Thursday, April 26, 2012

Flashback #7: Patience Pie

From June 30, 2011

When I decided to come on my mission, one thing I heard over and over again is that missions are hard. To be honest, I feel so incredibly lucky; on my first night in the mission field I went to a baseball game, I was sent to one of the best areas in the entire mission, and I've had some incredible experiences with the people we teach. I really can go on and on counting my blessings. Today, though, was a little bit harder.

... And I thought that I had a hard mission day then! Wow! Ten months and many many hard days later, I can still say that patience is something that I am continually learning!

Dear friends, I am approaching my year mark. Quickly. Which means that I only have six months after that until I am flying home to Idaho. I can hardly believe that! I'm asking myself what I've accomplished and learned on my mission and what else it is that I want to master before I go home. I do not know what the Lord has in plan to teach me, but I will do the best with what I am given!

So what have I learned about patience? It isn't just waiting. It includes learning to love while you wait. We can use it in everything. Patience for me means that I need to SLOW DOWN and LISTEN to what others are saying, and most importantly, what the Spirit is saying. It includes having a positive attitude! Thinking the best of people! Realizing that we are all doing the best we can muster, even if some peoples' faults are more obvious to us than our faults are to ourselves. It includes having the spirit of adventure! If something doesn't go quite right, learn to enjoy it, and create a story for the future! It means organizing my thoughts and living in the present, and not worry about something if I am not in the right place to take care of it. Most importantly, it means having full faith and trust in the Lord that everything will be okay. In fact, life will be more than okay, it will be wonderful! It includes remembering that Heavenly Father does not make mistakes.

So, dear friends, have some patience pie today. It's delicious and refreshing. Made with the love of God and the healing and enabling power of the atonement of Jesus Christ. Sprinkled with peace of mind on top and served with prayer. 

Have a patience-packed day!
Sister Franson

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Flashback #6: Fishers of Men

Another one from last June:

Today is preparation day. For a missionary, that means that you get to spend about half of the day doing things besides missionary work. For our week of sacrifice, we gave up three hours of our time to devote back to the Lord. The rest of the time we had was also special. This week we are receiving a new mission president. For just the short time that I have been here, I have very much come to love President and Sister Hutchings. Sister Hutchings is quite possibly the kindest, most gentle woman I have ever personally met next to my mother. She is so quick to make sure that all of us missionaries are well taken care of physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

I remember this day in my mission! On this P-day, because President and Sister Hutchings were leaving, the missionaries in the area at the time met at someone's home who offered to help us and let us use his recording studio. We ended up making a CD of missionary songs and each of us bearing our testimony of Jesus Christ. We really had some fun! Sister Valentine and I were the only sisters to sing. We had some ukelele and great talent on the piano- all from full-time missionaries. With the help of this member, the CD was made and we gave it to President and Sister Hutchings on the morning that they left. 

I don't remember very much about President and Sister Hutchings, mostly because I actually met with them maybe a total of four times, all at the very beginning of my mission. However, something unique about Sister Franson is that I am, to the best of my knowledge, the last new missionary that President Hutchings gave and "entering the mission field" interview to. It was in the back of a car because we had a very busy schedule, and it wasn't for very long. He asked me some questions, some I remember, and some not so much, but one has stood out to me very strongly. He asked me what my goals were for my mission. Honestly, from the MTC I realized that I had no idea what a mission really is and I had no idea what to expect from it. However, I responded that I wanted my knowledge of the gospel to increase and I wanted to read the entire standard works (Old and New Testaments of the Bible, The Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price) and the missionary approved gospel library (True to the Faith, Our Heritage, Our Search for Happiness*, and Jesus the Christ). Quite an endeavor to read all of that in 18 months time, right? You would agree if you saw to what amount this all added up to, not to mention the research and study it would take to understand what any of it meant. I remember President Hutchings, in all seriousness, this tall, wizened man that I could tell in the short few hours after I met him expected respect, integrity, and exactness in all things, told me that my studies would go further and I would learn more about any given gospel principle if I studied not for myself, but for those whom I would be called to serve and teach. I was a greeny missionary shaking in my shoes at that point. I think I probably even said, "Yes, Sir." 

And I have found that to be true. 

"And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him." Matthew 4:18-20

One of the keys to this story is straightway- not later, not after they had finished fishing for the day, not after they had gotten a good amount of rest, but immediately with no hesitation. As a missionary, the Lord has invited me to be a fisher of men. When we keep covenants with the Lord, we are showing Him that we want to be as these fishermen, to "leave behind our selfish interests and seek to do the will of the Lord" (President Gordon B. Hinckley).

So, a small challenge to you, dear friends. Most of you are not called to be full-time missionaries, but for today, study something spiritual to specifically share with a friend! You may be surprised what you learn for yourself.

Have an action-packed day!
Sister Franson

*Could not find a link to this one. By M. Russell Ballard!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Flashback #5: Courage Take, For Goodness Sake!

From Last Summer, June 28, 2011 

I love being a missionary. I was told that missions are hard. I feel so blessed that I have had the time of my life looking for and teaching people. There have been many moments when I feel like I don't know what to do or where to turn or that I completely said the wrong thing. My wonderful compadre Sister Valentine through her example has taught me to be courageous and confident. She is so great when it comes to talking with people and striking up a conversation. I have learned so much from her.

I felt like I really could have used a dose of this courage last Sunday. I am one of the missionaries that sings in the Tennessee Nashville Mission Choir, and we did our second devotional in Bowling Green two days ago. Our mission president encouraged each of us to go and talk to people and see how many people would like a free copy of the Book of Mormon or a free DVD about Jesus Christ either for themselves or a friend. My companion Sister J. has stayed with other missionaries in the area to do some missionary work here, while I left with another group. When the devotional was over, I was scared. In the area where I serve, we aren't allowed by the law to talk to people standing outside or to knock on a stranger's door. All of the people we go to see we most often know the names of, or at least know the name of someone living in the home. The first time I introduced myself to someone it was bad. Awkward. I had good intentions! But I lacked the faith and courage in what I have been called to do, and I stumbled on my words. Then I started talking to someone else! Chris has such a strong faith in God, and I along with a few other missionaries were able to talk with him, and the missionaries in his area are going to visit him this week! How great is that? 

 The reason why I desire the courage and faith to share and teach the gospel is because I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints can strengthen the faith of all of God's children, whether they belong to another denomination or whether they even belong to the LDS church itself. And dear friends, don't we need more good in the world? This musical devotional is already affecting many lives. Just imagine what you could do if you shared a piece of your testimony with someone you know. 

Have an action-packed day!
Sister Franson

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Flashback#4: Where I Stand

From August 2011 

"My dear friends, I have been thinking a lot about shoes lately, and when I think about shoes, I think about this:

When I was home, I had a favorite pair of shoes that I wore every day. I wore them all the time at school, to work, out on dates, and all I had to do was brush them off from every once in a while. It was like wearing an extra pair of feet. They were perfect! And no matter how old they were, I always got comments on how cute they were!

There were times when I looked at my shoes and thought, "Sister Franson, you probably should throw them away. They have holes in them. There's hardly anything holding them together." But I simply couldn't do it.

I did however, come to my senses and realize that I should get a new pair of shoes. But I didn't want any pair of shoes, I wanted my shoes. Ask my mother, I waited. And I searched. And I waited until I could find my shoes.

Then one day, yes, the one day came when I FOUND THEM!!!

I was super excited! I kept them in their box, nice and neat, special and ready to wear just for my mission.

I think about these shoes from time to time..."

"Wherefore, stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come; for behold, it cometh quickly, saith the Lord. Amen."

So here I am thinking about shoes. From that point until today, do I stand any differently? Do I stand any taller? Have I taken the steps forward that I need to in order to return to Heavenly Father? Can I say that in some ways I walked where the Savior did? 

As for finding my new pair of shoes... I do feel like I have reached a point in my life that I need new shoes. Literally. The new shoes shown here are just as worn out as their predecessors. But I still love them and wear them. Spiritually: when I work and walk until I can no more, that's when the Savior and His atonement steps in and gives me a new pair of shoes. Another clean slate and new life so to speak to love and take care of, but I make sure that I use them. And I know that He loves to do that. He paid the price for us to have as many new shoes as we want!

So, I just have to make sure that I am standing in the right place. 

Have an action-packed day!
Sister Franson

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Flashback #3: Fetchin' Fro

From July 8, 2011

Fetchin' Fro

Yep. This is my younger brother, K.C. It is his birthday today and he turns the grand age of SEVENTEEEEENNN!!! >sniff sniff< So proud of you!

So yes. This was a draft of a post that I was going to do about my brother KC. He has fuzzy hair. He's great! And he is going to be 18 this summer. Holy cow... I remember him chasing me and my sisters around and playing outside in the snowdrifts when we were younger. I've got to be honest, sometimes I do miss my family. When I go home from my mission it won't be long before KC could leave on his. Time goes by fast! I can honestly say that. So, today I am going to do something a little different. KC, this post is just for you!

I was realizing earlier this week that I am going to be missing your high school graduation soon. Mom has sent me pictures about all of the exciting things you are doing and tells me what you are involved in at school. I love that you always work hard and do well at whatever it is you decide to do! And I love that you are involved with lots of different things. I don't think you'll ever regret that.

I hope that you decide to go on a mission. It's a big choice, and I will be right there to tell you how hard it is. But I will also be right there to tell you how much fun it can be too. I have had the chance to meet people I never would have before. Sometimes when I am in their home I get the chance to step into their shoes, and then in some other ways step into the Lord's and feel how much love he has for them. It's incredible, and I don't know if I have ever understood or felt that until I came on my own mission.

Something else that is so much fun about being a missionary is that you can actually see how much people look up to you. You already have so many friends and family and people around you that do, and on a mission you will see how all of the little kids will run up to you in church to give you their best missionary handshake and how when you visit their home, they will color their own name tags like the one you have so they can be like "Elder Franson" (sometimes I even feel famous!). When you learn to work with your companions, you will make some of your best friends as you are singing to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir at the top of your lungs. Just picture two 20 year old guys doing that, and I know you have a great opera voice! Haha. You will also learn how to rely on Heavenly Father and you will learn how to listen to what He specifically has to say to you. You will also see many miracles on your mission- people that are healed after receiving a blessing, people who have a desire to completely change their lives after years of neglecting God, and you will be able to see miracles in yourself. I have never felt as lucky at any other time in my life than I have on my mission. Sometimes it's hard for me to think about going home because I want to keep changing, keep serving, and know that I am staying on the Lord's team when I go and find people. There are few things better than knowing and feeling when a family is receiving you and what the Lord has you teach them.

So little brother, I hope you know that I love you! And so does Heavenly Father. I hope you take this chance to go!

Have an action-packed golfing, working, and going to school kinda day!
-Sister Franson

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Flashback #2

I've decided to call this my Flashback series! Post # 2 unpublished from July 5, 2011.


Today is one of those days that as a missionary, I feel like Alma when he said, "O that I were an angel,... I would declare unto every soul that they should...come unto our God that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth" (Alma 29:1-2). Learning from Alma, I see that he is right and that I should be content with the blessings and abilities and talents that the Lord has given to me. I have come to care so much about the people that Sister Valentine and I are teaching, and I wish so much that they could more fully understand what the gospel is. It's not just a church, it is THE true church of Jesus Christ.

So I guess here I was just drafting. I did some posts about sheep after that! I have no idea whatsoever I about how I was going to tie this scripture in with sheep... but from this scripture, I want to share what else Alma said after his great wish to share the gospel of Jesus Christ and call many to repentance.

"But behold, I am a man, and do sin in my wish; for I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me.
I ought not to harrow up in my desires, the firm decree of a just God, for I know that he granteth unto men according to their desire, whether it be unto death or unto life; yea, I know that he allotteth unto men, yea, decreeth unto them decrees which are unalterable, according to their wills, whether they be unto salvation or unto destruction." Alma 29:3-4

And I know this principle to be true. I am a lucky girl. The Lord loves me and I've been lucky to see him answer my prayers. Always it is on the Lord's time, and in a way that isn't always expected. I don't know if Alma could really know how many millions of people he was calling to repentance, how many lives he would change simply from his life and testimony recorded in the Book of Mormon. All of this over two thousand years after his life. So, dear friends, if you're desiring something of the Lord, if you're waiting for an answer to a prayer, listen for the Lord's love, and you will see your prayer answered. God keeps His promises.

Have an action-packed day!
Sister Franson