Thursday, November 6, 2014

I want to hear from you!

Hi everyone! My name is Heather. I started this blog over a year and a half ago, and I am AMAZED at how many people have viewed this blog in that time! (138,500!!

Now I want to hear from you guys. I would love to hear your stories of how you gained your testimony, and please share your testimony of missionary work! Also let me know where you are going/did go and include your mission picture!

Every email I receive will be put into a book and eventually sent to the first presidency to show them what a huge impact this change has had on us all! 


Email tipsforsisters@outlook.com 

I look forward to hearing from you all! 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

I'm Trying to be Beautiful

By Rilee Belnap

There are days when I miss being young and not having a care in the world. I miss running around the neighborhood, playing on swings in the park, and being able to do the things I loved without falling under the watch of the ever critical eyes around me. My childhood was happy and it wasn’t until I started getting older that certain things were pointed out to me. They were things I never wanted to hear, and to this day I still can’t understand.
                When a girl is little everyone says she’s cute, pretty, or beautiful. So that is what I believed. I thought I was beautiful. Imagine my surprise, shock, horror, and utter heartbreak when one day someone looked at me and said, “You’re ugly.” I wanted to cry then, and I probably did, but when someone says it now I’m expected to “take it like a man” and “suck it up”, because I’m not worth anything.
                For a while I took these suggestions and started doing whatever I could to cure myself of being ugly. I tried wearing cute clothes, putting on makeup, and doing what pretty girls do. Still nothing changed. I was still ugly. No one wanted to talk to me. No one outside my family would say I was beautiful. All the things I’d tried were for nothing. I still wasn’t worth anything.
 I remember clearly one day standing in front of my dresser trying to decide which shirt to wear when I received a powerful personal revelation. I was deciding between a pink shirt with flowers and a purple shirt with flowers when this thought struck me like a ton of bricks. These shirts in my hands didn’t make me beautiful. The makeup I was trying to wear didn’t make me beautiful. What everyone around me said about me didn’t make me beautiful. I was beautiful. It had nothing to do with my appearance. It was who I was that made me beautiful.
Right then and there I placed those uncomfortable shirts back in the drawer and grabbed my favorite T-shirt instead. I stopped wearing makeup. Overall I stopped trying to prove myself to everyone, because in all honesty everyone didn’t really care about me to begin with, but the one who told me the truth about myself did.
So I have something to say to all you girls out there trying to be beautiful; you already are. Don’t let the world fool you. Don’t let other people tell you what type of body you should have, or how to dress it up so you can be pretty. You have a Heavenly Father who created your body just for you. He loves you and cares about you deeply. Everyone else could care less. For them you will never be good enough.
I tried for years with no success. To the world I have the wrong body type, I’m fat, and I have an awkward personality. It doesn’t matter that I can play the piano and violin. It doesn’t matter that I speak two languages.  It doesn’t matter that I can draw better than most everybody can and build things most could never hope to build. It doesn’t matter that I can write music, fold balloon animals, or plant a garden that flourishes. It doesn’t matter that I can revive a rabbit that is near death to perfect health, or help a sister care for a rat with a large open wound on its stomach to recover instead of putting it down. It doesn’t matter that I could hike to the top of a mountain when others couldn’t, or journey to Japan to share the gospel with those who don’t know who they are yet. None of that matters to the world if I’m not pretty. Can’t you see how messed up that is?
My dear sweet sisters who struggle because you don’t think you’re pretty I want to tell you that you are wrong! Satan does not want you to feel like you are worth anything. A woman isn’t her body! A woman isn’t her face! A woman is who she is and what she does with her life. Some of the most beautiful women I know would instantly be rejected as super models, or idols for the world to fawn over. I love them not because of what they look like. I love them because they make me feel good. I love them because they care for me and do what they can to cheer me up when I’m down. They are beautiful because they are daughters of God.
So don’t you dare let anyone tell you you’re not beautiful. You are! I know it! God knows it! And if that guy you like doesn’t see that then shame on him! If those who make fun of you because you are overweight, or don’t look a certain way can’t see it then shame on them! Shame on anybody who lifts themselves up above you because they think themselves better than you.
Keep strong my sisters. You are not your body. You are more glorious and precious than you could ever imagine. You can’t see it now, but you will. Hold on, and know that you can stop trying to be beautiful, because you already are.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

A Letter From an Early Release Sister

**This post was taken from the blog of Sister Amanda Chase who was kind enough to let me repost it here. This is a touching post about her experience and her advice for other sisters. Thank you Amanda for your willingness to serve and to share with the rest of us.**


Dear Everyone (the handful of you that read this blog :)),

After four months in the field, I was medically released from my mission. I'm Amanda now, not Sister Chase. My migraines/headache got really bad. After a lot of prayer, tears, talking to President Smart, and my parents, we decided it'd be best for me to come home to get better. I knew I needed to do that, even though coming home 14 months early is really hard. Since I've been home, my decision to come home was definitely the right one, albeit a difficult one. I just couldn't be the missionary I needed/wanted to be with this headache. Sometimes Heavenly Father throws these crazy curveballs. Although I went to Riverside with my headache, I thought I could do it. But I found out that I am not perfect and that my body isn't perfect either. I've been home a little less than a month now.

Since I've been home my headache hasn't gotten better, but the comforts of home have helped me deal with it better (at least I think so). My doctors think I have a bad neck problem and a possible heart problem...but we still have some testing to do. I feel really hopeful that this new doctor will be able to help me become mostly headache free. When I was released (by President Monson's son....President Monson...my old stake president in Provo) he said that the doctors would be able to discover the source of this 19 month headache and that my headache and all the accompanying issues would be resolved quickly. I feel really hopeful. I haven't really felt that before in regards to my headache unfortunately. I was doing tests this weekend and I feel like this headache will go away and that I need to go back on my mission. When I first got released, I thought there was no way I'd be able to go back...it'd be too hard and who knows if my headache would become an issue again. But this weekend I have felt like my work is not finished in California. That for some reason, or for some person (possibly for this girl), I need to go back. I have no idea when I'll get better or what surgeries or treatment is needed, but I finally feel at peace. Knowing that I have a purpose. I have something to work towards while I am at home with no job, no BYU, and no friends (they're all on missions or at BYU). It's okay that I am not a normal 20 year old. That's been pretty hard to accept, but it's okay. I am learning lots of patience. Learning to accept God's will is something that is pretty hard for me. But His plans are ALWAYS better than mine. Always.

Although I was only in Riverside for four months, I felt like I learned a lot and changed a lot. So for you future missionaries I thought I'd write about some things I've learned or things I wish I would've known beforehand...to help you in your preparation. (these things are not in order of importance :)

Spiritual preparation is SO much more important than physical preparation. I spent way too much time worrying about clothes or what I needed to bring. While I read PMG and prayed and attended the temple and all that good stuff, I could've spent all that time looking at sister missionary boards on pinterest on more important things...like reading the Book of Mormon or serving my family.

Memorize. Have the Standard of Truth, D&C 4, your purpose (in PMG), and Joseph Smith's account of the First Vision (page 11). I wish I would have spent more time familiarizing myself with the First Vision. But don't stress yourself out if you have a difficult time memorizing!

Serving a mission is NOT a glamorous task. We spent a lot of time running from appointment to appointment or door to door. Lets just say you're gonna sweat! And sometimes you'll have no time to think. Or eat. And p-days are ridiculously busy. You're not always going to have perfect hair, you'll look like you've been run over by a car when you come home every night, and you may will gain weight. The Lord's work doesn't require perfectly beautiful and well-read and well-spoken missionaries, He requires effort. Ultimately, He requires your will and your heart.

Sometimes people aren't nice. And say really hurtful things. To help with that, read this talk by Elder Holland.

Pray. Pray sincerely and often and on your knees. Pray for specific people. Pray for your companion. I loved and appreciated when my companions would pray for me or say something about me during companion prayers, not just in their personal prayers. I felt loved and acknowledged when they did that. It meant and still means a lot to me. Pray for your mission president and his wife. Pray for strength. Tell Heavenly Father what is going on. Tell Him how you feel. Tell Him what's hard. Talk to him like He's your dad. Talk to Him with the knowledge that He will help you, as you have faith. Thank Him for the tender mercies. Pray for patience. Ask for inspiration and the ability to recognize promptings.

Look for the little miracles. We all know that bringing souls unto Christ (through baptism) is kind of the big thing missionaries aim for. However, not every person you come in contact with will choose to be baptized. There are other miracles or tender mercies to be found EVERY day, even if you aren't seeing baptisms that you would like to see happen. Try to see the little changes in yourself, or your companion, or your investigators. Look for the times when you felt the spirit, or you were able to say the right thing at the right time to someone. Or that you were able to get past a weakness that day. Seriously. Baptism is not the only miracle to be found. If you don't seek out the little things, you'll be miserable. I've been there and it's not the best place to be.

It's hard. It's tough to really explain unless you've served a mission. But. It's worth it. Completely. There were moments of complete joy and happiness. I was never happier before in my life. Seeing people come unto Christ is such a joy and privilege.

Bring conference talks or past devotionals or firesides. I read those a lot. While I love the Book of Mormon, it's hard to read it straight for an hour everyday.

Understand what "exact obedience" means. You'll probably hear that a lot. Especially in zone or district meetings. That was a hard one for me. Whenever someone spoke about that, I interpreted that as "be perfect. have one baptism a month. hit the standard of excellence every week. find new investigators every day. don't say anything you shouldn't. don't be awkward. teach perfect lessons." That is NOT what exact obedience means. For me to not feel guilty and sick about my imperfections, I had to learn to ignore others' ideas of obedience. I knew what Heavenly Father's standards were for me...and that is what I tried to do. Beating yourself up is not what Heavenly Father wants you to do. He wants you to work and try and commit. Pretty sure the phrase "be perfect and don't make any mistakes or else you'll be considered a crappy missionary" isn't in the white handbook :)

Be bold and loving. This is something that I LOVED about teaching. Be bold as you testify and teach. The gospel is not something we need to tiptoe around or sugarcoat. Say the things you feel inspired to say, regardless if you're scared. If you think about it, we are representatives of Jesus Christ and we are to do and say what He would do and say. I know that if Jesus Christ was able to walk with us as we tracted he would NOT be ashamed or shy with what He said. He would be bold and loving. He would see people as they could become, not as they currently are. He would give these people the opportunity to fully accept Him and the plan He has for them. I remember some missionary said that every time they spoke with someone, they imagined them getting baptized. Imagine how much their Father in Heaven wants them to return. If we only knew His deep love for His children we would be running from person to person exclaiming this good news...that He lives and loves them!

Let Go(d). This is His work. Not yours. Because He loves you and knows how this service will bless you and mold you into the person He needs you to become, He lets you help Him in this work. Strive to listen to the promptings of the spirit and He will help you to know what to say. Trust Him ALWAYS. Even when you're working hard and doing everything "right" and not seeing the success you'd like to see. It will come in His timing.

So after all that being said, please know that I definitely had my (many) times where I complained (more than I should've) or I wasn't perfectly obedient, or I taught a crappy lesson, or I said something ridiculously dumb or awkward. That's completely normal. And do not beat yourself up about it. Learn from it and move on. Don't dwell on your weaknesses or past mistakes. Look forward and realize that God does not expect you to be a perfect, sinless missionary. As long as you are striving to do the right and serve God, all is gonna be okay and Heavenly Father will fill in any gaps and help you all along the way. I promise.

I hope this little list helps you all out there as you prepare to embark on your missionary service. Keep a smile on your face and keep walking, joy will come :)

Love,

Amanda

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Open When... You Are Frustrated With the Language

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his 

head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.

Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.

My Dear Hermana HW,
I cannot begin to describe how much torture you can put yourself through by letting yourself get frustrated with the language. Trust me, it does not help, nor does it work. All you can do is practice, and pray. If you have the Holy Ghost with you, you can teach. You will get the language. It will take time, and a lot of work. But that is part of the mission. Every North American down there has had the same experience. Ask them what helped them learn. They oftentimes have some really good advice. But the most important thing is that you are not afraid to make mistakes. Dont be afraid of saying the wrong thing. Most of the time the screw ups make great stories that you will be able to look back on and laugh at. While I was in the CCM (MTC) one of the sisters told the whole class she was embarrasado” (which she thought meant embarrassed, but actually translated to pregnant). We had a great laugh about it.
You will have those moments where you feel like you have no clue what anyone is saying to you, and you wont know how to respond. But dont be hard on yourself as you are learning. Picking on yourself is not something that is inspired by the Lord. Satan will try to get you frustrated and down on yourself. Do not let him have the satisfaction. Stay positive. Be nice to people. They will see your kindness and your beautiful smile, and they will want to listen to you. Even in broken, mispronounced, and sometimes the absolute wrong Spanish. They will admire you for your effort in learning Spanish, and many will try to help you out. Embrace the language. Embrace the people. Youve got this girl!
Te quiero mucho!
Con amor,
Heather

Be not so much concerned about what you do, but do what you do with all your heart, might, and strength. In thoroughness is satisfaction.

The greatest achievement that can be reached in
 our lives is to be under the complete influence of the Holy Ghost.

A warm smile is the universal language of kindness.


“You can depend on the Lord.”
–Henry B. Eyring


Doctrine and Covenants 33:10, 100:6, Moses 6:31-32

Friday, July 12, 2013

Open When... You are Sick or In Pain

When you are physically sick, tired, or in despair, steer your thoughts away from yourself and direct them, in gratitude and love, toward God.


Much of your pain is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.

My Dear Hermana HW,
It is a very hard thing to be in pain or sick while on a mission. I understand that. For me, it was hard because I could not communicate my pain to anybody. It was not visible and many thought I was faking it. But when you walk around town crying because of the pain people should really be able to figure it out…. Anyway, I understand how you feel. I understand what it is like to want so badly to go out and work, but to also desire a day of rest. I understand the feeling of guilt when your companion has to stay at home with you because you are sick and they can’t go alone. I understand. But even better than me understanding, your brother, Jesus Christ, understands. He loves you. He loves you so much, He actually felt your pain.
I hope you feel better soon. But until then, do all you can to heal quickly. Get a priesthood blessing. Pray a lot. Sleep if you have to. Take medicine. Do whatever you have to do to get feeling better quickly. You are a strong person. You can pull through this temporary discomfort. Remember Job, who was covered in sores and boils. He never lost faith, and in the end he was blessed even more for his faithfulness through his trials; as you will be for your service.
Keep the faith! DyC 121:6-8
I love you!
Heather  

Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place.

“The next time you’re tempted to groan, you might try to laugh instead. It will extend your life and make the lives of all those around you more enjoyable.”
–Joseph B. Worthlin

“We should not complain about our own life’s not being a rose garden when we remember who wore the crown of thorns.”

–Neal A. Maxwell

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Open When... You are struggling with a companion.

Put all frustrations, hurt feelings, and grumblings into the perspective of your eternal hope. Light will flow into your soul.

If someone hurts you so much that your feelings seem to choke you, forgive and you will be free again.

My Dear Hermana HW,
Companions are so hard! Having someone constantly around for six weeks or more requires a lot of patience. My first companion and I did not get along. She betrayed my trust by telling one of the elders a story I had told to our investigator and had asked her to not tell others. By the end of the CCM all we did was tolerate being around each other. Both of us would have been a lot better off if we had had a little more patience.
Life is full of difficulties, some minor and others of a more serious nature. There seems to be an unending supply of challenges for one and all. Our problem is that we often expect instantaneous solutions to such challenges, forgetting that frequently the heavenly virtue of patience is required. (Thomas S. Monson, PMG 120)
Be patient and understanding with your companion. Have a companionship inventory. If that doesnt work out, then you are going to have to exercise a lot of humility. One thing that I did with my companion that restored our relationship better than anything else happened after our nightly prayer. While we were still on our knees, I looked at my companion and asked her, What can I do to be a better companion for you? It took her by surprise and some of the things she said absolutely stung. But with the help of the Spirit, I exercised humility and listened to everything she had to say. And then I worked on them. As she saw me trying to make myself better, she began to ask me how she could improve. It worked really well for us, and it may work well with one of your companions.
I hope you can feel the love of your Heavenly Father, your family, your friends, and especially me, your sister. You are an amazing, wonderful, beautiful, intelligent person. I pray that your companions will all see that. I pray that your companions will be good friends of yours. None can be your best friend, because that is my job But you can love them, and they can love you.
Smile and know that everyone you meet is your brother or sister!
I love you!
Heather

When you cannot love someone, look into that person's eyes long enough to find the hidden rudiments of the child of God in them.


The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken
by hatching the egg, not by smashing it. 

“So much in life depends on our attitude. The way we choose to see things and respond to others makes all the difference. To do the best we can and then to choose to be happy about our circumstances, whatever they may be, can bring peace and contentment.”
-Thomas S. Monson

“We are not perfect. The people around us are not perfect. People do things that annoy, disappoint, and anger. In this mortal life it will always be that way. Nevertheless, we must let go of our grievances. Part of the purpose of mortality is to learn how to let go of such things. That is the Lord’s way. Remember, heaven is filled with those who have this in common: They are forgiven. And they forgive.”
-Dieter F. Uchtdorf

“Where love is, there is no disputation. Where love is, there is no contention. Where love is, there God will be also. Each of us has the responsibility to keep His commandments.”
-Thomas S. Monson

Except in the case of His only perfect Begotten Son, imperfect people are all God has ever had to work with. That must be terribly frustrating to Him, but He deals with it. So should we. 

-Jeffrey R. Holland

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Open when... (Letters to Missionary's. Day 1 at the MTC)



The following is a sample letter that you can send in your missionary's suitcase. Over the next few days I will post different letters that will help your missionary during some rough times. Create some cute envelopes and send your missionary off with some "Open When" letters for your missionary.





Embrace this day with an enthusiastic welcome, no matter how it looks. The covenant with God to which you are true enables you to become enlightened by Him, and nothing is impossible for you.


My Dear Hermana HW,
Today is your first day at the CCM (MTC in Spanish) in Peru! Can you believe you are on another continent preparing to serve the Lord for a year and a half!? It is crazy to think about, but this will be the most important year and a half of your life. This is the time that you will become the person you are meant to become. You will become a woman of Christ. This time at the CCM will only help you to begin to learn the habits that a woman of Christ has in her life. Today is only the beginning of this grand adventure you are on. Included in this letter, I have written down a few things that I learned while I was at the CCM that I wrote to share with you as you start your missionary education. I learned all of those things, some of it the hard way. I hope that my advice helps you.
Today you will get your first district and companion. Get to know them all! You will be with them all the time for the next six weeks! By the end of that time, you will be like a family to each other. Enjoy every moment at the CCM, it is like EFY on steroids, but without the dances and you can’t flirt…
Anyway, I pray that this experience is a good one. Learn to have the Spirit with you always and learn to listen to it. You will need the Spirit for every lesson you teach, and throughout the day. Have a good first day. I love you!
Love,
Your best friend and number one fan,
Heather

When we are no longer able to change a situation - we

 are challenged to change ourselves.


7   things you need to know while at the CCM:

1.     Having a companion is HARD. You never know what they are thinking. They follow you everywhere. Sometimes it is really annoying… But LOVE HER. Be open and honest with her. She can be your greatest support. When you aren’t getting along, have companionship inventory. 
2.  Your teachers are your best resources at the CCM. They have been where you are. They know what you are going through. They can help.
3.  The CCM President and his wife care about each and every one of the missionaries. If you need to, talk to them. They can be a great comfort and guides to you.
4.   If you ever want or need a priesthood blessing, ask your district leader or another elder in your district. They always appreciate the opportunity to use their priesthood keys.
5.  DyC 10:5 Pray Always!
6.  Ether 12:27 Be Humble!
7.   I love you!

“Anywhere you are in the world, with prayer, faith, determination, diligence, and some sacrifice, you can make a powerful contribution. Begin now. I promise you that the Lord will help you find a way. And it will make you feel wonderful.”
–Richard G. Scott

“Let the Church be your dear friend. Let it be your great companion. Serve wherever you are called to serve. Do what you are asked to do. Every position you hold will add to your capacity. I have served in many responsibilities in this great organization. Every service brought its own reward.”
–Gordon B. Hinckley

“Without help, you are like one who can’t or doesn’t wash or bathe or put on clean clothes. The path you need to follow is in the scriptures. Read them and your faith in Christ will grow. Listen to those who know the gospel.”
–Boyd K. Packer

“Our personal journey through life provides us with many special experiences that become building blocks of faith and testimony. No matter what the experience may be, each gives us a chance for personal growth, greater wisdom, and, in many cases, service to others with more empathy and love.”

–Ronald A. Rasband