Thursday, December 18, 2014

He is the Gift.
Discover the Gift.
Embrace the Gift.
Share the Gift.

Isn't that video amazing? Last year I had the blessed opportunity to be sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the people of Glen Carbon, Illinois. What a wonderful time of the year it is to be spreading the good news about the life of our Saviour!

What do I think about Jesus Christ?
I know that He lives! I know that His love is real. Around this time last year I had hit rock bottom on my mission. I fell into a depression that I felt I was not going to be able to get out of. But sometimes God lets us hit rock bottom so that we will discover He is the rock at the bottom. Words cannot describe how sacred that time between the Lord and I was. When you feel like you have nothing left and nothing to hold on to, He is there to lift you up. How grateful I am for our Heavenly Father's gift to us of His Only Begotten Son, who would perform the greatest gift for all mankind: the Atonement. I testify of the healing power that comes from the Atonement. I know that when I exercise faith in Jesus Christ and trust in His promises, He leads me to and through precious moments of growth and love.

What am I doing because of it? 
Well, even though I am no longer a full-time missionary, I am a life-long member missionary!
Sharing my testimony of Jesus Christ is something I can do all day, every day.
Thankfully, God has give us talents to share it in so many different ways!

1. Pass-a-long cards! The holiday season also means breaks from school, which is the perfect time to catch up with old friends. Catching up in the big 'ol city of Toronto usually means grabbing a bite to eat. I have been taking these with me to leave behind at restaurants as a thank you note to go with my tips :)

2. Sharing my studies! I have been trying my best to keep up with my missionary studying habits. I developed a deeper love for the scriptures throughout my mission, along with a more intimate sense of the personal revelation that comes with sincere and diligent study. I introduce to you a typical Sister Limas-type study ;) I don't normally take pictures of my study journal, but I thought it would be a great opportunity to post them up with my study questions to get people probing. 

Bonus: When I pray to open or close my studies, I usually pray for an opportunity to share what I have learned that day. It's one thing to pray for missionary opportunities; it's another thing to pray for the preparation behind those opportunities. I have been super blessed to have been able to share the gospel with 4 friends in the past couple days. I know that Heavenly Father has been giving me (and trusting me with) these opportunities because I am giving Him my time to be prepared to do His work. 

3. Giving S.A.S.S ;) Along with this Christmas initiative comes the chance to share how we will make a difference this Christmas season. I decided that I will #ShareTheGift by giving S.A.S.S. (Secret Acts of Selfless Service)!! I am so excited for this project to go underway! I've been planning ideas in my notebook and have been praying about people who are in need at this time. I would show you what I've come up with.....but then it wouldn't be a secret now, would it? ;)

Now it's your turn. How will you #ShareTheGift?

Ariana Rae Limas

The hardest thing I've ever loved to do.

Monday, November 10, 2014

You guuuuuuys, I cannot even explain how much I am brimming with so much peace and joy right now. It still doesn't feel real that I come home in a week. My suitcases are slowly being filled due to absolutely no time this week to pack. I just feel like I'm getting transferred...except to a different country. Every time someone mentions "home" I get butterflies and get so excited and nervous all at the same time I could throw up! Hahaha I don't even know how to deal with myself! Gah, I just love love love everythiiiiiing. But I say that not because of excitement at home, but just peace about everything here. I guess as my last email as a missionary, you need to know some things :)

1. Heaven on Earth.
The temple trip on Friday was AMAZING! Sis Hargiss and Sis Thomas from the Farmington Ward came to pick Sister Huppi and I up. The whole way there, they were telling me all the exciting things that have been happening with the work in the area. Then Sister Hargiss starts to say, "Sister Limas, you know a lot of the time missionaries don't get to see the fruits of their labors. But I want you to know how much you've had an influence on Charlie (her husband). He cried for days after you left. And of course I did too." She then starts crying and continues telling us how having us Sisters over has helped Charlie with whatever he was going through. Then Sister Thomas joins in and says how much of an influence we've had on her son, Zack. I squealed so hard when she told me Zack was coming back to church!!! I'm sitting there in the back of the seat, speechless. How does someone react to all this? I was suuuuper touched. But I never know how to react for being thanked for something I didn't even do. The Spirit is the one that touches people. And it's the Atonement of Jesus Christ that heals. 

Papa & Momma Toombs :)
We get to the temple and I'm just so super giddy because I haven't been inside since July 2013! As we're checking in, I look over to my right and see Sister Sperry and Sister Bailey. I was super confused for a sec, but then next thing you know I'm trying to suppress my squeals and jumping on them with hugs. They were teaching Jeremiah Hernandez at the temple. He is one of the YSA that became active when he moved to St Louis and now he's preparing to go on a mission. I am SO stinking proud of him! As we went to walk further in the temple I just kept mouthing "I love you guyssss!" It was so funny because I see them ALL the time. But seeing them at the temple was special. I thought to myself, "wow, if this is what heaven is like--reuniting in joy with friends--then we have much to look forward to". Sister Hawk, one of our members from Glen Carbon happened to be working at the temple that day. It was so good to see her!! Sister Toombs, another member from Farmington, had come up to the temple to see me too. I ran over to her and she whispered how much she missed me. Then she told me she'd meet me inside. After changing, I went searching for Sister Toombs...and lo and behold; what do I see?!?!?! I see a man sitting next to her. My mouth dropped!!! I sat next to Bro Toombs and grabbed his arm and he says, "we thought we'd surprise you." Sister Toombs leans over and whispers, "it's because of you, Rouse, and Sudweeks that he is in the temple today." OH MY LANTA. I cannot even describe the amount of joy that was brimming from my heart to see them together in the temple. I got super emotional watching them together during our session. The Gospel blesses families!!!! Being able to feel and see the joy, happiness, and peace of being in the temple just strengthened my testimony of the Whys behind what we do. Why do we live the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Why do we serve missions? Why do we repent? Its so we can be worthy to enter into His Holy House, and eventually into His presence. The feelings in the temple are but a small glimpse of that eternal happiness. 

And boy, oh boy, did I LOVE our temple session. It was so powerful. And it was different. Back in July I definitely didn't feel the same way I did presently. Being away from the temple for so long really showed me how different I really am. Maybe its because the last 18 months of my life have been about teaching and learning to live covenants; maybe its because I understand the law of obedience and sacrifice a bit better and live it everyday; maybe its because I understand the gift of agency a whole lot more; or maybe its because I've learned and gained a stronger testimony of the Plan of Salvation and the importance of Christ's Atoning sacrifice. Whatever it was that happened since my last temple trip have definitely made the experience a lot more meaningful. And then being able to sit in that beautiful Celestial room just took my breath away. I don't even know how to begin to explain the overwhelming peace I received. 

As Sister Huppi and I were walking to the change room afterwards, Sister Toombs says, "let me take your stuff. Go outside. Bishop Blum is here and wants to see you." OH MY GOODNESS! I love Bishop Blum so stinking much! He is the Bishop from Farmington ward and I have grown to love that man tons. I couldn't believe how lucky I got that day. I've been lucky enough to see Paris friends when I got transferred to Charleston. And I've been lucky enough to see Glen Carbon friends whenever I went on exchanges while I was in Farmington. And after being in Farmington for 6 months, I didn't think I'd ever get to see them again. But BAM, a ton of them just happened to be at the temple that day. Gah. God is so mindful of my desires :) Anyway, Bishop Blum told me that the Elders in Farmington were now reaping the rewards of all my hard work. Bahahaha. Oh goodness, he is so great. He gave me a hug and said he hopes I could come down and visit before I leave. That killed me. I wish I could too, but there just isn't enough time. And thennnn we saw all the Senior Sister Missionaries at the temple too! And Sister Bryan from Glen Carbon. Seriously guys, reunions in heaven are going to be SO AWESOME!!! I am so extremely grateful for the Plan of Happiness and for eternal family and friends. There isn't anything better.

2. The Hardest Thing I've Ever LOVED To Do.
As I've been reflecting on the last 18 months, the only thing that comes to mind is this song. This is EXACTLY how I feel right now (except, I'm a Sister and not an Elder lol):
The hardest thing I've ever loves to do was letting go of everything I ever knew.
19 years of dreams left in my room as I buttoned up the jacket of my suit.
And the hardest word I've ever loved to say was goodbye to my mom and walk away.
Choking on my tie and on my tears, as I walked down the hall into those years.
And the sweetest song I ever loved to sing filled the MTC on angels' wings.
And the chorus filled my soul, five thousand strong
And I wished it would just go on and on.

The firmest hand I ever loved to shake was my trainer's with that big grin on his face.
He grabbed my bag and put his arm 'round me and whispered,
"I'm gonna work those Mr. Mac's right off your feet".

And the hardest words I ever anguished for came just before some lady slammed the door.
And my trainer left me hanging out to dry as a minute of painful silence rolled right by.
But the hardest tears I've ever loved to cry fell as I opened up my mouth and testified.
Between the tiny walls of strangers' living room, the Spirit told their hearts my words were true.

And the most wonderful sound I ever heard is the sound of water running in the church
As someone I've come to love got dresses in white
My eyes saw their first glimpse of heaven's light.

The hardest thing I've ever come to see is a Man down on His knees in agony.
A drop of blood falls down on olive leaves; for a moment, He suffers there for me.

The hardest thing I've ever loved to do was getting on this plane, and coming home to you.
In a million ways completely torn apart as a land so far away still owns my heart.
In the most sincere prayer I've ever prayed I thanked my God for each and every day
For the blessing of the man I've come to be as I walk up and kiss my momma's cheek. 

My mission has been incredible. There are seriously no words to describe it. And legitimately, like the Elder, my trainer too has left me hanging out to dry. And there have been many similar experience that have made me feel uncomfortable and awkward and have made me go way beyond my comfort zone. It has been the hardest, most difficult 18 months of my life, which have brought countless tears, many heartaches, and sicknesses that I feel like I can't get rid of. But it has also been the most joyous, wonderful 18 months of my life that I would never trade for the world. But that's what change is all about, right? If it doesn't challenge you, it won't change you. Seriously, there are no words to describe the amount of gratitude I have to be able to be here and witness the Lord's miracles--the miracles that are able to happen because of tour Saviour, Jesus Christ. I literally stand all amazed at it all. As my dear friend, Michelle Donald says, "growth doesn't just sporadically happen. It comes from change, and change, by nature, is uncomfortable." If it doesn't challenge you, it won't change you.

3. Highlight Experience - MSLM History
Every missionary of the Missouri St Louis Mission is required to submit a highlight experience. This was mine:

I don't know if words can adequately describe how much serving this mission means to me. 18 months ago while on an airplane about to land in St Louis, two Elder had asked me, "Why are you even here? You didn't have to leave what you did behind. Why didn't you just stay?" I wish I could have given them a straight answer then. All I knew is Heavenly Father wanted me to be here. Those questions have run through my mind multiple times throughout my mission, especially when times were hard. But I want to thank those two Elders for asking me that because every time it has run through my head, Heavenly Father has been gracious enough to show me the "whys". The most important thing I have learned is that my mission is not a sacrifice. Giving 18 months of my life is nothing for the sacred experience of learning and growth Heavenly Father has allowed me to have. What a sacred privilege it has been to work so closely with the Holy Ghost; to feel a smidge of Heavenly Father's infinite love for His children; and to come to know my Savior like I've never known Him before. I know that He lives! I know this is His work and that He works miracles. And I know that because of His Atoning sacrifice, there is no sickness that can't be relieved; not task too overwhelming to bare; no weakness that can't be overcome; and no heartache that can't be healed. I am grateful for all teh trials that have helped me learn of the beauty of the Atonement. That's when "sacrifice" turns into "sacred"--when we give our all to the Lord and allow Him to work the miracles in our areas, and most importantly, in ourselves. I am grateful for every member and investigator I have been blessed to work with and learn from. To all my district and zone leaders--thank you for teaching me. I hope you know how much I look up to all of you. To all my companions (Sisters Scott, Ash, Fernandez, Linton, Rouse, Sudweeks, Craig, Tonnies, Webster, Bailey, Sperry, and Huppi)--thank you for each teaching me a different way to love.

My highlight experience has been my entire journey in the Missouri St Louis Mission. I am foever grateful for every person I have met and for the impact you all have had on my life. "Neglect not the gift that is in thee" and "cheerfully do all things". Just remember a mission is just a lesson in learning how to love. Leave a legacy of it.

Sister Ariana Rae Afu Limas (the Canadian Filipino // Restoration Rapper)

4. He'll Carry You
For my last Sunday in Fenton, Sis Huppi and I were given the opportunity to do a musical number. I just want to share some of the lyrics from the song we chose:

I stand as a witness of the saving grace of our Savior's love. Those lyrics have been so true in my life...both the pain and the hope. I testify of Christ's infinite Atonement. It has no bounds. I am humbled that Heavenly Father has allowed me to have front row seats to see the changes that happen in people's lives when they begin to trust in the Lord. It's because of the power of the Atonement that Debbie Gray can quit smoking and drinking coffee in a week. It's because of the power of the Atonement that AJ Scheiner can leave all that he has behind to follow Jesus Christ. Its because of the power of the Atonement that Patrick Badger can overcome his weakness and frailties to find happiness and hope. Its because of the power of the Atonement that Teena LaRoue can feel guilt and pain lifted and is now working towards the temple. I could go on and on about the incredible people I have met and the amazing things that have happened because they've allowed the Lord to change them. Change isn't possible without His help. All we need to do is "turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart" (Mosiah 7:33) and let Him do the molding. 

ANYWHOOZERS. You get my point, right? The mission has been fantastic :) 

For you, I'll see you in 7 days.

For me, I'll see you in 1 more Sisters Pday, 3 more exchanges, 1 more day blitz, 1 more YSA area trip, 2 more Oakville YW to teach, 2 more musical numbers, 1 more interview, 1 more district meeting, 1 more weekly planning session, 1 more transfer call, 1 more trip to Glen Carbon, 3 more baptisms, 20+ more lessons to teach, and a countless amount of Heavenly Father's miracles to be seen. IT AIN'T OVER UNTIL ITS OVER.

Sister Limas

Life Lessons Learned

Friday, November 7, 2014

SOUPS SORRY that I didn't give anyone a heads up about emailing later in the week. But I promise its for a good reason! You ready? I GET TO GO TO THE TEMPLE TODAY!!!!!!!! :D (aka today is pday for me). Why this is such a big deal to me, I will let you know in a little bit. Tons has happened the past 2 weeks and I've been pondering hard what I wanted to share with you all. But as my header states: Life Lessons Learned. That's pretty much what sums up the past couple of weeks and I'll try to make as much sense as possible :p

Lesson #1: Never give up on getting to the Temple. 
So like I stated in my last email home, I've been totally neglecting all my "home-prep" stuff, including getting myself to the temple. Our current temple policy is that we can only go to the temple at our half-way and end mark of our mission. For the past transfer I've been desperately trying to find someone to go with me! Every Sister who is either going home with me or at their half-way mark has already gone to the temple. I can't even explain the amount of phone calls I have had to make to try and figure this out. The Assistants finally found me someone to go with...and I totally slacked at trying to find her because by the time I finally got a hold of her, she had already gone. GAH. So faiiiiiil. And so it's just been a constant Sister-Limas-begging-the-Assistants to give me more Sisters to try. I was finally able to get them to approve of me asking Sister Gadi, the other Filipino Sister in the mission. And she was sooooo set to go with me. But then a couple days later I get a call from President. He tells me that to avoid all this hassle of trying to find companions to go with to the temple, he's just going to send everybody with their own group when they hit their half-way/end mark. So he told me to present Sister Gadi with the option of going with her group or going with me. OBV, I knew she was going to pick to go with her group. And I had to tell her it was ok to do so. So there I am, Monday morning, NOT having a Pday because I'm still hoping that I can go on Friday...but still no companion to go with. President gave me a few more Sisters to try and, of course, when I called to ask, they had all already gone. I had been preparing myself to not be disappointed in case I really couldn't go. But after having to tell Sis Gadi she didn't have to go with me anymore I was like just about to give up, but still hanging on to the hope that at this point, Heavenly Father's got to make something work. Monday night comes and I receive a voicemail from President telling me to call him because he has a solution. We call him up and the following conversation happens:

President: Sister Limas, you sure all the Sisters I asked you to call went already?
Me: Yes, President! Everyone has gone already!
President: Sister Huppi, when did you last go to the temple for your half-way mark? 
Huppi: In May.
President: Ok, here's my solution. We all know how hard Sister Limas has been working to get herself to the temple. You have to promise not to tell anyone this, but Sister Huppi, I'm going to let you have a 2nd half-way temple trip so that you two can go together.
Me: ARE YOU SERIOUS?!?!?!?!?! AHHHHHHH!!!! Thanks, Dad!

Lessons learned:
a. You never, ever, EVER give up on getting to the Temple. EVER.
b. Keep trying and keep working and the Lord has something working up His sleeves.
c. Align your will with God's, and everything will be ok. 

I'll explain the last one. Sister Huppi and I kept saying, "gah, they should just let us go together! It would make things so much easier!" But we didn't dare ask because we knew that's not part of President's temple policy. I've been learning a ton about aligning my will with Heavenly Father's and my agency over the past 2 1/2 transfers. There are tons of things I don't dare ask Heavenly Father, not because I don't have the faith (because I sure as heck do), but because I don't know if it's His will. But, this experience proved to me when we try to listen to Heavenly Father's will, despite what I think might be better, He will provide a way. And he did :) One of the quotes I love that best describes this experience:

"he knew that he could never ask in prayer for something that was not in harmony with the will of the Lord. He fasted that he might know how to show the Lord he had faith and would accept God's will in their lives. He wanted to make sure he had done all that he could do..."
(Book of Mormon Institute Manual; "Thou Shalt Not Ask That Which Is Contrary To My Will".) Read the whole story in the manual. It's super good!

Lesson #2: "He will consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain".
I've been pondering a lot about where my faith is at. As I've been reflecting and flipping through my journals, I came across this entry and wanted to share it with you:

"On the way back to the car, Sister Sperry asked me a question (I forget what exactly) about my mission experience. I had told her something along the lines of 'I feel like its been a constant battle with satan' with my feelings of inadequacies. It happens all the time, and I know its because of satan. But then I told her that Elder Robbins talk from conference is SO true--some weaknesses we are going to have to accept is going to be a challenge our whole mortal life. And I told her that there are weaknesses I have that I feel like I can never get rid of; and sometimes when I feel like I've finally got a grasp on it, I'm reminded how attached I am still to that weakness and how easily it triggers. I explained that at times I get frustrated and ask WHY that even has to be a weakness. But I've come to learn that it keeps me on the ball and constantly relying on the Atonement of Jesus Christ. To be frankly honest, I don't think I would have the testimony I do about the Atonement if I didn't have these weaknesses that make me depend on Christ so much."

As I read that, I realized I now personally understood Lehi's council to Jacob in 2 Nephi 2:2. A testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ is what keeps me going. Its what makes sharing the gospel possible for me every single day. Christ is the reason for all of this. Otherwise I wouldn't be out here. "He bled from every pore for us, so let us sweat from every pore for Him." One morning this past week as I was saying my prayers before my study, I just poured out my heart in gratitude to Heavenly Father for the Savior. I realized that He's the only reason I hold on. If I didn't have my life centered on Jesus Christ, I don't know where I'd be. As I tried to think about it, I realized how much darker despair can be if we don't have the hope of the Savior's light. He is what gives me hope to hold on. 

Lesson #3: Trust your Priesthood holder.
Sooooo I have been an absolute emotional mess almost every morning. I wake up feeling super empty and during comp study as I'm sharing my insights with Sister Huppi, I'm bawling my eyes out for whatever reason. Hahaha. I can only laugh at myself because it's pretty funny (and almost pathetic) how emotional mornings are for me. I finally figured out why though! One morning as I was running, I just told myself to take it day-by-day; to focus on what was happening that day instead of worrying about a bajillion other things I had to get done. As I did that, my heart began to smile, which in turn started making me smile. Then I realized what was wrong with me. The work brings me so much genuine joy. The idea of leaving it soon has been emotionally hard. I realized what I feel in the morning is the same feeling like right after the Christmas holidays and you wake up and say, 'aw man, it's back to school/work/regular schedule already?' OR when you've spent months preparing for a huge event and the day after it's over it's like ' what's my next goal/project in life?' THAT'S exactly how I feel EVERY SINGLE DAY. But I keep telling myself IT AIN'T OVER TILL ITS OVER SISTER LIMAS! QUIT! Anyway, so I figured it was time to get a blessing from my district leader. Just a little BG: my district leader and I clash so hard. We have different ways we do missionary work and we are just so opposite. But over the past transfer, I have come to love and respect him as my leader. Do I still make faces of disappointment when I feel like he's not doing what he should be? Yes. Do I trust him a little bit more now than I used to? Most definitely. So we go into a room and the following conversation happens:

E. Peterson: ok what's going on?
Me: --me going on and on about everything and crying--
E. Peterson: yep. I get it. That was me a few days ago. This last weekend, I was done. I'm ready to go home. But the mission nurse gave me some advice. When you get home, fulfill your callings, read your scriptures, go to church, and pray. Do those things and everything else will fall into place.
Me: I KNOW that. That's the only thing in my life I'm not concerned about because that's the only thing I have to hold on to, man!
E. Peterson: Oh. Well good on you. Sister Limas, you are a converted missionary. I can tell you that. 

OK. I just officially stamped myself with ultimate jerk status. Haha. Seriously, Elder Peterson is always looking out for all of us and I always give him such a hard time. Anyway, in the blessing I was told twice one very important thing:Above all else, remember Heavenly Father loves you. Being reminded that Heavenly Father loves me isn't new. Almost every blessing I receive it is said. But this time it was different. This time I realized that the things I may be questioning or iffy about in my life will all be made up for. Whatever happens, its because Heavenly Father loves me. Its funny, because I've always known that (that's what my blog is all about. duh.): "I believe in Christ, so come what may", right? But there's a difference in believing in Christ, and then believing in His promises to me. I didn't realize how far I've strayed from the latter. And this is why I've been re-evaluating myself and where my faith is at. 

Lesson #4: Hold on to the faith you do have.
As I've been trying to answer the question, "where is my faith at", over the past few weeks, I have definitely learned a ton. Lets just say satan has just been trying super hard on me to doubt myself. But what confused me was all the miracles we were seeing. The miracles in this work don't happen unless there is faith!!! And I have countless amount of stories and experiences from the last two weeks alone that confirm that! So what I didn't get was that if I have faith sufficient for these miracles to happen, whyyyyy do I still feel like I'm lacking? When it comes to the work, when it comes to the people we teach, when it comes to finding, when it comes to the Atonement working to change people....I have full faith and trust in the Lord that the miracles will happen. Then I realized I've been feeling like I'm lacking because I don't have that same strength of faith and trust for the Lord to work the same miracles in my life. That was definitely a face-slapper. So over the past few weeks, I've been having a lot of Daddy-Daughter time trying to strengthen that faith. I've been praying for continuous healing and forgiveness and more purification of heart. Anyway, a few days ago I was reflecting on how most of the lessons we've been teaching I've been testifying on trusting in the Lord and spiritual healing. I kinda cringed when I thought about it because at first I was like, "oh geez. how am I testifying of these things when I feel like they aren't happening in my own life". What comes out of my mouth are things I say with my whole heart...and I just didnt get how I was testifying of those things when everyday I'm trying to evaluate myself on it. Among my conglomeration of doubting thoughts, the Spirit gently whispered, "you are bearing testimony of it because you are finally in the process of it. You're allowing the healing to happen." I LOVE the Spirit. I love how one gentle whisper turns all doubts away. 

Lesson #5: Parable of the Pearl Necklace.
Before I go on about this lesson, I have to tell you the parable first. This is a story that was shared with me at the beginning of my mission and has stuck with me all throughout. And it's only in the last few weeks that I have been pondering it hard core:

There was a little girl who had a pair of fake pearl earrings. She loved wearing them. They made her feel pretty and all grown up. One day her father calls her over and says, "sweetie, I have something for you. But I need you to give me your pearl earrings." She responds, "No, daddy! I don't want to give you my earrings. I love them too much!" Her father replies, "ok, if that's what you really want, then you can keep them." A few days later the little girl comes up to her dad crying. Her father asks her what the matter is. Between sobs, the little girl takes her earrings off and says, "here daddy. You can have my pearl earrings." Her father smiles down at her and says, "thank you, sweetie." He then pulls out a real pearl necklace and puts it around her neck. 

Moral of the story: Heavenly Father has beautiful blessings in store for each of us. Sometimes we forget that what we're holding on to might not necessarily be the biggest and better blessings Heavenly Father wants us to have. He doesn't take away our agency. And it isn't until we choose to let go when He can start pouring them out to us. I love love love sharing this in lessons to teach people about the commandments. And this week I realized I needed to apply it to my own life as well. 

I was reading D. Todd Christofferson's talk: As Many As I Love, I Rebuke and Chasten. This is definitely one of my favourite talks and has been one that has changed my life and attitude since the first time I read it. It's interesting to look back at my notes and what I've highlighted then and what I've highlighted this time around. Christofferson says that divine chastening has at least 3 purposes:

#1. To persuade to repent.
#2. To refine and sanctify us.
#3. To redirect our course in life to what God knows is a better path. 

So, MIND=BLOWN. I realized that #1 and #2 were things that stood out to me 8 months ago and are things I have constantly been working on. #3 however wasn't something that I felt applied to me 8 months ago. As I've been pondering about why it all of a sudden was sticking out, I realized its because I have come to that point: Heavenly Father wants to redirect my life for something better. It's been such a constant battle trying to figure out what He wants for me, and then BAM, I get a "I'm still not telling you what I have for you, but know I have something better in mind." I was so shocked!!! I have always been so used to being on the same page as Heavenly Father! If I were to describe my relationship with Heavenly Father, I will use the Brother of Jared story (Mahonri Moriancumer is my main man! I always reference his story to people because there are just so many awesome principles!). Very rarely does Heavenly Father tell me exactly what to do. But the times He does, I do it. Most of the time it's Him waiting for me to do something, and me doing it and having it slowly unfolded to me that this is what I am supposed to be doing. The reason I'm able to do that is because of the Spirit. The line in my patriarchal blessing that says, "through the Gift of the Holy Ghost you received at baptism, you have the power to choose the right in all you do" has been the confidence factor behind all the things I do. When I know I'm living the way I'm supposed to, I know I won't be guided incorrectly. I've always felt confirming peace that whatever I did was Heavenly Father's will. And for the first time EVER I realized I was on a different page than Heavenly Father. He's been calling out to me to be on the same page, but I haven't been heeding. MIND=BLOWN.

Realizing that has brought me SO MUCH peace though! I've been feeling like I've had a stunt in my progression, and now I know why! I've been wanting a new challenge or something new to work on, but I couldn't pinpoint what it was that Heavenly Father wanted me to work on. Now I know. It also helped my heart know that Heavenly Father has my best interests in mind. I trust that. 

Also, realizing that I'm on a different page made me question how that even happened. Then I realized, it's because I've applied #1 and #2 so much, and am STILL applying it. And of course when you're repenting daily and seeking for refinement and sanctification constantly, you become a changed person. You have a changed heart. So OF COURSE #3 is going to happen! That's the automatic result of repentance, change, and refinement. You become a different being. And when you do, the Lord has bigger and better plans for you. And thus I prayed and told Heavenly Father I was giving Him my pearl earrings. I know the Lord can do a lot more with my life than I can, so i just need to keep giving my heart to Him.

Yep, lots of lessons learned over the past few days, weeks, transfers, ...and obviously the whole mission. 

Gots to go to the temple now! Sorry I didn't have time to respond to anyone!

Sister Limas
(i'll email again in 3 days :p)

"This is the Lord's work. Let Him do some of it."

Monday, October 27, 2014

That is a quote from Elder Dallin H. Oaks; and is a quote that I have tried to live from the beginning of my mission. I share it with you now because of the crazy experiences we've had this week! You ready?

#1. "Yeah, you're really hot."
Literally. I got sick this week; and for the first time on my mission--a fever--ALL DURING EXCHANGES. Oh my lanta. It was like a nightmare coming true. Remember my rant of worries of becoming an STL and not being able to do it because of how often I get sick due to fatigue? Yea...OK. It just happened. I was with Sister Koffard in Crystal City when it all started, and when I went on exchanges with Sister Gunter it got a ton worse. Longest 30 minutes of tracting of my life! Haha. But as bad as the sickness was, I just had an absolute blast. I got to bond with my grand-baby, Sister Gunter :D How I was able to function and teach and talk? No clue. That was definitely not my own strength. I bare solid witness of the enabling power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Time after time, despite my physical weaknesses, I've been able to teach, testify, and work. Jacob 4:7 describes exactly what I'm trying to say: 
"Nevertheless, the Lord God showeth us our weakness that we may know that it is by his grace and his great condescensions unto the children of men, that we have power to do these things." 
This has been SO TRUE for me countless amount of times on my mission and I am extremely grateful for that knowledge. Every time I let out a breath of frustration of my physical, emotional, and mental weaknesses, Heavenly Father always kindly reminds me its so that I have that constant renewed witness that the enabling power of the Atonement is real. So yeah, I was hot. But the Spirit of God is a fire burning! This is His work.

#2. "It's my job to chase you away."
What the freak lady! Right after the ex-communicated anti-Mormons, that lady tenant was probably the meanest anyone has ever been to me my whole mission ( & its been a blessing to not have so many:)) We were just dropping off an invitation and note to a couple of our potential investigators living in the same complex and she cornered us and totally chewed us out for "soliciting". Gah. Whatever, lady. God loves you too. Anyway, that happened on Saturday...which was one of the most discouraging days ever existent! least that's what satan tried to make it be. We were receiving one bad news after another! One of our investigators texted us in the morning telling us her parents didn't think she was ready for baptism; another one of our investigators said that he no longer wants to meet with us because the Father of his mom's Episcopalian church invited him to come back to their church; another investigator texted and said she knew the church was true but was having an over-whelming feeling to back off; a potential hung up on us when we told him we were outside for our appointment; another investigator cancelled on us and the Priesthood holders we brought after we showed up; and when we went to reschedule with one of our investigators we caught her in the middle of a moment with her boyfriend....oh gross. That pretty much threw everything out the door. It made me so sick to my stomach. BUT despite all this that satan was trying to discourage us with, it didn't weigh so heavily. The Lord lifts burdens. All the GOOD that happened that day wins a ton more points than any bad can. This is His work.

#3. Be bold with the Lord.
So it's Saturday night and we are planning for Sunday. We get to # of new investigators and I kept my mouth shut. I had a feeling that 3 would be a great goal. But I let my natural woman doubt and rethink it over because of how slim finding has been for us lately. Sister Huppi interrupts my thoughts and says, "1? 2? 3? 2?". I jump in and say, "3. I don't know how or why, but we are going to find 3 new investigators tomorrow". Sunday approaches and I feel slightly jittery for what the day was going to bring. But beginning at 6:30am, we prayed to the Lord with bold faith, pleading that we would find 3 new investigators. 

Right after church we decided to go across the street to Trish Hubbard, a lady we had street contacted the week before. We ended up sitting on the sidewalk with her and as we talked she started to open up and cry. We introduced her to the Plan of Salvation. Her kids joined us on the sidewalk and asked a ton of questions. It was so great!!! Trish agreed to meet up with us to give her a church tour and teach her more! There goes miracle numero uno! :) 

Next we drove over to Patricia's. She didn't come to church and her phone was disconnected...which made us super worried. We get to her place and her boyfriend, Steven, is standing outside. YEEEEEEEUS!!! He is never home and we've been wanting to start teaching him for quite some time. We told him we wanted him to come join us. We all talked on the porch and got to know each other, and then the inspired questions started coming. We are teaching them as a couple (FINALLY) next week. There goes miracle numero dos!! :) 

We had a couple of appointments right after, but every single prayer we said was in thanks for finding two and still continuous pleading that we would find one more. Being busy as we are as STLs, we almost never get our full 3 hrs of weekly planning done in one sitting. It was 7:30pm and we were ready to go home to make some goals for the upcoming week. But we decided to do one last stop. Charles was a media referral that we've been trying to contact over the last couple of weeks, but we just haven't been able to catch him. We've met his roommate multiple times, who was less than happy to see us keep appearing. But I was like "let's just drop this Book of Mormon off for Charles, then we'll head home." Well, guess what. Charles came to the door and BOY, DID OUR FACES SHOW OUR GLADNESS. He is quite the happy guy. We stood on his porch talking and he says, "I want to know why you guys do what you do. No one leaves everything behind to go out and talk to strangers. And you're all so happy! I see the Elders on the street a lot. And I drive by the temple everyday. It always reminds me of you missionaries and I just want to know what is the driving force behind all of it." We bore testimony of the blessings of the Gospel. We taught him about the Book of Mormon. He is super stoked to meet with us. CHYEAHHHH. There goes miracle numero tres!!! :) 

AH! THE LORD IS SO WONDERFUL. Sunday's experience definitely strengthened my testimony of the Lord's power in this work and the importance of following the Spirit, despite how small of a whisper the direction is. It was a great reminder to me for a bunch of other things I've been pondering about [I shouldn't turn away the small whisper. I shouldn't let worries overcome that calm peaceful feeling.] THIS IS HIS WORK, GUYS!

"THIS IS THE LORD'S WORK. LET HIM DO SOME OF IT." If anything, this week has been a huge testimony to me of the truth of that statement. All I do is work. None of these miracles happen because of what I do. None of these people are converted because of what I say. It's all the Spirit. The Lord works the miracles even before we get to them. All we do is be obedient and follow. NBD. 

Oh and I just want to add this because it brought me great excitement this week...JACOB CHAPTER 5, GUYS! Oh my laaaaaanta! Let me just share what I wrote in my journal that night because my MIND was definitely =BLOWN!

"First of all...I had an AMAZING study this morning! I just remember feeling slightly discouraged this morning because of...well--you know. I studied first and my prayer was quite long. i just wanted Heavenly Father to know what my desires were and that I really did want my will aligned with His. I open up my BoM and of course I'm on Jacob 5...longest chapter ever. At first I was like 'aw man, what am i going to get out of it this time.' Normally I think way to hard about the allegory. It hurts my brain. I learn about the gathering of Israel and about covenants, but I still try so hard to understand everything about this chapter. It almost becomes a chore. But for ONCE in my life, the Allegory of the Olive Tree applied to me and my situation! Boy, was I edified! It was pretty much about the 'Creative Process' (refer to Elder Hales' talk 'Every Good Gift'); goals; conversion; the Atonement; decisions; refinement; agency; holding on just a little longer; patience; staying anxiously engaged; beware of self-righteousness...oh it was AWESOME! I didn't get any detailed answers, but I felt like i got instruction as to how I need to deal with things, especially when I get home. And of course as I'm sharing and explaining my thoughts to Sister Huppi, I heard more stuff of what I needed to hear (the Spirit is so great!)."

​Seriously, guys. Jacob chapter 5. It is the bomb. I wish you could see my Book of Mormon. It is craaaaazy filled with notes. Anyway....sorry, that was like super exciting for me. Who knew I could get so much personal stuff out of that allegory?!?! 

I hope you all have a fan-tab week!
See you in 3 ;D

I've been neglecting my "home-prep" real bad, its stressing me out. There's so much good work happening I don't have time to think about home (which is FANTASTIC!) But that puts my temple-trip and highlight entry and everything else on pause....which isn't good. I'm pretty sure I'm stressing the APs out for not getting on it for the temple because they still have to find someone to go with me. Ayaaa. Just pray I get this stuff done.

Oh, and President sent me this this morning in response to me asking for permission to apply to school: "Yes you may apply for school. What if I don't let you go home because you are doing such a good job here. You know I couldn't stop you, but know also that we will miss you a lot."

Dang it. Now I am in tears. I feel like he just finalized my death sentence. GAAAAH. I still have 3 weeks of good stuff to do. The killin' ain't happening yet!!!

Sister Limas

Fake St Louis Cake!
Me and my grand-baby, Sister Gunter, after exchanges :)

Miracle Madness

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Hey hey famjam! I will apologize now if I don't respond to anyone's email today. I am short on time and only have time for the mass email...BECAUSE THERE ARE SO MANY MIRACLES TO TELL YOU ABOUT! Oh liiiiiife :)

I would love to tell you the detail of each miracle, but to sum it up, I will quote some of my investigators/lessactive, and hopefully you'll understand:

"Yea, I prayed about being baptized. At first I felt weird about it because I've already been baptized, ya know? But as I was praying I felt really good and I knew this is what God wants me to do."
--Nicole Amelung

"Can I know what day I'm being baptized on now? Pleaaaaaaaaseeeeeeeeeee?!?!?!"
--Ciara Kerpernien

"Being baptized is definitely something I need to do. I know I need to get married to Steven and I need to stop smoking."
--Patricia Diehlschneider

"I thought about what you said about coffee and tea. I can give it up. I will just drink hot chocolate in the morning and find some herbal tea the next time I go to the store."
--Patricia Diehlschneider

"I read the introduction to the Book of Mormon and highlighted my favorite line, 'The Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth'. That's so cool!"
--Ciara Kerpernien

"Yes I read the chapter you told me to read. It was about Jesus Christ being with the people and about baptism. I felt so good and so at peace when reading it. It really helps me feel better throughout the day".
--Nicole Amelung

Mark Rode: I don't know if I want to come to church this Sunday. Hearing people be closed minded and say 'This is the only true church' turns me off.
Me: No, Mark. You need to come to church. Look back at verse 38 (of Alma 32).
Mark Rode: So if I don't come that will make me lose the faith instead of build it. Which is what I want. Ok I'm coming to church then.

​"You know, when the Sisters used to come I would be joking and fooling around like a class clown. They would show me a couple videos, but that's about it. It's like I was postponing ​any messages they wanted to give me. And now I realize that it was because I wasn't ready to make a change. I am so happy you encouraged me to talk to the Bishop because I've never felt lighter in my life. And now I'm seeking for more change. I'm wanting to understand the scriptures."
--Teena LaRoue

Yeah, this week has been SO INSANE!
...back-to-back exchanges, seeking members for lessons, doing mission prep for a YW, intensive planning, prepping a training for the zone, planning a surprise party...OH BOY. It has been a whirl! By the time Friday rolled in and we had exchanged back, Sis Huppi was like, "Sister Limas, I don't even know you. We haven't spent any time getting to know each other!" Hahaha. And it's so true. I've known Sister Huppi since she got out, but this was really the only time we've been given the chance to work with each other. But with all the busy-ness, we just haven't been able to take the time to get to know each other personally. 

Saturday comes a long and right after comp study I say, "it is such a HUGE test of my faith when we don't have any set appointments!!" Haha, I am so grateful for Sister Huppi. She says, "we can do this. We're going to find people!"

AND WE DIIIID :) Man, I don't even know where the day went. We talked to some pretty cool people and had a couple three return-appointments. Here is one cool experience that really fortifies my testimony that the Lord is preparing people and putting them in our path. Literally.

So we are on our way to visit Nicole. We are like 3 minutes away and she calls and cancels on us because she isn't feeling well. Sis Huppi asks me if we should turn around. I say "no, let's just go. We were going to visit that less-active that lives in her apartment complex." And of course, the less-active isn't home. We're walking back to our car and bump into this girl throwing out trash. We start talking to her and, yep, 1 NEW INVESTIGATOR, BABY--teaching by the dumpster like a boss. Her name is Kylie. She's 13 and loves God. A LOT. We gave her a Book of Mormon and she was so fascinated by it!! We get to see her again this week with her mom and sister!! Woo!

So why I tell you all of this is a) because you need to know that I know that God works miracles EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. He loves His children too much to not to. And b) so you have a little background of what I'm about to tell you next.

For some reason, I felt such a huge burden on my shoulders all of Sunday morning and all throughout church. I was looking forward to taking the Sacrament and listening to the Primary Program and was hoping that would make me feel better. Don't get me wrong, church was inspiring. I loved the program and gospel principles and our unique lesson during relief society, but my mind was so clouded and I wasn't completely all there. 

We got home from church to do studies. I went to the bathroom and when I came out Sister Huppi was praying. I just thought to myself, "I need to do that right now". I've come to learn to just take in deep breaths when I'm feeling the stress and strain. I guess Sis Huppi caught on because she turns to me and says, "are you ok?" 

Normally, I'm too prideful and say, "yeah I'm fine! I'm just..." and quickly brush off what's bothering me. But as Sister Huppi asked me this, I couldn't answer. I just took a deep breath and said, "Yeah...I'm just struggling right now". I don't think anyone gets how much it takes to get the word "struggling" out of my mouth. I always refuse to say it and give in to my weaknesses. She sits me down and asks, "what's up?" And I say, "that's the thing!!! I don't know!!!! It's just been such a weird day." And of course, my voice is now starting to tremble.

I don't really know why I'm explaining this to you. People always tell you that the mission is difficult. But it isn't until you are on one when you realize what plays into that difficulty. Anyway, I'm super grateful for Sister Huppi because she patiently waited as I was trying to muster up the courage to tell her what was wrong. Mind you--I actually didn't know what was wrong. But opening your mouth and just talking definitely helps you realize what is actually bugging you. So my rant went along the lines of the following (and please, you really don't have to read the fine print. I'm just doing it so you see the contrast point of something I'm going to bring up after):

"Ughhh...well I woke up feeling super weird this morning. Heartbroken almost. And then while I was getting ready all these worries were just filling my head and engulfing me. Like I've been doing so well this week not thinking about stuff, and then all of a sudden I felt like it just weighed on me today. And then while I was praying I felt so distant from Heavenly Father. And then I flipped through my journal and read some of my entries from last transfer. I realized there were some experiences that brought me peace but I completely forgot about. So it was a blessing to be reminded of it, but then I realized because we've been so busy I haven't been recording our experiences this transfer and now I'm not going to remember any of them when I go home! And the Spirit keeps prompting me to read my patriarchal blessing and I've been putting it off for weeks! So I said ok I'm going to repent and read it now. But when I pulled out my folder, a bunch of paper falls out and that letter fell into my lap...the exact thing I've been AVOIDING all week. I was fighting the temptation so hard in the shower today to not read it, but then there it was in front of me. So I figured Heavenly Father's saying now is the time to read it. And I did. And I felt so at peace about everything. I felt the Spirit as I read it. But then Patricia and Nicole said they couldn't make it to church which of course adds to the heartbreak!! Like we worked so hard to find them rides! And then the Glen Carbon sisters texted and said Eric wasn't getting baptized today, and that threw my emotions completely off the boat. AND I DONT EVEN KNOW THE KID! He's your investigator! But I just felt so defeated hearing that he wasn't getting baptized. And then the primary kids singing that song just made me miss my family so much! And I have never admitted out loud how much I actually miss them. And then Mark and Ciara didn't come to church! And I don't even know why I"m crying right now but it 's just one thing after another and I just feel so weighed down right now!"

THANK GOODNESS for Sister Huppi, because right after my rant she told me she was struggling today too. Gah, see communication is so key, and I'm so glad that we've established to be open with each other. Sister Huppi is a ROCK. I have always looked at her as such and have always admired that. She shared some things with me and I'm sitting there getting more emotional because I realized why Heavenly Father put us together. She gets it. Emotionally, she gets what I'm going through. And that's because we had similar experiences. And I am just so grateful I am with her because she's showing me that I'm not alone and that even though we're strong and focused, there are times it's going to haunt us. I can't even express how grateful I am for her. She then shared a scripture with me that she shared at her farewell. It was the story of Aaron teaching Lamoni's father. Important thing she taught me:

"O God...if there is a God, and if thou art God; wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my [ FEARS ] to know thee". 

She talked about how giving away our sins to know God is one thing, but giving away our fears to know Him takes our faith to the next level. 

I then shared D&C 62 with her in hopes it would help her out. This section of scripture has been very sacred to me, so I won't go into heavy details. But as I read it to Sister Huppi, I just started bawling my eyes out. The Lord is so wonderful and He has so many precious promises to the faithful. Gets me every single time. 

So after talking and praying with each other, we then had to decide a gameplan for the rest of that day. I start laughing and say, "Wow, we have had such an AMAZING week. Its crazy how the adversary tries to play with you. Everything I told you--what I felt like were my failures for today--weighed on me because satan was making me feel like that failure was a reflection of my whole mission. But it's not!! This week has been so wonderful!" Satan is the freaking devil, fo'shoz. 

 We felt really strongly about giving Melinda a visit. She is a friend of Jake, one of our recent converts. She was able to sit in on the last lesson we had with Jake and the Spirit was super strong. The only reason she wasn't a new investigator was because she couldn't commit to a return appointment because of work. So we drop by Melinda's with cookies and she invites us in. She then proceeds to tell us that she's been reading the introduction to the Book of Mormon over and over and over again. She's in love with it! And she is so fascinated by Joseph Smith. She kept saying "I wanted to read more, but I can't do it without your help! I just want to learn about these prophets! I was looking at the cross-references and they connect back to the Bible. They fill in what I don't know. I just want to start reading it but I don't know where to start. Like I know about Jesus Christ, and the Bible talks about His teachings and His death, but that's about it. I have a feeling I will learn more about Him in here.

OH MY LANTA!!!!!!!!!!!!! We taught her the Restoration and I was pretty much speechless because she was basically teaching herself. The last time we were Melinda she said that she's open and that she doesn't like how religions feel like they are the only one that's right because that just causes the drift between all of us. But this time she referenced back to that and said, "but this is different. There is something drawing me to this. And I respect all other religions and they can do their own thing, but me, I'll be right here learning from this book."

WHAT A MIRACLE!!!!!!!! I all of a sudden understood why Sister Huppi and I were struggling all this morning. Ohhhh the nerve satan tries so hard to discourage us to keep us away from great things that are about to happen. But he didn't succeed :) Gah! Melinda is so amazing!!!! She was so over-whelmed with emotion as we talked about the Restoration. THE LORD LOVE HIS CHILDREN SO MUCH!

...And thus we were late for our correlation meeting. But as we walked into Brother Holland's home, we said, "we're late because of a miracle!!" So we tell him and the Elders about it and it was like MIND=BLOWN all over the whole room. Brother Holland was looking over our progress record and he's like, "wow you sisters are on fire! Sister Limas, you're going out with a bang!"

I looked at him for a second with a confused look, and then I realized what he was saying. GEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEZ WHY DO PEOPLE KEEP DOING THAT! I keep looking at our transfer calendar with a smile because there are so many great things going on. But every time I get this sinking feeling in my stomach reminding me it's also my last. But I will tell you right now it doesn't even feel like it. There are so so so many beautiful things happening and I am just so excited to be a part of it all!!!

OK OK, my time is up. I have to jet to the surprise thing for our sisters:) So excited! Life as an STL, I tell ya. 

Once again, I'm REALLY REALLY REALLY sorry if I haven't been able to reply to anyone! Next week, I promise! Just know that I love you all!

See you in less than 4.
Sister Limas

Exchanges with the Webster Groves Sisters: Sister Fisher & Sister Hayden.
Sister Fisher knows Jonathan Bernal!!!!

Exchanges with the St Louis Hills Sisters: Sister 'Alofaki & Sister Mortensen

My companion :) And the Canadian Thanksgiving sign she made me :)

my lovely chaos © . QUINN CREATIVES DESIGN .