an unusual service but, it was pretty ghoul. :P haha! We had a Presidents Fireside yesterday night as well and we got to hear some amazing testimonies, one of them being a convert from one of our members being in his karate class! Our examples really do make a difference, no matter what circumstance we may be in!

We are so excited, sister Robertson has everything set for her baptism September 27th. she told us she really enjoyed the Fireside! Her husband is not a member and just got here from New Jersey 2 weeks ago and he's been curious about the church his wife is getting baptized in, and so, so far he's come to a baptism, fireside, and he came to church this Sunday and really enjoys everything he hears when he listens to the messages shared. he loves the members already, he especially notices how close the married members are to their spouses. at the fireside he saw a member couple holding hands and laying her head on his shoulder and he pointed out that he liked that and grabbed sister Robertsons hand and told her to lay her head on his shoulder! haha what a wonderful sight! Sister Robertson was a little surprised. But she liked it.

I also want to tell you about a Sister we are teaching! From the first time we talked to this sister on the phone to the time we met her in person, we were excited about her. She explained to us the family trials she's had and her journey to find peace. She said that years ago the missionaries came and taught her a few times, but that she didn't think much of it because she had her own faith in the Presbyterian church and she said at that time in her life she wasn't ready for the missionaries so she stopped meeting with them. She'd been having marital and family problems so she was searching online how to help her unite her family and she came across the church's website and she really liked how family oriented it is, and she said that she had to find this church, so she found the churches number and called but no one answered or returned her call. 
A month went by and she hadn't heard back, but when she was in New Brighton she saw our church and she said to herself "that's the church!" and she decided to just go that Sunday. and she did! despite her fears of being unwelcome she went. It was a very Esther-like act and walked in unannounced determined with whatever outcome it might bring, she just had to know. she walked in on a fast Sundayand she just cried listening to the testimonies and she said she loved it and everyone was so welcoming! when we met with her she had already read the restoration pamphlet they gave her when she went to church and when we taught her the restoration she said that she prayed about Joseph Smith already and she knows its true and she asked when she could get baptized! We set a date for October 11th. 

The work of the Lord is hastening. Man, I love this gospel.
There is so much joy in service and missionary work!
"And from thence, whosoever I will shall go forth among all nations, and it shall be told them what they shall do; for I have a great work laid up in store, for Israel shall be saved, and I will lead them withersoever I will, and no power shall stay my hand."

I love you all! 
Sister Ficklin

Monday, September 15, 2014

September 15, 2014 State Fair and Animals (You know how Kaylani is around animals, ha ha!) and Preparing for the Zombie Apocolypse (Winter)!

state fair!!!

 greetings from minnesota!


haha a giant chicken

 us with a horse

we have matching shoes!

yusbeth and sis taito.

 ward bbq
elder larsen and thompson 3 legged race

elder larsen and thompson again with the ward haha it was so funny to watch

elder kelsch at pday. we popped the volleyball so he made a hat out of it

surprise birthday for grace!
the cake we made for her

sis taito with signs and wonder
me with wonder

us with grace, sister robertson who is getting baptized this week and her girls signs and wonder

The leaves are changing!

          Yes, that's right, fall in Minnesota has officially started and it has dropped to the 50's with a low of 30. Haha oh boy here comes the winter again! All of the new missionaries are excited for the fabled Minnesota winter, while all of us seasoned missionaries are nervously pulling out all of our wool socks and thick scarves as if we are preparing for a zombie apocalypse. They don't know yet what they've gotten themselves into... but that's all part of the Minnesota missionary experience, tracting in 30 below weather. It is definitely a faith building exercise I tell ya haha but it's all worth it. Summer, we will miss you dearly.

But for now, we get to enjoy the wonderful fall where the seasons begin to change again, the air gets cooler, you get to crunch the leaves as you go from door to door, and there is an excitement of the upcoming holiday seasons that become the favorite door step conversation starters! It's bringing back memories of when I first started out here on my mission. I've been having all of these flashbacks of my mission now that I'm at the end stretch and it brings a lot of peace and happiness knowing how far the Lord has taken me as of yet and what I have been privileged to be on what feels like a year and a half internship for being like Jesus Christ. With "in field experience"! haha that is a super dorky analogy but it's true. I am truly grateful for this opportunity. There is nothing like it.
As for this week, we've been having more success than ever! Sister Robertsons baptism is nearing the corner, she will be baptized September 27th! woohoo! We are all so excited for her, she is truly an amazing woman.

We have been working with a lot of young women who are outstanding, I'm really impressed by the amount of strength they have to be willing to choose the values they have rather than go with what is popular, or to go against their standards to fit in. We are meeting with two sisters who are 16 and 18. They're African and their family is from Liberia, most of who lives around here is from an African background.  We taught them about the importance of friends, and they shared with us how they had friends in the past that changed them a lot, to who they knew they weren't, but they wanted to fit in. But then she realized that she just felt uncomfortable being there and she didn't want to be there anymore and she chose to not to go to parties with them anymore or join in with what they were doing. She said that those friends started to tease her and make fun of her. She said that you get to see who your real friends are. But she said that she just wanted to be herself and she wasn't going to be what everyone else wanted her to be anymore and now she feels so much more happy. That is so cool to hear! What strength! We committed them to always find the friends who are willing to honor the standards they had, and they whole heartedly promised to do so.

Last night we taught them about the law of chastity and again they blew us away with their courage to stand against the pressures of the world around them because they knew how important they were. We asked them to tell us what they look for in a guy and they told us that they were looking for boys who dressed respectfully, they didn't want a boy who "sags" hahahaha they were talking about boys who have their pants sagging down all the time hahaha I guess that's the new word for it now. But you go girl! She went on to explain that she looks for guys who treat her respectfully and have God in their lives. She wants him to have the same standards that she has. They both chose to believe and live the law of chastity long before we ever taught them about it. We asked them why they decided to live like this and they gave a very stripling warrior-like answer. They said that it was how their parents raised them. I praise the parents who raised them to have such understanding of this teaching. Living a virtuous life is something that has been on my mind a lot the last couple of months and I poured out my heart to these girls in bearing my testimony commending them for what they have decided to do at such a young age. I let them know that who they are on the inside, and what they think about themselves will convey to everyone else around them. And if they understand the immensity of the importance they have now, it will bring them blessings for the rest of their lives. We gave them a vision of their future families and the goal that they wanted to reach. We then told them that our Heavenly Father sees so much in us that we don't quite see in ourselves yet, but the more we strive to live the lives and standards of what He teaches, the more we find out about ourselves. 

Confidence in oneself comes from living virtuously. That is a divine truth.
Matthew 16:24-27
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels: and then he shall reward every man according to his works."
Strive to ever live virtuously and the Lord promises us eternal blessings!

I love you all! have a great week! 
Love sister Ficklin

Monday, September 8, 2014

September 8, 2014 Answers to Prayers

This week we have had an abundance of miracles in finding new people. We put in our efforts and listened to what the Lord wanted us to do (I'm trying to be more aware of what He says to me) and we have seen how when we do what He asks, and we are obedient and diligent, He trusts us, and in return we trust Him. 
I sometimes feel like the twelve apostles getting chastised by Jesus when they don't understand a parable that is so plain and simple, and you should already know it, but I still feel like it's a constant reminder that we need to have a spiritual outlook rather than our natural eye. I don't think that chastisement will ever end in my lifetime ha ha and I hope that it doesn't to because it helps me to be molded, but I do hope however that I continue to progress in learning rather than fall back into old ways. Life is all about progression.

So I want to tell you about sister Robertson, who the sisters were teaching before and moved to New Jersey and now has just returned and wow she is amazing! We asked her to pray about baptism September 27th and she had and said that it was something that she wanted to do, we then went through the baptismal questions with her and she answered them all honestly. What was most important to us though was that she was going to be baptized because she wanted to, not because we wanted her to or because anyone else wanted her to. She looked at us and said, let me tell you something, I know that I am getting baptized because I know that's what the Lord wants me to do and I know that it is something that I am supposed to do.
She went on to tell us that when she was young in Africa during the war she was separated from her family and spend most of her childhood in a refugee home. She told us that the Elders used to come there and teach her about the gospel and they were so kind to her. She also spoke about how there was a senior couple who had grown fond of her and wanted to take her with them, but soon they left and she didn't know what happened to them after that. She said that she knew the Lord was there for her.
So years later when she was an adult she decided to come here to Minnesota and when she moved in, lo and behold, missionaries knock on her door and they are from the Church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints. she let them right in because she knew that they were sent from God. She said that she knew the church is true and that is why she is getting baptized. So then and there we knew she was in it for the right reasons.
The church is true no matter where you are. And we make a difference in others lives even if we may never see it.

We have also met many new investigators the past couple weeks who also have been astonished at us being at their door and asking us to come in and explaining that they had prayed that if they got a job they would start going to church again and they got a job and then we showed up -- or another who said that she felt like she needed to learn the gospel and had a dream that someone would come to teach her about the gospel and then we showed up.
I share these with you because I am constantly being reminded that God answers prayers and we as missionaries get to be in the front row seat in witnessing that God truly loves all of His children and hears them, and we get to be part of it! It's one of the most humbling and wonderful experiences I'll have to opportunity of witnessing on my mission. And we get to help these brothers and sisters find the truth! How lucky are we! 

I know that the Lord loves us. And this area is full of Heavenly Father's children just waiting to hear the gospel and we just pray that we will be worthy enough to be His servants in finding them.
There are those searching for truth all around us. You don't have to be in Minnesota to have the experiences we've had. You become the answer to someone’s prayers when you live like Jesus Christ, live worthily so that you are in tune with what the Spirit guides you to do, and you serve those around you. Be diligent my brothers and sisters, be obedient in your life so that you may bless the lives of others and partake in the joy that has no bounds. 

There is a fulfillment in life when we go outside of ourselves for the service of others. 

Love everyone around you, do not be quick to judge, be meek and gentle and kind, and be bold, my friends. There is no greater love than sacrificing comfort for truth. If we all learned to do this the world would be a different place than we see it now.
I love you all! And that love keeps growing!

Love sister Ficklin

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

September 1, 2014 Transfers came and I get to stay in Shingle Creek with Sister Taito!

a yellow watermelon! it was yummy

farmers market in front of our favorite asian food store 


Signs and Wonder (twins). sooooo cute!

me with the twins, Signs and Wonder

minnion service

me and sis taito (: my favorite companion

my african outfit


       I am staying in Shingle Creek! yayyy! I'm so happy. Me and Sister Taito are staying together as well. yesss... 

I'm kinda attached to this area and our investigators so I am really blessed to stay here in this area. to paraphrase Alma, Perhaps I'll stay here until the day I die. I would be really happy to!

So this week has been ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! We have been finding wonderful new families and wonderful new people that we are so excited to teach. This Sunday was amazing as well, we had many investigators at church listening to our bishop talk on grace.

He shared the story Gordon B. Hinckley shared about the school boys who were rowdy and rambunctious and no teacher could teach them. One new teacher came to town and decided that the boys would come up with their own rules. The consequence to the rules would be ten stripes across the back without their coat on. they all agreed to these rules. One day a big guy named Tom got his lunch stolen and they found the culprit, a little fellow with a big coat on. As the rules stated he had to have his punishment of ten stripes across the back, the teacher asked why he had stolen his lunch and he'd said that he was hungry, the trembling boy came up to take his beating but begged that he not take off his coat. But the teacher stated that the rules must be carried out and that he'd have to take off his coat. The little boy took off his coat and it revealed a crippled skinny body and the teacher hesitated to start the beating. Just then the boy Tom got up and volunteered to take the boys beating. The class all agreed and Tom went in place for the beating. On the 5th stripe the rod broke and the class was in tears. Little Jim wrapped his arms around Tom and said "Tom, thank you, I will love you until the day I die." 

It is a symbol of what Jesus Christ has done for us, and like the boys in the story, the whole congregation at our ward was broken up in tears. Including the bishop who was telling the story. 

I love the Lord our Savior with all of my heart. I know the more we learn about Him, the more we love Him. Promise that you will always continue in spiritual knowledge. It strengthens us in ways we desperately need especially in our days today.

I love you all! until next time!
Love Sister Ficklin