Sunday, January 31, 2016

I Know That I Will Never Leave Him Now!


My companion Sister Wisanbannawit!

This email is long because the spirit and I have been good friends this week so He has provided me with many wonderful experiences. But if you don't have time here is a summary in bullet points of what happened:

1.) I shook hands with and sung for Elder Neil L. Anderson, an apostle of the Lord!
2.) I am training a new missionary from another country, but don't know who she is...
3.) I will never leave the church, no surprise there!
4.) My lovely trainer Sister Child's goes home today and I miss her.
5.) The church is true, again... No surprise there!

*Mom and Dad, you best be readin' the whole thing ;)

1.) On Saturday, Elder Neil L. Anderson, of the quorum of the 12 apostles, visited our mission and had a special meeting with us along with Elder L. Whitney Clayton of the presidency of the seventy and Elder Tilman of the 70.  It was a treat and I got to shake all of their hands and sing for them. We (a group of 8 missionaries) sung "My Shepherd Will Supply My Need" with piano and cello accompaniment. It was wonderful! We have been preparing for this mission meeting for a month and preparing the musical number for 2 months. It was stressful but it came together in time and went very well.

I love the lyrics that close the song. They remind me of something I think my mother would have told me, and something she has always desired:


2.) Also, I got a call from President this week and I have been asked to train a new missionary from the MTC! I am so excited and I get to meet her tonight. All of the missionaries coming in are from foreign countries so that will be a treat. Some are from Micronesia, and Hungary, and the South Pacific islands. I am excited to learn and grow through this experience of being the "mother" of a new missionary.

I am sad to say goodbye to my sweet companion sister Wi. She is truly a leader and a dedicated friend and servant of the Lord! I will miss so many things about her... I will especially miss the times she gets in the car with a smile on her face and says "ROCK THE WORLD" because she knows that the work we do, however insignificant it may seem to us, is really changing the world. Thanks for all you taught me Sister Wisanbannawit! (Chan lrak kun=I love you)

3.) I was reading The Book of Mormon this week and came to Alma 5:39 which says "And now if ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd, of what fold are ye?" And I thought, what would I do without Christ? What would I have without Him? On my mission I have realized more than ever how everything other than the Gospel of Jesus Christ is unreal and of little worth. I used to put so much value into things of the world; possessions, movies, music, clothing, popularity, trends, social media... But those have no foundation and don't last and bring only temporary pleasure instead of lasting happiness.
There is a musical production called "The Lamb of God" that I had the privilege to watch at the beginning of my mission. In one of the songs entitled "Lord Is It I?" The apostles are sitting around the table at the last supper talking about who would be the one to betray Jesus. Peter, James, and John sing and ask the Lord "if I should leave, where would I go?" I feel exactly that way, even if I were to leave my Savior and His teachings, where else would I have to go? There is nothing else that can bring me peace, eternal Joy, comfort, personal growth, knowledge, and provide for me a solid foundation like the Gospel of Jesus Christ does. There is no where to go. In a regional broadcast I heard a while ago where Lawrence A. Corbridge asked "the church will stand forever, will you? And if not, where will you go?" It echoes a scripture that Refers to the "Lamb of God" scene I mentioned earlier.  

John 6:67-68 reads "Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life."

I would have no where to go if I left my Savior. There is nothing that can substitute or replace or be more real and true and foundational than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So I answer YES to both Elder Corbridge and my Savior, Jesus Christ. YES I will stand forever and never leave!

5.) Sadly I got to experience the opposite answer to that same question this week. We visited an inactive sister in our Ward who I knew very little about. On my mission I have been known not to be very shy about talking with everyone and extending commitments. I'm not shy and I'm not afraid, whether it's talking with everyone (yes every stranger on the side of the road) the law of Chastity of the Word of wisdom I'll give it to you right there and we'll just talk about it in the open, we're not hidin' nothin' here and it's important that people know the commandments of God and understand how to follow them.... (Wow, soap box moment, sorry ha ha ha I just love sharing the Gospel)

So... I was prepared to bear down in pure testimony as one should when commitments are not being kept and no progress is being made and I told sister Wi that I was not afraid of her and we were going to go in there and invite her to act and that the spirit was going to testify to her that she needed to repent... (She had some past problems that Ward members and missionaries were quite aware of and I wanted to help her know how to right the wrongs)

Anyways, when we got into her home the spirit spoke very clearly to me and guided my questions. This sister was a tough one and gets easily offended so I followed the promptings and asked questions about her testimony and beliefs.

She shocked me that she had a complete knowledge of the church's principles and doctrines and yet has no testimony of any of it, rejects the gospel, wants nothing to do with the church and has the hardest heart of anyone I have ever met... And I have met some serious anti- Mormons. She believes in the Bible but yet believes that God must be a changing God because she believes that He stopped calling prophets to guide the people after the Bible. I called her out on that one and she stood by her false beliefs. HER HEART WAS SO HARD. 

As I continued to question her in as much patience and gentleness as I could muster at the time she began to really come forward and tell us how she thought Gods commandments were too hard and didn't want to pay tithing and would not give up wine and coffee and does not believe that God requires us to keep commandments. As we talked I discovered that this sisters wanted the easy way. She didn't want to go to church or pay a tithe or abstain from anything or read the scriptures.... That is soooo the way of the world. It is false. It is evil. The world calls "come to church with us where you can have sex with whomever you want, tattoo and pierce your body with freedom, let your body be a slave to substances and you are "free". On Sundays you can listen to
rock music, drink coffee, do your shopping, and hear about Jesus all in one place with church services conveniently scheduled whenever you are free and nothing is required of you".

IT MAKES ME SICK! Disobedience to God's commandments is not freedom, it is misery. God's laws will never change. He has always required the righteous will of His people. He is unchanging and He is real. He is quick to forgive and quick to love. He asks that you keep his commandments, the 10 commandments and commandments given through modern revelation. He asks that you love him and follow the example of our savior. When we keep the commandments we are blessed. We are blessed now and we are promised blessings in the future both in this life and in the life to come. Keep the commandments. They give you freedom and keep you safe. They ensure you blessings. Back to the story- I felt prompted to ask if we could teach her the restoration, thinking that maybe there was a chance that she did not fully understand the gospel and the restoration of the church (since every concern or problem can be solved be believing and understanding that Joseph Smith restored the church and really did see God the Father and His son Jesus Christ and that he was called as a prophet) so I began to introduce the restoration and she stopped me and said "NO, I have heard the discussions at least three time and. I will not her them again, I don't believe it." this woman had the gospel in her hands but completely rejected it. Her heart was so hard. We shared a little spiritual thought , from the Book of Mormon which surprisingly she was fine with because she doesn't believe any part of the church's doctrine but is fine if we read The Book of Mormon with her... Well whatever, and left on a good note. This lesson was so hard for me. I walked away with a heavy heart... For her! I felt so sorry that she would miss out on the immediate and eternal blessings of the Gospel because the "would not see" and "would not hear" (not could not but, would not. She had a choice and used her will not to hear and accept he gospel). How terrible! This scripture that I read after we went to her house explains her pretty well...
Alma 5:37-38

"O ye workers of iniquity; ye that are puffed up in the vain things of the world, ye that have professed to have known the ways of righteousness nevertheless have gone astray, as sheep having no shepherd, notwithstanding a shepherd hath called after you and is still calling after you, but ye will not hearken unto his voice! 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."

I realized something else after we left that sisters house. I realized that my testimony is strong and unshakable. She kept telling us all these things that she didn't like about the church and talked about why she didn't want to come back and I...was unaffected by her lies. Seriously, this is new because before my mission my testimony had a few stronger pegs in the ground but none that would last for very long... Now I feel confident that my Savior lives and this church is the kingdom of God upon the earth in preparation for the second coming and reign of the Savior. Yep, it feels good to know without a doubt at the church is true. My mission has changed my life!

There is a song by Hilary Weeks called "I know that I will never leave Him now" that explains how I feel and relates to everything I have talked about up to now...

"There is a Savior, this truth I humbly know.

He gave His life so that I might be allowed
back to His arms on the day He calls me home.
And I know that I will never leave Him now.
He paid the highest price for me and still He tells me I am free,
but where would I ever wish to go? How could I leave the everlasting
love He's shown? I've been in danger I've walked the sinners way.
I've felt the weight that my weary head would bow.
Then Jesus came and erased my every debt,
and I know that I will never leave Him now."

There is one more story I would like to share. Sorry if this email is too long, I'm pretty sure Gmail has a limit and is going to cut me off here pretty soon...ha ha ha  So we were teaching this man who we thought was older but it turns out he is only 20. He is progressing and we felt prompted to talk about the word of wisdom today because if you knew him you would know why that is such a problem. So we walked right up, talked for a minute, said a prayer, and I said "have you ever relied on God to change?" He said that he hadn't really but would in times of emergency. Then I realized that he wasn't quite catching on to our drift so I said "have you ever wanted to stop smoking and drinking? You know how harmful that is to your body" he thanked us for being so open and after some discussion about the negatives, which we pointed out, and his perceived benefits from being reliant on addictive substances he said that he had no desire at the current time to stop those behaviors. We finished the lesson and shared a thought as directed by the spirit and walked away. When we got to the car I felt like I had failed. He hadn't
miraculously dumped his alcohol down the drain or burned the 12 packs of cigarettes that were probably in the glove box of his car or anything so I felt like I was a terrible missionary. Just this week we were instructed by some of the leaders of the church in a broadcast to teach repentance at every moment and so that's what I tried to do but he didn't accept the invitation to act. With some sadness that he would continue sinning Ingot into the car and expressed my feelings to sister Wi and she said something that was very inspired. She said "Sister, if he does not have an open heart and is not prepared than no
one who taught him or what we said, he would not change" I thought... Yes, even if President Monson came over here and told him to repent he wouldn't because he is not willing in his heart. I learned a lesson that day that not always do we have the outcome we
intend because others have their agency and that is something that God will not take away. But we can be confident that if we are prepared and worthy that we will have done our best and that is what God asks of us. We can trust in that Lord knowing that everything will work out :)

I will end now! Hey Mom and Dad, you're probably the only ones that made it this far so thanks guys ha ha ha. If you're not my family and you actually made it to the end of this
email you are a gem!

Thanks so much and God bless!
Sister Zimmerman

Here I am with the Evans who live in my ward! The Evans were Grandma and
Grandpas mission presidents in Norway. They are so sweet! We just love the Evans so much!
Love you Grandma and Grandpa!

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