Friday, January 30, 2015

Hello Everyone!!

Okay so, this week has been hard. Haha. No surprise. Its not suppose to be easy. And i would never ever want it to be. And i can honestly say i never expected it to be in the first place. I still love it here dont get me wrong, but this has without a doubt been the hardest and yet most rewarding week of my life. Its so weird to feel like you can go from the lowest youve ever felt to the highest all in the same day. And this week has been exactly that. Haha. I have gone from feelings of homesickness, wondering why Im here, feeling the most inadequate ive ever felt, feeling like i cant teach for the life of me. But those feelings only come from one place. And its not heaven. Its crazy to say but i have seriously grown so much in the last week then ever before! And i cant wait to experience more!
But first Ill start with a very important lesson I learned early in the week....IT´S NOT ABOUT YOU!!!, let me explain. Elder Holland said that missionary work is just as much about the missionaries as it is the investigators. And that is completely true, as missionaries it is our duty to make sure that we are worthy of this work, and most importantly that we are converted unto the Lord. Because if we ourselves aren't converted then how in the world can we expect to convert others. So when i say its not about you, this is really what i mean...don't focus on yourself. You are here for the Lord and your focus needs to be Him and his other children. And this week i noticed a difference in my teaching. When i was focusing on myself and how I was going to teach things, the lesson crashed and burned. And i felt like i had let my Heavenly Father down. For example, In class we do role playing constantly, where you and your companion pretend to be an investigator and or missionary and then switch roles....well each time I tried to focus on how well I (emphasis on the I) was teaching nothing came to my mind. I would talk about the doctrine and everything but everything would just go not according to how i planned it. And i thought ''If i cant even teach a member, how in the world am I going to teach and investigator??''...well the problem was this...I was focused on myself and on how well I was teaching...I wasn't even leaving room for the spirit to come in and take over. And so ive learned that in order to be an effective teacher of a missionary, you 1) focus on the investigator most importantly and figure out what THEY NEED 2) prepare as best as you possibly can to apply the doctrines of the gospel to their needs. And 3) pray for the guidance of the Holy Ghost and then let the Lord take over from there, so that the Holy Ghost can bring to remembrance the things that you have studied and learned....Those are some of the most important things i have learned this week. Elder Bednar said it better than i did...''Get over yourself! Get out of the way and let the spirit guide you.'' is only by the spirit that we are able to teach the gospel. We as missionaries can only teach knowledge. We can only help others to KNOW something. We cant make them UNDERSTAND, because only one thing can enter into the hearts of men and that is the Holy Ghost. And so honestly once you forget yourself and go to work for the Lord, only then, I believe, will you have the most success as a missionary...Because WE ARE DEALING WITH THE SOULS OF MEN HERE!!...And we cant afford to let our own pride get in the way of spreading this glorious gospel...That all probably seems harsh now that i read it over haha but its true. And it has definitely been a humbling experience for me. 
Another thing I really want to tell you guys about this week was about on tuesday when we sang in the choir for devo. We sang ''I Feel My Savior's Love'' and i LOVE that song!!! but this week it became even more meaningful to me. Our choir instructor is the BEST!! Seriously. He is. But anyway as we were singing, we came across the part that says ''He knows I will follow Him. Give all my life to Him.'' And during practice he paused, and asked us this question..''Does He?...Does He know?' and for a moment he looked at us, and we all shook our heads saying 'Yes' and he said to us, ''Then SHOW Him.''  and that struck me. Because I have always assumed that The Savior knows that i will follow Him...but it is not a matter of just saying that you will, it is a matter of SHOWING Him that you will. But showing Him in the very small everyday acts that you do. Showing Him by doing EVERYTHING that he has asked of you. And this week more then ever all I have wanted to do is SHOW my Savior that I love Him. I can definitely feel His love, even when I don't deserve it. But can He feel my love for Him? I want Him to. More than anything. I will do WHATEVER He asks of me, no matter how hard it may be. Because I love Him. And because He loves me.  
One more thing I want you all to know. This week at devotional Elder Larry Kacher spoke and he asked this question...''What Manner of Missionary Are You Going to Be?'' and so to apply it to everyone else...''What Manner of Disciple Are You Going to Be?''...because its your choice. He then went on to talk about being a Consecrated Missionary...So ill give you an example to better explain this. Think of the oil that we use for blessing the sick and the afflicted. When a worthy priesthood holder blesses that oil or CONSECRATES it, he is setting it apart specifically and only for the use of blessing the sick and the afflicted. It only has one purpose. And so as missionaries we have been set apart, but it is up to us whether we decide to be consecrated missionaries. Deciding to have only one purpose, which is to serve the Lord with all our heart, might, mind and strength. And so i ask you again...what manner of missionary will you be? 

I love you all more than youll ever know! Thank you for all of your letters and packages I love them! Im sorry I dont have much time to email you all individually but I please know that I love you all and that I love our Savior more!! Ill write you all soon! 

Sister Callaway

Friday, January 23, 2015

Greetings from the MTC

Hello Everyone!

I'm alive! haha. Well I survived my first two days in the MTC! I miss everyone like crazy but there is nowhere else I would rather be. I love it here! I was so nervous and had so many worries coming in my first day but the second they placed that name tag over my heart I just could not stop smiling! I love it! Every bit of it! They have kept us so busy that's for sure haha. You really don't have any time to rest other than on P-Day's. (which is Friday for me while I am here) But anyway, I met with my district and we are all great friends already! I LOVE my new companion. Her name is Sister Gomm. My biggest fear was that I would end up with a companion who didn't like me. But I can definitely testify that Heavenly Father knows us and each of our worries. Sister Gomm is definitely a tender mercy. I can tell we are going to be great friends! We already are. 

The rest of our district consists of two other Sisters and four Elders. One Elder was born in Samoa but has lived in New Zealand most of his life. And he is HUGE, haha but he is probably the sweetest guy I've ever met. His name is Elder Pule (Pool-ee) and he is 20 and a convert. His family disowned him after he joined the church and he was taken in by another member family and now he is out here on a mission. When he bears his testimony though and you see in front of you this huge, 20 year old, Samoan man crying because he loves the gospel so much...i hope that that alone would be enough to strengthen your own testimony. Because I know it has mine... you can just see the conviction he has when he talks about the gospel. Its incredible. Also one of my teachers, his name is Brother Rockwood and he served in the Roseville, Ca Mission. Small world right? haha. he said her served in the singles ward, and that he President Weston was his mission president. So we made a funny connection there. 

Hmm lets see what else...OH! Also my district and I leave for Philadelphia on Feb. 3...Sorry Natalie!! Ill miss you by just ONE DAY!! But I promise you will love it here you have nothing to worry about. And I'll also tell Christa to find you :) Speaking of which I also saw my sweet friend Christa Lahman, or Sister Lahman. We practically like tackled each other when saw one another! haha. And I also ran into Megan Murphy! It was so good to see a few familiar faces!...Oh and also Mom, I did see Carter Blaise who you said was my childhood bestie. I definitely recognized him but didn't say hi because i don't know him haha. But I also did meet his best friend Elder Greene who is in my Zone and we are going to the same mission. 

And well today we did have class today where we practiced taught, which was totally new for me. Where your companion pretends to be a nonmember while you have to actually prepare and teach them something. Well to be honest I thought the whole idea was just silly beacause I thought to myself how can I take this seriously when im not even talking to a real investigator?? Well, I can honestly tell you that I was wrong to judge it that way. Practice teaching has already helped me so much in the frist two days I have been here. Its incredible, really it is. The Spirit works wonders if you let it. And if anyone really knows me then you know that I always saw that I am not good with words. And so i was feeling so inadequate, but my teacher Brother Anderson quickly had me open up to Exodus 4:10-11. And in these verses the Lord is talking to Moses. And Moses is basically saying what I was saying. But the Lord loving reminds Moses that He was the one who created him. And simply put he has no reason to fear becuase the Lord will not forsake him in his time of need.  Im not the best at explaining things sometimes but when i just prayed to have the spirit with me it was the coolest and most amazing thing because the words seriously just came out of my mouth like I knew what to say. And I STARTED TALKING LIKE A MISSIONARY!! haha i know that sounds silly but its true. And I was only teaching my companion, so i cant wait to teach an investigator. 

Another thing that we were talking about today in class was really and truly understanding our purpose as missionaries. And something that Brother Rockwood said today that really stuck in my mind was just that he was explaining the "Line of Authority" I guess you could say, of preaching the gospel. He first had us read 2 Nephi 31(which i highly recommend and invite everyone to read over again)...and then he went on to explain how the Lord has called the Prophet, and his councilors and then the twelve apostles and so on. And that the word Apostle literally means "to go forth." And we all obviously have a mandate the take this gospel to the world. But the Lord cant be here right now to do it himself. And the Prophet and Apostles cant be everywhere at once. And so they have called, by revelation, full time missionaries to help take this gospel to the world. We are helping them to fulfill their apostolic duty. And we have the privilege of standing in place for them, and the Savior to take His gospel to the people of Philadelphia. Isnt that incredible to think??

Before I left I was reading a book given to me by a very dear friend. It was called "Return" written by Elder Robert D. Hales i believe. And in it Elder Hales was telling a story about President Kimball i think it was (sorry im not good with remembering!) But anyway Pres. Kimball was not in very good health but he made a trip to south america and attended a meeting where many members came from all over just to meet him... Anyway after the meeting Pres. Kimball stood up and started shaking every saints hand. But Elder Hales had asked him if he thought it was time to go and rest and that the saints would understand....But Pres. Kimball looked him in the eye and said, "If you knew what I know you wouldn't ask me that question."... I just wanted to share that because to me it is so powerful! The Lord truly is hastening his work! The work is going forward with or without us and I hope and pray that we will all be a part of it in any way we can!  

Anyway, sorry I like wrote you guys a book haha but there is just so much to tell and so little time! I love you all and pray for you everyday! I am doing very well and am happy here! i hope to hear from you guys soon! 

love always,

Sister Callaway

Sister Callaway's last Facebook post before entering the MTC!

Alright friends this is it! I'm heading to the MTC to prepare to preach this incredible gospel to the people of Philadelphia! But above all I testify that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ live and love us! I can't wait to be out there and represent our Savior! I promise I will give it my all. See you all in 18 months! 

Sister Callaway