Sister Denton's Marvelous Mission: January 2011

Monday, January 31, 2011

1/31/11- Letter to the World

Shalom world!! new companion is Sister Johnson.  If you look at past pictures of me with a bunch of sister missionaries, she's the red-head.  I'm the tall one now!  Holla!

Funny story for the week--

I was doing a load of laundry and noticed that my dryer sheets were gone.  I made mention that maybe Sister Longmore took them with her.  So I did the whole load and then as I was moving them up to the dryer, I found a dryer sheet in the wash and thought, "Well, I have at least one!"  Then I found more and more and then small pieces of wet cardboard and then a ruined box with more dryer sheets in it haha.  So...ya I found my dryer sheets.

Through searching my past e-mails, I realized I never shared the following story...

One night I was vacuuming and vacuumed up the strap to my laundry bag.  I turned off the vacuum, pulled it out, and the vacuum wouldn't suck anymore (the hose still worked).  The next morning, Sister Longmore all of a sudden heard the vacuum on in the bathroom, which caused some consternation.  She went in and saw me with the hose in the dryer.  So....I had put my laundry in the night before and went to move it up  to the dryer the next morning.  The thing is, I apparently never started it, so the dry soap went everywhere, including into the dryer.  I didn't know how else to get it out without vacuuming it!  So I did lol.  Then, just a couple of hours later, Sis. Longmore was saying her closing prayer for personal study when she heard me fill a glass of water, set it down, spill it all over the table, and hurridly scoop up everything on the table.  All within 24 hours.  Ya. 

Miracle story for the week--

One morning I was walking around and realized my CTR ring wasn't on.  I was quite distraught because it's one from Kyle that I really love.  I never take it off for anything because it's really not that loose and I don't worry about it falling off.  I had taken a shower and washed my hands already that morning and was pretty much convinced that it had gone down the drain.  I went to say a prayer out by my desk, but my comp was in there, so I went in the bedroom and knelt at my bed.  I basically said, "Heavenly Father--you know where my ring is and you know how much it means to me.  Please, if it be Thy will, help me to find it."  Not two seconds later I had the thought to look in my bed, despite the fact that in the 3 or so years I've had it, it's never fallen off at night.  I pulled back the comforter and it was sitting there right in the middle of my bed.  I didn't even have to get off my knees, so I was able to say a prayer of thanks right away.  Heavenly Father really does know us and care about us! I've been able to use the story a couple of times in teaching!

Important People--we have a ton.  I started calling this "Miracle Week" like Shark Week because good things just kept happening!  Many of them were on my dad's birthday, so happy birthday dad!

Well, Sutton was back in town this week, but we sure wouldn't know it.  We've called him like 4 times to no avail.  The friends he's made in the ward got in contact with him enough to hear him say he'd be at church on Sunday, but he wasn't there.  Pray for him!  I think we're going to call the woman who referred him and see what's up.

Bryce and Leah
We found these two tracting.  Sister Longmore and I knocked and he was barely awake (he does shift work), but took a Book of Mormon.  We stopped by a couple of weeks later, having almost forgotten him, and his wife answered.  He was gone, but she said he'd been reading and that she was going to look into it too!  We set up an appointment and Sister Johnson and I met with them this week.  They are awesome!  They agreed to continue reading and praying and I did my first baptismal invite.  Holla!  So, we meet with them again tomorrow.  They didn't come to church, but they didn't really say they would, either.  Pray for them!

Natasha was a referral.  We receive referrals in text messages.  The best texts you could ever receive!  So, she wanted a bible.  We asked if she wanted a Book of Mormon, too, and she said, "Well, I'm Christian."  We explained what it was and she agreed to take it.  Sister Johnson and I stopped by to follow up and she answered the door with a cigarette and I just remember thinking, "Oh no."  So she let us right in and when I asked if she'd been reading, expecting the, "Oh, I haven't had time." that we normally get, she said yes!  Since she'd read the bible, she decided to start with the Book of Mormon!  She was in like chapter 4!  She'd highlighted things and written questions on post-it notes!  Her questions showed that she was REALLY reading!  We have an appointment with her on Tuesday!  SUPER exciting!

Fred This is just a cool guy we tracted into.  He was visiting and actually lives in the other sister's area, but as we were teaching, he said he didn't think there was a true church.  We talked a little about Joseph Smith and then he said that he doesn't really believe there's a hell, but that everyone should go to heaven because we're all God's children.  I pulled out a Plan of Salvation pamphlet and he said, "Maybe I was a Mormon and didn't even know it!"  haha  So we got to give a referral which was AWESOME.

Delsa She was a referral we got while tracting.  We have an appointment with her on Tuesday. 

We found him tracting.  He has a Book of Mormon and is open to learning more :D

So basically, there are a lot of cool people in our lives right now!  Keep praying for Mandy.  She really needs those prayers.  She hasn't been to church since she was confirmed.

Also, pray for Juan, for my brother :D

Well, it's time to go!

I love you all and will talk to you again next week!

Sister Denton

Friday, January 28, 2011

1/24/11- Letter to the World

Hello World!!

So....drumroll please......Sister Longmore is
getting transferred.  We don't know where to and we don't know who's
coming, but that's the news for now!!

Now for the week

Mandy is back in town!  We got to teach her about temples!  I love her!

ThursdayWe went and saw this less-active family that I LOVE--the Crofts.  They were
SUPER active until like 6 years ago, and then completely stepped out of
all church activity.  We've been teaching them every week or so, but to
no avail.  Sister Longmore has been really praying about them and felt
impressed that they need to read the Book of Mormon, so we started
reading it with them.  At this meeting, we mentioned to Brooke (the 16
year old) that there was another awesome girl her age that didn't come
to church, but that we wanted them to meet.  As I was describing her,
she realized she knew her!  They were friends at school and neither knew
the other was LDS!  I was like, "Well you need to get her to church!"
and then we said the same things to the other girl--Brooke Payne. 
Anyway...see Saturday for awesomeness.

FridayWe got to have dinner with Jessica Brotherson.  This
woman is amazing.  She's a single mom and has really decided this year
to make it a point to go to church--all three hours.  Her kids are SO
awesome, too.  I love going over there!

SaturdayWe got to teach Mandy again!  We started reading
the Book of Mormon with her, too.  She's already in Alma and reading
along like crazy.  She really understands it!  We got to read with her
about Ammon and Abish.  Awesome stories!  That evening, before dinner,
we were doing a "round-up," where we call everyone we've been working
with and invite them to church.  We called the Crofts and she said
she'd talk to her husband.  Then she called back and left a message and
said that Brooke wanted to talk to us.  Then Brooke got on and said,
"I talked with Brooke at school and we decided that we're coming to
that young women thing on Wednesday."  WHAT?!?!!  That's AWESOME!!!!!!  I
guess they decided while talking that they really weren't Mormon
material, but that if they went together, they wouldn't be scared to
go.  So they're coming!!!!!  I'm SO excited!!!!

 The Paynes came to church again!  And this time
Brooke came too (she had to work last week).  Last week only Marie
stayed for classes (she's 8), but this time we got Alison and Brooke
to stay, too.  Sister Payne snuck out, but we'll work on that lol. 
Marie went to Activity Days last week and LOVED it.  There is this
AMAZING little 8 yr old named Ashley.  When I told Ashley that Marie was
coming to church for the first time and asked if she could take her to
class, she said, "Sure!!"  With a huge smile and they've been friends
ever since!  In fact, we were starting to get worried that the Paynes
weren't coming and Ashley was really sad.  She asked for their address so
she could write Marie a letter.  When I showed Ashley that Marie had
come after sacrament meeting, Ashley yelled her name in excitement and gave
her a big hug!  What a little missionary!!

We went to dinner at the Paynes and I gave Marie a Faith in God
book.  She said, "I still don't have one of those other books!!"  I was
like, "The Book of Mormon?"  And she was like, "ya!!"  haha.  So I
pulled a BoM out of my bag and now she's asking us for a bible.  I'll
have to bring that next week.  So cute.  I hope Marie is the one that
gets her family back.

There's this other cute little 8 yr old missionary girl in our ward
name Brandy.  She has a "boyfriend" at school and a couple of weeks ago,
she was talking to her parents and was like, "I guess if we're going to
get married in the temple, he has to be Mormon.  *sigh* Dad, I guess
I'll need that Book of Mormon out of your truck."  How cute is that?! 
Oh my word, it's precious!

Love ya!

Sister Denton

Monday, January 17, 2011

1/17/11- Letter to the World

Snowy Pennsylvania's 2011.  Did everyone know that?  Just checking.  Time is FLYING!!  I'm going to hit my 6 month mark during this next transfer!  That's 1/3 of my mission!  Holy tamole!  That'll mean only 1 year left.  Crazy.  My bet is that I stay here and Sister Longmore gets transferred.  That's her bet too.  We're just not sure whether Sister Chamberlain or Sister Cahoon will come here.  Sister Cahoon is apparently a lot like me, so I hope I get a chance to serve with her at some point.  I think it'd be TONS of fun!  Next Monday I'll know whether or not either of us is getting tranferred, but ya'll won't know until the NEXT week who the new comps are.

So, the best news of the week is that we have a new investigator!  He is absolutely incredible.  His friend, Stephanie, got ahold of us to give us his information.  She and Sam (our investigator) served in the Air Force together.  She joined the church in 2004 or so and about a year and a half ago, Sam met up with her again and saw what the church had done to her.  He said that she was a good person before, but it turned her into a great person.  He said he's not necessarily lacking in his church, but that that doesn't mean that he doesn't think there might be something better.  Sister Easton came with us to the first lesson and was AWESOME.  At the end of the lesson, she invited him over to dinner with her and her husband!  So that Saturday we went over after dinner and had another lesson.  Sister and Brother Easton testified like crazy and the Spirit was awesome.  The church is so true.  I love it!  He went out of town this morning for a week and a half, so once he gets back, we'll teach him and he'll come to church!  Yay!  Sam is awesome.
We also had a less active family that we've been trying to see come to church!  The non-member boyfriend wanted his kids to participate in community events and we told him about Young Mens/Young Womens and church, so the mom and three of the kids came!  The 8-year-old wanted to stay for all three, so the mom came back and picked her up later. :D  Now we just need to get her to stay and bring her boy friend! 
Today for P-Day, a couple in the ward took all of the Lancaster missionaries to the Mennonite Information Center where they have a lifesize replica of the tabernacle that Moses had in the bible.  The guide gave a 30 minute tour and talked a LOT about it.  It is SO similar to our temples today!  It's amazing.  I kept smiling as he talked about things that we do today and things they didn't understand.  For instance, the Priest wore this thing with a pocket, and inside the pocket was the Urrim and Thummim!  What was that!?!  Ya!  The Urrim and Thummim!  It's in the Bible!  And the guide said they don't make a replica of them because we don't know what they look like.  Au Contraire!  I little study of Joseph Smith's history will tell otherwise!!!  And he said they didn't know what the Urrim and Thummim was used for except that it helped the Priests make decisions. 
Here are some more things they told us at the Information Center:
In the courtyard, people placed their hands on the animals as they confessed their sins and the animal was then killed in place of (or for and in behalf of) the person.  Proxy ordinances.  Hmmmm.  Never heard of those before, right?!  There was a wash basin right outside the tabernacle.  Before a priest performed his first duty, he had to cleanse himself completely from the wash basin so he was clean.  Thereafter, the priests just washed their hands and feet.  In the courtyard of the temple (different than tabernacle), there was a large basin on the back of 12 oxen.  Hmmmm....
Only the Priests could go in the temple.  They wore a white linen garment, robes, the thing that holds the Urrim and Thummim, a sash, a hat, and some other stuff.  There was a veil dividing the holy place from the holy of holies which was rent in twain at Christ's crusifixion.  The incense offered showed the prayers being offered up to God.  On the movie Between Heaven and Earth (phenomenal movie), a Temple President mentions that today we still offer those prayers in temples. 
Even the placement of the tabernacle was similar to today.  It was the center, and the tents were aligned on all four sides going out---just like Salt Lake is set up today!
Apparently I need to read the Temple and the Cosmos by Hugh Nibley when I get home.  Bro. Wilson said it's a great read and he teaches a lot more of what the symbolism in our temples today it.  Apparently I need to read the entire Faith and Teachings section at Deseret Book when I get home!  lol.  I'm so hungry for knowledge!
Well, I guess that's all for today folks!
Have a fabulous week!
Sister Denton

Monday, January 10, 2011

1/10/11-- Letter to the Word/Talk

A cool talk we got at District Training

Being Purified
Helaman 3:35

(A letter written by a Stake President to his children in the mission field)

One day, a member informed us that he had an investigator that was ready to be taught and he volunteered to attend the first discussion.  The discussion went along as usual.  At the conclusion, my companion and I bore witness of Joseph Smith and then turned to our friend.  He paused for a moment, looked at the young lady and said, "I know that Joseph Smith was and is a Prophet of God."  The room filled with an extraterrestrial force.  The investigator started to cry.

As we walked home, I was baffled.  That man said the exact same words that we had said but the result was dramatically different.  When he spoke, he had an influence that we did not have.  There was no question that the influence was the Holy Ghost, but this man seemed to have it in a different way.  There was still something to be learned.  I had to find out what the secret was, so I returned to the scriptures.  It seemed like we were so close to being effective and yet we just could not make it happen.

A Challenge to Purify
After several weeks of searching and praying, we attended a meeting and heard a well-known church leader.  He spoke about the scriptures as a source of strength and about the process of spiritual influence.  His words caused a burning in my soul.  When he finished his address, I intentionally lingered behind.  When I was finally alone with this man, I asked him for a few moments of his time.  I explained my desire to be effective.  I told him about the lesson I had learned.  I told, him that something was still missing.  Finally, I asked him if he could tell me what it was.

He looked into my eyes and said nothing.  Nearly a minute went by and I began to feel very uncomfortable.  Finally he spoke.  He said, "Elder, when these pretty young ladies pass you on the street, what do you think about?  Before I could answer, he asked, "Do you ever speak sarcastically to your junior companion?"  "Do you get up at 6:30 AM every morning?"  "Do you keep every mission rule?"

His list of questions grew longer.  Finally he said, "These are things that keep the Holy Ghost from being your companion.

The Process of Purification
We went home determined to make the concept work.  We began to fast and we began to make a list.  It proved much harder than we assumed it would be.  I would pray and then I would feel impressed to write down some item.  Then arguing that there was nothing wrong with the particular thing, I would fight the impression.  For example, I felt impressed to put golf on the list.  My response was, "There is nothing wrong with golf.  We only play on preparation day. I ignored the fact that on the other six days my mind continually dwelled upon how to play better.  I wrestled with the Spirit and then finally wrote golf on the list.  It is interesting that from the moment I wrote it on the list, I experienced the most intense desire to play golf.  Everywhere I turned there was some reminder, some temptation to break this commitment.  So it was with each item on the list.  Each day I had to fight all my natural inclination and turn to the Lord for the help necessary to overcome myself.  Sometime between the 30th and 40th day, I suddenly realized that my desire for the things on the list had disappeared.  It was as if a great anchor had been cut from me.

The Process of Surrender
The last morning my companion and I knelt in prayer and then started out the door.  I was impressed to go back and again pray.  With unusual confidence I addressed the Lord, "Father, these are thy children.  We are now doing everything within our power to live the gospel.  We turn the burden over to thee.  Please carry us the rest of the way."

The Gifts of the Spirit
We went to our first appointment.  Halfway through the discussion, our investigator began to make an excuse that he could not be baptized because he did not believe that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God.  I interrupted him, "That is untrue.  You do know that Joseph Smith is a prophet.  Your real fear is that your mother will disapprove if you join the church.  In the name of Jesus Christ, I promise you that your entire family will embrace the Gospel because of your courageous example.  The Lord wants you to be baptized now and it is necessary that you comply."  I never before had done anything like that.  In fact, I knew nothing about his mother.  He hardly mentioned her.  while I could hardly believe what I had said, a familiar spirit filled the room.  This brother began to weep.  He committed to be baptized the following Saturday.

The experience repeated itself at our very next meeting.  With each investigator, there was a celestial manifestation and every one of them was committed to baptism.  In an eight-week period, sixteen people were baptized.  It was an unusual number for our mission.  While the number of baptisms was larger, the truly impressive things was the change in my companion and myself.  We were different people.  Our most basic desires and motives had been altered.  Credit and recognition were no longer of any consequence.  For the first time in our lives, the things of God were more important than the "things of this world and the honors of men."

Our sensitivity deepened.  We noticed how often we would cry.  Several times a day we would be brought to tears by a prayer, a talk, a discussion, a scripture or almost anything would deeply touch us.  Our concern was continually focused upon others.  For the first time, we would understand Nephi's claim, "For, I pray continually for them by day, and mine eyes water my pillow by night" because of them.  We could understand the statement because for the first time we could understand Nephi's motives.

So we were challenged to do a 40-Day fast.  To begin with a regular fast and pray to know what things are impeding us from feeling the Holy Ghost all the time.  Then each morning we pray and ask for help and each night we report on our progress.  I'd challenge anyone who wants an increase in the Spirit to try it :D

So, after writing that talk out I only have 3 minutes left :D

This week we got 3 awesome potential investigators, each of which we have lessons with this coming week.  Hopefully they'll be investigators that I can actually talk about next week!

This week we had interviews and District Training.  Our Mission President is such an amazing and inspired man.  He truly loves us and prays for us always.  The District Training was great.  It focused a lot on that talk and on purifying ourselves.  We were also challenged to read the BoM again by Feb 18.  Bring it on!  I love the Book of Mormon!

I guess that's it for the week :D  It's been freezing and snowing, so it's beautiful!

Love ya!

Sister Denton

Thursday, January 6, 2011

1/3/11- Letter to the World

How are you world?  You can answer that question by sending a letter addressed to Sister Denton to 2589 Washington Blvd Ste 410, Pittsburgh, PA 15241. 
So today I got to go to Hershey World!  AWESOME! 
There's a poem if you make it all the way to the end ;D

Monday we went to pick up a new sister, thus ending our tripanionship.  Sister Green is from Dallas, OR (Woot!!).  She is waiting for her visa to Brazil and is in Litiz w/ Sister Gibson.  Sister Longmore and I are still together. 
Tuesday we got to WALK!!!!!  We were in a car TONS the week before because we were covering two areas--like 60-100 miles/day.  Walking to find some less-actives was awesome.  That evening we had dinner with one of my favorite families--the Hansens--and then had a lesson with a less-active who I love to pieces.  She is an absolute sweetheart and has decided that despite offense that members may have given, she and her kids are going to make church--all three hours of it--a priority this year.  She shared a beautiful testimony of the Priesthood and other blessings of the church.  The Spirit was definitely there.  She is an amazing daughter of God.
Wednesday was district meeting and the Spirit there was awesome.  By the time interviews and all of the pleasantries were over, we only had like 20 minutes, but that 20 minutes was spiritually intense as we talked about goal setting and planning.   We had a bunch more less-actives taken care of that day and had dinner with another family that I love!  We also met with another less-active we've been trying to get ahold of for a long time and she was AWESOME and we got a return appointment!
Thursday was referral contacting day.  Ryan, a kid who used to live here who is now on a mission in Brazil sent us 5 referrals.  We contacted four and they were ALL home!!!  Three of them agreed to have us come back and teach!!  Unfortunately, one of those three returned the Book of Mormon we gave her to Ryan's bro with a note saying it made her uncomfortable to have it, so I don't think we're going back there.  One of those other two, I'm VERY excited about!  Ryan had warned us that her family is very religious and used to hate him, so we were kind of scared.  When we got there, Kara's parents were gone and she was VERY receptive!!  She said Ryan had given her a Book of Mormon to borrow in 6th grade, but she'd never had her own.  Her family had gone to the same church for years and it grew big enough that it needed to split in two.  Her dad didn't like that idea, so two years ago, they started going to a Mennonite church, even though they aren't Mennonite.  I think Kara is very promising.  We may only get to see her once before she returns to school, but hopefully those missionaries can keep teaching her and she will be brought into the church! 
Friday we visited Ashley, a less-active we love to pieces (she came to Hershey with us today) and taught the 10 commandments.  Then we went to dinner with the former Relief Society President and afterward had a great session of information gleaning as she talked to us about many of the less-actives in the ward.  Then off to bed by 10:30...Happy New Year's lol.
Saturday we figured most people would be hung over, so we worked on our area book some in the morning.  Then it was off to some less-actives for dinner, and then another lesson.
Sunday was AMAZING!!!!  Testimony meeting was phenomenal.  We got to go to the regular Sunday School class and it was incredibly edifying. Relief Society was combined and our Bishop gave a WONDERFUL talk on reverence.  All in all, it was a GREAT Sabbath day.  The Spirit was so strong all through church.  Also, the bishop had been really busy that week and had a couple of less-actives at church that we hadn't met yet!  We'll be meeting with them this week (hopefully) and one has a non-member fiancee who has some questions!  Woot!  So we'll hopefully get to teach him!  That night we had dinner with a part-member family  and then a less-active lesson followed by a little more work on the area book.
We called the Miller family this week to see if we could still teach them, but they had gone to his brother's church the week after ours and loved it, so they are no longer interested.  It's REALLY sad because they had amazing potential.  I remember thinking about them and really feeling that they were going to be something great.  Unfortunately, because of the agency of a few members, they had a poor first experience at church and dropped us.  It's REALLY sad.
On a happier note--I got to go to Hershey World today!  Sis. Rothstein took us and Ashley and her 3-year old came, too!  It was SO fun!

On a spiritual note, I had a really cool experience reading Alma 17 the other day.
First of all, it reminded me of my brothers and I in vs 13.
"And it came to pass when they had arrived in the borders of the land of the Lamanites, that they separated themselves and departed one from another, trusting in the Lord that they should meet again at the close of their harvest; for they supposed that great was the work which they had undertaken."
We are in many different lands, but we know we'll meet again. :D  And how will that meeting be?  See verses 2 and 3!
"...therefore Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren; and what added more to his joy, they were still his brethren in the Lord; yea, and they had waxed strong in the knoweldge of the truth; for they were men of a sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God.
"But this is not all; they had given themselves to much prayer, and fasting; therefore they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and when they taught, they taught with power and authority of God."
Isn't that awesome?!?  Then, as it goes on with the story of Ammon, I realized that sometimes our flocks our scattered in a sense.  This analogy of our flocks being scattered continued through the whole chapter and I thought it would make a cool book.  Since I didn't have time for that, I decided to write a enjoy :D
While reading the scripture, it sometimes is hard
to feel like they even apply.
The characters in them lived so long ago
they've already lived, loved, and died.
But Nephi has told us to liken these things
to see how they'll help us today.
He promises blessings of learning and growth
if we really apply what they say.
So Ammon, we know, was a man of great strength
known for his work with the sword
when people came at him, attempting to kill,
their arms fell off, stiff as a board.
But take a step deeper, and then we can see
that Ammon was guarding the sheep
when they were scattered, the other guys said
we're all gonna die, let us weep.
But Ammon knew he had the power of God
and immediately got to work
he said, "Be of good cheer, we can do something here!
Let's gather the sheep, do not shirk."
Now we don't have sheep, but we have other things
of which we are in control.
And sometimes those things start to fall all apart
and we want to cry out in our soul.
But liken the scriptures and then you will find
that there is something that you can do:
Rely on your God and be of good cheer
then get up--it's all up to you!
When we have questions, we bring them to God,
but often the answers we seek
are already there in the scriptures we read.
Try it!  Go take a peek! 
There's my novel for the week :D
Love ya'll!!
Sister Denton