Wednesday, April 28, 2010

GOLDEN 4/26/10

Okay I am going to try my best to share some of the special experiences that I had this week but it will be difficult to write in word's the feelings which I have felt these last few days.

First off, think about this scripture. "For behold, angels are declaring unto many at this time in our land; and this is for the purpose of preparing the hearts of the children of men to receive his word at the time of his coming in his glory" (Alma 13:24)

We took many people this week on tour's and every single one of them were prepared for this message. I will share with you a few of the experiences we had on Saturday
#1 We met 2 couples which were both originally from Austria but one was living in Australia at the time and the other in Austria. The women were sister's. They came on the Square and asked for a tour right away, we asked them what they had heard about the church and all they said was that we had practiced plural marriage in the past. Well as we began teaching them and centering our message on Jesus Christ their hearts opened and they were AMAZED. As we walked in front of the temple one of the women started crying and couldn't understand how it was so beautiful and peaceful. They had been raised catholic and as we shared our beliefs it made perfect sense to them. They were so curious about Sister Kim and I, our families, school, why we came on a mission etc.. they were completely in awe. At the end one of them said "I am so touched to see women of such faith, I didn't know such faith existed anymore". She embraced us and said she would happily listen to the missionaries at home.

#2 We met Lauren and Bob in the NVC at the MAP and they also asked to be shown around. Bob quickly explained the he was a member and that Lauren his neighbor was not and they were both from California. Throughout our time I felt that I needed to teach very simply and clearly. Lauren is a mother of 2 in her 20's and just listened intently. As we shared about the Temple she completely agreed and said "of course God would provide a way for our families to be together forever!" When we ended in the Assembly Hall we asked her how she was feeling and she just started to cry and said that she had no idea why she was coming today but now she knew why God brought her here. She is going through many trials in her life and said how she has been searching for answers. Amazing.

#3 A family of members came and found us and told us they were visiting with their grandparents who were from Germany and "not for the church". The father of the family informed us that they had tried for years to teach them about the Gospel but they would never listen. We took their group to the Christus and testified of the Savior and the Grandpa just looked at us and said "wow, that's right!" He didn't want to leave the Christus and move on but we assured him he could come back. Now this German man was loud, obnoxious, stubborn, just crazy! He loved teasing us and asking questions that he knew we wouldn't have an answer too. But his wife felt the spirit so strong. As we explained the restoration and the pattern God has established throughout all of time something clicked in his head. He felt something.. the spirit,... testifying that this is true. After so many years of this family trying to get through to them, they finally felt the spirit. The Grandma said it was a moving experience and wants to learn more, and the Grandpa nodded his head in agreement :)

#4 Gene is an older man from Texas. He was in Utah working on an engineering project. We found him in the North Visitor Center and he had some questions for us. He immediately said "so tell me about your church, I have a Book of Mormon and I know it's true". We just laughed and took him straight downstairs to clearly explain the restoration to him. After teaching for about 15 minutes he just looked at us and said "so you are telling me that you have the truth and people in this world are ignorant enough to deny it!" We shared with him a short clip of Pres. Monson testifying and he just got teary eyed and said that he knew the heaven's were not closed. We sat down with him and invited him to meet with missionaries. He was a little hesitant because he says that he prays every morning and night to do the will of God so why would he need to change churches? I explained if he truly is praying for God's will morning and night, then Heavenly father will tell him if he needs to join this church. He agreed, filled out the card, gave us a hug (wahhhhh), and left. AMAZING!!! He was so incredible. I just saw in him a future stake president :)

#5 Just after we finished visiting with Gene from Texas I look over and see this girl running towards me and all the sudden she was embracing me! I looked to see that it was Camila who I met about 4 months ago and had a visit with. She was struggling with so many problems at the time with school, work, dating, and life. Sister Watanabe and I both felt to share with her about serving a mission. We had testified that I mission would not only change her life but thousands. hah so she came back to temple Square to tell me she has her mission call to serve in the Chicago IL mission!!! My heart was so full and she just thanked me and shared that when she met us, she decided that night to go on a mission. I just told her that we were simply an instrument in the Lord's hands! She will be an amazing missionary! She is from Portugal but living in SLC for school.

All of these experiences happened last Saturday. EVERY non- member that we met on the Square that day was prepared and ready for the Gospel. Now if those aren't miracles then I don't know what is!

Yesterday we had a few more.
- We took a woman on a tour in the morning who was killing some time while her daughter went through the temple to take out her endowment's. The mother was not a member but she had heard a little about the church from her daughter. She was so kind and willing to learn everything. She had seen the blessings that had come into her daughters life (her only child) and was curious most importantly about the temple. I felt the spirit telling me to be very soft and simple with her. So as we walked around she was so touched. Temple Square is BEAUTIFUL right now! With all of the flowers and the weather... just amazing. She would just say "yes that's right, wow, amazing, that's so wonderful!" We ended in the family presentation and invited her to learn from missionaries, she thought for a minute and responded "yes I would gladly welcome them in my home". wahhh I love it!
-We found a mother and daughter in front of the temple just looking and began talking with them. They were both from Australia and taking a road trip across the states. They seemed a little lost so we began taking them around and explaining the history to them. We found out quickly that they were not religious at all, but very kind and open. We focused out teaching on having a purpose in this life and how religion is not a set of laws or regulations, but a way to bring joy and happiness. We ended with them in the auditorium in the conference center and shared with them Alma 26:37, which teaches of the Lord knowing his people in all lands. We testified the even though they didn't know God, that he knew them and has a perfect plan for them. The mother responded "wow, I need to read that book".

In each of these situation's I bet that the angels were just cheering and clapping for us. I could hardly contain my excitement each time as these children of God would agree to listen to missionaries in their homes. Some of them were probably shocked at how eager and excited I was for them!! haha, but I always just imagine how the Savior would invite them to learn more. He would NOT let anyone leave without them knowing how much he loves them and wants them to follow him.

This church is true!

Alma 26:37 Now my brethren, we see that God is
mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever. Amen.
Love you all!- Sister Carly Jo Porter

p.s. I met David Archuleta yesterday... he came to do baptisms.. pa ha

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Let's talk about Sunday 4/20/10

When your whole mission is on one block - I guess you have to be creative with your picture taking :) Carly definitely doesn't lack in being creative! And she' so camera shy!! :) Atleast it is one of the most beautiful blocks in the world.

Well I am very happy today as finally my favorite sunshine has arrived! It is officially Spring.. or so we think. I had a wonderful week full of amazing miracles which I would LOVE to share… of course.

First off, let’s talk about Sunday. So our Sacrament meeting in the morning was so uplifting. I felt like I could reach out and just grab the spirit it was so powerful. We walked out on the Square; the sun was shining, beautiful! Well…. We begin contacting people and took a tour right away. Our first tour was with 2 older women who could care less about any of the Gospel they just wanted to find the best place to take a picture! It was interesting. Very kind ladies.. Just a little bit old. There were many members on the Square who we were contacting as well and they were HARD! I was beginning to get frustrated with the members.. I mean seriously who doesn’t know ONE non-member who we can call for them? It wasn’t even that.. they didn’t even really think about it. Hah oh goodness. During the afternoon we took a wonderful tour with an older couple and ended at the Christus statue, we took out the Book of Mormon to share a scripture and invite them and the woman just put’s her hand’s up and says, “oh no no no I have my bible and that is all I need.. Thank you!” then they just kind of walked away. BROKE my heart! We contacted a few more guest’s and had similar experiences... … just not interested. I went into one of the movie room’s and just had to cry. It was really weird because usually I never get discouraged or give up but I really just felt as if I had lost all hope. My companion and I talked our way through it and fell on our knee’s and asked Heavenly Father to forgive us for losing hope and promised we would continue finding. That night during our planning we discussed how we needed to focus more on the key points of the Restoration. We decided that no matter what we HAVE to share the restoration because if people are prepared... they will hear.

Let’s talk about Monday. We always arrive on the Square at 9AM with a few other sister's who are asked to come early. My companion and I walked around the Square and couldn't really find anyone, we decided to walk by West Gate. Right as we walked up 3 people came through and began talking to us. It was a cute older couple along with a man and they were all here on business and they were from Phoenix. We first took them to the Assembly Hall and explained about the History of the pioneer's and how they came to the valley. We also took the opportunity to explain what happens during Sunday meeting's (which is what the Assembly Hall was originally used for). We then took them to the Tabernacle where we shared about the living Prophets and then went into the Apostasy and restoration. They just listened... and after we would share something new we would be silent. The spirit was so strong and the woman just had teary eyes. We then went outside in front of the Temple and explained that because we have authority on the earth we can now have the wonderful blessing of making promises in Holy Temples. Again they just listened... We ended at the Book of Mormon display and explained the importance of making known truths which have been lost for centuries and that this was the evidence the Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. This is when they had some questions so we sat down and clearly answered them for them. We then testified and gave them our guest cards and a minute to fill them out. Both the couple and the man were so touched by the spirit. They each wanted to receive missionaries and the Book of Mormon. It was funny because as we stood up to shake their hands the older man (he was really tall) just leans over and gave us big hugs!! It caught me so off guard! It was such a beautiful experience and the start of an incredible day. Later in the afternoon we met 2 women who were from Spain and were stuck in SLC because of the Volcano in Iceland? They would be here for a week and wanted to learn more. This tour was a similar experience and we had soooo much fun with them! They were cute and just amazed at everything... and of course they wanted to meet missionaries when they got home. This happened 3 more times throughout the day! Including a man from New Hampshire, Poland, and the Czech Republic. I was astonished. At the end of each one my companion and I would just be laughing with joy and keep finding more. Oh and the cutest was a couple the were from Colorado but just moved to Utah. They were both looking for jobs and were so humble. They recently had a baby and had been discussing how they want to raise their daughter, they felt the our faith would be best for her and wanted to learn more... amazing!

I learned so much from both of these experiences. First of all... discouragement is a waste of time, it weakens our faith and fog's the spirit. Sunday night we had to humble ourselves and re-focus on what our purpose was which is sharing the restoration! When we share it simply, boldly, and with love, then it has the opportunity of touching heart's. There are people who are ready and there are people who are not. We just have to share with everyone or we won't know which ones are the elect! We also had Zone Conference last Thursday. WOW it was so incredible! One of our classes was focused on the gathering of Israel and as missionaries we are the fishers. There are a lot of cool analogies that were taught that really helped me to understand how important our job is to find! They also focused on teaching with the Spirit. It is really amazing because as missionaries and as members we know Christ personally, but most people we meet don't. We are the pathway for them to get to Christ, but if we don't bring them closer to Christ then our purpose is not being fulfilled. How can I bring people closer to Jesus Christ? I must know him better! I have decided to study more intently his life, teaching's, miracles, and atonement, as I do this I hope to bring people closer to him.

The sister's in my district are doing so well! The first few weeks of the transfer were rough but now we are all working hard together and improving our teaching skill's, which is what I am focusing on with them. I really hope that I can teach them and that together we can help more people. I know that the Lord will send us more miracles as we prepare ourselves for them.

I love you all. I hope that you can each see the hand of the Lord in your lives every day because it is there! It is just up to us to recognize it... or not :)

Love you! Have a beautiful week.

Alma 26:37 "Now my brethren, we see that God is a
mindful of every bpeople, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever. Amen. "

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Miracles in the RC 4/13/10

So a funny story happened yesterday. My companion and I were walking across the Square and I was focusing on my destination (the north visitor's center) because it was cold and windy and we were walking very quickly. My companion was excitedly saying something in my ear but for some reason I had no idea what she was saying.. a few moment's later a man about 2 feet in front of me turned around and it was Elder L. Tom Perry! I literally jumped back and just said "Oh hi.. elder!" haha he shook our hand's and asked what we were doing out in the cold. I said, "Oh well we are just trying to find people!" haha it was so funny and he just laughed and told us to have a good day. haha my companion was just dieing laughing because it had totally caught me off guard, it had taken me a few moment's to realize who it was! She said my face when bright red.. He is a really big guy! I had no idea how tall he was.. anyway, it was really fun to meet him.

This week of course was amazing. Most of the miracles I saw were in the Referral Center as we began the task of calling our 150 potentials we have to call from conference and the few day's after. It has been incredible as almost every person has answered their phones and many of them wanted to learn more. Sometimes as the phone is ringing I just repeat in my mind "perfect love casteth out fear" because I get very nervous to talk to people. I know that they are the friend's, family, and neighbor's of the faithful member's we met so I want to make sure that I say the right thing. I am so grateful that the spirit calms my mind and I am able to teach, testify, and invite on the phone! Just this morning I spoke with many who wanted to learn more. I always have a prayer in my heart the Heavenly Father will open their mind's and heart's so they will listen to my message. The power of prayer is REAL.

We took a woman from Bermuda on a tour a few day's ago. She had come to Park city for a wedding and then decided to stay an extra day so she could check out SLC. We were visiting with a couple and when we finished we turned around and she literally was right there and asked "what can I see here? is there anything special going on?" hah we were so excited and told her we would LOVE to show her around. She said she was devout catholic so we focused our tour on authority and also God's perfect plan for his children. Of course God would call a living prophet once again to lead his people! About half way through our time together she began asking more question's and I could see the Spirit touching her heart. We ended in the Conference Center, as we took her into the large auditorium she was speechless and tear's filled her eyes. My companion and I both testified to her that this was true and that when the missionaries visited her in Bermuda that their message could change her life if she would open her heart. So cool!

So I am loving the work here. We had our first District meeting yesterday and it went very well. I have wonderful sister's this transfer BUT I have been having a hard time keeping them all happy. It seems that many of them have forgotten that this work is supposed to be cheerful! Some of them have a hard time with their companion's and don't get along too well. It is so strange because each of them are very hard worker's and are here for all the right reason's.. they just tend to forget our purpose here. As their leader I can't even describe how they are constantly on my mind. Sometimes I have a hard time sleeping or getting thing's done because I want them to enjoy this work and to find miracles. So I have been trying to do all that I can to encourage them and be the example that they need to see to stay motivated. I know that the Lord has put each of these sister's in my district for specific reason's and I really want to do all I can to teach them, love them, and help them.

There is a scripture that I LOVE that I have been sharing quite often these last few day's. I replace the name with mine (or whomever I am talking to), "And now my daughter, Sister Porter, I would that ye should remember, that as much as ye shall put your trust in God even so much ye shall be delivered out of your trials, and your troubles, and your afflictions, and ye shall be lifted up at the last day". I find so much strength in this verse as I again remember that I cannot do any of this work on my own. I hope that each of us can find strength in our Savior Jesus Christ. The moment we try to do it on our own, we will be humbled and have to learn from our mistakes. I know that we all make mistakes but I am so grateful that the Lord is there with his arms open waiting for us to run to him. Then, we shall be lifted up at the last day.

Love you all. Have a beautiful week.
-Sister Carly Jo Porter

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Merry Christmas!! 4/6/10

Besides the 30 degrees weather and snow everywhere... we had a fabulous conference weekend!! Actually what was incredible was that the forecast said snow snow snow all weekend, but the only time it snowed was Saturday all night and of course ALL day yesterday :) But I am so grateful that the weather stayed clear.. freezing, but clear during conference!

So Friday morning we had a mission meeting and our President pumped us up for conference. He encouraged us to completely forget about ourselves and just to contact as many member's as possible. We worked from 8AM to 9PM each day with only 20 minutes breaks for lunch and dinner. The conference center seats 21000 people so you can imagine how busy it was on the square. My companion and I were assigned to the Stand by line so we were pretty much there most of the time talking to all the people that we could. It was so incredible to meet so many faithful member's from the all over the world who had traveled such a distance to attend conference! My favorite part was asking the member's what they learned or gained from conference and really letting them teach me. I was able to hear incredible conversion stories, miracles, and life changing moments for many people. I met families who were so full of love for each other and so united in the Gospel. I was sooo impressed that these member's were so willing to share with us their friends and family who they love dearly and hope to share the Gospel with them. The member's were really really thinking of who they knew!! Miracle!! I was able to testify to member's who are struggling that what they are hearing is just for them, especially when the spirit can speak to them according to their needs and concerns. I LOVED every moment and it was a life changing experience for me.

By Sunday night at 9:00 I couldn't really see or think straight along with the other 160 sister's who were working just as hard. We all met in the Tabernacle to hear about our success from the weekend. Our president shared that we received 4700 names and number's from member's on the square.. in two days!!!! We all just cried and shouted for joy! We will now have the opportunity of calling all of these people and bringing them closer to the Savior. Our President again testified of the Savior and how all of this work was for him and his love for us! We stood in the tabernacle and sang Called to Serve.. this was one of the most spiritual experiences that I have ever had! Then our President told us to sleep in until 9AM!!! Wow- I have never been so happy :)

My companion and I alone were able to receive 115 names and phone number's to call in the RC. That is usually how many we get in a whole transfer.. so we are VERY excited!! Oh and just to follow up with the potentials I received from the BYU group a few week's ago. I have already contaced 12 of them and 10 of them referred to listen to the missionaries! So exciting! My companion is so wonderful. She is happy, positive, and loves to work hard. I am so grateful that I don't have to pull my companions here along with me, but they also want to work hard! She is also still pretty new in the mission so she is very eager to learn from me which I am grateful for.

Yesterday I had a very unique experience. I was asked to do service in the Temple with my district, so we were there for about 4 hours yesterday cleaning :) For about an hour I was in the celestial room all by myself dusting and vacuuming. I was overwhelmed with such an incredibly pure spirit that just touched my heart! As I walked around the room and saw the great detail in the woodwork that the early member's of the church put into the temple, tears just came to my eyes. I can't believe how hard they worked and what a blessing it has been for thousands of people. I just had such a feeling of urgency for more people to experience this joy! I want the whole world to come to the temple so they can see and feel!! I was visiting with one of the worker's in the temple and she was sharing some very spiritual stories and experiences she has had while working there. I'm so grateful for the opportunity! What a privilege to serve in the house of the Lord!

I don't have much more to share. I am just full of joy for this Gospel. Conference always comes at a time when everyone needs some good reminders and insight on how to re-adjust our lives. I am very excited to read all of the talks. My companion and I were able to attend the Saturday afternoon session and it was amazing! I really loved how Elder Holland's talk related to everyone and how he shared it with such love and meekness. He truly showed a Christlike example of how to chasten us with love and care.

The church is true! Now go set some goal's on how you can apply what you learned in conference! It doesn't mean anything if we don't apply it... I will do the same.

loves- Sister Carly Jo Porter

p.s. I had so much fun seeing many people who I knew from home!! It was crazy how many I saw in the midst of 21,000 member's!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Changes and Miracles 3/30/10

I couldn't have asked for a better last week of the transfer! My companion and I gave this week everything that we had to share the spirit on Temple Square! There were so many miracles but there is one special one I want to focus on.

In mid January I took 3 people on a tour. Lee and Brian were father and son, Brian in his 20's had recently moved to SLC for work and Lee was visiting, along with Pricsilla who is from Nicaragua. Lee and his family had visited Nicaragua to build homes a year ago when they met Priscilla and now she was living with them and working in the US. She was beautiful!!! Anyway, we took them on a wonderful tour and they had so many questions. They could care less for the history and the buildings but really just wanted to know everything. Priscilla could not come to understand the Book of Mormon. They were all very very Christian and she knew the bible and couldn't believe we had more scripture. But as we were teaching she felt the spirit so strongly and had tears in her eyes. Lee and Brian agreed and loved everything but they did not refer to learn more. Priscilla gave me her information for her home in Nicaragua to send a referral through in July when she will be back home. She wants to learn in her native country.
Ok- fast forward until last Saturday. I was in the referral center making calls and I found Priscilla's card in my folder I thought that I should call her and re-invite her to hear from missionaries in Colorado where the family lives. I called her and she was so excited to hear from me, her and Connie (the mother, Lee's wife) were on there way to SLC to visit Brian! She said, "Oh ya we are on our way to SLC, wow I can't believe you called, I should bring Connie to Temple Square". So I thought maybe they might come to the square and walk around, well Sunday afternoon they came! I took them on another tour and Priscilla told us she had come back because she felt such a powerful spirit on the square and really had many questions. Connie was AMAZING. She was so prepared to hear everything. When I opened the Book of Mormon and shared the account in Nephi 11 she just began flipping the pages and reading. After teaching her from the Book of Mormon and taking them on a wonderful tour I looked at Priscilla and she said this .. " I came back today and wanted to see you girls because I love your devotion and love for God, but I just cannot accept that there is another book, the Bible is the only scripture on the earth from God and I don't know, I will read the Book of Mormon, but I just don't know".. I was preparing to answer her but then Connie said, "Priscilla you can't know anything is from God unless you sincerely read and pray about it, if it is truth God will reveal it to us!!" My jaw just dropped. Connie was the answer! She accepted to receive the Book of Mormon and the missionaries and she said she will read and pray about it. AMAZING! Throughout the whole tour they were saying what a miracle it was that I had called yesterday to see how she was doing. Connie was so grateful and so excited to read. And now this amazing beautiful family will receive missionaries and Priscilla's heart has been opened, not by us, but by Connie. My companion knelt in prayer and thanked heavenly father for leading us in preparing their heart's for the Gospel. Prepared.. prepared.. prepared. Even they could see God's hand in this miracle.

After this I received another witness that Heavenly Father know's his children so well. He is literally planning out every single tiny thing in our lives! We MUST put all of our trust in him and his plan, when we don't trust him he will not continue to show us the way. Press forward and TRUST.

So we had transfer conference yesterday morning! 12 sister's were called to serve in their outbound missions. 2 of the sister's were in the MTC with me! So I have a very high chance of being called to another mission next transfer. For this transfer I was called as District leader again and my new companion is Sister Kim from Korea!! haha ya.. I know. Another Korean and another Kim. The Lord know's how much I love Asian people. Maybe I will live in Korea some day? I was wishing I would have learned more Korean from my first Korean companion. So Sister Kim was raised in Korea and then her family moved to California when she was 16. Her English is great and she had an older sister who served in this mission last year. Which is crazy because the other Sister S. Kim's older sister served here as well... strange. Anyway, I am so excited to refocus and grow to love the new sister's to serve with. There are 12 in my district, we will have district meeting's every week and I am responsible for their scheduling and number's every day as well. I love it!

ok ok one more miracle. My companion and I this last week were really practicing inviting member's to give us the names of their non-member friend's. We KNOW that everyone know's someone, it is just figuring out how to invite them. Especially with Conference coming up this weekend, we have to be good at it. Well.. all week long we were inviting members and not 1 person gave us a number until Sunday night. We were closing the Joseph Smith movie and a BYU ward was there. After testifying we invited them and received 33 names and numbers! MIRACLE!!! We really really needed this to keep us busy in the referral center and to bring the Gospel to more people!!! We knew they Lord was trying our faith and then blessing us with so many!

So this weekend is General Conference! I will be able to attend one of the sessions, but for the other's I will be everywhere on the square and at the conf. center inviting all of the member's. So if you are coming to conference you better have your phones ready because the sister's will ask you for your non-member friends. I am sooooo excited for conference! We are so blessed to have a living prophet on the earth and have the opportunity of hearing from him so often. I encourage you to prepare your minds through study and prayer so you will be able to receive the needed inspiration for your life right now. Miracles happen as the spirit speaks to us and gives us guidance and direction.

I love you all! I love this Gospel!

-Sister Carly Jo Porter