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 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Everything Happens for a Reason

Hi all!

Next week I'll have been out in Portland for three months, which means I'm almost done with my training! Wow! We get 2 new sisters in the VC this next Monday.

This week, we got two new investigators and two less actives! We have been teaching a wonderful Brazilian woman for a while now. She is a new member. Lots of things have been happening to her lately, like losing her job and going through a divorce. However, because of these things, she has had more time to become closer to God, to read scriptures, and to pray. Last week, she texted us that she was talking to a Brazilian family moving to Portland. It turns out, the parents are less-active LDS! They all came to our scripture class we have on Fridays, and then to church on Sunday! They are all going to take the lesson from us, and the two daughters want to get baptized! The family said they had no intention of coming back to church in America, but they believe there is a reason the first person they had contact with in Oregon was a member of our church! They are excited to make friends and be an eternal family.

Funny moments:
1: We asked the Brazilian teenagers what their favorite food here in America is, and they said BACON! ...haha. :)

2: While on exchanges, we visited this less-active in the ward, and she was fostering a dog who was pregnant. We talked a little about the puppies and when they would be born and stuff. A couple minutes passed and I asked "so is your dog a boy or a girl??"......she said "well I just told you she is having puppies so it must be a girl, right?".....I felt SO dumb. Haha. Missions are seriously the most awkward 18 months of your life, but we sure laugh a lot :)

We also got a Tiwi in our car this week! They are super annoying! If you don't know what that is, Google it :)

Also, my uncle showed up in the VC randomly this past week! He didn't even know I was there! We ended up going to lunch and he brought his co-worker, who is now going to go to a YSA ward and start taking the lessons hopefully! So cool! He owns a store in Beaverton!

On P-day today, we went to downtown Portland and got the famous Salt and Straw ice cream! I tried Elvis ice cream ( like a PB and J sandwich), sea salt ice cream with caramel ribbons, cinnamon snicker doodle, chocolate gooey brownie, and strawberry honey balsamic with cracked black pepper. The strawberry one was NASTY!! But I had to try a crazy one. Haha. I got the cinnamon snicker doodle one :) we also went to the site of twilight where Edward lives. It is crazy how they can make the surroundings of the house look so different!

Remember to pray for missionary experiences and keep working on those new goals you
have all set! I know that at we strive to share the gospel and are willing to open our mouths, God will put someone in our path who is willing to listen :) Everything happens for a reason, and God can work miracles, even with just a 5 minute gospel conversation!
-Sister Bergman

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Let Heaven Have Someone In Mind

Hi All!

This week was one of a kind. Elder Ballard, an Apostle of the Lord, came this past weekend to Beaverton! Before I talk about that, however, I want to tell you about all the other activities of the week!

I got a haircut this week! It had been 6 months...

Here is a funny story typical of the Bergman family...
Two weeks ago, my email on my ipad quit working altogether, so I had to put in a request for a new ipad. I got one this week, but Elders just dropped it off. Basically, they said "Good luck getting it set up and transferring everything over because we have no idea how to do it!" and left...In their defense, they were super busy! Anyways, I figured I could do it myself. How hard can it be really? We have a special software we have to put on the ipads in order to use them as missionaries. So, I got started downloading everything and trying to decipher some instructions they had given me. Two hours or so later...the last thing I had to do was copy over my pictures and notes and I would be done! (This is actually only supposed to take like 30 minutes total). Well, I opened my notes app, and...they were all gone! I had over a month's worth of journaling in my notes! GRR! I spent the next couple hours downloading different programs to search for my deleted notes. Most of them found them, but of course, wanted to force me to spend like $50 for the software...I finally gave up, but kept praying. Two days later, I was informed that my notes were probably synced to my email app unknowingly, so when I deleted the app on my old app, they went away. I was informed that, though I had set up my email on my new ipad, so  they should have returned, I set it up through an exchange account instead of a Google account. Sure enough, I set up my email the correct way the next day, and they appeared. It was like Christmas! (But more like those times when you buy all your gifts with all your own money, wrap them yourself, and then open them by yourself on Christmas alone. Somehow....its not quite the same feeling...haha.) But I'm glad to have them back! God is good :)

One more funny story. We were in a lesson this week, and we were discussing some of the Mormon lingo that most people don't ward, General conference..etc. The member explained that when he first joined the church, they called the large church buildings "stake houses" instead of "stake centers." So, every so often, he would say to his friends: I'm going over to the stakehouse to play basketball tonight." haha.. He said he always got really weird looks..

Yesterday will be a day I will never forget! Not only did we get to hear Elder Ballard speak twice, but George got baptized! In Conference, our Stake President told us there were 750 more members living in our stake geographical boundaries. We just have to find them. Now there are 749.

      Before the baptism, we had a great lunch put on by some wonderful ladies in our ward, since there was not enough time for people to eat lunch in between Stake Conference and his baptism.His uncle came from Orem, Utah and baptized him, which was an awesome blessing. The spirit was really strong and the speakers did fabulous. Sister Quent and I sang a duet called "Gethsemane" that we sang at the Christmas VC performances, and George teared up. That is the first time I have seen him cry. Sister Melgaard was also able to Skype, which George and her really appreciated. However, the best miracle was that George's dad showed up! We think he showed up to pick up George after his baptism, but he came at 2 pm, which is when it started. He had not seemed interested every time George brought it up, but we persuaded him he might as well come see it. He also brought George's cousin, a woman prob, in her 60s. They came in uncomfortable and wary, but left uplifted, open, smiling, and joking. The difference was incredible! George's cousin said at the end of the baptism: "I have learned more in the last two days about the Mormon church than I have in my entire life living by them. I want to know more." We got her email and are referring her to missionaries in California! We were so glad all this family came to see George, who is absolutely ecstatic to be baptized. He looks forward to being confirmed next Sunday! He also told us today that one of his goals is to read the Book of Mormon al the way through, and he is starting today.

I am humbled by all the blessings that the Lord is giving me, my companion, and other missionaries around the world. I know this is the Lord's work.

I had the opportunity to hear Elder Ballard speak 5 times this weekend, which is yet another experience I will never forget! These days, he said the likelihood of an Apostle coming to a stake conference is once every THIRTY years. Wow. Every meeting was packed! In two of the meetings, I sat on the FIRST row. The neck cramp was worth it :) One thing I did not expect, is that Elder Ballard is HILARIOUS! He made some many funny comments. I wish I could do them justice on paper, but I just cant. Here is one though. 

After attempting to name the # of grandchildren he has, Elder Ballard said: " There are 46 or 47 of them... I can't remember. They come like just cant keep count!" Ha.

Here is another incredibly, but funny story Elder Ballard shared.
A couple years ago, Elder Ballard was reorganizing a stake presidency. Contrary to the norm, he was unsure who to call as the new stake president. He interviewed about 45 men, but none were right. As he was conversing with the former Stake President trying to figure out what to do, a man in tennis shoes and workout clothes with headphones in ran jogged down the hallways outside their room.
 Elder Ballard asked: "Who's that?" 
 "I don't know..."
"Well go find out!"
The Stake president brought him back to the room, and Elder Ballard asked him what his name was. It turns out, the man was a member looking to move somewhere nearby. He was checking out different homes while jogging and happened to see an LDS church building, so he decided to walk through to see what it looked like. Elder Ballard talked to him for a bit and then asked "Will you call your wife and tell you to bring you a suit and a tie?" The man said "Why?" "Because I'm calling you as the new stake president!" The man said: "I don't even have a house yet!" Elder Ballard said: "Well that's easy! Buy one!" haha. The man called his wife and asked her to bring him a suit. She asked why, and when he told her, she too replied" We don't even have a house yet!"  But, they agreed. In stake conference the NEXT day, when the new stake president was announced, everyone looked at their neighbor and whispered "who??"... Everything turned out great though, and the man served faithfully for 8 years as the stake President!

On a more spiritual note, here are some highlights from the conference. The main topic this whole weekend was missionary work. I think that means something - that every topic of the conference was centered on sharing the Gospel. It should be out top priority in life, next to our own eternal families.

"You will not shy away from opportunities to share the gospel if, in your mind, you have gone to Gethsemane." - Elder Ballard

I invite you to think about that phrase "gone to Gethsemane." Have you gone to Gethsemane? How deeply is Christ ingrained in your heart?

Something else I loved it that there are two kinds of faith:
1. faith borne from experience of everyday life
2. the Faith that calls forth CHANGE. Few possess it. It is the faith that causes ACTION.

"If you think that missionary work is still just for full-time missionaries, you are not KEEPING UP!"
"If we have really partaken of the fruit, we would not be able to resist sharing it!"
"Don't run faster than you have strength, but do RUN"

Elder Ballard invited us "to set a date within 60 days from now to have a missionary lesson in your home. If you pray for missionary experiences as a family and in your personal prayers with an intent to ACT on the opportunities that present themselves, then I promise you that the Lord will provide the person or family."

I invite you to take up Elder Ballard's invitation. I promise you that if you do, your family will be blessed and you will find more happiness. Sharing the gospel is the cheapest (haha) and most effective way to find JOY.

I am so grateful to be serving a full-time mission for the Lord at this time. I know that sharing the gospel is something we are ALL capable of. As I go forward this week a little bolder and a little wiser, I invite you to as well! If you decide to open your mouth and share the gospel, Heavenly Father will put someone near you to listen!

I love you all and have a great week!
Sister Bergman

Monday, January 5, 2015

YOU are important!

Hi all!

I have officially been in the field for 2 months and two days! WOOT!

I am going to jump right into miracles this week... :)
We have been trying to contact a referral we received named Wynter for a long time. Missionaries talked to her once about two months ago, but we have not been able to make contact since. We have had a feeling not to give up on contacting her, so we have stopped by almost every week to no avail..
THIS WEEK, however, we stopped by when we had a few extra minutes one day, and she was there! I finally got to meet Wynter, this sweet old lady who is anxious to learn and come closer to Christ. We were able to set up an appointment to meet next week! If we are persistent and have faith, God will show us miracles.

We have a new Investigator! She is an older Japanese woman who took the lessons 10 years ago, decided not to get baptized, and has since decided to come back to this church and wants to get baptized! We had our first lesson with her, and it went awesome! She told us that one of the things that really drew her to the church is that the only neighbors around her who ever visited her and were kind to her were her LDS friends. I am sure there were plenty of other nice people living close by, but nevertheless, it made a great impact on her! She wrote down everything we said (literally) and asked us all about ourselves and what missionaries do.  She was soo willing to learn and soak it all in. She kept saying "oh I am so blessed!!" We taught her how to pray and she was super excited to try it out. We invited her to pray day and night and she said "oh yes!!" She came to church yesterday in her Ward and loved it.

Miracle #3:
Our less-active member we have been working with came to church this last week for the first time in 20 years! After months of visiting him, teaching him, and loving him, he came to the sunday school class called Gospel Principles and loved it! He said he will come again.

We have a baptism THIS Sunday after Stake conference with Elder Ballard! We are SO excited for him.

One of our investigators told us about her friend who is interested in hearing our message. How cool is that? We are excited to meet her this week.

So there is a less-active family (I will say the McMillans) in our ward who I have not really been able to meet yet. Sister Quent, who was here for 7 months, has not even met the grandmother yet. Well, the grandmother fell very ill and was in the hospital. We called her husband, and he said his wife said we could come visit suprisingly! We did, and she was so nice and wonderful. She said she has pushed missionaries and the church away for a long time, but now she feels she better start letting us in :) We were able to share a video message with her, and she looks forward to our next visit!

We put up the banner for Meet the Mormons on Friday. it is hard to explain, but we had to uninstall the old banners and put new ones on this tension - roll up system. The instructions were AWFUL. It said it would only take 10-15 minutes...well...2 HOURS later, we finally got them installed!

Meet the Mormons is in the Visitor Center now for 6 months! We show it twice a day, so we have had a good amount of traffic through the VC this last week, which is wonderful.

Have any of you ever read "A Christmas dress for Ellen"? Well, the postman that delivered the crate in the snow to the starving family was Sister Holt's (one of our VC Senior missionaries) grandfather! It was her who was contacted by Deseret Book and helped write the story and put all the details of the event together! Years later, her son was in Colorado on a mission and he realized his companion was a Jensen (the name of the starving family). It turns out, he a descendant of the Postman, was companions with a descendant of the family the postman risked his life for! SO COOL!

Sister Quent and I are singing a duet in two sundays in church! We are singing "Savior, Redeemer of My Soul" :)

On a more spiritual note:
A lot of you may wonder how influential your efforts really are in bringing people to the gospel. You may wonder if the referrals you give to the missionaries ever really make a difference. Like most, you may have thought of a person or two that needs a stronger relationship with Christ, but never passed it on to the missionaries, for fear that "they are not ready" or that "it was just a coincidence" to have recalled their name.
However, I want to assure you that your efforts to do missionary work make a HUGE difference.
EVERY SINGLE ONE of our investigators right now are because of referrals. If people did not take the time to think and pray about those in their circle of friends who could benefit from a Christ-centered message, missionary work would not really progress.
I encourage you to be missionaries! Pray for missionary opportunities, for ways to share the gospel in simple, unobtrusive ways, and for promptings of names of those you know who are ready to hear more about Christ. The people we teach are important, special, and valued children of God. We are very grateful for every effort you make to share the gospel, and every one of them makes a difference.

"Never stop striving for the best that is within you" - Utchdorf

I would like to share the poem with you that really puts things into perspective.
I'll Find You My Friend

I was thinking about our friendship, and these are my feelings:
In heaven we were the best of friends.
We did everything together.
One day, a grand council was called in heaven.
We knew it was an important event.
Everyone was there-Moses, Noah, and Jesus Christ.
Father presented a plan, and we voted Christ to be our Savior.
After the council, we ran to get in line to receive our life package.
In the bustle, we were separated.
I received my package and ran to you.
You were sitting under a tree.
We opened our packages.
Mine said I would be born at a time
When the gospel was restored to the earth.
It said I would have good parents,
And the fullness of the gospel in my home.
I jumped for joy and we hugged each other.
You were so happy for me. Then you read yours.
I saw the tears in your eyes and I asked what was wrong.
You said that you also would be born when the gospel was restored.
But you would be born in a different place,
And the gospel would not be in your home,
You looked me strait in the eye and said:
Friend, Find me!
No matter what it takes or the trails you have to endure,
Find me!
And bring me the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I love you ALL! Have a great week!

Sister Bergman