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Monday, December 30, 2013

Feliz Ano Novo!

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and that you were able to feel and remember Christ's love for you. We had a great Christmas eve visiting a less-active woman in the ward and then having dinner at a member's house. We were surprised to come home to an infestation of termites in our kitchen, but it's been taken care of! Anyways, it was nice to spend Christmas day at a couple of member's homes and then being able to talk with my family for a little while. Seeing my family reminded me of my purpose of being on a mission. I want to help others learn how to have strong, happy, united families that can be together forever, just like mine. Dinner on Christmas sure was interesting...we went to a member's home and they had a couple other ward members over too. We had a "crab boil" for dinner. The man who was cooking had a big pot and he put crab legs, shrimp, potatoes, sausage, and corn on the cob in it and then boiled it. The tables were covered with newspaper and then he just dumped it all out and we ate with our hands! It was fun and actually quite tasty!
This week, one of our investigators Sara got baptized!! She is 11 and her parents are members, but less active. It was such a sweet service. Her older brother baptized her, and the whole family was getting emotional. It is so great to see them growing stronger as a family in the gospel. And now her younger sister, Ashley, wants to take the lessons! I'm so excited for all of them and am grateful for the opportunity I've had to witness them changing their lives and coming closer to Jesus Christ. 
This week I have been focusing a lot on the hope that Jesus Christ gives us. I have been striving to remember that He suffered all things so that we may change, become better, and be happy. Every single thing that happens is for a reason and a purpose, and there is something to learn from all of our experiences. As long as you are following God's will for you, you should not have any concerns or worries. As long as you do as He asks, He can take care of you and pull you through any challenges. A lot of times, we worry too much and try to handle everything on our own. But, Christ came to Earth to help us and give us support. We don't have to do it alone. I am grateful for this opportunity I have to learn how to rely on Jesus Christ for strength and exercise my faith, and I know as we all strive to act on our faith, miracles will occur. 
Best wishes for the new year! 
Love, 
Sister Dieter



Christmas Eve

Termites!

Christmas Morning

Crab boil!

Sara's Baptism



Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas! (Feliz Natal!)

This has been a wonderful week! It's been a wintry 70 degrees and sunny :) I found out my companion will be getting transferred to a new area in North Carolina on December 31st. I will miss her a lot, but am excited for her to go touch lives somewhere else! We had our Christmas Zone Conference this week with the Bernhisels in Fayetteville. Half of the mission was there and we were taught by President and Sister Bernhisel. Also, we got to hear musical numbers for Christmas and had a delicious ham and turkey meal with all the works for lunch. We also had our ward Christmas party on Saturday night, and a lot of people came! Several of the people we have been working with came and really enjoyed it. It was great to see everyone come together to enjoy this Christmas season and to remember their Savior, Jesus Christ. I love that I have the opportunity to focus on serving others and helping them to understand their purpose in life and the sacrifice that Christ made for them. It gives me hope to see the power of this sacrifice enabling others to change their lives for good. Christmas is about serving others and recognizing the opportunity we have to become better because of Jesus Christ. I know that the Bible and the Book of Mormon help us to reach our full potential, and if we will read them and apply their teachings into our lives, we will find true happiness.

I am so grateful for the knowledge that I have of the gospel. I know that life has a purpose and that Heavenly Father provided a Savior for us so that we can grow and become better each day. Everyone, no matter what, has the ability and the choice to change their life around and this is done through faith in Jesus Christ and following His commandments. I am grateful for the Book of Mormon and for the knowledge that I can find answers to my prayers. I know that God loves each of us individually and He has a plan for all of us. He sees our full potential and is always there to help us reach it. Families are central to God's plan for us, and they are very sacred. As we strive to become closer to God, our families are strengthened and enriched. The sorrow and regret of sin can be washed away through repentance and forgiveness can be found through fervent prayer. I invite all to find out for yourself the truth. Whether you are a member of the the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or not, I invite you to read the Book of Mormon with the intent of finding out if it is true. Have an open mind and sincerely ask God to tell you if it is true. When you find it to be true, your life will be changed and you will be able to find even more happiness. There is nothing lost in searching out the truth for yourself. Only knowledge is to be gained, and I promise that God will answer your prayers. I know that Heavenly Father loves us, and He wants to guide us if we will but ask Him for that direction. 

Com muito amor, 
Sister Dieter


Jacksonville District

A Day in the Life of a Missionary :)





Monday, December 16, 2013

Yes, I'm still here!

Hello everyone!
In case anyone is wondering, my visa has not yet come, and I am still here in NC for I don't know how long! But it's great! Everyone is really starting to get into the Christmas spirit and I love it! This week we had our wonderful church tour! It went great! All of the plans went off without a hitch and it was very well organized. The turnout wasn't super huge, but the people that did come were very interested. We gave out 3 copies of the Book of Mormon, and one man on the tour even committed to be baptized! The members that came through the tour loved it, and they said they really felt the Spirit and gained a new appreciation for the church building. They wished they had invited others to come, because it was such a spiritual experience. One thing I found interesting is that every single non-member that came to the tour came with a member friend. We had advertised, passed out fliers, and put signs up. But, the people that came were there because a friend loved them enough to invite them and take them. It truly shows how vital members are to sharing the gospel. When members and missionaries work together, miracles can happen. As we live our lives in a Christlike manner, others will see that light and want to learn more about Him.

This week we also got to attend a baptism! A woman we had been working with, who was less-active for quite some time, had the baptism of her 8 year old daughter! We didn't really teach her, but it was great to see how much they have grown as a family and the good choices they are making to change their lives! I felt the Spirit very strong and I know that God loves that family so much. It gives me hope to feel that and to see the changes that the teachings of Jesus Christ make in others' lives. Something I have been focusing on more lately is keeping my thoughts and actions focused on Jesus Christ and trying to be the kind of person He knows I can be. This Christmas season has helped me to appreciate the sacrifices that He made for all of us, and the things He teaches us. I know that as we do our best to follow Christ, our lives will change and we will find a higher quality of happiness. Life is full of wonderful experiences and some of the best come in service of others and trying to love other people. I hope we can all keep the true meaning of Christmas in our hearts and actions these next couple of weeks. 

Sister Dieter


Church tour decorations




Less active sister in the ward

Juliana's baptism!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Surprises

Ola!
This has been a pretty great week. We had our zone training meeting on Wednesday, and then we also had a special sister meeting on Thursday! All of the sisters in the mission met in Raleigh with the mission president and his wife. They shared some insights with us and it was a great day! There are over 70 sisters in the mission now, apparently in just January there were only 8! We learned a lot about staying positive and only trying to worry about our "circle of influence", or those things in your life that you have control over. We also got to go Christmas caroling this week with the youth, and we delivered stockings to people in an assisted living home. It is so nice to do service and help bring some joy to people during the Christmas season. That's really what it should be about, is serving others and helping them to feel Christ's love. We also watched the Christmas devotional last night! It was great! (http://www.lds.org/broadcasts/archive/christmas-devotional/2013/12?lang=eng).

Miracle story of the week: We were biking all day on Tuesday, visiting less-active members and talking with people along the way. We stopped to talk to a man on his porch for a few minutes. He really wasn't interested in learning more, but was nice and talked with us. As we were talking, I kind of starting feeling like we should just keep going since he wasn't interested anyways. But, when we asked if anyone he knew would be interested, he pointed us to his neighbors to try. We knocked on the door, and a little girl opened. Before we could even explain who we were, the mother just said "Come on in!" and talked with us for a little. We came back a few days later to teach her, and she committed to be baptized in January! It showed me that the Lord really does know what He is doing, and that as long as we are obedient, He will provide a way. Although we can't foresee how something is going to work out or why a certain thing happened, He knows exactly how it will be. We can trust in Him to take care of us and as long as we follow Him, we will be fine. We may certainly have to go through struggles along the way, but if we have the right attitude, we can learn from those and have some pretty neat experiences. I know that the gospel is for imperfect people. Jesus Christ teaches us how to change our very natures and become the best version of ourselves. Though it is a difficult process sometimes, we truly become better as we are obedient and faithful.

Com amor,
Sister Dieter


Stockings!

Our Little Christmas Tree :)

Us and the tree

Sister Dieter and Sister Cowley outside the Raleigh, NC temple








Monday, December 2, 2013

December!

Hello all!
It's hard to believe it is already December and that I have been a missionary for almost 4 months now. Time really does fly by! This week was good, it was a little harder to get appointments with people because of the Thanksgiving holiday, but we stayed busy! One day, we tried to go out biking around, but about 5 minutes in it started down pouring!! That was certainly interesting, we had to immediately turn back and just drive of course. We also did some "service" this week that was fun. An older woman in the ward asked us to come over and decorate her Christmas tree for her, since she couldn't do it anymore. So it was service, but we were more than glad to do it! It was nice to be able to help her and have fun at the same time!
This week we had some great opportunities to teach the Plan of Salvation, or Heavenly Father's plan for us to be able to get back to Him and be happy. As I taught this to others who are unfamiliar with it, it helped me to realize how grateful I am to know that there is a purpose in life. We are here for a short time to learn, grow, and become more like Jesus Christ. We can learn from our mistakes and our troubles, and become better people. Through the Atonement and suffering of Jesus Christ, our guilt can be taken away and we can prepare to return to the presence of God. When we keep this eternal perspective in mind, the little trials seem so insignificant. As a result, I've been trying to notice the positive in all things, and it's made me a lot happier! Even when things fall through or don't work out as we had hoped, there is a lesson to be learned and growth of character that comes out of it. Most of the time, God's plans for us are way different than what we expect. But, I'd rather follow His plans for me than my own, that's for sure. I know that as we strive to learn what His plan is for us and to our best to follow it, true and eternal happiness is found. Our families are meant to be together eternally, and as we follow the gospel of Jesus Christ, this is possible for everyone! I love being able to help others learn how to increase their happiness and follow Jesus Christ. As we turn our will over to Heavenly Father, He will guide us to do what is right. Sometimes it is really hard to let go of control like that, but I know that we can trust in God to watch over us. He knows us better than we know ourselves, and will help us as long as we are willing to accept it. My motto has become: "Things will work out." And I know they will.
Love,
Sister Dieter


Biking in the rain

Christmas tree!