Friday, November 22, 2013

Me and my companion, Sister Yeakley

My District: Elder Lee (CA), Elder Bowles (UT), Elder Wadsworth (NV), Elder Pace (UT), Elder Palmer (UT), Elder Kuamoo (HI) (Elders going to South Carolina)  Sister Murray, Sister Yeakley (ID), Sister DeSpain (AZ), Sister Hillman (UT)

Sister Murray, Sister DeSpain (Thatcher, AZ), Sister Yeakley (Eagle, ID) Sister Hillman (Orem, UT)

Missionary angels and sinking of SS MTC

Friday, November 22, 2013       12:42 PM

Thank you all ya'll (practicing my mission language) for the sweet letters, and for your prayers.  I have so much mail I can hardly keep up, but I love it!  It's even worth getting teased by the district for getting so much mail! ;)  

We had a lot of study time, and district and zone classes.  A sister in the zone told how she had been struggling and had received two priesthood blessings. She was wondering why she was having such a hard time when she was here to serve the Lord, and began to pray.  She felt that one of the reasons was so she could help the Elders by allowing them to use the priesthood to bless her, and she had told the Lord she would do whatever he asked.  I was really impressed by her faith and endurance.  A few days later this sister actually had to go home.  We will miss her, but are grateful she was able to be with us as long as she was.  I began wondering if I could have that kind of faith.  All of a sudden I realized that I too was having a hard time, though not as extreme as her.  I was feeling really homesick, especially when things slowed down at night.  

I decided to ask for a blessing. I was a little unsure since I thought the blessing with my setting apart told me I wouldn't be lonely for those I loved while I was away.  The more I thought about it though I realized that often Heavenly Father promises us blessings when we act.  So I acted.  It worked out in a perfect tender mercy that at breakfast all of the Elders except for the District Leader, Elder Wadswroth, went to put their trays away.  I was able to ask for a blessing and asked that he talk to the Elders to see who could use that opportunity to bless me.  Sunday was truly the best day!  We enjoyed a walk around the temple and afterwards came back for Sacrament meeting.  

Everyone in the district had been asked to prepare a talk on the Book of Mormon and two of us would be called on to speak.  The "veteran zone" said they would probably speak.  Surprise surprise when one of their sisters was called on, and the second speaker was me!  It was supposed to be 3-5 minutes. . . but my sisters told me mine went on about 10 minutes. . I felt the spirit when I was speaking and I hope the rest of the district did.  

After sacrament meeting I received a blessing.  Elder Kuamoo (Koo-ahm-O-O) did the anointing, and Elder Pace gave the blessing.  It was short and simple, but just what I needed.  He said I wouldn't be homesick, that my family would be alright, and to remember that I have people here who care about me.  It was beautiful.  I haven't been homesick since!  I still miss everyone I love, but it's not that aching lonely feeling!  I'm also grateful to have been an instrument in the hands of the Lord by allowing the Elders to use the priesthood.  I was wondering why my forehead was oily the rest of the night (apparently Elder Kuamoo's reaction when the oil came out too fast was priceless), but it was perfect!

The sisters got up early for aerobics which was so fun!  I felt like I was actually dancing at the MTC!  We went to meet with an investigator and had an amazing experience!  We actually met her husband in the hallway first and started talking to him casually.  We talked with both of them about prayer, and why children don't always choose the right when their parents pray for them.  It was a beautiful lesson.  I felt Heavenly Father's love so strong, and at the end when this man prayed and spoke to his Heavenly Father it was amazing!  I LOVE teaching about the gospel and helping others come unto Christ!!!

We actually slept in until 6:30!  In District class we were given an exercise to open the Book of Mormon to a random page and see how it answers one of the "questions of the soul." (Where are we from, who is God...)  Sister Hillman and I were working together and were used in the Lord's hands twice. On our way to the couches we were able to comfort a sister going to our mission who is really having a hard time.  When we got to the couch a man was sitting there looking at his phone.  We said hello and started the exercise.  Surprisingly, we were able to find scriptures that fit most of the time.  Then this man said, "I don't believe that works.  You're not using real questions."  Bolder than I thought I would ever be I asked if he had a question he wanted answered.  He explained that in his country some wanted to rebel and take over the government.  He supports them, but doesn't know if God will agree with his choice.  He said the Bible teaches that killing is a terrible sin and he is afraid some men will have to die.  He told us to close our books and open them.  Sister Hillman shared first, and honestly it didn't work.  I was praying, and then the scripture I was looking at fell into place.  It was 3 Nephi chapter 12.  I explained that Christ was teaching the "Be attitudes" as he did in the Bible, then read verse 10: "and blessed are all they who are persecuted for my name's sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."  We invited him to pray to know if the choice he was making was right.  If he felt it was what God wanted, the God would be pleased.  We talked about how we're taught it's better for wicked men to die than for righteous to dwell in captivity, but he need to pray to know if this was right.  He tried to get a more direct answer, but we stuck with it.  He shook our hands and told us he had some thinking to do.  I truly believe that we were lead in this missionary experience!  Who knew I would have such real experiences and such hard questions in the MTC?!

Sister Yeakely and I have continued to teach the couple we mentioned previously, Jose and Hely.  They have such sweet spirits, and it is so easy to talk to them.  Jose showed us a fortune from a fortune cookie he got that said, "There are angels among us, teasure their presence every day."  He said we are his angels.  One of my teachers had actually told us that in Hebrew angel means "messenger from God."  So in reality, we are!  I think that is amazing!  I also believe that all of you can be angels by that definition!  Don't be afraid to share your testimony!  I know that if you do you will not be alone!  The Lord will put words into your mouth as he promised time and time again.  I've seen this in my short life as a missionary, and I trust it will continue to happen.

We spent ten hours in an "In-field orientation."  Basically, we learned things we'll need next week (When I'm in FLORIDA!!!!!)  I learned a lot, and it was really fun!  There were some great demonstrations, and they even put on a play for us (which one of the guys who was on the District was in!!!)  It was long, but worth sitting all day!

Service again!  Which was the same as last week (sweep bathrooms and stairs) except we added cleaning glass doors and stair railings.   We went for a run, picked up a sack breakfast (since we can't go into the cafeteria in work-our clothes), and when we went back to our room we found a bunch of people sandbagging the hall in front of our room.  Ok, they were actually using sheets, but there was a huge puddle in the hall!  One of the shower pipes broke, and some of the water got in our room, but not far enough in to get to any of our things gratefully!  But we got to listen to carpet cleaners and fans all morning!  Hooray for floods!  And an even bigger hooray to the wonderful workers who are cleaning the carpet for us!

It's time for lunch, but know that you are all in my thoughts and prayers!  I am loving serving the Lord!  I don't think I've ever felt closer to the spirit. I receive revelation everyday and there are people who don't even know they have a Heavenly Father.  I am so excited to go to Florida to teach some of those people so they can choose to come back to our loving Heavenly Father!

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Best Accessory

Nov. 15, 2013   10:16 AM
Hello dear family and friends!  I miss you all so much!  It's hard being away from home and the people I love, but I know it's the right place for me at this time.  

Wednesday: After finishing last minute packing Mom and Dad drove me to the MTC in Provo.  After being set apart the night before I was feeling so excited!  Of course, being the worrier and home-body that I am I was still a bit nervous.  We made time for a few pictures on the field below the temple before pulling up to the MTC curb where I was met by a sweet sister going to Japan.  Her companion was there and it turns out she was good friends with one of my roommates from Rexburg! It was so good to see a familiar face!  I was led in and out of buildings (which all basically look the same! We still get them confused sometimes!!!   I also ran across an Elder who went to Sky View.  Elder Chertkow!  It was fun to see him here!)   picking up my name tag, books, and other items.  When a sweet sister put my name badge on my sweater she told me it would be the best accessory I would wear while I serve as a missionary.  I love knowing that I represent Christ, and that His name is with mine on my tag for the world to see. 

Then it was time to meet my district.  After a short hello I got to watch an orientation on one of the computers.  Knowing my luck with technology I should have guessed my computer would stall, but the third one I tried worked!  My district is made of four sisters going to Jacksonville, Florida, and six Elders going to Columbia, South Carolina.  My companion is Sister Yeakley!   She is amazing!  Her name is pronounced just like you were saying "Yea!"  She's one of the "youngsters" at age 19.  She is from Eagle, Idaho but is originally from Haiti.  Her story is so neat!  She was adopted when she was about 8 to a family with 22 kids!!!  Half of them are adopted from various countries!  She is just adorable!  She's very bubbly, LOVES to exercise, she loves the color pink (a LOT), and she has gorgeous hair (you wouldn't believe how many sisters ask if they can play with it).  I'll try to get a picture of us to you.  The other sisters in our district are Sister Hillman, from Orem (the one I met on facebook and was able to meet in person last month) and Sister Despain from Thatcher, Arizona. We have too much fun together!  I love these sisters, and I love that we get to call each other sisters!

That night we had chicken cord on blue (your favorite Janese!) and they have BYU ice cream in honor of the new missionaries.  And yes, the newbies still get beautiful orange dots on their name tags so everyone is super super friendly!  That evening we sat in a room and were told basics about an investigator.  Then this person came in and two Elders began to talk to him or her.  After a couple minutes it was turned over the  group of new missionaries.  I was able to make a few comments, and guess what!  I found out that while it's a bit scary, and my words still get all mumbled up sometimes I love teaching!  I love sharing my testimony of Christ, and of Heavenly Father's love for his children.  

Thursday:  It was a busy day, which is good.  It keeps my mind focused instead of letting me think about the people I miss.  I love the story from President Hinckley when his dad told him to "forget himself and go to work."  That's what I've been trying to do, and I've found that when I'm busy I'm happy.  The day was busy with introductions to teaching.  We did an exercise where we were shown clips of people talking about their lives.  We discussed with our companion what we learned about the person's life and what we thought the Lord sees and feels when he looks at this person.  What I am learning the most is how to see people as Heavenly Father does, how to recognize where they can be and what they need to hear.  I know that Heavenly Father knows each of his children and what they need as an individual.  If we trust him and follow the spirit we will know what to teach.  

In my district class my teacher pointed out that when Christ told the apostles to follow him he said, "I will make you fishers of men."  We can just become fishers, He makes us such.  I remember fishing early one morning in July with Dad in Tony Grove.  He told me that I was going to be fishing next year, just a different kind.  It is true!  In the same class we were divided to role play.  Somehow it worked out that the other three sisters got to be together to role play in the hall, and I was left with the Elders... that was a little strange.  But it was a really good experience to practice teaching, and to see what it's like to be taught.  We were told that role playing isn't really practicing to teach, it's practicing to feel the spirit and find what our investigators need to hear. 

That evening we met our Branch presidency.  We are with one other district (4 Elders and 4 Sisters all going to Jacksonville).  I love the presidency!  President Boone was born in Jacksonville!  He told us it's the biggest city in the US geographically and where the first stake in the South was made.  The opening hymn was How Firm a Foundation.  President Boone asked who could play piano.  Only one Elder and I raised our hands.  President asked if I could play that one and I told him it was my favorite hymn.  I was so grateful to have the chance to play my favorite hymn.  I needed a tender mercy like that!  Of course, then I realized that all of they hymn books on the piano were in languages other than English and I couldn't find the music.  Gratefully one of the Elders gave his book up for me!  (Speaking of which the Elders have all been told to be super nice to the Sisters and it shows.)  The counselors each took a district to meet with us one at a time.  After discussing some upcoming schedules and plans some of us were asked to fill special roles such as District Leader.  I've been asked to be the music coordinator for my district.  I'm so grateful for this calling!  It will be good to keep extra busy, and I love choosing music to invite the spirit.  Basically the other district music co and I will choose hymns for next Sunday's meeting and we need to choose a farewell hymn for our district to sing before we fly out.  I also get to decide to sing a hymn in class if we need to wake up a bit!

Friday:  Happy first P-day!  We did a service project at 6:05 this morning, which consisted of cleaning one of the buildings on campus.  I enjoyed the work, and was glad the Elders get to clean toilets (my toilet cleaning loving days are past.  Clean away Janese! ;)  )  Sister Yeakley and I tackled sweeping bathrooms and stairs, and then cleaning the teacher's prep room. Now I need to go finish laundry!

I love you all!  And miss you so much!  I am happy to be learning and growing!  Thank you for your prayers, I feel the power from them!  

With Love,

Sister Alyson Murray

Provo MTC

 11-13-13          1:00pm
I am really here. One of the host sisters was someone I know. She is a friend of one of my BYUI room mates. It was good to see a familiar face in a new place.

Set Apart-Now I'm official!

 Tuesday, 11/12/13   5:30 pm
Family gathered at our home as President Lynne Pettit, set me apart to be an official missionary.  It was a powerful, specific blessing-a spiritual feast.  Now I am ready to serve!

Other men in the circle: Glen Huber, Jeff Murray, Cory Wood, Dad, Jarin Murray, Alex Torgesen, Ron Adair, Tate Tullis

Great family support!