Elder Renlund comes to Albuquerque

This weekend Elder Renlund of the 12 Apostles, Elder Pearson of the General Seventy, Elder Torres of the Area Seventy and their wives all came to Albuquerque and spoke at several different area conferences. It was incredible. I’m still processing all of the things that were taught! What a whirlwind of wisdom! I haven’t had the chance to really organize my thoughts and figure out what to share here (there was just SO much!). Next week I’ll post more about it, but for now enjoy the picture proof attached below. (Where’s waldo? See if you can spot my companion and me).

We also received transfer news this Saturday and Hermana Garcia and I will be sticking together for the holidays! We’re so excited!!

In other news, there is officially 14 days until Christmas! Which means we have 14 more days to light the world! If you haven’t started yet, don’t worry, today is the perfect day to jump in. Check out today’s video in the link below:

https://www.mormon.org/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIwdWPyr6C2AIVBrjACh0zLwaPEAAYASAAEgLqm_D_BwE&cid=99119764&ef_id=WVFb8QAAABZZA0Pm:20171211173159:s

The main way that Hermana Garcia and I have been participating in the Light the World initiative is by delivering "living Christmas cards." People are sending us around to their friends’ homes to sing a Christmas carol and then read the Christmas story in Luke 2. We deliver to members of the church and non-members alike, and it’s been awesome. It’s a really great way for us to meet people in a non-pressure situation and show them what missionaries are all about. We’re here to share a message of Jesus Christ and help people to feel His love. It’s our year round goal to "light the world."

Every missionary companionship in our mission is participating in these living Christmas cards, so if you have friends anywhere from Santa Fe, New Mexico to El Paso, Texas and would like to send one their way, shoot me an email with their name and address before next Monday (sydney.metcalf) and I’ll pass the info along to the missionaries in their area. #lighttheworld

Advertisements

7 Baptisms and a Sweet “Mother-Daughter” Reunion

This past Saturday my companion and I got to be a part of 7 people’s baptisms! It was such an awesome day. In the afternoon we spoke at a baptism here in Rio Grande for two kids from a family that have recently come back to church and for their sister’s boyfriend who the elders have been teaching. In the morning we went to the Ramos family’s baptism and that was very cool. They live in the first area I served in out here. It was good to see old friends from the Valle del Norte branch and I got to sit with my little recent convert, Yahaira, and her family. The Ramos family were the next door neighbors to the Trejo family who I taught for many months before they moved to Utah and got married and baptized there. The missionaries in Utah tell me that they have callings now and are preparing to be sealed this summer. It was crazy to think about the chain of events that caused everything to happen. The Trejos went to visit family in Utah and on their way back to New Mexico they stopped at a church visitors center. A sister missionary there opened her mouth and testified and it really touched them. She sent the referral info to Albuquerque and Hermana Cifuentes and I started teaching them exactly a year ago. Little does that one visitors center sister know that they have since been married, baptized and are preparing to go to the temple! And that now the next door neighbors who the Trejo family would invite to all of the church activities, have also been baptized and have their sights set on the temple! There is a power in just opening our mouths and talking to everyone and most of the time I don’t think we have a real grasp on what can be set in motion because of it.

Also Hermana Sinibaldi, mija, came down from Santa Fe with her greenie, mi nieta, and they got to be a part of the Ramos baptism because of her involvement in teaching them. I love that girl so much. It was really, really good to see her.

Family Christmas Cards

On a side note, tis the season of family Christmas cards and if you all wanted to send one of yours my way, I would love that! The best address to do so is at the Albuquerque mission office:

Hermana Sydney Metcalf
4400 Presidential Dr NE Ste E
Albuquerque, NM 87109

Thanks! And Merry Christmas!

Light the World: Part 2

I hope you all had the best Thanksgiving! Mine consisted of a fancy breakfast, 3 different dinners and a major food coma afterwards 🙂 It was great.

I’m still in shock that Thanksgiving actually already happened and that Christmas is just around the corner! Some of you may remember the Christmas Initiative that the church put out last year. It was called "Light the World." If you missed it last year, don’t worry because it’s happening again this year! Below is a link to the intro video and it’s awesome:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_VRN7hcL_8

Starting December 1st, there will be a new video released daily with an associated challenge of service. You can share via social media how you #LightTheWorld the whole Christmas season. What better way is there to come to know Christ than by following in His footsteps and doing as He did? Taking the light the world challenge will help you and your family to have an even greater sense of the Christmas spirit in your homes, and you’ll be able to do so much good for so many people in need.

I’ll be posting updates of how my companion and I light the world this December and I’d love to get any updates from all of you on what you’re doing too! For more info go to mormon.org

Una Alma Llena de Felicidad y Gratitud

Thanksgiving is this week!? What!? Does time on the mission ever not feel like it’s flying by way too fast? I can hardly believe it’s turkey time again already! Things are going great here in Rio Grande with Hermana Garcia. I have so much in my life to be thankful for, both here in the mission and back at home. This year I feel particularly grateful for the happiness found in gospel living and for the chance I have to get to share it with others.

We recently met the coolest lady! She was taking her trash out so we stopped to help and ended up talking for a bit. We introduced ourselves and explained what it is that we do as missionaries. With a big smile on her face she told us her name, Alma, and asked when would be the soonest time possible for us to come back and visit her. We set up a time for the next day and left her with a scripture and a prayer.

When we went back, she was still all smiles and welcomed us in with great big hugs. Over slices of pumpkin pie, we taught her the message of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She was SO happy. There was a real spirit of peace in the room as we talked with her. She told us that she had felt such a strong sense of that the night before as well and that all morning she had been telling everyone she knew all about it. She’s been looking for a roommate, and asked us if there was anyway we could possibly just move in with her because she wanted to feel that happy all the time. It was so sweet.

We explained what the Book of Mormon is and then gave her a copy. I didn’t think it was possible for her to smile more than she already was, but she did as she exclaimed, "Wow! For me? This is my very first Book of Mormon!"

We are so pumped to keep teaching her and see where things go. We’re pretty sure Alma is a secret mormon and just doesn’t know it quite yet. 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving! Love you guys!

El Libro de Mormon

Recently I’ve felt a stronger desire to gain a more firm testimony of the Book of Mormon. It’s becoming clearer and clearer just how essential it is to receive a personal witness of the validity of this book. Everything I teach as a missionary boils down to whether or not it’s for real. If this book actually is what it claims to be- the word of God, then Joseph Smith really did receive permission and power from God to be able to translate it. If Joseph Smith really had God on his side, then he really was called to be a prophet, a modern day Moses. And if that’s true than Joseph Smith really was given the task of restoring Christ’s church, teachings and power back here on the Earth again. That’s a big deal, something worth investing the time and effort into fully investigating.

I feel like little by little I’m coming to better trust in it and in it’s teachings. Not from sticking "the Book of Mormon" in a google search engine nor by placing stock in it’s reviews, both those of it’s critics and it’s supporters. But by taking up the invitation found in the introduction of the book: "We invite all men everywhere to read the Book of Mormon, to ponder in their hearts the message it contains, and then to ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ if the book is true. Those who pursue this course and ask in faith will gain a testimony of it’s truth and divinity by the power of the Holy Ghost."

I think too often we think that coming to know the Book of Mormon is true is a one time event, a single life changing answer received after a heartfelt prayer and boom you just know it’s true. Maybe a single prayer to find out what’s up works for some people, but that’s not how it’s been for me. The handful of times when I’ve directly asked in prayer, "is the Book of Mormon true?" and then sat and waited to get some kind of immediate, grand answer, nothing has happened. I feel the strongest about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon when I’m sharing with others the effect that it’s had on my life. When I’m studying it and trying to live by the principles it teaches, that’s when I think of what Christ said about how "by the fruits" you can know whether something is good or not.

I’ve still got a ways to go, but the way I feel and think about the Book of Mormon has come a long way from where I was a year ago at in the beginning of the mission. At least now I’ve actually read it enough to know what’s in it! I know it’s a good book that teaches good principles. It talks about Christ (a whole lot) and how we can be happier people. The writings are powerful. Reading it makes me feel at peace and helps me want to change and be a better person.

The last time President Monson addressed the church, he said, "the importance of having a firm testimony of the Book of Mormon cannot be overstated." He challenged us all to study and ponder the Book of Mormon everyday, promising that doing so would put us "in a position to hear the voice of the Spirit, to resist temptation, to overcome doubt and fear, and to receive heaven’s help in our lives." Those prophetic promises have motivated me to more diligently study it everyday, to fast and pray to gain a stronger conviction of it’s divine origin and the truthfulness of what’s written on it’s pages.

I want to work harder to know with even more surety because through out my life, I’ve said and heard the words "I know the Book of Mormon is true" many, many, many times. But until now I haven’t actually put all that much thought into what that means and entails. What are we trying to say, that what we learn from it is true? That it’s a true historical record of the people in ancient america? That the story of how it was obtained is true? All of the above and more? I think having a clearer understanding of what saying "the Book of Mormon is true" actually means, will help it to be more than just words repeated. As we put a little more thought and effort into it, as we take action and put the challenges to practice, as we study the Book of Mormon, pray about it, test out the principles taught and pay attention to what we feel and think through out the process, that is when clarity is obtained, surety is achieved and truth is revealed.

Try it. If there’s one thing I do know, it’s that there is infinitely more to gain than to lose by reading this book. Any sacrifice made will be outweighed by the worth of the prize won. Because of the Book of Mormon I’ve come to better know who my Savior is and what He did for me. I’ve felt an increased measure of His love. I’ve been comforted in times of sadness, lifted in times of discouragement, reassured in times of doubt, guided in times of confusion and enlightened in times of searching. I don’t have all the answers I’d like to have, but I know enough to leave the rest to faith. The Book of Mormon has deeply impacted my life for the better and it can do the same for anyone that is willing to make room for it in their lives. You don’t have to take my word for it, read it. See what it can do for you.

Dia de Los Muertos!

Well another transfer has come and gone (way too quickly)! I’m staying here in the Rio Grande ward and my new companion will be Hermana Garcia! She is awesome and I’m so pumped! She’s been serving in the Valle del Norte branch (my first area) since I left it, and we’ll be the sister training leaders that get to do exchanges with the hermanas in Valle del Norte this transfer! It’ll be great!

In other news: I’M A GRANDMA!!!! My "daughter" (the hermana I trained) got a training call and is going to be a "mom" which officially makes me a grandma!!!! WOOOO!!!

Hermana Thompson is headed home this week. She has been one incredible missionary and we are all so sad to see such a spiritual giant leave the mission. I’ve learned SO much from her. It was like getting trained all over again! I’m really going to miss her, but I know she’s going to do great things at home and that she’ll be able to touch so many lives there too. The only redeeming part about this is that when a missionary goes home it’s mission lingo to say that they’re "dying" and Hermana Thompson just so happens to be dying on Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead). Haha 🙂

Happy Halloween and Feliz Dia de Los Muertos!