Sunday, November 29, 2015

:(

Hello loved ones! 
Well so this week was so dang good!! We had SO many miracles and taught quite a few lessons! AND we now have 6 investigators who will be baptized in the coming months!! I am so excited!! However, of course this would all start happening with things going so well and seeing miracles left and right the week right before I get TRANSFERRED!!!! I got the call on Friday and I was told that I would be leaving and I just cried. I was devastated. And I'm the only one getting transferred out of the entire district. And the only sister out of the entire Zone...there is only one other missionary getting transferred out of the entire Zone....so yeah...pastedGraphic_1.png All week I have been telling Sister Abana that I did not want to leave and that I love Medford SO much. So much so that she's probably sick of it haha. But in all seriousness I love this ward. I love the people. And we have such awesome investigators that I love so much! I love this place and these people. I have grown so close to so many in the 6 months that I have been here. Yesterday at church was so bittersweet, I was called up to give my testimony having no idea what I was going to say but I just felt so overwhelmed with love for these people. I think I kinda felt it coming but I never really thought that my days in Medford would come to an end. And as much as I don't want to leave I will go and do the Lord's will wherever He wants me to go. I know He will send the missionaries that these people need and I trust Sister Abana with everything. She is more than ready and capable of taking over this area. More so than she thinks she is. I'm going to miss her too. We have had so much fun together as companions! And I'm going to miss her cooking....but I will miss her more! Haha she is seriously so great. I have loved serving with her.

And transfers are tomorrow. Which should be fun and I'll let you know where I end up next week! So last week we taught Augustine and Priscilia our I investigators from Africa. They both are so funny and so great! They were introduced to their cousin Juliana who is from Africa as well and who joined the church a little over a year ago. We taught them three times this week and invited them to be baptized and they accepted!! When teaching them about the Book of Mormon and The Restoration, Augustine was a little more hesitant because he loves the bible and he was just comparing the two until Julianna told him to "stop that!" And to start having a humble heart while reading and praying. Because that is the only way he will know if it's true. And so he did. When we came back the next time he told us he had been reading and that he stopped comparing them and started keeping an open mind and an open heart. One lesson while we were reading in The Book of Mormon in 1 Nephi 1 Augustine stopped and told us what he thought one verse meant regarding prophets and he asked us for clarification and we reassured him and then he said "oh this makes so much sense!!" And I said "yes! It does! Because it's true!" He is loving reading The Book of Mormon now and he had been praying and feels as the God is telling him that the things are are teaching him are true. I love watching people gain a testimony of The Book of Mormon and of The Restoration. 

And Priscilia came to us and told us that she had a cool experience where she prayed asking if what we are teaching her is true and she said that she had a dream of the Savior coming to her in a dream and reassuring her of the things we have been teaching her. She said that she believes that every girl we have taught and continue to teach is and will be true. I was so grateful for what a miracle that was for her to receive her answer in that way! They are excited to be baptized! And I'm excited to get pictures! Because I, getting transferred...but that's okay...pastedGraphic_2.png

Then we had a few lessons with the new family from Georgia and her kids Ally and Matt are so amazing!! They impress me so much. They remembered so much of what the missionaries taught them and we invited them to be baptized and they are so excited to be baptized! I wish I could be here to continue to watch them grow but I know they will be well taken care of. 

Then on Saturday the ward helped us to put on a baby shower for our other investigators I've mentioned a few times Lisa and Steve. Lisa is due in about 2 weeks and is a first time mom and they didn't have much for Baby Eli. So the ward pulled together and they were kind enough to have a baby shower for them. Lisa and Steve were so grateful and I was grateful to see them so happy. I can't remember if I told the story of how we met Lisa and Steve but I'll tell it again. 


So a few months ago one day in the middle of summer Sister Jolley and I were walking around in Mt. Holly doing some finding when we weren't having much luck that day when we turned the corner on this street where there was absolutely NO ONE walking around. When out of the corner of my eye I saw this tiny little pregnant girl with a small little baby bump walk out of a side street. And immediately I thought "eternal families!" She was quite a ways ahead of us but I decided to call out to her. She turned around and I jogged up to her and started talking with her. I introduced myself and she introduced herself as Lisa. She told us that she had lost her jacket and was just out trying to find it and asked us if we would like to help. And so we did. She asked who we were and where we were from thinking that we were of another particular faith she didn't want to be affiliated with for some reason. But we told her about the church and I started talking to her about Eternal Families. That interested her seeing that she was having a baby in a few months. She asked for our number and we exchanged information and went back and taught her a few days following. Steve was not so interested at first but slowly but surely he started sitting in on the lessons and eventually we started teaching them together. When we invited them to be baptized they Botha accepted and Steve actually told us that a few days before we had contacted Lisa that first day, he said that he had been praying that God would help them to find the right church to raise their family in...and then we showed up :) Lisa and Steve have told us a few times now that they are so grateful and that they are so happy that we found them when we did. But I know it wasn't us, it was the Lords hand in everything. They will be baptized in the coming months after baby Eli is born. But I can't wait to see them be sealed as and eternal family one day pastedGraphic_3.png the lord has blessed me greatly here in this area. With people I have taught and members of the ward who have helped me in so many ways to prepare for my eternal family one day. 

Just to share something that I learned in my studies this morning quickly...first of all I have to be honest I was completely surprised at how many people have come up to me  in the last few days to tell me how well they think I've done here. I have come to love these people so much but I honestly did not realize the love that they reciprocated to the missionaries. But I am grateful for those who have thought so highly of me when I didn't know it. Especially when I have never thought those things of myself before. But I am grateful for the potential that people seem to think I have. But yesterday in church I shared a verse in Alma 26 about being made and instrument in the hands of the Lord. This morning I was continuing in reading Alma 26. And for some reason as I was reading those verses I thought of my art class in high school. Where we experimented some times with a potters wheel. And I remembered how when I was molding and shaping the clay I would often use "instruments" or "tools" to carve a pretty design into the clay. As I thought I this analogy of the Potters Clay I thought of how it can apply to us as missionaries and disciples of Christ. When a potter is molding and shaping a piece of clay he has a vision for it. He is shaping it into something beautiful, into something he wants it to be. And often times he may use certain tools or instruments in order to help him fulfill the purpose he has for it. Some instruments are meant for a specific purpose than other but nonetheless they are all important and helpful in the process. But when using them, the tools don't have a mind of their own and arent going every which way doing whatever THEY want. Instead, they are still. They are submissive. They go whichever way the potter wants them to in order to help him fulfill the work he is doing. And I thought about how that may apply to us as missionaries. No I don't want to leave this area. There is so much happening and I have sacrificed so much in behalf of this area and I love these people so much. If it were my choice I would choose to stay. But I am merely the instrument. So I'll go where ever and do whatever the Master wants me to go and do. Because this is His work. Not mine. I am the instrument. He is the potter. And I hope and pray that I can be used in His hands to help Him fulfill His righteous purposes here in this mission and in my next area. 

pastedGraphic.pngI want everyone to know that this gospel is true. It is all true. I testify of it with all that I have and am. There is nothing in this world that is worth more than enjoying the fullest blessings of the gospel. 

Love you all!! Until next week! 
~Sister Amy Callaway~

And a few pictures!! Don't mind how terrible I look in some of them!!! But I wanted to send pictures of all 6 of our investigators who will be baptized soon!! And I just love them all! The first is Julianna and I she is already a member. The second is Ally and Matt (from Georgia) the third is Lisa and Steve. And the fourth is Augustine and Priscilia! 





Some funnies :)

So I totally failed at this but it was hilarious! Haha hope it makes you laugh :)

video

Transfers calls this week

Hello my people! 

Time has seriously gone by way too darn fast. I felt like I was just writing you all yesterday. Anywho, so transfer calls are this coming Friday and I'm practically begging President to let me stay here haha. And George is helping me out with trying to get president to let Sister Abana and I to both stay as well haha. 

Well anyway, this week was eh again in terms of teaching and numbers BUT!...we had 16 nonmembers at church yesterday! 5 of which are investigators and the rest are all people who have expressed interest in learning about the gospel. The lord has blessed us greatly here. 

Well this last week we had interviews with President and then some training from the Assistants. And I e said it before and I'll say it again...We have the best mission president ever!! (No offense the any other past, present, or future mission presidents) He is just so funny. I always look forward to interviews with him. And I'm thoroughly convinced that Dad and President Anderson would be great best friends. His personality reminds me so much of my fathers. I love it. He really feels like my dad out here. 

And we had a lesson this week again with Augustine & Pricilla and they are both doing very well. Again I just love African people they are so humble and they love God so much and are so willing to learn. I'm excited to keep teaching them and will keep you posted on their progress. Then this week we went on exchanges again with our STLs. Normally they don't do exchanges for a companionship twice in one transfer but President gave the sisters and opportunity to go on another exchange and they decided to exchange with us! At first I thought we were in trouble or something but they just wanted to exchange with us! And it was so fun. I went to Vineland again for the third time and sister Abana stayed here. I went win Sister Hoofman again and we had a great time. We went and taught one of their recent converts Lenton again and if you remember I talked about him last time and he is the one that's like basically deaf but can still hear a little bit. So when you teach him you have to literally yell haha. But he is the sweetest old man and I've only taught him twice but I just love him. We talked about the priesthood and patriarchal blessings with him and we talked about how it's like a map for us or like a blue print and he said "oh I gotta get me one of those! I think I need one!" Haha he is great. 

Then we tried to do some service and contacting some more people and while we were eating dinner right before we exchanged again we stopped at a restaurant and while we were eating this young man who worked there came up to us and started talking and once he saw our name tags he started aski us questions and somehow we started talking about the living prophet on the earth today. And he said "whoa, wait, what?! There's a prophet on earth today??" We said "yes" as we smiled. And normally when we tell people that there is a prophet on the earth they usually say "mmm I don't know about that." But this young man was so excited and amazed. And it finally hit me how blessed we are to know that there is a living prophet on earth today. And I was so grateful to be able to share that knowledge with him. We gave him a card because he had to get back to work but I was grateful for the opportunity to share with him the knowledge of a living prophet. I love Vineland. I hope I serve there too. 

Yesterday in church we learned about missionary work in Relief Society. And specifically we talked about how there are so many people looking but they don't know where to find it. Some people don't even know that they are looking for it until they experience it. The gospel is the answer to everything. It really is. It is the answer to lives greatest questions. But it is only something that can be learned really through experience. The more you keep the commandments and do the things that invite the spirit into your life the more you will begin to experience the love and mercy of our Savior Jesus Christ. I read a talk the other day by President Ezra Taft Benson called "Life Is Eternal." From April of 1971. And in it he explains how we are eternal beings. How life really is eternal. He said, 

" Yes, life is eternal. We live on and on after earth-life, even though we ofttimes lose sight of that great basic truth.
Our affections are often too highly placed upon the paltry perishable objects. Material treasures of earth are merely to provide us, as it were, room and board while we are here at school.
Yes, this is but a place of temporary duration. We are here to learn the first lesson toward exaltation--obedience to the Lord’s gospel plan." 

I loved that. We are eternal. A scripture in Alma 12: 24 illustrates my point even further...

"nevertheless there was a space granted unto man in which he might repent; therefore this life became a probationary state; a time to prepare to meet God; a time to prepare for that endless state which has been spoken of by us, which is after the resurrection of the dead."

This is our time to prove ourselves. To prove that we can be obedient to gods commandments. No commandments are not restrictions rather they are the very things at set us free from the consequences of sin. Because there is an endless state to come. It just depends on how we each plan to live in the endless state. And living the commandments is the way that we will learn true happiness and eternal joy in the eternities. I know that this is true. The scriptures teach it. So, how do you want to live for eternity?? :)

Love you all!! Until next week! 
~Sister Amy Callaway~

Oh also we stared teaching a family that moved from Georgia they are from Lawernceville?? Close to Brittney! 


Also so,e fun throwback pictures to the MTC days. And Brother Rockwood, the one who served in the Roseville, Ca mission! And also a funny picture of President and two of his assistants haha




Hayaang gumabay ang banal na espiritu

Kamusta ulit mga minamahal!

Seriously I wish I knew Tagalog. Or Spanish. Or something, I just want to learn another language. I'll get learn one someday. I keep asking Sister Abana to translate things for me and I think she's getting tired of it haha. Anyway, this week...was a week! But we had another mini-missionary with us this week though. Her name is Sister Ramirez and she is from Vineland, NJ. It was so fun to have her with us! She is 16 and is planning on serving a mission. And I was just so impressed with her. This week the kids in Jersey didn't have school for a few days and so instead of spending her time off hanging out with her friends and what not she decided to come on a mini mission! She came on Wednesday night and stayed with us until yesterday after church. And we had lots of fun having her with us and we saw a few miracles too. 

This week we had Zone Training and after Zone Training President and Sister Sikahema came to feed us all again. And I just love them. They are such amazing people. After we ate lunch we all had the opportunity to sit around and listen to President Sikahema share with us some things about his mission that he learned and things he still uses from him mission. And he spoke of how precious his mission was and is to him. He said that there is not a day that has gone by that he has not thought about something he has gained or learned from his mission. It was such a pleasure to be instructed by him again. He is a very humble man with a big heart and a strong testimony. And he also had a big part to play in the purchasing of the grounds of the Philadelphia temple. I'd invite you too look that story up on lds.org. It's a good story. 

And cool experience too...so on Friday it is our weekly planning day. So after having a few lessons and then weekly planning...we decided to go out and do some finding again. We were in this one neighborhood and it was dark. And New Jersey is very woodsy so there's tons and tons of trees in our area. So anyway I was driving and as I was driving I noticed a woman walking on he side of the road by herself. I drove passed and then I had a thought that said, "you should go talk to her." I sat for a moment wondering about the prompting that just came and then it came again, "go talk to her." I thought that it would be weird because it was so dark outside. But it came again. "Go talk to her." So with that I obeyed and turned around we quickly got out to hopeful cross paths with her when we were just in time. I called out to her in a lighted area and we began talking with her. She was a kind woman and she introduced herself as Nicole and said she was from Russia. We got to talking with her and she said she attends a Russian Orthodox Church in Philly. When I introduced ourselves she said she'd never heard of the name of the church before and when I mentioned The Book of Mormon she said, "oh my gosh! That's so funny, my significant other was raised Mormon and he is from Arizona. He's not active but his family is and they are wonderful." She said that she has had a lot of interaction with the church throughout her life and loves how focused the church is on family. At first she said that she wouldn't really be interested but then I mentioned to her about The Family: A Proclomation To The World and invited her to read and she accepted. From this experience I just thought how funny it is how many times the lord has sent his spirit to prompt me to talk to someone only to find that that certain someone is themselves or is close to someone of the church who is not active. That has happened to me so many many times. And it just proves to me that the Lord will keep reaching out to his children who have fallen away. It reaffirmed to me the pattern of love and concern that the lord has and always will follow in reaching out to his children no matter what. And we will hopeful get to know them better! I'll keep you posted! 

Then yesterday at church it was one of the best sacrament meetings I've had! It was a little different. The topic was about the importance of music and worship and someone got up and gave a short talk on the hymn they chose and then the congregation stood and we all sang that hymn. It was cool and so spiritual! And after church when Sister Ramirez left the family that came to pick her up has a daughter serving in the Roseville Ca mission. Her name is Sister Spears and she is serving in Roseville I guess. She also served in Lincoln. So look out for a sister Spears there! 

And shortly I just want to take a minute to talk about the spirit real quick. And to share a pen experience I had yesterday. From the beginning of my mission though I have sought to try to recognize and understand the spirit. And I'm still learning. But I have gotten better. But an experience I had yesterday helps me to illustrate my point. 

Last night we were in Mt. Holly preparing for an appointment we had. So we parked on High St. which is like the main st. Anyway, if you recall a few weeks ago I mentioned about one of our investigators with a date who like went totally anti and was saying awful things to us...yeah well yesterday was the day she was suppose to be baptized so it was a little bit of a sad day. But anyway, we were sitting there last night on high st. And that is right where this former investigator lives. It was dark by this time and also mind you we had been trying to contact her forever until she started saying horrible things to us. And for a while we didn't know if she still even lived there. But last night in the middle of my talking to Sister Abana I looked in the rear view mirror and saw Dawn (which is her name) walking up the sidewalk. I got all excited and my first instinct was the get out of the car and run up to her and ask her what happened. I was so excited to see her that I wanted to jump out of the car and talk to her right away. And right as I put my hand on the door handle to open the car door I felt the most subtle thought that stopped me and said "no." I immediately stopped and watched her walk inside. I thought, "well that was weird. Did I just postpone a prompting? Or worse, ignore one?"  But then I realized that this was different. I now KNOW that for whatever reason that was the spirit warning me. And telling me not to talk to her. I don't know why. But I knew that whatever happened to her to dissuade her from learning about the gospel, it was not something good. And it would not have been good for us to get involved with it. I do t really know how to describe it but I know that that was different from just postponing a prompting. It was one of the most clear warnings from the spirit I've ever had. And it felt different too. I didn't understand it right away and I don't even know why I was not to speak to her last night but the spirit spoke and I obeyed. 

I share this experience to make this point; we NEED to learn to listen to the spirit. Because it will guide us safely back to our Heavenly home. It will protect us. It will warn us. It will lead us along the straight and narrow path. We need to learn To recognize it. To understand it. There is an entire chapter in preach My Gospel devoted to this subject for which I am eternally grateful. And it's not just called "feeling the spirit." It's called "Recognizing and Understanding the Spirit." Because the spirit speaks to all of us in different ways. I love being a missionary one reason because of the spirit that I feel daily. I'm still learning how to recognize it, and I am striving daily to remain worthy of it. We NEED the spirit in everything that we do. One of my favorite verses in The Book of Mormon that describes what the spirit sounds like is in Helaman 5:30-31

"30 And it came to pass when they heard this voice, and beheld that it was not a voice of thunder, neither was it a voice of a great tumultuous noise, but behold, it was a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper, and it did pierce even to the very soul--

31 And notwithstanding the mildness of the voice, behold the earth shook exceedingly, and the walls of the prison trembled again, as if it were about to tumble to the earth; and behold the cloud of darkness, which had overshadowed them, did not disperse--"

And another verse from 3 Nephi 11:3,

"3 And it came to pass that while they were thus conversing one with another, they heard a voice as if it came out of heaven; and they cast their eyes round about, for they understood not the voice which they heard; and it was not a harsh voice, neither was it a loud voice; nevertheless, and notwithstanding it being a small voice it did pierce them that did hear to the center, insomuch that there was no part of their frame that it did not cause to quake; yea, it did pierce them to the very soul, and did cause their hearts to burn."

 I just love how it is described as a still small voice. I invite you all to strive to remain worthy, or of need be to become worthy of the companionship of the Holy Ghost. It is the best feeling in the world to have the spirit with you. I love this gospel and my savior and Heavenly Father with all that I have and am. 

Love you all!! Until next week! 

~Sister Amy Elizabeth Callaway~




Good Ol' Medford

Hello Family!!
Well what can I say, this week was...good but still rough. We haven't been teaching as much as we are striving to but I know that the Lord will provide. But we still see miracles daily! One miracle this week was that we got two new investigators! Their names are Augustine and Priscilla. They are relatives of a recent convert named Juliana. And they are all from Siera León (forgive me if I spelled that wrong) but it's somewhere in Africa! And can I just say, I just LOVE the African people here! They are so darn loveable! And they are so excited to learn about the gospel and so humble. I just love them already! Sometimes I swear they teach me more than I teach them haha but they love Christ. And want so much to come closer to Him. So we gave them each a Book of Mormon and they are excited to read it! 

Also we started teaching a really good friend of a less active we have been seeing and her friends name is Lisa. Lisa has had a lot going on in her life and she grew up in a Non-Christian religion and says she really doesn't know much about religion or Christ for that matter. But she is so willing and ready to learn and be taught. She has met with the bishop a few times and he gave her a blessing and she said " that was the closest to God I've ever felt." And I was so excited for her that she was able to experience the priesthood. She has felt the spirit multiple times now and is praying everyday which is such a great start and evidence that she is repenting and changing! She is so great and such a special person and I already just love her! She's so great and so prepared!

But this week was also a bit hard because we found out that some people in the town of Medford have been posting some not so very nice things about us on Facebook. I guess there is a Medford town Facebook page and earlier this week we knocked on this lady's door around 8:45 in the evening and she got very upset and took it to Facebook. And so some members told us about it and said that there's a lot of people who know who we are and who don't really like us. Sooo...we've just been trying to be pretty careful the last few days. It kind of really upset me and I started to feel a little afraid but then I remembered...I have no reason to be afraid. I'm trying to do the lords work and I will never be sorry for that. And so this morning when Sister Abana and I went to the store to do our grocery shopping I knew that people were going to stare at us. And I was so right lol. We got so many nasty looks today but I used some tactics I learned from my Sisters... 

The first is this; so back home if ever I was upset with Haley about something she would always either do something nice for me or she would try to do something to get me to smile...and it ALWAYS worked! And it's true you can't possibly be sad when you smile. Smiling is truly contagious. So that's what I did today at the store! It sounds so silly and probably so simple but one of my mission mottos has become this "if you're not going to listen to the message I have to share the least I can do is make you smile :)" 

The second is one I learned from Steph..."Kill em' with kindness!...(with more emphasis on the kindness and less on the killing.") haha. And so today after we walked out of the store I stopped and just started running around the parking lot asking people if I could take their carts and put them away for them! Sister Abana looked at me real quick and for a sec was like "what are you doing?" But then she joined in and so for a little while we just ran around the parking lot putting people's carts away for them. So simple and probably silly but I thought, "how we soften the hearts of the people of Medford??" They obviously know who we are and if they don't like us, serve them! It's true. Service makes all the difference. Not just in the act of service itself but because that is truly where the pure love of Christ is manifest. I am reminded of a quote I mentioned some months ago, 

"The amount of service you render to others in in direct proportion to how much Christ like love you feel."

I found great comfort in some scripture passages in John 15 and 1 Peter 3 which Bishop Alston recommended for me. Yesterday in church we talked about being "bold as Lions" when sharing the gospel. We can't afford to be anything less than bold, even though for me it's hard sometimes but I can to tell you that I have grown so much as I've tried to do so. Yesterday I got up and bore my testimony in church, which I was grateful for the opportunity to do. I know I'm not an eloquent speaker and lately I've felt  like I may I fact be one of the weakest missionaries out here. I don't say that to be discouraging of myself i have many many weaknesses and i realize that and I'm grateful for them because they help me to rely on the lord for everything I do. But I am grateful that Heavenly Father and the Savior have been patient with me in all this time. Patient with my learning process in still learning how to be a missionary, and also with my weakness in speaking. And somehow Heavenly Father has been able to use the meager words of a 19 year old girl to share the gospel, and He has made my efforts more. I testify of the grace of our Savior Jesus Christ. That without, we would have no hope of becoming what He wants us to be. I know that the gospel is true and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the Lords true church Restored and brought back to the earth in these last days through the Prophet Joseph Smith. I know that the Book of Mormon is true too. It's true. It's all true. 

I love you all and will talk to you next week!!
Love always,
~Sister Amy Callaway~


And one of my favorite families here! The Berdugos! The second is one right as the camera fell :)

 


What a week

Hello my loved ones!
Okay I seriously don't even want to talk about how I hit my half way
mark this week....I got emails from both Josh and Dad. Haha. I was
talking to some of the sisters in our ward who I've gotten very close
to and they have served missions too and they asked me if ive taken a
nine month picture...so you can guess what that is...and yes! I took
one, but when I send it goes nowhere but to mom haha. But it's funny.

Anyway,  this week was pretty hard I'm not going to lie. Again. But we
had some comical moments that helped to lighten everything up. We did
however still see many miracles! Definitely tender mercies from the
Lord. So earlier in the week you know we went to Susquehanna which I
am still dreaming of going back to by the way. And we'll the next day
we went on exchanges. Which was very fun! But then on the way back to
end our exchange we had a sad experience. So a few weeks ago if you
remember I told you of a total miracle investigator. And well right
after transfers she started telling us that she couldn't commit to
coming to three hours of church every week for whatever reason. And
then she didn't show up for our lesson we had scheduled with her which
really worried me. Then we couldn't get a hold of her for an entire
week. Then only to have her text us this week with some terrible
things to say to us, which I won't repeat because they were that bad.
Simply put she went from very very interested and almost getting
baptized to anti. All within a matter of three weeks. It was all very
upsetting for me, because I had come to care for my sister in such a
short amount of time. I knew satan would work on her as he does with
everyone who is seeking light and truth but I honestly did not think
he would be able to dissuade her so quickly. And we don't know how why
or what happened to make her that way. But it breaks my heart that she
chose to believe whatever lies were told to her. I just pray the Lord
will soften her heart. Amidst all of this happened I found myself
becoming discouraged. Wondering if I had done all that I could to
teach her, to help her, and to allow her to feel the spirit. And for a
short little while, I didn't know if I did. But then as Sister Abana
and I thought about it, she came to three sessions of conference. She
had a miraculous experience with the Book of Mormon. She defended
Joseph Smith in hostile situations. She clearly felt the spirt and
understood the scriptures when we taught her. And she even bore to us
her testimony of these things that we had taught her. I finally
realized after praying long and hard that yes, I did do all that I
could. I fulfilled my purpose but she still has her agency. But it
still hurt. To watch someone resist what they know is true and what
they note their testimony about. It was devastating for me at least.
But I found comfort when reading Jacob 5:49 where even the Lord of the
vineyard says "...for I have done all. What could I have done more for
my vineyard?" I'm not the only one who has ever asked that question. I
know that I did all I could but maybe it just wasn't time for her yet.
In a day to come she will know, I know that.

Then a funny experience which was not so funny when it happened. First
of all so a few weeks ago after transfers we were on our way back from
the Mission home but we didn't have a GPS and we got lost in
Philly...😳...most terrifying thing ever. It's a fun city but not when
you are in traffic. So we got lost and the assistants had to come and
save us. And so then on Friday, after we woke up and we're getting
ready to leave the apartment to go out and exercise...we prayed, and
then walked out the door and it took me about 2 minutes to realize
that I left the keys in the apartment! After we locked the door behind
us...😱 I was mortified that I made such a mistake. So then we tried
to contact someone at the front office but no one was there at 6:30am!
So the. Eventually the assistants had to come and save us...again.
With a spare key but by this time it was 10:00am. So it's safe to say
that I had a little bit of a melt down because I mean seriously who
locks themselves out of their apartment?!? I was more worried about
wasting time. But as the assistants came up they were just laughing
because they thought it was funny to see sisters in sweatshirts and
sweats. But along with the spare key they also brought comfort cookies
because they knew I was so embarrassed and frustrated that they had to
come and save me again. So it's kind of a joke that the Assistants
always have to come and save sister Callaway now...☹️ but anyway, we
eventually got in and then all was well after that!

We are still having a lot of success here even though I feel like I'm
messing it all up😕 haha. And especially since our ward has so many
babies that just makes everything better! I love this ward so much!
Well that's about all for this week! Sorry it's not all as spiritual
as last weeks but I hope this one makes you laugh

But in all seriousness, I know this gospel is true. And I know that
the Lord is mindful of each of us and our needs and struggles. I felt
that more in this week than I have on a long time. I love this gospel
and I know it is true with all that I am.

I love you all so so much!! Until next week!

~Sister Amy Callaway~




Thursday, November 12, 2015

I left my heart in Susquehanna...

Hello hello everyone!!

*Disclaimer--get ready for a long one! But I promise I'll make it
worth the read!:)*

Well first of all sorry I did not email yesterday but it was for good
reason. Yesterday was actually not our pday because for this week it
got switched to today! And today was a very special day because....WE
WENT TO SUSQUEHANNA TODAY!!!! To the Priesthood Restoration site!!

We left the stake center at 4:45 this morning and from where we are in
Jersey it takes four hours to drive there. So we are driving back now
and since we've got four hours this will probably be the longest email
ever because I'm just gonna take me sweet time writing this one haha
because today was one of the most spiritual experiences I've ever had.
And I have lots I want to share!

First of all let me just tell you...there is absolutely nothing more
beautiful than Susquehanna in the fall. Nothing. And if you think
otherwise then come here. You'll see what I mean. As we were on our
way here I could see the sun rising over the autumn trees and oh my
was it breathtaking. I'll send pictures but to be honest pictures
don't do it any justice. Oh and mom and dad and siblings, we are
coming here next fall or the fall after just so you know. Either way
we're coming here sometime in the fall, I'm already planning it.

Anyway, last week was a rough week to be quite frank. So this trip to
Susquehanna was nothing short of a miracle for Sister Callaway. I
needed it. And so this weekend I fasted and prayed that this would be
a spiritual experience for me and for everyone involved. I knew that
this would be an opportunity for me to find answers to some of my
questions and prayers. And I wanted to approach this with a humble
heart and be willing to be taught by the spirit. And I also recognized
what a miraculous experience this was. I mean how many missionaries
have ever gotten to go to the site where the Priesthood authority of
God was restored to the earth? Not many I can tell you that.

So as we were driving and on our way to the site, as we drew nearer i
felt the spirit become stronger and stronger the closer we got. I am
serious. It was that powerful. Nothing I've experience this far in my
mortal life can begin to compare with how I felt today on those sacred
grounds. There is no other explanation for how I felt other than that
it was truly the power of God, and His spirit manifesting to me that
it is true. All of it. The Church. The gospel. The Book of Mormon.
Joseph Smith as a prophet of God. Everything. It. Is. True. It's a
fact. And that was just one the I came today searching for. I wanted
to reconfirm my testimony of the Prophet Joseph a Smith and of the
Book of Mormon.

Because I will be honest with you...I won't get into details but I
don't think there would be anyway that I could've truly gotten through
this last week, or face another week like it in the future, if I did
not know for myself that these things are true. I never doubted my
testimony. But there comes times, even for missionaries, and everyone
where we must renew our testimonies of the things that we know are
true. Otherwise, we will forget the spiritual witnesses that we once
had. Why do we take the sacrament weekly? To renew the covenant we
made at baptism. Or else, if we were just baptized that once even if
we received a spiritual witness, I've learned that we as humans are
prone to forget how we once felt If we don't do something to help us
continually remember it. And so it goes with our personal testimonies
too. I myself came seeking today for many answers for many different
things. The most important I think was another confirmation that
Joseph Smith truly was and is a prophet of God and that the Book of
Mormon is true. Else why would I even bother to help carry on the work
that he began? If I did not know for and of myself that he was called
of God to translate the Book of Mormon and to restore the Priesthood
to the earth.

And so within minutes of being there at the site, in a little secluded
place between the hillsides of the autumn colored mountains. In a
little valley (if you'll call it that) beside the bank of the
Susquehanna river, inside the chapel of the newly built Visitors
Center, one of the Lords many armies of His missionaries began to sing
"Joseph Smith's First Prayer."...and in that chapel I can can
truthfully say that I felt the presence of angels singing with us. For
the number of people that were in that room (it wasn't the entire
mission because split into groups) and if you've ever heard us sing as
a group at a Zone Conference you would know that the loudness and and
zeal exceeded that of what we have normally sounded like.

But there are no mortal words to describe how I felt in that
moment...I was overwhelmed and overcome with the sweetest feeling of
the spirit of the Lord. And I KNEW, that the Lord had answered my
prayer. I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude toward Joseph Smith,
and for the Book of Mormon. I was so overwhelmed with love and
gratitude toward my Heavenly Father and my Savior Jesus Christ that I
couldn't even sing. All I could do was let tears run down my face. I
can't describe the feeling that I felt but this much I can say is that
it was good. I felt full of light. I felt enlightened. I felt full of
love for God and for my fellowmen. I felt true joy. And I felt a
desire to testify of the restoration of the gospel and of the Saviors
atonement to everyone. And that feeling was a thousand times stronger
than anything else I've ever felt in my life. And I testify that no
human being on this earth can make up a feeling like that even if they
tried. It was a witness from God. Now mind you this was still only
minutes within being there.

As we opened with a prayer President Anderson addressed us for a bit
and then President Stevenson, who knows a lot about church history. He
went on to explain to us some of the events that transpired here for
Joseph and Emma. Good times, bad times, including the birth and death
of their firstborn son (who is buried on that ground), and times of
severe persecution. And concerning the translation of the Book of
Mormon and the Restoration of the Priesthood Authority. And as he
spoke of much of church history that I still didn't know, I felt my
admiration, respect, love, and gratitude for both Joseph and Emma only
increase that much more. President Stevenson then posed the question,
"Can you imagine the frustration?" And then I pondered about what
Joseph and Emma went through. And suddenly I felt rebuked a little bit
by the spirit for thinking "whoa is me" for the week that I had. Yes
it's hard, yes I get rejected, yes it's frustrating at times, and yes
it's physically, emotionally, and spiritually draining but at least I
don't have mobs coming after me. I don't have anyone threatening my
life. And I haven't been thrown into prison. And even despite all of
this Joseph and Emma were able to strive to fulfill their callings.
They were called along with many others to lay the foundation of this
great work and we are called to carry it forward and to prepare the
world for the Second Coming of the Savior.

After President Stevenson we heard from the Directors of the Site.
Elder and Sister Walker. And there sweet testimonies helped to remind
me we were on sacred ground. While Elder Walker was speaking though he
began talking about the ripple effect. When you drop a pebble or a
rock in still water and the ripples have far reaching effects. And
then to demonstrate this he called one of the Visitor Center Sisters
up to the front to sing a song. She began singing Abide With Me. And
then her companion got up and joined her. Then the other Visitor
Center Sisters trickled in and they began to sing in beautiful harmony
with one another. And one of those Visitor Center Sisters being my
sweet MTC companion Sister Gomm. As they were all singing I was
enjoying the beautiful harmony of the music. I looked at Sister Gomm
and she looked at me and I just started to cry. (I was a total cry
baby today) but when I looked at her I suddenly remembered back to our
time in the MTC, which exactly 9 months ago tomorrow...from the time
that we had first got there and then I realized how far we had both
come in our missions. How much we both have grown and changed in the
best of ways, with some hardship and trials but because of our love
and service to our Heavenly Father. And then it scared me for a bit to
realized that I almost missed out on such an opportunity. But I am
eternally endebted to my Father in Heaven for allowing me, of all
people, this opportunity to serve Him in this way. We then joined the
Sisters as they sang but again, I was too busy crying to even try to
sing :) Following their the beautiful music, Elder Walker continued to
explain that without the Restoration of the Priesthood we would have
nothing. We would have no church without the priesthood. We would have
no temples without the Priesthood. We would have no covenants, no
saving ordinances. Nothing. My gratitude and testimony only grew and
grew for the Priesthood.

After our time in the chapel we began the tour. We first watched a
beautiful video called Harmony. It's given in the perspective of
Oliver Cowdrey and begin with Joseph burying their son. And then onto
his translation of the Book of Mormon and Oliver acting as Josephs
scribe. Then went to the location that they believe and feel that the
Priesthood was restored at. We made our way down to the replica of the
Hales home, and then to the replica of the Smiths home, and then to
the cemetery where the graves of Isaac and Elizabeth Hale were and
also the grave of Joseph and Emma's firstborn infant son. We ended the
tour at the statue placed there in 1960. And then as we were walking
back up to the visitors center I wandered my little way of into the
spot where they believe the Priesthood was conferred upon Joseph and
Oliver. And it was here that I felt that same sense of peace. That
same confirmation that it is true. It is all true.

And we ended with going down to the bank of the Susquehanna river
where Joseph and Oliver were baptized.

I testify with all of my heart that the Gospel in its fullness has
been restored to the earth. I testify that Joseph Smith was and is a
Prophet of God. I testify of the truth and divinity of the Book of
Mormon. I testify of the power of and reality of the priesthood
authority of God, and the necessity of it. And that without it we can
do nothing. I testify that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God.
And that He paid the price for our sins, but that in order to truly
enjoy the fullest blessing that the Atonement of Christ has to offer
we MUST follow Him and keep ALL of His commandments to the best of our
ability. And that it is only in and through Christ that we can
experience true and lasting happiness and joy. ALL are invited to come
unto Christ. But our loving and merciful a Father and His Son will
never force us. The choice is ours. I testify of these things because
I have received a witness of them for myself. A sure witness. One that
no one and nothing can take away from me. Today, I have walked where
angels of God have walked. I wish everyone could've been there today
to experience the converting power of the Spirit of the Restoration.
The Priesthood has been brought back. The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter a Day Saints is the Lords true church on the earth today, and
we invite all to come unto Him and to be called His people. I testify
of these things because I KNOW them. And like Moroni, "for the time
speedily cometh that ye shall know that I lie not" Moroni 10:27

And I would like to leave an invitation with everyone for whomever may
read this, to read the Book of Mormon. If you want to receive a sure
testimony, love, and witness for the Savior then read the Book of
Mormon. I promise you that you will not be deceived. But you will only
become stronger in the knowledge of our Savior. It's true. I promise
that it is all true. And you can hold my name to that.

"10 And now, my beloved brethren, and also Jew, and all ye ends of the
earth, hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye
believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe
in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of
Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that
they should do good.

11 And if they are not the words of Christ, judge ye--for Christ will
show unto you, with power and great glory, that they are his words, at
the last day; and you and I shall stand face to face before his bar;
and ye shall know that I have been commanded of him to write these
things, notwithstanding my weakness.

12 And I pray the Father in the name of Christ that many of us, if not
all, may be saved in his kingdom at that great and last day." (2 Nephi
33:10-12)

One more quick thing I would like to share. President Anderson when he
was addressing us said "if you have only one convert on your mission,
I pray that that convert is you." A mission is just as much about the
missionary as it is the people we are called to serve. And if nothing
else that is the case for me. I am becoming more and more converted to
the gospel and to my Savior Jesus Christ. the gospel is true. It's all
true. In the sacred name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Love always,

~Sister Amy Elizabeth Callaway~