Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Week of June 19th

I literally have no words for how much my mission has meant to me. 
And the appreciation I have for all of y'alls love, support and prayers these last 18 months of heaven. It's absolutely been the hardest thing but also I've felt such  great joy. This week was super stressful to be honest hah, but the cherry on top of my mission was that Gavin got baptized :) we also last minute decided to do a musical number for it with literally one day to practice. Yah so cool story, we decided like on Tuesday we wanted to do the number, I mean I've already done 5 other ones so why not right? Well we had zone conference Wednesday so the plan was to practice after that. Sis Burt goes to play her guitar and one of the strings broke! Ah, luckily we had to go up to Irmo the next day to pick up our car and there was a guitar place for her to get strings, but then we only got to practice on Friday. But it was so worth and and the Spirit was way strong. Gavin is just so neat because he wants to go on a mission and just reminds me so much of me 3 years ago. It truly all feels like a dream but I'm just thankful for the path Heavenly Father has shown me and the support He's constantly extended that I may stay on it. 
K so we were out trying to find and I felt so bad because I really really had to pee. And I felt bad because we'd have to walk and take time out of our already super limited finding time, BUT as we were walking to this little CVS we saw this family out on their porch and their house was kinda just glowing. So we decided to stop by on the way back. That's when we met Andrea and she wants us to come back. It just opened my eyes to trusting God in a greater way. There are so many times I get frustrated when things don't go how I want, and especially if I feel like it's my fault, but it just all works out.
I've definitely felt the lord preparing me to come home which has been such a tender mercy. We just need to trust in what the Lord has planned for us. I LOVE SOUTH CAROLINA WITH MY WHOLE HEART AND SOUL. And I wouldn't trade a single one of my "ups and downs" here for the world.
I was able to meet my BFF SARAH VORKINKS family this week and I just absolutely adore them all. And then we had dinner with bishop and his family and I just feel like there's just been such a focus on families and I've just had such great examples. And I just won't even talk about how excited I am to see my family and how much I just love their guts :) 
I'm thankful for the different experiences and opportunities we are given to draw nearer to God. I'm thankful for His Son who enables us to be forgiven and know how to be better, for His life that stands as such a strong example of how to love and serve others. And for the Holy Ghost who has been my guide. Who has helped me to learn and the many many promptings that have lead me to the people I needed and the scriptures that have brought me peace and strength. I couldn't be more thankful to be a part of His church. And for the way He has helped my testimony to grow. I know the book of Mormon is the word of God and that Joseph Smith was a prophet. I'm gratifying for the guidance and love I feel when I listen to the words of the prophet. I just love everything okay. And I love you all so dearly and will be seeing you soon
OH ps my homecoming talk will be this upcoming Sunday, June 25th

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Week of June 12th

What on earth this week was just so great, like idk why God is just so good. We'll actually it's because He's our Father in Heaven and just loves us so much. I gave a talk in church yesterday about Alma the younger conversion story and the role his dad played in helping him to know Christ. It was through his example and word, that in the time of need he was able to begin to know God and the blessing of His Son. My talk helped me to reflect a ton on the role my dad has played in helping me to know God. I'm not really sure why I was so blessed to have the family that I do, but I'm thankful God knows how much I need them. I was just so grateful for the opportunity to bear my testimony over the pulpet here in SC for the last time. To say this all doesn't feel real is any understatement. But I'm just taking it day by day :)
So we had 5 of our investigators comes to church yesterday it was just so neat to see all their faces out in the congregation. Gavin is so excited for his baptism this weekend and is killing me with his conversion everyday. He really is such a gem and I'm thankful to help bring him the restored gospel. We also have the cute little mom we've been working with and getting her to come back to church. She finally got her daughters back last week and they all want to be baptized :) I'm not even upset I won't be here for it (okay maybe a little) but I'm just so excited for them. I've just learned so much about how this is all so not about me. Like God blesses us a ton and the knowledge and spiritual experiences and relationships I've made I get to take with me, but I just love to see how much people have grown and the influence Christ and his church has had on these people's lives. I'm so so thankful to have come here, like words cannot even describe it you guys. 
Well Tuesday was my last missionary leadership meeting, as well as President and Sister Turners. We got to Skype the new mission president, it was really emotional. He mentioned that he is going to miss seeing me and sister Maxfield(she came out with me) but that he was grateful for our service. And it just hit me like a ton of bricks. Ah I just love this place and the people. 
But also I can't wait to see you all, like I've never been so torn in my life. I didn't even know my heart could grow as it has. Like I keep telling Heavenly Father there is just no room left, but he continues to show me otherwise. 
I know God is real and is with us each day. It's crazy to think that He really does have this perfect little plan for each of us, centered on His Son. And I promise we are so much happier when we strive to know his plan for us and follow it. Embrace it. And trust in Him. 
Happy Father's Day 💙

Pvt Lankow is so cool, he got his answer that it was true when he heard the opening hymn after I talked with him about Joseph Smith. He'd been investigating the church a little while back home and for several weeks here too. But when "teach me to walk in the light" was sung he just knew it was true and loved reading the Book of Mormon. All I know is God answers our prayers, not in our timing or way we think but he does answer them, and oh what joy comes when we recognize it.

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Week of June 5th

May I just say this week has been a pretty great one. 
 I learned about simply obeying God because we trust him, not necessarily because we understand everything. For example we went to our gospel doctrine class instead of principles, which is my favorite class BTW. It was pretty hard because I love brother Adams, but president Turner asked us as leadership to try it out. Well we went and later found out an investigator had come to church, and I just know there are no coincidences. Because we were trying to be obedient in anyway possible, the Lord blessed us. And I've  just learned lots about how eager he is to do so.
K so The best part of this entire week is that we found lots of new Investigators, and they all have really cool stories behind them. One I will Never, ever forget the experience that we had. it's a really long story, but we had a feeling to testify to this young women named Monica that God loves her, and no matter what is going through her life at this time, God loves her, and that he knows her and is so aware of her. we gave her a Book of Mormon to, she clung onto it she just in tears, and as we were walking I turned my head and I saw her with her hands over her heart and said "My two Angels." I just bawled. and I just felt the spirit so much, because I know that it was no accident that we ran into her. how we found her was quite the adventure, we were trying to find a Former Investigator and we had seen that it said apartment 6. as we got to this place we looked around and saw 15 buildings of this complex. In my mind I immediatley thought "Fourth Floor Last Door" By dieter F. Uchtdorf, and so we decided to knock on every single door that had apartment 6 and their neighbors.  we first wrote on some card because we ran out, and we started knocking It took us a full hour. it was hot, humid, and we were so tired and sweaty ha. And when we got to the last apartment we found Monica and she wasnt even who we were planning on looking for, but I am so glad we did. her story Just brings tears to my eyes. I am so thankful that God has a plan for each of his children. I am so thankful for each day to be a missionary and to see all the people that we meet! they are all Gods children and I am so blessed to meet alot of them each day! it just truly brings joy to my heart and I want to do this my entire life. like I say every week it has changed my life! I wouldnt trade it for anything.
Also president and sister Turner came to Fort Jackson. We had lots of soldiers to teach, and this one group had come several weeks but didn't feel like they got their answer but still wanted to learn. They'd been taught all the missionary discussions so we thought it'd be good if the just read out of the book of Mormon. We were all busy though so we had president and sister Turner teach it. He asked me exactly what we were doing, and I said, "President I'm not sure, we've never actually done this before but feel like it would be good." He said, "what, so you are just throwing us in here, just before we are about to go home? Sister Buckey I should get you back for this, I can and I will." He's literally the best. He's just so funny but also one of the greatest examples of a disciple of Christ. He's taught me so so much about the scriptures and repentance and just how to love God. 
I learned also the difference between suffering vs sacrifice. It may be the same circumstances, but our hearts are different. Sacrifice occurs when love and charity are involved. With out it, we are simply suffering. As we love and focus on him we can endure everything. When we choose to withhold our heart we are missing out. If you are living or doing anything below the gospel of Jesus Christ, you are living below your privileges. You are missing out on the greatest blessing, happiness, peace, hope, strength and love you could ever find.

I only ever have pics from Fort Jackson, but also I made Olaf out of play dough this week on exchanges 

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Week of May 29th

Can I just say how good God is? I had some way neat experiences this week. And I guess the biggest thing I feel like he was trying to show me this week was how to trust him. Like to really trust him. And we can only do this by truly recieving his guidance daily. Last Tuesday I went to Blythewood on exchanges. The sisters have been having a rough time and not really finding, and we just super wanted to help them. And it was crazy because we just prayed to find a new investigator who would truly progress and be baptized so they can find joy in the work again. And it was raining all day and we knocked on lots of doors and kinda discouraged.. But then we found this kid who was super interested because the sisters had left something with his dad and he's had questions ever since. We went to his place 20 mind later and got to teach him. I know I say this lots but it really was on of the best lessons I've been apart of. This kid just really wanted to do what was best for his family and it's the greatest thing ever being able to teach these simple truths and see people accept it because they are wanting to listen and finally let God help them. And just those 30 mind of testifying make up for the many other hours we spend getting rejected. It's pretty cool how it all works out and how God allows us to feel joy.
Some of my favorite people we've been teaching here in Columbia can no longer see us. Like tamera and John David, I was so heart broken. But also we won't give up on them, they will come around eventually and I'm grateful for the little window I had to be involved in their lives. 
Basically the highlight has been Gavin. Idk if I've talked about him already but we lost contact with him for a little bit and it was way sad because he's like the most golden person ever. But we saw him last Thursday and told us he knows it's true and wants to serve a mission, he'll be baptized my last week here so that's such a tender mercy. He came to church yesterday and LOVED it so much. Literally it was so great and he's my BFF. It was way cool to see the ward just love and embrace him so much already.
OH and we went to see Colin to talk about temples and family history and he gave us some strawberries. It was super simple but idk why I thought it was just the sweetest thing. I just love my people OK.
OH yah so funny thing I learned this week.. So long story short I ran over this object in the road that I thought was hat but turned out to be something metal that tore a hole in our transmission as we ran over it.. IT SUCKED. There was nothing I could do because the car in front of me swerved and then when I saw it there were two cars on both sides of me so couldn't get over. And the funny thing is, the GPS was freaking out  and kept trying to recalculate me before we got to that road and I was actually so annoyed. Because I knew exactly the way I wanted to get home, and so I just stopped listening to it. But if I would've this probably could've been avoided. Maybe I'm just crazy but I feel like this came at the perfect time. And taught me a lot that I need to pay attention to God more. Yes maybe our GPS was literally just broken, but I believe he was trying to help me. Either way I have a greater understanding and real life analogy that God sees things before we can and knows what's best for us. It's pretty hard to trust him sometimes, because we can't see him. And even when he speaks to  us it's pretty quiet. And if we aren't putting ourselves in the position to hear him, we won't, and we will miss out on blessings and cause damage. Receiving guidance from God is essential to everything we do. To be happy and to return to live with him. I'm grateful for the priesthood, scriptures, and the gift of the Holy Ghost that greater allow me to do just that. 
I'm thankful that he teaches us little by little so we can actually grow. I'm grateful for the moments I gain a greater eternal perspective and divine purpose. I'm grateful for his unconditional love and patience. When we were sitting on the side of the road waiting for the tow truck.. At first I was like okay what did I do wrong to make this happen, like it was punishment. And then I just felt Gods love for me. I feel like he was kind of laughing at me but like in an endearing way. Like my dad does looking back at a silly mistake I've made and when I overact he's just like "chill". Ps daddy like that one time Jasmine and I got the four wheeler and then your truck stuck in the creek.. I thought for the first time in my life I'd be grounded. But actually my dad is the best and helped me get unstuck, try to learn to not do dumb things, and then laughed about it. It was pretty great, and I'm grateful for the moments God reminds me of who he is. I just love him so much. 
Like even though this week was actually way hard, we just count our blessings, do our best, and apply the still small whisperings of the Spirit. I promise that he will guide and direct our paths, and is patiently waiting for us to trust him.


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Week of May 22nd

I'm like trying to not count down or pay attention to time, but also I can't believe how fast time goes, and I feel like your whole mission you just have forever left and then you just wake up one day and it's almost over. But the greatest thing I've learned this week is that it's not going to be over. Like yes I won't be in SC anymore, or have the need for the missionary mantle because I won't be doing this full time, BUT there are still just some many good things that happen, and I'll still bring people to Christ and testify of his gospel. It's become a part of me and I'm so thankful for the experiences and knowledge we get to take with us. I'm just going on this tangent because I did so not feel this way this past week. I've just been on this emional roller coaster and actually have no idea how to feel. But I realized the cure is work. And there's so much I can't control so I just focus on others. Which even though I've been a missionary for a while, it still doesn't get easier to like fully give your heart God. But I'm trying. And I love these people, and I think I've forgotten just the little ways we can make a difference. And also that we can improve, and just start today. The way to balance being overwhelmed by short comings and mistakes of yesterday and the uncertanity of tomorrow, is to just be in today. And be present, to be exactly where your feet are. 
I'm learning the reality of the hymn "I need thee every hour"
I used to get kind of annoyed when people say you're never alone because you always have Christ, mostly because I didn't have a relationship with him at the time, but I just didn't see how that could genuinely help you, but it does.
Anyways some little things that happened this week.. We were driving to an app and I saw this guy walking and had the biggest impression that we needed to talk to him, but he was like way behind us, so I pulled into a side street and we just waited. I FELT SO CREEPY. And then we gave him a card out of our car window and I thought it would be so scary but then I just testified and it was like the coolest thing ever. And I think it's super important to celebrate the little things and what we can communicate control.
I'm thankful for the Holy Ghost who literally guides me and helps me to feel of God's love, idk how I ever tried to do this whole life thing without Him. And I just don't want anyone else to have to either. He's helped me to be happy, not perfect but happy and complete. A happiness I testify that cannot be found anywhere else except in Him and His teachings. And comfort and satisfaction that can't be filled without repenting and living His commandments. And understanding and knowledge of His love that cannot be felt without learning of Him and striving to come closer to Him. I will forever testify of the fullness of all God has for us in His church, and I will thank Him eternally.

(p.s mom this pic was from last week before we talked.. So I didn't cheat :))

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Week of May 15th

This week was swell. It's been pretty interesting because we have been going on exchanges with the sisters in another zone, so we've been way busy. 
And it's great because I've been out for like 17 months and I feel like I still don't know what I'm doing, like everyday the Lord just teaches me and blesses us with these way cool opportunities to bring people the gospel. 
So miracle, this kid Sis V and I met when we first got here finally came to Book of Mormon class on Wednesday and it was the coolest ever. Then our recent convert Colie had dinner with us a some members and he just asked if he could say a prayer really quick and then prayed for every person that has never read the Book of Mormon that they'd be able to have it and find it quick. It was the sweetest. 
Also we started teaching this kid named Gavin. He's 18 and just ordered the Book of Mormon. We taught his the restoration of how Christ has brought His church back and as we shared the first vision of when he saw God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ, Gavin told us he's known his whole life that God and Jesus are 2 separate people but he's parents believe they're one. It was so cool to see him literally find the truth he's been searching for. We love Gavin and he's literally golden. And I just love everything about being a missionary but also just about having the gospel. And for the little trials we go through and just the opportunity we have to learn and also feel so much joy. I'm so thankful for my family, people I've met on my mission and literally just ALL God has done for me and how I feel his love. 
Oh and we've been a little slow at Ft Jackson but yesterday and ton of new soldiers came in and it was really cool. I know I say it every week but I literally love Fort Jackson and I'm so happy I get to end my mission there. Idk how I got so lucky to serve here for half of my mission but I love it. 
Also our cute ward gave all the women these little books for Mother's Day..
"The doctrines of the restored gospel create a wonderful and unique feminine identity that encourages women to develop their abilities as true and literal daughters of God."
K what this is just so cute and my testimony of this has been so strengthened lately. I'm thankful to know who I am and to know who I belong to. 

Happy Mother's Day from the fort

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Week of May 8th

Tender mercy the humidity went away for a little and it was actually chilly one of the days, we had to go put a jacket on. Crazy. This week I got to go on exchanges with Sister Heaton and it was just so great, she goes home this next week and I just have no idea where the time even goes. 
We got to meet and teach this cute family. The dad, Sebastian, ordered a Book of Mormon and when we won entry back to teach him his daughter were there to join us for "Bible study". We were all sitting outside and as I was saying the opening prayer my feet started to burn, and one of the little girls said, "there aren't ants all over you". Haha yes I was cover in red ants, which super hurt BTW. But then they went inside to clean up so we could have the lesson in there. It was the best lesson ever, the daughters asked so many super good questions about our purpose in this life and the Spirit just was so present. It was one of those surreal moments where you are like talking and teaching but know the words aren't even coming from you and your are just learning from what you are saying. One of the daughters names was London and she was just sitting super close to me and reading the Book of Mormon and I just loved every moment of it, they were so eager to learn. Also super funny but Sebastian's phone doesn't work super well and every time we call him it take a while for him to start talking, but we didn't  know he could hear us and when we could finally hear him he was just laughing at us, it was great. 
OH and yesterday we taught primary, it was super stressful haha because we had like a class full of 7 year Olds and there were like 8 of them ha. At first I was kind of frustrated but then I realized it is all okay and it ended up being a really neat experience. And even though we had to miss my favorite class with Brother Adams we were able to help someone who really needed it, and plus our class thought they were the coolest for having the missionaries and I was like wow this isn't about me at all. And it was just a super humbling experience. I'm grateful for the moments when we get a glimpse of what God sees, and it's beautiful, and I just can't wait to be in His presence again. There was this really cool story that a member shared with us, it originally comes from Will Smith haha but basically it's an analogy of a group of people going sky diving. The day before everyone is super pumped about it, but then the night of you start freaking out and become super nervous. You realize you just put yourself in the biggest pickle because you are actually way terrified to go but also don't want to be a weenie and then not go. And you just spend the whole time before hating your life, and just freaked out. And then you get on the plane and they say you'll go on 3 but then pish you out at 1.. And then it's like the best thing of your life and when it's over you wish you could just relive that moment and stay there because it was so great. And he talked about how we shouldn't let fear, run our day. Or in reality we shouldn't let any thing ruin our day. That every day should be a great day because why Not? We just get in the way of our own happiness sometimes, and the circumstance and activities don't necessarily change, but we do and our perspective does. And I just think it's great that we can choose to be happy. And having God has helped me so much to gain that perspective. I haven't mastered the whole being happy in any circumstances thing yet, I definitely realize I was happy afterwards, but I'm grateful to be able to try it. And ultimately to trust in God because he knows where absolute happiness is found. 

Ft Jackson missionaries 

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