Sunday, November 30, 2014

He is the Gift

Happy Thanksgiving!!
I hope you all have a happy day filled of many blessings being counted :)
Gratitude is such a powerful thing and it truly is a gift of the spirit. Thursday morning was relief society and President Harmon (in the mission presidency) shared with us some fun facts about thanksgiving and where it came from. Fun fact, Nephi actually talks about the first thanksgiving in 1 Nephi. You should go check it out.
1 Nephi13:11-13
It talks about Christopher Columbus but then it also talks about the Puritans, or the pilgrims who came over on the Mayflower. Nephi was so cool, I'm pretty sure that he just knew everything.

For Thanksgiving in the morning we were in guest services until the afternoon and then we were picked up by a sweet family who lives in Bountiful who offered to feed us. It was fun to be with a family. The food was delicious, I think food just automatically tastes better when you didn't have to cook it.
We were only there for a the afternoon and then we came back to the square to work. I always love coming back to the square after being away from it for a while because it is such a "at home" feeling the second we walk on. If I could live on the square I definitely would.
The rest of the week was so fun and busy as always. We had a little snow which was pretty, but still not enough to stick. Besides the days that it snowed the weather has been pretty warm, no need for a jacket which has been nice. I would love for it to stay like this all winter long. Of course every time I run into someone from Utah they always like to remind me that it is very unprobable for that to happen. But hey a California girl can dream right?
So has anyone seen anything the church is doing called "He is the Gift" I am super excited about it. Today is the day that everything is really coming out. On Tuesday we had training in the morning for the He is the Gift initiative and someone from the missionary department came down and showed us all the amazing things the church is doing this next month for Christmas. For one they bought the big, first screen thing on YouTube (don't really know what to call it. But if you go onto YouTube you should see a giant red banner with Mary and Jesus) They also bought tons of billboards in New York City. They have completely redone and come out with a new video. It is so cool to see everything that the church is doing. They have also redone a lot of the North Visitor Center. Put in beautiful pictures from the Bible videos and redone one corner entirely, they added in a TV screen so that we can play the video for guests. They also have a new hashtag #SharetheGift.
So I invite all of you to go check out and share everything with the new hashtag.
Also they have made a ton of new videos that are cute, informative, and short that we have been able to send to a lot of our investigators to watch.
This is one of my favorites, it's only about a minute-go check it out :)
But really, this initiative is so smart. The title "He is the Gift" has really made me think these last few days. How often do we get caught up in the business of the holidays and really forget the reason for the season. Even more, do we forget what the greatest gift we have ever been given is? Or even who gave it?
Every single thing that we teach from Preach My Gospel goes back to the fact that we have a loving Father in Heaven. We have Christmas because we have a loving Father in Heaven. Everything is because of Him. Christ is our Savior, and the atonement is the greatest gift that we could ever be given in this life. It is a gift that will allow us to live with our Heavenly Parents for ever. Who could ask for more than that? But how many people in the world don't know that or have forgotten that? What could we do this holiday season to help remind ourselves and those around us of this amazing gift that we can access everyday. Even better what could we do to give a gift back in return?

As for the missionary work it is going great. We have been able to find so many wonderful people and have been getting them in contact with local missionaries as soon as we can. It is so much easier when we do that because we have so many people who we are looking after and teaching it is just less stressful when we know that there is another set of missionaries also looking out for them. Tomorrow one our our investigators who we just met a few weeks ago is getting baptized! We will be able to skype it, and I am so grateful, we are blessed with so much cool technology that allows us to do that. We found her on chat and she shared with us that she found a Book of Mormon while cleaning out her Father's house and didn't know what to do with it. She wasn't religious at all but she came onto chat to talk with us. She is so sweet and I just love every time we get to call her. I am so grateful for my mission. I love that we are able to stay in contact with so many wonderful people that we meet from all over the world. It's like I get to travel the world without having to go anywhere.
The lights will be turning on tonight which means madness and miracles start tonight.
I hope you all had a wonderful weekend with family and friends!
I love you all!
-Sister Fluckiger

Saturday, November 15, 2014

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Hello Family!!
I feel like I should be wishing you a Merry Christmas, and then I realize we haven't even had Thanksgiving yet...woops.
It is all Christmas here at Temple Square. The nativities are beginning to spring up, there are Christmas trees all around us and it snowed yesterday! Yes I survived the snow. Nothing has really stuck yet, on the way to the square yesterday morning there was a thin layer of snow/frost but that was about it. But while we had square in the afternoon yesterday it was snowing, it was so pretty when it fell between the temple and the lights, it just glowed and made the temple look really pretty!

We had our Christmas Training for Relief Society yesterday. That was fun. Our schedules will be changing the day after Thanksgiving because we begin the Holiday hours on the square. The biggest thing is that my P-day will no longer be in the evenings, it will be jumped to the mornings like normal missions? I don't know but I am excited, everything on the square changes for Christmas, there are more assignments to accommodate for the large amounts of people that will be on the square. There is one assignment that will be added this year because we have such an amazing and inspired mission president. President Poulsen wants sisters to be on the square caroling during the evenings. So fun! There will be three different locations where a district will be scheduled to stand and sing for about an hour. The assignment is called Sing and Smile. :) We are super excited for that, Sister Humble and I sing basically all the time. She has a tendency to put her conversation to the tune of a hymn, so fun!
Speaking of singing, Savior of the World also opens next week. I am so excited, and I am even more excited because Elder Clark, who I believe is the area authority over us or something, is doing all he can to involve the TMSQ (Temple Square) sisters. He has given us tickets so that we can attend and really know what it is so we can tell visitors and our investigators about it. And each performance will be opened by a companionship with a short introduction and a prayer, then at the end of the performance we will come back to greet the guests as they leave. Also they are now putting a referral card within the program that people can fill out if they want to learn more about the church or if they have a friend they want to refer. And we will be able to get all of those referrals. So exciting! I love how Christmas just opens up so many opportunities to share the gospel with people. I can't wait to see what miracles are awaiting this Christmas season.
1. such an effect or event manifesting or considered as a work of God.
2. a wonder; marvel.

Miracles do happen everyday, and it is so strengthening to witness and be a part of. The last two weeks of the Transfer, in relation to teaching, had been very slow. The square was dead, no one was calling in or coming on chat, and none of our investigators were answering their phones. It literally seemed like everyone had just jumped off the face of the earth. For the longest time we just couldn't understand it. Before the transfer President talked with us about 'slow seasons' and about how it was  normal to have a slow time every once in a while, but if it persisted then something needs to change. "If you keep doing the same thing every day and expect a different outcome, it will never happen. In order to get a different outcome you have to change something." So every single companionship study since the start of the transfer we talked about what we needed to change so that we could find people to teach. We made what we call a macro plan for all of our goals for the transfer and we have been very good everyday at working towards those goals but we were never able to find new people to teach. It was a very slow two weeks of us doing everything we could to teach people. So at the end of last week we came up with this project, the gratitude project. We challenged each other that we were going to go through the entire week and not ask Heavenly Father for anything, not one thing. Because really, we had been praying since the beginning of the transfer that we would be able to find new investigators, so Heavenly Father already knows what we want. So instead we decided to focus on what we already have and what we are grateful for. Let me say, in the beginning it was really hard. It's funny how used we get to just asking Heavenly Father for the things we need, not that we aren't grateful but maybe because it's more of just a habit.
It was such a cool experience, all week long we were able to receive revelation about the importance of gratitude. I mean when you think of it, you should be able to have a conversation with your Father without having to ask Him something. And even better we learned that gratitude is what heals everything, it cures pride, selfishness, and negativity. It just makes you a happier being. And since the beginning of the week when we started this the blessings have just come and we have seen miracles everywhere. Day 1 we found new investigators and were able to get them on date in that first contact. Day 2 and 3 we were able to get them to meet with the local missionaries and have their date confirmed and now we are helping them all get to church this weekend.
I now understand why and am so grateful that I had to give a talk on gratitude like a million times when I was back home, but I am even more grateful that I am now seeing the importance of gratitude in our lives and the power that comes from it.
The square is literally still dead and will probably be like that until the lights come on so I don't have really any stories of people who have come to visit us. I did get to give a tour to a guy's cutest nieces, they were 5 and 2 years old. The mother wasn't religious, but the uncle was a member and the little girls had started to ask questions about who Jesus was. So the mom allowed the uncle to bring them to TMSQ so they could learn about Him. It really felt like I was back in primary :) We took them to the New Testament paintings in the North Visitor Center and went through them and taught them about who Jesus was. It was super fun, we were able to turn it into a game where I had the girls guess who was Jesus in each painting we walked to. We ended by taking them up to see the Christus, when we got up to the top of the ramp where you can see Him the youngest said "it's Jesus! I really like Him" :) Yep I still love little ones.
For P-day today we had our zone activity and we did some exploring, we went to the cemetery where all the prophets are buried and looked around. We found John Taylor, President McKay, Hinckley, Joseph F. Smith and Fielding Smith. We also found Sister Monson and Mary Fielding Smith.
It was super fun and freezing, it started raining while we were there, I'm starting to see just how gray Utah is in the winter. Afterwards we drove to a really cozy cafe and got some hot coco and muffins. It was fun and tasty.
Yep, that was my day. I love you all and hope you are having fun where ever you might be. :)
-Sister Fluckiger

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

What a week full of craziness, changes, and laughter. Transfer week is so crazy in this mission. Lots of screaming, laughing and crying. But it has been so fun. 
Monday morning was transfer conference. They did it a little different this transfer in hopes of having it be more reverent. Last transfer there was lots of screaming and cheering as companions /assignments/ and apartments were announced. This transfer when we met together as a zone early in the morning they only announced our companion and then they emailed out the rest of the information. I'll admit I spent a lot of time on my knees preparing myself for this transfer. I knew it was going to be full of new and exciting changes and I was so ready for it. I prayed over and over to have a transfer full of learning and full of new insights. I know that I'm still at the beginning of my mission so I want to develop good habits and learn as much as I can in the beginning and be able to use the things that I learn all throughout my mission. Monday morning as we were walking to our zone spot where we meet I was so nervous.  I knew that I was either going to get a companion where we got along great or the exact opposite because really having both can teach you a lot. Well my companion is now Sister Humble. And she is such an answer to prayer. She was actually my zone leader for my first week on Temple Square before they switched us to the West Gate zone. I love her so much. Even before we were companions she was one of my favorite sisters. She actually was supposed to go home this transfer but she extended so she will be going home in December after this transfer. 
A quick little info about her. She lives in Monterrey, CA. She is the youngest with an older brother and sister. She is probably one of the funniest sisters I know here. We have laughed probably the entire time since we were put together, I love it. Yet at the same time she is also probably one of the most wise and spiritual sisters here. In just the two days we have had together we have been able to have some very cool spiritual experiences and I know that this whole transfer will be filled with them. 
She is determined to try basically everything new. Yesterday for dinner, we had no food in our apartment,so we went to dinner at a Greek place and she made me try lamb. And would you believe it, I actually liked it. We also had Korean food from a food truck we found near the square. That was super good and spicy. That's something cool about my mission, it is based in Salt Lake City yet it is definitely the most international mission.  
I didn't have to move, but I did change districts and assignments. I no longer am in West Gate, but I did just get bounced to Guest Services. Which instead of assigning the tours for people who just walked on the square, I assign and schedule the larger tours. Like the tour buses, the lessons that the Elders and Sisters from the surrounding missions have when they come to the square. So all of that fun stuff. So really it's more computer and phone calls. I have a feeling this is preparing me for something, I'm just not sure what yet. It was pretty funny, we had training for it this morning but yesterday morning was our first shift. So really we had no idea what we were doing and every time the phone rang the both of us would shreek a little haha. I'm sure the sisters walking past our cubicle thought we were the weirdest companionship :)
The two of us are super excited for this transfer because we both strongly feel like there is something specific that we need to do and learn. We are not sure what it is though. We have been praying about it the last few days and still don't feel like we really know. Tonight for Halloween the entire mission is going to the Temple so we are planning on going with that question in mind. 
On that note, for Halloween the square is closing down at 5 and as a mission we are all getting together to have a dinner and then all going to the temple together. We are really so blessed to be in this mission. I was talking with a sister about how cool it will be to be in the Temple with about 200 sisters that you love so much, and she shared with me that she feels like it will be a little glimpse of our mission reunion in Heaven. We all live all over the world, and yes we might be able to see a good amount of each other after our missions but it is very doubtful that we will see everyone. But in the life to come we will all see each other and it will be like a giant, massive mission reunion. Being in one room, away from the distractions of the world with all of your close friends. I know that it will be a wonderful experience 

Snow is supposed to come either this weekend, or next week...ahhh.
I'm realizing just how much of a California girl I am down to the bones. I'm prepared, yet I'm scared. We shall she how it goes. Oh and a funny realization I had this week. I was flashed back to when I was in SYC studying world views and when I was literally in the mind set of a cosmic humanist. Well if you were wondering, those people actually exist. It kind of scared me a bit when someone came on chat and starting talking about how yes he believes in God but really aren't we all God. Ya, it was quite interesting, especially because I've run into people like that more than once this week. Odd. Well I'm glad for the preparation that SYC gave me, because now I know haha. 

So I want to share a bit with you about something that we have discussed in our companionship study the last two nights. We have been talking about how we can recognize more fully the spirit, and how we can really have it all the time. That lead us talking about our relationship with our Father in Heaven, and how yes the Spirit is our companion but really it's our Father in Heaven who is and wants to be our companion. Then we went through a series of examples of things that we might do or not do to our companions. Do we ask their opinion when we make decisions, do we talk with them all day or only at certain times of the day? Are we actually interested in getting to know them or do we only talk about ourselves? We then took these questions and asked if we do those things to our Father in Heaven? When we pray do we only talk about ourselves, do we include Him in the decisions that we make? Do we even talk to Him throughout our day? Really when we pray it shouldn't just be us talking about everything and anything, it should be more of a conversation. We can talk about everything and anything but we then need to listen to His response. So we are now both doing a prayer journal where we write down a question or a concern that we have. Then during our prayer we take time to stop and think, and listen to our Father's response. We then write it down so show Him that we really are committed to hearing and listening to Him. It's been a pretty cool experience since I have started. So if you are looking for a way to make your prayers more meaningful it doesn't hurt to try a journal. 

Well we are having a mission dinner tonight so it's time to head the that. :) Happy Halloween and enjoy and the candy!

-Sister Fluckiger

How Far is Heaven?


I'll admit there are some weeks, like today, where I just sit at this little white screen wondering what to write. So much happened this week and I can't imagine getting it all to fit within my little precious email time. It makes me think of back home when I would get home late from class or work or something and I felt like I had to tell you everything about my day in a matter of minutes. Yep this is the same thing, only my fingers don't move as fast and it's a week instead of just a day. So I'm sorry if today I bounce from topics. So much to share in so little time :)
I'll start with the miracles because well, that's the best part about being a missionary.
This was earlier in the week and we had just finished our assignment at EF desk (Eternal Families) and we were going to head downstairs but then remembered that we were all out of English Books of Mormon at the desk so we decided to walk over to West Gate to grab some to restock. Well on our way back I was carrying about 5 or 6 copies of the Book of Mormon, we said hello and walked past an older man and he stopped us and asked if we were carrying the Book of Mormon, he then went on to ask if he could have a copy. I wanted to about throw all of them at him to let him know they were all his I was that excited. That probably wouldn't have been the best approach. Thankfully I am a missionary and we don't act in that manner ;) We went ahead and talked with him about the Book of Mormon and how he found out about it. Turns out he just moved here from out of the country and was interested and wanted to learn more about the religion because he wasn't very familiar with it back home.And now we have a new investigator, crazy to think the Lord literally leads you to walk right into the people who are prepared for the gospel.
Another investigator we were able to get from chat this week. It was such an answer to prayer because recently we have only been getting trolls and antis on chats (the people who get online just to waist our time and then turn around and bash and yell at us). D, came online and explained that she had recently been able to invite Christ into her life and she was now studying the Bible. The hard thing was that there was a lot in it that she just didn't understand or was confused about. Which of course I completely understand, I feel like the Bible, without the Book of Mormon is a puzzle that is missing the middle pieces. She also shared with us that she had a fear of religion because she felt that men today interpret the Bible in their own ways and add in their own insights, but she was looking for some type of Bible study so that she could find out the truth for herself. her words were that she was 'thirsty for the truth'. Well the wonderful thing about the gospel is that we know exactly where the truth is. We were able to teach her the restoration and all about the Book of Mormon and it's purpose along side of the Bible. She accepted the invitation to read the Book of Mormon and to meet with us. We are calling her tomorrow to invite her to church and to meet with local missionaries.
The last miracle that I will share with you this week was Mich, she is a less active who was sitting on a bench at Temple Square. We stopped and starting talking with her, and I don't know if it was our smiles, the spirit, or everything all together but she just started opening up to us about some things. We wanted to show her God's Plan, she was hesitant at first but I can tell that the spirit told her that she needed to come with us. So we were able to take her through God's Plan and really have a lesson with her about the need to be patient for the Lord's promised blessings. I love being able to feel the spirit speak through me. I think that is one of my favorite things that I have learned to do since I have been out here. When we were evaluating afterwards we both shared how we knew that that entire lesson was done by the spirit. It was such a good experience for all of us. We asked if we could stay in contact to continue to help her with church and things and she was excited and so happy that we were able to do that. Yep we have the best mission ever.
We also almost got to teach an investigator lesson. So an investigator lesson is when a set of missionaries from a mission surrounding temple square wants to bring their investigator to have a tour. So we get to give them a lesson using the resources that we have on temple square. I was super excited, because of our crazy schedule we have only been able to have one so far. Well we were able to meet with the Elders and they shared with us about their investigators and what they were hoping would happen and what they wanted us to invite the investigators to do. Well when the Elders arrived they told us that their investigators was just finding a place to park and then they would be right in....a good 15 minutes later, we asked for about the third time if they were coming. The Elders called them and turns out that they went back home because they couldn't find a parking spot. Seriously so sad. I felt so bad for the elders, turns out this will be their third time rescheduling this lesson.
Though I didn't actually get to teach an investigator lesson I know I'll have a lot more opportunities to have them and I'm hoping that next transfer my schedule has a little more square time.
Thursday was outbound announcing day! Oh my goodness, the whole mission goes crazy. President let us know that because we have so many sisters coming and going, from the MTC/outbound/departing, that there is going to be a lot of changes this transfer. I do remember him saying the same thing last transfer, so I'm sure this is just a norm. I find out Monday morning who my next companion will be, my assignment/zone/district. So I am super excited, but wish I didn't have to wait till Monday. Oh and as for outbound, we did find out where my companion is going :D She has been called to serve in the New Jersey Morristown Mission. She leaves next week I cannot believe it. So crazy! We also learned that everyone in my apartment is leaving. Sister Bomgren and Sister Shih (Taiwan) are both going outbound and then Sister Yu (Hong Kong) is going home. So I have to figure out some exchanges for transfer day because they all leave early in the morning and I am unable to go to the airport with them. So right now our apartment is filled with suitcases and lots of boxes, and I'm just trying to stay out of the way.
Oh and before the outbound announcements were made President spoke to us on a few things that had been on his mind. They weren't related in any way so we just bounced from topic to topic. But one of the exciting, less spiritual things that he shared with us was that at Temple Square we do not celebrate Halloween. I'll admit, being a fan of that particular holiday I was a little sad for a second. However, he then shared with us that we will be closing the gates and the square at 5pm, as a mission we will have a big dinner together and then we will all get to go to the temple together. Yay. Best Halloween present ever, we get to go visit our Father's home.
So I do love you all and really appreciate all of the support. Something that I found in one of my personal studies was this poem that I absolutely love:
"How far is heaven?
It's not very far.
When you live close to God,
It's right where you are."

I really do love my mission, it really does teach you a lot of things, and I have really felt that as we strive to live close to God, to be like His Son, we really will live in a little piece of Heaven no matter where we are. I'll admit there are still days when I walk by the Temple and get so amazed that I get to serve near the Lord's house. Even better we get to visit often.