Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Joy in Every Circumstance

Aloha! 

Where do I begin!? Now with having lived so much of my mission I feel like I have a lot more to say, but the thought of "How could I possibly type everything?" makes it hard to think of anything to say!  I will start with some miracles from last week.

There was one day of missionary work in which I felt like I had not accomplished a whole lot.  At the end of those kind of days (and every missionary has them) you go home and you can't help, but feel a little frustrated. SO, that night I fervently prayed to God to be able to find someone the next to whom I could share what I know and believe. The next day I was blessed with opportunities!  

I was on a morning shift at the Visitors' Center and one person came in who loved our basic beliefs, but couldn't understand why God would command us not to drink coffee or tea when there were no obvious, drastic, or immediate effects she could see that they had on our bodies.  I was able to tell her what I know to be true - God gives us commandments for our benefit.  He reveals these commandments to modern day prophets like Joseph Smith.  The way that we can know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God is by reading and praying about the Book of Mormon.   As I have read and prayed about the Book of Mormon I have felt a new sense of confidence, happiness, hope, and peace enter my life. God has witnessed to my heart that it is the word of God and you can know all of these things for yourself through humble prayer.

The next experience I had was being able to show the new Christmas video #LighttheWorld to a BYUH student named Seth.  He was touched by the video and immediately thought of some people that he would like to share it with from his mission in Tahiti and from high school. As he told us about these people a scripture came to mind. I didn't know why, but later he expressed a small concern about reaching out to them again.  The scripture in my mind was the perfect answer to his concern.  God works in simple and wonderful ways when we truly love the people we are speaking with.

Finally, last night I was doing some online teaching.  I had originally planned do something else during the last our of my day, but felt strongly that I needed to continue to do online teaching.  As is common with God's direction, I didn't at first know why I felt this way, but he had a plan.  I texted a friend of mine who I had met months ago in the Visitors' Center with his girlfriend who is a member of the church.  This friend is not a member of our church and I have been in contact with him to share spiritual messages now and then.  Well, he texted me back and told me that he really needed the message I shared last night.  He had a rough day and was glad to hear something uplifting.  We texted back and forth until it was time for me to go.  That night I kept him in my prayers as well.  Another small miracle that meant a lot to someone.  I am glad that I followed the promptings I felt from God.  Being on the Lord's errand is so humbling and joyful.

As a last little thought, I have been studying JOY quite a bit recently and I love it!  When we know the teaching of Jesus Christ we can have hope. And because we have hope, we can have joy in every circumstance.  

I know God lives. He is our Father and He loves you.  Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world - your Savior.  This is the source of our hope.  It is not uncertain hope, it is unfailing hope.  This is the message I am so happy to share. 

Mahalo nui loa for all and any service you render during this Christmas season and year round. 

AlooooHA!

Sister Lindsay Evans


P.S. John Groberg from Disney's "The Other Side of Heaven" came to speak to us today about having God's Spirit with us always. It was wonderful!

Photo 1 - Why I love winters in Hawaii.


Photo 2 - One unique palm tree behind the Mata'ali'i's come 



​Photo 3 - In 2007, Sister Mata'ali'i (middle right) received assistance to pay for her son's mission. While he was gone she learned how to coupon and now for almost two years she has been doing monthly free stores at her home for missionaries. She gives away for many simple necessities (shampoo, conditioner, etc.) for free she acquires from her couponing. During Christmas time she even involves others and has people sponsor missionaries so that we can receive a personalized gift at Christmas!  I have loved going to her home so often and feeling of her warm spirit.  God bless you and your family for all of the service you render, Sister Mata'ali'i! Mahalo nui loa!!


Monday, November 28, 2016

A Blessed and Happy State

Aloha!

First things first... Last week I told you all, "Well, I have doubt God loves all of you, so when tough times come, know it is for your good and growth. You were meant to be happy." OK. What I meant to say was I have NO doubt God loves all of you.  What a typo haha. You have to enjoy those little things. 

You may have already guessed that my last few emails will be coming to you on Wednesday.  My preparation day has changed for the last time.  It's funny thinking my mission is coming to an end, but everything has fallen into place perfectly for the past fews weeks.  My companion Sister Nunez is a great missionary and has kept me going.  I don't feel like I am slowing down at all.  The work we are assigned to do just seems to be getting more and more exciting and enjoyable.  One of my favorite quotes is, "be where your feet are," and that is where I am. We have hard times, of course, but there is so much to be happy about!  We would do ourselves well to be a little more grateful, loving, forgiving, kind, and obedient.  The Book of Mormon counsels us to, "live in thanksgiving daily," (Alma 34:38). And a beloved leader of our church, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, has said,  “No matter our circumstances, no matter our challenges or trials, there is something in each day to embrace and cherish. There is something in each day that can bring gratitude and joy if only we will see and appreciate it.”

Thanksgiving Day - We ate at the Polynesian Cultural Center for free.  It was a local event put on by a local church leader and everyone was invited (a great part of Polynesian culture). There was plenty of food and lots of happy faces.  That night we had a dessert potluck with the Visitors' Center Sisters and we got to watch the new-ish (I don't know I have been gone for so long) movie called Inside Out.  It was so sweet!  It taught that we cannot know true joy without knowing sadness. 

This past Sunday, the Visitors' Center missionaries put on a musical fireside to kick off the Christmas season.  Everyone sounded beautiful!  The Spirit of God and the feeling of peace and joy was so strong. I am so grateful for Christmas music, the Christmas season, and our Savior Jesus Christ. I know He lives and loves us.

The miracle I will share from this week is small.  There is someone who I am teaching online who has an interesting doctrinal concern.  I didn't really know how to answer it, but as Sister Nunez and I were practicing teaching simply one day, the perfect scripture came to mind!  I am not sure what Sister Nunez said that triggered the thought, but it the thought came and I knew that it came with help from God.  I was really grateful to have a scripture that I could share with someone who had an honest concern.  

I truly feel like I am living in a "blessed and happy state" because of Jesus Christ.  I give all the credit to him for who I am today, although I have a ways to go.  I am also grateful for so many amazing examples of what God can do for a person's life that I have met here in Hawaii.  Hawaii itself seems to be a pretty "blessed and happy state" to me.

Life is so wonderful.  Heavenly Father loves us more than we could possible imagine.  Let us make a greater attempt to notice all of the wonderful blessings he has in store for us. 

ALOHA!!

Sister Lindsay Evans

Photo 1 - An Evans family classic.  Chocolate/marshmallow/upside-down-fudge-stripe-cookie pilgrim hats on Thanksgiving. I am grateful for fun family traditions.
 Photo 2 - The Silva Ohana of the Married Student 1st Ward does missionary work through Snapchat!   We were on a story the other day after eating dinner in their home.  Modern technology at its finest. Keep up the good work Silvas!
 Photo 3 - Biked to Foodland at 6:30AM just to buy ingredients to make banoffee pie for Michelle Richie.  We could have driven, but for missionaries 6:30-7:00AM is designated as time your morning exercise time.  It seemed to me, that we had only one option.  Why didn't we buy it later?  We had to boil sweetened condensed milk for 3 hours.  So we had to start by 7:00 so that we could actually go grocery shopping at 10. Life never gets boring.
 

Photo 4 - Banoffee pie. Three hours in the making.
 
 
 

Monday, November 21, 2016

You Were Meant to be Happy


Aloha!

Tomorrow is transfer day for all of the missionaries.  We get new companions and go to the new area that we are assigned to serve in.  It is really exciting.  I am still going to be in the student wards of BYU-Hawaii, but they will be a different group of wards than they were last transfer.   It's actually kind of funny because there are about 20 wards full of married and non-married students at BYUH.  As missionaries, we split it all up into 4 different areas with 5 wards each.  After next transfer I will have served in every single ward at BYU-Hawaii.  I basically lived my mission on that campus and I have to say I wouldn't have had it any other way.  I love that campus.  I love the students.  They have changed my life as much as anything else on my mission.  They taught me about happiness, just by their examples.  I know true and lasting happiness is possible because of our Savior Jesus Christ.  I couldn't be more thankful.  

I forgot to mention, my new companion will be Sister Nunez! I explained a bit more with the photos I attached.  I am really excited though.  She is someone who will help me finish my mission strong.

This week was full of scheduling again.  I will share one little miracle though...  

So this week I had the opportunity of taking this newlywed couple on a tour.  They were both Christian and very nice.  The allowed me to explain my personal belief in Christ and also in the Book of Mormon.  I was able to tell them how I came to know for myself that it is true.  Primarily I explained that I could always turn to it's pages and having an overwhelming feeling of peace. This feeling comes from the Spirit of God. I have also come to know of God's love for us, His children, of the Plan of Happiness that he has set in place for us.  I know we are here on this earth to grow and progress.  We are here to feel joy, to have families, and prepare to return to live with God again.  As I explained my feelings to them and bore my personal witness, the feeling of peace that I had felt was felt by them.  They declined an invitation to learn more, but I know they felt something while they were visiting the Laie Hawaii temple that they will not forget.  It's those little miracles that make it all worth while.  I love being a missionary.

Well, I have doubt God loves all of you, so when tough times come, know it is for your good and growth. You were meant to be happy.

Have a wonderful week!!

Sister Lindsay Evans


Photo 1 - It's that time of the year again. The Elders and Sister of the Laie Zone all pitched in and set up about 15 Christmas trees in the Visitors' Center last Saturday. 
 Photo 2 - My almost new companions! The original transfer news we received is that I would be in a trio with Sister Pluim (left) and Sister Staheli (right).  They are both fairly new. Well, that is not the case anymore, but I still love them both to death and can't wait to hear about all of the miracles they will be a part of.
 Photo 3 - Sister Nunez from the Philippines will be my official companion for these last few weeks.  She is so great. She was supposed to train a new missionary, but the new missionary had a few visa problems and will not be coming until later so it was decided that she would get me as her companion.
 Photo 4 - Sister Walker is leaving tomorrow!  WOW!  We came out together and now she is heading home to Idaho.  I can't say I am too sad because we will be rooming together starting in January, but I sure so love her and look up to her.  She just shines.  Wishing her all the best.  I bet the Walker family can't wait!

 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Life is Good

Aloha!!

Wow. Life is so good.  It is hard, no doubt, but we are so blessed.  

This week Sister Wu and I have been eating dinners with the couples in our BYUH Married Student 2nd Ward.  The other 4 wards we cover are Young Single Adult (YSA) Wards, so we rely on the married student to feed us. Every time we eat a meal with them we always share an uplifting spiritual message and this week we shared about the restoration of the church and gospel of Jesus Christ each time.  It is so amazing to recount the stories of the ancient Biblical prophets and the ministry of Jesus Christ.  We go on to explain how God is unchanging and how He continues to call prophets in these last days - the first one being Joseph Smith.  Joseph Smith was given the priesthood or power and authority of God and it still exists in this church today.  It allows us access to all that Jesus Christ did for us - His perfect life, His suffering the penalty for our mistakes, His death, and His resurrection - and because we have this access, we can be happy and be filled with lasting peace.  One of my favorite scriptures says, 

"I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness." 

These are the blessings that can be ours.

Okay here are some really great things this week.  About a month ago I set various goals for the remainder of my mission.  One of them was to see a family baptized.  Well, back in spring I had the opportunity of meeting a convert to the church who came into the Visitors' Center.  He actually used to be anti-Mormon, but ended up marrying a member of the church.  They never talked about it, but through many small, but meaningful experiences, he was able to feel in His heart that the teachings were good and true.  He was eventually baptized.  I asked him if he knew anyone whom I could share a spiritual message with and he referred his dad and his sister, Ann.  At the time, neither of them were interested in the church.  

I could never get a hold of his dad an after a few attempts I finally contacted Ann.  She didn't sound very interested, but accepted an invitation for me to teach her more. I sent her a few spiritual messages, but I couldn't get a hold of her until May when she told me her and her husband, Brandon, were progressing towards baptism.  Whoa!  This last week I received a picture Ann, Brandon, and there two little boys at their baptismal service.  So special.  I know I didn't have to do much with teaching them, but their baptism was certainly a tender mercy from God and an answer to my prayers. 

I could share so many more miracles if I had them time.  C'est la vie.

God, our Father in Heaven, lives loves you all.  I don't just believe it, I know it.  

Much love and aloha,

Sister Lindsay Evans

P.S. Sheri Dew visited us this week and it was amazing!  Sister Walker, Lundgren, and I sang a lovely arangement of How Can I Keep From Singing? with Sister Wu at the piano.  I will have to write about it another time. 


Photo 1 - How is this for missionary attire?
 Photo 2 - Dinner with the Purevdorj Family.  Brother Purevdorj was previously Elder Purevdorj, one of my first Zone Leaders!  He made us Mongolian food​.  He and his wife are really funny as well and it was great to be with them.
 Photo 3 - Tonga (Right) was baptized this week! Siope (Tonga's uncle) and Jade are some of my favorite people.  We would always share messages with them when I was first on my mission.  They were always filled with the Spirit and whenever we would leave Siope would say, "Sisters! ...You forgot your wings."  So sweet.  Siope gave a talk on the Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit at Tonga's baptism.  It was a very happy day and a very meaningful experience for me.