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