Saturday, October 29, 2011

A small piece of sunshine

I found this to be inspiring today. Hope you do too! :)

Have an action-packed day!
-Sister Franson

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Two by Two

This is my companion, Sister Anderson.

Isn't she pretty???
We are a very crazy bunch together...
Taking an iconic picture at the Brown residence.
One more with Sister Brown in the picture. She's pretty much amazing and  helps us out so much!

And I was just taking this one to make sure that my camera worked. Good enough, right?

 Together, we have discovered many new, crazy, and still wonderful things!

This... we were confused about. Someone said they are called  may apples...  they look like apples, but aren't. You can't eat them. Before we knew what they were called, we referred to them as Non-Apples. Sometimes we still do.

Some people that we teach grew gourds!!! On bailing twine! It's pretty neat. Took this picture standing on their porch.

You know what is so special about me and Sister Anderson??? We knew each other in the MTC! We had different companions, but in the mission field, we got paired up.
L to R: Sister Franson, Sister McCall, Sister Bishop, Sister Anderson

 And this... was in September. We celebrated her birthday at a member's home. They made her a cake and everything! It was so much fun.

We've seen some rainy days....

It rains really hard in Tennessee. REALLY hard. That stream wasn't there two minutes before...

And some happier ones!

The member who drove me and my last companion to transfers  bought us cupcakes! And had us pick one for our new companions too!!!

And we trudge through it all, TOGETHER. 

"And ye shall go forth in the power of my Spirit, preaching my gospel, two by two, in my name, lifting up your voices as with the sound of a trump, declaring my word like unto angels of God" (D&C 42:6).

Have an action-packed day!
-Sister Franson

I Am a Child of God

 This video makes me happy!! I love it so much!

Have an action-packed day!
-Sister Franson

Thursday, October 20, 2011

October 20, 2011

Today is one of those days when certain sister missionaries have a scheduled appointment... and no one is home. They go to their back-up appointment, and no one is home. Then they make some phone calls to confirm more appointments in the week. Sometimes the people answer!! Yay! Then they go to your next appointment for the day, and no one is home. They go to your back up for that, and find it's a really creepy house, but knock anyway. No one is home. Then they go and talk to an apartment manager lady about a vacancy because they're looking for a safer place for them and future missionaries to live. Then they make a phone call. And then... they pull into the grocery store parking lot, heave a big sigh, both look at each other and say something like, "Now what?". They gather their thoughts and ideas and try to be productive. Onward and upward they go! Trying to find energy and enthusiasm. Creepy machine phone message received and quickly ignored. Then it is time for internet missionary-izing!

One of these certain sister missionaries is actually in the process of making her own profile. I really do want to make a difference on here! I get so excited when I check my blog stats and see that someone read my page! Or at least saw it for five seconds at minimum. A sister missionary can dream....

Part of my reason for coming on a mission is because I want to make a difference in someone's life. I want to help them remember who they are: a child of Heavenly Father. Days like this make me wonder if I am doing the best I can on the Lord's time. My companion and I did well teaching together yesterday, and we felt that the things we had planned for today were right. Maybe, just maybe, the Lord is preparing each of us for something else. Maybe He is preparing us to do something we have no foresight to yet.

Today is one of those days when a certain sister missionary tries to do more than just say it's going to be a good day and show her teeth.  Today is one of those days when she really wants to see what the Lord has in store for her, then go and share the good news with the world.

Have an action-packed day!
-Sister Franson

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Rocks in the Well

I found this picture when I was on The picture captured my attention, and then I read the story to go with it:

"The story behind this photo is quite simple. This little guy (name unknown) was having quite a time throwing rocks and fall leaves into this wishing well. He'd pick up a handful, deposit them into the well, and immediately start hunting for more. He seemed to understand the concept of dropping things in. Maybe in lieu of money he used what was at his disposal. Maybe he was wishing for a new toy, and maybe he realized that it was worth a try anyway, even if his contributions were from off the ground. Children are amazing."

I have to agree with the artist- children are amazing. Here is what I learned from "this little guy."

He didn't seem to know the true value or purpose for the wishing well, but he had watched others throw things in and make wishes, so he used his knowledge and observations to make good use of the well. And he was persistent in his efforts! He had hope that his wish would come true and his work wouldn't be for nothing.

Constantly through our actions and prayers and service, we are depositing all we know into Heavenly Father's wishing well. But will we truly know the value? The only thing we can do is put in everything we have. For some miraculous reason, the blessings we receive are of far more worth than  the rocks and fall leaves we put in. 

Elder D. Todd Christofferson, an apostle of the Lord, visited the Nashville area this last weekend. As missionaries, we had the very unique opportunity to ask questions and hear him give us council. The meeting was strictly missionaries only. One of the last things he said to us was something that had never before crossed my mind. He us that we must not, he said "Don't you dare", return from our missions thinking that the Lord owes us something for our service. We came here indebted to Him, and we return home even deeper in debt. 

I pray that on our journey to our Heavenly home, that we may ever be grateful for all the blessings we receive from the hand of Heavenly Father.

Have an action-packed day!
-Sister Franson

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

You Know Enough

It's been a few days since I have been on my blog! I know I'm not always as consistent as I could be, but I do love to see if my posts have helped to brighten someone's day.

Lately this talk by Elder Neil. L. Andersen has been on my mind. It's entitled You Know Enough. How often do we believe that of ourselves? How often do we feel inadequate and unsure? Sister Anderson and I see it every day. We invite people to make commitments to read the Book of Mormon, to come to church, to be baptized, and almost every. single. time. we get the response, "I'm just not sure yet. I want to know more, but I can't say 'yes' right now. But we do love having you here!" To which on the inside, I think UUUGGG!!! You have felt the Spirit, you KNOW that what we teach you is true, so why not commit? Patience is a virtue I have yet to master...

I have come to the conclusion that the gospel... is like a car. What do I know about cars? Not much. I know basic things like wearing a seatbelt will keep you safe, if you obey traffic laws you are far less likely to be in an accident, turning the key makes the car start, the gas makes it go, the brake makes it slow and stop, and other simple things like that. But ask me about the engine, cylinders, wiring, radiator... I recognize the name but can tell you nothing about it. These parts are essential to making the car actually work, but is it essential for me to know everything about the car? Nope. But I know enough to let it help me in my life.

So... the gospel. I know simple things like I am a child of God. Heavenly Father answers prayers. The Savior lived, taught, and died for us. The Bible and the Book of Mormon are the words of God. We receive blessings when we obey the commandments. Do I know everything about God? Nope. But I know enough to let it bless my life.

This, dear friends, is where faith comes in. Sometimes you just have to trust what you feel to be good even if you don't know it all. The only way we learn is by applying and trying principles in our lives. The Lord promises that "by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of ALL things" (Moroni 10:5).

Sometimes, ya just gotta do it.

"Challenges, difficulties, questions, doubts—these are part of our mortality. But we are not alone. As disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, we have enormous spiritual reservoirs of light and truth available to us. Fear and faith cannot coexist in our hearts at the same time. In our days of difficulty, we choose the road of faith. Jesus said, “Be not afraid, only believe.”

Have an action-packed day!
-Sister Franson

Friday, October 14, 2011

Ponder & Pray

Even the devils have knowledge of Christ, so, how does our knowledge of Christ make a difference in our lives?

Interesting thought, no? I thought so. I first heard this last month during Sunday's Relief Society (Women's meeting) lesson. It also made me think of the statement, "Don't just believe in Christ, but believe Christ." So, I am asking you this question: What are you doing today to show that you believe Christ?

It is not enough to simply acknowledge that He is real. 

Have an action-packed day!
-Sister Franson

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Trials of the Week

No one is home. People don't show up to scheduled appointments. No one is available to give you a ride when you seem to need it most. Your socks don't stay on your feet. It gets dark earlier and earlier every day. People tell you they are not interested. No one will come to church. People won't pray to know if what you taught them is true. Day after day you ask to find someone to teach. For the entire week you teach one lesson to a nonmember. You ride your bike up and down hill after hill, fixing chains and waiting for cars at lights only to have to turn around and go right back. You get dropped (people permanently cancel visits) by two people. You wonder why certain younger brothers won't write you a letter!!! As you're trying to eliminate a bad habit, you feel like you're failing every day. 

The one person you teach that week understands your purpose as a missionary more clearly. They want to learn more. Members of the congregation sign up to feed you dinner!!! One sweet sister offers to give you a ride to your next appointment without a moment's hesitation or notice. Your companion makes waffles enough for two that day. You volunteer at a Christian thrift store and people tell you how much your work is appreciated. You realize that you are blessed to be healthy and able to walk and bike wherever you need to go. YOU GET MAIL!!! A letter from the grandparents, and a package full of many of your favorite things like new outfits, healthy snacks, church magazines, and a letter from home. Miraculously your package makes it to the right apartment number after you forget to give the complete address to your mom... And you find something happy to post on your blog.

These things, my friends, are pieces of my life since Monday. I wouldn't trade it for all the phone calls, television shows, glass bowls, matching silverware, every day folded laundry, sleep-in Saturdays for the world. This is the world I chose. 

I sincerely pray that YOU have an action-packed day!
-Sister Franson

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

More about Sheep!

    Over the weekend Sister Anderson and I received some sad news about a family we have been visiting about once a week. We were told that this family has chosen to take a step back from life- and the gospel. We are not to go and visit them for an undetermined amount of time.

    We see a lot of people. We also receive a lot of rejection. This one, though, is one of the few times I have had so far that my heart really ached. I love this family so much. We have a special gift as missionaries to love people in a way that will be different from any other for the rest of our lives. Although I do not know everything that this family is going through, nor can I comprehend how they must feel, I know, I KNOW that the gospel will bring them more happiness than they can find anywhere else, in spite of what anyone has to say.

Here is where the the sheep come in.

Remember the hymn "Dear to the heart of the Shepherd"? There is a line when the Lord asks us to "seek for [His] lost ones, Off from the shelter astray".

And "Lord, we... answer thee gladly, Yes, blessed Master we will! Make us thy true under-shepherds; Give us a love that is deep. Send us out into the desert, Seeking thy wandering sheep."

    This is my calling right now. I have been set apart to receive the love that is deep for the Lord's children, and to help bring them back to the fold. With this family, I feel like I am standing there, watching them walk the dangerous line between the gospel and the big wild world. I can only hope that someone in their life can be that light and example, another "under-shepherd" to bring them back to what they know to be true. Maybe you are that someone today for a lost sheep. Have you done something to draw another child of Heavenly Father closer to the Master Shepherd?

My dear friends, that is your assignment. 

Have a gathering-packed day!
Sister Franson

The Spider and the Fly

Will you walk into my parlour?” said the spider to the fly.
“’Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy,
The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
And I've a many curious things to shew when you are there.
“Oh no, no,” said the little Fly, “to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair, can ne'er come down again.”

“I'm sure you must be weary, dear, with soaring up so high
Will you rest upon my little bed?” said the Spider to the Fly.
“There are pretty curtains drawn around; the sheets are fine and thin,
And if you like to rest awhile, I'll snugly tuck you in!”
“Oh no, no,” said the little Fly, “For I've often heard it said
They never, never wake again, who sleep upon your bed!”

Said the cunning Spider to the Fly, “Dear friend what can I do,
To prove the warm affection I've always felt for you?
I have within my pantry, good store of all that's nice
I'm sure you're very welcome, will you please to take a slice?”
“Oh no, no, said the little Fly, “Kind Sir, that cannot be,
I've heard what's in your pantry, and I do not wish to see!”

“Sweet creature!” said the Spider, “You're witty and you're wise,
How handsome are your gauzy wings, how brilliant are your eyes!
I've a little looking-glass upon my parlour shelf,
If you'll step in one moment, dear, you shall behold yourself.”
“I thank you, gentle sir,” she said, “for what you're pleased to say,
And bidding you good morning now, I'll call another day.”

The Spider turned him round about, and went into his den,
For well he knew the silly Fly would soon come back again
So he wove a subtle web, in a little corner sly,
And set his table ready, to dine upon the Fly.
Then he came out to his door again, and merrily did sing,
“Come hither, hither, pretty Fly, with the pearl and silver wing,
Your robes are green and purple, there's a crest upon your head
Your eyes are like the diamond bright, but mine are dull as lead!”

Alas, alas! How very soon this silly little Fly,
 Hearing his wily, flattering words came slowly flitting by
With buzzing wings she hung aloft, then near and nearer drew,
Thinking only of her brilliant eyes, and green and purple hue
Thinking only of her crested head, poor foolish thing! At last,
Up jumped the cunning Spider, and fiercely held her fast.
He dragged her up his winding stair, into his dismal den,
Within his little parlour, but she ne'er came out again!

And now dear little children, who may this story read,
To idle, silly flattering words, I pray you ne'er give heed.
Unto an evil counsellor, close heart and ear and eye,
And take a lesson from this tale, of the Spider and the Fly.

Mary Howitt

    There is so much to learn from this story. The Spider, playing the role of the devil, does all he can to lure the Fly (us) into his nasty web.
    When looking closely, there are many gospel truths and parallels to be learned. First, is that the adversary knows how to entice us. He will mix some truths with lies, rationalizing that the usually poor choice which we are about to make is actually harmless, and convinces us that we are the exception to the rule. Dear friends, gray is just diluted black, and no matter how much white you try to mix in, the black, or sin, will still show through. 
    Second is actually the lesson I remember learning the first time. Do not stay around sin when you know where it is and how to avoid it. The Fly did not run straightaway from the trap, in fact, she was almost polite to the sin. In this case, her lack of changing, avoiding, or even repenting if you will, led to her demise.
    Third, and this is what makes my blood chill, is that the devil knows who we are and the value that we have. The Spider complimented the Fly on all the beautiful qualities she had: the green and purple robes like one of royal inheritance would wear with even the crest to further acknowledge her importance. He describes her eyes like diamonds, which to me can mean the beauty that Heavenly Father gives to us in our bodies that we need to respect, and also the inheritance and entitlement to see clearly what is right and wrong. The Spider mentions his dull eyes, and like the adversary will never see the light of Christ again. 
    Brothers and sisters, we see clearly all of the mistakes that the Fly made. When it comes to temptation and sin, I believe Ms. Howitt said it best: 

"[T]ake a lesson from this tale, of the Spider and the Fly."

Have an action-packed day!
-Sister Franson

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Dear to the Heart of the Shepherd, Part 1

When I was growing up, we had some family friends who owned lots and lots of sheep. 

    And almost every year, when those sheep had lambs, my mom and dad would take all of us young ones out to see the lambs. We would let them suck on our fingers an we could pet them and play with them through the fence. If they ever let us take one out of the pen it was very special and we were told we had to be extra careful.

    Since that time in my life, whenever I have heard Christ be called the Master Shepherd or the Good Shepherd, I think of those baby lambs that I saw. They needed care, and they looked for it. So are we as the sheep of the Master. I love the hymn Dear to the Heart of the Shepherd. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir does a beautiful arrangement of this song. "Dear is the love that He gives them," it sings. And it's true. He loves us so much. Our purpose in this life is to know the Savior, and to know when He calls us.

    "Behold, I say unto you, that the good shepherd doth call you; yea, and in his own name he doth call you, which is the name of Christ; and if ye will not hearken unto the voice of the good shepherd, to the name by which ye are called, behold, ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd. 

    "And now, if ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd, 
of what fold are ye?"
Alma 5:38-39

    My dear friends, the Savior is asking us to follow Him. We had many invitations this last weekend at General Conference to do so. Are you heeding to the call? Are you keeping His commandments, every one with all the strength you have? Are you following His voice?

"Behold, he sendeth an invitation unto all men, for the arms of mercy are extended towards them, and he saith: Repent, and I will receive you" (Alma 5:33).

Have an action-packed day!
Sister Franson