Tuesday, April 18, 2017

ADVENTURE IS OUT THERE! (tragic goodbye email)

Holy wow where do I even start?
These past 18 months have become the greatest adventure of my entire life (up to now). What is coming to mind is the image of my mom a month before I left in a discussion we had about brazilian dedorant. "Sure it'll be different, but it'll be an adventure!" HAHA I love my mom. It really has been an adventure from start to finish, (in more ways then just the deodorant, which by the way IS strange).
The moment I left my family in the Sacramento Airport basically set the tone for my entire mission. NO TEARS NO FEARS. (I hope my family wasnt offended that I didnt cry, its like I wrote in my very first entry in my mission journal 18 months ago "There is just too much to look forward to to be sad!"). Even though I certainly faced a few fears and shed a few tears, that doesnt change my "NO TEARS NO FEARS" attitude I tried to keep my whole mission.
Things they tell you before leaving on a mission: ITS THE BEST THING EVER.
Things they dont tell you, and even if they did you dont understand it very well: MISSIONS ARE HARD
Ever since the CTM, I have always found strength in chapter 26 of Alma in the Book of Mormon, verses 30-31
"30 And we have suffered ALL manner of afflictions, and all this, that perhaps we might be the means of saving some soul; and we supposed that our joy would be full if perhaps we could be the means of saving some.
31 Now behold, we can look forth and see the fruits of our labors; and are they few? I say unto you, Nay, they are many; yea, and we can witness of their sincerity, because of their love towards their brethren and also towards us."
Here is the truth: every know and then, you are going to suffer, its going to be freaking hard and you are going to question "dude why am I here". But then I always had to remember that my joy would be FULL AND COMPLETE, if I could help JUST ONE person here. and now I'm at this awesome part of my misson when I can look back at the "few fruits" of my labors, and I know that every promise that was made to me was kept!
In the mission calll letter, we are promised that "greater blessings and more happiness than you have yet experienced await you". I would just like to share a few examples of this happiness I have found in a MANY moments here in Santa Maria:
1. When our investigator Laisla's BF told her to wait 3 more months to be baptized because he wanted to baptize her, but we invited her to pray about it before making a decision, and the next day she said "I dont know how, but I heard something tell me I need to be baptized on March 5, so Im going to follow that voice" and she was baptized exactly one week later.
2. The day that Felipe, our recently-returned to activty in the church member, told us that he decided to serve and opened his mission papers. (HE has now been serving as a full-time missionary since june 2016)
3. The p-day I received a phone call saying that Irmão Noé, one of my converts from São Gabriel, had gone to the temple to week before and is now serving as the ward secretary.
4. One of the happiest moments on my mission was when Irmão Nelson, who took him a month to learn how to pray by himself without forgetting the steps, a week after his baptism was teaching his 50 year old daughter how to pray too.
5. I thought NOTHING could beat the day that Roni, from Uruguaiana, was finally baptized, but 6 weeks later I was proved wrong when I watched him baptize his older sister Patricia.

These are just a few of the best experiences of my entire mission, the moments that I can point to and see that EVERYTHING was worth it. Through all these experiences, I have grown so much closer to my Savior, as I have seen the difference He has made in the lives of these people I so dearly love.
Its like is says in 3 john 1:4 "I have no greater joy than to hear that my [converts, less actives, friends, family, everyone] walk in the truth"
I have learned what people mean when they say "I really saw Jesus Christ on my mission" or "I have come to know the savior so much more on my misson". I'll use a quote from C.S. Lewis to explain.
"We can sya we believe in Christ as we believe in the sun at noonday, not that we can see it, but that by it, we can see every thing else"
To see people change their lives, to love people from another place, is a testament to the existence of God and His son Jesus Christ. It is the light of Christ that allows me to see what I see, to live how I live, to be the person I am and the person I have become. I have become a fearless disciple and servant of God. MORE compassionate, worthy, prayerful, spritual, diligent.
In short, I have become more SPIRITUALLY ADVENTUROUS!
I hope to never forget this unconquerable spirit I feel I've become. To be able to walk off that plane and know that I gave it my all, will be the best reward. I hope to return home the exact same way I left, NO TEARS, NO FEARS.
I can safely say that my mission was not the best thing OF my life, because the best thing of my life will be the day I have my own little eternal family. But I can safely say that my mission has been the best thing FOR my life. I love the person I have become. I love the people I have met, I love missionary work and the miracles it brings, I love my Father in Heaven, I love my Savior Jesus Christ, and I testify of the reality of His life and His sacrifice.
The things I have witnessed here in Santa Maria are what have made me a witness of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thank you for everyone that has taken the time to read what I have been writing all this time, all the letters and emails and prayers have been greatly cherished!
Feeling like the most loved Sister Missionary in the world,
Sister Lipps

"wherefore, I conclude this record, declaring that I have written according to the best of my knowledge, by saying that the time passed away with us, and also our lives passed away like as it were unto us a dream" (jacob 7:26) 

Monday, April 10, 2017

*laughs* *cries* *hyperventilates* *eats cake*

"how are you handling your final two weeks in the mission field?" ^^^^^^^^
I basically have almost ran out of worlds at this point, I feel like alot of the things I could say or stories I could tell would seem a little superficial and wouldnt describe well my feelings about these past few weeks. I have been trying to focus all of my thoughts and all of my studies on Jesus Christ, So I wanted to share a few things I took away from it!
John 6:66-69
66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.

Some of my fears about coming home is my fear of losing this testimony, this spirit, of not "walking more with christ" of "going back" to the old me. But when I studied this part, I remembered that my testimony is rooted in Christ. I know that HE has the words of eternal life! Duh that I will not "go away" because I KNOW that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.
John 14:6
6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
These are things that I KNOW because I have FELT them. I am not very good at expressing my testimony over the internet, but I can promise that we have a savior, redeemer, that he knows us, loves us, he knows my name and my struggles, and that especially as we are preparing to celebrate this easter, his ressurrection, I know that he grants EVERYONE a second chance, a new beginning, and that he is the prince of peace. (go watch the video on "prince of peace").

I love my mission! It is an experience that, if I had it my way, everyone would have :)

Love, Sister Lipps

1. ROOMMATES LOL (MY comp is the one in front of me, shes adorable)
2. Me vannawhiting it at the cathredral
4. My 17 month cake. after 16 mission anniversaries, you start to get bored of the same-old same-old pictures.

One of the family home evenings we held this week!
RAIN! AI YOU GUYS WE GOT DRENCHED. But it was all in the general conference spirit
"go out in the rain, look up to the heaven, open your mouth, and drink it!"

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

"stop being annoying" thing i teach my comp to say in english to the elders

My life is going really awesome right now, so I kind of sucks that it'll be over SO SOON. Sister Leite is one of my FAVORITE companions I have ever had, we get along so well, we are always laughing and working hard and pushing eachother and she does my eyebrows and I teach her english (more or less)
It's only been 2 weeks here, but I already find myself so connected with the people we are teaching! We have a recent convert Mauricio (19 years old), who was baptized the week before I came, and he is SO SWEET. His circumstances are very humble, and he had to let go of along of things for him to join the church, but he is AMAZING and always invites is friends to church too, and this week we went to visit him and he didnt see that we were coming so we snuck up and saw that he was reading the Book of Mormon alone and we almost cried because it was so precious. Love him.
Other high point of the week was when we met this little old couple in the front of their house and we decided to sing them a hymn and the second we started singing the lady started clapping her hands to the "beat" and then stood up and started dancing to "count your blessings" and I loved it so much, we could not stop laughing.
I'm not trying to play favorites, but the best two talks were on saturday, bu Russell M. Nelson and Neil L. Andersen, and I am going to need everyone to read, and strengthen your testimony in Jesus Christ, and  OVERCOME THE WORLD!
Sister Lipps
a giant leaf 4 times the size of my head (hahaha brasilian leaves are so cool)
last week´s p-day: slack line at the church building!