Hello my family!
Well so this last week was absolutely crazy! But first of all...WE GOT OUR NEW GOLDEN!! Her name is Sister Abana! And she is the cutest little Filipino girl you've ever met (well besides Ashlyn of course) but anyway she is from Pampanga in the Philippines which is close to Manila she told me. But so last week we got the call from President that our new Sister Abana would be coming in around 8:20 pm on Wednesday and that President was going to just bring her to District Meeting the next day on Thursday. When they arrived I was so excited to meet her and the first thing I asked her was, "do you know a Sister Hansen in the Philippines??" And she said "oh yes I do!" And I said "that one of my best friends!" And the look on Presidents face was hilarious haha and he was so surprised! But it was so great to be able to make that connection. It was a tender mercy from the Lord I think with her being so far away from home. Sister Abana flew from the Philippines to Japan to Atlanta and then to Philadelphia finally. But she missed her flight in Atlanta and didn't get into Philadelphia until 1am...poor girl she was exhausted. But she finally arrived! And we were so excited!
After District Meeting we had four lessons that day and so we were running around and had a wonderful day teaching and getting to know her. She is so sweet and is really such a powerful teacher I feel like we don't even have to do anything to train her. But she has been out for about a month and a half already she was serving in the Manila mission waiting for her visa. But now she is here and we are so happy she is! She definitely has already added something to our companionship that was missing!
And so then after Thursday President told us that there would be a training meeting for all of the trainers and the new missionaries and the trainers at the mission home the next day. So on Friday we had to wake up super early to get ready and then we left to drive towards Philly. And Sister Jolley hates driving in Philly but we made it through safely and in one piece thank goodness. And I got to see the temple briefly! But oh my, was it beautiful!! I hope I'll be able to go back soon to see it! Anyway the training meeting was so great!! And I was so impressed with all of these brand new missionaries! We got to hear each of them best their testimonies and it was such a spiritual experience to hear them all express their love and gratitude for the Savior and His Gospel. One thing that I noticed was that almost each and every new missionary (there was 35 of them I believe) almost said the same thing to the effect of "I know that I am where the Lord needs me to be right now." And it helped me to finally realize that I truly truly am where the Lord needs me at this present time. I am coming to realize more and more of the personal conversion that is taking place while being in the full time service of my Savior and Heavenly Father. Because it is a continual growing process, and I am grateful that there is no end to progression in the gospel because I certainly have a looooong ways to go.
After Golden Re-Training though we had to drive back through the jungle of cars in Philly to get back into Jersey for our dinner appointment. And then right after dinner we had to rush back to the apartment so that I could pack for exchanges really quick and then we drove to meet the STL's for exchanges! We met them at about 9:00 pm and exchanged. And so I had the opportunity to go with Sister Wilko to Vineland NJ while Sister Hoofman came here to Medford with Sister Jolley and Sister Abana.
While I was in Vineland with Sister Wilko we had SO much fun!! She helped me with a lot of things concerning training and then we got to teach a few lessons. The first was with a recent convert named Lenton. Lenton is an older man and he is basically deaf. And so when we went to teach him we literally had to yell as we were teaching because otherwise he couldn't hear haha. So there we were just shouting in his ear the importance of keeping the Sabbath day holy. But he was adorable. And then he offered the closing prayer which I guess is huge for him but it was great.
Then we went to teach another recent convert who's name is Vaughnie. Vaughnie is this adorable tiny little old woman. And seriously she is smaller than me but she was so cute. We taught her about baptism again just to remind her about what she promised when she was baptized. And then taught her about the temple and preparing her to go soon. She was just so sweet and the spirit was so strong while teaching her.
And then the last lesson we had was with a family and it was honestly one of the most spiritual lessons I have ever been a part of. We had our last lesson with the Ditzel family and Sister Wilko had told me that they had not been progressing for some time but they just felt like they shouldn't stop teaching them. As we went she gave me more of a summary about them. When we arrived at their house I could see that they lived in very humble circumstances and that they were such a sweet family. As we began talking they talked about their trials and how the Lord has humbled them in many ways. Immediately I thought of my favorite Mormon Message "The Will of God." And I shared with them. They loved it because it applied to them but then we basically just built our lesson off of that. We originally planned on teaching them The Gospel of Jesus Christ but the spirit had something else in mind. It was an amazing lesson and the spirit was so strong the dad even started to cry saying that he knows that this is the truth. The spirit filled the room and then we invited him and his family to be baptized by someone holding the Priesthood authority and they accepted and said that they were willing to do anything to be together forever. I was so grateful for that experience and even though I had just met these people I was overcome with love for them.
Which bring me to one of my favorites topics: Charity. I studied charity a lot. And I love charity. My favorite scriptures are even about Charity and becoming like the Savior. The more we strive to develop Charity, that pure love of Christ, then the rest of the Christ-like attributes will come with it. I love in Moroni 7 how it describes what Charity is. I was also studying in Preach My Gospel about Charity and I read the scripture found in Matt. 22:37-39
"37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."
And as I thought about that it stood out to me that the first and second greatest commandment is to have Charity. A pure love for the lord and also for others, but also for ourselves. It dawned on me that if you don't have that same Christ-like love for yourself it will be hard for you to have that same love for other people. Someone very close to me told me right before I left on my mission to "love everyone." And I can honestly say that that has made all the difference. Loving the people I serve, loving my companions when times may be hard and discouraging, and loving the members. I echo Jeffrey R Holland when he said that "pure Christ-like love is the greatest need we have in this world." And I couldn't agree more. The pure love of Christ changes everything. When you love the Lord with everything that you have, and you experience how much He loves you, then you can't help but feel a portion of that same love He has for His other children.
"45 And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
46 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail--
47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.
48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen."
I hope we'll all be able to develop that Charity and strive to become more like our Savior through conversion to His gospel. I love you all and I know that this is gospel is true! Ip until next week!
~Sister Amy Callaway~
Sister Abana making some awesome Filipino food!!~And some of the cutest puppies you've ever seen!(please excuse the messy hair their was a horrible storm that day haha) and Sister Abana passed out after 20 hours of traveling :(