Missionary Letters 10.28.2013

A Mission President receives weekly letters from the missionaries. They are a source of joy as missionaries testify to the miracles happening around them, and inside them. Here’s a letter from a Sister missionary that has been in the mission only 6 weeks. Her growth since arriving has been amazing! Enjoy! (Shared with permission)

Dear President,
I am grateful to be in this area it has a lot of work and especially with less actives. I am understanding and learning so much more than I ever would be able to if I wasn’t here. I love my companion; she is supportive. I am overall happy and excited about the work. I am striving to learn more, since being here I have realized how little I know. But I know with the Heavenly Father’s help all things are possible.

I am realizing the enormity of the Atonement. It is EVERYTHING! The Savior is EVERYTHING! As I interact with all these less-active members I am seeing them and their circumstances with different eyes. Gospel eyes… eternal eyes… President my heart is changing, yeah it took a week.. but I can feel it! I don’t really know how to best describe the change that is taking place in my heart. I see these people as sons and daughters of God and I see how they so desperately need the Savior in their lives, and I can’t help but think that, less than 4 years ago that was me. I was inactive and now that I am seeing looking into these peoples’ lives that huge void that is missing I can’t help but realize the reality of the Atonement and the gospel and the plan of happiness.

I am so grateful for everything I do know, yes it may not be much, but I know as I keep going and study the best I can the Lord will help me. For what I do know I am so grateful! I am so grateful to my family for doing the best they can, especially raising me in the church. I am realizing the more we become consecrated missionaries the more that Heavenly Father can bless us… the more we will be able to help others… the more we will be able to live up to our covenants. I am so blessed to be here and I know that I am here for a purpose, to invite others to come unto the Savior.

“Enough about me”, is what I am slowly but surely learning. Its not about me. Its about everyone else. This was the hardest and is the hardest thing I have learned in the last week and a half, which I did not think I had a problem with until I got on my mission, I see how the world has so many distractions and I am grateful for the opportunity to take these 18 months and focus on the once in a lifetime opportunity to preach the gospel. President please know that I love the Savior! I love my Heavenly Father! I love my family and know that I am going to try my best to pleasing unto my Savior and Heavenly Father.

How Sweet the Word!

Here it is! The Restoration of the Gospel told in American Sign Language! We are so excited about how this has turned out and for the many great things we have already heard about it. We hope you will take this opportunity to share this video with others in your life so that they too can come to appreciate the truths that you’ve come to cherish.

Continuing Miracles – From Missionary Letters

Weekly, the missionaries write Pres. Sweeney and give him an accounting of their week and the miracles that happened. These letters are a priceless record documenting the hand of the Lord in the lives of missionaries and investigators. With permission of the missionary, let me share once such miracle as written by the missionary that it happened to (only first names are given to protect privacy):

“Here is my miracle of the week:

So, a woman in our ward named Melissa texted us and told us she had a friend named Jen who wanted to meet with us. She had gone to the baptism we had last Sunday (which was an eight year old baptism) with her daughter and they both loved it. So Sister xxxx and I were pretty excited. We had the lesson at Melissa and her husband Mario’s house. So we met Jen and started talking to her, and she said that her best friend in high school was Mormon and she had gone to church with her a lot. So that was cool. Then we started talking about the Book of Mormon and she said that when she was eighteen, she was just curious about it and so she read it, but she didn’t really remember anything about it. But she told us that recently she had a dream where she was walking down the street with some missionaries and they were talking about the Book of Mormon and they told her that one day she would understand all of it.

So then we teach the first lesson, and she has zero questions. She just accepts it all. Sister xxxx wraps up the lesson and bears her testimony and then she looked at me. So I bore my testimony about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon and said, “Before we go, we want to read a scripture with you from the Book of Mormon. It’s Moroni 10:3-5.” So she opens up to Moroni and just stares at the top of the page and she’s like, “Wait. Wait.” and she starts BAWLING. And we’re just kind of sitting there not knowing what to do, and then she said, “I had another dream where a figure was walking towards me and he was holding something like a staff or a flute or a musical instrument (Hmmm… Maybe a TRUMP?) and he kept saying “I am…” something. I couldn’t understand what he was saying. It sounded like “Macaroni” or something like that. But this (and she points to the top of the page) is the name he was saying. He was saying, “I am Moroni. I am Moroni.””

By this time we were all crying. And nobody said a word. We all just sat there and cried. And Mario was like, “Jen, do you know who Moroni is?” and she had no clue. So he told her that Moroni was the last prophet to write in the Book of Mormon. He was the one who directed Joseph Smith in obtaining the gold plates. And he’s on the top of almost every temple and he’s holding a trumpet. And she just said, “Are you serious?” and cried some more. I told her how prepared she was and that there’s a reason why this church keeps coming back into her life. And then I said, “So, Jen, will you follow the example of Jesus Christ..” and she interrupted me and said, “Yes!” Haha I didn’t get to complete the invitation for baptism, but I didn’t need to. It was so amazing. She’s so ready! She’s going to be baptized in a couple weeks!”

Jen’s baptism is later this week!

Continuing Hollywood

Some of our Elders have been hard at work to complete the video of the Restoration of the Gospel told through American Sign Language. It’s been a lot of hard work and time in the editing stage but they are nearing the time to release their final presentation. This process has even taken them all the way to a professional recording studio! We’re very proud of the effort that these Elders have put in to expanding the horizons of missionary work to new and exciting forms. We appreciate everyone that dedicated time and energy into bringing this idea to life. Here we have some more photos of the things that happen after filming. The final video will be posted this Saturday, October 19th.

Women’s Conference – Mission Style

The 60 Sister missionaries were able to come together for the General Relief Society broadcast at the mission home (valley) and the home of Pres. and Sister Platt (mountains). Prior to the broadcast, they had time for workshops from two of our Sister Training Leaders, Sister White and Sister Garrick.  Dinner was Hawaiian haystacks prepared by Sister Sweeney, Sister McConkie and Sister Williams.

The Arizona Scottsdale Mission Sisters wrote in their letters to the President that they felt very strengthened by the messages of the Broadcast and the workshops.  The women who lead this Church are wonderful examples of gospel living and our Sister missionaries are no exception; they are strong in faith and very prepared to serve the Lord with all their hearts. It was great to see them together and to feel of their spirits.  We have seen many miracles through the Sisters and we know that they will continue to be wonderful missionaries here in the Mission.

Arizona Scottsdale Mission – Latest Arrivals 10.14.2013

Our latest group of 20 missionaries arrived bursting with the Spirit and enthusiasm! These are amazingly wonderful missionaries.  President Sweeney and I love our missionaries.  The weather here is nice and feeling like a pleasant fall for the valley of the Arizona Scottsdale Mission the mountains are growing colder, which is probably a surprise for the missionaries that headed up that way today. We also invited several of our senior couples to join in the fun and assist in giving driving test, preparing food and helping the new missionaries feel welcome.  

Front to back, L to R: Sister McBride, Elder Tuft, Sister Tuft, Sister Moser, Sister Boss, Sister Kaufusi, Sister Evans, President Sweeney, Sister Sweeney, Sister Monney, Sister Freeman, Sister Doolhoff, Sister Fisher, Sister Aguado, 2nd Row: Elder McBride, Elder Morgan, Elder Williams, Elder Tellez Quiros, Elder McConkie, Elder Clark, Elder Finlayson, Elder Pilkington, Elder Clements, Elder Russell, Elder Carraway, Elder Shortland, Elder Curtis, Elder Edwards, Elder Watson

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Departures – Sister Sasine

We recently said goodbye to another one of our fine Visa Waiter missionaries. Sister Sasine has completed her time of service here in the Arizona Scottsdale Mission and is headed for Brazil. We had a social gathering of those in her Zone to send her off right. We love all of the missionaries who pass through the Mission, but we rejoice when their visa arrives and they can get to the country of their call!. We look forward to hearing of her success in the future.