Monday, August 17, 2015

August 17, 2015 - Web Bridge

I love the pictures yall sent me! A looks so beautiful and J is growing up so fast! I can't wait to see our beautiful Isabel! Haha I can't believe that the tomato plant has grown so quickly and in such a short amount of time! Sister Ch and I got a little dollar home grow garden kit (I got the sunflower one of course!) and they have grown so quickly! I never knew how quickly plants could grow and flourish. It just goes to show that if a seed is planted in the right kind of soil and given proper nourishment it thrives. Kind of like the gospel ;) *wink wink*. 

Anyway... I'm so sorry to hear about Bishop O, that's so sad. I am so grateful for the restored truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that ease the pain of loss. Thank goodness for the beautiful truths such as the Plan of Happiness! I'll be praying for the O family as well. I also love those quotes that you sent me! In fact I've had one of them on my wall the majority of my mission! Thank you for sharing them!! I hope that mom gets to feeling better soon, let her know how much I love her!!

The end of this week has been incredible! The majority of this week was going by really slow. My companion and I were working really hard and not seeing much success. When Saturday rolled around, we didn't see much improvement that is until the mid-afternoon/evening fell. It first began with R. About a month ago we were tracting in this trailer park. We met a lot of people who spoke Spanish and so it was very difficult to communicate with the little Spanish that we know. Towards the end of our time there we met a woman who spoke only the tiniest bit of English. She was cleaning out her car and when we walked up she expressed no interest in learning about the gospel so we offered our help instead. As we got to communicating a little bit with her she started to break down in tears and then she wrote something down on my planner because she couldn't speak it. On my planner it said a girls name, her age and that she had cancer. We found out that this woman was cleaning out her car to bring home her very sick daughter for what might be the last time. My heart sunk. By the end of our time with her we prayed together and hugged and then we parted not knowing if we would ever see her again because we were going to refer her to the Spanish sisters. 

Skip to about a month later, we found out that some of the referrals we sent didn't go through so we decided to stop by their house again while we were in the area, even though we couldn't speak Spanish. When we knocked on the door again R answered. R is the father and speaks perfect English. We were able to talk to R and found out that he had never been in to religion much until his sister passed away from cancer and his daughter was now suffering from it. He said that he had never really spent time with his family until now and that although it has been really hard he is grateful for these times because they've taught him to cherish family. He said he was also grateful because N, the mother, has always been against religion, but now she prays and even though they don't know how to pray they help each other learn. We testified of the peace that comes from the gospel and the joy that comes from knowing that we can be with our families for ever. The Spirit was so strong! This Sunday we will be going over with one of the brothers in our Ward and his wife to give their daughter a blessing. His wife will be translating the blessing in Spanish to N, the mother. 

Right afterwards my companion and I both got the prompting to follow up with another potential investigator that we had tried to send over to the Spanish Sisters. When we walked up to the house we immediately met R. Previously we had met R's cousin who said that R needed church in his life, at the time R didn't say much and we assumed it was because he didn't speak English, well it turns out that he does! The only downside is we can hardly understand a word he's saying hah! Anyway so when we saw R he immediately opened up to us. He expressed that he has been searching for truth and wants to change. We testified of the  healing and enabling power of Jesus Christ and His gospel. While we were talking he handed my companion his phone and said to talk to his friend, because she needed more help than he did and wanted to share this message with her. While my companion was on the phone I was teaching R. By the end R kept saying that God had sent him angels that day.

When we were walking back to our car my companion told me that R's friend on the phone was a once a member of our church! She said that she had an amazing lesson with her and that my companion got her address! We will be sending a talk to her as well as a referral to some missionaries in North Carolina, where she lives. We found out later on that R had no idea that his friend had been a member! 

Once we got in the car the Spanish Sisters called us and as we were talking they told us that the only referral that sent through from us was getting baptized this Saturday! When we heard his it was just the icing on the cake! I know that Heavenly Father is aware of us. He knows when are working hard, he knows when we are serving him with all that we have and he blesses us. After all, "God honors those who honor him". This is His work and I'm so grateful to be apart of it.

 I can't believe that they're closing down the family history center in Orem! Will there be a new one? I hope Grandpa's new calling will be just as special to him. :) I'm glad that mom got my letter I made sure that I wrote two letters a couple P.Days ago and then sent them on different days so that she would get them and be surprised. I'm glad my plan worked! :) transfers are this Wednesday. Sister Ch, my companion (above), will be leaving... :( which makes me really sad, but she will be training so I'm really excited for her! My new companion's name is Sister S. She will just be finished with training when I get her so I'll be "greenie-breaking", which should be fun. :) Fun fact: my new companion's trainer was one of my previous companions (Sister S). 

This week we had several miracles. We brought one of our investigators, R, to the baptism of the referrals that I was telling y'all about last week. It turns out that there were three baptisms that night! Two of the people that were baptized were referred from us. We were able to witness the first baptism, but didn't get to witness our referral's baptisms. It turns out there was a miscommunication so the referrals came later. Their baptisms started at around 9pm so we couldn't stay, but at least we got to see them and I wish y'all could've seen the big smiles on their faces when they saw us. It was so nice to see their bright shining  smiling faces! :) 

So the baptism that we attended was completely in Spanish, but the Spirit there was soooo strong! It was wonderful! On Sunday we went to the hospital with one of the members of our Ward and his son (who just returned from his mission) and his daughter to give R’s daughter a blessing. Again it was completely in Spanish, but the Spirit there was so beautiful and powerful. :) In the blessing Ya was given a blessing of total recovery! As well as several other wonderful blessings. Afterwards her mother asked us if we would go to her friend and give her son a blessing. We did and it was a great experience. Y’s blessing and experience was a testament to me in so many ways. What it shows first off is that when we experience something that helps us so much, our natural reaction is to share what has helped us with those we love. Elder Bednar was talking about this also in his talk "Come and See" from General Conference a little while back. Y'all should check it out. :) 

Anywhoo I don't have a lot of time today so I wanted to let y'all know that I love y'all soooooooo much-oooooooooo!!!!!! Remember that y'all are always in my prayers! 

I love y'all sooooo much-oooooopoo!!!!!!!! Remember that y'all are always in my prayers!

Lots of love (from your favorite Sister Missionary),

Sister Megan Rice

Ausgust 3, 2015 - Web Bridge

Ins't time just crazy?! It flies by so quickly! I love the thoughts that you had, Dad, when you hit your year mark. 
Dad: "During my mission I made up my mind that I would not set back and get trunky the few months before leaving, but instead would work my hardest right up to the end. I know you will do the same."

That's exactly how I've been feeling! Haha I love how even back when you were serving, missionaries used the word "trunky" haha mission lingo is the best haha :) I'm so glad that y'all got the pictures of Sister Jacobs. I love her sooo much!! She was my Sister Training Leader when I first got out and my very first exchange! It was kind of special to be able to see each other almost exactly a year later from when we first met (in fact I would call that moment a tender mercy/miracle). Her friendship has meant so much to me throughout my mission. Out of all the missionaries I've met she is the only one who has kept in contact with me my entire mission. She means a lot to me. :) She's the one in the middle. My companion Sister C is on the left.

Wasn't the soldier day parade soo cute?!! It was so much fun being able to pass out cards, pamphlets, flags, and candy throughout the parade! I hope that when I show y'all around someday that we can come in time for the soldiers day parade! :) 

I love the tomato plant you have - it's growing so well!! i can't wait to start my own little garden someday! I also loved the thought that you shared about blessings. It reminds me of one of my favorite scriptures Ether 12:4 as well as a few others. :) Thank you for your words of wisdom and encouragement. :)

This week has felt like almost everything was "go go go". We had a lot of first appointments and although some of them fell through we had really great lessons. Besides that we've been able to get in with a lot of less-actives, which has felt like a huge success because it's been hard to get in with them the past few months. One of the tender mercies Heavenly Father showed us was when we went over to one of the less-active's home. She opened up to us a lot about the struggles they've had and we were able to have a really good discussion afterwards she invited us to come back for dinner a couple days later. While at dinner her husband suggested that we should hold them accountable for reading the Book of Mormon daily and coming to church weekly! My companion and I were both happy to oblige! Afterwards they invited us to come back over in a couple of weeks and this past Sunday they came to church! It was awesome!! As our focus lately has been on less-active work I've been reminded of how important the sacrament is and I've learned the importance of sharing it with others who have forgotten it's importance. I know that the sacrament prepares us individually and renews promised blessings. It makes us better people and provides protection. Those blessings are ones I don't want to live without.
     I love y'all soooooo much-oooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!! Remember y'all are always in my prayers. So long for now ~ Have a blessed week!

Lots of love (from your favorite Sister Missionary),
Sister Megan Rice

July 20, 2015 - Web Bridge

Wow! It sounds like a lot has happened! Thanks for the updates. As for my health, I'm doing great! *knock on wood* haha We haven't been on bike in this area, which is nice with the heat, but I must say I definitely loved being able to work off all of the weight gained from all of the food haha, but that's ok! Sometimes we do intense biking in the morning. Which reminds me! There are these absolutely beautiful forest-like paved paths for bikers, runners, and walkers called the "Greenways". Y'all should look them up, because they are beautiful!! Anywhoo.....
      I don't have a lot of time to email since we have been busy deeeeeeep cleaning for apartment and car checks coming up this week. This past week has been an incredible week of tender-mercies. One such tender-mercy was while we were tracting (0h! that reminds me... it has been in the 90's and I'm not sure how much humidity but boyyy it has been hot!!!). After about a half an hour we came to a house on the end of this small street and right as we were walking up to the house this beautiful college aged young women walks out with her dog. As we talked with her she was super friendly and pretty interested. She said that we could come back and teach more and that her boyfriend would be very interested in learning more as well. She also said that her boyfriend might have been involved in the church when he was younger and that his parents might be members. After we had finished talking with her and began to talk among each other my companion realized that her boyfriend was the son of a less-active member who had just moved out of our area. These members were also trying to come back to church and it turns out that missionaries have been trying to meet her son for a while now....It was crazy!! Besides that tender mercy/ miracle we were also able to get in contact with a lot of less-actives that in the past have been hard to get in touch with and we're teaching former investigators!! It's really exciting!! Well it looks like I've gotta be off...So long for now~
     I love y'all sooo much-ooo!!! Remember, y'all are always in my prayers!!

Lots of love (from your favorite Sister Missionary,
Sister Megan Rice

A letter to the missionaries from Pres. Bennion

Dear Elders and Sisters, 

As promised, here is an update on our dear Sister Beckstrom:  She remains in a coma following the car accident that occurred seven weeks ago.  Her condition has been upgraded to fair; she has been removed from life support systems, and she opens her eyes, but she remains unresponsive to her external environment.  She has been moved from intensive care to a “skilled nursing” facility.  The doctors are no longer optimistic that she will regain full consciousness, and they feel that her present condition may continue into the indefinite future.  Prayers for her and her family remain important and appreciated. 

With our daughter Christine, it took about 9 months for us to understand the extent of her disabilities, and about 3 to 5 years to fully accept the situation.  In our 40 years with Christine, we have learned many valuable lessons for the eternities.  We’d like to highlight a few: 

1. --  Live your life one day at a time, doing your best each day, with no regrets. 

2. -- Timing is in the Lord’s hands.  We know that everything will be fine in the eternities; the uncertainty is between “now” and “eternity.”  But the final outcome is assured through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. 

3. -- “All that is unfair about life can be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.” (Preach My Gospel, page 52) 

4. -- We focus on what we can do, and leave the rest to the Lord and trust in Him. 

We love all of you and pray for you each day. 

With love and admiration, 

  President ∧ Sister Bennion

July 12, 2015 - Web Bridge

 I love y'alls email so much every Monday when I read them it brightens up my week!!! Thank y'all for the wise words and encouragement it brings me so much joy and comfort. Really thank you. I can't believe the tomato plants have already started producing tomatoes that are ready to eat...that was so quick!! I can't wait for my own personal planter box to garden with! Also, I love the example that was related to the tomato plants. I'm going to have to use that! I can't believe that M is married!! That's crazy! Also I love the items on the memory table, that is sooo special!! My first thought was, "awwwwww". It warms my heart to know what they represent and what they mean to y'all! :) 
     This week has been interesting haha. All of the investigators we found my first transfer in this area have either moved or gone on now we are back to the finding stage again haha, but that's ok! This week we were also able to serve A LOT and that has been awesome!! The feeling that comes from serving is amazing. :) Besides that I guess my thought for this week is this that found in Alma 34:9-10 which reads, 

"For it is expedient that an atonement should be made; for according to the great plan of the Eternal God there must be an atonement made, or else all mankind must unavoidably perish; yea, all are fallen and are lost, and must perish except it be through the atonement which it is expedient should be made. For it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice; yea, not a sacrifice of man, neither beast, neither of any manner of fowl; for it shall not be a human sacrifice; but it must be an infinite and eternal sacrifice." 

Recently one of our recent converts has wanted to know more about the Atonement and so the majority of my studies have been reflected on that sacred topic and what I have been reminded of during those moments of reflection is that no matter where we are in life, no matter who we are, or what we have chosen to do there is one who knows, understands, and loves us. No one is too far away from the reach of the atonement of Jesus Christ. The Atonement, if used daily, will enable us and provide the opportunity to learn and grow.
     I love y'all sooooo much-ooooooooooo!!!!!!!! Remember that y'all are always in my prayers!!!  

Lots of Love (from your favorite Sister Missionary),

Sister Megan Rice

June 21, 2015 - Web Bridge

 I'm so glad that y'alls week has been so eventful and busy! It really is amazing to see the mantle of a missionary and I must say I can most definitely feel it and don't want it to every leave, but I trust in my Father in Heaven and I know He has a plan! I'm soooo sooooo happy that the Provo City Temple will have an open house when I'll be there!!! I'll be looking forward to it!! 
     This week we've seen many blessings/tender mercies/miracles, one of which was with a new investigator named J. One day when we were out following up on a less-active member of the ward we saw a father and his dad out in their driveway working on their car. We decided to go and talk to them and were surprised to see that they greeted us very warmly. The father said that his wife had met with missionaries before and that they couldn't speak at the moment because they were working, but he said that he would go get his wife and we could teach her. He went inside, but instead of bringing his wife out with him he brought his daughter, J and we began teaching her. In the short time that we met with her she really opened up and is seriously the sweetest thing ever! We met her again this week and she accepted the invitation to be baptized! We are really excited for her! 
     P, a recent convert, is being a super awesome missionary this week! One of his friends from back home came to visit him and he wanted us to start teaching her. She also accepted the invitation to be baptized and it was really cool seeing Pedro testify and teach. 
     So this next miracle is probably one of my favorites. We decided to go to S's again to make ourselves known to his parents. Even though I was a little hesitant at first, after prayer we knew we needed to go visit him. So we knocked on the door and Sam opened the door a little surprised to see us. We learned that his parents weren't home again and that the next day he would be leaving for a month long backpacking trip in Washington, Oregon, and then Alaska! When we were finished talking we taught him a little bit and the spirit was very strong, yet again. When we were finished we got in the car and the exact moment S closed the door to his house and we turned on the car was the moment his parents drove right past us into their driveway, not knowing that we had just visited their son. It was crazy!! In that moment, my companion and I, were both very aware that we were on the Lord's errand, which is a very fulfilling feeling. Along with the miracles I shared we also had the opportunity to go to the Temple (Georgia, Atlanta)! It was wonderful and exactly what I needed!! Oh! And I gave another talk at church on Sunday and after church we helped serve pies to the fathers. When all of the fathers had two slices of pie there was enough extra for members to have a slice and guess which pie I chose, in remembrance of you Dad....marion berry (aka marry and berry). Overall, this week has been a good one and I can't wait to see what this new week will bring. 
     I love y'all soooooo much-ooooooo!! Remember y'all are always in my prayers!!

Lots of Love (from your favorite Sister Missionary),
Sister Megan Rice 

My companion Sister C

June 14, 2015 - Web Bridge

Y'all's email makes me so happy!! There's something about new beginnings, whether that be marriage or returning missionaries, that makes me happy! I love the poster you made Dad, it looks so professional! The quote you sent from Mother Teresa is exactly what I needed to hear, I'm so glad that you sent it! Quotes are one of my favorite things! In fact if I sang my own version of "Some of My Favorite Things" from The Sound of Music "inspirational quotes" would be one of the things that makes me feel soo glad! Haha 
     Mom, I love what you learned about the senses! Little treasures of knowledge like that are so intriguing to me, especially when they involve a higher plane of thinking. I can't believe that Matt is almost finished with his mission...that's crazy! There are so many good changes in our family, it's exciting to see! Also, I didn't realize that I was so close to Kenneth and his wife. In fact, I was actually thinking about them recently and wondering what their names were and where they were living, because I had forgotten, so thanks for reminding me and sharing some new news about where they live. I had no idea they lived in the same Ward where Sister Ba and Sister B were serving. I'm glad that they were able to bring comfort to the families of those Sisters, that means a lot to me.
      The beginning of this week was pretty rough, because we're having a hard time finding people to teach. One of the reasons it can be difficult during times when you aren't finding people to teach is because you get thoughts like, "Well maybe I'm not really doing/trying our/my best" (when in reality you and your companion are giving your all), "Are we doing something wrong?", and etc. And when those thoughts come, and they do all of us, that's the time a choice is given; "Will I rise above and move forward or give up and turn back?" What I've learned in my short life is that if I trust in Heavenly Father, despite doubts and concerns, He will provide a way and it will be in His own way and in His own due time. That's something I've seen. 
     Like I said previously, the past couple of weeks have been difficult, not because of our companionship (because I love my companion soooo much!!!), but because of the lack of people to teach. By the time this week began we had two choices; 1. Give in to the negative thoughts or 2. Keep acting and trusting in the faith and hope that He would provide the way. Well, as you can imagine we chose the second option and that's when miracles started to happen. 
     One of my favorite miracles was one that occurred yesterday, when we were out tracting. We met this really respectful young man, named Sam. We began by talking about the Book of Mormon and then the thought came to share a video. I was kind of hesitant about sharing it because it was a longer video, but I knew that the thought to share it had come for a reason so I acted. I remember praying inside of my heart, "Father, I'm taking a leap of faith here, showing this video, please bless us that this leap won't be in vain." When the video was over my companion and I both testified and continued to teach. When we asked Sam what his thoughts were, his response surprised me. He said, "The peace that I feel from you both is something I've never felt before. I want to learn more." As we talked more we learned that he is Jewish and that if his parents had been home we never would have been able to share this message with him. After coming to this realization I felt amazed to have been a part of Heavenly Father's plan.
     Sometimes, before we can witness miracles we must undergo a trial of our faith. In Ether chapter 2 and 3 we learn about the Brother of Jared and his miraculous experience that came only after the trial of his faith. These past few weeks have been the trial of our faith. What made the difference between the outcome was that  we never once stopped praying or reading. We didn't stop acting on our faith. (Another interesting principle to ponder is that during this time of testing we were doing everything we needed to be doing and yet still the difficulty came.) I know that Heavenly Father is aware of us. He loves us and no matter where we are or what we're doing He has a plan for us and I testify of these things in the sacred name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
     Thank y'all for y'alls testimonies and thoughts/perspectives. Y'all amaze and inspire me. Remember that y'all are always in my prayers. I love y'all soooooo much-ooooo!!! 

Lots of love (from your favorite Sister Missionary),

Sister Megan Rice 

June 8, 2015 - Web Bridge

Thank y'all for the spiritual thoughts and memories. They mean so much to me. I love that tomatoes are already growing on y'all's plants, that's so exciting! And to answer y'all's question I'm not on a bike anymore so I haven't had to deal with it much.
     This week my email home to you is being written on my new iPad. Yup! You read that right...iPad!! Which also means that I can read emails any day of the week but can only respond on Mondays and that also means that sometime soon we will be on Facebook. Isn't that crazy?! Well at least for me it's crazy to think that soon I'll be a Facebook missionary. It's amazing how useful the iPads are, there's so much power when there's almost unlimited knowledge at your fingertips. I really love all of the scriptures, general conference talks, and so much more that are available by just a touch away. 
     Besides the incredible change I've noticed in the work with iPads we've had some pretty cool miracles recently. So about a week after I had gotten in this area our STLs (sister training leaders) wanted to go on exchange with us and they wanted me to stay in the area... Out of the 10 months that I have been out only 2 of my exchanges have been out of my area, in other words I've only left my area 2 out of 6 times, but I've never had to take over my area after a week after getting let me just say it was a little stressful, but! as usual Heavenly Father really helped me and blessed us. 
     When we were on exchanges we prayed asking that Heavenly Father would bless us to witness miracles and that we would be lead to those whose hearts have been prepared and that they would be lead to us. By the time we had exchanged back we had talked to about 21 new people and among those whom we had talked to we taught and gave a Book of Mormon to 3 of them. It was incredible! What's more is that when we had exchanged back my companion and I yet again prayed for miracles and Heavenly Father blessed us by teaching some really prepared people. One of whom was this really friendly mother of 3. She opened the door and immediately began talking to us. She said that she was really open to learning and as we began to teach her about the Book of Mormon and its witness of Christ, she really excitedly asked if she could have a copy! I've never met someone who so quickly and enthusiastically asked for a copy of the Book of Mormon before and that moment in and of itself was a great blessing to me. I know this is the Lord's work and I know He is aware of our needs and our challenges. 
     Today in my studies I read a really good talk given by President Uchtdorf called "You Matter to Him". In it he said, "The Lord doesn’t care at all if we spend our days working in marble halls or stable stalls. He knows where we are, no matter how humble our circumstances. He will use--in His own way and for His holy purposes--those who incline their hearts to Him. God knows that some of the greatest souls who have ever lived are those who will never appear in the chronicles of history. They are the blessed, humble souls who emulate the Savior’s example and spend the days of their lives doing good." 
     Just think...God; the Creator of both the heavens and the earth, Omnipotent, Omnipresent, and all powerful, knows you personally and loves you. That is the beauty of the gospel of Jesus Christ; it is simple. It is as simple as this;  God is our Heavenly Father and He loves us. I testify that these things are true and I do so in the sacred name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
     I love y'all sooooooooo much-ooooooooooo!!!!!!!! Remember that y'all are always in my prayers. Always. So long for now~ 

Lots of love (from your favorite Sister Missionary),

Sister Megan Rice

May 31, 2015 - Web Bridge

This past week has been crazy!! I don't have a lot of time because my companion doesn't stay on the computer for very long, but I have to say that she is hilarious, and crazy, and awesome haha. It's going to be fun! :) My new area is really really nice....I've noticed two things about this area so far and that is: 1. Everyone and THEIR DOG is very very well-off and 2. Everyone is super friendly, more so than any of my other areas. Like I said it's going to be fun here!! :) Oh! Also, the Sister Training Leaders that we will be going on exchanges with are in first area, which means....I WILL GET TO GO BACK!!! :D I'm sooo excited for that!!
     As you know there was a car accident a few days ago here in Georgia involving two Sister Missionaries from my mission. One of the Sisters did not make it and the other is in the Hospital due to injuries from the accident.  When I heard about the news I couldn't believe it. I thought it was some sick joke, and then we got the phone call from President confirming what had happened. I didn't know Sister B very well because she had just come out, but I did know Sister B a little bit. I met Sister B when she first came out. I remember that she was really out-going, super nice, and had a great smile that was just contagious and I remember thinking about how she seemed like she had been out longer than just a few weeks. Sister B was a very special missionary. I know that Heavenly Father needed her strong spirit and I feel honored to have known her for the short time, that I did. 

     Our Mission President said this, 

" Dear fellow servants,

Sister Bennion and I want you to know how much we love each and every one of you.  We know more deeply than ever how dear you are to us and to our Heavenly Father and His Son.  We’d like to share with you a couple of missionary stories that are dear to our hearts and can be applied to this difficult experience we are all sharing with the Barnard and Beckstrom families. 

In 1894 my great-great grandfather, Ezra Clark, sent one of his sons on a mission.  John Alexander Clark was called to serve in the Ottoman Empire, which included Turkey and the Holy Land at that time.  After learning Arabic in Syria, his first assignment began in about August 1894 in the town of Haifa, located about 100 miles north of Jerusalem.  But, he contracted smallpox and died in February 1895.  The family was not permitted to have his body sent home to Farmington, Utah due to the smallpox epidemic, and his body was hastily buried in a small Christian cemetery in Haifa, next to John Haag, a missionary from Payson, Utah who had died there two years earlier.  Ezra Clark was brokenhearted, but he paid for two identical headstones to be built and installed on the graves of the two missionaries.  Each tombstone is about 5 feet tall including a 3-foot Greek-style pillar sculpted to appear broken, symbolic of being cut down in the prime of life.  Elder Clark’s mission appeared to be a sad failure. 

In the 1970’s, the church began the process of trying to achieve formal recognition in Israel so that the church could buy land and build buildings.  Much opposition was encountered.  One of the major hurdles was that Israeli law stated that no new religions would be permitted unless they could prove that they had been established prior to 1948 when the Jewish state of Israel was established.  The headstones for these two missionaries provided the necessary evidence, formal recognition was achieved, and the BYU Jerusalem Center is the result.  (Incidentally, we have heard that the Center is designed for easy conversion into a temple someday.)  A seemingly fruitless mission cut short by tragedy bore precious fruit nearly one hundred years later.  The Lord is truly in charge, He knows all things, and He guides His work of salvation. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes” (Proverbs 3:5-7). 

You all know our special daughter Christine.  During her delivery the umbilical cord got pinched, and she suffered severe brain damage which was immediately apparent through multiple seizures.  The extent of her injuries were not known immediately, and we did not know if she would live or die, nor what level of functionality she might reach if she lived.  We prayed and fasted and administered to her, but nothing changed.  My older brother, full of faith, asked if he could give her a blessing, and of course we said yes.  Again, nothing changed.  My brother was highly concerned by the apparent failure of the blessings, so he prayed to know why.  A few days later, he said, “I asked the Lord why the blessing didn’t seem to work, and I still don’t know why, but I did receive the answer that it was not because of any lack of faith.”  Christine has not (yet) been healed, but her presence has blessed us and our children in countless ways. 

Sister Bennion and I assumed that we would not be able to serve as senior missionaries because no dependent children are allowed.  But the call came, and we went to Elder Robert D. Hales’ office to be set apart.  Elder Hales asked if he could give Christine a blessing, and of course we said yes. He blessed her that she would impact for good the lives of members, missionaries, and non-members during our mission. Although not formally called as a missionary, we know that she has serves alongside us, and you, in her own special way. 

On the first Sunday following Christine’s birth, I attended sacrament meeting by myself since Sister Bennion and our twins were still in the hospital.  I was touched forever by the words to a special musical number that Sunday:  “I do not ask to see nor understand, only that thou wilt be constantly near to me, holding my hand. dear Lord, holding my hand.” 

We feel like Nephi when the angel asked, “Knowest thou the condescension of God?”  Our reply is the same as Nephi’s:  “I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things” (I Nephi 11:16-17). 

Like Nephi, we do not know the meaning of all things, but we do know that the Lord loves us and our dear Sisters Barnard and Beckstrom.  We’d like to share with you the final sentences in Sister Barnard’s final weekly email last Monday:  “I am holding fast to the promise that if I work hard out here and give it my all that God will take care of the rest. I know that this is where I need to be, even if I think I could be used elsewhere as well. I'm needed here, at this place, and at this time. Love, Sister Barnard” 

We testify that the Lord lives, that He loves every single person on this earth, and that He and His son and His prophet have called each of us to serve here in this special place at this special time, and there is no more important work that we can do now.  “Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth” (2 Nephi 2:8). 

We echo the inspired words of Sister Barnard:  If we work hard out here and give it our all, God will take care of the rest.  This is the place where we are needed at this time. 

Of this we testify in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen."

     I testify that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of all mankind. He is our hope. As someone very wise once told me, "What mortality robs in a moment, the gospel of Jesus Christ restores for eternity." That is my hope and my joy.
     I love y'all soooo much-ooooooooo!!!! Remember this: y'all are always in my prayers. Always. Y'all have a blessed week!!

Lots of love (from your favorite Sister Missionary),

Sister Megan Rice

May 17, 2015 - Last of Kennesaw

Thank y'all for all of the pictures you sent!! I love them so much!! Especially the picture of Brownie and the puppy...soooooo cute!!! haha By the way. My week has been good as well, in fact...
     ...drum roll please.......I will be going to Webridge in Alpharetta/Roswell and my new companion's name is Sister C, who is also from California!! I've met her a few times before and I must admit I'm kind of excited to see what the next transfers will bring. :) This week has been crazy!! I found out I was leaving on Wednesday because my companion will be training, and trainers always find out the transfer info early, so I feel really blessed. It's nice being able to prepare for transfers and pack a little bit every here and there instead of leaving all to last minute. Besides getting ready for transfers and what-not I've been saying a lot of "so long for now"s. Let me just say transfers are always a time of reflection and pondering, that's for sure. 
     To answer your questions:
1. I'm feeling loads better, thank goodness I'm not sick anymore!! Thanks for asking. :)
2. I did receive your package and have not been able to try them out yet (but that's only because I got your package today)
3. Answered in #2
4. I just sent home some packages today, so be expecting them in the mail. :)
5. Yes, I took pictures but I won't be able to send them until next P-Day. Will you remind me in y'alls email next week?
6. Yes, we just had a farewell lunch today with Miss D at the Methodist food pantry :)
7. Biking is so much fun and definitely an adventure!!
     Ok! So I don't have too much time left but I wanted to leave y'all with a thought. This past week I received a blessing before the end of transfers from Brother Mason (whom I very much respect and believe will some day be an Apostle, that's how awesome he is) anywhoo.... In my blessing he said something that struck me. He said, "Remember this truth.... God honors those who honor Him." I don't think I need to explain why this struck me so hard, because the truth of this statement is plain, precious, and powerful. Please reflect on this statement and let me know what you think. :)
     Thank y'all so much for the support, love, thoughts, wishes, and more. Y'all have no idea how much it means to me to read from you each week. I love y'all sooooo much-oooooooooooo!!!!! Remember, y'all are  always in my prayers!!

Lots of love (from your favorite Sister Missionary),

Sister Megan Rice

May 11, 2015 - Kennesaw

   This week...well it's been fun. We've been doing a lot and a lot and a lot of walking but hey on the bright side we've gotten tanner and we're getting our exercise haha besides that nothing else has changed. That is to say besides our car being taken away and absolutely no one being on campus, but at least we're making the best out of the situation. :) Oh! I just remembered an experience from Saturday that I would like to share. Sooo...Friday we got our car taken away... dun dun dunnn.... Well the next day we had a service activity with the Kennesaw Sisters at the Methodist Food Pantry and instead of using their car we decided to walk in order to save up on miles. After about an hour of walking we realized that we were going to arrive about a half an hour early. Instead of waiting at the Food Pantry we decided to walk through the Methodist Church's cemetery. 
     As weird as this may sound it was really peaceful walking through the cemetery. There was this sense of reverence there that made it beautiful. As we were looking at the names and dates of the people in the cemetery (Some of the years on the headstones dated back to the 1700s!) it brought a few thoughts to my mind. Could you imagine if the spirits of those people were there and they knew who we were/represented and what we could do for them? Imagine waiting hundreds of years for this moment; a moment to break free and progress. All of a sudden I felt an overwhelming feeling of the importance of family history work and Temple work. 
     I love the Temple. Temples are beautiful, not just because of the architecture but because of the hope that they represent and provide. That hope is not just for us living on the earth at this time, but for all of those who have passed on and will yet live on this earth. Aren't Heavenly Father's plans just beautiful?! :)
     On Friday we had Zone Conference. During Zone Conference our Mission President shared a clip of President Monson's talk, "Your Eternal Voyage" from the April 2000 General Conference. It gave this story:
     "To some it may seem strange to see ships of many nations loading and unloading cargo along the docks at Portland, Oregon. That city is 100 miles from the ocean. Getting there involves a difficult, often turbulent passage over the bar guarding the Columbia River and a long trip up the Columbia and Willamette Rivers. But ship captains like to tie up at Portland. They know that as their ships travel the seas, a curious saltwater shellfish called a barnacle fastens itself to the hull and stays there for the rest of its life, surrounding itself with a rock like shell. As more and more [of these] barnacles attach themselves, they increase the ship's drag, slow its progress, decrease it efficiency. Periodically, the ship must go into dry dock, wherewith great effort the barnacles are chiseled or scraped off. It's a difficult, expensive process that ties up the ship for days. But not if the captain can get his ship to Portland. Barnacles can't live in freshwater. There, in the sweet, fresh waters of the Willamette or Columbia, the barnacles die and some fall away, while those that remain are easily removed. Thus, the ship returns to its task lightened and renewed. Sins are like those barnacles. Hardly anyone goes through life without picking up some. They increase the drag, slow our progress, decrease our efficiency. Unrepented, building up one on another, they can eventually sink us. In His infinite love and mercy, our Lord has provided a harbor where, through repentance, our barnacles fall away and are forgotten. With our souls lightened and renewed, we can go efficiently about our work and His."
     We were able to tie this story into missionary work and also into the time when we won't be missionaries anymore. We came to realize that not only can the barnacles be sin, but they can be other things like fear, lack of focus, hard hearts, laziness, or even disobedience. We then began to discuss what the freshwater could be in our lives. Among which was daily study and prayer, repentance, recognizing and following the Spirit, developing Christ-like attributes, becoming a member missionary, obedience, and taking the Sacrament each week (and I would like to include attending the Temple). I am so grateful for the "freshwater" that Heavenly Father provides in my life. I'm grateful that no matter where we are in life we can return to the "freshwater" and lighten our loads and that this "freshwater" is available to all. 
     I loved seeing and hearing y'all yesterday!! It was definitely the highlight of my life!! Haha (or at least it will be until Christmas time ;) )  I love y'all sooo much-oooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Remember y'all are always in my prayers.  

Lots of love (from your favorite Sister Missionary),

Sister Megan Rice

May 4, 2015 - Kennesaw

This week we did a TON of contacting because we have pretty much no one new to was great!! Haha Besides that we've been meeting with our recent converts and let me just say I love them so much!! One of the perks of being in YSA is that we get to go to Institute. Here on KSU we have the best Institute teacher EVER...his name is Brother M. Unfortunately this semester ends this week and so this past week was our last class for Institute with Brother M, that is until Fall Semester, but since I probably won't be here in the Fall it was kind of sad. Besides that not much else happened....except for a couple cool miracles I had. :) 
     One morning my companion and I were contacting on campus when we found out that 1. the cubes were possibly getting taken away and (thus possibly making it so that we couldn't be on campus anymore) and 2. either our car or the Kennesaw Sister's car was going to be taken away. When we learned this it kind of felt like everything was crashing down, all at once. All of a sudden it felt like there was this weight around us, negative thoughts started coming to our minds, we didn't have a desire to go contacting anymore, (and I mean seriously even I was getting negative!!) and then we came up with a brilliant idea. We decided that for every negative thought that would come to our mind we would replace it with a scripture. When we began to do this everything changed. We were given the strength to continue contacting, peace entered our thoughts, and the time, which at the beginning seemed to drag on, now went by quickly. The scriptures are powerful. I have no doubt that the Bible and the Book of Mormon are the words of God and I am so grateful for them. 
     As the day progressed I soon realized why it was so difficult for us in the morning. All we had planned for that day was contacting and referrals and then the afternoon hit and all of a sudden we had appointments piling up on each other. We were so booked that at one point we had to split up to teach. Here's where my second miracle comes into play. So my companion was teaching one of our investigators and I was teaching one of our recent converts who as of two months ago became less active. As I was talking to him he completely opened up to me. At one point he said, "All my life I feel like I keep running away from God. He tries to speak to me but I don't listen, but now I feel like He's speaking through you.You've helped me see what I couldn't see before and someday I want to do the same thing for someone else." As a missionary you're always told that you are a representative of Jesus Christ, but it never hit me like it did, until this moment. Every morning we quote 3 Nephi 5:13 which says, "Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of Him to declare His word among His people that they might have everlasting life." I am so grateful that I have been called of Him to declare His word among His people that they might have everlasting life. I know this is exactly where I am supposed to be at this point in my life and I wouldn't trade any moment of my mission for anything.
     I'm excited to see y'all so soon!! Can y'all believe it?! Only 5 more days till we can SKYPE!!! Speaking of Skype...will y'all be able to skype at 7pm GA time ( 5pm UT time)? That's the time my companion told her parents she would be able to skype. If not we might be able to work something else out. Anywhoo...I hope y'all are doing well and I hope I'll be able to get an email from you soon. I love y'all sooooooooooo much-oooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Remember, y'all are always in my prayers.

Lots of love (from your favorite Sister Missionary),
Sister Megan Rice

1 John 4:18-19, " There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us."

April 27, 2015 - Kennesaw

Thanks for the pictures! California looks beautiful and I'm glad that A liked his gift! :) I can't believe he has a beard....when I get home I'm going to shave it hahaha ;) I hope everything is going well and that y'all are staying busy! Also did my letter for Grandpa arrive in time? How was his 90th birthday party? I hope y'all had a great time celebrating everyone's birthdays! By the way HAPPY BE-LATED BIRTHDAY/ BIRTHDAY Mom, A, J, and Dad!!! I love y'all sooo much!!!!!!!!!
     I received your packages in the mail this past week, thank y'all soooo mcuh!! They were much needed. I loved reading the letter and eulogy for Grandma, as well as the program, they mean so much to me. Thank you for sending copies. Also thank you Mom for sending your talk! I used parts of it in a lesson on Sunday it was great!! The March Ensign and New Era are much loved, as well! The special edition of the New Era on Missionary Work is super cool! The frequently asked questions part is soo true. I love seeing member-missionary walls torn down and this magazine was perfect for it! :) Also...thank you so so so so much for sending 'Savior of the World' and especially the 'Lamb of God' love that CD so much. It's amazing (and what a special meaning it has to me knowing who it came from)!! Thank you again for sending everything despite the stress of organizing Grandma's things, giving talks, prep-ing for a party, and traveling. I appreciate all that y'all do for me. Really, thank you. 
     This past week I was able to go on exchanges with one of our STLs, Sister K. It just so happens that Sister K and I came out together and the day we went on exchanges was the day that we hit our 9 month mark! I absolutely love her to death and it was totally a tender mercy that we were able to be together on that day. I learned so much from her. One such lesson was on hope and it's a lesson I would like to share with y'all.
     It was a beautiful day and Sister K and I were out contacting. We had just walked on campus when we ran into a guy, named L. L was super interested in what we had to say and soon just plain talking with him turned into about a 30 minute lesson. When we parted ways I remember telling Sister K, "I hope we'll be able to meet with him again." With a smile she replied, "You  will meet with him again." For some reason that moment stuck with me and it wasn't until I was studying in "True to the Faith", later in the week, that it hit me.  
     In "True to the Faith" it says, "The word hope is sometimes misunderstood. In our everyday language, the word often has a hint of  uncertainty. For example, we may say that we hope for a change in the weather or a visit from a friend. In the language of the gospel, however, the word hope is sure, unwavering, and active." When looking at hope from this perspective the meaning changes completely. 
     In Ether 12:4 it says, "Whoso believeth in God might  with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith,  maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God." Hope is an abiding trust in our Father in Heaven. It is manifest in confidence, optimism, enthusiasm, and patient perseverance. I know that because I have experienced it. 
     The reason I wanted to focus on the principle of hope this week is because, really, hope has changed me. It has brought whole new meaning into my life, perspective, and mission. With this hope I have come to trust more in myself and more importantly I have come to trust more in my Father in Heaven and in His Spirit. Because of hope I have more appreciation for my Savior. I know without a shadow of doubt that Heavenly Father knows me. He is aware of me and the daily decisions that I make and despite my shortcomings he has a plan for me. This principle is the same for you. He knows you. He loves you. He has a plan for you.
     This past Sunday I had a thought come to mind which went something like this, "You were sent to be fearless. He knows you and your valor, because of that you were sent at this time, with these trials and experiences. He knew that you might not make it back, but trusted that you would. Be fearless, be obedient, win the battle and return with honor."
     It's my hope that we will always remember; remember who we are, whose we are and why we are and I leave this hope in the name of our Savior, even Jesus Christ. Amen.
     I love y'all sooooooooooooooo much-ooooooooooooo!!!! Remember that y'all are always in my prayers.

Lots of love (from your favorite Sister Missionary),
Sister Megan Rice

P.S. Mom, thank you for sharing your note cards with me!! They are so bright and colorful! They will be great for thank you notes! :) As J says, "You're the best!" :D 

P.P.S. Check out this cool quote... 
     "Is there not wisdom in [Heavenly Father] giving us trials that we might rise above them, responsibilities that we might achieve, work to harden our muscles, sorrows to try our souls? Are we not exposed to temptations to test our strength, sickness that we might learn patience, death that we might be immortalized and glorified?
     If all the sick for whom we pray were healed, if all the righteous were protected and the wicked destroyed, the whole program of the Father would be annulled and the basic principle of the gospel, free agency, would be ended. No man would have to live by faith." 

  • President Spencer W. Kimball

Also to answer mom's question regarding my fall in the rain last week: Yes I got a little scraped, but I'm all healed up now. :)

 Attached are some pictures of the recent baptism of our investigator last Saturday:

And of course some good Cold Stone Ice Cream: