Dear wonderful family,
I am so excited to tell you about this past week! Life is so good. Tuesday I met my new companion, Sister Lewis. No relation to C.S. Lewis but I am convinced she must be somehow because she is brilliant. I feel so blessed to get this opportunity to learn and grow from her. I may even get to kill her! Han, she will be at BYU this Fall so I already have everything figured out for you to meet each other. If you want to have a job waiting for her when she gets there that would be nice too:)
We had zone conference this past week & it was awesome. I learned heaps & heaps that I wish I had enough time to share it all with yous. The assistants gave a great training on opening the hearts of the people we teach. In order to do so we need the key & the spirit is the one who provides us with their specific key. It was fantastic! Because of zone conference and transfers we only spent 1 full day in Coffs. I am so happy to be back in Coffs and show Sister Lewis how amazing the people are here:)
One of my favorite experiences was riding the train to New Castle. I felt like I was on my way to Hogwarts! Poor Sister Lewis heard me say, “Oh this is so much fun!” over and over again. But it was just so much fun! I read my Book of Mormon, talked to some cool people, ate strawberries, read my C.S. Lewis quotes, looked out the window, and read some more. 14 hours of pure bliss I tell you!
While we were on the train I did some pondering on an experience I had a few weeks ago. Sister Shelley (who is training another new missionary, which makes me a big sister!) & I visited a less active couple, & the wife, June, told us her conversion story. 20 years ago June had an amazing experience while the missionaries taught her that confirmed to her that Joseph Smith was a true prophet. She will never deny that The Book of Mormon came from God and Joseph Smith was called to restore His gospel to the earth. Her testimony was so powerful! The spirit was so strong & I was amazed as she told us of her miraculous experience. When we left their house I had a question that I couldn’t let go of…
How could someone who had experienced what June had experienced stop coming to church? I suppose we ask the same question regarding Laman & Lemuel. How could 2 people who saw an angel of God reject the gospel? Or how do some return missionaries go less active after spending 18 to 24 months helping people come back to church? I do not mean it in a judge mental way, I was just curious how they stopped coming. The spirit taught me an important lesson while I was reading The Book of Mormon.
In 3 Nephi it speaks of the signs coming to pass of Christs birth which had been prophesied. There really was a day that never turned into night & a new star did appear. These signs brought many people to believe in the coming of Christ. Yet 4 years following this massive faith building experience you see something happen
and the people began to forget those signs and wonders which they had heard, and began to be less and less astonished at a sign or a wonder from heaven (3 Nephi 2:1)
Spiritual experiences do not last. Spiritual habits do.
There is a reason that sunday school answers are repeated hundreds of times every week. Bruce R McConkie taught, “spiritual experiences are not there to produce faith but to reward it.”
The small spiritual habits are what have changed me & what will continue to change me long after my time as a missionary. I feel somewhat like Lucy in Chronicles of Narnia when she sees Aslan after being away.
‘Aslan,’ said Lucy, “you’re bigger.”
“That is because you are older, little one,’ answered he.
“Not because you are?”
“I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger.”
S Michael Wilcox said, “What a beautiful thought about our relationship with Christ. We know Him. We remember Him. But the more we know, the older we become, the bigger, the grander, the more magnificent He becomes.”
I love my Savior, Jesus Christ. I love that He becomes more magnificent to me each & every day. He is my best friend. It doesn’t matter what I do in this life I will never be able to repay Him for what He has done for me, but I’ll spend my life trying.
Have a beautiful week, my family. I love you more than words can express & I am so thankful for each of yous. You are included in every prayer I say.
Your Sister Denney:)
“O love that overcomes defeat,
O love that turns the bitter sweet,
Pure love that makes our lives complete–
Come fill my soul today”