Monday, April 8, 2013

Sister Hudson week 6

I have SO much I want to share with you all! Didn't you all LOVE General Conference?! I thought it was incredible and I loved every talk! Also, the music was AMAZING!! My love for the Tabernacle Choir continues to grow and I still would love to be a part of that choir one day. The BYU choir was also incredible! I almost want to say that a couple of their songs were the best ones out of all of General Conference! Their voices blended so well and it was absolutely perfect! They all were spectacular!

This week has been so great for Sister Kurtz and I! We have seen the Gospel of Jesus Christ affect so many different people's lives. First off, I just want to add my testimony to those that were shared in General Conference. There are a lot of different churches here, but I have seen how The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is different from all other churches. Although we may have many of the same beliefs, the priesthood power has been restored to the earth and it was given to Joseph Smith. It has been passed down from him and we still have a living prophet on the Earth right now. I know that is Thomas S. Monson. I have seen what a blessing it is to have the Book of Mormon! I love the Book of Mormon and I am so grateful for it! The Book of Mormon and the Bible testify of each other and they both testify of Jesus Christ! I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of the world! God is our Heavenly Father. He knows and loves us perfectly. What a blessing it is to know that! 

We have been teaching a part-member for a few weeks now. Err...well, they are not married yet, but they have a child together, Haley. Joseph is a member and Whitney is not. Joseph has a son from a previous marriage, Brenden, but Brenden considers Whitney his mom. Anyway, Whitney wants to be baptized and she has had a testimony of the church for a long time. We have been trying to set a wedding date for them so that she can be baptized. Yesterday, we finally set a date! I am praying so hard that everything will work out. They are so great and they have so much love in their family! I know that when Joseph and Whitney get married their family will be so blessed!! We would love for them to be sealed in the temple and I believe they want that as well. 

We are teaching another part-member family as well. Actually, we are teaching several part-member families/relationships. This one is so great! Bobby and Geraldine have been married for over 50 years, but they have never attended an LDS church together. Bobby stopped attending church when they got married. Anyway, Geraldine is gaining a testimony of her own and she is so excited about the blessings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She is so sweet and we love her!

Okay, I'm sending some pictures from our zone activity on Monday last week! We went to the Natural Science Center in Greensboro and I took a lot of pictures! Also, I wanted Dad to see some of the landscaping here! I feel like everyone here puts so much effort into their lawn care and there are so many BEAUTIFUL yards! I am in awe of the beautiful homes and lawns all over North Carolina! I haven't been able to take pictures of some of my favorite ones, but I have a few of some pretty ones. I also LOVE the homes here! Some of the homes are over 100 years old!! The people here have mastered the beauty of brickwork, that is for sure! I never liked brick buildings before, but my mind has been changed! Anyway, I need to go, but I love you all!! 

Love, Sister Hudson

Sister Hudson week 5

This week went by so fast! Sister Kurtz and I have been keeping super busy and I believe our hard work is paying off. We accomplished almost all of our goals and we are striving to do even better this week. We have found a couple new investigators, but we still haven't been able to get our investigators to attend church, even when they committed to be there. We are working hard to help them see how important attending church is. 
There is one experience I want to share with you. There is a Sister in the ward here that has been inactive for awhile. Her husband and four kids are not members of the Church. She recently had lower back surgery and is struggling with her recovery. She wants to recover much sooner than normal, but that isn't happening. She is a very independent person and she hates having people take care of her. Anyway, I shared parts of my story about my car accident and about the things I struggled with. I feel like it really helped her because she changed her perspective. I am so grateful that I was able to give her words of comfort because I know how badly she needed them.
I know I keep bragging about how incredible the ward members are here, but I will do it again! I am continually amazed at how much they give to help the missionaries. When I get home, one of the first things I will do is contact the missionaries and ask them if I can go visit investigators with them! I have seen how important it is for members to give referrals and then to work with the missionaries to teach investigators. There are very few members here in Rockingham County, but there is so much support!
There are a couple ward members here that started a tradition in the county. They call it a Day of Service, but it lasts for about a month. This is an annual thing they started 3 years ago. They do a food drive and a blood drive and the entire county is invited to participate. Several businesses, neighborhoods, etc participate. Anyway, yesterday was the Kick-off to start the "Day of Service." There were several people there from other churches, there was a mayor, two people from the Salvation Army, etc, and then there were a few people from the ward. Oh and Sister Kurtz and I were there too. Anyway, it was so touching to hear one of the Mayor's get up and talk about how much he appreciated the efforts of everyone involved. He said that when he visited the Bishop Storehouse in Greensboro, he was astounded by how much the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gives to people. When he was talking to one of the workers there, the worker told him, "It doesn't matter what you believe. We are ALL children of God." I felt like it was a great opportunity for people in the community to see that the Church is not evil and the negative things that they may have read or heard about the Church are not true.
I want to encourage you to work a little harder to fellowship members of the ward that may be inactive or may need a friend. I have met way too many people that stopped attending church, but may still be if they felt more loved by the ward members. It is SO sad to be meet people that have been missing out on the blessings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for 10, 20, 30, and even 40+ years. They often forget what those blessings are and just get comfortable living the lives they live. Anyway, I know you all are busy, because everyone is, but please try a little harder to do that. :)  Haha, I'm telling you, I think the people here are happier because they have so many friends! Most people know all their neighbors and spend time with a lot of them.
Okay, I need to get going, but I love you all and I am so grateful for all the emails I received this week! I love to hear how your families are doing, so please keep me updated! 
I know that I am right where I need to be! I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true! I know that Jesus Christ truly did suffer for all of our sins along with our infirmities, pains, sorrow, etc. He understands everything that we go through. I know that He was resurrected and because of that, I know that we too will be resurrected. I know the Book of Mormon is true and I love it! I have been able to spend so much time studying it and I love it more every day! God is real, He loves us, He has a plan for us.
Okay everyone, have a wonderful day!
Love, Sister Hudson

Sister Hudson week 4

Hello hello everyone! I have had an incredible week, all over the state! We had a training meeting on Thursday, so Sister Kurtz and I drove down there on Wednesday night with the Summit sister missionaries and stayed in Concord, NC with the sister missionaries there. Then on our drive back, we did an exchange with the Summit Sisters. This means we traded companions for a day. I stayed in Greensboro (Summit area) with Sister Albertson, and Sister Kurtz when back to Eden with Sister Tanner. Greensboro is BEAUTIFUL! I loved the time I was able to spend there. We met so many good people! Sister Albertson and Sister Tanner actually opened the area, which means there were not sister missionaries there before, so they are trying to get to know all the ward members and the people in the neighborhoods. It was a great experience, but I think the greatest thing I learned was how amazing my companion is!!! My love for her has grown so much as I have seen how much she has taught me. Sister Albertson has only been out 5 weeks longer than me, so she is still learning too, but I feel like my trainer is probably the greatest trainer in the mission. I will definitely miss her when she goes home in 15 days. FIFTEEN DAYS! AAAHHH!! She is getting a little "trunky," but she is still doing such a great job!

Okay, I have a story for you. I've had a lot of great experiences this week, but I only have time for one story. Sorry! Anyway, this 20-year old guy called us on Thursday night. He didn't leave a message, but we called back since we missed the call. His mom and step-dad are in the ward here in Eden. When he was in high school, he was a great member of the church. He went to four years of EFY, graduated from seminary, baptized his step-dad, went on teams with the missionaries, etc. When he went to college, he said he decided to try out life away from the church. The funny thing is, all the friends he made were strong Christians and good people. He began attending other churches, went on a week-long service mission, studied The Bible like he never had before, etc. Well, he stopped reading The Book of Mormon and began telling people he was no longer a Mormon. Long story short, over the past few weeks, he has begun to question what he has been doing over the past few years, which is why he called us. We know his mom pretty well, so we know she's been a little concerned about him. She knows he is doing great things, but she knows that he can't find all the blessings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in these other churches. Anyway, we set up a time to meet with him on Saturday with his mom and step-dad. It was incredible!!! He just started talking and we just let him talk for about 40 minutes. He pretty much figured everything out on his own just by talking it out. We did talk to him and answer a lot of his questions afterwards, but really, I think he just needed to vocalize his thoughts before he could figure out what he needed to. We helped him realize that he definitely still has a strong testimony of the Gospel, he knows The Book of Mormon is the word of God, and he knows that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. We explained the Atonement of Jesus Christ to him and I think that was one of his biggest concerns about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He grew up believing that we thought that we were saved by works and not by grace. As he has studied these other religions, he no longer believes that. Some other churches believe that we are saved by grace alone, but he didn't believe that either. I believe he found a different church that believes we are saved by grace and works. We told him what our Church believes and helped him see that we ultimately are saved by grace, but that our works also play a part. I told him that I used to believe the same way he did (that the Church believes we are saved by works alone), but that I had come to find what our Church teaches; what the scriptures teach us. Do you remember when I gave my farewell talk in the Mitchell Ward? I said that I used to believe the Atonement was like me carrying a load of laundry from the dryer to the couch. The symbolism was that I would be saved if I could get the entire load to the couch in one try. I thought that the Savior, Jesus Christ, would just pick up the few pieces that I dropped. As I studied the scriptures and continued to learn about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I found that that was completely wrong! Jesus Christ paid the full price! He carried the full "load of laundry!" He just asks that we follow Him and His example in order to be saved. We must do the things He has instructed us to do through the Scriptures and through the Prophet. We must come to Him with a broken heart and a contrite spirit and allow Him to heal us from our sins. After sharing those thoughts, we compared the Atonement to the analogy of the mother paying for piano lessons for her child. She paid the full price for the lessons. She does not expect her child to pay her back in cash. She expects her child to practice and learn how to play the piano. That is how the child can attempt to "repay" the mother. Anyway, this 20-year old kid came to church yesterday and I feel like he is figuring out what he needs to do. He knows that the priesthood authority is back on the Earth and that it was given to Joseph Smith. I have high hopes for him, and I'm hoping he decides to serve a mission. We committed him to begin studying The Book of Mormon again to help him regain and strengthen his testimony. It was a wonderful experience!!! His mother was so grateful for the time we spent with him, but like we told her, he was pretty much teaching himself. As he talked to us, he realized what he knew was true.

Okay, I'm sorry I don't have time to write more! My zone is getting together to go to the Natural Science Center in Greensboro today. I love you all!! 

Love, Sister Hudson