Monday, July 14, 2014

July 14, 2014

Heidi wasn't feeling well enough to write a family email so I am posting an excerpt from her email she wrote to her mission president. 

Dear President,

Miracle of the week! So, G*** is going to be moving to France at the end of this month. Up until this week he hasn't known where exactly he would go. When we met with him this week he told us that he would be moving to Bayonne, France. He seemed so sure about this, and when we asked him about it, he just responded that he had been praying about it and that it was where he felt God wanted him to go. Lately in our lessons he has really been opening up about his feelings about the church and about all that we have been teaching him. He has felt such love in the church, from us, from the ward members, even just sitting in the church. We have born our testimony of the restoration and the truthfulness of this church, and also that he can find the same church and the same blessings in France. We looked on and there is a ward right in Bayonne! G*** was so happy! I know that he has really had fear of leaving Germany, especially since he is so young and on his own, but at least now he has a little bit of hope for a new beginning. …

With S*** this week we planned to talk about the ten commandments and help him understand that when he lives this way he is acting on faith in God, Jesus Christ, and in prophets. I really feel like we prayerfully prepared for this lesson, and everything that S*** said or asked went along perfectly with what we had planned for. I am so grateful for these powerful teaching opportunities that Sister Nilson and I have together.

Sister Nilson and I have grown so much together these past several weeks. One of our greatest strengths is that we always recognize and acknowledge the centrality of Jesus Christ in all that we do. There is so much power in understanding the WHY behind our actions and also in knowing our motivation. I really know that it was a part of God's plan to send me here to Cottbus. I have wondered and pondered about why I must be so weak at this time. Why in such a high point when I am with such an incredible Sister? And I can't really explain why. All I know is that through my pain and suffering I have learned so much. I know that I have learned a lot with my companions. But it has also really humbled me and really showed me my dependency on God. I have come to know God and Jesus Christ that much more. And even though at times it has really taken all that I have to sit through lessons and talk to people, I have meant every word of what I have said. Because I really do know for myself. Yesterday Sister Nilson and I read a talk by Elder Holland about Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail. I am coming to realize that much of life can be labeled as unfair, cruel, or just tragic. But everything is for our experience. I know I will always cherish the hard times of my mission because looking back they are the most beautiful times....


Sister Shelley


July 7, 2014

Dear family,

Well, this week has officially been the hardest week of my mission.  Never before have I felt so low and so discouraged.  So many people have been concerned about me and my health including myself.  This week I was pretty much told by President Kosak that I should prepare myself to go home.  I was even on the phone with our stake president there in Bountiful during the week.  But as of now, I feel like we have come up with a new plan of action.  Seriously when it was put right before me that I could go home early for a medical release, the stubborn side of me came out and I just kind of snapped.  I am not going home unless I have done absolutely EVERYTHING in my power to get better first.  I have cried so many tears and spent so much time on my knees just praying.  Always a prayer in my heart.  I dont even know how I have come to be in such a low place.  I feel like I have just been broken down completely. 

I am grateful for the small experiences we have had working with other people that have allowed me to feel joy and peace amidst my own pain and suffering. 

On the fourth of July Sister Nilson and I woke up and the first thing we did was say the pledge of allegiance with our hands on our hearts.  We held up a little parade flag in the air.  We sang some songs.  I am proud to be an American!  We made crepes to uphold her family tradition.  That evening we came together at our church with a family in our ward and all of our investigators.  We gave them some of our American patriotism!  It was a fun group and it was cool to be gathered from all over the world. Ha ha I seriously love our little Cottbus family.  We gave a lesson on freedom and faith. Did you know that all of the U.S. currency says ''In God we Trust''?  As we trust in God that leads to freedom.  Stanley made a comment about what freedom means to him.  It is about becoming personally free.  Not being held down by anything.  He alluded to faith and repentance.  That was a reason for me to be happy, to see that he is really understanding and applying the gospel in his life. 

G*** is going to France at the end of this month, and man are we going to miss him!!  He is really our little brother.  In our last lesson he finally understood the priesthood and priesthood authority, and we talked with him again about baptism.  His response really showed us that he understands how big of a commitment it is.  He went on to tell us that he wanted to go without food and water for a time and pray about this decision.  We were able to talk about fasting.  We knellt down and prayed with him at the end, and we all held hands. 

This morning I read this verse in the bible:  ''For God hath not given us the Spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind'' (2 Tim 1:7). 

I just want you all to know that it is really you that is helping me to go on.  This is the hardest thing that I have done in my whole life, and even though at times I wonder if I will even make it another day, I just have to think of you and it helps me to keep on going. I am so grateful for you all.  I really know that God is there and he is mindful of each one of us. I have really felt that he knows me personally and loves me.  I love you all so much and I will keep you in my prayers and close to my heart. 

Love Sister Heidi Elaine Shelley