August 17th, 2015
Hello everyone! I miss you and love you all! I am so happy to be here in the Modesto Mission serving.
Let me back track one second and tell a story from my last Sunday in the MTC. I was praying and studying so hard all my last week because I felt like I was not feeling the spirit as much as I could. I felt like I wasn't being guided in what to say during lessons like I should be. I asked so fervently to help me know how the Spirit talks to me so that I can do God's will more fully. For Sunday sacrament meeting at the MTC, every missionary is supposed to write a talk on the topic of the week and then they choose someone to speak but don't let you know till the moment you are supposed to in sacrament meeting. I was asked to give the closing prayer and so I figured I did not need to write my talk. My district teased me and was like "Sister Neeley you better write it or you will for sure get called on!" I insisted though that there was a ward of 100 missionaries and since I was giving the prayer there was no way they would have me do two jobs. I felt all day like I should write my talk and I always brushed it off with my logic. During the sacrament right before they called up the speakers I felt so strongly to at least pick a scripture just in case I was called on, but again I thought I didn't need to. Brother Liston got up there and said our first speaker will be, "Sister Neeley, looks like you will have double duty today!". I was so horrified. I have never before felt so embarrassed in my entire life... and to make matters worse the MTC mission president was there sitting in on out sacrament meeting! I had not prepared a single word. All I knew is that the topic was obeying the father's will (how ironic). On my death walk up to the microphone I said a quick humble prayer asking me to be guided and that I was sorry I should have been more humble and listened. I honestly do not remember the first minute of my talk or what I said but I knew I had to relate one scripture to the topic so I opened my scriptures (pretending to look for a carefully planned and prepared scripture) and randomly opened to a page that was highlighted. It was 2Nephi 2:4. I saw the last part of the verse where it said the Lord will consecrate our afflictions and started talking from there about how even when we feel we do the Lord's will that doesnt mean He will take away all our trails and afflictions, but if we keep moving forward and trying to do His will and not our own will He will bless us. I talked for about 5 minutes and closed with my testimony. Everyone told me how they loved my talked and how powerful they felt the spirit during it, and I don't say that to say oh look how awesome I am. I say this because that was the Lord working through me by the spirit. My prayer was answered. If I have faith and take that leap, Heavenly Father will guide me in what to say. And also, I can be sure that all day it was the spirit telling me to write my talk, not just my brain. I know better now, how the spirit works in me and how if I act in faith God really will lead me to say and do His will. It was such a powerful experience for me, and I will never forget it.
My first week in my mission is hard but amazing. My companion is Sister TuaTonga and she is from Hawaii but is Tongan. She is incredible. She is so intense and she really can bring the spirit into every lesson. We are both new to the area. We are serving in Mountain House. It is a new ward of just 3 weeks. Kind of cool I was the first set of missionaries to be called to the Modesto, CA mission and now the first set of missionaries to be in this new ward. There is a lot of work to be done here. The area is smaller so we bike a lot to save miles which I love. It is a new development so there is a lot of wealthy young families here. We live in a studio apartment off to the side of a house here. It is very tiny but new. I like it a lot. It is a drought here still so it is very very dry. All this week was so hot, in the 90's. At night there is usually a breeze so it cools down fairly nicely. We are teaching a family of 6 about the Gospel right now, their names are Marco and Maria and also a couple Dennis and Nora. Along with that we are helping over 10 less active families come back to church and prepare for the temple. We are busy our first week but we are working hard and the ward is very supportive. I cant't wait to see how this next week goes now that we know who we have to teach and what their needs are.
I miss you all and I am so thankful for the prayers and support from home. I know this is where I need to be and although I feel inadequate most of the time I know that as I rely on God, and use Christ's atonement to give me strength to overcome my trails I will be all the God needs me to.
All my love,