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