Monday, April 11, 2016

Pretty uneventful week

Hello family!  

Well this week was better but much less eventful, but it was still good. But this email may be short...anywho! 

So we had a lesson with our investigator this week, her name is Crystal and she will be baptized in July. She is awesome and is working her way to baptism! We also had a lesson this week with another investigator named Shauna and she is seriously one of my most favorite people! She is having a baby girl in August and she just recently found out so she is excited and the baby's name will be Lennan which I think is so cute! Shauna and Jeff are great and they will be baptized this summer as well! 

We also found another potential investigator this week but as we were talking with her, her son was outside too and every time one of us started talking he would cut us off and start telling us some crazy story about how a giant bird tried to pick him up one time...I don't even know...then he tried to offer me a cigarette...and then he started asking me all these weird questions about my eyes and if they were real...or if they changed colors...we kinda got uncomfortable and then yeah that was exciting.

Well So I'll just start by talking about yesterday's sacrament was amazing. That fast and testimony meeting was particularly spiritual. Toward the end of the meeting a member of the stake presidency got up and began to share his testimony about obedience to the lord and his gospel. He first started by talking about Adam, and after he was cast out of the garden he began offering up sacrifices to the lord, and when asked why he was doing that he replied with "I know not. Save the Lord commanded me." And after that the angel began to explain to him why he was doing so and how it was symbolic of the savior. Then Nephi in The Book of Mormon said, "And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do...Nevertheless I went forth,..." Nephi not knowing why he had to go forth or even what he was to do but as his life went on he obeyed even if he didn't understand completely why. Obedience in the world today is almost portrayed as foolishness. But obedience to gods commandments is far from foolishness, or lack of independence. In fact it's the total opposite. It is obedience to the commandments of God that keep us free from the burden and guilt of sin. And even when we mess up it is through our Saviors grace that we can again be freed from those feelings of guilt and be made clean again.

" God doesn't command us to understand everything but rather He commands us to trust Him at all times." 

May we always trust our loving Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ who have and always will have our best interest at heart. I am grateful for Jesus Christ coming to earth and sacrificing himself for us, so that we can be made free and clean. So that we can escape the feelings of guilt, pride, and whatever else it may be that so easily beset us from coming closer to Him. I love Him for it. And I will spend the rest of my mortal life trying to thank Him for it. I pray we will all one day understand the magnitude of His sacrifice better than we do now and always live according to that knowledge. 

Love you all! Until next week!
~Sister Amy Callaway~
Sorry no pictures this week...but here's a quick selfie...:) love you all! 

General Conference is my best friend...

Hello hello everyone!

Okay so this email is probably going to be shorter than most. This week was harder than most. But it was still good. We had a few miracles,

This week we set our investigator Crystal with a baptismal date for July 24! She is very sweet and as we committed her to read and pray about The Book of Mormon we asked her how her experience was and she said that she got the chills when she prayed about it...everybody gets their answer differently but she is gaining her testimony of The Book of Mormon and of Joseph Smith which is super important. She is great. And we are excited for her to be baptized.

Also last Monday when I told you all about that referral we got, and last Monday we had plans in one part of our area but then I had an impression that we needed to drive all the to the other end of our area (which was tough on miles) to stop by this referral. So we did and found her home! We introduced ourselves and set up a return appointment! It was a miracle! Because we hadn't been able to catch her at home for a while. Sometimes it might seem silly when we get a prompting to do something we think isn't logical but it is alway worth it!

Then we got a few new potential investigators this week from finding which I will keep you posted on next week because we haven't had lessons with them yet.

We also had a lesson with a less active who has really been struggling with her faith. There have been a few times we've gone over and she has told us that she's given up entirely. She stopped reading, stopped praying and stopped coming to church. She clearly stopped doing the things that would strengthen her testimony. But she came to church for Easter Sunday and took the sacrament I believe. When we went back the other day it was like she was a totally different person. There was a different spirit in her home. She told us that since Sunday she began reading again, and praying and what a difference it has made for her. We must never forget the simple truths of the gospel like reading and praying. They make ALL the difference!!

Then General Conference....oh my heck...what can I say?? I loved it so much! We watched the first session on Saturday at the church and then the second at a members home. Then Sunday we watched it with our ward mission leader and his wife and they are some of my favorite people. You know how so many people say, "that talk was for me, that talk was for me." Well yeah it was for you because guess what?? These are gods called and chosen servants and they are able to receive revelation for us. Which means that they did say that for you, because you needed to hear it. President Utchdorf and Elder Hollands talks were for me....and I officially need to learn German now because apparently it is the celestial language haha... One of my favorite quotes from Elder Holland was that we get credit for trying. I know that I try so hard to do so many things. But it is hard sometimes as a missionary. And just as a regular person. I fail a lot. I fall a lot. I make a lot of mistakes. But something else I love that a Elder Holland said was that,

"Because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can escape the consequences of both sin and stupidity."

I needed to hear that. If there was one thing I felt most from this conference it is that God loves us. He will never leave us or forsake us. I love my Heavenly Father more than I can even say. I love my Savior for suffering for me so that I could be free from the consequences of my sins, and my stupid choices. He understands me and I am grateful for that. This gospel is true and it is led my prophets seers and revelators which I am eternally grateful for.

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

North eastern Pa has its fair share of beautiful dirt we had to stop and take pictures of course :) and I always watch general conference with my family :D and the sunset over the Susquehanna :)

The Atonement

Hello my loved ones! 

Well happy late Easter again to everyone!! This email may not be too long this week but I'll try to make it worth the read! So pretty much this whole week leading up to Easter I have been studying the Atonement and I am so excited to share what I've learned! 

Easter was good yesterday. Yesterday morning we began studies and then got a call on the phone from a private number, I answered and I knew who it was on the other end of the phone (sister Dean) and she said "you need to clean up your yard" we looked outside and there were eater eggs all over out front lawn haha we put on our shoes to go out and find sister Dean and when we opened the door we saw two big Easter baskets and pictures of our families all over our front door, it was such a tender mercy and we were so grateful for it. Then we went to church and it was kind of sad because the only person who knows how to play the organ got sick and couldn't come to church to play so it was all quiet at first but he Easter service for Sunday was great. Then we had Easter dinner with our relief society president and her family,

 Then we went over to a less actives home for an appointment we had but apparently we caught her and her husband at a bad time, but he invited us in and her husband is not a member he is Catholic. Well sister Shaffer and I soon found out that we had walked into an argument that they were having as a couple...but out of his spirit of irritation he kinda started taking it out on us because we were there. He began asking the questions about polygamy, and saying rude things about Joseph Smith and telling us that what we believe is wrong...etc etc etc. He kept asking prodding questions like that and I tried to answer some of his questions as best I could but it got to the point where all I could do was bear my testimony. I shared with him some scriptures from Alma 5 and I told him that he didn't have to believe what we believed but that I know that Jesus Christ is the son of God. I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet. I know that The Book of Mormon is true. Not because anyone persuaded me to believe in it, but I know these things are true because the spirit of God taught it to me. He kept cutting us off and throwing other anti things at us...that he demanded the answers to. He wouldn't stop though, and He asked us to answer some of these things but I kinda had had enough of it all and with all the love I could muster and all the boldness I could have, I flat out told him that it didnt matter if we answer his questions right now or not because he wasnt ready to receive the answers. He is a nice guy but in that moment he lacked a sincere heart and real intent the spirit was not there so I didn't want to be there either. We invited them to pray together as a couple. And he did t like my response too much haha but I stood up, shook his hand and thanked him for allowing us in and wished him a happy Easter, and left....happy Easter!! Haha. 

So that was my Easter Sunday haha. But I want to share with all some things I learned about the Atonement. I have been thinking lately how I have wanted to increase my gratitude and love for the savior and His Atonement. I read through Matthew 26 this week with the Institute manual. And in it I learned  a few things that helped to expand my love for Him and what He has done. This week I learned that, 


"the Atonement “required all the power that [Jesus] had and all the faith that He could summon for Him to accomplish that which the Father required of Him”

I used to think when I was younger that maybe it wasn't so hard for Him, because He was perfect, because He was the Son of God. I knew that Jesus died for me when I was younger but I didn't understand why, or how hard (that word is a total understatement btw) it was for Him to accomplish. Elder Scott said it in a way that helped me to appreciate so much more deeply, 


"First, an enormous sense of responsibility, for He realized that except it be done perfectly, not one of His Father’s children could return to Him. They would be forever banished from His presence since there would be no way to repent for broken laws and no unclean thing can exist in the presence of God. His Father’s plan would have failed, and each spirit child would have been under the eternal control and torment of Satan.

“Second, in His absolutely pure mind and heart, He had to personally feel the consequences of all that mankind would ever encounter, even the most depraved, despicable sins.

“Third, He had to endure the vicious attack of Satan’s hordes while physically and emotionally pressed to the limit. Then, for reasons we do not fully know, while at the extremity of His capacity, at the time the Savior most needed succor, His Father allowed Him to shoulder the onerous responsibility with only His own strength and capacity"


This one I had never really thought about before but it had never really occurred to me that satan was in that garden too that night. Tad R. Callister explained it in this way, 

"With merciless fury Satan’s forces must have attacked the Savior on all fronts. … The Savior pressed forward in bold assault until every prisoner was freed from the tenacious tentacles of the Evil One. This was a rescue mission of infinite implications. Every muscle of the Savior, every virtue, every spiritual reservoir that could be called upon would be summoned in the struggle. No doubt there was an exhaustion of all energies, a straining of all faculties, an exercise of all powers. Only then, when seemingly all had been spent, would the forces of evil abandon their posts and retreat in horrible defeat. … The Great Deliverer has rescued us--saved the day, saved eternity. But, oh, what a battle! What wounds! What love! What cost!"

If that doesn't put it into perspective I don't know what will. And finally, 


In one of my favorite chapters in the bible, John 10, the Savior said, 

"17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.

18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father."

Giving up His life was a literal choice that the Savior had to make. No could take His life, He had to willingly give it up. And so He did for us. And the Savior could have stopped it all at any an instant His pain could be over, His suffering could end if He willed it to. He had all power to stop these cruel people from mocking Him. From spitting on Him. From putting Him on the cross. He was more powerful than all of them combined. He had the power to stop it all, if He wanted to...but He willingly went through it all for us. So that we could be freed. 

 Elder Lund said it this way, 

"Imagine the Being whose power, whose light, whose glory holds the universe in order, the Being who speaks and solar systems, galaxies, and stars come into existence--standing before wicked men and being judged by them as being of no worth or value!

When we think of what he could have done to these men who took him to judgment, we have a new and different sense of his condescension. When Judas led the soldiers and the high priests to the Garden of Gethsemane and betrayed him with a kiss, Jesus could have spoken a single word and leveled the entire city of Jerusalem. When the servant of the high priest stepped forward and slapped his face, Jesus could have lifted a finger and sent that man back to his original elements. When another man stepped forward and spit in his face, Jesus had only to blink and our entire solar system could have been annihilated. But he stood there, he endured, he suffered, he condescended”

One thing we all need to understand is that Christ technically didnt have to put Himself through all of that. But at the same time He did so that we could come back to God again. Yet He did for our sakes. He willingly suffered and died for every person. Ever. Those who believe in Him. Those who follow Him. Those who don't even believe He is there or follow Him. Those who curse His name. Those who even hate Him. And even those who wanted Him killed. He suffered for all. And if you're reading this right now He suffered for you too. Just so that we could have a chance of repenting and changing in order to live with a God again. He suffered even for those who He knew wouldn't want to accept His sacrifice! I don't have worlds enough to explain my gratitude for Him and for His sacrifice so that I could repent. So that I could change so that I can live with God again. I love Him for it. I will do whatever He asks of me. Will you? Have you been touched by His atonement? In order for the Atonement to take full effect in our lives we must show Him we are willing to follow Him, only then will we be able to live with God again. I earnestly testify of his with all of my heart. I know that this is His gospel and that it is true. The Atonement is really and it works, if we let it. 

Love you all!  Until next week! 
~Sister Amy Callaway~
Sister Deans Easter surprise yesterday!! And yeah that picture :) 

That one time Gladys Knight gave us a referral...

Hello loved ones!! 

Glad everyone had fun at the baby showers! I love my little nephews already!! Okay and so to explain the title of my email...last week we went to go have a lesson with a media referral we received a few weeks ago. Her name is Sabra and we had been trying to get a hold of her to deliver her bible so we kept in touch with her via phone and we're finally able to set up an appointment. Well we had a member, Sister Dean come with us and while we were there sabra said, "do you want to know how I heard about your church?" We said "sure!" And she said "so about two years ago I was in New Orleans, and I was talking to Gladys Knight..." We stopped her mid sentence and we were like "WHAT?!?" And she went on to tell us about how she and Gladys Knight were talking because they have a mutual friend and Gladys Knight was telling Sabra about the church. She was telling her how it has saved her everyone even Gladys Knight is taken whatever opportunity she can to share the Sister Shaffer and I have been joking all week how Gladys Knight gave us a referral. And President wants us to write her a note and thank her for planting this seed. Maybe we will invite her to Sabras baptism when Sabra gets baptized!! :) haha. 

Then we went on exchanges with the sisters in Montrose! I went to Montrose and we had a great day of finding. And Montrose is pretty much like all dirt roads so it was fun. Sister Payne and I stopped in this one neighborhood to tract and didn't find much success so after trying for a while we hopped back in the car to go find some place else...well as soon as we jumped in the car and started to drive away I had the thought that said, "nope. You're not done here." So we stopped the car and prayed again and got back out to finish what we started in that area. And turns out the spirit was right! (As it always is) and we found quite a few new potentials there for the Sisters on Montrose to follow up with. And very great potentials that I have high hopes for! And as we did so we knocked on this one lady's door and at first she seemed irritated that we were even there and then we invited her to watch the new Easter video. She agreed and we showed it to her...a two minute video. It was amazing to watch her soften up after watching the video. Her heart was definitely softened and she started to cry. We shared a little bit of our message and we left her with a card. She told us she was Christian and had her own church but at she had a good experience with missionaries. She felt the spirit and that was enough and when missionaries come along in the future I know she will be open to them because she felt the spirit this time, and next time it will be the same spirit. Drop by drop I know one day that seed we planted will be harvested. 

Then we had a specialized Zone Training this week where President and he Assistants came and instructed us and we did lots of role playing. On our way there from Montrose we got a ride with the Hanks. A senior couple in the mission and I don't know if o mentioned this before but Elder and Sister Hanks served in Croatia with Sean Callaway!! And I love sister hanks she is seriously my older senior twin. We established that lol. But we went to Krispy Cream because The hanks always bring donuts and they had Easter themed ones so I told Sister Hanks to get president a "Bunny Bum" one haha so we did and he thought it was hilarious lol. 

Well and considering it is Eater time I have been reflecting a lot upon the Atonement of our Savior and how grateful I am to Him for what He has done for us. For no other reason would I come out here and serve a mission unless I really truly believed in Him and His Atonement. I am grateful to Him. I want to share it with others but I've learned a lot about agency on my mission and what a role it plays in someone's life for them to accept it. This quote from Joseph B. Wirthlin helps to explain my feelings more than I can myself...

"On that Friday the Savior of mankind was humiliated and bruised, abused and reviled. 

It was a Friday filled with devastating, consuming sorrow that gnawed at the souls of those who loved and honored the Son of God.

I think that of all the days since the beginning of the world's history, that Friday was the darkest.

But the doom of that day did not endure. 

Each of us will have our own Fridays-those days when the universe itself seems shattered and the shards of our world lie littered about us in pieces. We all will experience those broken times when it seems we can never be put back together again. We will all have our Fridays. 

But I testify in the name of the One who conquered death-Sunday will come! In the darkness of our sorrow...Sunday will come!

No matter our desperation, no matter our grief, Sunday will come. In this life or the next, Sunday will come...

That we may always know that no matter how dark our Friday, Sunday will come."

That is the message of the Saviors Atonement. Not only are we never alone but that because of Him we can have a brighter hope and a brighter future with the knowledge that our struggles have already been overcome and there is one who knows how to help us and see us through. I know He lives. And because He lives I have everything. I would be a horrible person if I did not thank Him for doing what He did. And I love Him for loving me even with all of my weaknesses and flaws. I love his gospel with my whole heart. 

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