Monday, March 24, 2014

Week 76-Transfer 11


Aloha mi familia magnifica!!!!!!!!!
Can you believe that this is the last email I will send on my mission to you! It's such a strange feeling! I'm excited to see everyone, stressed about everything I need to do in the next few days, scared to not be a missionary anymore, sad to leave the people I love, looking forward to being able to use everything Iv'e been learning, and sooo very grateful for the experiences I have had here that have made this mission the best EVER and strengthened my faith and knowledge of the gospel so much! 

This week has gone by so fast yet so much has happened! So many miracles! We had such a great lesson with Jenny on Tues. We talked to her about missionary work because we are trying to get her to talk to Jiashan about her testimony and she doesn't seem to want to! So we had a really great returned missionary join us and we talked about how much service blesses our lives and makes us so happy. We talked about the blessings of our missions and how amazing it is when you are able to give someone the kind of service that can change their lives forever; the gospel! It was a great lesson and the spirit was so strong and even though she didn't tell us at the time, but later she told Sister Kim that she wanted to serve a mission now! That's a big deal for her! I love that girl so much! After we taught her we dragged her to the devotional that we got special permission to go to because Sheri Dew was speaking! She gave a great talk on planting good seeds now so you can reap the good later! I'm not sure how much Jenny understood but she said she enjoyed it! We sure did! We got to talk to her and Sister Nelson after and they told a story about how on the way here their plane got delayed for 2 hours and they were super frustrated until they began talking to this guy who had been going through a really rough time in his life right now. Sister Dew was like, "I honestly believe that 250 people were delayed for that one man." It is so neat to hear stories like that for me. Our leaders truly live what they teach! They do random missionary work! 

We also had a really great lesson with Abby. I don't remember if I told you, but she tore her ACL and needs to get surgery and she is super scared about it so we asked if she would like a priesthood blessing and she agreed. She was super nervous at first but she said once he started the blessing she felt so calm and she truly believes that it came from God! We talked about acting on that faith and how she can continue to feel His hand in her life and grow her faith like she just had as she keeps her commitments. Now she just needs to do it! She is getting there though. 

Sunday was super crazy for us! Even crazier than usual! We ended up having to go on splits twice and still didn't make it to everything. Two of our wards sang Aloha 'oe to me. I love that song but it is just too super sad! I'm going to miss everyone so much! My favorite part of Sunday was when we taught Tiffany. I don't think we have ever been so bold with anyone like we were in this lesson! I would have been worried if the spirit wasn't so strong. She is just so close and just needs to act on the faith that she has and the answer that we know she has received! We gave her another talk to read and also challenged her to prepare for General Conference by fasting and praying about her questions and then look for her answers in General Conference. You can never go wrong with the Prophet! I am so excited for General Conference by the way! I know I will certainly need all the help I can get in the next few months:) 

We are so blessed to be able to see so many miracles each day! I wish I could just bring you all along and show you all of what I get to experience every day! It has literally changed my life so much! The gospel does that you know:). I have gained such an amazing love for my Heavenly Father and my Savior, Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for how patient and kind and long-suffering and loving Heavenly Father really is for me! It amazes me how many miracles I have been able to experience just simply because He loves me, cause I feel so much in His debt and I will be forever. I am so grateful for these experiences and I am so grateful for such a loving Heavenly Father! This church is so true and the Atonement is REAL and it changes hearts and lives! I love you all so much and still continue to pray for you ALWAYS! 

Les quiero MUCHISIMO!
Hermana Rowley (Shayla)

Week 75-Transfer 11


Another full week here in paradise:) It has been pretty busy with a ton of miracles. I also have had both of my "exit interviews" from both my VC director and President Warner. So weird. I honestly though don't feel "trunky" at all. If anything, I feel I need to work harder than ever because this time won't come back. This is the best time to turn weaknesses into strengths and become who the Lord wants me to become and I only have a short time to make the most of that! I still feel like I’m so far from where I should be. That really makes me ever so much more grateful for the Atonement! 

Sister Yoo and I have been working so hard on finding new investigators who are ready to hear our message and finding the concerns and needs of the ones we have so we can help them progress. Jordan is still so unsure. He is so sincere every time we talk with him, but it is so difficult to find a time to meet with him with his school and work and everything and he doesn't always keep the commitments we leave with him because he gets too busy. We just found out Maria was playing the game called, tell the sisters you want to be baptized and set up appointments then don't show up. I don't like that game very much. Abby is doing so well though. She is really turning to God through her trial after tearing her ACL and her heart really seems to be softened. Jiashan got really sick this week so we couldn't meet with her but we stopped by and we also talked to Jenny about talking to her about her baptism. She said they used to have a "non-member" club with her Jiashan and another kid and now she got baptized and she is scared to talk to Jiashan about it:) She promised she would though and hopefully she can join in on the lessons as well! That will be so awesome! Tiffany has been out of town but is still praying and reading and says she feels peace about her search right now. When she does get baptized I think it will be in Utah so that her family can be there. I will be there too! 

Speaking of baptisms in Utah, I don't remember if I told you about Sarah, a girl who called in saying she was going to BYU Provo and wanted to meet the missionaries and be baptized. Well, she is baptized now! She was pretty excited and when I asked what her favorite part about her baptism was she said that it was the knowledge that she was doing the right thing, what Heavenly Father wanted her to do and also the support she received from her mom, which she wasn't expecting. I'm excited to meet her in real life:) 

Also, remember Kat? The 17 year old we were teaching when I was an online sister who wanted to be baptized so bad but her parents wouldn't let her? Well she turns 18 on April 17th and will be baptized two days later!!!!! Unfortunately it will be in Texas and not in Provo but she is hoping to go to BYU still so I'll get to meet her there! The joys of teaching people all over the world! 

One really cool miracle that happened in the VC this week was this Sunday. We usually just get a bunch of members come in on Sunday who want to hang out or watch a movie. Yesterday though we got over 500 people come through and a lot of them were non-members! We took one tour in particular from the Philippines. There were about 6 or 7 of them that came in and we talked to them for a second and got to know them and talked about their belief in Jesus Christ and then sat them down and played the Christus narration for them. Most people just say "it was nice" or something like that, but when we asked what they thought they said "it was awakening." We went off of that and asked a few more questions and bore our testimonies of how much Jesus Christ loves and knows them personally and how we need to develop that relationship with him. We then just gave them the guest cards and told them if they left their information we could keep in touch with them. We got 6 cards back with information!!!!! That was pretty unexpected but so neat! I love the spirit in the Visitor's Center! 

I love you all sooooo much and am excited to hug you all soon! Don't worry though, I am working hard and enjoying every last minute of being here as a missionary! There is no better time and no better work! I love you all and pray for you ALWAYS! 

Les Quiero Muchisimo!
Hermana Rowley

PS. mom, I'm not sure how much I have in my account right now and also, if you or anyone have any requests about something you would like from Hawaii...stickers, earrings, cool sandals that are super comfy and only available here:), T-shirts, etc. let me know. I go the the Swap Meet next week Wed so let me know on Mon and all get them for ya:) Love you tons!!!!!! 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Week 74-Transfer 11

Aloha Familia!
I can't believe it's been another week! We have been so super busy I don't even have time to think really! We have been seeing so many miracles though! To start, Jenny is now baptized!!!!!!! It was such a good spiritual baptism and so many people came that we had to use the chapel! She seems so shy at first, I had no idea she had so many friends! She was so happy and cute and ready for this day! Leading up to it she was super nervous and so many things happened as always to try and change her mind, but she was strong and trusted in Heavenly Father. We were also so excited to see a few non-members, including our investigator Tiffany, there. Everything turned out so perfect and to top it off, we found a new investigator because of her! Jiashan is from China and is here to play on the basketball team. She has met with many missionaries before and had become kind of defensive around them. However, she did agree to meet with us finally and when we met with her, we could tell her heart had been really softened. She told us how surprised she was at Jenny getting baptized because Jenny had been so against it before and had been adamant and very vocal about the fact that she was NEVER going to be baptized, and then she changed...Jiashan said that she knew there must be a reason for that, that she must believe it now and she wants to know why. I love miracles! 

We also had a great lesson with Jordan this week as well! It was a really random visit because we were actually planning on visiting someone else and thought, why don't we see if Jordan is home? Then we thought, "well, actually he will probably be at work or school at this time but that was a random thought so, why not?" Well, miraculously, he was home! He had a few hours in-between class and work and was working on homework. Oh by the way, the last time we met with him we ended up going over time and were so worried because he had an accounting midterm to study for that he needed to take that night. We felt bad so we ended up praying so hard that he would be able to do well on his midterm so that he could recognize the blessings when he puts the Lord first. The first thing we asked this time was, "how did your test go?" He smiled and said, "I got 100%!" I think my jaw dropped on the floor! We were so excited! Especially when he told us that he had been expecting to get a C or something. We were like, "that's not a coincidence Jordan!! We prayed for you!!!" We then ended up having a lesson with him that was so good! His girlfriend is planning on going on a mission so he asked us lots of questions about what we do and everything and then he told us how he went to missionary prep class with her and they were talking about inviting people to be baptized. They were going to practice when he was like, "um, I don't think I should be doing this..." "Why not?" they asked. "Because I'm not even a member!" Well when they found that out they spent the next few minutes lining up as a class and practicing on HIM! haha! I asked, "So what did you say?!" "I'll think about it?!" :) Well, we were able to talk to him about why we invite people to be baptized and how agreeing to be baptized doesn't mean you know everything yet or that you even have a solid testimony yet. It's just a way for you to show your faith in your Heavenly Father. He has such a faith in God and even shares his testimony about it to all his friends. He is so worried though about not knowing everything yet. He wants to have time to study it before thinking about baptism. We told him that he doesn't need to know everything all at once. He can hold the Book of Mormon and pray and ask God and say, "Heavenly Father, I haven't read all of this yet, and I don't know everything about it yet, but is it true? Is it from you?" We then said he could know it's true and then learn all he wants about it, knowing that it's true. He said he had never thought about that before. All truth really does come from God! We are praying so hard for him! He is so close to receiving an answer! It's so neat to see how Heavenly Father is working with him in so many ways!

I also had a really neat experience in the Visitor's Center this week. I was on shift and went out when the tram came to help take pictures when this couple came up to me and said, "I have a question, can we go into the church?" I explained the difference between a temple and a church and said that the temple took spiritual preparation before going inside. He wanted to see inside though so I explained how the VC had pictures of the inside of the temple and wanted to know if he wanted to go see those. He said he wanted to go look inside the actual temple so I explained that I could take him up to the doors and he could see inside the lobby. I took him up there and he explained how they were from India and he was Baptist and very strong in his religion, but his girlfriend was Hindu although she did have a belief in God. She just hadn't had any miraculous, spiritual experiences so she wasn't sure. That is why he wanted her to go into the temple so bad because he said "I know that God is in there, I can feel it and I want her to feel it!" We talked about the temple and how it is the house of the Lord. He asked who the man was standing at the front desk so I explained about recommends and he asked, "can you recommend us then?" I told him that only a bishop could do that, but that I would love to send missionaries to his area to share with him more about how he could someday enter the temple. Even though I told him we have 142 temples around the world, he was still confused and kept saying he couldn't come serve here or come back here cause of work. He said, "i'm only interested in going in the temple." His girlfriend understood a little bit better and explained what I was trying to say and said the missionaries would come and share with him how he could enter the temple and he was like, "So, we can go now?" haha! He wanted to go in so bad! He kept saying that he could feel, and was 100% sure that God was inside there. The tram came around then and they wanted to stay for the next tram so I took them inside the VC and shared the Restoration and temple pictures. They both want to know more about Heavenly Father's plan for them and they want a copy of the Book of Mormon and missionaries! It was such a neat experience! 

This is truly the Lord's work and I continue to see miracles each day. I may not be the perfect missionary and I make lot's of mistakes, but I am so grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ that strengthens me, and consecrates my efforts, and makes up for the mistakes that I make! I love this work so much and I know that it is true! I love you all a ton and pray for you always! 

Les quiero!
Hermana Rowley

The last picture is one of Gabriela. She is from Xela Guatemala!!!!! She was super excited to meet me and wants me to come visit someday:)

Week 73-Transfer 11


Wow! This has been quite the week. That is so neat that Bro Adamson and Sister Lawson both came to visit! I love the Adamsons sooo much, and miss them a ton too! They were actually the ones I called before my mission to find out about the sandals and found out they were from Highland:) They are so sweet! The Lawsons were really sweet to do that as well! I will have to go watch the CES Fireside sometime, it sounds like it was really inspired. Oh, you should tell Natalie that I have Melissa Squires in one of my wards here. They went to school together:) She is super sweet! 

Well, this week was super busy. I absolutely love being in the YSA wards, there is ALWAYS something to do and someone to visit! Jenny is getting more and more solid as the days go by. She is so ready for her baptism now! She bore her testimony in church and talked about how she used to always tell the missionaries she would never get baptized and even though she would tell them she would pray and read, she never did. Things changed when her friend that is serving in California began to teach her about the gospel and because he was her friend, she thought more deeply about what he was saying till she finally decided to pray and now she actually enjoys praying and reading the scriptures cause it makes her happy! She really has come such a long way! She has been meeting with the missionaries for about a year! She shared a really cool experience with us that happened to her the other day. She said that she was praying so hard that she could receive some extra reassurance that baptism really was what she should do. She wanted to know for sure once again. She was told by her friend that if she really wanted it that bad, then she needed to fast as well. So she ended up fasting all day yesterday, which was a big deal. Anyways, the night before, she was praying and said, "if I could just see some sort of sign, like a rainbow or something!" I think it is important to note at this point, that this is not the same as a sign seeker, she simply needed that extra comfort and reassurance, anyhow, that night she dreamed about a giant rainbow. Then next morning, it was so real to her that she knew that it was an answer to her prayers! It's so amazing how Heavenly Father is in even the littlest of details in this work! The gospel, as it does everyone else, has truly changed her life! 

We are teaching 4 or 5 people who are so close to receiving that answer that it is true! They all have such sincere desire and have agreed to be baptized if they find out it's true, now they just need to ask! Jordan is one of those. Jordan is on the basketball team and his mom is getting baptized soon and his girlfriend is preparing for a mission. He has met with the missionaries before but stopped for some reason. He has such a desire to do what God wants him to. It's so interesting because he is so concerned about where he will go after he dies and if he will be able to be with his family. If there is the highest degree of glory, he wants to go there, but he naturally wants his family to as well. We had a really good lesson with him and the spirit was so strong! It's just so amazing and humbling to see all these young adults like Jordan, Abby, Tiffany, Maria, Jenny, and so many more, really searching and looking to see what God wants them to be doing and having that faith to go and do! They all strengthen my faith sooo much and make me want to be such a better person in my life. 

This Sunday I got to bear my testimony for my last fast and testimony meeting on my mission. Crazy huh? So funny story: When I bore my testimony, I mentioned that it was my last opportunity to do so in fast and testimony meeting on my mission. Well, the very last person that got up to bear his testimony (I don't even remember his name) said, "So, the sister who is going home soon..." Then he gestured to himself... "This might be a potential investigator for you!" I don't think my face has ever gotten so red! Everyone busted up laughing and Sister Yoo was like, "whoa! WHOA!" Then he was like, "well, I just wanted to bear my testimony...that wasn't my testimony!" and the bishop replied, "I hope not!" Let's just say that's the LAST thing you expect to experience, especially as a missionary! Haha! Good ol' singles wards! 

Well, the work is going so strong here! I truly have been so blessed with such an amazing companion, padmates, leaders, investigators and so many miracles! I feel so undeserving, yet so grateful for it all. I am learning so much each day and certainly learning how to trust in the Lord sooo much! I truly know with all my heart that none of this is me, this is all His work! Every time I begin to get prideful and try to do it on my own in any way, things don't quite work out. It is HIS work! I love you all so much and am so grateful for your support and examples to me. I truly have gained so much strength knowing how strong my family is and the faith that you have in your experiences. I love to share that with others as I teach about how the gospel blesses families. Thank you so much! I love you all and pray for you always! 

Les Quiero, 
Hermana Rowley