Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Making Sunday Worship a Temple-like Experience

My whole mission I have wanted to go to the temple, but for some reason or another, it has never worked out.  For most of my mission I have lived too far away from the temple to be able to attend.
I know that the temple brings blessings, and that regular temple attendance strengthens our relationship with God the Father and with His Son.  The temple truly is the house of God, and it should be the goal of every single living soul.  In the temple we learn important truths about who we are, and our relationship with God.
However, as an Elder in my last district meeting said, we live very far from the temple, and right now temple attendance is not possible for us.  So, if we are going to receive revelation, it is going to have to come from Church.  Because we can and do go to church every Sunday.
I have been thinking a lot about this.  Doctrine and Covenants 84:20 says that "in the ordinances thereof [talking about the priesthood], the power of godliness is manifest."  This is something that really hit me when I first went to the temple for myself.  I started studying hard about the ordinances of the Gospel and why they are so important.  I have learned for myself that there really is power in the ordinances.  This is one of the reasons why temple attendance is such a powerful spiritual experience, because it is full of the ordinances of the Gospel.
But as I have been thinking about how I can make my Sunday worship more like the temple, I realized that every singleSunday we participate in one of the most crucial ordinances available.  We partake of the Sacrament.  And unlike baptism and the temple, where we do it for ourselves first, and then every time after we are doing it on the behalf of someone else, standing in proxy for them, the Sacrament is for me each and every time I partake of it.
The Sacrament is every bit as necessary an ordinance as baptism and the temple ordinances, but unlike those that only need to be preformed once (and kept always), we NEED to partake of the Sacrament every single week.  It is a very personal and very individual ordinance that needs to be repeated weekly!
The Sacrament points us to Christ.  It reminds us of His body and His blood which He shed for us.  Or rather, it reminds us of His Atonement, of His Mercy, of His Merits and of His Grace (2 Nephi 2:8).  Could there be anything more important than the Sacrament?  What could keep us from this crucial weekly reminder of our Savior's love for us?
But, the Sacrament, is more than just a weekly object lesson.  It is a personal and sacred experience where we covenant with God that we will remember Him, and keep His Commandments.  And He covenants with us that we will always have His Spirit to be with us.  (Moroni 4-5)  Wow!  Pause a moment and consider the significance of these promises.
They are huge, which such great implications.  I want to be worthy to partake of the Sacrament every week of my life, so that I can covenant with the Father always!
This week I really focused on making Sunday worship become just as significant to me as attending the Temple.  And do you know what?  I felt something very different this Sunday Sunday is special.
As I was partaking of the Sacrament I was thinking of the scripture in 3 Nephi 18.  This is when the Savior introduced His Sacrament to the people of the Americas.  It describes several times that they partook of the Sacrament and werefilled.
I have had this scripture explained to me many times, I have read it many times, and I have explained it to others many times.  The Sacramental bread and water are small.  They could not possibly fill anyone's stomach.  So it must be talking about being filled another way.  Being filled spiritually.
Yesterday, when I partook of the bread, I was filled.  The Spirit filled my soul, and I felt pure.  Then again, when I partook of the water, I was filled.  The Spirit filled my soul, and I felt pure.  Yesterday, I was filled as I partook of the Savior's Sacrament.
I also realized that this has happened to me every single time I partook of the Sacrament, but I wasn't looking for it, so I didn't give it any notice.  Sacrament was just something that I did every week, because that is what you do at church.  And that is good.
But there is a better way.  Let the Sacrament fill you.  This week as you prepare to go to Church, prepare for it as a temple-like experience.  Then, as you partake of the Sacrament worthily, you, too, will be filled.
-Hermana Julie Anna Sanchez

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Never Tire of Doing Good!

Dear Everyone!
This has been a wonderful week!  Honestly, I wish I could be a missionary for the rest of my life.
President Ames included the following in his letter to us this week.  I love being part of the best mission in the world!
Over the last several weeks Sister Ames and I have also had the opportunity to attend several Stake Conferences and we have loved each experience. Without fail, at the end of each session members will approach me and say something like, "we love your missionaries, they are so wonderful." They all think that I have placed "my best missionaries" in their ward. It is so great for me to be able to honestly say in response, "yes, this mission has been blessed with some of God’s best missionaries." Zone Conferences have reminded me of this fact. You truly are amazing. Thank you for who you are! 
We had our first district meeting this week, and I am really excited for this district.  We have really awesome people in our district!  It is the best!  Our district theme is "We R One".
We also went to zone conference.  Zone conferences are really good.  You just feel the spirit and feel an increased desire to go about doing good!
Hasta Luego,
Hermana Julie Anna Sanchez
Random Challenge of the Week:
Study D&C 15 and 16 and figure out why the Lord and Joseph Smith would include both sections in the doctrine and covenants.  When you figure it out, read the sections again, this time personalizing it for yourself.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Birthday Presents

Hello Todos!
This is a great area!  We are starting to get to know the members and to get to know the area!  This really is a good place to do missionary work.
The coolest part of the week was my birthday!  We went out tracting during the middle of the day (Of, course, as Spanish Missionaries we never tract every door, but we look for clues, so that we can find the Spanish people). 
We started the day by following up on some referrals that we had previously received. We made some good contacts and taught a few lessons.
Then we were driving to another area, and we heard some spanish music playing very loudly.  The spirit told us to stop, so we did.  And we knocked the door of the house with the spanish music, and we found a quality new investigator.  And we taught a few more lessons in that area, and found a few more new investigators. 
Then we tried a few other areas, continuing to find a unusual amount of spanish people for Copperas Cove.  It really was a good day for finding.
Then we went to dinner and it was delicious!  Plus I got a delicious pumpkin cake! :)
Then we started trying to find some members.  (We have been trying to visit every member in their home, we are about half-way through the branch list, but I have a feeling that the first half may be slightly easier than the second half, because the first half are the ones who have answered their phones, and we were able to set up appointments.) 
However, we found a member, actually a part-member family.  We were really close to giving up, because we got lost and we couldn't find the house, but we continued, and we ended up setting a baptismal date with the investigator in the part-member family.
Then we found one more member, out in the middle of nowhere.
Honestly, it was just a super good day.
Les quiero mucho,
Hermana Julie Anna Sanchez

Monday, November 4, 2013

Toto, I think we are not in Kansas anymore.

I love Copperas Cove.  It is farther south, which means that it is going to be warmer. 
There aren't very many streetlamps (not to mention that the town shuts down at about 8), which means that the stars are gorgeous!  I have never lived in a place where I could see so many stars.  I saw the Andromeda galaxy the other day.  I've never been able to see it with my natural eye before, even though I know where to look.  It was sweet!
The major differences that I have noticed about Copperas Cove and Killeen is that: 1) The majority of the Spanish community is from Puerto Rico, not Mexico, 2)The majority of the Spanish community is also bilingual and speak English perfectly, 3) almost everyone here is either in the army or they were in the army, and 4) most people have only been here for a few years (Everybody is from somewhere else, including the English Speakers, but there also seems to be a fairly large German community here as well.  I wish that I could speak German, then I would be unstoppable). 
The branch is fairly large, I am sure that it will be turned into a ward soon.  It is a lot larger than the branch was in Waco, and most of the people that we meet are either Recent Converts or Less Actives.  The Branch was only organized about 1 year ago.  It covers everything from Harker Heights to Killeen to Copperas Cove to Fort Hood to Lampasas.  There are two sets of missionaries in the ward, but our area is Huge.  We cover everything west of the stake center, which is in Killeen, so that means that we cover Copperas Cove, large parts of Killeen, Fort Hood (But we can't really go on base, so it is really just a big gulf in middle of our area), and Lampasas (I still don't know where Lampasas is, but I think that it is really far away.)
Sunday was awesome.  Everyone was super excited to have sister missionaries in the ward.  Everybody wants to give us food!  Everybody wants to meet us, and everybody wants to help us teach!!!
Our Branch Mission Leader is awesome!  He is super excited about the work, and super excited to work with Sisters.  He started setting up exchanges and everything for us before he had even met us! 
So far, I have met several families from Puerto Rico, una Hermana from Cuba, una Hermana from Argentina, a family from Pero, un hermano from El Salvador, un hermano from the Dominican Republic, and a few families from Mexico.  This is a very diverse place!
Hurrah for Israel!
-Hermana Sanchez
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