Monday, February 19, 2018

If anyone been counting- It's been 18 months, even a little bit more tham that actually

                                                                                 February 19, 2018

                                               Sister Burnside, Ruben, Sister Rendon
                                               Sister Rendon & Sister Sheffield

                                                              Thomas's Baptism


If anyone has been counting- It's been 18 months, even a little bit more than that actually. 
Words can never ever say what I've felt here.                          

(D&C 76:116) 
 Neither is man capable to make them known, for they are only to be seen and understood by the power of the Holy Spirit, which God bestows on those who love him, and purify themselves before him;

This week was a teary one. 
I'll be honest I'm not absolutely sure if they were tears of sadness or tears of joy, but I am sure they were tears of love and gratitude. 

I was driving through Fresno earlier this week and I swear they could make this into a movie because as I looked out the window with tears streaming down my face I had a very real desire to simply let Fresno soak into my skin. I wanted it to be a part of me.....and I'm not sure if somehow that Fresno air has gotten into my skin but I am absolutely positive that Fresno people are forever stuck inside my heart. 

I was so blessed enough to begin this week with the missionaries that departed earlier this week. They are truly my best friends. I love them. 
We were able to go to the temple where I cried with them and President and Sister Mackay joined us. Also there was Sister Ounsevath and when we walked out Shannon had randomly felt prompted to go to the temple as well. The idea of spending eternity with so many of these best friends is my favorite idea of all time. 

We all went out to get ice cream together, felt blessed to be friends with each other, street contacted some people, and went to the Mackay's for dinner. We participated in this horrific tradition called 'cutting mission ties' and we talked about mission experiences, all the way from the embarrassing times we fell asleep in appointments to the conversion of our converts. 

We bore testimony together and cried some more-we shared our love for the people, our love for each other, and especially our love for Christ. 

The Elders left to go sleep at the assistants house, we spent more time with the Mackay's and finally we came out with the truth, that despite our squirmy faces whenever the 'M' word was brought up, we in reality did want marriage advice. They delivered. 
We stayed up late some of the sisters got in some last-ditch attempt sit-ups, and we talked more about the things we finally sort of felt okay talking about. 

We woke up the Elders came back over and we had breakfast. We talked about who had talked in their sleep that night (apparently me). We let the Elders know who we had pegged as the first to get married out of them all. We laughed a lot, we played jenga, we felt weird. 

President allowed us to sing 'Called to Serve' California Fresno Mission style. One of the Elders said a prayer and then 'it' hit. After that prayer there was a literal weight in the room, a moment when what hadn't felt real for so long finally began to feel a little real (even for me.) After that closing prayer there was only one thing left for me to do and that was to say goodbye to some of the best missionaries the universe has ever seen and I've ever known. I watched each of them leave the Mackay's house, give both the Mackay's a hug and then I watched them leave and it broke my heart. 

However, I trust that the Lord has a plan for each of them and I know that because I know that because I've continued to experience a part of the plan He has for me. 

Honestly I've felt the work of salvation in the most pure and the most raw form in the last week. 


Of all of the things that I have experienced out here, the most powerful thing I've experienced out here in this place I love is the Atonement of Jesus Christ. 
I've seen Him enable, heal, redeem, love, strengthen and transform my converts, companions, members, and friends. 
I've felt Him enable, heal, redeem, love, strengthen and transform Sister Rendon. 

I know that my mission was divinely designed for my salvation because as I sought to truly lose myself in this work I found my best friend of all, His name is Jesus Christ.                                         
John 17:3
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

Not only did I find Him but I also found myself. 
To my dearest family and friends. I know that you will be seeing me soon, but please don't expect to see the me that left. I am different. As I have said I have been transformed. 
Yet that being said I feel in this moment that I am more me than I have ever before been, and I really like that. 

I love you all.

Please read your scriptures. 
Please say your prayers. 
Please go to church on Sunday
and then please come find me on Monday. 

Monday, February 12, 2018

and her heart swelled wide as eternity.

My goodness somehow I wonder how I haven't had a heart attack yet because I love my mission and everything about it so much, it's actually super impressive how well my heart is still working for all this love to be crammed inside of it. 

Some news: 
I am getting transferred. I will be in Peachwood North AND President Mackay told me I could also be with the Sisters in Shepherd/Dry Creek/Orchard View and that is my home land. I am so happy about it. So really I kind of don't have a companion but also I'm going to kind of have four companions anywho they are all so great. 

Some stuff that happened because of the news: 
The ward council in the Clovis ward was alllllll sorts of emotional. When we first sat down I was only doing the type of crying where tears take a while to well up and then you can sneakily wipe them off your face. Then our ward mission leader announced that I was getting transferred and some other stuff about my mission which maybe you all can guess and then it was the type of crying where you literally have a wet face and have to ask your companion after if your makeup is okay. Honestly it was so reassuring to sit in that ward council and see so many others doing the work of salvation that I promise to never abandon. 

Honestly I knew my time in this area was going to be pretty short and I prayed so hard that I could love the people here so fast and boy oh boy the Lord certainly knows how to deliver. I have made so many friends here and we've seen so much progression in the wards here and in the people and Sister Sheffield is amazing and wow it feels so good. 

I told Charlene that I was leaving and she asked if I was going to tell everyone and I told her I wasn't sure and she said...."Well you need to tell them you are leaving so they can thank you, and you need to tell them you are coming back and staying with me." 
Also we street contacted her son and that was way cooool.

I am super excited for this next week full of soul-stretching stuff and people to love. 
Have the best week loved ones!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sister Rendon

 * I added some of Sister Sheffield email today also - Sister Rendon's Mom

Hi everyone!

Sister Rendon and I had an incredible week! And it will be our last week together. Sister Rendon is going home in two weeks (two weeks after the transfer) but she was temporarily assigned to North Stake for that time. It should be really fun for her. She is floating between two companionships, and one of those areas is the area she was trained in. She will have fun strengthening those sisters and being able to reflect on all the things that have happened on her mission!

Sister Rendon really was an incredible companion. I feel like we crammed 2 or 3 transfers worth of stuff into these last few weeks. We have been busy, busy. Incredible visits with less actives, amazing moments to share our fruit with members, finding potential after potential and many new investigators. I love my mission and I love this area. 

We were driving and we saw some people working outside. In Sister Rendon's bishop blessing, she was asked to keep a special look-out for those who need service. So we stopped and we walked down the street. There were three families outside. We asked to serve all of them. All of them gave us the same response, "We already found Jesus." They didn't want to talk. They actually have this door sign that says "No Solicitors" with a not below which says, "We have no money, WE HAVE FOUND JESUS, seriously, unless you're selling thin mints, GO AWAY" and Sister Rendon said that they probably made these signs at an anti-mormon relief society craft activity. On our way back to the car, I remarked on this great similarity in their responses and Sister Rendon said, "Well, at least the Lord trusts us!" And then she said we should knock on one more door. And we did, and we met Carol, who talked to us for 30 minutes. We left her with a Book of Mormon and she agreed to visit again. We decided Missionary work is the best.

As Sister Rendon is preparing to go home, we have been talking about how our mission has helped us find our Savior. And yes, before my mission I knew that Jesus was the Christ. I had found Him. But every day on my mission has given me another chance to find out something else about Him. We talked about John 17:3, a scripture that has meant so much to me on my mission. It is eternal life to know Him, to find Him again and again and again, in every aspect of our lives. It is such a blessing to be here doing it!

Sister Sheffield