Monday, March 31, 2014


31 March, 2014
Dearest Family,

So, guess who's getting a new companion?  I am!  Guess who is going to Hannover to serve in Bielefeld?  Sister Hansen!  And guess who is coming from Hamburg to Berlin to be my new Sister Training Leader?  Sister Darrington!!  :D :D :D :D : D :D.  I am so excited to see Sister Darrington!!
Sister Hansen and I are jammin out to the song "Look up" by Taylor Olsen. Great music found here! 
Are you all EXCITED for GENERAL CONFERENCE??  I am!!

Just yesterday Brother L*** and his family invited J*** over for Sunday lunch. It was a good afternoon for many reasons . . . We had the BEST Indian food (Sister L*** is from India), and really I just felt so at home.  During the meal we had a natural gospel conversation, and it was very evident that the L*** family has been very blessed by receiving and living the restored gospel. One of J***'s main concerns has been about prophets, but it was so incredible the testimonies that we were able to share about prophets right there at the dinner table. 

What does it mean to follow the Prophet anyway?

What is it that the Prophet asks us to do? 

Or warns us not to do? 

What counsel does he give us?

D&C 1:  The Lord speaks to us.  

37 Search these commandments, for they are true and faithful, and the prophecies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled.
 38 What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.
 39 For behold, and lo, the Lord is God, and the Spirit beareth record, and the record is true, and the truth abideth forever and ever. Amen.

Growing up in the church I have had many opportunities to hear from prophets, apostles, and other leaders in the church. I have only ever felt sincere love and care. Whenever I hear Elder Jeffrey R. Holland speak, it always evokes the most powerful feeling within me.  I know that the prophets and apostles of the church bear testimony of truth.  Whenever I hear the prophet, President  Monson speak, I always laugh because he is just so cute and funny! But I have great respect for him, and similarly, every time I hear him speak, I feel such peace and feeling within my heart.  I know that that is the Spirit bearing witness of the truth. 
After eating at the L***'s, we pulled out our scriptures and read some verses that related to what we were talking about. At the end of the meal J*** shared his own thoughts and beliefs relating to what we had been discussing. He worries that his faith is too small, that his testimony is not strong enough.  But hey, we all have to start somewhere don't we?  
Faith is like a little seed.  If planted it will grow.

It was different from other lessons that we have had. On this occasion there were so many testimonies given, and so many opportunities where the Spirit could bear witness. It was simple. J*** didn't ask any deep complicated questions, he just listened, felt, and then responded to the feelings he had. At the end of the lesson he said a closing prayer and really prayed for strength himself to gain more faith and a stronger testimony. At the end he also prayed for the courage to be able to invite more people to come unto Christ, just like the missionaries and other ward members. 

Last night we got a text from him that he had had contact with Y***  (a previous investigator also from China). He said he had convinced her to come unto Christ again, and to meet with us again. When we asked him what he had said to her, he responded, "I preach the gospel the Chinese Way! :)"

It was earlier this week that Y*** agreed to meet with us only so that Sister Hansen could say good bye to her. Her comments had really shaken me up a lot and brought me to the point of tears once she had left us. There was such a change in her countenance and behavior .  Her words were like knives and they just cut so deep.  Her heart seemed to be so hard and cold.  Finally Sister Hansen pulled out a photo of her family and showed it to Y***.  She pointed out her little brother who is just six years old.  "Y***.  This is my little brother.  He has been praying for you every night since the day that I met you."  Sister Hansen had tears in her eyes, and you could tell she just loved Y*** and wanted her to be happy.  In that moment, Y***'s countenance softened and the cold edge wore off.  We ended up sitting down together and Y*** flipped through the pages of the photo album.  She chuckled.  "We come from two different worlds."  Yes, we do.  But we can still choose WHO we will be.  We don't have to be something or somebody just because of culture, tradition, or circumstance.  We are all children of God.  We all have potential to become great.

Just several weeks ago Y*** was developing faith for the first time in her life, and she had such a peaceful and bright radiance to her. Why do people choose to walk away once they feel of the joy, the peace, the happiness, the LOVE . . .?  I think it is really because life is hard, and it is so easy to harden your heart as a result.  But PLEASE, don't let that tear you from the source of all peace. I don't know what will happen, if she will contact us again or not. But I am really impressed with J***'s comittment to missionary work and that he has developed such faith and conviction himself. 
I know that God lives.  I know that he loves us.  I am doing my best to act because of what I know.  Remember faith without works is dead. Today President shared with us this quote: "To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it, but we must SAIL, and not drift, nor lie anchor."  Life is about making decisions, yes or no, choosing between faith or doubt, choosing between rationalization or repentance .  Let's just walk forward together!  We can help each other out.  We can do great things with the help of Jesus Christ.
"Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth." Mark 9:23.
Love you,
Sister Heidi Elaine Shelley

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