Friday, January 8, 2016

Merry Christmas! Happy New year!‏

Hey Everyone! I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas! I hope that you all took some time to remember why we really celebrate Christmas! This was a great week! I have truly loved this Christmas season. There is a different feeling about it and I have truly enjoyed not being asked what I got for Christmas. That just as continues to remind me of why we really celebrate Christmas. I spent my day at our Ward Mission Leaders house playing games all day! It was a blast. I even got my Christmas nap in so that made me a happy camper. Talking with my family and friends was probably the highlight of the day though! It was so great! My companion and I ended the night with watching some bible videos about the Story of Christs birth and reading individually from the scriptures. I have to say, I really enjoyed reading my scriptures at the end of the day. I flipped open to the Nephite Christmas story and read that. There was so much peace and joy that filled my heart. I know that a little over 2000 years ago our Savior was born. It has been testified to me over and over again. It's a real story. It happened. He was born and because he was born we can live with our father in heaven again. What a beautiful thing. The day after Christmas I was able to go and witness Ruth's baptism. I don't remember how much I have told you about Ruth but she is amazing and inspiring. Ruth is a woman who I was teaching in my first area. She was living in a sober living house after she had decided to get her life together after years of abusing drugs and alcohol. When I met her she had an idea of what she already believed about where we were before this life and why we are here on earth. Her beliefs coincided 100% with what we believe as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. She had a testimony of the restored truths of the gospel before she even knew about the gospel. It was amazing. It was so great that sometimes I had no idea what to say to here because she agreed wholeheartedly with everything that we said and I just wasn't used to that! After I left the area Ruth's daughter was baptized and Ruth was set with a date. She stopped smoking and overcame so much. She even shared her testimony in church on fast Sunday. She is a rockstar. Her baptism was amazing. So many missionaries worked together to help her come into the waters of baptism. Two of the elders that taught her I was in the mtc with. It was a really awesome experience. She bore her testimony at her baptism. She simply said in the beginning that her name was Ruth and that she knew this church was true. So simple yet so beautiful. I like her know that this church is true with every fiber of my being. There is no greater thing. Ruth will always have a special place in my heart. After her baptism the bishop spoke and he really touched my heart. He mentioned how when he was being taught by sisters that he loved them and that he tried so hard to find them again. After 46 years he found his sisters and he was able to gather her children and husband and tell them how great of a person and how strong their mother was. He was able to share the experience that their mother had given to him as a sister missionary. Missionary work isn't about the baptisms, it's about the conversion, it's about the lives that we are changing because with one person being baptized leads to their kids being baptized and then leads the, to being sealed in the temple for all time and eternity. What the bishop said helped me realize just how important it is for me to be in Vegas sharing the gospel. I hope that one day someone that I teach will be able to tell my kids about my missionary efforts. I really do love being a missionary. I don't think I have ever been happier. That doesn't mean that it is an easy work or that everything goes perfectly but witnessing people change and witnessing God working through me is powerful and so joyful. There is no where else I would rather be. I love you all. Also I is really weird to me that it is almost a new year and all of 2016 for me will be spent in the mission field. Crazy. The one who chooses the Son gets it all. 

Week 18: A Savior is Born!‏

Hello! This week was a pretty good week! It was Sister Kurtz's last week in the mission so it was a bit crazy and a bit bittersweet! I'm sorry this email is a little late it is transfer Monday and those are always crazy! We received our transfer calls on Friday. I am staying in The Centennial Hills YSA ward! My new companion is Sister Reed! I don't know her very well yet but I have heard a lot of good things about her. I think it will be a really good companionship! This was spent doing basically two things: preparing for the musical devotional that was last night and preparing for Shaiquans baptism that was on Saturday. The musical devotional was amazing and the spirit was so strong. I am so happy that I was able to be a part of it and that we could help others remember the importance of Christmas. At the fireside they released the churches new Christmas video. I love it so much. The name of the initiative is called A Savior is Born. It is so good and it really helps me to remember why we celebrate Christmas and to discover for myself why a Savior being born is important to me. I'm grateful for my savior because he was born and suffered for me I can choose not to suffer. He professed his love for us in a beautiful heart wrenching way and there could be nothing better. Because a Savior is Born I can be Heavenly Fathers once again. Without that knowledge and ability I would be lost. It is a beautiful video and a beautiful message. I invite all of you to watch it. We also had Shaiquans baptism on Saturday! It was such a good day! He was so happy and there were many people that were supporting him. It was amazing. I'm grateful that I was able to teach because he has taught me more about the power of prayer. He speaks oboist it with so much conviction that you want to just get down right there and pray. It is crazy awesome. I loved his testimony. Thanksgiving was really good as well. We watched the elders and nonmembers play football and had a blast. Then we had two dinners and then we got approved to watch Hercules and Mulan. It was a fun night. Of course I missed everyone at home for thanksgiving but I was also surrounded by wonderful people. Other than that our week was not super exciting but it was good! I hope you all can remember why we celebrate Christmas and check out the video. I love you all! Happy Almost December!

Week 17: The Special Email!‏

This week we had Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge from the 1st quorum of the Seventy. He came and toured our mission for three days. On Tuesday half of our mission got together to hear from Elder Corbridge. Tuesday was a very spiritual day for me. We were at the mission tour from about 8:30 to 4 that day and every single minute was overflowing with the spirit. We started off the meeting by hearing from two missionaries give talks about what they expected for their missions. They were both really good. Elder Johnson spoke about how our missions are supposed to be hard so that we can feel joy and work hard. He also spoke to each of us about expecting miracles. I loved his mini talk because you could see the love he has for his mission even though it is hard for all of us. Also I have learned to expect miracles. When we expect miracles; miracles actually happen! Hermana McAffee talked about how true happiness doesn't come from the world and how we need to never complain about our situations because Heavenly Father knows best! I loved everything about her talked because it really helped me to realize that I need to wholeheartedly put aside the world and dedicate myself to Heavenly Father and what he wants for me. I also committed to never complain about the work of the Lord because as long as I give it my all then I am doing Heavenly Fathers will. After the missionary talks Sister Ahlander spoke to us. For those that may not know Sister Ahlander is the daughter of Neal A. Maxwell. Neal A. Maxwell was one of the 12 apostles before he died. He has given some of the greatest and deep talks that I have ever heard or read. Hearing from Sister Ahlander is very much like hearing from him. She speaks with the power and authority of God without even really trying. It was the best thing ever. Sister Ahlander spoke about having unity in our companion ships. She gave a very motivating talk. She spoke a lot about how our relationships last beyond the grave. I love how she spoke about this because it reminded me that everyone we come in contact with, everyone that we love; we will see one day again after this life. We need to treating those that we love with love because we must not have any regrets. She also spoke about how Satans greatest tool is contention. It was so good. Satan uses our weaknesses to greater weaken ourselves and those around us but Heavenly Father has given us our weaknesses so that we can become humble and so that we can learn and grow. We can't let Satan get in the way of our growth. She also mentioned about how if we are not unified with each other then we cannot be unified with Heavenly Father. Although she was talking about missionaries I know this can apply to every relationship that we have especially our spouses. We have to be unified with each other in order to involve God in our relationship. We must have God in our relationship in order for it to be strong. There is nothing better than a spiritual connection. After we heard Sister Ahlander speak we then heard from President Ahlander speak. First off President Ahlander is an amazing mission president. He is so in tune with the spirit that it is amazing and he lives such a godly life. I love him so much. President Ahlander spoke to us about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The Atonement is one of my favorite things to study and listen to talks about because there is so many things I don't understand about the atonement and it is the most important thing about this gospel. There are so many things that I learned from his talk. The two most important things that I learned were that the atonement cleanses people and that through the atonement we have the opportunity to emulate Jesus Christ. The atonement cleansing people has always been something that I knew the atonement did but I never realized the full importance of the cleansing power. As president Ahlander spoke I just felt so much gratitude to our savior because of the atonement. Without the atonement I would be nothing. Without the atonement I would be consistently suffering. The thing that amazes me the most about the Atonement is the proof of the love that Jesus Christ has for us. Jesus Christ atoned for all of our pains, sicknesses, iniquities, sins and heartaches. He didn't just atone for me or for members of the church but he atoned for everyone. He atoned even for those that he knew would never accept him and his atonement. He atoned knowing that people would still turn away. He atoned for all of us despite this knowledge because he loved every singles one of his brothers and sisters. Even if they don't want to accept his gift he loved them so greatly that he bled from every pore for them, for us. It blows my mind when I really think about it. The atonement has changed my life and it can change yours. As a missionary I have learned that I am giving each person I come into contact with the opportunity to accept and use the atonement in their lives. Their is no way to access the atonement without the gospel of Jesus Christ. The work we do as missionaries is huge just for that one factor. We must accept the gospel in order to use his atonement in order for us to gain salvation and exaltation. President Ahlander also spoke about how with the atonement we move from a mere acknowledgement of Jesus Christ to a admiration of Jesus Christ to a adoration of Jesus Christ to a emulation of Jesus Christ. With the atonement we can be like Jesus Christ! There is no greater person that I would want to become like than Jesus Christ. The atonement is their for us when we are weak but it is equally as their for us when we are strong. We must use the atonement in our lives in order for us to gain access to the exaltation that Heavenly Father has planned for us. Self pity is not using the atonement. Jesus Christ has given us everything; are you willingly to give Him everything? After we heard from President Ahlander we heard from the 2nd counselor in the mission presidency said wife. Sister Hyer spoke about the valiant example of her father who served a mission in Sweden. She spoke about how we must never become discouraged because we have no idea the seeds that we are planted for the future. She also told us that if we work hard and prayerfully that blessing always come. After Sister Hyer we heard from her Husband President Hyer. He spoke about the atonement as well and how we must never turn back and always move forward. The atonement covers all sins. Mine yours and the homeless man on the corner by Wendy's. It is literally for everyone! The last person that we heard from at zone conference was Elder Corbridge. His talk was just all sorts of amazingness. He focused on many things however what stood out to me was when he was talking about the atonement as well. He began by talking about the "most important thing" that we share that will be able to bless each and every persons life. The most important thing about the gospel that I willingly teach to all those that are willing to listen is the atonement. Without the greatest sacrifice that is made known to man today we would be left to a life full of sin and despair. That would be an extremely awful life. The essence of the message that I share with others is Jesus Christ and because of his love for each and every single one of his children and his willingness to sacrifice his life for ours we have the opportunity to be strengthened by him. The atonement of Jesus Christ can fill any hole that we may have, any weakness can be made stronger, and sorrow can be made strong. He can do anything and he will do everything for us. It gives me chills. One things that Elder Corbridge said was that we must remember that it isn't the atonement that redeems us, it is Jesus Christ who redeems us. Without him we are nothing. I challenge each of you to find him. It doesn't matter where you are at in your life. What you may or may not think about Jesus Christ or the work of his only true and everlasting truth. If you try to find Jesus Christ and let him in just a little bit into your life; your life will be changed for the better. I promise it and I have seen it. Even in this past week. His work is truly being accomplished here on Earth. It is amazing and brings me so much happiness that I am helping others all around for the better. It is a miraculous and everlasting gospel. Jesus Christ is becoming my best friend and I could not be happier. Sister Lauren Camilleri

Week 15: Alicia gets baptized!!!!!‏

Hello! How is everyone? We had a super weird week this week. First all its been getting pretty cold in Vegas. It even snowed in the mountains! It was crazy but it also was kind of lame because we spent most of our week walking. Let's just say I didn't come to Vegas prepared to be cold! We had a total of one lesson and one baptism and confirmation this week! Those are some interesting statistics buts it okay it made for a pretty boring/interesting week! On Monday night we had a family home evening activity with our ward. We went to a park and they played beach volleyball while we mingled with members and investigators. This was after having a really good lemon chicken dinner with a member too! Monday wasn't that great of a day for multiple reasons so I was feeling a tad bit down about everything. Then a member came up to us and said that we were being to pushy. I never wanted to be the pushy missionary but now I know how and why we do what we do. It's hard but it's because we love them! The biggest thing though was that we had followed the spirit in all of our lessons and it was hard to hear. Tuesday we both got a blessing. My blessing was just flat out exactly what I needed. I loved it. It gave me so much strength. We didn't do much Tuesday except walk a lot. Our lessons fell through. We did contact someone at a 7 eleven who at that moment really needed a friend but so far nothing has come out of that but it was still super cool! On Wednesday we went on exchanges because Sister Kurtz had mission leadership counsel. I spent the day with two sisters in the Tule Springs Stake. That was fun. After that we had some pizza with members and walked for the rest of the night. We did get some hot chocolate from 7 Eleven. That was GOOD. On Thursday we had zone training. Our zone leaders gave a really really good training on receiving revelation through the Book of Mormon. Seriously I loved it. After that I was feeling a bit nauseas so I took a nap and got some Sprite. Friday we went to the Temple! It was so good! I seriously just love that place so much! I went with a couple of questions and totally got my answered. It was amazing! I felt so good. After the temple we had a lesson with Dayne who is a recent convert. He is doing really really well! That was good. We didn't have anything planned for the rest of the day so visited some members. It was fun! This weekend was really good though! We had Alicia's baptism and confirmation on Saturday! It was so awesome to see her walk into the waters of baptism because she looked so happy. She has come so far so it really was a miracle to see her after all she had done to change and have her come to accept the Lord. It was a great baptism and a good day! We needed the day with more visits! Yay! Sunday we had a regional broadcast. That was really good! Then we weekly planned and had dinner with the members we live with. It was a good week despite the walking and cold! The man upstairs is good! I love you all! Sister Lauren Camilleri

Week 14: the week of oil changes and exchanges!‏

Hey! Guess who? Yes you're right it's me! It's Sister Camilleri!
How are you all doing? This week was a pretty good week! On Monday night we had a lesson with Karissa! It was a little bit of a rough start to the lesson because it was the first time that Sister Kurtz
and I taught the first lesson together but it turned out to be really good! Karissa accepted the invitation to follow Jesus Christ and get baptized! She is set for November 28th! It was really awesome! She cried and that is always a good thing in lesson because you know that
they felt the spirit! The spirit was really strong! I love teaching the same lessons over and over again because each time it helps me remember what I believe and why I am a member of the church. It serves as a good reminder of who I really am! After our lesson with Karissa we went and had another lesson with Alicia who is getting baptized on Saturday! I am so excited for her baptism! She has seriously come such a long way. She had to overcome addiction and it has been so inspirational to see it happen. We found out the she was going to Reno for a week before her baptism so we had to finish the lessons really quick! It worked out and her baptismal interview went really well! On Tuesday we has some more lessons and then we had district meeting where we focused on helping our investigators receive revelation through prayer. It was really good and I learned so much! Without prayer we are nothing! Without prayer we can receive very little personal direction. It was super good! On Wednesday we had a sisters conference! All the sisters in the mission got together and we received training from President And Sister Ahlander as well as the assistants to the president! They were all so good and really focused on the purpose of sisters and having joy in the mission! I really loved it! We didn't have much planned for the rest of the day so we made some visits and went contacting. Thursday we had a lesson with an investigator named Shaiquan. He is progressing really well we are just trying to help him recognize the answers that he is receiving from Heavenly Father. On Friday we went on exchanges. I was with Sister Hadley in my area! We didn't have a lot planned for that day so we did a lot of street contacting and then we had a really good lesson with one of our recent converts named Tre. He always told us that he hates the bible but last week we went to institute with him and he loved
hearing the story of Moses parting the sea. Since institute he has read the entire Old Testament and started the New Testament. It was such a miracle because he loved it especially Isaiah! I was so proud and amazed! It was really cool and then we talked about the Ten Commandments and he was on fire. It was so good! On Saturday we didn't really do anything. We had to get our oil changed so that took up some time and then a sister was sick so I went on exchanges again and made visits in her area! It was good. We had to be in at 6 on Halloween so we got to watch finding nemo and Freetown! They were both good and it was nice to just chill for a little bit. On Sunday we had church and it was really good and then we didn't have our car cause we were out of miles so we decided to walk home from dinner. We walked for like 3 and a half hours! It was actually pretty fun! We talked to people a long the way and it was cool! However I am really sore now hahahahaha! It was good! I love this work and these people! Yay for losing yourself in the service of the lord! I love you all!

Week 13: Sacrifice brings MIRACLES‏

This week was a long week and full of so much good stuff! I think the
real reason that sisters are called to serve for 18 months is because
our investigators like to throw all the problems on us and naturally
we have to try to find a way to fix them and help them overcome all
the many things that are hard about this life. It was a good first
week in the YSA Ward though! The people are awesome and there is a lot
of work for us here right now. My companion is Sister Kurtz. I'm sure
you have already heard about her a little bit but I'll just tell you
more! She is super awesome! She keeps me positive and loves the people
so much. Although being with someone for 24 hours every day is hard
and naturally small annoyances come up, it's really been a really good
week with her.
This week we had lesson couple of lessons with Alicia! She is super
awesome and is someone I really look up to for all the things that she
has had to overcome. She is set with a baptism date for November 7! We
are really excited for her, she has come so far! I'm really impressed
by the faith that the people that we are working with have because
they really love the lord and are eager to follow his example. We had
a lot of lessons with our recent converts this week to. With on of
them we read from the book of Helaman. He was so stocked about it
after he started reading. He was really into it and it was like super
hard not to just sit their and laugh. He was even making a list of
actors who would play certain parts. It was great!
Saturday was the day of small and simple miracles. The entire mission
had a sacrifice Saturday. Basically what we did was fast for the day
and spend our entire day tracting and contacting. The purpose was to
find new people to teach. It was an exhausting day but it was also
really amazing. The day started off with us tracting some doors for
two hours. That was fun and then we street contacted and talked to a
bunch of different people. The miracles happened all throughout the
day. However the biggest on of all happened at 7:45 at night right
about when we were going to head to dinner to break our fast. Sister
Kurtz and I had one pass along card and one Book of Mormon left to
pass out. We prayed that we would find one more person that we could
give the card and Book of Mormon to. We continued walking and saw a
woman come around the corner of the apartment complex walking her dog.
We knew it was her. We talked to her for 10 minutes and talked about
how we had a Heavenly Father that loved and cared for us. She wasn't
really religious but she did believe there was something out there.
She loved what we said and wanted to know more. We continued to talk
to her and invited her to read the Book of Mormon. She said yes! We
have an appointment with her tomorrow. It was amazing. I know that
Heavenly Father answers prayers and that as we work hard to be
faithful we will receive miracles. Saturday was amazing. I just loved
it even though I am super sore and super burnt...
Sunday was a good day too! I was so tired so it was like the worst day
to meet everybody but I got through that. Sunday night we had an
activity at our Ward mission leaders house and we found another new
investigator. MIRACLES. Heavenly Father seriously answers prayers. It
is amazing. I love him so much. We have a lesson with our new
investigator tonight. We are really excited. I think good things will
come from all of this. This work is amazing. Vegas is so good. I love
it. This morning I was reading in Jacob and I know I have read these
scriptures before but they stood out to me so much today.
Jacob 5:70-75
70 And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard sent his servant;
and the servant went and did as the Lord had commanded him, and
brought other servants; and they were few.
71 And the Lord of the vineyard said unto them: Go to, and labor in
the vineyard, with your might. For behold, this is the last time that
I shall nourish my vineyard; for the end is nigh at hand, and the
season speedily cometh; and if ye labor with your might with me ye
shall have joy in the fruit which I shall lay up unto myself against
the time which will soon come.
72 And it came to pass that the servants did go and labor with their
mights; and the Lord of the vineyard labored also with them; and they
did obey the commandments of the Lord of the vineyard in all things.
73 And there began to be the natural fruit again in the vineyard; and
the natural branches began to grow and thrive exceedingly; and the
wild branches began to be plucked off and to be cast away; and they
did keep the root and the top thereof equal, according to the strength
74 And thus they labored, with all diligence, according to the
commandments of the Lord of the vineyard, even until the bad had been
cast away out of the vineyard, and the Lord had preserved unto himself
that the trees had become again the natural fruit; and they became
like unto one body; and the fruits were equal; and the Lord of the
vineyard had preserved unto himself the natural fruit, which was most
precious unto him from the beginning.
75 And it came to pass that when the Lord of the vineyard saw that his
fruit was good, and that his vineyard was no more corrupt, he called
up his servants, and said unto them: Behold, for this last time have
we nourished my vineyard; and thou beholdest that I have done
according to my will; and I have preserved the natural fruit, that it
is good, even like as it was in the beginning. And blessed art thou;
for because ye have been diligent in laboring with me in my vineyard,
and have kept my commandments, and have brought unto me again the
natural fruit, that my vineyard is no more corrupted, and the bad is
cast away, behold ye shall have joy with me because of the fruit of my
I just love these scriptures so much because it testifies to me of why
I am out here and the blessings that I will receive from helping
people come closer to their father in Heaven. I know that as we each
take part in nourishing his vineyard that we will be able to learn and
grow as well. Missionary work is awesome. I just love it so much. I
hope all is well wherever you are and if it isn't then ask your father
in heaven for help and you will get it! I love you all!

Sister Lauren Camilleri