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Monday, September 30, 2013

Country Lanes and Fall Weather!

Hello everyone!

I hope all your weeks are going well! I am doing just great out here in North Carolina. We moved this week to a new apartment more in the country. There are horses, donkeys, and roosters down the street and we live on a dirt road. It is so beautiful and I love looking up at the wide open sky! It makes me so grateful for the Creation and this beautiful world we have been given. I think sometimes we just take for granted how perfect it is.

This week, we did this thing called "exchanges." My companion went to a different area close by with another sister, and then that sister's companion came to my area to work with me for a day. It was a great learning experience because I kind of had to be more responsible and lead out in teaching and everything. It stretched me a lot, but was good! I also got to drive during that, thank goodness for a GPS!!

Something I have learned a lot about this week is the importance of sticking to your commitments in the gospel and enduring tough times with faith. We work with a lot of less-active members of the church in the area trying to help them resolve their concerns and come back to church. I have learned how crucial it is to read and STUDY your scriptures daily, pray sincerely, and keep the commandments. These things are what keep us learning and improving, and if we stop them, it becomes so easy to fall to temptation or to lose sight of what we know to be true. So many of the people we talk to haven't been to church in years. But not because they don't believe it is true. Most of them have just gotten caught up in life and forgotten the little things that keep us strong. I know that life is hard, but it is made so much easier to handle as we exercise our faith in God and trust that if we obey His commandments, He will bless us! As we invite these people to begin to study the scriptures again and to pray, you can really see them remember their testimony and strive to be better and come back to church. I am learning so much how important it is that we love each other and reach out to those that are struggling. As we forget our own selfishness and try to help others, it makes our lives so much more fulfilling and we truly have the power to save people. I know that as we strive to do our best and to be more like Jesus Christ, our lives are blessed and we can do things we never thought possible. Believe me, I never thought I could be a missionary. If you had asked me just a few years ago, I would have said no way! But, as I have tried to learn more for myself and to discover if it was true, and as I have tried my best to read, pray, and be obedient, I have been able to do this. It is so hard, but so so worth it and I know that God is helping me so much to do what He needs me to do and to help His children come back to Him. I am so grateful to be here and I know that the gospel is true. I love you all!

Tchau,
Sister Dieter



Tuesday, September 24, 2013

First full week in North Carolina!

Bom dia!

This week has been great. I am catching on a lot more to how everything works, and my trainer is helping me to learn a lot. We are moving to a new apartment this week in Richlands, which is a lot closer to most of the people in our area, so that will help us a lot. It's also apparently really country, with horses and fields surrounding it. I'm excited! We had zone conference this week, and it was all about using the new Facebook, mormon.org, and Family History resources in our proselyting efforts. The work is so much more focused on getting the members involved, which is great. We also had stake conference, and I learned a lot about how faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement will help us to get through any hard thing that we experience. We had an investigator come with us to stake conference and she loved it! We helped a new member in the ward move into their home, since her husband is deployed and she has young children/is pregnant. She really appreciated our help and it felt great to give service. I'm learning a lot about the military family lifestyle here, it sounds so hard. I definitely appreciate those who are willing to sacrifice so much for our country.

A lot of our efforts this week have been in visiting less active members in the area and helping them to come back to church. There are about 600 less active people in the ward, so we have a lot to do here. I love visiting people and discussing how their lives have been affected by the gospel. Even though they haven't been to church in a long time, they all have great feelings about the Book of Mormon and that it is true. They just need some encouragement to get back to church. Our biggest message to them is that God loves them, and He will never leave your side. Even though life is really hard sometimes, He will always be there to help us. Everyone needs the gospel in their lives and the Book of Mormon can answer any of our questions about life. How great is that! We have to have the faith and willingness to do our part though. 

I love the people here, and we are doing well. I'm so grateful for the opportunity I have to be a missionary and to be able to share the gospel with everyone we meet. It is such a blessing to know the truth and be able to share it with others! 

Love you all, 
Sister Dieter

Monday, September 16, 2013

Welcome to North Carolina!

Hello everyone! So here I am, in North Carolina! It has been a crazy couple of days with traveling and adjusting, but I think I have finally caught up on sleep and am learning a lot. My companion, Sister Cowley is great! She's from Utah and has been out here for 8 months. She's really nice and helps me learn a lot!

It was kind of bittersweet leaving the MTC this week. My district and teachers were amazing and we became so close after 6 weeks together. I learned a lot there and I am so grateful for all of my experiences. I'm excited to finally be out teaching and meeting real people though, it just shows how worth it the MTC really is!

My first area is in Jacksonville, NC. It's a fairly rural area, but we have two wards (congregations) that meet at our church building. There are two sets of elders and two sets of sisters in the area, and one set of sisters and elders of that group are assigned to each ward. There is a lot for us to do here. Since Sister Cowley and I both just transferred into this area, we are kind of starting fresh with getting to know people, but we've already made some good progress! We attended a baptism on Saturday night for someone the elders were teaching. It was so special. We've mostly been meeting with less active members and trying to find new investigators this weekend. So far we have met a few potential new investigators! I am working hard on being more personable and not so shy with new people. Everyone here is so friendly and hospitable though, so it is a really good environment to share our message with people. Almost everyone is Christian of some kind. It's not too "Southern" of a town mostly because there are some military bases here, so a lot of the people who live here aren't actually from here originally. I met someone from Massachusetts yesterday! :) People love that I'm from the East Coast. The weather and climate aren't too much of a change from MA, it's humid and lots of trees. There are a ton of bugs here, especially spiders, so that's no fun. Also, it's really flat with lots of wide open space. So far I love the people and am learning a lot. I am trying to study Portuguese an hour a day so that I can keep learning, and then the rest of the time we are just focused on the people here! I'm excited to get working and learn a lot!

Sister Dieter

Friday, September 13, 2013

Last week at the MTC!

This has been a crazy week! First of all, we found out about our temporary assignments! I don't have my visa yet, so I will be serving in the North Carolina Raleigh Mission until my visa comes! I'm super excited!!

On a less happy note, I sadly didn't make it through the MTC without getting sick. I actually got food poisoning on Wednesday, and spent most of Wednesday night and Thursday asleep in the sick bay. I'm totally better now though, which I'm grateful for. I got a blessing from 2 of the elders in my zone late Thursday night, and it made me so grateful for their worthiness to hold and use the priesthood. I have been spending most of today packing and getting ready to leave tomorrow for North Carolina! Ahh I can't believe today is my last day at the MTC!

This week I learned a lot about the importance of prayer and studying the scriptures. We did a cool activity in our district where we each personally thought of a question that would help our investigators and then a question that would help us. One person then chose a chapter in the Book of Mormon for us to study together. It was so crazy awesome how all of us received answers to completely different questions. It testified to me the truth of the Book of Mormon, how it testifies of Jesus Christ, and can answer any and all of our questions.

Another awesome experience this week was that I got to be a "host missionary" on Wednesday! (before the whole food poisoning incident...). Basically, you meet incoming missionaries and help them get situated at the MTC. We took them to get their name tags, books, and put their stuff in their rooms, and then brought them to meet their district in their classrooms. I helped out three sisters, and it was so fun. I knew exactly how they were feeling and I just so badly wanted to make sure that they had a good first day. I know how hard it is, but I also know that it gets so much better and that they will love the MTC. It helped me to understand service more and I really felt love and compassion for those sisters. I learned about the Atonement and Christ's suffering for us too. As I was thinking about the experience I realized that Christ knows literally exactly what we go through because He has experienced it. He knows how hard it is, has sympathy for us, and loves us a lot. He knows the end too though, and knows that it will all work out. Just like I knew those sisters would end up learning and growing a ton here, Christ knows the same for us and wants to help. Only, He knows us perfectly so this is magnified by like infinity. But yes, it was such an awesome experience.

I have really loved being at the MTC, it almost feels like another home. I will miss my district a lot, but I'm excited to hear everyone's experiences and stories. I know I am going to love being a missionary wherever I am. I am so grateful and excited for this experience.

Sister Dieter

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Week 4.5 :)

So I don't have a ton to talk about since I just e-mailed on Tuesday, but the rest of this week has been good! We got a new teacher, which means we also have a new investigator to teach. Her "name" is Katia, and she is a mom of two little kids. I think it will be fun to teach her. Also, we get to teach people in our district as investigators. It is so awesome! And then we are taught as investigators too. I love it. We did this thing with a teacher this week where we had to teach an investigator as a class. It was so hard, but cool. Each companionship only got 2 minutes to teach (in Portuguese, btw) and then we switched. You had to keep going off of what everyone else was teaching as if nothing had changed. It was cool to see how even though none of us had planned together or anything, our lesson made sense to her and she learned. I know this could only have worked because we were teaching with the help of the Holy Spirit. There's no other way 11 missionaries who have been learning Portuguese for 4 weeks could have understood each other and taught a 30 minute lesson.

Yesterday, we also learned a lot about how important it is to teach PEOPLE and not just memorized lessons. We need to focus on people's needs, concerns, and problems and be able to help them through the power of the gospel. This also requires help from the Spirit because otherwise, we wouldn't be able to discern what their needs are. Our teacher really emphasized to us how important it is to love the people you serve. God loves them, so we should too. He told us how much he loves the people of Brazil and how he needs us to love them too. I am sooo excited to go to Brazil, I already love the culture and people!

Along those lines, I find out next Friday if I have my visa or if I am getting temporarily reassigned. Ahhh it's so exciting! Time has flown by so fast, but I have learned so much here. Thanks for your love and support. Tchau!

Sister Dieter

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Week 4 at the MTC!

This was a great week. It brought it's own new challenges, but I've come to expect and look forward to that. I love being in a trio with Sister Holden and Sister Nelson, though it is different than just having one companion. They are such good missionaries and so inspiring though. More news this week, since school is starting, all the teachers have to go to half-time schedules. So we lost one of our teachers :( We have a new one, and now we will have one male and one female teacher instead of two men, so that will be cool. We're all going to miss our teacher though. Also, I don't know if I have mentioned this, but all the Brazilian missionaries have been on a wonky schedule since we weren't originally scheduled to be here. Instead of waking up at 6:30 like everyone else, we had breakfast at 6:30, then lunch at 11 and dinner at 4. Well, this week they finally fixed it and I get more sleep/get to eat at normal times! It's the little things. Haha also they moved our classroom to a newer and a lot nicer building, so that will be good.

We made a commitment as a district this week to try to only speak Portuguese during the 6 hours of class we have daily. It's tough, but I'm so grateful we are doing it. I actually would rather try to only speak Portuguese ever, but a lot of people in my district aren't comfortable with that yet. We'll get there. Our teacher told us how sometimes we have to sacrifice what is easy for what is worth it. It is easy for me to just speak English, but I am learning Portuguese so that I can share the gospel with people. So, it is worth it to sacrifice English for the sake of other people's learning. We had a great devotional this week by Neil L. Andersen about this topic. He discussed Sacrifice and Love and how interconnected they are. We sacrifice for the things we love and love the things we sacrifice for. I can totally feel this in my life that as I sacrifice my time, energy, and everything else to bring others unto Jesus Christ, I am growing to love those people so much more. I also realized how much faith really is a principle of action. It is not enough to just believe something is true. True conversion leads to action. It's just like how I have faith that I can learn Portuguese, but if I don't speak it and study it, God can't help me learn it. We have to put in our part by praying, reading the scriptures, and being obedient to the commandments in order to receive help from God. I love this idea so much.

Something I really liked that we discussed this week was being fully committed to following Jesus Christ. In the Bible when Christ tells the apostles to come follow him, they drop their nets, leave their ships, and go. I need to leave behind my old worries and focus on the people I am here to serve. I was so grateful this Sunday to have all the talks be about things I was studying and praying about. I know that as we put our trust in God and do as He commands, He will make our paths straight and guide us. One other cool thing this week; we get time to watch church movies on Sunday. Our district decided to watch Joseph Smith and the Restoration, which outlines the entire story of Joseph Smith restoring the gospel to the Earth. It is such a powerful movie and reminded me why I am here. I would highly recommend watching it, you can find it on lds.org. The early members of the church went through so much heartache, pain, and sorrow for the sake of the gospel. Nobody would do all that Joseph Smith did for the sake of something that was a lie. The Book of Mormon IS the word of God and this is God's true church on the Earth once more. It just makes sense to me, and as I have prayed to know this, it has been confirmed to me countless times. It has changed my life forever. I love you all and hope your weeks are going great.

Tchau!
Sister Dieter