Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Ministering of Angels‏

Hey there, friends!! Howdy doo-dee!! This message is gonna be a happy one... oh so so so happy. Like, seriously guys, I'm a happy little missionary Sister today :) And here comes the story!
I stood up from the piano and observed the scene we had so maticulously catered to; music stands holding five sheets, three rows of cushy chairs amid the deep blue gym carpet and gray carpet walls, the closed wooden doors to the filled font, the podium and presiding authority chairs carefully placed, the perfect programs being passed out by Sister Blood, and the few missionaries and families meandering as they waited for the guest to arrive. I trembled in anticipation. "Deep breaths" i told myself. ...haha.
And then, she rolled in. She rolled in on her wheelchair and grinned at us. Sister B and I jumped up toward her, arms extended. Having never experienced this before, we scatter-brained escorted her about, informing her of where to place her wheelchair among the rows, where to change, where to enter the font... and I'm making this story so long.... but then the priesthood holders came, dressed in white. Laura changed into her jumpsuit, her daughter (a non-member) gripping her mother's hand looking excited and at peace. She expressed having been so grateful, that this was an answer to prayers to see her mother find a church at last to welcome her in and love her.
The program went beautifully. Sister Blood's viola came by car from Kaysville, Utah thanks to our WML. We recruited one of our favorite Sister members to play the flute in a trio to perform "Abide With Me." The talks were so spiritual, the Restoration Presentation we had rehearsed was powerfully silent and thought provoking... Sister B stated later that there was not a single set of eyes in that room that were not welling up with joyous tears.
Her poor back has Double Scolios and stinosis, her spine coiled like a snake. Needless to say we were all very worried to see her enter the waters. After the ordinance was said and Brother Dodds gently pushed Laura into the water... Sister B and I clung to each other, so grateful... and then Laura came up looking stunned! Nervously Brother Dodds asked is everything okay, are you alright? She gave a feeble nod. Laura said to me privately and misty-eyed that as she stepped into the font it was bitter cold, but once she went down to leave her sins behind it became incredibly warm, it took her breath and speech away.
And yesterday she was confirmed and the ward happily raised their hands to vote her a wonderful addition to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. She beamed!
This is the work of Salvation. It never would have happened were it not for the Fields, her wonderful neighbors, eager to bring her into the fold. And we know, we felt so strongly, that there were many waiting for her to join, and we know by her countenance the Holy Ghost is powerfully inside her, comforting and guiding her.
There is no other joy as exceeding as this, to feed the Lord's sheep. I know this is the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that this is HIS church. I know that His priesthood is pure and it is among the pure and it is a saving power. I know that it is by His grace that we are saved, and as we try to do all that we can do He provides us such wonderful ordinances and holy places to stand so we can live with an assurance that we can make it back to Him someday.
I love you family. I am so grateful for your constant prayers. It has wrought miracles in this field. I am grateful for those of you doing your best to let your light shine, and to share this gospel. I know it will bring you a greater love and joy than anything beside it. I love you I love you!
In hallelujah,
Sister Murphy

Monday, July 14, 2014

Glory Glory Hallelujah‏

It's a hot humid day in the wheat plains of Kansas! Spent the evening with some cute newly-weds sharing the gospel to Aaron as he watched his two toddlers in diapers only run around the freshly cut lawn. Dawn was setting and he was makin us laugh with his crazy roofing stories and funny church attitude, all the while smoking his long cigarette. Aaron is my age, but his life has been so so different, yet he has clung to choosing good, a wife that he so so loves, and holding his babies he wouldn't give up for anything. Just hope we can get him to just read the BOM on his own. Soon enough it will happen :)

It is so marvelous how God has blessed us with families. Those new-born babies teach a person something completely new about their Father in Heaven, and about themselves as His creation. THey change EVERYTHING in your life. It is so cool....

Laura made it to church again yesterday, so there will be NOTHING stopping her from being baptized this Saturday. Wow. Surreal. Can't wait to cry about it :) For now I'm holding back the water works haha

I've hit a point on my mission where I... I don't even know how to explain it.... I've applied certain teachings line upon line, and am starting to see some permanent growth.... it's almost as if you are training for a new employment, and there is so much to learn and you have to work really hard to not mess up. Finally, the job becomes a joy, you can perform almost every ounce of your tasks subconsciously and you feel connected to it on a whole other level. I see people and see myself in an entirely new light. I still struggle to know how to communicate to my Father as if He were right here beside me, that will be a long struggle I feel, but I work for Him and respect Him in a totally new and better way...

I was reading Uchtdorf's talk from last conference, and I feel I need to share a particular part with you all. It is sort of long, so bare with me:

"In any circumstance, our sense of gratitude is nourished by the many and sacred truths we do‍ know: that our Father has given His children the great plan of happiness; that through the Atonement of His Son, Jesus Christ, we can live forever with our loved ones; that in the end, we will have glorious, perfect, and immortal bodies, unburdened by sickness or disability; and that our tears of sadness and loss will be replaced with an abundance of happiness and joy, 'good measure,pressed down, and shaken together, and running over."
(Read his whole talk HERE)
It must have been this kind of testimony that transformed the Savior’s Apostles from fearful, doubting men into fearless, joyful emissaries of the Master. In the hours following His Crucifixion, they were consumed with despair and grief, unable to understand what had just happened. But one event changed all of that. Their Lord appeared to them and declared, 'Behold my hands and my feet, that it is myself.'
When the Apostles recognized the risen Christ—when they experienced the glorious Resurrection of their beloved Savior—they became different men. Nothing could keep them from fulfilling their mission. They accepted with courage and determination the torture, humiliation, and even death that would come to them because of their testimony. They were not deterred from praising and serving their Lord. They changed the lives of people everywhere. They changed the world.
You do not need to see the Savior, as the Apostles did, to experience the same transformation. Your testimony of Christ, born of the Holy Ghost, can help you lookpast the disappointing endings in mortality and see the bright future that the Redeemer of the world has prepared."
D&C 78 talks about being thankful, and how blessed we become for it. For me, being grateful causes me to act in ways that my carnal man never would, and to serve God with my heart. I hope and pray that I will ALWAYS be like this... even when I return home and emerge out of this glorious bubble I float in. I want to always be grateful enough that everything I do is in the name of Christ.
Anyways, I love you all so so much. HAPPY JULY! July is just so great, isn't it??
Best, Sister Murphy Senior

Monday, July 7, 2014

Our Birthday Guuurrrllll full of REAL Joy!

Domo ardigato, mis amigos y familia!! Bi-lingual I am today. Bahaha!
Seriously though, thank you thank you thank you so so very much for the birthday wishes :) I received so much AND MORE for my birthday, physically and spiritually. Don't know what I'd do without all ya'll, you are what make my life worth living!... among just a few other things, like being a missionry... haha

Yesterday was UNREAL. STILL can't believe it wasn't a dream. I mean I'm certain finding the perfect red shoes was just a dream from last night, as was preaching on a box in the streets of Wales, but my Sabbath Day experience was NOT a dream. And here I will tell you why it was so surreal:
  • Ward Council was on time, everyone attendant and there was so much laughing and endless great suggestions to unify the ward and save some souls while also running in potato sacks
  • Ward Mission Leader was all ears, supportive and excited to help plan Laura's baptism
  • The Fields setup a new ramp and wheelchair lift for Laura's hoverround, and the adorable little lady was 10 days smoke free and waiting with a big grin on her face and nicely curled hair. She had called us the morning of just to make sure that WE were on our way, becuase she was too excited for church.
  • Member after member came up and said hi. Laura was lovin it, lovin the new fam she gets.
  • Sacrament starts and IN walks three other investigators for our Elders. WHAAAAAA this never happens!
  • Sister B and I felt impressed to bare testimony, and wow the Spirit had some important things to say to that congregation. I don't mean to boast, I just love the rare moments when I'm clean enough to be a pure vessel for the Holy Ghost. Heavenly Father is helping me so much right now, it's unreal.
  • Sister Ozbun bore tear-filled testimony of the service missionaries offered in her fallen-apart home. She was once unwilling to help with this work of salvation, but has re-understood the love required and the importance of moving from Marthania to Marydom.
  • LAURA WILL BE BAPTIZED JULY 19th! Oh man, we have waited months for this. She was just beaming, she loved it so so much. 
I'm sorry if that all bore you to death, but these are the things that are joyful in my life. I sat there in my chair near the back just, just blown away. All of these little moments unfolded and I heard the confirmation in my head, "THIS is joy. THIS is happiness. Not the good food you get to eat or the fun games you got to play, or even the awesome workouts you have. Your family, and missionary work. They are your joys, priceless and needed and freely given."
I know that there is no greater happiness than being with your family forever, and helping others to do so. The work of Salvation was intended to hasten in these final days because God knew Satan would be working his hardest and would be overcoming his falling world. God has given us these oppportunites to serve and love our fellow men by bringing their souls to Christ because it is literally the GREATEST joy one could ever experience EVER. Marriage and family equal it because it is eternal salvation. It is all the same, it is salvation. And holy Moses do we need it. We need this joy so much in our lives.
So much more happened this week, but I feel I've written a whole novel and must continue to el Fin. You all are so fantastic. Truly. I've walked in a lot of shady places in life, and at last have a marvelous circle of hardworking friends. I love you I love you. THank you for the mini-updates from many of you, they mean oh so much to me. I hope and pray you all have a wonderful week and find the opportunites to be a better missionary, for the joy is exceedingly great.
Sister M&M

Short & Sweet‏

Hey all!! Got a lot to do today so I don't have as much time, but I'm feeling so super great! Had a weird, dumb week haha, but I learned a WHOLE BUNCH. Poor Laura couldn't make it to church yesterday because of major painful back spasms. She was wincing in pain constantly as we spoke to her and it just broke my heart to see her that way. Seriously, I was physically hurting just watching it. I cried! I think at last, the amazing lesson I'm relearning, is that LOVE is what missionary work is. It's allllllll about love!!! Whether you be a missionary because you love the message you share or you love the person you meet or you love the God you serve, it is all about love. We meet with Laura and every step she takes, backwards or forwards, I so feel what she is going through and love her so much and feel so much worry and concern and hope and joy. Laura has been overcoming her addiction wonderfully and is still on track for baptism. We had a member come and give her a blessing and he said the coolest things about a smoke-free strategy. It was BRILLIANT!! I'm so grateful for noble priesthood holders and the Holy Ghost. It is so amazing how much we learn from her that goes unspoken.

I'm all over the place! But I'm in such a good mood I can't even concentrate haha... But I love you all!!! Hope your week has been peaceful, no matter what has occured. Feel the peace the gospel brings, let it pour into your soul, drink it up!!!

I think the greatest message I learned this past week that I really want to share real quicksies is that we need the temple. We NEED the temple. It is the BEST form of missionary work, it is the best way to learn about life and God, and it is the best way to become like our Savior, Jesus Christ. As we do the work for those beyond the veil the work will continuously hasten and influence our work on Earth. Think about that for a long second, it's amazing. Just as our number one latter day prophet, Joseph Smith, fought and sacrificed for, and said, "We need the temple more than anything else."
Have such a super awesome week guys, seriously!!! Go to the temple weekly! LOVE YA!!
Sister Murphy
PS: this is me, watching a spider for over twenty minutes as it devoured a freshly caught fly. #LunchTime #RealLifeStuff #GodLovesHisLittleCreatures

Your Very own Virtual Church Tour :)

A warm gentle wind kisses my face. My hands grip lightly the rubber handlebars as my bike wheels softly click. The sky is hugging our Earth with gold and hazy blue as the sun nearly sets. I breathe deeply the air from the grassy plains surrounding me. My thoughts are slow, taking in the precious moment God gave to finish a perfectly difficult day, laboring in His field. I smile. I feel so so grateful to have visited such noble people, such people that have experienced horrors and fought through such difficulties, and now cling to our visits from the Spirit to learn just a little more about their meager faith, a mere seedling. I say to myself, peacefully, "I am about the greatest work bestowed from God to mankind!"

In Ballard's words, "On the sea of Galilee, Jesus asked Peter three times, 'Lovest thou me?' Each time Peter's reply was the same: 'Thou knowest that I love thee.' And each time the Savior instructed Peter: 'Feed my lambs...Feed my sheep...Feed my sheep.' ...In revelation to the prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord puts it in very simple terms: 'It becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor.'" (D&C 88:81 and John 21:15-17)

Saturday morning we had the brilliant idea (thanks, Holy Ghost!!) to ambush Laura to come to a church tour. She has been making excuses to dodge church for months now. Arvin and Linda Field, her neighbors that referred us to her, had a simple two-board ramp to load her motor wheelchair. So we set it up in her driveway and knocked on her door with grins on our faces. We invited her to put on some shoes becuase we were taking her to church.

Sister Blood and I had spent an hour prior cleaning up the church, regulating the temperature, turning lights on and setting up the baptismal font. Once we all arrived, the Spirit Sister Blood and I had felt in those empty hallways had grown even stronger. Laura was quietly excited as she drank our church in. After touring classrooms we approached the font. Laura rolled up to the edge of it, her eyes welled up (the first of many more times that hour), and she asked simple questions about the process. She confessed, "I thought I had to be perfectly clean in order to be baptized. Now I understand I can't even BE clean UNTIL I am baptized. That's what baptism is for!"

At last! Haha. After we watched the 20 minute restoration DVD, eyes wet, sweet Arvin who had reactivated just recently after decades of inactivity bore his simple and powerful testimony. Linda also shared her personal experience in the Sacred Grove. Laura said again she now understood so much more the significance of the Restoration, and was so happy to be learning it's truth.

Finally, we entered the chapel. I'm crying now just thinking about it. "Can I go up to see the podium?" Laura asked. It was completely quiet. She was speechless, reverantly taking in the modest splendor, commenting on the strong Spirit, imagining the sacrament blessing. We sat down to bear final testimony of church and this glorious gospel, and our love for Laura. She said she finally found a skirt the other day that would fit her thinning skin and bones without falling down. She happily agreed to come to church next week, and set her official baptismal date for July 12th. She was delighted to hear it will be on a Saturday, her daughter is only off work then and expressed really wanting to come. Oh how joyful!! It was a most perfect day. We couldn't believe it's success, it was absolutly the miracle of our Heavenly Father, and we know it never could have happened were it not for the marvelous assistance of the Field family, the help of active members.

I love being a missionary!! But we just CANNOT do it without our members! I have seen convert baptisms found by tracting and they often fall away because they lack the friendship and support that an actively involved member needs to provide, not missionaries. I hope so badly that all of you are assisting your full-time missionaries in this divine work, above all they need you to do as President Monson declared this past April, is to truly love and reach out to your neighbors and those the missionaries are bringing in, just as Jesus taught.

I love you all! Thank you so much for your prayers and support, I know this week might not have been what it was if I hadn't received the blessings of strength from my fam and friends back home. I really cannot thank you all enough. I feel so honored to have you all. I LOVE YOU!!

Sister Murphy Senior