Monday, January 19, 2015

We Are All Laborers in His Vineyard

G'day friends and family! (And a special hello to my friends from the Melbourne 2nd Branch! I just realized I had your emails so I could send you a weekly hello. I hope this gets through to all of you. :) )
This week has been so incredible in so many ways! We had the privilege of having a visit from Elder Pearson of the Seventy. He did a few zone conferences around the mission as well as a special mission leadership council session. It's really an amazing opportunity to hear directly from one of the Lord's ordained servants as to how we can better our mission and ourselves. He talked a lot about change and forgetting ourselves so that we can be fully devoted disciples of Jesus Christ. A notable catchphrase of the meeting: "Things that don't change stay the same." Or in other words, if we never make the effort to change and better ourselves, then we will always be the same person we have always been, and we will always get the same results that we have always gotten. It seems like such a simple and obvious principle, but I am constantly surprised by how often I need to relearn it.

Since then I have been striving focus completely on the Lord and be as in tune with the Spirit as possible. I certainly have a long way to go and it seems like every time I think I'm good at something I find something else that I need to work on, but hey, eternal progression wouldn't be eternal if there weren't always something more to work on.
We have been able to see so many miracles this week.On that I'd like to share was with a lady named Selena. We had been going through the records of some former investigators and found a couple that we wanted to try to contact again, but their address only had a street name, not a house number. So we decided to do what missionaries do best and knock on all the doors on that street to try to find them. We parked and walked up to the closest house. As we were approaching the door, I had a feeling that this house was going to be a good one. An Aussie lady in a tank top and long shorts answered and said, "Hey guys! How are you?" We were a bit taken aback; the typical response from Aussies is certainly not that friendly. We introduced ourselves and she invited us in. She told us about how she had had missionaries over every now and then before, but that she and her partner were Christian and not looking to change. She knew that missionaries do a good job and she likes to have them around. As we talked with her more, she told us that she and her partner had had a fight earlier that day and that she was having a hard time, but that every time she struggled, the elders showed up. And now she was struggling and here we were! She started to cry and we shared with her Helaman 5:12 and asked her to replace "my sons" with her own name. We talked about how families founded on the rock of Jesus Christ will be strong through whatever storms Satan throws at us. Selena was so grateful. She knew that verse was just for her. We offered to bring her a copy of the Book of Mormon later that week and she gladly accepted. A couple days later we stopped by with a nice new Book of Mormon for her with Helaman 5:12 highlighted. She said she was expecting people over in a few minutes, but asked if we could arrange another time that we could come by and have a proper chat! Sister Vermeulen and I were thrilled! We set up a time to meet and she said she would try to get some reading done before then. I know it's not an accident that we met her, and that we met her now when she is prepared and ready to hear about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I can't wait to teach her and her family!

I know that the Lord prepares people to hear the gospel and He prepares His servants to be able to share it. His hand is so evident in this work!! I simply cannot deny that this is the Lord's vineyard and that He is laboring alongside us. There is so much value in aligning completely with the Lord and consecrating everything to Him, and then letting Him take care of everything else. He is infinitely wiser and more powerful that we are, and sometimes I think we forget that. I hope we never forget just how much He loves us, too. What better Person to hand everything over to than Him who loves us with an infinite and eternal love?

I love you all so much! I know Heavenly Father does too.
xoxox Sister Larsen
Helaman 5:12
"And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


G'day g'day!

This week I think I learned a bit about what it may have been like to be a prophet in Bible times who was ridiculed and rejected (though I haven't been stoned or thrown into prison, so that's a plus). It seemed like everyone we talked to just wanted to tell us how wrong we were about everything, whether it was our belief that Jesus is the Christ or the fact that we observe Sunday as the Sabbath. But whatever people threw at us, it was a neat opportunity to defend my faith in Christ.

I learned a lot from other people about:
  • how the Sabbath day was originally Saturday but was changed to Sunday. True, but less important that the observance of the Sabbath itself.
  • how there are six universes all stacked inside each other, each one unimaginably larger than the next. Also how vast, poetic, intimidating doctrine doesn't always indicate truth.
  • how the scriptures can prove a point, but only when used in a spirit of love.
  • how testifying of the Father and the Son and their infinite love for us is infinitely more powerful than contending and quibbling over poins of doctrine.

The moments I felt the Spirit the strongest this week was when we were able to testify of truth with the love of Christ. We taught a man named Mohammed who is Muslim by birth and also, after much research into other religions, Muslim by choice. We sat on the floor of his living room and he asked us questions about our belief in God and why we need Jesus Christ to be our Savior. We were able to teach simply of the necessity of a Redeemer, and the great love of God that led Him to sacrifice His Only Begotten Son for the welfare of all of His children. We taught of the condescension of God, and how the Savior descended below them all so that He could lift us up with Him. We testified how He knows and understands us because He has actually been where we have been. He experienced mortality so He could save us from it. While we testified, Mohammed listened. He didn't argue, he didn't try to counter with points from his docrtine, but he listened with a humble heart. The Spirit of contention was completely absent, so the Spirit of Christ could be completely present.
I learned a lot this week about humility and listening to the Spirit, and the power that a pure testimony of Christ can have. I know that He lives and that we are truly about His work! It is a privilege to serve him, however imperfect and incapable I may be.

xo Sister Larsen

Monday, January 5, 2015

Greetings from Dandenong

G'day g'day!
Greetings from Dandenong!! My new area is about half an hour away from the city, close to the Dandenong mountains! My new companion, Sister Vermeulen, is from South Africa and she is the coolest. We're doubling in to an area that some elders left about a transfer and a half ago, and we're starting pretty much from scratch. We've done a lot of tracting, street contacting, and tracking down former investigators to find some people to teach. We've had pretty good success so far! The Lord is definitely lending us a hand.
The ward here is amazing and so supportive! We've called heaps of random people from the ward list and asked if we can come introduce ourselves, and everyone has been so welcoming! There haven't been sisters in this area for ages so the ward is pretty excited to see us, which is definitely encouraging. :)
We've been doing heaps of GQing at the Dandenong Plaza, and one day we ran into some other sisters... nuns, that is. :) They've spent the last 50 years living and serving in Paupa New Guinea. They were so great!
Dandenong is nearly as multicultural as the city, which is thrilling! We've met heaps of Sri Lankans, Cambodians, Sudanese, and the occasional Malaysian and Vietnamese and Chinese. And they say America is the mixing bowl!
Love you all!!
xo Sister Larsen