The Work Has Begun!

Hey everyone,

I’ve experienced a week in Strasburg! And I love it:)

Last week we were able to go to the Denver temple! It’s actually in the Denver South mission, but they let us go anyway. It is so beautiful, and I loved being able to feel the Spirit so strongly there.

SisstraandsiskastUs Strasburg sisters have the best service in the whole mission. Know why? Donkeys. Yup, donkeys. I don’t think I’ve really ever seen a donkey up close before, but now I have walked them, weighed them, even taken them on obstacle courses. It’s pretty sweet! They can be a little stubborn and very loud, but they’re awesome:) The mission office called while we were there, and we were having a little trouble talking on the phone because the donkeys were kinda trying to tie us in knots with the lead ropes, so we were like, “Sorry we’re trying to take these donkeys through this obstacle course. Can we call you back later?” And we just heard this laugh and then, “Only in Strasburg.” Haha that phrase is actually used a lot out here!

We may have to trade our pickup for a Jeep. So yeah kinda sad but also cool.

I think everyone here has five dogs or more. More often than not, a few dogs and maybe a cat sit in on our lessons (and sometimes sit on us). I pretty much just pet dogs all day long and it’s great:)

The stars are so clear out here! Sister Kastner and I were looking at them last night and it’s a spectacular view. It’s so crazy to look at the Milky Way and think about this endless expanse of space and stars. Looking at the stars always makes me feel closer to Heavenly Father somehow.

Okay so now to the good stuff: the people! I love the people out here so much and it’s only been a week! Our investigators are awesome, our members are awesome, basically everyone is awesome. I feel like I generally like people pretty well, but it’s amazing how much trying to help people come closer to Christ helps me love them. Sister Kastner and I spend so much time thinking about each person and what they need and how we can help them, and it’s so different from what I’m used to but it’s a great way to live. It’s really helping me to have charity and be more Christ-like.

We do a lot of tracting here, which I didn’t think I would like at first. I’ve heard a lot of stories about knocking doors for hours at a time and how almost no one lets you in and how some people get annoyed. And that’s all true, but I’ve found that I like it anyway because we get to meet so many people. And even though most people refuse us, almost all of them are very polite and some even commend us for the work we’re doing! And of course, sometimes people say yes. Or at least tell us when we can come back. So even though it’s tiring, I think tracting is kind of fun:)

Another thing that’s awesome about people is that we’ve gotten to know so many people who love God. There are a lot of religious people here, and it’s inspiring to see their faith. We still want to help them receive the restored gospel, but it’s amazing to see how they’ve seen God’s hand in their lives so far. I just want them to see that we can help them find even more light and truth!

missionmintsAt the MTC, one thing that was hard for me was teaching by the Spirit. I knew how important it was, but it was hard for me and I didn’t usually feel like I was relying on the Spirit and letting Him guide the lesson. And I still don’t usually feel like that I guess, but I’m learning! There have been a few times over this past week where I was just teaching and then I said something that I hadn’t even planned on saying, and it turned out to help the investigator. I know that when we do our best to study His word and have the Spirit with us, and we open our mouths, Heavenly Father will give us what we need to say. And that’s because He loves His children, and He knows what these investigators need to hear to help them receive the gospel so they can find the peace and joy they need. I want to be the best instrument in His hands that I can be:)

Today I was reading in Alma 34, and I love the part in verse 33 where it says this day of life is given to us to prepare for eternity. Our lives here on earth really are so short compared to our eternal lives. But the amazing thing is that this life has so much influence on everything after. We chose to come to earth so we could become like our Heavenly Father, whom we loved so much. Now we’re here, and it’s so easy to forget that purpose. But it’s so important to remember! Now is the time to prepare for eternity. This life is an incredible opportunity! This, right here, is where we start to become like our Father in Heaven. I’m going to try to remember that more:)

Well I love you all! Have a wonderful week:)

Love,
Sister Stratford

P.S. The pictures are of Sister Kastner and me and of some awesome mints I got at the church bookstore that say, “Open your mouth and it shall be filled.”

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