Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy New Year, everyone! I never would have guessed that I would be in Ohio for 2014, but I don't want to be anywhere else. Christmas was fun. On Christmas Eve I was able to be a shepherd in a family's re-enactment of Luke 2. After a phone call to my wonderful family on Christmas Day I was able to have lunch with a member family. Everyone here has tried to make us feel at home. Maybe too at home. I won't tell you how much I weigh now. :D

Saturday night I witnessed a baptism for the first time as a missionary. Sister L and I sang "I Believe in Christ" with a few Elders and members. One of our investigators came with us, and she was very moved by the song. She has planned to be baptized, and I hope that she will continue to change as she prepares herself for that time. Please pray for her!

We've had investigators come and go. It's hard when someone decides he or she doesn't want to learn more, but we still love and serve them. Perhaps things will change in the future. The investigator who was going to come to church texted us at 3:30 Sunday morning to tell us that she couldn't come because of something that had happened in her family. That was such a sad morning for me. She was sad, too, and is going to try to come again. Please pray for her, too!

We did get to teach a man who lives nearby. He has 3 young children (ages 5, 4, and 3). Because of his family being rambunctious, he had to keep an eye on everyone. I thought that we might be wasting time trying to teach him about the restoration while he was so distracted. Then I suddenly noticed that he was a little teary-eyed. We asked him if he felt like what we were teaching him was true. He said that he does believe that it's true. I then invited him to be baptized. (It was my first time, so I was nervous, but it felt right.) He will do it when he knows that it's true.

Mosiah 5:2 I have seen the Atonement of Jesus Christ change people here. I have felt it even more significantly in my life. How grateful I am to be here for the new year. I hope that I will become better than I have been in 2013. The Atonement allows that change, so I know that it's possible. Thank you for the Christmas wishes. I wish all of you a new year full of happiness and change!

Sister Murdoch

Monday, December 23, 2013

3 Nephi 14:1-8

8 - "And it shall come to pass that whosoever shall believe on the Son of God, the same shall have everlasting life."

Merry Christmas! I am so grateful to be here at this wonderful time of the year. I get to teach people about Jesus Christ all of the time. I can't think of a better way to spend Christmas. Last night we were given presents from the ward in a huge box. There are SO many of them! I am astounded by their amount of love that they have for us. They treat us just like family and take care of us.

 This week was full of small miracles.

~ Good packing snow! Sister L and I went sledding and made snowmen last week. It was fun while it lasted, because by Friday it was 65 degrees outside and I'm sure the snowmen are completely gone.

~ We were finally let into a home we've been to many times. The Spirit was able to help us while we were there with the couple and we look forward to teaching them again tonight.

~ After dinner with a member family, we had a short lesson with them. The parents both served missions and their two year old son inspired me. When asked if Jesus loved him, he answered immediately, "Yes!" When his mom said that we need to tell everyone about Jesus, he started running to the door, ready to go. It was simple, but powerful for me. If a two year old is ready to go tell the world about Jesus, I can certainly open my mouth more often.

~ We contacted a media referral (meaning he used to ask for missionaries to visit). He is genuinely interested, so we'll see where things go with him.

~ One investigator that we have been teaching has only read a few chapters in The Book of Mormon, but she is already telling her friend how it's changing her life. Her friend wants to learn more.

~ There is a woman that we have tried to visit twice since we first met her. She wasn't home either time. The first time we met her was a miracle, and this was another one. Sister L and I had no idea where to go, so we prayed. Before we even ended the prayer, this woman's name came to mind. She was sick all day and finally decided to go to the store. Right as we got there she was on her way out. The timing was perfect and we had another spiritual experience with her.

I could name more, but that's a pretty good list. We had a Christmas party with a family last night and have a few more families to visit. The people here have blessed us tremendously. I love these people so much. Thank you for the letters and packages. I have at least a dozen letters to write, so I promise I'll write ASAP. May the remainder of 2013 be full of blessings for you.

Sister Murdoch

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Marvelous Work

This week has gone by so quickly! In the last month I have learned and experienced so much. I am amazed at the blessings I have seen for myself, my family, and the people here. The ward here inspires me. Going to ward council yesterday was a great way to see their vision for their ward. They continue to bless us with the work that they do.

Last week we had a fantastic snowball fight as a zone. It was an absolute blast! I haven't had that much fun in a long while. Later today we're going sledding. The snow comes and goes like crazy here. It rains a lot and snows, then it gets into the 40s or 50s and melts away. I have no problem staying warm, and it amuses me how scary snow is to a lot of people here. Oh well. Sister L and I have also had opportunities to serve others. We spent one afternoon painting the living room of some investigators. We love them and hope that they will continue to progress as we get to teach them.

On Thursday Elder Perkins of the 70 and his wife came to our zone conference. I learned a great deal while I was there. The most important things I learned for myself is that I need to use The Book of Mormon every time I teach and it's okay to work on one or two things at a time instead of everything. It was a special experience for me, and I needed that spiritual boost. Sister L and I did a musical number - More Holiness Give Me. I was able to play the piano while she sang. To add to that, I also got to lead the songs the zone sang during the meeting. Hooray for musical talents!

We took a special woman on a chapel tour Monday evening. It was a powerful experience for her and for us. She's working on getting rid of some habits. When she told us that she would 'fight' us for her cigarettes, I was surprised to hear myself say, "I'm not going to fight you on this because God is on my side." I can't believe that came out of my mouth! She and Sister L thought it was hilarious and powerful, but I was a little embarrassed. Sister L assures me that because I said it out of love it was bold but not overbearing. I hope she's right. On the day marking my first full month (Friday), she told Sister L and I that she is ready to be baptized!!! I can't imagine a better way to end that day. Please keep her in your prayers. She has a lot to do before January 4th, but I know that she can make it. I love her very much in a way I never knew was possible before coming here. This is why I came here - I want to help others receive these gifts for themselves.

Life just keeps getting better! Thanks to everyone who has sent letters/packages. It brightens my day when I see them. I appreciate the prayers, too. Know that miracles have happened here because of them. Have a wonderful week! 3 Nephi 18:20

Sister Murdoch


Monday, December 9, 2013

This week needs to be a little shorter, but here's what last week was like in a nutshell:

We had Hot Head burritos for lunch one day. They're massive and delicious! I had to drive one day because we had exchanges, so a Sister from another area came here. We were in the MTC together, so she knows less about this place than I do. We forgot to get the GPS from our companions, so we ran on faith all day.

On Monday we went to the YMCA with a member for p-day. Today we're going to play in the snow with the zone. Yes, snow. I totally jinxed everyone and we had about 8 inches of snow/ice for a few days. The cars were even grounded for awhile. But don't worry, I gave my California companion tips for driving on ice and we were fine. :) This is her first time really seeing snow that stays for more than a few minutes. She has a love/hate relationship with it.

Our Christmas tree came from a wonderful woman that we're teaching. Funny story for the week: while we were at her house last night, her little dog that you can see in the picture got excited about something and left a puddle in Sister Lee's lap. Poor Sister Lee! We laughed so hard for the rest of the night. The investigator was mortified, but we just took a few minutes to go home to get cleaned up. One miracle: an investigator that was planning on coming to church told us Saturday night that he was sick and wasn't sure that he would be able to come. We prayed for him, and lo and behold he was much better by morning. Church was wonderful for me, and I hope that it was for him as well.

Life just keeps getting better, but it gets harder, too. It isn't easy to be a missionary, but it is definitely worth it. I wouldn't change anything about what I've experienced. The ward here is incredible in their mission plan. They work hard and I'm grateful for them. As always, thank you for the prayers and please pray for our investigators, too. Have a wonderful week!

Monday, December 2, 2013

This just keeps getting better! I can't imagine being anywhere else in life right now. I am in the Little Miami ward in South Lebanon, Ohio. The weather here is a lot like Idaho, but actually warmer. I wear my coat once in a while, but for December it's really hot. :) The people here remind me of people at home, too. It feels like home away from home. The sisters in the ward always have food or hugs to give and everyone works hard to invite investigators into their homes. They are amazing!

Thanksgiving was the most unique holiday I've experienced yet. A member family invited us to eat with them (several did actually), and at the last minute the sister of the mom wanted to host. Everyone else in their extended family is not LDS, so it was a good chance to explain what we're doing here and what we believe. I know the LDS family was grateful for more examples. Everyone had different kinds of alcoholic beverages, so that threw me off at first, but they are really nice people and were happy to share their home and a deep fried turkey with us. It's almost too bad that we have a car. I fear that it will make me get fat. :D However, with limited miles each month, we do have "walking days" to save miles.

I have had some amazing experiences in lessons here. I have seen the Spirit soften the hearts of angry people, calm children who can't usually sit still for a lesson, and testify of the gospel. We have investigators that we're trying to help get to baptism. People are overcomoing addictions, taking time to read and pray, and completely changing to fully accept the gospel.

One little boy and a recent convert both recently told me that I look familiar. The boy even asked what my mom's name was because he is certain that he's seen me before. I feel like he has, but not in the way he thinks. There have been many times where I feel like I've been here before. It's amazing how at home I feel here. I've never heard of South Lebanon before, but I have no doubt that this is where I need to be. I have learned tremendously through trials and snow and people shutting doors in our faces. I hope that I will continue to learn and grow and I thank everyone who has been praying and fasting for me. Please pray for me and my awesome companion, Sister Lee. She is incredible and I couldn't ask for a better trainer. The gospel is true! TTFN - ta ta for now!

Friday, November 22, 2013

I have never been so happy in my entire life!!! This last week has been the most incredible one so far. I'm not even sure where to start. Our district has 4 Sisters going to Cincinnati and 4 Elders going to D.C. North. We all get along extremely well. We have laughed, cried, and grown together so much, but mostly laughed. :) It's too bad the Elders aren't in the same mission because we love them so much. Our zone is pretty great, too. We eat together and most of us play volleyball at gym time, which makes me very happy. I'm even happier when the tall Elders are on my team. :D

Our teachers, Brother Moore, Brother Taylor, Brother Gallo, and Brother Ferguson have been awesome. I have struggled a lot because before coming here I felt like I knew how to teach a lesson. How wrong I was! It's not about teaching lessons, it's about understanding and loving the investigators and using the Holy Ghost to find what you need to say. Of all of the lessons I have learned, that is the greatest one for me.
Sister Y and I had one particular experience that I want to share. From day 1 you "teach" investigators. When we were teaching, Brother Taylor role played as a man he once taught. The first 2 lessons were a little rough. We followed our plan, and that's why it went wrong. (Kind of like Nephi and his brothers getting the plates.) The 3rd lesson, though, something was different. We could tell that something wasn't right. Our investigator confided with us that he was an alcoholic. There suddenly came to my heart an intense feeling of love that I have never felt before. It completely overwhelmed me, and through our testifying of Jesus Christ's love for him, he promised to take steps to stop drinking and prepare himself for baptism. That was a life changing experience for me. When we walked out of the room, all I could ask was, "What just happened?"

 We also taught a girl going to college here. She had really scary questions for us on Monday, like "Was Jesus Christ married?" We were caught off guard, so the lesson of the Plan of Salvation was interesting. The spirit wasn't there at all, and we left flustered and disappointed. Last night we taught her for the 2nd and last time. We prayed before going in, and I feel like that's what made the difference. Because of our experience Monday we were determined to NOT ask if she had more questions. But, lo and behold, the first words out of my mouth when we sat down were, "Do you have any more questions?" WHAT?! I can promise you that that was not my idea. Her questions were all about the temple, so after we answered her questions, it led perfectly into what we were inspired to teach her. (The Holy Ghost is always right.) The spirit was there this time. We felt it, but more importantly, so did she. We will probably never see her again, but she promised to read the Book of Mormon and prepare herself for baptism when she finds out it's right. We don't teach through the spirit, the spirit teaches through us.

 How grateful I am for the trust and love our Savior has in me so that I can share His love with others. It has been a privilege to be here at this time. Thank you for your prayers. You have no idea how powerful they have been in my life. I love you all and I'll write again next week from Ohio!
P.S. Our zone had a temple trip at 6:30 this morning. Besides the time I received my endowments, I can't recall feeling the spirit quite as strongly. I love the temple so much and I'm grateful for the blessings that I have because of the promises I've made with God.

Friday, November 15, 2013

MTC 1st Week

It's the third day, and I can't remember doing so much in a short amount of time. I wish I could send you a longer email, but you'll have to wait until next Thursday. We're only allowed to send a short message to let you know that I'm alright.

 My companion is Sister Y. She's from Washington, and I love her. We balance each other wonderfully. She really teaches by the spirit and I use the scriptures a lot. We're learning a ton together and from each other. I was going to send you a picture, but these computers don't work that way... Maybe next time. :)

I love you all! I pray for you every day. I hope that you are well, and I'll talk to you next week.
James 5:20 1 Tim. 4:16

Love from Sister Murdoch


Saturday, November 9, 2013

The time has come!

This blog is going to help keep you informed about the experiences that I will have as an LDS missionary. This is an adventure I have tried to prepare for all of my life. My parents, teachers, and friends have helped me tremendously. I am grateful for the knowledge that I have. I have had great joy and peace because of the gospel. That's why I'm going - I want to share it with others. I know that the Lord loves each of us and I am glad I can serve His children.
Ohio, here I come, ready or not!