Monday, December 7, 2015

A Hope to be Home for Christmas

Dear Family,

Fog hung low this morning as we went about our P-day errands. It was kind of eeerry. ha. Mr. Sun started to shine through just as we arrived, so all is well:)

H a p p y B i r t h d a y Mason Michael Crowley, TODAY! You're growing up too fast. Stop it. :( I hope that you have an extraordinary day little man. I love you! Also! Happiest Birthday to my dear, sweet, Aussie Angel, Sister Munro! On the 3rd I think it was? Oh, well! Sometime last week. :) I hope you had a fabulous day pretty lady!

Dad -- I am sorry for the loss of Gma Inez. My heart goes out to you and your siblings. I love you! 

Wedding countdown begins for Miss Meggie and K-tuft! I can't believe that the two of you are getting married on the same day. hahah! Betcha never would have predicted that to happen way back when growing up having tea parties together. ;) Alexis and Matthew Holley are also coming up on 2 years! WOW. Time passes tooooo quickly. 

---> Home of the Saratoga Blue Streaks
---> Stewarts has a ice cream that is almost identical to GRAHAM CANYON, it's called Crumbs along the Mohawk. Mom you would LOVE it!!! 
---> Almost all of the members here work at GE (General Electric)
---> I had an allergic reaction my first week here! haha it was the weirdest craziest thing. Good thing I got Doc Rogers as a President on speed dial. ;)
---> and if you are really reading this email.. my visa came... :)
--> Every year they have a Victorian Walk on Broadway Street (mini NYC) 


Miss Shannon Fontes is on date for January 2 and is doing amazing. She came to church again yesterday and she said in response to there being any visitors in Relieft Society, "I don't plan on being a visitor much longer, I plan on staying awhile." She is simply amazing. I wish all of you could meet her. 

BOOK OF MORMON: Another Testament of Jesus Christ

This past week we had a Zone Conference on the Book of Mormon. I wish you could have all been there and felt the spirit that was present as we discussed the Keystone of our religion and how we can better use it in our work to fulfill our purpose of "Inviting others to come unto Christ, by helping them receive the restored Gospel through, Faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, Repentance, Baptism, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost and Enduring to the End." The Book of Mormon is sometimes overlooked in our missionary work. I will plead guilty to not using it as much or even believing in the convincing power that it holds. To some it is just merely a book; paper with words on it like any other. Sad thing is, it will remain that way to many of us unless we take the time to find out for ourselves if the Book of Mormon is true or not and whether or not Joseph Smith translated it by the power of God. Here is one of President's Pearls: "God does not answer us just out of curiosity. Sincere intent is needed in order to receive answers." For any of you out there that may be struggling with your testimony of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith or perhaps you would just like to know again, receive another confirmation of its' truth and power, I invite you to study it, ponder it, and then ask with real intent to know. I promise you that the Holy Ghost will bear witness to you as you do so.

At the concluding of Zone Conference, President Rogers extended an invitation to us to read and study the Questions of the Soul that are found in Preach My Gospel. Interestingly enough, "Is there life after death?" just so happened to be the one I was studying this morning just before President Rogers called to tell me that my Grandma Inez Fredrickson passed away yesterday morning. As he told me, tears filled my eyes for many reasons. 1. The spiritual witness I had almost 2 years ago when we went to California for Thanksgiving that that would be the last time I would see Grandma in person. I am grateful for that time that I had to spend with her and that I was able to really be in the moment that trip. 2. Grandma finally gets to be free of her earthly pain AND she finally gets to be "dancing in Heaven" with Grandpa Vern. 3. the knowledge I have of the Plan of Salvation. 

The chapter that I studied this morning to answer this question of the soul was Alma 40. During this chapter, Alma the Younger is addressing Coriaton's worry concerning the resurrection of the dead. After I hung up the phone with President, I went back and read the following verses:
11 Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection—Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life.
 12 And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into state of happiness,which is called paradisestate of rest, state of peace,where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow.
 23 The soul shall be restored to the bodyand the body to the soul; yea, and every limb and joint shall be restored to its body; yea, even hair of the head shall not be lost; but all things shall be restored to their proper and perfect frame.
Grandma Inez is the first close relative I've been close with that has passed since I have been alive. I've never felt this kind of hurt before. It's almost like losing a part of your heart. But, as I went back and reflected on these verses that I had read just an hour before I received the phone call, I felt an overwhelming sense of love come over me and JOY for Grandma! She is now in a place where she can rest from all her troubles and care and sorrow that we all know she has been facing for quite a long time now. And when the day comes, she will be resurrected and restored to her perfect frame. I know this to be true with all of my heart. I know that the Spirit was guiding me this morning as I studied that Question of the Soul in preparing me for the news that I would get just shortly after. I am ever so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who designed such a perfect and endearing plan for all of us so that we might all be together again and live on into the eternities with all of our loved ones whom have passed on. 
I know that the Book of Mormon is true. It is so important that we all come to know how important it actually is for ourselves and for others. Reading the Book of Mormon keeps our faith ALIVE.
On a much happier note my visa came!!! :) yay. haha I got news from president just after our Zone Conference ended. I leave the 17th of December. I will fly to NY to Amsterdam to Prague. All I truly wanted for Christmas was to be "home" for the holidays in Czech. I don't think I could count how many tear-filled/heart-felt prayers I have sent up to Heavenly Father concerning the Christmas wish. Ironically enough I had sent a silent prayer up to him that day at Zone Conference after an Elder asked me when it was coming and after telling him prolly soon because my 3 month mark was coming up he responded with, "Well, I wouldn't count on that." Kind of kiddingly, but still. The statement cut deep. Sitting in testimony meeting I pleaded with Heavenly Father just one more time. (I said just one more time I'll complain to you about this a lot the past 3 months haha) I was feeling kind of down about it, but after I said that silent prayer I once again felt calm and positive about it coming. Not 10 minutes or so later was when I got the news. 
I need you all to know that God is REAL. He is literally our H E A V E N L Y F A T H E R. He knows us, He hears us, every last cry, whine, need, thanks, He hears it all and the best part is, He answers. In His own due time, in His own way, but He does. I know He does. I am thrilled for the opportunity to return back to Czech and continue building off ALL that I have learned here in New York. It is a bittersweet thing I tell ya. I have come to love this place and the people here so so much. along with all the missionaries and President and Sister Rogers. 

I love you all so much. I hope that you remember the "Reason for the Season" as Christmas continues to quickly sneak up on us! 
Until next week,
S laskou,
Sestra Fredova
P.s. We saw sooo many miracles this week! 
Our investigator Brian had us over for dinner this past week. His dog Shakes and I became real good friends. :)

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