Sister Bray,My name is Geoff Nielson. I am the bishop of the Zionsville Ward where your daughter, Sister Bradley, has been serving since arriving in Indiana. She was recently transferred from the Zionsville Ward, and we are very sad to see her go.You have raised a wonderful daughter! Our ward members have been blessed by her service and love of the gospel. She has been an incredible example to our young women of the blessings of serving a mission and living a righteous life. She has connected with less-active members as well as encouraged our ward to reach beyond themselves and touch the lives of those around them. She has extended immense love towards those seeking for the gospel and found every opportunity to teach and care for all those around her.It has been such a pleasure to have her in our ward! We will miss her as she heads up to Mishawaka.Thank you again for raising such an incredible young woman. She is a choice woman and is going to have a great impact on everyone that she touches.Thank you!Bishop Geoff Nielson
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
This is a letter sent to Sister Bray (Jenny's Mom) from the Bishop of where she's been severing for the last 6 months:
Monday, March 27, 2017
Well, the suspense is finally over, I found out that my time here in Zionsville is over. I will be going up North to Mishawaka in the South Bend Stake to be trained as a Sister Training Leader, and yes, I am freaking out a little bit, but I know that God doesn't call the qualified, he qualifies the called, so I am banking on that statement :) also, President Carlson said I could still attend Soy's baptism despite how far away we are :)
This week Sister Bitter was pretty sick with a sinus infection and an ear infection, so we spent a lot of time in the apartment letting her rest. However, because of that I had the opportunity to read the Book of Mormon to my hearts desire, and let me just tell you how lucky I was to be able to do that! I tried just plowing though it to try and get the perspective of the people I invite to read it and I honestly learned so much! It answered so many questions I had and strengthened my testimony of the Book of Mormon and the divine witness of Jesus Christ that it is. If you don't have a sure testimony, I invite you to read it sincerely with an open heart and God will tell you by His Holy Spirit that it is true.
We did have some cool teaching experiences despite Sister Bitter's illness :) We taught Nene who is from Nigeria and is a Member Referral. We invited the member to come despite her just having a baby a couple of weeks ago, and it worked out that she was able to come! What a champ!! We talked about the Book of Mormon and the important role it plays in our conversion. I was pretty nervous before this lesson because I really wanted it to go well and as we listened to the Spirit and bore testimony, the Spirit was able to be there to witness of the truth of what we were saying :) oh, and during the lesson, Sister Bitter didn't feel the symptoms of her sinus infection! #blessed
We also had a lesson with a man in his early 20's named Taryn and the best part was that it was over the phone. Taryn works for airports and so he travels a lot and was in Wisconsin on Saturday. It worked out perfect though because that was when the doctor told us not to leave our apartment for 24 hours and we were still able to teach!!! :D I am so grateful for technology! Also, Soy has now gone a month without coffee! Thank you for all the prayers!
Last but least a miracle happened on Sunday. Sister Bitter and I are in Sacrament Meeting waiting patiently for our investigators to show up. The opening hymn, announcements, and the sacrament hymn happen and I was just praying the whole time that our investigators show up seeing that this was my last Sunday in Zionsville and we had done all that we could to get them there. During the Sacrament hymn, the door opens and in walks Nicole pushing Soy into Sacrament meeting!!! It is almost like something you would hear about in conference! :)
Friends I know that this is God's church here on earth. I know He leads and guides it today, just as He did in the past.
Serving with a Smile,
1. The most accurate depiction of the weather in Indiana that I have ever seen :)
2. This is the Ward Mission Leader, Bother Mackay, and his cute family!
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Monday, March 20, 2017
I'm just going to skip to the good stuff :) We get a call on Tuesday from Nicole (she has been investigating for like 3 or 4 years) and she was in tears and super hard to understand, so we change our plans and head over to her house. We were relieved to find out nothing horrible had happened, but she was really really struggling with her marriage. She talked about all these different things that had happened that were weighing on her and were a burden, and she expressed to us that she didn't know how to move forward and honestly didn't know what to do in general. Now, Sister Bitter and I are obviously not marriage therapists, we are missionaries. However, it was amazing to see how the Gospel of Jesus Christ was the answer. We showed her a Mormon message and then talked about the Spirit. We expressed our own feelings and shared our testimonies of what the Spirit had done for us in our lives and the Spirit was thick in the room testifying of the truth of what we were saying. Nicole was in tears, I was in tears (Sister Bitter doesn't like to cry so no tears from her haha) and we were able to help Nicole refocus her life on what matters most which is Jesus Christ and filling her life with the light that comes from Him.
She called us the next day and told us she felt an overwhelming peace come over her. In her words it was "bizarre" and how that night she had the desire to be nicer to her husband and she was able have kinder feelings toward him. This was the biggest mercy for Sister Bitter and I because we were able to see some of the fruits of our efforts.
We also found a man named Stan and his son Bret who said they are looking for a new church!! That is a first for Zionsville :) Please pray for their hearts to be prepared! We also found a man from Cuba and a lady from Venezuela that are interested in hearing our message! Please pray for them to be prepared as well!!
Yesterday in my studies I felt prompted to read the book of Enos from the Book of Mormon and wow. So many spiritual gems in the first verses. Enos is honestly a story of a member's conversion. He was born in the church and had to find out whether or not the things that he had been taught were true. So he acted, he showed faith by first pondering and then praying. It is that very act that allowed him to apply the Gospel of Jesus Christ in his life and then receive forgiveness of his sins. He had so much trust in the Lord that all of his guilt was swept away. Who doesn't want that? I invite you all to study Enos if you are seeking a deeper conversion to the Lord. God won't let you down, all the answers are in His book :)
Love you all!!
Serving with a Smile :)
Monday, March 13, 2017
This week I had the privilege of attending a Leadership conference where Elder Donaldson came and talked to our mission (he is the Mission President of the San Diego Mission in the District 2 videos). IT WAS AMAZING! Not even the fact that we got a text from some people telling us that if we ever came back they'd call the cops on us "unfortunately" could bring us down! haha and honestly the craziest part was that all that was taught was the Doctrine of Christ. The Doctrine of Christ is Heavenly Father's plan for us! We were taught it before we came here, it is our primary job to learn it and use it here on Earth, and yep, you guessed it, this is what will be taught in the Spirit World after this life. Every time Jesus visited the people in the America's in the Book of Mormon that is what He taught. If they had disputations about what to name the church, he taught His doctrine, it was his answer to every issue. I think this should also be our answer to troubles we are having spiritually. Christ has given us the solution.
Brothers and Sisters, God answers prayers. This week on Tuesday we went to sit with Soy during breakfast and we asked him if he drank coffee the previous day. He said "yes.." and we were pretty disappointed initially, and then he followed that with "but it didn't taste good, so I didn't drink it." YESSS!!! Soy has been drinking coffee for at least 40 years and now it isn't even appealing to him!!! :) We had his baptismal interview later that week and then took him to a Chinese buffet because he has been dying to go to one!! Now it is in the First Presidency's hands. All prayers are appreciated.
I think one of the huge things that teaching Soy has taught me is that Christ's Atonement applies to EVERYONE. All sins can be covered by the Atonement. The word Atonement is actually Hebrew for "to cover." So just like a good friend would cover you at lunch if you forgot your money, Christ covers our sins. Also, sometimes I think it is easy to say these things and then forget to apply them to ourselves. Seeing Soy change increases my faith in my Savior and His divine ability to forgive me and my shortcomings. Elder Bednar summed it up best when he said, "We often testify of what we know to be true, but perhaps the more relevant question for each of us is whether we believe what we know." (If Ye Had Known Me Oct 2016)
Love you all! Have a Fantastic week!!!
Serving with a Smile,
Soy got us a plate full of fortune cookies to try! He has such a big heart! (he is always trying to give us stuff)
left to right: Bitter, Bradley, Soy, Maddie
1. After Soy's Baptismal Interview :)
2. Chinese Buffet
3. You know the food's gonna be good when the sign is halfway burnt out...;)
Friday, March 10, 2017
Also...Our family has sent her a joke due to the kids and I looking up jokes for school activity. She sent back one of her own on our postcard and it's funny not to share:
Why did the Lamanites eat on the floor? Because the Nephites had all the plates :)
Monday, March 6, 2017
Hey Friends and Family!!!
The coolest thing happened!! Wednesday afternoon this past week we went to the rest home to teach Soy (afternoons are our slowest time) anyway, so we are looking all around Zionsville Meadows and we can't find him and believe me he is hard to miss! We ask a nurse and she tells us that he is at a doctor's appointment. What the heck!! We never thought we'd have to plan a back up for Soy! So we leave and try to visit some less-actives, but nothing. So we felt impressed to stop by Nannette's house. We have been trying to get in contact with her for months now, and have never had any luck (she is the excommunicated member that wants to be re-baptized). We knock on her door, and she answers and asks us to come in!!!! We were elated!!! She told us she had just gotten out of the hospital for overdosing. She honestly should be dead. She was telling us about her experience and I am just amazed and overwhelmed to see her as a first hand example of God's unwavering love for us. I feel like I understand Alma the Younger's experience he relays about being "rack(ed) with inexpressible horror" and "torment..harrowed up by the memory of my many sins" and literally in the jaws of hell and how much more hope there is when he remembers Jesus Christ and the Atonement. After Alma turned to Christ, he was filled with light, and his joy was as exquisite as his pains were. (Alma 36) This is what Jesus Christ does for us. He gives us hope and direction and a purpose for life. Nannette has a renewed desire to turn her life around and it's all because of the Savior.
Other Tender Mercies:
- A member gave us glasses for Soy, so now he can read.
- An investigator who has only not been baptized because her husband hasn't been supportive told us that her husband offered to take her to church and asked if she wanted to get a blessing before her surgery Tuesday!
- We were contacted by a less-active that we didn't know about (her records were never moved) who just had a baby, wanted a blessing, and wants to start coming back to church! Her boyfriend is not a member so there is probably a teaching opportunity there too!
- A youth in our ward invited our investigator Brian's son to a Basketball Tournament being held next week! His son seemed excited too!
Serving with a Smile,
Throwback to exchanges when we were a trio!
Exchanges: Bitter, Bradley, Gregerson, Spratling
Thursday, March 2, 2017
Hello family and friends!
Where to even start! So we got a new car, and I have a feeling it is the nicest car I will ever drive...it is a 2017 Toyota RAV4 and to top it off it's red :) anyway, this week was a crazy one! We met some really cool people finding! This guy named AJ asked us if he could have a Book of Mormon after we talked to him about it and we met another guy named Zach who is taking time off from school to figure out who he is and he asked us if he could meet with us and talk with him about God :)
We also had a lesson with a Messianic Jew (a Jew who believes that Jesus Christ is the Messiah) named Brad. We had a lesson with him Saturday when we had two girls with us who were a part of a missionary readiness program done by the Stake here, and wow. Brad has learned Hebrew since becoming a Messianic Jew (he grew up Christian) and he is super versed as far as scriptures go especially in the Old Testament and pertaining to the Law of Moses. You could see the passion he had for his religion (especially because he has written articles about it), and sometimes, I think we need to have more passion for our religion. After all, love is spelled T-I-M-E right? Brad loves his religion, do we show ours the same love? I have studied the law of Moses more now than ever in my life and have learned so many cool things about it, especially that it all symbolically points to Jesus Christ being our Savior and Redeemer. I am also more grateful for the additional insight the Book of Mormon adds and the clarity it brings to the Scriptures.
Soy is really struggling with coffee right now, so all prayers are greatly appreciated! We sit with him at breakfast because that is the hardest time, but he is still struggling a lot with this addiction. He went a whole week and then had a relapse the 7th day. He received a Priesthood blessing yesterday, and the Spirit was very present during the blessing. I know God wants to bless and help us with our trials in life. I love you all! Enjoy your week! :)
Serving with a smile,
Flash back to Galantine's Day with Maddie Sinclair (she is leaving March 20th to serve in the Madrid Spain Mission!)
Missionary Readiness Day :) (me, Ellie, Mattie, and Sister Bitter)