Happy Memorial Day!

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5k fashion
Hey everyone!

I hope all of you had a wonderful Memorial Day!

We had a fun time here because we did a 5K with all of the missionaries in the Denver North mission! I was afraid I might die, but fortunately I survived and enjoyed it too:D The theme was “Fit to the Finish” and our very own President Mendenhall spoke to us about what that means. He talked about being physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually fit. I think that’s such an important thing. In order for the Lord to be able to work through us, we need to be a good instrument to work with, and that means being all of those kinds of fit.

We’re helping one of our investigators develop a testimony of President Monson as a living prophet of God, so I’ve been studying a lot of his talks lately from general conferences from the past few years. It’s been amazing to strengthen my testimony as well! I’m so grateful that we have prophets today. I know that the Lord still speaks through them to lead and guide His church.

Left Picture: Tracting fun. Oh the things you see as a missionary.

Right Picture: Last Thursday we were driving along and it was raining a little bit, and then we saw all the other cars start pulling off the road and parking under bridges and overpasses and such, as we were so confused, but then the hail started. It was probably the size of dimes. I had to look up and check the roof of the car to make sure the hail wasn’t denting it. Yeah all that white stuff you see on the ground is hail.

Well I have to go, but I’m grateful for all of your love and support! Have a beautiful week!

Love,
Sister Stratford:)

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Hey Y’all!

Hey everyone,

I hope you’re all doing well!:)

Highlights of this week:

-Exchanges with the Hermanas! I went to their area, so I had to call upon the year of Spanish I took in high school and the gift of tongues. Hermana Welch was a trooper with basically teaching everything on her own, but I did get to pray and testify en espanol:D It was super fun and I loved the people! Favorite part of the day was when the 14-year-old recent convert we were teaching told me he wished I was in the Spanish ward:) ❤

-Training for the mission 5K! Sister Mitchell is making me run every morning, and it hasn’t killed me yet so that’s a good sign.

-Finding people! The Lord is definitely directing his work because we were guided to some really amazing people this week who are prepared to hear His gospel. And it strengthened my testimony of diligence and hard work. Two of the people we found came from trying once again to contact a referral that we’d already tried a hundred times. We were finally able to catch her at home, she and her friend loved the message, and we have a return appointment! And the other people came from just opening our mouths and talking to everyone, even if it was kind of awkward:)

-Teaching my favorite 80-year-old investigator! He is the sweetest thing, and he knows he needs to get baptized. If he didn’t, he wouldn’t have come to church every week for the past year and a half. He just needs to recognize he knows it’s the right thing to do! We have a lesson with him tonight, and we’re going to focus on receiving answers from the Spirit and how we can tell when those answers have come.

One of my favorite chapters in Preach My Gospel is chapter 4: “How Do I Recognize and Understand the Spirit?” If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it! There’s a quote in there that I really love–

“In answer to the question, ‘How do we recognize the promptings of the Spirit?’ President Gordon B. Hinckley read Moroni 7:13, 16–17 and then said: ‘That’s the test, when all is said and done. Does it persuade one to do good, to rise, to stand tall, to do the right thing, to be kind, to be generous? Then it is of the Spirit of God. …

‘If it invites to do good, it is of God. If it inviteth to do evil, it is of the devil. … And if you are doing the right thing and if you are living the right way, you will know in your heart what the Spirit is saying to you.

‘You recognize the promptings of the Spirit by the fruits of the Spirit—that which enlighteneth, that which buildeth up, that which is positive and affirmative and uplifting and leads us to better thoughts and better words and better deeds is of the Spirit of God’ (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, 260–61).”

Isn’t that beautiful? Recognizing the Spirit is something I always wanted to be better at. But the answer is right here from President Hinckley:)

God is truly our Father, and He wants each of us to know how to follow His plan for us. When we ask Him in faith, He will answer us and guide us to the things that will bring us closer to our Savior. Because through our Savior, we can someday return home:)

I love you all! Remember that Heavenly Father loves you!:)

Love,

Sister Stratford

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Temple Day!
Hey everyone,

Happy mothers’ day to all you mothers/future mothers! I hope everyone had a wonderful day and was able to reflect on the women who have shaped your lives. I know I did:)

This week has been a really good one for our 79-year-old investigator:) He has been coming to church for a year and a half and hasn’t been baptized yet, but I think he’s really close!! We talked about the gift of the Holy Ghost a lot with him this week, and he was really struck by Acts 8:17, which talks about Peter and John conferring the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. It’s so amazing how organized the Church of Jesus Christ has been throughout time, with priesthood authority and ordinances and temples and prophets and apostles.

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This is Nacho Libre. Yes, sometimes it is hard to sleep at night.
I know that His same church has been restored to the earth through the latter-day prophet Joseph Smith. There are still prophets and apostles today, called by God. And Jesus Christ is still at the head of this church, His church. Through Him and His gospel, we can find peace in this life and eternal life in the world to come. I’m so grateful for these restored truths! They truly change lives, and I invite you to let Him change you:)

I love you all!

Love,
Sister Stratford:)

Happy May!

Hey everyone,

Oh my goodness I can’t believe it’s already May! Time is flying so fast!!

This was a good week! We were able to meet more with our recent convert, and he’s doing pretty well. He had some problems with the word of wisdom before his baptism but was able to quit, so we’re still working with him on staying strong. We talked about the power of fasting and prayer with him this week and how that can help him resist temptation. It made me think a lot about how when we sacrifice something for God, we always receive greater blessings than what we’re giving up.

We also met some wonderful new people this week! We had a lesson with this woman and her mother, and it was amazing to see their faith in God. I could just see so clearly how much God loves them and has a plan for them:)

I’ve also been thinking about charity, the pure love of Christ. One of my favorite passages about it is in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

“Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Charity never faileth.”

I once heard someone replace the word “charity” with “Christ”:

“Christ suffereth long, and is kind; Christ envieth not; Christ vaunteth not Himself, is not puffed up,

Doth not behave Himself unseemly, seeketh not His own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Christ never faileth.”

This passage about charity describes Christ perfectly because Christ is charity. Everything that He has ever done has shown His perfect love for His Father and for us. And since we are all trying to be like our Savior, this needs to describe us as well.

It’s interesting that Christ said the first great commandment is to love God and the second is to love our neighbor as ourselves. Each one of us is a child of Heavenly Father, and He loves us more than we realize or understand. He knows the quiet struggles that we go through and that everyone around us goes through. He sees the needs of others that we can’t. I think that is why it’s so important that we love others– it’s because everyone needs to feel love. And as the people around us feel that we care about them, they will come to feel God’s love for them as well. Each of us needs to be an instrument in the hands of Heavenly Father through which He can bless His children.

And one of the best ways to show our love for people is to share what we know about God’s plan with them. One of my favorite parts of Preach My Gospel is the very first two paragraphs of the first chapter:

“You are surrounded by people. You pass them on the street, visit them in their homes, and travel among them. All of them are children of God, your brothers and sisters. God loves them just as He loves you. Many of these people are searching for purpose in life. They are concerned for their families. They need the sense of belonging that comes from the knowledge that they are children of God, members of His eternal family. They want to feel secure in a world of changing values. They want ‘peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come’ (D&C 59:23), but they are ‘kept from the truth because they know not where to find it’ (D&C 123:12).

“The gospel of Jesus Christ as restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith will bless their families, meet their spiritual needs, and help them fulfill their deepest desires. Although they may not know why, they need relief from feelings of guilt that come from mistakes and sins. They need to experience the joy of redemption by receiving forgiveness of their sins and enjoying the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

This gospel really is for everyone because it is the path back home to our Father in Heaven.

I love you all! And God does too:)

Love,

Sister Stratford