Monday, November 14, 2016

The parable of Ginger the chicken

Because I'm a missionary and am living 1923 miles away from home and can only communicate with my family through email on Mondays, my family emails me every week with funny stories of what's going on at home.
A few weeks ago my little sister sent me a picture of a chicken in my back yard.

My family told me the chicken's name was Ginger and that it had been running around the neighborhood and they didn't really know where she came from.
It's been a few weeks since I've heard about Ginger the Chicken, but This morning when I connected to wifi and loaded my emails I read an email from my mom...
"So funny story," she said, "Ginger the chicken is still roaming the neighborhood. You have to try not to back over her when leaving the garage because she isn't smart enough to get out of the way. Yesterday when we got home from church, Skyler was the first one to the front door, Ginger was there and it scared him to death. He took off screaming and running. He is so quiet usually it was super funny."
I laughed for a minute just picturing my family try to deal with this chicken.
But I started to think about that chicken and what it represents in our everyday lives. Maybe it's because I'm a missionary, but everything seems to teach about the gospel. 
That's how the Savior taught after all. He took everyday things that people would understand and taught them the gospel.
So I decided I'd title this parable "The Parable of Ginger The Chicken."
For me Ginger the Chicken represents my comfort zone. As a missionary you have to get out of your comfort zone every day. It's not an easy thing to walk up to a random person on the street and tell them that God loves them, or at least it isn't easy for me. 
But I know each of us, no matter where we are in life, have things that make us uncomfortable. We all have times when we feel awkward and don't know exactly what to do. So Ginger the Chicken could represent anything that you struggle with really. 
So the first thing to do when we recognize the chicken on our porch is decide what to do about it. I've come up with a couple ways to cope with "the chicken on your porch."
  1. We can face the chicken with faith. We can let fear paralyze us, but if you do that you may find yourself running away from your fears the same way my little brother ran from the Chicken. As a missionary I've learned that when we face hard things it's better to face it with the Savior's help rather than just try to hide from it. Because if we just try to hide from our fears we'll find that just like Ginger the Chicken, they might keep showing up.
  2. We can laugh. Sometimes as a missionary you feel awkward. The best tactic I've found for feeling awkward is to laugh at yourself. Don't expect yourself to be perfect. After all, there is a chicken on your porch! 
"You can either laugh your way through life, or you can cry your way through it. I choose to laugh. Crying gives me a headache."
-Margery Pay Hinckley 

 3. We can collect the eggs. Sometimes trials are placed on our porch to help us. So we can try to look for the good that comes from them. Sometimes they are given to us to make us stronger.
"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."
-Ether 12:27
So whatever "Ginger the Chicken" represents. Just know that with the Lord's help you can face it with faith, you can collect the eggs, and maybe, just maybe it will make for a great Instagram post later in life.

Sister Whitney Reid
Florida Orlando Mission

Monday, September 26, 2016

Letter to a granddaughter

In the mission world your "trainer" or first companion is often referred to as your "mom." And when you are called to become a trainer you get a "baby." 

A few months ago I had the privilege of training Sister Hart from Arizona. Flash forward several months to now. I'm running the last six months of my race in the mission field and just this week my "baby" was called to train a new missionary named Sister Staten.

Which makes me a "grandma."

Since I've been in the mission field for about a year I wanted to write down a few things that I wish someone would have told me at the beginning of my mission. 

So this is a letter to grand baby Staten as well as every other missionary new to the field.

The first thing I want you to know is that it's okay not to know. In all honesty none of us really have it all figured out. When I first came out I looked up to those who have been out for a long time and wondered how I would ever get to where they are. What I came to realize is that we are all relatively new. There will be a time when you take over your first area without the direction from your trainer. For me even taking over an area for the second time I stressed because I didn't want to mess anything up. You will get transferred several times and may be called to serve as a trainer or an STL. Always look at it as an adventure. There are many fun times to be had, but if you stress to much over not knowing exactly what you're doing you might miss them. My Sunday school teacher would always tell us that "You may not know everything, but you know enough." 

The second thing I learned is that obedience is so very necessary. I thought coming on a mission would make it easy to be obedient. But I've learned that even as a missionary there is temptation all around you. Sometimes it might be a companion that chooses not to keep all of the rules or a member who suggests something contrary to what your mission president has taught. The best thing to do is stick to the rules. Because we are promised in the scriptures that if we are obedient we will always be blessed. My trainer (your great grandma) Sister Guynn always used to say to me "never let anyone determine your obedience or your happiness." And Sister Berry, the Mission President's wife when I first came to Florida, always used to say "obedience brings blessings, but exact obedience brings miracles."

The third thing I learned is that joy is so very necessary in missionary work. I learned that sometimes happiness is a choice and it is also a challenge. Learn to laugh when you are uncomfortable and smile when you are stressed. Re-discover humor and remember that you have been called to this area because these people need your personality. So don't try to be anybody but yourself, and I know that if you do that you will touch the hearts of the people and you will be happy.

The fourth thing I don't think I really learned until I became an STL. Open your mouth and talk with everyone. And I mean everyone. When you are at a stoplight, roll down your window and tell the guy next to you that you know God loves him, pull over to the side of the road and ask the old lady watering her lawn if you can help her. Walk up to the grumpy man sitting on a lawn chair and ask him for directions you don't actually need. If the person you had an appointment with isn't home knock on their neighbor's house and ask if they know when their neighbor will be home. "Whatever your initial approach may be, refer quickly to the restoration." If you do this I can promise that you will always have a full teaching pool. 

The fifth thing I learned is that you probably won't be best friends forever with every one of your companions. There will be some who will become like your siblings, and others who you will clash with. But with each companion you are given comes a reason for why you were given them. It may be something you will learn from them. It may be a Christlike attribute you need to develop. Maybe they need you and your example. Try your very best to get along with them even when it gets hard. If you are having a hard time feeling charity then clean your apartment and pray for charity. 

The sixth thing I learned is that this time goes so fast. People always told me that at the beginning of my mission and I didn't believe them. Thirteen transfers are all you get to serve full time for the Lord. You will never have the opportunity to serve in this capacity ever again. Soak it all in and don't take any of it for granted. 

A few weeks ago one of our investigators was interviewed for baptism. The missionary conducting the interview asked him about his experience working with us as missionaries. His response was "Those Sistas, they are the tools that God uses to fix broken souls."

You have the sacred opportunity to be one of those tools that God uses to fix broken souls. 

I could keep going on with this list for another eighteen months but I'll leave it with this; you have been called to do the work of God the Eternal Father. You have been called to stand as a witness of His Son, Jesus Christ. It is not going to be easy, as Christ's life never was, but it will be the most fulfilling work you have ever done, and ever will do. 

Go kick butt. Do good things and just know that you are changing the world one broken soul at a time.

Sister Reid

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Hey friends! I have a guest post coming to ya from my good friend Hermana Stokey who is serving here with me in the Florida Orlando Mission. I asked her to write me a guest post answering the question "what have you learned on your mission?" Here is her response.

People say you change on a mission. You don't really notice it (at least, I don't, not day by day) but it's a good thing. I think the change comes because you learn things on your mission. Maybe it's not your first time technically learning any given thing, but you  recognize and accept and use said thing, and thus the change occurs. You're growing into your spirit and your personality and yourself.
I made a list of things I feel I've learned on my mission. This isn't everything, but it's still a comprehensive list, given in no specific order. I have:

Learned how to work hard. Like, really hard. I thought I had work ethic before my mission, but the mission is unlike any other experience. It's rigorous and unending and demanding and yet so amazing and worth it.

Learned how to bite my tongue and rein in the sass. This one is definitely a work in progress. My parents told me all the time growing up that I didn't always have to be right. The people I meet here basically tell me the same thing, just not word for word. I know I can respect others' beliefs even if I don't agree with them.

Learned how to love the Lord and love the people. Charity is a real thing! This is one of my favorites. I love these people and desire the best for them. Christlike love is an incredible feeling.
Learned how to follow a strict schedule. Yeahhhhh. I learned that I don't actually like getting up early. But I understand why we do.

Learned how to comply and find the good. There are a ton of rules on the mission. Like the strict schedule. But it all makes sense. It pushes us to do our best. And I can find  ways to be happy with the rules.

Learned how to learn and teach. This is a big one. To be a good teacher, you have to be a good learner. To teach people, you have to know how to teach. It all goes back to charity and caring about them and adapting to them.

Learned Spanish. Learned tiny bit of Portuguese. Ha. Now I'm...quadlingual. Is that the right word? Is that a thing? Well, to be honest, I'm not fluent in Portuguese or German and I'm still learning Spanish. But I love Spanish! I'm never going back, people. The Spanish language and culture is something you want to be a part of. Trust me on this one.

Learned to eat food I don't want or like or can't fit in my stomach. Pretty self-explanatory.
Learned how to talk better. Yes, my parents say I never stop talking. That's not what I mean. I mean that now I can hold a conversation based off of very little information.

Learned how to miss and love family. Can I just say how much I miss them? The saying "absence makes the heart grow fonder" is so true. It does. I love my family with all of my heart and can't wait to see them soon.

Learned how to listen. This is a must if you're teaching in a language you aren't fluent in. More importantly, it's a must so you can teach by the Spirit and help people truly learn.

Learned how to feel for others. Sympathy is such a powerful tool. It can make you feel good and it can make you feel bad but it definitely helps you understand your fellow human beings and spirit siblings.
Learned that it's not about me. It's not about me. It's about these people and how I can help them and it's about our Heavenly Father and His concern for their eternal welfare.
Learned it's about others. See above point.

Learned to walk a tonnnn. If I don't have great legs by the time I go home...I'll be darned. Seriously. You know the book "Oh, the palaces You'll Go"? That is probably s book about missionaries. You go everywhere and you get to a lot of those places by walking. It'd be nicer if it wasn't the deathly Florida I walked in, but c'est la vie.

Learned I don't like the heat much. I thought I was okay with it before. I came from a pretty hot climate. But now that I'm here...give me the snow! I think I won't be living down south after the mission. (But Florida is beautiful, I'll give it that.)

Learned to catch a Pokemon. Do I even dare admit this one? ...yes. Because Pokemon Go is cool. And I've caught some cool Pokemon. And it starts conversations. And I can contact people by talking about it since people are always on their phones. So this is a valid point.

Learned how to make Spanish food. Did I say I was good at it? Nope. But I learned how to make empanadas and arepas. Arepas are seriously the best thing out there besides ice cream.
Learned I'm kind of an introvert. And that's okay! We're all different. You don't have to be a public speaker or charismatic human to be a missionary. If I talk to people all day long and no longer feel like talking by nighttime, that's okay. God qualifies those whom He calls.

Learned how to charity. This one is so important that it deserves a second point.
Learned how to work an iPad. Laugh all you want, but before my mission, I didn't really know how to work one. Ta-da. Now I do.

Learned that time is fast and yet so slow and still so fast. How long have I been out for? Forever. One second. Somewhere in between. Who knows? Time is crazy out here.

Learned how to kind of cook for myself. Good thing we have the members here to feed us because I haven't learned much. I can cook a mad quesadilla or crab puff. I can make nachos. Can I cook for a family yet? Probably not. I'll test it out on my family when I get home.

Learned importance of CPR. Yes, it is a medical term. No, that's not what I mean. Church Pray Read. They keep your testimony strong and your faith stronger. They are essential. I have learned that of you lack even one of them, it's like a three-legged stool with one leg removed. You tip and you fall and you can't truly get back up without reinstalling that leg.

Learned that there's no excuse for going less active and every reason to progress in the gospel. See the leg analogy above. For real, though, if we have faith, then we know all is possible through God and we can do all that is expected and required of us.

Learned how to tell people my skin is naturally red but yes, I'm probably sunburnt too. This made the list because I'm so commonly told that I'm red and everyone tells me I need to wear sunscreen. I just stick out like a sore thumb amongst all my Hispanic homies.

Learned that Brazil speaks Portuguese not Spanish. I blame my geography teacher for not clearing that one up. I love Brazilians. Imma go to Brazil someday.

Learned pure happiness of the mission. If you allow the mission to change you in all of the above ways and more, you will be so much happier than you could ever describe or imagine. I love my mission, I love what I've learned, and I love that I'm becoming more of what the Lord wants me to be.

Most of all, I learned that I'm still learning and I'll always be learning and that's okay and that's good. Learning is an eternal habit we should all strive to develop.
I've also learned that I'm not good at endings or goodbyes.

-Hermana Stokey

Enviado desde mi iPad

Sister Whitney Reid

Monday, August 8, 2016

The Atonement

Wow. I don't even know how to express my thoughts from this week.

Since I became an STL this week I had the opportunity to go to missionary leadership counsel on Tuesday. This meeting changed the way I look at missionary work.

The entire meeting was focused on the Atonement. The Spirit was strong and at any given moment you could look around the room and see tears in somebody's eyes.

I've been reflecting on it a lot this week. And I learned something.

I learned that the church wasn't restored so that we could have a Prophet, the church wasn't restored so we could read the Book of Mormon, the church wasn't restored so we could go to the "true church."

The church was restored so that we, through the priesthood, could have access to the Atonement.

The Atonement means so much to so many different people through the world, but for me it means we can change. It means that each of us have the opportunity to become better and to become stronger. Word's can't express exactly how I feel about it, and I'm sure I'm doing a terrible job of explaining through text what the Atonement means to me, but I just want all of you reading this to know that I know the Atonement is real.

I know that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can find peace. Lasting peace. The kind of peace that can only come through knowing there is something bigger than ourselves that we are a part of. The kind of peace that comes from knowing there is a plan that was created by the best planner that ever planned.

The kind of peace that can only be found by accessing heaven.

So I know that the Atonement is real. I know that it works. I know that no matter how far we think we are, how many mistakes we think we've made, or how impossible it looks to come back, He is always there with His had outstretched to pull us to shore.

And that's why I'm here. That's why I've left my family for eighteen months to move across the country to a people I've never met. Because I know the Atonement is the best thing anyone can ever use in their lives, and I want others to feel that same joy too.

So come, find out more.

Monday, August 1, 2016

For the Beauty of the earth

I've been thinking a lot about the beauty of the earth lately. There are so many days that go by where the sun comes up and goes down before we ever take the time to soak in the wonder of this world. The earth was created to be beautiful, but I think all to often, we are preoccupied with other things that we forget.

The other day we were driving down the open Florida Highway as the sun was starting to set in the distance. Palm trees were rolling past us and I couldn't help but think about the handful of moments in my life that I really soaked in the beauty of the earth.

The time we sat on the Peter Whitmer Farm in the warm New York air next to the place where the Christ's restored church had been organized and I offered a prayer of gratitude for the opportunity I've been given to be a part of it.

The time we ran up Adam's Canyon as a group of friends and sat on the rocks as the boys ran under the ice cold waterfall and I thanked God for friends that share my same beliefs in the gospel.

The time we walked through the Sacred Grove and prayed about weather or not God really had visited that place and received an answer.

The time my mom took me zip-lining in Provo Canyon and I realized God wants us to have joy.

The time my siblings and I held hands and ran fully clothed into the Pacific Ocean off the Oregon coast and I smiled because I knew I could be with my family forever.

The time my friends and I drove through the frozen December air doorbell ditching our school mate's houses leaving cookies on their doorsteps and I learned that the best way to feel God's love is to serve others.

The time we stood at the edge of the Grand Canyon and realized that maybe we were a part of something bigger than ourselves.

The time we climbed Multanoma falls and felt the mist of the falls that reminded us that God does love His children and that He created this beautiful world for us.

The times we made early morning trips to the Bountiful Temple and left the temple right as the sun started to come up on the horizon and I was grateful to have a temple and its blessings so close to home.

Now, there have been hundreds of these moments. Thousands of times I've looked that the sky and thought "well isn't this world beautiful? And isn't God so good?" But I will admit that sometimes I forget. Sometimes I forget how beautiful it all really is because I get distracted.

But it seems like God is always there ready to slap me in the face with a beautiful sunset or waterfall or mountain as a reminder that He's still there, that He still loves His children, and that He still has a plan for us.

So as I looked at the big Florida sky I was wonderstruck again. Because at the time I was serving as a missionary and was headed to the house of a person who didn't know God, who didn't know He made all this for us, and who didn't know He had a plan for us

And I had the opportunity to help them see it.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Cold tile

I grinned from ear to ear as I stood on the cold tile in the baptismal font. I plugged the drain and stood their as the water started to rise to my ankles.

I was entering the missionary training center later that day. My bags were zipped and the rest of my things were put in a box in a closet to wait for my return. Orlando Florida. That's where I was headed. I had butterflies in my stomach as my family piled into the car to drop me off.

My twelve days in the MTC came and gone and before I knew it I was stepping off the airplane. The humidity hit me like a ton of bricks and it was only October.

I soon learned a few things that nobody told me about before my mission. For starters, I was the same person as when I left. I still had the same personality, liked the same foods, and was still scared of the same things.

I learned that you sometimes have to eat twice as much as you want to so you don't offend anyone. I learned that sometimes people slam the door in your face and sometimes people stop texting you or answering your phone calls all together. I learned that sometimes people said mean things to the missionaries, and even worse, sometimes people said mean things about the church that I so dearly loved.

Missionary work is hard.

There are long days. Days that you don't feel like working. Days that you think you'll never get along with your companion.

Over time I started to grow accustom to some of the trials common to missionary work. Days were long, but I got through it. People didn't listen, but every once and a while someone would open their door. Every once and a while we'd find someone to listen.

After a few transfers I found myself serving in a singles ward in central Orlando.

I worked hard, but wasn't seeing the results come from my labors.

I was training a new missionary named Sister Hart and it was during that time that I learned some new things that nobody had told me about a mission.

I learned that faith means believing in miracles. It means daring the soul to go beyond what the eye can see. It means telling yourself that it will all work out even though you can't see the light at the end of the tunnel. It sometimes means taking a few steps forward into the dark believing that the motion sensors will recognize your faith and the lights will come on.

I learned that a successful missionary is a happy missionary. I learned that laughter is the best medicine and the best coping mechanism for hard days. I learned that if you can make someone else laugh or simply smile you can work miracles among the children of men. I learned that joy is a principle power. No missionary ever changed the world with a frown on their face.

I learned about friendship. I learned that in order to bring someone the gospel you must first meet their needs. And more often than not friendship is at the top of that list. I made friends with many investigators and members. I also learned that the best friendship you can strengthen as a missionary is the friendship you have with your Father in Heaven. I found myself on my knees more than I ever had before, not for myself, but for my friends who knew not God.

My soul started to ache for them.

I learned that these things, coupled with hard work are all that it takes to be a missionary.

But I was approaching nine months my heart started to yearn for these people. Nobody had yet progressed all the way towards baptism, and my soul ached for them because I knew the happiness they had potential to become, but far too many of them, members included, we're living below their privilege.

I started to wonder why I was on a mission. I loved being a missionary. I loved the members and I loved talking about Christ, but if nobody was progressing why were we wasting our time.

Some time passed and I eventually found myself standing in a baptismal font. I grinned from ear to ear as I stood on the cold tile in the baptismal font. I plugged the drain and stood their as the water started to rise to my ankles.

I watched as Mayra was immersed in the water and I was filled with so much joy. As she climbed out of the baptismal font and we handed her her towel she said with a smile on her face "I'm soakin' wet" with her cute little Puerto Rican accent. My companion and I did a little dance because we couldn't contain ourselves.

We left her to change and some of our friends from the ward came and gave us hugs. I don't know how to describe the feelings I felt that day.

It took nine months, but it was worth it. Nine months of slammed doors. Nine months of un-returned phone calls. Nine months of tear stained cheeks during my nightly prayers. Nine months of investigators not keeping commitments. Nine months of testifying of the only thing that had ever made me truly happy.

And someone had finally accepted it.

It was oh so worth it.

Elaine Cannon, a former Young Women general president, said, “There are two important days in a woman’s life: The day she is born and the day she finds out why.”

That day as I stood on the cold tile in the baptismal font, and plugging the drain so the font could be filled...

I found out why.

Monday, June 6, 2016

I Think That's What Faith Is

Growing up I always loved attending church meetings. They were always uplifting and that was where I could find many of my friends. But it wasn't until I was a missionary that I came to understand just how important these meetings are. It wasn't until one particular zone conference that I realized we can receive revelation and answers to our prayers through the things others share at these meetings.

It was at about my eight month mark as a missionary. I was really enjoying being a missionary and loved sharing my testimony with people. I was training my first missionary, Sister Hart, and she and I got along like peanut butter and chocolate and I was happy. But there was still one thing that felt to me like a fly buzzing around my ear.

I still hadn't baptized anyone.

It bothered me a lot because my whole life I had listened to stories about how if missionaries were obedient they would baptize thousands. Or at least, that's how I interpreted them. Every week we would receive an email of who was having baptisms in the mission and read it as "the list of successful missionaries this week." I longed to have my name on that list.

I had spent many many hours on my knees asking my Heavenly Father why we couldn't find anyone that was prepared. What was I doing wrong? Every night before I prayed I wrote my thoughts in a little prayer journal. The night before zone conference I filled the last page in the journal and felt like that was a final cry to Heavenly Father for help.

Zone conference came around and after car checks we began the meeting with an opening hymn and prayer just as every meeting in the church always begins. Then our Mission President gave some opening remarks and following him one of the Assistants to the President stood up to give the first training of the day.

He described that he came to a point on his mission where he felt like he was trying hard to do what was right, but that things weren't happening. He said, "my mission started to change me, but I didn't see the miracles from my work.

"That's where I am right now" I thought as I began to take notes quickly.

The title for his training was "more hope, more faith" and I listened as he described how he gained more faith as a missionary. And this gave me hope that maybe I could too.

Throughout the next few days I studied faith pretty intently in my studies. What is it? How does it work? How do I get it? Then my companion and I started to put it into practice.

I think the only noticeable change anyone saw in us was that we had a better attitude. Instead of trying to mentally prepare ourselves for things not to work out or for people to reject us we made an effort to speak as if everyone would let us in and keep their commitments.

Overtime we started to believe in miracles and overtime miracles started to happen. And when miracles happened we got excited.

We observed one of our zone leaders and the enthusiasm he has for the work. Every time something good happens (and basically every time we see him) he always works into the conversation an enthusiastic "WHAHOOOOOOOO!" We tried to emulate his example of enthusiasm when good things happened. We also made a greater effort to offer prayers of gratitude to the Lord when we did see miracles.

We worked at this for a little bit. This Sunday we will be baptizing our first convert.

I can't say it was anything I did to make this happen because it was surely all the Lord's doing, but I can say that this experience taught me that miracles do happen. They happen everyday, and if we put forth our effort to believe in them, recognize them, and thank God for them they are more likely to happen.

I think this is what faith is.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Little Angel Jordan

I flipped through my scriptures after church as I did my personal study. My companion was sitting next to me on the couch reading in Ether. As I flipped I noticed a picture I had cut out of an Ensign and stuck in my scriptures earlier in my mission.

I studied the picture a little bit. It was a picture of Christ as he performed the atonement. There was another figure in the picture. An angel, sent to comfort Him in a time of dire need.

I read the verse underlined in red on the page. 

"And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him."
-Luke 22:43

As I thought about it I realized this is the only time we ever hear about this angel. We don't know his or her name, or their story. Only that they were called to comfort Christ.

But as I sat there I started to ponder what this Angels story may be. 

For the sake of this story I decided to refer to this angel as a girl, being a sister missionary myself, but I don't know for sure. I also decided to give her a name. I decided to call her Jordan. As I sat staring at this picture a story started to unfold in my mind and I quickly wrote it down. This story is fiction and I don't claim any of it to be true, but it taught me something. I decided to dedicate it to my trainee, Sister Hart. I hope you can learn something from it too.

Jordan was a new angel. She was small and had only made the decision to be an angel a short time before. Her wings felt uncomfortable and heavy to carry as she was not quite used to them yet, and her robes fit a little too loose because they were a size too big. 

Jordan awoke early in the morning and stretched out her wings. 6:30 am and class started in 20 minutes. She yawned as she grabbed her bag and ran out the door.

She got to the long hallway where the classrooms were. Because Jordan was a new angel she had extra training classes to attend everyday. She was the last angel to sit down so she took the last empty seat in the back of the room. She pulled out her notes and started to write down the steps that were written on the board for creating miracles for the people on earth. 

  1. Find someone with a lot of faith
  2. Give them a prompting
  3. Reward them for acting

The teacher asked for a demonstration. The whole class looked down on earth and one of the more experienced Angels quickly made a miracle happen in South America. After a few minutes several other people in the room had successfully accomplished this task. "I'll never be able to do this" she thought to herself. She struggled to complete the task and the teacher said that anyone who was not able to do it would have to take the assignment home as homework. The bell rang and she left the room to head to her next class.

Her next class was choir. She sat down in the second row and started to talk to the girl next to her. "I've never really been a singer." She whispered. Is it hard? "No" the girl responded, "but I've been training to be in this choir my whole earthly life." She continued, "I started singing when I was young. By high school I was the in my schools choir, and I eventually got my masters in vocal performances and sang with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir." 

The teacher came to the front of the room and explained that all are welcome to join this choir and that nobody will be turned away so they should feel free to come and join bring their friends. And she asked the choir to begin with vocal exercises. Although the teacher had said the class was open to everyone and that you didn't need any past experience, Jordan still felt out of place as she realized that many of the people in the room had been professional singers while on earth and she didn't really know how to read music. As soon as the bell rang she slipped quickly out of the room.

Her next class was called "the ministering of Angels."  Jordan was excited about this class. It was all about comforting others. But as soon as the teacher started talking she put her face into her hands on her desk. Tears started to fill her eyes as she thought about how hard angel work is. "I'll never be able to be an angel" she thought as she remembered watching her angel friends do angel friends fluidly as if second nature to them. 

As she sat their with tears coming to her eyes a voice came over the intercom system. She listened as she heard the voice ask if Jordan could come down to the office to talk with Father.

Panic started to flash through her mind. She must be in trouble. It must mean she's not doing good enough in her angel training. 

She got to Father's office and knocked on the big door feeling smaller than ever before. 

"Come in" she heard from the other side and she opened the door and entered the room and sat in the big white chair.

Father had a smile on His face and welcomed her into the room. He asked her how her training was going and how she felt about being an angel. She said it was going okay but she didn't feel like she was the best angel. 

What He said next surprised her. Father said "Jordan, I want to call you as a comforting angel. And I don't want to call you as just any comforting angel. I want you to be the angel to comfort Christ, my Son when He performs the atonement."

"Me?" she thought. "But I'm not the best angel. I'm new and I don't know as much as the older angels. There must be someone better than me for this calling."

"Jordan" He said. "I want you for this job. You have been given special talents and gifts specifically for this task. I know you can do it."

She sat up a little taller in her chair. Maybe she would be able to do it. A few weeks later she fulfilled the call that she was given to comfort the Savior of the world.

This little angel taught me that we have all been given callings greater than ourselves. Sometimes we might feel inadequate. Sometimes we might look at the tasks that we've been given as something too big for us to accomplish. But our Father in Heaven knows us. He knows what we are capable of. As we do our best to fulfill the call that we've been given to serve others we will find that we are lifted up in the process. 

So to my trainee, Sister Hart, I just want to say that on your mission you may be called to do things that seem too hard. You may feel inadequate at times, but through your faith and diligence I know you will help make great miracles happen.

I love you lots and I am so grateful for this opportunity I've been given to be your trainer.

Love, Sister Reid
Your trainer


Monday, May 23, 2016

Disney College Program: Courtney

Like I've said in past posts, I am currently serving in the Buena Vista YSA Ward which is the "Disney World Ward." I asked some of my friends on the college program to share with me some of their missionary and spiritual experiences they had while here on the program. 

This one is a letter I got from a girl named Courtney. Courtney was one of my FAVORITE people to ask to help with missionary work because she is so enthusiastic about it. She loved coming to lessons with us and she even came with us when we set up our booth on the side of the sidewalk by one of the bus stops and pass out pass along cards and pamphlets to people and invite them to church. 


As a Disney College Program student I was fortunate enough to know some others who had done the program before. Unfortunately though most of them stopped attending church after the first few months of being there. I knew going into this program it would be tough and I would have lots of struggles and up and downs throughout the program. I also knew that I had to go to church to get through it. Growing up in the “Utah Bubble” it was never hard for me to go to church and it was never hard to live my standards because I knew most of the people around me understood or had a small understanding of what I believed. Although coming here put me into deep culture shock! For some people this change brought not attending church and slipping into some bad habits but for me it blossomed my testimony in something far greater than I could imagine while being on this program. 
The first time I met with the Sister Missionaries I cried out all my fears, worries and hardships on them. They simply listened to me and told me that Heavenly Father trusted me and loved me more than I could imagine! That is EXACTLY what I needed to hear and it inspired me to become a better member missionary. Ever since that encounter I knew I had to step out of the “Utah Bubble” comfort zone and share the light of Christ with others. It was one of the scariest times but it was so rewarding to be with the Sisters and Elders out and sharing the gospel! I will never forgot those moments where the Sisters and I would stand outside College Program housing talking to complete strangers trying to share the gospel and a smile with them. Most times it was pretty awkward and uncomfortable but my testimony grew so much those days! 
I am so grateful for all the opportunities I had to share the light of Christ with with others and let them know how much God loves them throughout my program. I learned so much about myself and about the Gospel and I will take that with me throughout my whole life! 


Courtney Magill - The Best CP! Hahaha!! :)

Monday, May 16, 2016

Disney College Program: Devon

So as you all probably know, I'm currently serving as a missionary in the Buena Vista YSA Ward, which is the Young Single Adult ward right by Disney World. A large portion of the members "work for the Mouse" as they like to say. Disney has a college program (CP) where college students come from all over the world to spend a semester working for Disney. 

I've had the privilege to meet and become friends with many people here on this program. I asked some of my friends as they finished their program here to write for me a spiritual experience or missionary experience that they had while they were here. I got some great stories and thought y'all would enjoy them.

This first one comes from Devon. 

For me the Disney College program was quite the surprise missionary experience. The story begins well before I was in Florida as I was filling out my application. The process was smooth until I got to the part where I had to agree that I was available to work weekends including Sundays. Immediately I had thought “well that's it, I'm not doing it”. I decided that it was much more important to keep the Sabbath day holy. 
That night as I prayed, I informed God of my decision and the result surprised me. Clear as day the response came that I was being selfish. This really confused me so I asked about it and what I got back was that I was so busy thinking about myself and the negative impact the program could have on me that I didn't bother thinking of the positive impact I could have on the people there. I was informed that there were people I was needed to serve there. Finding Gods will to we quite clear I immediately completed the application and went to bed.
Over the next weeks and a couple interviews later, I was not surprised to learn that I had made it into the program.
A couple months later I was in Florida and what I found was that found was that Disney was just bursting with missionary opportunities. Although I was only there a couple months I was able to share the gospel with people I met, I was able to work with the missionaries and I was even able to bring someone to church. I had not felt the missionary spirit so strong since my mission! 
And remember that whole Sunday thing? My manager was able to give me Sundays off! It is amazing how the Lord works.
Overall the Disney College program was far from being an time of spiritual atrophy, Instead it ended up being a time of great spiritual growth! I know God knows us and puts us in situations where we can grow though service to others!

The Ugly Floral Couch

The other day I knelt down to pray by our old ugly floral couch that has probably been sat on by missionaries since the early nineties. 

I thought for a minute, just how many missionaries have probably sat on this coach in the last maybe twenty years.

A day of missionary work consists of being on your feet, striving to talking to every single stranger you come in contact with. For me it means getting out of my comfort zone. It means sharing the thing I hold the most dear to my heart with complete strangers who may or may not slam their door in your face for offering them the one thing that makes you the happiest. 

Ultimately it means a lot of long days, and a lot of hard work. It sometimes means blisters on your feet and tears on your face. And after a long day of work often the first place a missionary goes is the couch. 

So I thought about those missionaries. How many long days of walking and knocking and teaching came to a close on this ugly floral coach?

And I wondered if others, like me, ever knelt next to this ugly couch to offer up their nightly prayers. How many conversations were had with God about the people they had met, or the trials those missionaries were going through.

I thought again for a second about why we do all of this. Why do we spend our waking hours running from house to house handing out Book of Mormons and small pictures of Jesus? Why do we keep doing it? 

Because we know it's true.

As I thought about it for a minute the ugly floral couch taught me that all of those long days of hard work are worth it, because everyday I get to testify to the world of the one thing that makes me happy.

So I knelt down next to that ugly floral couch and offered a prayer of gratitude that I was here, in central Florida, serving a mission. I thanked my Heavenly Father for the blessings He's given me and for the knowledge I have that my family can be together forever.

I think I remember shedding a tear or two onto that ugly floral couch that night. And I added to the testimony this couch bears that this is a sacred work that we have been called to do.

I'll never look at that ugly floral couch the same way again, because to me it means we have the truth, and we are going to tell the world about it. One day long at a time.

Sister Whitney Reid
Florida Orlando Mission