Monday, December 29, 2014

Don't be grumpy, be grateful!

Hello friends and family!

Christmas came and left way too quickly, so it's a good thing we can celebrate Christ every day :)
I had a wonderful Christmas week, full of smiles, tears, memories, and miracles.
Monday we had our Mission Christmas party with all 250+ missionaries there. It was fun! We had food, some skits and musical numbers, and then a wonderful testimony meeting!

Tuesday, Sister Melgaard went home. I have since received word that her grandmother has been diagnosed with ALS, but will hopefully have a few years left. I am so grateful for the knowledge of what comes after this life though. I know she WILL see her grandmother again after her time on the earth is complete.
I met my new companion, sister Quent! She goes home in March. We laugh all the time. Awkward things always happen to us. Haha.

Christmas Eve we had a Christmas party in the VC! We got lots of food, shared our Christmas traditions,and each got a handmade missionary stocking and picture frame!  It was wonderful. We are a big family in the VC. We ended the night with the most beautiful and last VC Christmas performance by a family of 13 children, who all sing and harmonize together. Their parents taught them as little children to match pitches and harmonize. So cool!
Christmas Day was super different, but special.
We got to play some sports at 6am with our zone, and had a wonderful Christmas breakfast in a member's home. They were super generous to us.

Miracle ALERT:
During our breakfast, the Zone leaders dropped of a package from my wonderful cousin Lisa, but then they returned a couple minutes later. They asked us to come with them and told us they had a gift for us. We went outside, and they told us they had met a lady walking on the street and she was interested in the gospel! We went and met her, sang a Christmas carol to her, and set a return appointment for next Friday! So cool! It was definitely a Christmas Miracle! We will see what happens..

We went with another companionship to downtown Portland afterwards and gave out cookies and "He is the Gift" cards to the homeless people. We had some really interesting experiences there. We met one girl in particular, who has been in tons of foster homes, but her favorite was when she was with a Mormon family! We talked and shared some thoughts, she took a Book of Mormon, and then we sang to her. It was an eye opening experience and very humbling to see all those in need. We are all so blessed. Christ is so giving and so loving, and we can always turn to Him in times of troubles AND joy.

Christmas dinner was with another wonderful family. We received bars of chocolate from 7 different places. The husband is a chocolate connoisseur. :) I look forward to trying all the different kinds. We ended the night by caroling in a neighborhood. We met people of all different faiths, but they were all open to our songs and feeling the Christmas spirit.

Overall, this Christmas was so different, but so special. I was really able to celebrate CHRIST and remember his birth and love for all of us. Christ did not have to choose to be good, to always do what is right, to turn the other cheek, to love his enemies, and to die for us. He did not have to choose the harder path, but He did, willingly, because He knew it would enable all mankind to have indescribable joy and to return to him. Jesus Christ was born in love, and died, because of love, for us. let us continue to remember him EVERY DAY of the year. EVERYDAY is Christmas.
Miracle ALERT:
While we were walking around in the cold on Saturday looking for a member home, a man started to walk past. I was going to ignore him, but sister Quent said hello and asked him where this said apartment was. He, Charlie, did not know, so I was going to walk away, but sister Quent kept chatting with him. She is such an awesome missionary. From this conversation, he learned what Mormons are, what the Book of Mormon is, and how our religion came to be. He wants to come to our scripture study class, and gave us his # so he can learn more. MIRACLES! I, being shy, would have passed by the opportunity, but sister Quent was a great example of opening her mouth, and we saw miracles from it. I have a feeling he and George will be great friends! I wonder what will come of meeting Charlie! I will keep you posted.

Miracles ALERT:
Later Saturday, I was also super blessed to be able to attend my first baptism. The lady we taught in the VC got baptized! Sister Priday, who also taught her, came with me! She was so excited we were able to get permission to cross mission boundaries to come! She is from Vancouver. She was so happy and had such a glow about her. She is such a changed person already from when I first met her. The gospel is such a wonderful thing that changes lives and brings so much joy and happiness.

This life truly is full of miracles. I am so grateful for Jesus Christ and all the gifts he has given me. I hope with this new year, that we can all recommit ourselves to follow Jesus Christ and love others with a more Christ-like love, giving of ourselves, our time, and our talents. I know we will be blessed.

Quote of the week:
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said: “Life was very inconvenient for [Jesus], and, unless I miss my guess, it will often be so for you and for me when we take upon us his name”.

Doing missionary work IS hard and inconvenient sometimes, but it IS worth it. Loving the gospel IS usually inconvenient and difficult, but IS incredibly worth it.  I know that to be true. We can show our love for Jesus Christ by living inconvenient lives.

Have a wonderful new year! 
Love, Sister Bergman

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Quick Post

Hi all!
The biggest news this week is that my companion is going home early. It is a sudden surprise :/ She had 5 weeks left, but she got news that her grandmother got suddenly ill, so she is going home to be with her family for Christmas. She leaves tomorrow. I do not know who my new companion will be yet. I will stay in Beaverton though. I will really miss my companion! She has taught me so much and I love her bunches. She has been such a great missionary and finished strong!

One of our investigators is going to be baptized and quit smoking in 9 days! Every time we teach him, he never ceases to amaze me. The Lord has truly prepared him so well. He brightens my day every time I think about all the miracles we have experienced with him. We have one last lesson with him tonight before my comp. Leaves!

Secondly, ELDER BALLARD, an apostle of the Lord, is coming to our stake conference in January! (He is a President Ballard's father). I am so excited to get to meet one of the 12 apostles of the Lord. 

Miracle alert!
one of the members we are working with continues to make progress. He prayed this week in a lesson, twice actually, which is huge progress! Then, we had a lesson yesterday, and he also prayed to open that lesson.
Another miracle I would like to share is about our VC investigator. We had a wonderful lesson with her on Tuesday. We found out that she has been coming to church with two friends for over two months now, of her own choosing. She loves church and feels something special there. When we first met her, about 5 weeks ago, she has no hope, was super mad at God, and had no interest in the church. As she has come to church and come to the VC on Tuesdays, she is SO much happier and more hopeful. She is intrigued by the gospel and loves to soak in the information. She wants to keep learning and does mention the possibility of baptism way in the future. The VC is so wonderful. It truly makes a difference in people's lives.

It has been great to feel the spirit of Christmas this past week leading up to the 25th. I won't lie, I have had moments of homesickness, but if I had the chance to be with them for Christmas or be here, it wouldn't even be a choice. I would stay! 
I am So thankful for the Savior of the world and the gift He has given me in my life. I know this church is true, and I know that living a life centered on Christ is the only true way to true happiness and joy. I love you all so much and wish you all the best. Turn to the lord In everyone you do!

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

Merry Christmas!!
 Sister Bergman

Monday, December 8, 2014

15 Minutes...

Hi All!
This week it has been CRAZY BUSY at the VC because of the Christmas performances every night, but it has been fun! We also had our Stake Nativity festival the whole weekend, where over 300 nativities were displayed, with live choirs singing in the background! The event turned out spectacular.

Last week's P-day was crazy! We went to Mt. Hood, which was about an hour and a half away. I didn't know what that meant, but it turns out we were going up the snowy mountain to sled!  I was dressed in tennis shoes and not too warm clothes, but I still had a blast!! We had 6 sister missionaries and some other friends come. We walked forever up the mountain till we got to a really steep slope and slid down a bunch of times with about 7 sleds. It was definitely a top P-day of my mission!
I have lots of miracles to share of course, but here is one of the most recent ones. This one occurred on a "bad day", and we didn't recognize it as a miracle until "after the trial of our faith" (Ether 12:6).

Miracle #1- Saturday, we had nothing planned for the morning. We had tried, but nothing was solid and everything fell through. We were discouraged, but went out anyway. Sister Melgaard says this normally happens when we are meant to run into or happen into some cool situation where the Lord needed us. We hoped this would happen. However, no one we visited was answering. On our way out of a neighborhood, sister Melgaard said " we are close to the "Grant family". Let's go visit them." So we called and the husband said to come over, so we did. The husband and wife are semi-active in the Ward and are fun to visit with. We didn't really feel particularly prompted to go over there. We talked about him fellow-shipping one of our investigators, but we did not have any particularly spiritual conversation. We left with plans for lunch on P-day. We left and were able to contact a very less- active woman,but again, it was just kind of a mediocre day.
Well, today at church,  "Sister Grant"came up to us, and she was like "what did you tell my husband last night!???" I came home last night, and he said: " honey, we need to go grocery shopping because I have decided not to shop on Sunday anymore, I am cooking dinner tomorrow, and we need to start reading scriptures and praying daily."..... She said "good thing I was sitting because I would have fallen over." She was in tears, she was so grateful. She has been trying to get him to turn things around and read scriptures with her for months, maybe even years!!
 The weirdest thing is- we didn't even really say anything spiritual to him! We know now that we were meant to see him and that the day was productive. We had no idea just how much they were struggling. The Lord is so wonderful. He really does take our efforts and multiply them by a million.

Its amazing what can happen because of 15 minutes of conversation!
Miracle #2: At Tuesday Evening's performance in the VC, one of our investigators and her friend showed up! She is the one whose only family, her father, died suddenly. We talked to her, and it was amazing to see the difference in her countenance from the week before when she had no hope to now.They walked over to the Book of Mormon booth and she LOVED a video that talked about having faith.  She was like this is what I need- it's super simple!  They are going to come back every Tuesday night. I found out that she has been to church for 6-8 weeks of her own accord! :) She left like a kid in a candy store - smiling from ear to ear and super excited about learning more.
Again - It's amazing what 15 minutes of feeling the Spirit can give a person :)

Miracle #3 - Guess what?? Nancy, the woman I had the miracle with at the VC a couple weeks ago, she is on date to get baptized. I am so excited for her! Though the baptism is outside my mission, I got permission to go. I am so excited :) 
It's amazing what 15 minutes of sibling conversation can bring :)

Miracle #5 : One of our recent converts came into the VC this week for a Christmas performance, but during it, she got a text that she did not get a job she had applied for. She lost her other job this week, so she was very distraught. We promised her to just have faith and that the Lord cares about her. Later that evening, she called us. She had emailed another place to see if the had any openings. The manager said they did have an opening, got her resume, and there is a good chance she will get the other job. It was amazing to see how quickly the Lord can respond to our prayers for help when we are following the commandments and trying to have faith!

One thing I have been studying this week is the Atonement. 2 Nephi 9 is incredible. I have also been pondering the difference between mercy and justice. Do you know the difference?

 Because of Jesus Christ's Atonement, we can all be exempt from the demands of justice which demand consequences for our sins, and the Lord is allowed to have mercy on us and let us start over, again and again. Jesus already paid for those sins.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:  "Even Christ did not convert everyone....He was perfect and knew EXACTLY what they needed, but he understood the principle of AGENCY." 

I am so grateful to have my agency - to be able to choose what I want to do in my life, but I know that if I follow the road that Jesus Christ walked, that my life will be so much happier and more rewarding in the end. Though living the gospel is hard, it has been rewarding, is rewarding, and will continue to bring me great, eternal blessings!

This Christmas season, you have probably seen the "He is the Gift" video on Facebook or on other social media. If you haven't seen it, please do! it is only 3 minutes long,  but it is an incredible message. Jesus Christ truly is the greatest gift we have ever been given. This Christmas season, I invite you to give a gift back to Christ by giving of your time or love to a stranger, even if it is only 15 minutes. As you have read, 15 minutes can make a huge difference in people's lives!

Well, that is it for this week!
Merry Christmas everyone!
Sister Bergman

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Sweaters, hot chocolate, turkey, and reindeer, it must just be that time of year!

Greetings all! 
This week was wonderful! The area is blossoming. We have made some good relationships with the members and know who we can always turn to in times of need. The people here are so kind and loving.  The weather here has been getting colder, but it's not as bitter here as in Georgia or Mississippi with all the humidity, so I have not been too cold. Some days, portland is simply breathtakingly beautiful.
We have had tons of miracles, but I will just share a few! 
We had a lesson with George, a referral from two different people! a veteran and has been in and out of work for a long time, but finally has a steady job at a gas station! He said he looking to "get off the fence." He made so many comments about wanting structure and organization in his life, wanting to take care of himself personally, and wanting to do things that really mean something. These are ALL things that this gospel brings into people's lives! As it turns out, he was friends with an lds family as a youth and went to FHE with them, and His uncle and his co worker, Fred weeks, at the gas station are LDS. It just truly shows that God is always planting little seeds and that they truly do add up and help people come closer to God! We taught the whole first lesson. He is seeing that we have the puzzle pieces that he has been searching for. He is super committed to read the BOM everyday. We had another lesson Sunday with him and it went really well too! He actually came to church, so we had both our investigators at church yesterday! He is learning more and lots of things made a lot of sense to him. He even gave the closing prayer! 
Second, we were about to teach a lesson to our investigator Samm, who has been recovering from some surgeries! She asked so many great questions and really liked the answers. She said she has always had some missing puzzle pieces in her Understanding of God and religious and that we were able to provide her answers to those questions that really made sense! She was super excited to come to church and continue learning :) Then, we were able to have a second lesson with her and give her service later in the week. This lesson went just as well! She is such a kind, nice person and we are so excited for her! 
Third, on Friday, a girl came into the VC who said she was from Centerville, UT. I know Elder Gowdy is from there, my best friend ever, and so I asked her if she knew him! It turns out, that she does!! We hugged and talked for about an hour! In fact, if any of you read Elder Gowdy's blog, he has been teaching a guy named Malone. Malone was referred to Elder Gowdy by this girl, named Camille! So she was really excited to meet the girl who Elder Gowdy talks about and expressed her gratitude that he is teaching her friend! Small world! :) 
Lastly, remember Nancy who came into the VC last week? Well the Bishop who was in the group emailed me about Nancy. She went to church for the first time and is even mentioning baptism! She really wants to come back to the VC, so I hope she visits soon!  So cool :) I love seeing the Gospel change lives. 
During the rest of the week, some of the people we taught include Karen, a woman who lost her father 3 months ago very unexpectedly that we met in the VC, Amy, a lady we met on chat, Floyd, an older man struggling to come back to church, King, a borne again Christian wanting to further his knowledge, and Vera, a mother going through divorce. The gospel truly heals all wounds :) 
Haha. One of our lunches this week was cottage cheese and canned pears and beans from 2010... We didn't get sick though :) 
For one of our dinners,we had awesome minestrone soup and salad and cinnamon streusel muffins from Betty Crocker - SO GOOD. I recommend them. 
Thanksgiving this year was different, but great! We went to the VC in the morning, got a little gift from sister Morgan, and had a great breakfast all together. Then we hung up decorations and the Christmas tree! I was super nervous about dinner because the family eats super organic,  and the last time I was there for dinner,  I struggled with all the new foods. 
Well...I only liked 2 out of 12 ingredients in the salad, so that was a struggle, but the rest of the dinner went surprisingly well! 
( Please don't get me wrong here, I am SO GRATEFUL for the members who feed us and for having food to eat, but I just seriously am picky. I really am trying to stretch myself though and be polite. This member really is a fantastic cook. I see why I didn't go to a foreign country now. I joked about the foods there, but I seriously do get super anxious about eating new food. I don't think I could have handled it!) Anyways, we had tons of options for dinner! We had the choice of organic wheat rolls (made with spelt), turkey( raised and killed from their backyard), twice- baked organic gold potatoes, this rice and meat stuff, green beans, organic coleslaw (made with coconut milk b/c they do not eat mayonnaise), sushi rolls, mixed organic vegetables, and personally squeezed grape juice (they had grape vines in their backyard). In fact, the grape juice was from 2010! Everything was gluten free and organic, if you can tell. For dessert, there was pumpkin pie (with no condensed milk), talenti caramel sea salt ice cream, organic vanilla ice cream, pecan pie (with no corn starch), peanut butter cheesecake with choc. Gelato on top, persimmon cobbler, and pumpkin swirl bread, ALL Made with palm sugar. They even make their own mayonnaise and sea salt! They do not eat real sugar, corn, condensed milk, or soy, among other things. I loved the twice baked potatoes, bread, turkey, the grape juice ( super delicious!), the rice and meat, and the green beans :) For dessert, I had the pumpkin pie with my favorite icecream - the Talenti caramel sea salt (you should try it. It's at Walmart :) 
We also listed 100 things we were each grateful for. I wrote a lot of things but this year, I am MOST grateful for the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, for my family, for being able to be on a mission, for the Atonement of Jesus Christ that allows me to repent, for the Scriptures, and for the Holy Ghost, who testifies of truth, comforts me, prompts me, and warns me of danger. Every single one of these things is crucial. I cannot live without them or return to God without them :) I am also grateful for all the people in my life, food, a roof over my head, a warm bed, indoor plumbing, my temper- pedicure pillow and heaters :) haha. 
On another note, we got a Christmas tree in our apartment! 

Most of you know that, in order for me to serve a mission, I had to pause my schooling in music and put down my horn for 2 years. It was hard to just trust the Lord that He will bring those skills back quickly when I return so that I can continue progressing in my career. But, I realized this week, that I went from PLAYING an instrument to BEING an instrument for God.
I think the latter is much more important. I will affect so many more people's lives for the better here, on a mission, than I ever can/ will in my lifetime of performing music.

Second, I have been studying about Nephi, an ancient prophet in the Book of Mormon. In 2 Nephi 4,  Lehi is giving his dying last sermon and Nephi talks about all at God has given him and entrusted him to do. Yet, he is frustrated because he is still susceptible to weakness and sin. He knows what's right and he still does wrong. But he cried unto God and decides to trust in him and turn everything over to him! 
I really liked the reminder that even Nephi, who was a great prophet, sinned, made mistakes, and had to repent. Even he got frustrated with himself for falling into the same pattern of knowing right from wrong, but still falling into sin. So when we are super frustrated with ourselves for our mistakes, let us remember that the Lord will never get fed up with us. Even the best of us mess up, but if we use the Atonement and repent, we can always wipe our slate clean. We can always start over and recommit to becoming closer to God.

Quotes of the Week:
"God does not expect you to be someone you are not, but sometimes he does expect us to be someone we are not yet" - God sees us not as we are now, but as we can/will be" - anonymous missionary.

I, with all my love, encourage you to pray daily, read your scriptures, and follow the commandments. DON'T make excuses. Jesus Christ never did :)

Also, go to and watch the new Christmas video called " He is the Gift!" It is a wonderful reminder of the true meaning of Christmas! It should be on the homepage and is only 3 minutes long :) 
Love, Sister Bergman