February 24, 2016

Be Still My Soul

We had a "Sisters Training" yesterday and it amazing. There were some great speakers. One of them was Sister Mortensen! Her talk was something I have thought about throughout my life! Wow it was so good for me. It was on the Joy and Power of inner Stillness. 

The talk was focused on the scripture Luke 2:19.  But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
Mary is a great example of a righteous woman in the gospel. Who am I? How can I know? What is inside me? Who can help me?  If you read the "War In Heaven" definition in the Bible, we understand that there are forces around us who don't want us to have inner peace. A calmness of heart and mind. We know stillness comes from the Savior and when there is perfect stillness God alone speaks to us. There is a problem today and it is that people don't know how to separate revelation vs. validation from Heavenly Father and others. Who we are to God is far more important than who we are to those we know around us even on social media. Revelation is a stillness of heart. Each of us is literally a son and daughter of God!! Being in New York City is teaching me a lot about people and my own inner stillness. I feel every day is a battle in mind and heart. One thing I know is that when we ask Heavenly Father,  He always will guide our lives and it comes when our hearts are still. One thing I want to invite you all to do is to talk to your Heavenly Father tonight and ask him "Am I really thy son/daughter?" & "Do thy love me?" Make that prayer sincere!! I promise Heavenly Father will pour out His Spirit and you will know how special you really are to him. What I got from this was that I want to take 5 minutes each day to find inner stillness. Take a look at the words to "Be Still My Soul". 

Now for updates on the work. The work is busy.  There were so many things that happened this week. Yesterday we had a media referral and she is going to get baptized. We taught her like everything.. Haha This week we went over to Sandra Perez's. She has taken a step back because she is going through so much and feels overwhelmed. She has decided to get a divorce and so that is a super sensitive thing to work through. By others choices it has just been a rippling effect on her life. She feels Heavenly Father is helping her by all of these signs that remind her of her mom. I know that her and Daniel will accept the Gospel it will just take some time. 

This week we got a message saying that one of the Elders got stopped on the street by a woman named Melissa who wanted Christ centered material. When we went to her apartment I felt like this woman was someone familiar to me. She is a happy person!! No teeth right now and wears a big smile on her face. We sat down and found out she is a member! She was baptized 10-15 years ago in Manhattan. She said the reason she hadn't come to church was because she didn't have a dress. Haha she is sweet. She ran and got out her marked up Bible and Book of Mormon. I think she is a little confused with a lot about the Gospel and went back to smoking. We told her we would figure out how to get her clothes so she could come with us to church. So we go pick up her dress from our Relief Society President and bring it over Sunday morning and she came to church with us!! It was awesome to see God's hand in all of it. Also, l3 other of our less actives who never come to church have come recently!! Yay! I love when people come to church!!! 

We found Carol Archer, who is a referral from our next door neighbors the Kelly's. We've tried a couple times and caught her this week when she was home. She let us in and we made the connection. She has worked closely with Mormon so she knows a lot. I asked her if she would at least be open to listening to the missionary discussions and she said yes! In a couple weeks her schedule will free up. I hope something good will come from it! She was way nice.  

Random thing. We have this huge mouse problem right now in our apartmentt. We call the mouse Sister Hubert and she has babies that run around and sometimes get into our food. Haha it's gross!!! 

I love the members here. They teach me so much. These are beautiful days and I know I will draw back on them the rest of my life. Especially in the hard times, because there are moments here (every day & night) that are so exhausting, but somehow each day I'm able to keep going.. I feel I am learning how to serve here like never before in my life. Serving my Heavenly Father has brought a lot more meaning to my life!!  

I know that Heavenly Father lives and loves his children. Each one of them :) 

I love each one of you. <3 Sister Vassau

February 17, 2016

No Place like Harlem

Hi Everyone!

How are you all doing?? How are my cute friends at home? I love updates :) please email and I will love you forever. Thank you all for your support and prayers. My week was one with ups and downs. We were talking the other day how when there is a down or when we run into
someone who is super anti-Mormon and we feel yucky afterwards there is always something good that happens after. 

We talked to a lot of different people this week who have completely different views on life and
religion. It's so interesting! We run into a lot of Jehovah Witnesses here. One door we knocked on
was this man who just wanted to talk to us, mostly prove us wrong. I am not here to prove anyone's beliefs to be wrong!! Just share what has blessed my life! He gave us all his bible literature to take with us...Haha, we had no clue what to do with that, but as we were leaving
his apartment this boy walks out and he was kind of joking around about how he probably wouldn't change what we believe. This boy was so nice!! He was just visiting his girlfriend. He lived in Salt Lake and worked with Mormons so we had a really awesome conversation. I am learning so much from Sister Staley. She is a huge example to me. I love that she easily forgives and knows when to laugh and turn a bad situation into a good one.

So we accidentally forgot to get off at our stop to go home at night and we went to QUEENS this week!! It was horrible!! I was extremely anxious the whole time because we were out of our mission. Hahahaha my anxiety was at it's peak. it's ok though.. We made some calls and it
was A OK. We live on the boundary of our area...so we have to be extra

Something else that was very cool... we went to look this person up in this random project building. When we got there we just ended up talking to someone that worked for the army who knew a Mormon and had all these ideas of us.. like there are no black Mormons. We told him to come to church!! The Harlem 1st Ward is seriously one of the coolest and unique wards in the world. People from everywhere and there is no judgement because everyone just has
super interesting and unique challenges. Like some pretty funny things happen every week at church. I can't wait to one day share.  So in comes this member in our ward who is a black woman and she shared her bold testimony about how she loves being Mormon!!! We just stood there
nodding our head about everything she said. We went back last night to try to get her to come find someone with us and she told us her story and how her life has completely changed. COMPLETELY. Seriously, the atonement is real. Her daughter will be serving a mission soon. We told her she needs to share her experiences with people here. She was super open to coming with us to some people we are working with. There are members, like her, in our ward who are amazing! I could talk about a handful of them who have lived in Harlem their whole lives and just love the Gospel! These two woman who feed us every week Sister Dickey and Sister Watson are your true Harlem sweethearts. We are trying to bring our investigators and less actives to their dinners each week.

I love my roommates right now. They are literally the happiest human beings ever and it makes coming home at night really good. So much work here. So many names to remember. Just trying to get everyone to read, pray, come to church!! It is not an easy task. Those are the things that bring the spirit in our lives. Please don't stop doing those things. I promise they will bless you forever and ever and even eternity.

Going to see the city! BYE!!

Sister Vassau

Hope you had a good Valentine's Day 💋
GOD IS THE LOVE WITHIN US. Don't know who said that this week but I heard it and yes.
HE LOVES US. We love one another!!

February 11, 2016

Bibles and Book's of Mormon

I am so grateful for the week that I had! It was filled with miracles. I will start with a couple people we met that God's hand showed us he loves & knows who is ready. He leads people for whatever reason to request for a Bible or the Book of Mormon and then they get sent us, (Sister Staley and I)!!  We contacted 14 of our media referrals this week. That is a lot. Harlem loves Bibles!!! What more can I say? In other words, People in Harlem are looking for change, to become better people. Most all the missions referrals are coming from the places of New York where there's not a whole lot of goodness. So we've found out that people don't really know why they request for a Bible. Some just see the add and see it's a free book!! Whatever reason, they felt compelled. Some we have to remind that we are there because they sent us, which is always a funny conversation! 

Two that were amazing who God sent us to were Nanabeyion and Hilda and Hailey!!!! 

 We had talked on the phone a lot with Nanabenyion about a good time to bring the book since he is at the top of our area. He is also a teacher and cab driver, so very busy. One day, we finally decided to just bring it to him. We planned each person out and had faith that they would be there. He was home when we came and let us in. He is from Ghana, Africa and has a wife and two children. His cousins become members of our church so he decided he wanted to figure out more about The Book of Mormon. His family founded a church in Africa. He is a spiritual and really kind man. We taught him more about the restoration and answered many of his questions. He asked us about where we marry so we talked about the temple! Then showed him pictures :):) it was so awesome!! 
We also got a hold of Heidi who was actually the daughter of Hilda who wanted the Book of Mormon and Bible. When we went, Hilda's mom wanted them in Spanish but we asked her daughter if she would be interested in learning more. She sad yes and that she wants us to come when her little girl Hailey is there!! So we go back and teach them the Restoration and it was so incredible the words that were placed in our mouths for them. We set a baptismal date for April 2nd for them! They were surprised that we were confident they could figure it out by then. Afterwards, they said they are actually excited about this. This feels good. We are super pumped about them because they are very special people. 

I love when we find the elect!!

We had zone conference yesterday. I know President Smith and Sister Smith are here in New York to change all the lives that are here. They have already had a great impact on mine. I want to be closer to Christ just because of their simple testimonies of the restored gospel. We were asked to prepare talks about accountability through prayer and I learned so much.

"In your prayers at night, give the Lord an accounting of your day's activities. Then review with Him your plan for the next day. Listen for the promptings of the spirit."

The whole principle of accounting to the Lord in everything is new to me. Each opportunity he gives me Is a sacred blessing and he wants to know about it. I just have a hard time going through all my day because I can barely remember one hour ago.. I do have a firm testimony that God answers prayers. Prayers are the passport to peace!! He is so close. He knows us from the inside out and wants to council with us. I know that one day we will return to our Father in Heaven! In my prayers each night I am trying to picture him there with me. If Christ were here and wanted us to give him an accounting he would want to know our hearts! If our hearts are good and pure! Just like Joseph prayed and asked a question, our questions are just as important to Heavenly Father!! Keep asking him!!! 

Have you come to know your Jesus?
2 Nephi 33:6
"...I glory in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul from hell

I love you all. 
Love, sister Vassau 

February 4, 2016

Happy Birthday Mom!

                                   HEY! IT'S FEBRUARY already. My favorite month!! All about LOVE!!!

This week was GOOD. One of the best days happened earlier this week. I don't know why it was one of my favorite days on my mission, it just was!! This is what happened. Day in the life of a SISTER --> in the hood
We had two solid appointments set up with two media referrals where we taught them about the Restoration and about the Book Of Mormon. I just felt the spirit so much this day. I love when I can express sincere testimony and feel the spirit work through me. (My favorite part of missionary work) Both women were very
interested... later we taught a less active and we were so led by the spirit. I love the Holy Ghost.  It's awesome. It knows exactly what people need!! Always. I would say majority of people here just need love. They need to know there are people who are thinking of them at church & who love them. People here just need members, true friends, to keep them be accountable because us sister missionaries can't
do all the work. We would never be able to reach everyone in this city!!! It's so hard to reach people here. Whoever said missionary work here was easy was wrong!!! Most people I feel have just forgotten
about Gods love. Asking Kristina simple questions.... Like.... When was the last time you felt peace or joy... What does she think when she sees a picture of Jesus Christ holding his sheep... She couldn't even remember! HOW GREAT IS MY CALLING!!! After we had a dinner appointment. I had prayed earlier about what to share because of lack of planning. We felt inspired to share some of '"The First Great Commandment" by Elder Holland. When she read it I was shocked to see tears. We never know what people are going through. All we can do is pray to know! I love that Heavenly Father knows us and knows our
hearts -- I also am grateful he knows what we desire most in life. It seems that my righteous desires are always granted in God's unique way. Then after, we met with some of the Relief Society and worked with them about how to help this Ward.

I got to go back to Scarsdale this week for the new missionary meeting. I love going back to Scarsdale. Feels like home. My heart misses that place so much. Brought back some of my feelings at the beginning. The meeting was really powerful for me. So many feelings!! Sister Staley is awesome. She is willing to work hard and I appreciate her positivity.

Some random, but important updates! Marie-France had a heart attack this week. We have gone to see her a couple times this week. Yesterday she was able to eat as we were there, but still so weak. I've been so
worried for her, but it really is a miracle she is still with us. Which is weird because you know Briant-- I talked about, the big bouncer? He has suffered from a stroke recently as well. Scary. Got a priesthood blessing this week. Grateful for priesthood holders. Sandra & Daniel came to church again!! They have a baptismal date for Feb 20th! Media referrals. We have like 16. Yikes. People don't answer their phones!!! Ate a cookie at Lavains. They are SO good. A man gave us $20 on the street. He refused to take it back he said it was from God. Good people. We taught 2 young women on Sunday in young women's about Who we are.I am learning how life is full of midst of darkness, but to press forward through them! The more I'm in Harlem the more I love this

This is truly the Lords work. Have a great week!!

Xoxo Sister McKell Vassau