Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Sister Heidi Shelley's latest email..:D

24 March, 2014

Dear Family, :))))))

This week I have had a scripture on my mind.

Mosiah 18: 8-9. ". . . and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light; Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—"

Missionary work is really an extension of our baptismal covenant. I feel like we have had so many opportunities this week to just love, serve, and support others who were in need. And what a better way to be an example of Christ?

We met with a woman named R*** earlier this week and in the first few moments something about us let her know that she could trust us. She opened up to us and just started bawling. We showed love to her by listening and just comforting her. The Atonement was so meaningful in that moment, and we testified of God and Jesus Christ, and the healing that comes through the Atonement. I know that and believe that with all my heart. The Spirit was so strong, and before leaving we knelt in prayer with her. She was at church yesterday and I am so excited to work with her more.  For years she was married to a man who told her that she couldn't believe in God, that that was only for foolish for people.  She knew better though.  I admire this woman for her strength.  She is looking for God again in her life, and searching for the healing power of faith and the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  Really, I don't think it is possible to realize how precious faith and belief is until it is taken from you, or somebody else threatens it.

There were so many other experiences much like this one, and I feel like there were more tears than normal. Even for me, I don't usually get emotional during lessons, but I just felt what these people were going through and I really felt love for them. I just want these people to be happy. 

We made contact with a member of our ward who hasn't been to church since 2008.  Another person in our ward had referred her to us, just by finding her name on a list and he didn't recognize it.  That wasn't just chance though.  We had come at a time that she had really been feeling the absence of God's Spirit in her life, and she wanted to make a change.  It was such a critical moment though, because she had already made the decision long before to cut off all ties with the church.  She had taken on another religion, with the full-hearted belief that it was the right thing to do.  But there we had been led to her door.  She had been baptized years before after being led to the church and didn't understand why she would have been led away once she had already received such a strong impression that our church was right.  I am not normally very bold when I bear my testimony and invite people to make commitments, but in this moment I felt so overcome by the Spirit and I felt new confidence in my speech.  I asked her if she would read in the Book of Mormon every day.  She thought for a few minutes, and then she just began to cry.  If she started reading again in the Book of Mormon that would mean she would have to reopen the door she had already closed.  I testified of the Book of Mormon and I just started crying.  I know because I have experienced for myself.  I know that the Spirit of God testifies of truth, and I have received this confirmation as I have read in the Book of Mormon.

We met with a young woman named H***.  The minute she told me her name I just wanted to hug her, just for having the same name as my own dear sweet sister H***.  She had a stroke 2 years ago and is learning with baby steps how to speak, walk, and function normally again.  When we told her about the priesthood and that she could have a priesthood blessing her face just lit up.  
"H***, would you like one of these Priesthood blessings?"
"Yes.  Yes, I would."

She spoke so clearly, and she just looked so touched at this thought.  I look up to this woman because of her faith and optimism even as she goes through such a trial in her life.  She told us that since her stroke her and God have become very close.  "I always just talk to him in my head.  He understands what I am going through.  He's always with me."  We testified of the Atonement, and read with her from the scriptures.  Christ didn't only suffer for our sins.  ". . . he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him thepains and the sicknesses of his people.. that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities" (Alma 7: 11-12).  I testify that God lives, that Jesus Christ is His Son, and that there is power in the Atonement of Jesus Christ. 

Lately I have been pondering about words and how powerful they are. 
In the beginning, before the earth and we were even created, the word was there. 
Here on the earth we are counseled by prophets to watch our words.
When we testify of truth with our words, they have the power to invite the Holy Ghost that he might bear witness of our words. 
We have a specific manner of prayer that includes addressing our Heavenly Father and closing with the words "In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen." 
We have some prayers that must be spoken with specific sequences of words in order to be valid and to have power. The sacrament prayer.  The baptism prayer.  Those are both sacred and holy ordinances.

Some words are powerful, others are trashy, but no matter what the word is, it plays some role in our language. How important is it that as missionaries, as members, as people, we watch the words that we speak. In German there is a phrase that I have learned as a missionary:  Klarheit ist wahrheit. Clarity is truth.  I am here to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ in its purity. I am past my half-way mark now--crazy thought--and yet I still feel like I have much room for growth when it comes to teaching. The gospel is still more simple than I make it out to be. I have started going over the 12 week program again, and I am really trying to learn the doctrine of the lessons in Preach My Gospel. I want to be ready and prepared. I know that if I expect the Spirit to be with me, to give me the words to speak, and to bring things to my remembrance, then I need to do my part.

This week was great. I am so happy here, and I am working towards a bright future. Attitude determines altitude!!
Sister Heidi Elaine Shelley

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