Saturday, October 26, 2013

Letter #2 Sister Volmer made STL

Hello Family
     I just have to say, I am not the same girl you dropped off at the airport nine days ago. I'm not. I feel so different. It's the weirdest thing but I feel so different, I act different, and I just feel changed...and I hope I can keep it up :) I'm worried I'm going to go back to the way I was before when I get off my mission, but I doubt it. 
     So, anyways, This week has been insane! When they say the MTC is a roller coaster, they aren't lying! I've never felt such awesome highs or learned from such lows. Last Saturday, I was just feeling like a stinker. I wasn't necessarily depressed or sad, I was just kind of fed up with myself. It's hard to get used to having to make sure your companion is with you all the time, and I just kept thinking "I'm going to be doing this for eighteen months???....are you crazy??" I was just being annoying inside my own head and I decided I needed to focus more, but couldn't. Sister Child (one of us four sisters in my district) was having the same problem, except she was more homesick and couldn't focus. So we asked the elders in our district to give us blessings. Elder Banks, (Our Scottish district leader) gave Sister Child a blessing that was beautiful, and then I asked Elder Straub to give me mine. It was insanely amazing. I love dad's blessings, but it was a totally different experience for me to have a brand new elder, who knew so little about me, give me a blessing that was absolutely everything I needed to hear. My respect for the priesthood has grown so much here at the MTC. After Saturday night, we all became super close as a district. 
    Everyone says that once you get to Sunday, you're fine. They say it's a day of rest. They... LIED!!!! It was the busiest Sunday of my life! But that was mainly because Sis. Horne and I got called as the new Sister Training Leaders of our zone. (The STL's are the sister version of Zone Leaders out here in the field) Yep, only five days in and I was already an STL....can you say stressful?? But I love it :) It's helped me to get to know all the Sisters in our zone soooo well and I love all of them so much! Sunday night was a devotional, and then we watched the most amazing talk by David A Bednar called The Character of Christ. It was phenomenal, and I'm pretty sure it's not open to the public, but it seriously changed the way I look at Christ and how I need to follow him. Let's just say that selflessness is key. It makes it so much easier to choose to serve others now, and it has been such a blessing. I got to sit next Tanner throughout the whole talk. I see him pretty much every day and we always talk. He's doing really well and picking up Russian, but he says it's really hard to teach his Progressive Investigator (PI) when they have no idea what they are saying.
We have been talking with our PI a lot and struggling to get him to progress. We finally made some headway this week when I told him more about myself and made the lesson more personal. He really felt the spirit and he finally prayed to see if God is there for him and he got an answer! So we are moving forward slowly. We teach him for the last time tomorrow.
     The Most amazing thing happened with our TRC this week!!!! (TRC's are investigators that are either actors, or actual investigators and we have to teach them twice) So Sis. Horne and I have been struggling a little bit with balance when it comes to teaching together. Sis Horne struggles with feeling the spirit during PI's and roll play because it doesn't feel real to her, but she really felt it when we were teaching our TRC Ballinda. So the first time we taught Ballinda I was terrified because our old zone leaders, Elder Forson and Menasie told us she was really hard. We were a little scattered, and I was kind of scared because she had no religious background whatsoever because she is from Singapore. Those are hard because she doesn't know anything about the bible or anything. So the first time we were with her we told her about who God and Jesus were and we explained the restoration. She even accepted a Book of Mormon. She seemed a little distant and unresponsive, but it went ok. We decided we couldn't act afraid with her anymore and that we needed to be bold and get to know her better, so yesterday when we went in to teach her again, we really got to know her. It was amazing. She is really such an incredible lady. She is SO smart and she is a computer programmer, and she donates a lot to charity, and she travels a ton. She had lots of fun stories. But at the end of the lesson, we got the biggest shocker ever!! We asked her if she had read the book of Mormon a little since we had been there. And in her cute Asian accent she said "Oh  yes. I read whole book." Our mouths literally fell open. I very tentatively asked "So how did the book make you feel?" and she simply said. "I know book is true." I wanted to bounce up and down in my chair and start elbowing Sis. Horne, but I stayed composed. So I said, "Ballinda, if you believe this book is true, does that mean that you believe that Joseph was a true prophet and this church is true, and Christ really did atone for us, and that God loves you." she paused and then nodded really slowly. She told us she prayed about the book, and it seemed shine to her and she knew it was true! So Sis Horne and I looked at each other all excited and I said. "So now that you believe that our message is true, will you follow the Savior's example and be baptized?"......... SHE SAID YES!!!!!! Oh my gosh we were on cloud nine! After we finally finished up and said goodbye, and told her that other missionaries would teach her a bit more before she got baptized, I just started dancing in the hall. Sis Horne thought I was nuts, but I was soooooo excited. Elder Banks and Elder Mateer just stared at me like I was crazy because I couldn't stop smiling and just babbling about the whole thing. hahaha. It was so great! Now we just have to get our PI to accept it too!
     I love my district so much. We are exactly like a family, and I can't imagine leaving the MTC and not being with them all. We tease each other like crazy, and laugh, and joke around a lot, and sometimes we bicker like little kids. They are some of my best friends now and I know I'm just going to be heart broken when we have to split off next week. Elder Banks (from Scotland) is such a character. He acts all serious and pessimistic but he's really a huge softy! he likes to sit in the corner of the room and sing Taylor Swift and Madonna songs to himself. He is such a serious person...except when he isn't. It's so funny. He wears plaid ties, and I've seen pics from the other elders of him prancing around in a lion onsie at night with a bag of pretzels and a Scottish flag. Elder Mateer seemed like a really serious guy at first, but he's opening up a lot. At the beginning he hated to sing, and now he is the one who sings the loudest during hymn singing in class and he always wants to sing We thank thee oh god for a prophet. His accent is hilarious and adorable. He keeps picking up American terms and then when he realizes it he hangs his head in shame. It's super funny, but I think he likes becoming Americanized. He definitely likes the fries and burgers in the cafeteria. Elder Griggs is a goofball and he takes creeper videos and pics of us in class. He keeps all of us entertained with his loud laughing. Him and Elder Mateer are the new Zone Leaders. The four of us had to welcome in 8 new elders into our zone this week, and that was a lot of fun to meet them all and give them a tour. Elder Straub is a sweetheart and he looks like the black haired kid from meet the Robinsons. He gave me the best blessing and he's got the sense of humor that is always surprising. Sis Child is like our mom. She wakes us up in the morning on time and helps me with laundry and she's super protective of all of us. She is hilarious and has the funnies and most sarcastic sense of humor...she is seriously so nurturing and mommy-ish. Sis Horne reminds me of Katie Hansen a lot. She likes to be very clean and healthy, and she gave sis Child and me the most disgusted look when she saw me tasting Sis Child's soup to see if I liked it. hahaha so funny. Sis Robertson is a petite ball of funny energy. She is so quirky and fun and she's really into running. She runs around the track at the top of the gym while Sis Child and I play volleyball with the elders. Volleyball with the elders is funny, because they don't expect us to have better technique than they do, but we do. They hardly know what they are doing and Sis Child and I totally poned them. Sis Love, Sis Trip, and Sis Cochrine, the other sisters in our zone hang out with us sisters a lot and we are like a huge girl group of friends and we have so much fun together.
    Today at the temple we ran into our mission president, President McCune, who just happened to be there trying to receive revelation on who to pair us up with for companions and which areas we should be sent...coincidence?..... I think NOT!  It was great to meet him and his wife. They were so sweet!
     Thank you for all the mail and packages! I've loved hearing from all of  you and I wish I could write you all back as much as you write me. I feel kind of bad I can't respond to everyone! I'm just so busy! So please understand that if I could write more I would! Elder Banks, because he's our district leader, always goes and gets the mail for our district, and every time he comes back to class he says "Volmer! You have more fan mail!" and everyone groans as he hands me at least two to three letters a day, I swear you guys spoil me!!! If you want to dear elder some of the missionaries in my district by Saturday or Sunday, it should get to them before we leave on Tuesday afternoon. Sis Horne, especially, she's my companion and I think she would like it :) Unless you can't because you don't know her first name...but hopefully. Or send one to Sis Child, Sis Robertson, Elder Straub, Elder Banks, Elder Mateer, or Elder Griggs. haha I think it would be funny for them to get mail from my family, especially when they see you writing me so much. :)
    So, sorry this email was super duper long, I just have had so much to say. This week has been the most insanely humbling week ever. I know that this gospel is true, I've seen the light come into people's eyes as they have shared their testimonies or as they first realize that it's true. It is the best feeling ever to watch someone as they accept that the Lord truly loves them, and for them to realize what they can become through faith in Him. I've learned so much about consecrating myself to this work. I've given the Lord my mouth so he can speak through me, my mind so that he can teach through my knowledge, and my heart so that he can love through me. I've learned to love people automatically and see them for who they are as God's children. I love this gospel. This mission is the best possible thing for me right now, and I'm loving every second of it. Please help in the work. There is no greater happiness than watching as this gospel blesses our spiritual siblings, and they come to know the truth.
     I love you all so much. I miss you like crazy! My companion and all the sisters in my residence love to look through my little photo album full of family and friends, and the picture of my family on the wall. I think about you every day and I pray for all of you! I've loved hearing about all the sports games, and birthdays, and Halloween costume ideas, and new jobs, and the babies, and just everything! Please keep me up to date.
Again I love you all! Stay safe, and the church is true!
Love Forever,
Sister Volmer  (Lenise)

p.s. hopefully my camera cord works and I can send pictures...  Note: Lenise was unable to send pictures. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Lenise's first LONG letter :)

Oct. 18, 2013
Hey family!!!!!!!

Well, guess what...I'm a missionary!!! It's crazy to think about, but it's true. I got here safely! I sat next to a really nice man on the plane who asked me a ton of questions about my mission and kept me sane...I might have been freaking out a bit, but he kept me from crying. When Mindy picked me up I calmed down a bit and took a very needed nap before being taken to the MTC. It's only the third day here and I already feel like I've been here for ages! The first day here was definitely overwhelming, but I'm slowly slipping into the routine here...which is BUSY BUSY BUSY! I don't have a single moment set aside to even stop and think, we are constantly moving, working, planning, teaching, and serving the Lord. I already absolutely adore my district which is made up of eight missionaries; four elders and four sisters. My very first EVER companion is named Sister Horne, and can I just say she is such a sweet heart. She is very soft spoken and very kind and has such a sweet spirit. She is 20 and from Mesa Arizona. The other companionship of sisters in our district is Sister Robertson and Sister Child. Sister Robertson is from Wisconsin and she is a petite little ball of positive energy, and then there is Sister Child who is such a super-star teacher already, and she is from Vancouver Washington. The four of us hit it off the first day and we laughed and talked a TON! It was so crazy, its like I recognized them immediately, they all seemed so familiar to me. We all share a room, with two other Spanish speaking sisters who have been here for two weeks, and will only be here for five more days. Our elders are pretty amazing! We have Elder Barb who is just 18 and he is really nice and sweet. He was a convert at twelve and his testimony is SO powerful! Then we have Elder Banks who is 19 and who is from Scotland! He has a wicked awesome accent and he is really funny and easy to get along with. Then there is Elder Mateer, who is from Ipswich England, and he is 19 and he has a pretty sweet accent too. He's pretty serious, but once you break him out of his shell, he's great to talk to. It's funny because both him and Elder Banks have a very dry sense of humor and they are very sarcastic, which I'm fine with because I understand it and we laugh a lot in class. Don't tell the British Elders I told you this, but I think they sound like they're from the band One Direction. Haha! The fourth Elder is Elder Griggs who is also from Washington. He is really nice and kind of the class clown. He definitely likes to crack jokes!
 The eight of us are pretty close already and we talk a lot at meal times and during class. It was funny because the Elders from Great Britan have a bunch of others words for Bathroom (the loo) and the hoods of cars (a bonnet) and also chips (crisps). We were teasing each other back and fourth and they like to make fun of our american accents! They aren't as perky and outgoing as we are because it's just not their culture and they think it's really funny that we are, but they also say that they know they will have to get used to it here in Provo and start acting the same way. (I swear Elder Mateer shuttered at the thought) 
 Our teachers are amazing! They are Brother Trone (who is kind of intense but super nice and helpful one-on-one) and Brother Pliler, who is super spiritual and really brings the spirit to class every day. We also have Sister Lamb who sometimes teaches us during zone classes. Our zone is soooooo good as well! Our zone leaders are the best! One of my zone leaders is Elder Forson, who just happens to be Kelton Forson's little brother! When I told him I was Sharee's little sister he got really excited and we had fun talking at lunch about our siblings. (Kelton was my EFY councilor) I also love one of the Sister Training Leaders (pretty much the sister version of a zone leader) Her name is Sister Nicholes and she is from England too. She is so spiritual and helpful and just amazing! She has been here a week longer than us and she has such a powerful testimony. Our zone gets along really well, and there are a bunch of missionaries going to Provo with me. I think there are two zones that are all going to Provo and we all came on the same day to the MTC. When Mindy dropped me off, the guy at the front gate said "Welcome to the MTC, you are one of 604 missionaries coming today." Holy cow.... there are a bajillion of us here. 
The food here is great! I'm trying to eat healthy, and I think I'm doing okay. Except...for yesterday at dinner....The elders all got dirt cups and there were none left...and Elder Mateer saw me eyeing his, and he just smirked at me the way the British do and told me to eat the dirt cup. I said no, but he insisted....and it tasted REALLY good....but yeah. 
The first day was a bunch workshops and orientations and the first evening they put 35 of us in a room with one investigator (an actor or real investigator; they wouldn't tell us which) and they had all of us teach them. I'm not gonna lie, it was REALLY hard the first time, and we didn't exactly know what we were doing, and the spirit just wasn't there. Then we rotated to a new room with a new investigator. We had definitely learned from the first investigator to listen and see what the investigator's needs were, and the second discussion was SO amazing! We were really able to connect with him as a group and discern his needs and really touch him. The spirit was so so so strong, and it really put me at peace. On the first day I got to see Brother Rhoten (Lance) and he was really suprised to see me! haha
My second day ran a lot more smoothly. We had workshops and class time and we were just busy busy buys. I totally have sympathy for missionaries who don't write home very often. THERE IS NO TIME! I'm constantly rushing from one place to the next, and because of the altitude change I have to catch my breath a lot. We climb stairs constantly and the grounds at the MTC are very big. I haven't been given a chance to go work out yet, but I get to tomorrow and I'm really excited! I'm craving playing some volleyball...and wearing basketball shorts. We also got an investigator who we are supposed to teach over the course of our stay in the MTC. It's really just Brother Trone, acting like an investigator he had on his mission named Kelly and today we tought him for the first time. I'm not going to lie, we struggled a bit, but the spirit was still there, which Sister Horne and I prayed really hard for, and he invited us back which is great! We are going to talk to him about the restoration tomorrow because we really think he can connect to the story because he is really looking for purpose in life. It was great because I saw Elder Hunt (Jaron) at lunch on thursday, and I saw Elder Gill (Tanner) at lunch and dinner on thursdays. Tanner is doing great and he was super stoked to see me, it was really funny! All the sisters in my district thought he was funny when he ran up to me calling my name with his big goofy grin and shook my hand very enthusiastically! haha gotta love Tanner! I told him Kelsy said Hello :)
What's crazy is I feel like I've changed a ton in just the last three days. I've talked to Mom and Leisha before about how Missionaries have this certain way of talking, right? Well guess what...I picked it up the second day. I realized it when I was baring my testimony to Sister Horne, and I realized that I was doing it and it just came without trying or thinking about it and I can't stop. So I might sound a little different to you guys later... hahaha at least the way I arrange my words and how I sound a little haha Idk why, but its just how it is. It's amazing here. The MTC is a crash course in growing up, a crash course in getting out of your comfort zone, a crash course in the truths of the gospel, a crash course in teaching,a crash course in feeling the spirit, and it's just a crash course for a lot of the hard things in life. But it's also a crash course in love. I don't think I've ever loved a group of people so much so quickly. I love the elders and sisters around me so much, it's unbelievable. I didn't know I had all this unconditional love inside me. It's insane. We all have the same purpose and it's so encouraging to have them by my side as my temporary family. I'm not going to lie, it's really hard work here. And I'm terrified by the fact that I feel like I don't know anything! I thought I knew the gospel...but apparently not like the super-power-awesome-spiritual teachers and missionaries know it. It's so humbling. I'm relying on God a lot, and my relationship with him has been multiplied ten times over in just three days. I don't feel like the same person who came here, it's so strange. The way Elder Banks describes it, he feels like home is a dream and we've all passed through the vale and the only life we've ever known is this mission. And it's true. That's how it feels. I still remember and miss you all, but I'm realizing that this is where I need to be, no matter how much the thought "What on earth have you gotten yourself into????" has crossed my mind over the first few days. It's like my body has been disconnected from my head and I just feel calm about being here. I always thought I would freak out a bit, but it just feels so normal, like I was always meant to be here and these people were always meant to be in my life. What's crazy is that I think I' might have known them from before this life, if that makes any sense. But I'm growing and everyone says that I will have changed even more come this time next week, so we'll see what happens. I know we have a father in heaven who loves us and watches over us and wants us to find those who are lost and need the gospel in their lives. Honestly, we are incredibly blessed to have the gospel in our lives and I already love the people of Provo, even though I haven't met them yet. I know they need this gospel and I'm so excited to get out in the field and teach them already.
I love you guys to death and pray for you multiple times a day. Tell Riley I say "Happy Berfday!!!" haha welcome to the life of a teenager! I hope you are all doing well and that you are all safe and happy. I know God will keep his promise to me and keep you safe. I miss you all so much and can't wait to hear from you! I love you I love you I love you! This gospel is true. Help others understand that!
All My Love,
                   Sister Volmer (Lenise) 

If you could send me some of my religious piano music, and some religious vocal sheet music, I would absolutely love that! I have a few opportunities here at the MTC for musical numbers and it would be great to those. Also, when my watch gets there, would you send it also? That would be a life saver! Thanks a million! Oh! And my P-days here are fridays! I only have one more p-day left here after this, but yeah...just saying. Love you!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Farewell For Now!

On Sunday Oct 13th 2013 I gave my farewell talk in my homeward: Dessert Hills in the West Richland Stake. It was a huge testimony of the Holy Ghost when I spoke and so here you can read my talk for yourselves:

Hello brothers and sisters,
My name is Lenise Volmer, soon to be Sister Volmer for the next 18 months, starting Wednesday. I have been called to serve in the Provo Utah mission, and I couldn’t be happier with where I’m going. Yes, I’m going to Mormonville, yes I’m just speaking English, and yes I’m aware that everyone says this is the easiest mission there is and there is a likelihood that I will gain 50 pounds on my mission. All missions are hard, no matter where you go, and I know this will be a growing experience for me. But I can say without a shadow of doubt that I recognized the spirit when I opened my call, I recognized the Holy Ghost as he whispered to me that there was somebody there who needs me; who needs the gospel. Almost exactly a year ago I was sitting in my seminary class and the Holy Ghost (who just happens to be a really good friend of mine) inspired me to write this in my seminary journal:
“I find these simple moments happening to me, where I realize that—if given the chance—I want to serve a mission. I want to share my testimony. I want to change lives.”
That was it. That was all I wrote. Just that small little line in my journal after watching a simple little Mormon message that went along with the seminary lesson.
Well, surprise surprise! The very next morning was the Saturday morning session of General conference on October 6th of 2012, and President Monson announced to the entire church the age changes for missionaries everywhere. The spirit practically knocked me over the head. Little did I know then that exactly a year and seven days later I would be standing in front of all of you giving my farewell talk.
The spirit had a huge influence in my decision to serve a mission. There were times when I was so overwhelmed by the Holy Ghost about my decision that I just had to sit and let it all sink in. Let the spirit wash over me and reassure me of what I was going to do. My relationship with the Holy Ghost is something that I've learned to hold very dear to my heart. He and I have been a team for so long, but I find that sometimes I still struggle to recognize when He is prompting me.
So that’s what I've been asked to talk on today. Recognizing the spirit. 
My sophomore year of high school I was taking an honor’s English class, and we were reading Lord of the Flies. My teacher at the time talked to us about how the author was trying to portray through his novel that everyone has this dark animal side to them that wants dark, evil, and carnal things and that it can take over if we don’t learn to control it. We've all heard of the natural man inside us and I kind of understood where my teacher was coming from, but it didn't sit well with me that she painted us all with the idea that underneath all our layers we were just born as selfish beings with animal like cravings and wants. She had us write an in-class essay on how we felt about that knowledge.
Quite honestly, I wrote saying that I didn’t believe it.
 I went on to tell her that I didn’t believe in a monster inside of all of us, but I believed in a light. I told her that I believed that everyone was born with a goodness inside them that radiated out. Only when they let the world around them infect them did they turn into the selfish beings that the world creates. Well my teacher didn’t exactly like that I disagreed with her, and my grade on the essay may have suffered, but she realized that I was going to stand my ground.
Because I do believe that each of us has a light that we are born with. We do; it’s called the Light of Christ.
 In Moroni 7:16 it says “the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil.”
In the bible dictionary it says: “The light of Christ is just what the words imply: enlightenment, knowledge, and an uplifting, ennobling, preserving influence that comes upon mankind because of Jesus Christ.”
The Light of Christ is that part of us that wants the best for those we love, that part of you that recognizes when somebody does something kind, or that part of you that wants to help out when you see a need. That’s Christ’s light that lives inside of you. You took a piece of Him and His infinite love with you when you came to this earth. It’s that piece of heaven inside you that still has a tiny memory of what it was like to be in the Lord’s presence. It gives you simple reminders that part of the Father and His son live within you and everyone else.
President Boyd K. Packer said, “It is important for a…missionary…to know that the Holy Ghost can work through the Light of Christ. A teacher of gospel truths is not planting something foreign or even new into an adult or child. Rather, the missionary or teacher is making contact with the Spirit of Christ already there. The gospel will have a familiar ‘ring’ to them.”
The Light of Christ however is not the Holy Ghost. It’s when the Holy Ghost interacts with that light, that we see realization and understanding happen within those who are searching for the truths that our gospel possesses.
The bible dictionary says “The light of Christ should not be confused with the personage of the Holy Ghost, for the light of Christ is not a personage at all. Its influence is preliminary to and preparatory to one’s receiving the Holy Ghost. The light of Christ will lead the honest soul who hearkeneth to the voice to find the true gospel and the true church and thereby receive the Holy Ghost.”
The Holy Ghost is the third member of the God Head. Unlike our Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost does not have a body of flesh and blood. In D&C 130: 22 it says “(The Holy Ghost) is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.”
The power of the Holy Ghost is the special witness that speaks to us about the truthfulness of the gospel. This power is what usually helps investigators to feel the spirit and recognize the truthfulness of the gospel. The power of the Holy Ghost however is not that same as the gift of the Holy Ghost. When we are baptized and confirmed members of the church, then the gift of the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost in conferred upon us by those with the right authority to do so.
In the bible dictionary it says: “The gift of the Holy Ghost can come only after proper and authorized baptism, and is conferred by the laying on of hands…The gift of the Holy Ghost is the right to have, whenever one is worthy, the companionship of the Holy Ghost”
The Spirit of the Holy Ghost is a key part of conversion. Elder M. Russel Ballard spoke of the power of the Spirit. He said: “True conversion comes through the power of the Spirit. When the Spirit touches the heart, hearts are changed. When individuals…feel the Spirit working with them, or when they see the evidence of the Lord’s love and mercy in their lives, they are edified and strengthened spiritually and their faith in Him increases. The experiences with the Spirit follow naturally when a person is willing to experiment upon the word. This is how we come to feel the gospel is true.”
The next step is to recognize the Spirit of the Holy Ghost and his promptings in your life. I had a really good friend of mine who fell away from the church for a while and left home and moved in with a friend. After a lot of fasting and praying on our part, after six months he returned to the church and moved back in with his family. When I talked to him afterward we had a long discussion about the Spirit. He had been baptized at eight and gone to primary, scouts, mutual, and he was active in the young men’s program. He had had the Spirit of the Holy Ghost with him the whole time, but he told me that he took it for granted. He explained to me that when he had fallen away from the church the absence of the Spirit in his life was tangible. After having the Comforter leave him, he said he felt depressed, down, and lost. He hadn’t recognized what blessings came from having the Holy Ghost with him. Now that he’s back, he is hyper-aware of the Holy Ghost in his life and the promptings he receives. He told me that when the spirit isn’t there, he can feel it instantly, and knows that he either needs to change what he’s doing, or leave the bad place that he’s at in order to receive the Spirit’s guidance again.
I asked one of my best friends, whose on his own mission right now, for advice on my farewell talk . He emailed me and The thought he gave me matched up with my other friend’s experience. He wrote “If you aren’t in an environment where you can feel the spirit, then you will never come to a point where you can recognize the spirit’s influence in your life. Always try to become better acquainted with the spirit, because it is just like a person, the more you see them around, the more you start to recognize who they are and eventually you may become friends with them!”
When the scriptures say “Stand ye in holy places, and be not moved” This is for our own protection. We need the guiding voice of the Holy Ghost, and when we are in environments where he cannot reside, then we will never recognize him.
Those not of our faith, when asking for answers from God, expect some large miracle or declaration from Him. However, the Spirit speaks quietly to our hearts and minds. Very rarely is the spirit heard in a voice. It is mostly relayed in a feeling of gentle warmth or it can sometimes move people to tears. Boyd K. Packer taught: “The voice of the Spirit is described in the scriptures as being neither ‘loud’ nor ‘harsh.’ It is ‘not a voice of thunder, neither…voice of a great tumultuous noise.’ But rather, ‘a small voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper,’ and it can ‘pierce even to the very soul’ and ‘cause the heart to burn.’ Remember, Elijah found the voice of the Lord was not in the wind, nor in the earthquake, nor in the fire, but was a still small voice.’ The spirit does not get our attention by shouting or shaking us with a heavy hand. Rather is whispers. It caresses so gently that if we are preoccupied we may not feel it at all…Occasionally it will press just firmly enough for us to pay heed. But most of the time, if we do not heed the gentle feeling, the Spirit will withdraw and wait until we come seeking and listening and say in our manner and expression, like Samuel of ancient times, ‘speak Lord, for they servant heareth.”
 My mom talked once about having spiritual promptings that she followed through on, but there seemed to not have been any reason for the prompting. I told her that I think those moments are God testing to see that if he does prompt you, you will obey, so that in the future if he prompts you to do something really important he knows you will react immediately. I was talking about spiritual promptings with one of my friends once and she stated that sometimes she has trouble differentiating between the spirit’s voice in her head and her inner voice and thoughts. I too have had this concern.
Gordon B. Hinckley said this: “That’s the test when all is said and done. Does it persuade one to do good, to rise, to stand tall, to do the right thing, to be kind, to be generous? Then it is of the Spirit of God… If it invites to do good, it is of God. If it inviteth to do evil, it is of the devil…and if you are doing the right thing and if you are living the right way, you will know in your heart what the Spirit is saying to you. You recognize the promptings of the Spirit by the fruits of the Spirit—that which enlighteneth, that which buildeth up, that which is positive and affirmative and uplifting and leads us to better thoughts and better words and better deeds is of the Spirit of God”
As a missionary, it is extremely necessary and important that I have the continual companionship of the Holy Ghost with me. When it comes down to it, it’s not about how much doctrine I know or how successful I think I will be as a missionary. Missionary work—my mission—is NOT about me. This week when I put that name tag on for the first time, my first name is gone. I become sister. My name is put next to my older brother’s name as a representative of His divine church. I will lose myself, and my words will no longer be my words. I will have become a mouth piece for the Lord, and I will give up my own words for the words the Spirit puts into my mouth. I need to recognize and be directly in tune with the Holy Ghost in order to teach others and it will be through that relationship with the Holy Ghost that I will be able to bring others to Christ. I want to bring other’s the joy of the spirit, I want them to recognize what it means to have a loving father in heaven, and an older brother who sacrificed every single one of the pains of this world, that we may have the opportunity to be with him again in heaven.
I’m so excited to serve the people of Provo. Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote what is called “My Missionary Commission” and the spirit bore witness to me of the importance of what I’m about to do. It goes like this: “I am called of God. My authority is above that of kings of the earth. By revelation I have been selected as a personal representative of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is my master and He has chosen me to represent Him—to stand in His place, to say and do what He Himself would say and do if He personally were ministering to the very people to whom he has sent me. My voice is His voice, and my acts are His acts; my doctrine is His doctrine. My Commission is to do what He wants done; To say what He wants said; to be a living modern witness in word and in deed of the divinity of his great and marvelous Latter-day work. How great is my calling!”
I know many missionaries, when they come home from their missions, bare their testimony in the language they learned on their missions. Though I'm speaking English, I will bare my testimony in the way I feel the spirit the most; so I'm going to sing for you.

In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

I then sang Savior, Redeemer of My Soul. It's a beautiful hymn that I encourage you to listen to.
So here begins my adventure. Mission Possible.
I'm now officially going to be Sister Volmer!

Lenise trying to put the last of her things into her suitcase.....she did it!!