Monday, January 25, 2016

January 25, 2016 - John's Creek

It snowed this week! It was really really cold too, but the past couple days it got warmer. Besides that I have a few updates on our investigators on date to be baptized. So V will not be getting baptized on the 30th because she has some Word of Wisdom concerns that we will be working on, but that's ok! J, our other investigator who really wants to be baptized has gotten really really sick and so we haven't been able to meet with her or discuss her as of right now our investigators will be baptized sometime in the future. Haha :) 
When we went over this week to one of our investigator's house to paint she asked us a lot of great spiritual questions, but the highlight was when she said, "You want to know how God has been working on this house?" and then proceeded to tell us about one day when she walked into the house and found her son reading the Book of Mormon. Her son is not really into religion so when she saw him reading it she was shocked! She said, "Jesus has really been working on my son." Haha. Apparently after reading the Book of Mormon he had a lot of really good questions and what added to our joy was knowing that not only her son was reading the Book of Mormon, but that she has been reading it as well. God works in mysterious ways. When I think about this particular investigator and everything that she's been through I can't help but remember Alma 32:6, "And now when Alma heard this, he turned him about, his face immediately towards him, and he beheld with great joy; for he beheld that their afflictions had truly humbled them, and that they were in a preparation to hear the word."
It's kind of weird having about a week left.... I feel at peace, knowing that everything is going to be ok and I'm excited because I know that there will be opportunities to continue to share the gospel and opportunities to experience new joy, and not to mention I get to see all of y'all! But it's weird, and kind of sad leaving. Either way I know that Heavenly Father loves me and has a plan for me. Sometimes moving on is hard. Sometimes fear can get in the way of a bright future,  and I've seen that happen with a lot of missionaries who go home, but I can testify that with the Spirit, fear/sorrow is replaced with peace and when we take a step forward on the path of our Savior there are opportunities to experience new and glorious light. I believe that that's what the Savior and His teachings, or the gospel, does for those who follow Him and live His gospel, it creates new hope.
I love y'all sooooooo much-ooooooo!!!!!!!! Remember that y'all are always in my prayers.
Lots of Love (from your favorite Sister Missionary),Sister Megan Rice

Love these ladies!

How cute!

Superheroes by night! 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

January 19, 2016 - John's Creek

This week there were really good moments and really slow moments haha. We've been trying to keep the balance between our teaching and finding pools right now since the majority of our investigators will be baptized soon and so we've been knocking on a lot of doors and trying a lot of potential/former investigators. Unfortunately the majority of them have not been interested or at home thus making some days drag on f.o.r.e.v.e.r. haha, but(!) we're focusing on the good things in life and holding on. :)
Well to start off, this week, we gave a ninety year old lady a bath haha. She kept talking about how no one helps her clean herself and how she always feels dirty to which she added that her grandson would be coming the next day and so we offered to clean her feet, and that turned into her legs which turned into her whole top half haha. It was nothing new for me because I've bathed elderly people before but I'll admit it was kind of funny seeing my companion freak out a little, and then watch as she squared her shoulders, so to speak, and then got to work. Haha What made this situation even better is the fact that this lady can talk! We literally have to walk out of the house before she stops talking, haha, and I love her for that! 
After that notable experience we had another lesson with the awesome less-active family that's returning to activity (with the son that's going to be baptized) and this time the lesson went a lot better. Towards the end the son started having problems participating again, but the experience, as a whole, was so good because you could literally see the difference in this family. They were so happy and the father has totally softened up! Haha 
A little while before I got here the Sisters received a referral from the mission office. The referral specifically requested that service be given for a husband and wife. The Sisters had helped them a couple of times before I came to John's Creek and when I got here our service became a regular thing. Over time we've became really close and every time we went over we would leave spiritual messages, but we'd never invited her to learn the lessons. Looking back I realize how foolish that was and have since repented for not inviting her, but this past week we finally did it and her response was really good. She said that she would love to take the lessons as soon as she has her feet more planted. Right before we left we gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon and invited her to read it, to which she thanked us and said she would and then we left. The next morning we got a text from her saying, "I have read several chapters in your again for the book. I like that it's concise.". We were so excited and happy!!
After serving with the above mentioned wonderful lady haha, we had a great lesson with an awesome less-active/part-member family. A little while ago the member said that he was worried because he couldn't feel the Spirit anymore so we've been purposefully teaching spirit packed lessons, such as role playing the first lesson and then teaching the Plan of Salvation (our next lesson will be the Gospel of Jesus Christ). After our lesson we paused and then asked him what he felt. I will never forget the moment when he told us, kind of excitedly, that he felt the Spirit during specific points in our lessons. As we talked more about this and testified of God's love for him the Spirit hit so strong. It was a really powerful experience. 
Sunday night we were at the Stake President's house for dinner. (This is the same Stake President who went to my High School and I love them so much! Haha) After dinner and the spiritual message we were surprised to find that the Stake President started asking us about one of the family of investigators we're teaching. Next thing we knew he started mentioning the things that they could do to help, which then turned into a discussion, which then turned into a group effort to help this family in their progression towards conversion and baptism. It was great! What made it even better was that a member of the Bishopric was there and he was asked by the Stake President to take these ideas and plans of action to the Bishopric! It was a great feeling being able to work together as a team to help this family. 
We had a super powerful Zone Conference this past week which gave all of us, especially Sister H and I, a re-boost in our efforts as missionaries. It was just the boost we needed to get all fired up again and so we've been going the extra mile and more haha and although we haven't seen a lot of success knocking on doors we had a really good pass-off lesson with a YSA investigator (pass-off/transition lessons are lessons in which the missionaries pass off an investigator to the new missionaries that will be teaching them during a lesson). Towards the end of the lesson we invited him again if he would be baptized and the spirit was strong. I will never forget that moment when he looked at us and said so unwaveringly, "yes". It was powerful.
There's one more miracle I want to mention and it's one that happened today. We decided to go out to lunch with one of the members in our Ward and afterwards she payed for all of our was such a blessing to more ways than can be understood and I wonder if she knew just how much what she did meant to us. I can definitely testify that there are angels all around us. They are the ones that help those in need and love, in every sense of the word, without condition. I'm so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who helps His children through others and I know that those who give of themselves for others are blessed. 
Life is full of twists and turns; opportunities to fall, get back up or stay there, eventually move forward, and repeat. I'm so grateful for these moments because really they're opportunities to grow and if founded upon the gospel of Jesus Christ they are opportunities to grow on the path of our Savior. That's what the gospel of Jesus Christ is to me, a pattern of  good growth that lasts the rest of our lives. I love y'all sooooo much-ooooooooo!!!!!!! Remember that y'all are always in my prayers.
Lots of Love (from your favorite Sister Missionary),

Sister Megan Rice


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

January 11, 2016 - John's Creek

This past week has been a great one and all of the greatness all kind of built up on Saturday and SundaySaturday morning we found out that one of the less-active members we visit was in the Hospital. We made sure to visit her that morning and we ended up having a really good lesson with her. For the first time she opened up to us about her concerns with Church and we had a really powerful lesson.....All I can say is that I am so grateful for the companionship of the Holy Ghost that can bring moments and experiences we've had back to our memory. After the Hospital we had a really great lunch at this cute little breakfast place called, "Egg Harbor Cafe" - it was sooo good!! One of the other cool things about that place was that one of the workers there introduced himself as one of the non-member cousins of a member in the Webb Bridge Ward! Which was kind of cool because I knew the Ward members he was talking about. :)
Although we weren't able to meet with our investigator, J, this week she came to Church on Sunday and she said that she wants to be baptized before I go home!! I was so happy when I heard that! Please, keep her in y'alls prayers along with V. :) Speaking of Church, sacrament meeting this Sunday was AH-mazing!! It was all about the Restoration, both literal and personal and the Spirit was so strong which was great because we had two investigators there, two less-active families, and three non-member husbands there! It was great! 
Saturday night we had dinner with an awesome less-active family who we've been meeting with for a while. For the longest time we've been trying to get them back to Church, but there have been a lot of concerns/feelings of guilt. Well they've wanted their 8 year old son to be baptized for a while now and they planned on having him baptized in Utah with their family during Christmas time, but he wasn't because they had to receive permission from our Bishop and the reason they didn't receive the "OK" for the baptism was because they haven't been coming to Church. So they had a really good conversation with the Bishop before they left and now we have an awesome plan set up by the Bishop and the family to help the family come back to Church, have the Priesthood restored to them, reunite their eternal relationships, and have the father baptize their son and it's brilliant! They'll come to Church every week for a month and we'll be teaching them the lessons every week! Well, Saturday night was our first lesson with them and the son was really struggling because he's shy and doesn't like to be put on the spot, but then the dad started teaching him and helping him! Although it wasn't necessarily a good lesson because the kid was having a hard time it turned out to be great because this was the first time we had seen the dad get involved in our meetings with them and he did a really good job teaching too! After the lesson, as we sat down for dinner the son warmed up to us and when we finished dinner the father really opened up to us for the first time. At one point he said, "It was so hard when I realized that I couldn't bless my own son when he was born and now I have an opportunity to baptize him. I never dreamed that this was possible."  There have been specific moments that I can remember on my mission when I have felt such an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for the blessings of the Priesthood in my family and in our home. This was one of those moments. One of the things I've gained on my mission has been a firm appreciation and love for the Priesthood. I've realized that I don't want my family to grow up in a home where they didn't have the blessings of the priesthood; blessings of healing, comfort, and protection. This Sunday when I saw this family at Church they were glowing. They were so happy to be back. I am so grateful for my mission because I've realized just how much of a precious gift the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is; to live in this day and age where we have the blessing of the fullness of His teachings and gospel. On my mission I have seen people in the darkest places turn to the greatest light; the Savior and Redeemer of all mankind. I have literally seen light enter into people's eyes and countenances and I have felt the testimonies of those who once were lost come back. To be apart of the Savior's restored Church in these last days is one of the greatest blessings to me. I love my Savior. I love His teachings and gospel. He is the way, the only way and through His teachings and His church each of us are given the necessary tools (His Atonementthe gift of His Spirit, continued revelation, binding power and authority, and so forth) to follow Him on the path back home. As members of the Lord's Church in these last days we do not earn our way into Heaven, we learn the way of heaven. I testify that He lives and leads this Church and I've come to know of these truths by His Spirit. I love y'all soooooooo much-oooooooo!!!!! Remember, y'all are always in my prayers.
Lots of Love (From Your Favorite Sister Missionary),

Sister Megan Rice

With the gang! 


Sister H!

January 4, 2016 - John's Creek

Happy New Year!! I pray that y'all had a great time reviewing this past year and looking forward to the new one. :) Our New Year was pretty great! We visited a lot of people and had a lot of great moments/miracles. 
Do y'all remember the referrals that we received from a member in our Ward? The ones where we did the living Christmas Card and they took a picture of us? Well, we got back in with them and the member was with us - it was so great! :) The member was totally persistent and bold; talk about not being ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ! Well as we were teaching her she said that she would like to learn more and come to Church, but that she felt an obligation to her older Sister to stay in her Sister's Church. Towards the end of our lesson she and her husband softened and it was all because of our combined efforts; both member and missionary. With our testimonies, boldness, and persistence their hearts were softened and at the end they said that they would come to church sometime and that she would come with us to our service opportunities at the assisted living center. I have no doubt that their hearts will be continually softened.
On Saturday morning we had a really good lesson with J, one of our investigators. We taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ with an awesome member present who has a powerful testimony. We both felt prompted to invite her to pray about baptism and she did. This time she was totally ready for it! We showed her the baptismal fount and she started planning her baptism! Say whaaaa??! Haha She's not on date yet, because she has to talk to a few members from different Wards to see when they have time available to speak at her baptism haha, but besides that we are very excited for her! 
An update on V: We weren't able to visit her this week because she was busy with the holidays, but we'll see her again soon. She's still on date for January 30, so please continue to keep her in your prayers. There are so many good things to look forward to in the coming weeks! 
I've re-learned recently a principle that can be found in Preach My Gospel, "God’s whole purpose--His work and His glory--is to enable each of us to enjoy all His find peace in this life and a fulness of joy..."(pg.48). I've come to learn from my experiences that as humans we are creatures of habit, or in other words we creat patterns/cycles. What I've discovered about the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that it breaks those cycles that are harmful to us, a couple examples are addiction, or mistakes we make over and over again. 
Through Christ and His teachings, the gospel of Jesus Christ, we are literally given a second chance, a fresh start to break the harmful cycles and it all starts with faith in Jesus Christ which leads to change/repentance, which leads to a desire to make covenants/promises, which leads to the gift of the Spirit, which helps us endure and thus begins a new cycle in our lives. This is the way. Living the gospel of Jesus Christ is actively taking steps that lead us on the path of the Savior, the path that leads us home to our Heavenly Family. This life is a time for us to have joy; joy in our Savior, joy in our experiences and it's through the Savior and His Gospel that we do it. It's most definitely not always easy or joyful, but I've learned recently that every experience we have on this earth can be turned to good, even when we make a mistake. Our Heavenly Father and our Savior love us. That's why they gave us this opportunity to grow. They know us. Jesus Christ descended below it all so that He could perfectly understand all of our pain, sorrow, sin, heartache, you name it. He is our Savior and He wants us back home. Remember, y'all are always in my prayers. I love y'all soooo much-oooooooo!!!!! 
Lots of Love (From your Favorite Sister Missionary),

Sister Megan Rice

December 28, 2015 - John's Creek

It was soooo good to see y'all on Christmas! It's kind of crazy that I'll see y'all again soon and I can't wait! :) Though, like y'all have expressed I have a great work to do here; His work, and I'm super pumped to do it! Now's the time to finish strong! :) Sometimes the weeks and days just kind of blur together and well this week, just like the past few weeks have been doing exactly that; zooming past in a blur. Besides the wonderful highlight of Skype-ing with y'all on Christmas Day another highlight occurred yesterday when we visited a less-active member who has concerns about the Word of Wisdom. It had been a little while since we had met with him because we knew the Elders had been meeting with him every week and we didn't want to push him away with tons of visits. Well when we started talking with him he opened up a lot and by the end we invited/challenged him to fast. At first he was a little hesitant and then we said that we would fast with him and gave him a lot of encouragement. By the end he accepted the invitation and we promised him that the moment he fasted he would be given the strength to overcome any and all temptations that he has. He also said that he'll be coming to Church this Sunday, which will be great since we know he can come to Church now since it starts at 1:30 starting next Sunday. It will be great to see how everything goes on Sunday when we fast together and he comes to Church! 
Besides that awesome miracle, we've been getting rides from members and walking A LOT! Five week months are always hard because usually by the end we run out of miles....all I can say is this...the struggle is real haha. :) On the plus side we've been getting good work outs and have been having tender mercies with members and rides. :) One such tender mercy happened after we walked for an hour and a half (about 2.8 miles) haha. We were visiting a less-active part-member’s home and having a really good lesson with them when they discovered that we had walked there and didn't have a dinner that night haha. They immediately took us out to get food and then drove us home afterwards - talk about a tender mercy!
Oh! And I just remembered another cool tender mercy of the week! It was the night before Christmas Eve and we were eating dinner with the Stake President, his family, a couple members from the Ward, and a member's non-member wife. We knew that this particular member was going to be there and so we tailored our lesson around that fact. When Elder Holland was here he talked about leaving people with spiritual earthquakes when we teach. Well that night as we shared a message about the Savior and His gospel there was definitely a spiritual earthquake and by the end you could tell that everyone was touched by it. What was even cooler was that we could tell that we had gained the trust of the Stake President because he gave us two referrals without us even asking!
It just goes to show that when you put your trust in the Lord everything will work out and to me that's one of the greatest lessons I've learned on my mission; trust Him and everything will work out. All in all its been a pretty good week and I can't wait to see what happens this upcoming week. Remember that y'all are always in my prayers. I love y'all soooooo much-oooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!

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

December 21, 2015 - John's Creek

Soooo this week....I was bit by a dog lol...... When you come to Georgia, you discover that everyone and I mean everyone has a dog haha. Well, as Sister Missionaries you hear about stories where some poor Sister was bit by a dog and I'll admit I went through my mission thinking that maybe...just maybe I was going to make it without a scratch well that dream ended this week hahaha. We were on our way to a member's house and she warned us that their little shih-tzu likes to bite and about how they're worried about other people being around their dogs....well I just supposed that this dogs "biting" was similar to Brownie's when we arrived in their home the dogs came over to us and I put my hand down for the dogs to smell me and the next thing I knew the little shih-tzu lunged for my hand which I took back immediately and then it proceeded to literally bite my foot ridiculously hard! Thank goodness we were doing service and I was wearing my tennis shoes because it wasn't able to break skin, but it sure did bruise me up - I've never realized how hard a small dog could bite.....especially since it was Brownie's size!! Haha it's definitely an experience to remember!
We've been doing a lot of living Christmas cards this past week, where we sing (my companion and I chose to sing harmony for "Away in a Manger"), share Luke 2 (the Savior's birth), and leave a prayer with specific blessings in it. Well....we've received a lot of referrals from this which is really good until the referrals didn't go so well hahah. So we did the living Christmas card for a member which then gave us three referrals in their neighborhood! We were super excited! 
The first door we knocked on the Dad answered the door and wanted us to sing for his whole family, which was great, until we finished our song and they quickly rushed back into their house so that they wouldn't have to listen to our message anymore haha....strike one.  The second door we knocked on a lady opened the door and her dogs came barking and rushing outside, which is nothing new for us, but she was kind of flustered and was also worried about waking up her husband who was getting some sleep before after helping her get the dogs back inside she quickly shut the door....strike two haha. The third door we knocked on they immediately said they weren't interested and then proceeded to shut the door....strike three. Fortunately my companion and I have been out long enough that it didn't affect us too bad, but it was still kind of disappointing for us. 
At this point you may be asking yourself, "Why is Sister Rice sharing something so disappointing with us?" Well....that's because after three strikes we had a pretty epic miracle! And to top it off it was with one of the families that closed the door....can you guess which one?? Hold on to that guess because I'm about to reveal it to you. :) So, that night we got a call from the same member that had given us the referrals. She explained that the husband of the lady with the dogs wanted us to come back and at first we were like, "Oh no. He probably wants us to come back so he can sternly tell us to never come back because we woke him up...", but then the member said that they wanted us to come back because they wanted to hear our message....sayyyy whaaaatttttt?? Haha They even set up a time that we could come back so that they would both be home and available! When we knocked on the door the husband opened the door and shook both of our hands with both hands and then proceeded to place us in front of their Christmas tree and then take our picture with his wife...twice! Haha it all happened so quickly! We were like, "What just happened?" Hahaha. As we sang for them they both got a little tear-y eyed and when we finished they said that we could come back anytime! Score!! It was great!! Also, we found out that the wife's aunt is actually a member! Cool right?!

It just goes to show that miracles are almost always preceded by a trial of faith, after all that's how it's been since the beginning of time down to this day. The greatest miracle of all creation happened over 2,000 years ago with the Savior's birth, life, death, and resurrection and I'm so grateful for this Christmas season which reminds me of the miracle that is our Savior and of the knowledge that miracles happen every day. I love y'all sooooooo much-oooooooo!!!!!! Remember that y'all are alwaysin my prayers!!! 

With the members! 

Merry Christmas!