Saturday, April 11, 2015

Nearly 30 million views....were you one of them?

Hey Y'all,

It's been almost 6 weeks since I have written a blog post! Ahh!

I know Easter is already past, but I wanted to share my testimony of Jesus Christ, since He is such a big part of my life as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints right now!

Chances are, you have seen the hash-tag #Because He Lives on Facebook, Twitter, or another social media site, but what does it refer to, why is it so popular, should I view it, and why should I share it?

 #Because He Lives is an awesome video that testifies of Jesus Christ, who He is, and how He can help us in our lives today. It is only three minutes, but it is super powerful! The message shared in this 3 minute video can truly change your entire life! Watch it :)

It is not surprising that this video has received almost 30 million views! Wow!

I know that Christ lives, that He is a part of our lives. He has always been there for me. He has carried me through the storms, skipped with me through the rain, and danced with me through the sunshine.  He chose not to glare back, spit back, or fight back so that we can COME back to Him! He can bring you peace, comfort, direction, stability, and pure joy. I promise if you seek him in your life, you will find Him! Christ lives and cares about YOU.

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter and have grown closer to him.

Share this message with others. Flood the world with good things!

Till next time,
Sister Bergman

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The "Right" Person!

Hey Y'all!

Elder and Sister Holt, one of the senior missionary couples serving in the Visitor Center experienced a really cool miracle this week that I am going to reference for the purposes of entertaining and inspiring you all :)

All the visitor center sisters were studying quietly one morning in the VC, when a couple who were walking their dog peered into the clear, glass window of the visitor center and warily paced back and forth a few times in front of the door. We could clearly see their mental dilemma trying to decide if they wanted to come in and if it was even socially acceptable to bring their dog inside .Eventually, they cracked open the door and asked if they could bring their dog in, to which we replied "yes", as long as they held him. NORMALLY, we would not allow dogs inside the visitor center, but there were currently no other visitors, and we felt prompted to invite them in. They came in, but were opposed to talking to the sisters who approached them, saying that "we already had a church and are not interested." They wandered around for a couple minutes, looking at the various displays. Meanwhile, Sister Holt  felt prompted that she needed to go talk to them. She went up and asked: "Is this a normal Oregon winter?" (It was super warm outside for February) The lady said: "Actually, it is not. Where are you from?" Sister Holt replied, "Canada. My husband and I are actually serving a mission here..." The conversation ensued, and they conversed lightheartedly. The visitors ended up revealing that they are a retired couple with a Christian background, had seen the temple from the highway, and wanted to see what it was all about. They left knowing that Mormons are Christian, that we DO believe in the Bible, and that the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ! We invited them back to see Meet the Mormons and learn more, and the husband accepted! He has a great interest in the relationship between the Bible and the Book of Mormon. On their way out, they said " The test when we came here was to see if you would let us bring our dog in, because he is our pride and joy!" We are all glad we passed!

It is just SO cool to me that this couple came in wary and stand-offish, but left laughing and smiling, with an intent to come back, see Meet the Mormons. and learn more. I know that Sister Holt followed a prompting from the spirit to talk to them and that the Lord arranged for her and her husband to be on shift at this time, since they do not normally come in on Thursday mornings. Out of all the senior couples, sister Holt was the one who needed to talk to these two visitors. Her personality just meshed perfectly with theirs!  It was an awesome experience! 

On a side note, this picture of Sister Riley is an excellent representation of what I feel like on a regular basis as a missionary! haha. 

I never imagined that we would make so many calls, text so many people, or juggle so many responsibilities, but I would not have it any different! Going on a mission is the best decision I have ever made! 

If any of you ever have any questions about what Mormons believe or what the Book of Mormon is, I would love to answer them! 

Till next week, 
Sister Bergman

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Not your Regular Newspaper...

Hey Y'all! 
I have an incredible story to share this week! It definitely qualifies to be on my "top ten mission miracles" list!

 A couple months ago, one of the senior missionaries in the Visitor Center, Sister Holt, was scanning the local newspaper and came across a super intriguing article! This man wrote a little poem about how missionaries used to come see him but suddenly stopped coming. He said he wasn't the greatest guy but he hoped they would come back and talk to him. He included his name and city: Randy Glenning, Lake Oswego (name has been changed). Sister Holt searched in the phone book for this man and eventually found his contact information. She gave it to the sisters currently serving in Lake Oswego, but unfortunately, they were transferred out of the area before getting a chance to contact him.
 When I arrived in Lake Oswego, we saw this sticky note on the ground in our apartment which had the name Randy Glenning on it. However, I couldn't remember who that was, so I ignored it for over a month. One day, we finally determined to figure out what the sticky note was all about. We called the sister who was in that area previously, and she reminded me who Randy Glenning was. When I realized the connection between Randy Glenning and the newspaper man from a couple weeks back, we got super excited, called the elders in our ward, and told them all about this referral! They were super excited as well, and informed us that the newspaper article had actually been taped on the wall in their apartment  for a while now, but they didn't know what it was about and didn't have any way to contact him. They called him the next day (Thursday), but when they did, the phone went to the voicemail of an older woman... The next day, they stopped by the man's supposed house and knocked on the door, but no one answered.
      The following Wednesday, the elders had a feeling to go back and knock on the door again. They did and a young man, probably in his late 20's warily answered, mistaking the elders for secret agents! He relaxed, however, once they explained they were missionaries, and told them his name was Alex. His girlfriend lives in the house and has no interest in the LDS church, but he moved in last week and had tons of questions. They taught him a little about the Book of Mormon, gave him one, and challenged him to read it. He stayed up until 2am that night reading the book! Alex requested they come back at four the next day to teach him a lesson, and they did! He is excited about the gospel and continues to learn more from the missionaries! He even wants to go to the temple!  

       I think it is super cool the Lord's timing in all of this. If the elders had contacted this mystery man any earlier, they would have met his girlfriend, learned she was not interested, and moved on. However, due to transfers and mis-communications, which I believe were inspired, they knocked on the door once Alex, who WAS interested, had moved in! 

Heavenly Father truly cares about each of us individually. He can literally do anything He needs to in order to provide for His children and bring them closer to Him. If we stay close to Heavenly Father and listen for promptings from the spirit, WE can be involved in the Lord's work!

I invite you to have a conversation with Heavenly Father through prayer everyday this week. Get to know Him better, ask Him questions, and have faith that you will eventually get answers. I know you will. Heavenly Father loves each of us perfectly and wants to help us be happy!

I love you all and wish you peace and happiness this week! 
Sister Bergman  

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Hand of God

Hey Y'all!
This week has been full of cool experiences where I truly saw the Lord's hand in the His work. As missionaries, we witness "coincidences" or "lucky circumstances" on a regular basis. However, I know that everything happens according to God's desires and plan for us. We might meet people on the street at just the right time, we might just happen to be on shift at the Visitor Center when the person who needed "us" specifically walks in, or we might send a text or call someone at just the right time. I know that all of these circumstances are divinely influenced. Heavenly Father cares about each and everyone of us. He can control so many unseen variables in order to accomplish His work and help His children.
I would like to share one such experience I had this week!

 On Friday, we planned to stop by a wonderful lady's house named Katrina (name changed).  She has been bringing her kids to primary (the children's Sunday school group) on and off for a couple of years now. She is not a member, but after a really hard time in her life, she decided it was time to go back to church. As they drove around one day, she asked her kids to point to a church to start going to and they "randomly" chose an LDS church! What a "divinely influenced" situation!
    Anyways, as we pulled into her neighborhood on Friday, we decided to call first and see if she was home. We called, and, in a very stressed tone, she relayed to us that she had been trying by herself to put a basketball hoop together for her kids ALL day and needed a 1/2 inch wrench to finish it. To add to her stress, she also had an appointment to get to in just an hour! We excitedly told her we knew right where one was and that we would be there in 10 minutes! We got one from a fellow missionary who works with us in the Visitor Center and lives just down the street. We arrived at her house just 8 minutes later and were able to help her finish the project. Her kids were SO excited, and she was extremely relieved and grateful! She said she had wanted to call someone but didn't want to ask for help and admit defeat.

I know that the Lord was watching out for our dear friend Katrina. He wants Katrina's kids to not only have food and a home, but things to play with to give them exercise and happiness! The Lord made sure that the timing worked out. The Lord prompted us to call her just when we did, made sure our missionary friend was home with his tools near him, and allowed us to have the time in our schedule to help Katrina.

On a funnier note, my companion and I got to go on a little bike ride this week! We borrowed the elder's bikes while they were borrowing our car (great trade-off right?), and we rode around the parking lot! Both their bike's breaks don't really work, and one of the elders is so tall that my companion couldn't even reach the pedals if she sat on the bike seat, but it was a blast! I learned that riding a bike in a pencil skirt IS possible, but definitely not comfortable. Haha. Later this week, the elders borrowed our car again to travel to a member's home who lives on top of a GIANT hill. We walked for an hour and a half to our next appointment, "coincidentally" DOWN a giant hill. I will admit I was not the most positive about it. However, it humbled me and my companion and made us all the more grateful for our car!!

We are so blessed to have heating, food, shelter, cars, and so many other things that make our lives easier! I challenge you to recognize God's hand in your life and the blessings He gives you on a more frequent basis. As we try to have more grateful hearts, I promise that the Lord will reward us with even more blessings and happiness.

  "Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it":)

"Worry doesn't take the sorrow out of tomorrow, but the joy out of today. It pulls today's clouds over tomorrow's sunshine."

Till next week,
Sister Bergman

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Birthday Oregon and Happy Valentines Day!

Happy Birthday Oregon!
Valentines Day!

Guess what? Oregon was established as a state on February 14th, 1859! 

In addition, happy Valentines Day! 

Although Valentine's Day is usually thought of as a time for candy hearts, wrapped chocolates, flowers, and cheesy gifts, I like to think of Valentine's Day as a chance to remind our family and friends how much we love and appreciate them!

I am SO thankful for my family and friends. I am thankful for the knowledge that I have that my family is eternal. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that families can be together forever through the power God restored to the earth. That is such a comforting thing to know! 

One of the most popular things to do in the Portland Temple Visitor Center lately is to watch a full-length movie called "Meet the Mormons!" It is a great illustrator of just how family-centered Mormons really are. This film describes the lives of 6 Mormon families from all different walks of life - their families, their trials, and their joys! If you have ever wondered who Mormons really are, what they believe, and why they are so happy, this is a wonderful movie to see! It is family friendly, inspirational, and a must-see!

It is now available in visitor Centers around the world for 6 months! You can even watch it on demand or pre-order it online. 

Check it out at the Portland Visitor Center or an LDS Temple Visitor Center near you. There are showings at 1 and 4 pm EVERY day, and by reservation! Come join us!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Our Everlasting Return Policy

Hey y'all!
Guess what? I have been working on my southern accent!
On average, I introduce myself to around 45 new people a week, if not more, in the Portland Visitor Center. After telling them I am from Atlanta, Georgia, I almost always get the question:
 "You don't sound like you have much of a southern accent?"....
So for my sanity and for the safety of all those I meet, I have been working on introducing myself like the true southerner I am: Haii...I'm from Lana, Georgia.

Something else I have been able to work on this week is my skills in the game of Rummikub...

Earlier last week, we stopped by this cute couple's house one evening to meet Rose, a nonmember, and Jack, a return missionary who comes to church periodically (names have been changed). When they answered the door, they asked us to come join them in their game of RUMMIKUB! :) We gladly accepted. Though I did not end up winning, we did leave their home "winning" in God's eyes. After the game, we got to know them a little more, and then asked Rose if she had ever been taught the lessons by missionaries. She said she'd had good discussions with them, but was never taught about the church. We asked her if she would be willing to take the lessons, and she said yes! I thoroughly believe that she said yes because we had FIRST taken time to establish a relationship with her and show her that we love and care for her. That is the real reason behind all of our actions/challenges/requests as missionaries: LOVE.
    We were able to have a lesson a couple days later, and it went amazing! Rose asked a lot of questions and learned a lot. She wants to read the Book of Mormon everyday, even if she does not understand it, so she can feel of the power in it that we always talk about. We have another lesson with her next week!
From this experience, we can learn a few things!
1. Never turn down a game of Rummikub (even if you have never heard of it! #Sister Riley)
2. Before trying to share the gospel with someone, show them you LOVE them.
3. No matter how insignificant your efforts may seem to do good, to love others, and to share what you believe, God will always make your efforts count!

 I want you to know that I LOVE you all and care about you, just like I care about Jack and Rose! Y'all have struggles and trials, but y'all also have the Lord. If you turn to Him I promise you that He will lift your burdens. :)

I can't end this week's post without telling you how grateful I am for return policies!

A couple days ago, I was blow-drying my hair at the dreadful hour of 6:30 am, and upon finishing, I  pressed the cold air button to "set" my movie-star hairstyle. The next day, I turned on my blow-dryer to dry my dripping wet hair, but something just wasn't the same...  only cold air came out, no matter what button I pressed! So much for the blow-DRYER... So, we decided to go through the huge ordeal of going out of our area to go to the store during the week! After calling our district leader, then zone leader, then the Assistants to the President, we scrambled to the store in between appointments to buy a new blow dryer! After sifting through 15 different types of cheap blow dryers, I finally decided on one that looked half-promising. I tried it out at the store (I didn't know this store let you do that but apparently they do) and it worked, but it had a lose button, so I snatched a different one and checked out, hoping for the best! The next day, I turned my NEW blow dryer on to find that it only blows warm air, not cold or hot...Only the Bergman family...The Bergman family is known for ALWAYS getting the one defective product on the shelf. So, after once again calling our district leader, then zone leader, then APs, we went BACK to the store the next day. I returned the "warm-dryer", tried out a couple other cheap choices, and chose an entirely new one. Hopefully this one lasts at least a week....
Lessons learned?
1. Don't buy a blow-dryer at a "discount" store.
2. Test the exact product you are going to buy!
3. ALWAYS keep your receipts.
4. Be Grateful for Return policies

Though I am super grateful to be able to return things I buy, a convenience I use all the time, I am MUCH more grateful for the LORD's return policy: Repentance!

I am SO glad that the Lord does not expect us to be perfect! This life is all about making choices, learning from our mistakes, and coming closer to Christ. Without repentance, we would all be stuck with SO many unneeded "purchases" like guilt, sadness, regret, anger, and despair. Our hearts would be full of regretful conversations, stupid choices, and destructive thoughts. However, Jesus Christ suffered for each of our hopeless moments, for our aches and pains, heart-aches, and loneliness. He understands disease. He knows how we feel when we sin, when we feel regret. He's overcome all of our physical, mental, and emotional challenges through his Atonement. Because of this, we are able to "return" anything to the Lord that keeps us from Him - whenever we want! Our opportunities to be forgiven and feel better never expire. I am SO grateful for this. It is a blessing to be able to use the Atonement in my life EVERY day!

To end,
I encourage you to call upon the Atonement daily. I also challenge you to meet one or two new people this week that you can impact in a positive way - whether it be through a smile, a friendly conversation, or a kind act of service!

I know your lives will be blessed as you try to do these things. I promise you that your burdens will be lifted, your heart will be lighter, your smile will be a little wider, your capacity to love will be much greater, and your life will be more joyful!

I hope y'all have a wonderful week!
Sister Bergman

Friday, January 30, 2015

Use Gospel Solutions

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a great week! I wanted to thank you all for your letters and packages. They always brighten my day, give me strength and courage, and make me feel loved! 

Guess what? I got transferred! I will now be serving in Lake Oswego, one of the wealthiest areas in the US! My new companion is Sister Riley, a sweet VC sister from St.George, Utah! She is in her last 6 weeks of her mission. We are whitewashing the area, but she has been here before, so it should be a little easier!

Fun Fact: Marijuana will be legal in Oregon this summer. We heard from a member this week a really funny comment about that. He said, "Now, when introducing themselves, the people of Oregon will not ask "Hi. How are you?" But, How, Hi are you?"....

I still need to tell you about my last week with Sister Quent. Last Friday was her birthday! It was probably one of the most sugary birthdays I have ever participated in. We had homemade vanilla birthday cake for lunch from our investigator Sam; corned beef with cabbage, potatoes, and carrots for dinner, with a huge side of homemade Pumpkin pie; Oreo ice-cream cake at our lesson with Miko; and donuts and cupcakes for fuel at our scripture study class that night. WOW. I feel sick writing this. Haha.

Also, one of our returning less-actives came to church for the 3rd time in 20+ years this week. The first two times, he was picked up, but this time, he made the conscious choice to drive, all on his own. So Proud! Secondly, Samm pushed up her baptism date to March 21st! Yay! :) 

I have a funny story from this past week I'd love to share. 

One beautiful Oregon day, sister Quent and I were driving to the Visitor Center for a shift. We were poking along at 55 mph even though traffic was going about 65 mph. To our surprise, we heard a car honking near us. As everyone always does, we looked around, wondering who the obnoxious noise could possibly be aimed towards! Realizing it was us, we attempted to speed up, since he could not pass us due to a huge truck in the lane next to us. However, we soon ran into a problem. Every time we pressed on the gas, this little angry 6 inch box called a TIWI (what a dumb name) yelled at us to "check your speed!!" (For those of you who are fortunate enough not to know what a Tiwi is, it is a driving regulation system that is required in every missionary car. You can actually get lower insurance rates if you install one in your car! I highly recommend selling lemonade on the corner to make those few extra bucks instead. NOT WORTH IT. haha)
     Anyways, we now had 2 options: speed up and get in trouble with our mission president or turn up the "gospel music" in the car to tune out the horn of the car behind us. Eventually, we decided on option two and continued towards our destination, while the man behind us laid on his horn for a good two miles. So, YES - we were THAT raucous on hwy.217 the other day... Eventually, the car passed us. We, like any normal people, stared straight ahead, pretending to be having one of the funniest conversations of our lives...

Some of you may ask, what can I possibly learn from this story? 

I say....many, many things. 
1. Patience is a virtue. In times of trouble, sometimes it is best to ignore things and drive on. 
2. We are in charge of only OUR own actions. Our lives are what we make them - unfortunate and hilarious, or stressful and depressing :) 
3. It is always better to solve problems using the Gospel - whether it be with words or music.
4. Not all inventions are beneficial for man - like the Tiwi.

I will leave you with three favorite quotes from this past week regarding prayer, a wonderful tool of God that, unlike the Tiwi, is flawless and VERY useful. :)

1. "The purpose of prayer is to align the will of the Father with the will of the child."

2. “Morning and evening prayers--and all of the prayers in between--are not unrelated, discrete events; rather, they are linked together each day and across days, weeks, months, and even years. This is in part how we fulfill the scriptural admonition to ‘pray always’ (Luke 21:36) Such meaningful prayers are instrumental in obtaining the highest blessings God holds in store for His faithful children”

3. "The Holy Ghost can bring truth UNTO our hearts, but we have to exercise our agency to let the Holy Ghost INTO our hearts" 

I hope you all have a wonderful week! Remember to pray each day for missionary opportunities and read your scriptures. 15 minutes of spiritual nourishment makes a huge difference! 

Till next week,
Sister Bergman

Sister Bergman