Monday, February 3, 2014

All good things must come to an end...or do they?

Good Morning Everyone...

The miracles just keep pouring in. I feel so blessed to be a missionary and have the opportunity to have so many amazing experiences. I don't think I'll ever truly be able to express in words what I've experienced over the past 18 months, but it's been wonderful. 

This past week we saw lots of good things happen, just to mention a few I'll start with ________ from Mongolia. She is a young mother and wife but her husband and daughter are still in Mongolia waiting for their visa. She was really worried that their visas weren't going to come on time for her daughter to start school at the end of January, she asked if that was something she could pray for. We told her absolutely and that we also would pray for her family to get their visas. She comes from a pretty strong Buddhist background and expressed to us that she wasn't sure she'd ever believe in Jesus Christ but that she would listen to what we had to say. When we met with her Wednesday morning before we even began to teach what we had planned to, she told us that she had been praying. She just received word that her family's visa paperwork was finished and they are just waiting for the clearance from their health forms. 

She said when she came to church on Sunday she felt so much peace even though she couldn't understand everything that was being said, she said she felt that good feeling all week. THEN she says, "I know this church is true, I believe in Jesus Christ now"...amazing. She's agreed to be baptized but would like to wait until her family is here and settled. She also needs some time to talk to her husband and make sure he understands why she's decided to change religion. She's amazing, just the sweetest lady ever. 

Another miracle...we were riding the train home from attending a baptism of ________ (that's a whole other great story I'll tell another time). Anyways, we're on the train and one of our members sat behind us and we whispered to him, "Talk to that guy sitting next to you, c'mon, be a missionary."  And he's like, "ugh, ok fine." So he did. He started talking to him and then we turned around and joined in the conversation. His name is ________, he's from Korea! He's just been here one month, and we invited him to come to church the next day. He said that he would be there! He was so nice, we exchanged numbers and then got off the train. The next day, Sunday, we waited and waited and he never came, but I still had a good feeling and didn't worry too much about it. During church, we got a text from him saying he's sorry he couldn't come, that he overslept and just woke up! We said, no worries, and invited him to the chapel that afternoon for a "break the fast" dinner with the ward. 

The Chinese members were going to be teaching us how to make dumplings so he quickly responded saying he would come! And he did! He came and we ate, and then taught him the first lesson. He told me that he actually met missionaries in Korea and promised them he would come learn and go to church but then he moved to Australia and didn't get the chance. He was excited when he saw all of us missionaries on the train and wondered if it was the same group. It was. :) He stayed for the fireside Sunday night as well, and we asked him afterwards when the next time we could meet and he said, "hmm...everyday?" haha, GOLDEN! So we are meeting him again tonight, he is so nice, everyone loves him!
Also, an investigator I used to teach about 6 months ago came to church to see me because he heard I was finishing soon. He also called me the following night and invited me to come to his wedding on Thursday! I am so excited! I love weddings, and it will be a great opportunity to invite his new wife to come to church with him :) Always have a plan! haha. 

Our Chinese group at church all took me out to a famous Taiwanese restaurant last Monday, it was a lot of fun. There was a group of about 20! I felt so loved! haha. I am so grateful to serve in this ward, everyone is so amazing. It's heartbreaking to leave, but Sister Liu and I are going to enjoy this last week and work hard. We have many lessons scheduled and hopefully a final baptism on Saturday :) Great way to finish. 

I love you all, thank you for all those who have supported me and encouraged me. The church is true, I know it without any doubt, I hope as you read these experiences you will feel the spirit and know that these things are from God because he loves each of us so much. Have a great week, talk to you soon. 


Sister Raitt

Monday, January 27, 2014

And the blessings keep coming...

Good morning! 

It's been a busy week!  On Wednesday, we made a trip down to the mission home to have a "New Missionary" training for Sister Liu. It went all day but I really enjoyed it. It was interesting for me to hear the training for new missionaries as I'm preparing to go home soon. I remembered when I received my new missionary training and it was really good to see it from a more experienced perspective. Sister Liu is amazing, I love her. 

All of our efforts have paid off this week. Two people we met last week came to church this week for various activities and they also came to church on Sunday! We had a Stake YSA activity on Saturday - basically, there were over 700 water balloons and the missionaries just stood back and watched as they went to war....I saw our Bishop in a whole new light. Haha, it was a blast to watch. Everyone had a great time, especially our investigators. 

Saturday we taught English Class and afterwards, one of the students stayed behind so I started a conversation with him. He's had what you could call some really bad luck in his lifetime. He was telling me story after story, and he expressed that he's not sure there's much happiness for him in the future, that some people just aren't very lucky and he's one of them. I began to share with him the blessings of the Gospel. He said he used to be Christian but after he was treated poorly by his father, he stopped going to church. After a 30 minute conversation, he agreed to meet with us to have a lesson. He said that if there was a way for him to be happier he would like to know how. He texted us afterwards and said it was great to meet us and looks forward to seeing us next week. I can't explain the happiness I feel when I can see someone like him start to have even the slightest bit of hope.  I'm excited to meet with him again. 

Last night we were able to watch a CES Devotional - many of you may have seen it with Tad A. Callaster speaking.  One thing he said that really stuck in my mind was this: "God means everything He says. "It lead me to search for a scripture this morning in Moses 4:30, which essentially states that none of God's words can be voided. We know that God is perfect, He cannot lie, which led me to think of all the promises or "words" He has said to us. One comes to mind in Doctrine and Covenants Section 84:88: 'He will go before us, He will be on our right hand and on our left, He will send angels to lift us up.' These promises that Heavenly Father gives us aren't just little nice things he says to comfort us, it's real! It's truth! On the other side of it, when he tells us to live his commandments, he means it! It's not just a suggestion, it's a commandment." It was a great devotional. Another thing he mentioned that stood out to me was, "When someone says they don't want to go to church because of all the hypocrites, it's like saying you don't want to go to the gym because of all the unfit people." Interesting way to think about it. 

I love this work, I don't think I'll ever be able to express in words what serving a mission has done for me, it's amazing. Anyone reading this who is considering serving a mission, go. Serve. Don't miss the greatest opportunity to grow and see miracles. Your life will be changed, you won't regret it. I love you all, have a great week!

Sister Raitt

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


(Mom messed up here - this should've posted 1/14/14)

Good Morning! 

I hope you've enjoyed your week as I have enjoyed mine! I've been told it's freezing in Utah...sorry to hear that. The temperature here keeps getting warmer (aside from today, which is quite cool) and we don't have an air conditioner in our apartment, but we manage. :) 

The week started off a little slow but really picked up towards the end, especially on SundayOn Sunday, we found two new investigators at church! One girl is named, ________, she is from China. She came with a friend and she and my companion really hit it off. Sister Liu said she felt like they have been friends forever! Too cute. ________ absolutely loved church, she stayed for all three hours and she said, "I just love this feeling that I have, I want to come back and learn more and more!"  She has only just arrived in Australia so she's getting settled today but we'll meet with her later in the week :) 

Another one we met is ________.  He has met with the missionaries once over at the University where he studies but he also has a friend who comes to our ward and so he came with her. I started to talk to him and get to know him when he asked, "Is it okay if you teach me? I really want to learn here!" So we've scheduled to also meet this week, I am so excited! Both of them have a lot of enthusiasm about learning and coming to church, what more could we ask for??

My companion is the sweetest, she tells me she loves me every day. She cooks, she cleans...I stand to the side and encourage her ask she cooks. :D haha. I love her, she really is great. 

Well today I'd like to take a little time to share with you my studies this morning. I was reading in Helaman 5 and I just love this chapter and wanted to share with you my insights :)  Helaman teaches his sons to "do good" but he cautions them to not to do good to boast of themselves but to do good to earn eternal life. It reminded me of a training given by Sister Howes a few weeks ago - that we need to develop Charity and to be charitable.  Not to make ourselves look good and to say, "yeah..I'm pretty charitable" but to be charitable simply because it's in our nature. Continuing in verse 10, he teaches that only through Christ can we receive eternal life and that Christ will come to redeem us FROM our sins but will not come to redeem us IN our sins. Repentance is required. Verse 12 talking about building our foundation upon the "rock" which is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost and Enduring to the End. It is when we are built upon this foundation that when the temptations come and the "whirlwinds" we shall stand strong. In verse 18, it says that Nephi and Lehi taught with "power and authority" and that they were GIVEN power and authority. In other words, they were "set apart" just as missionaries are. 

I have felt that over the course of my mission that I have been given the words to say and I've felt the power come through me through the Holy Ghost. As the chapter continues on we know that thousands of the Lamanites repent and are baptized as they listen to the words of Nehpi and Lehi.  It is as soon as they repent they hear the words from the Lord saying, "Peace, peace be unto you because of your faith in my well beloved, who was from the foundation of the world."  The Lord is quick to forgive us when we repent. We then read on to see that the heavens open and angels come down to minister unto them. A miracle to all who witnessed and heard of this event. 

There is so much to learn from the scriptures and I feel I could take an entire week studying just one chapter, but I'm grateful for the insights I receive and greater understanding that comes when we commit to read our scriptures. I invite all of you to continue reading and if you haven't been reading then to start today! You will feel a great strength added to you when you do. 

I love you all, have a wonderful week! 

Sister Raitt

Shanice and I - she's in charge of our activites in the ward!

Harbor Bridge

Hastening the WORK!

Good morning, everyone!

It's been a pretty loaded week, spiritually, that is. We had another baptism on Saturday, it was a miracle! His name is ________, he is from Japan. Sister Slade and I used to teach him months ago but he wasn't quite ready to live a few of the commandments so he decided to take a break from learning.  He said he'd contact us if he changed his mind. A few weeks ago, the Elders called us and said, "Hey, we ran into _______ on the street and he said he wants to meet with you for a lesson!" I was like, okay great! He came to church two Sundays ago and we were able to have a conversation. He told me that he is moving back to Japan in two weeks! So we scheduled a time to meet the following Monday to have a lesson, but he other sisters also scheduled a lesson with him not knowing that we had already scheduled one.  Instead of teaching him twice, we just had the other sisters teach him. They came to us afterwards and said, "He wants to be baptized this Saturday before he goes back to Japan!" 

I'll admit my first thought was.......really? haha but I was excited!  The sisters, as well as the Japanese Elders, taught him throughout the week to prepare him for Saturday. All was smooth sailing and during our lesson with him, I could see that he was different, that he really wanted to change this time. The day of the baptism came and he had his interview. During his interview, he told the Elder that he again isn't sure he can keep two of the commandments, he didn't feel ready for baptism. Meanwhile, we are all downstairs waiting to get on the train to head to the baptism! We received word that he had changed his mind and so immediately as a zone and a few members, we all knelt down in prayer to ask Heavenly Father for help. A few of us were in tears after the prayer, the Spirit was so strong. The Elders called President Howes asking what we should do. President Howes replied, "Well, what ARE you going to do, are you going to give up?" The two Japanese Elders decided to have one last lesson with ________ to see if they could soften his heart and resolve his concerns. While the rest of us patiently waited...and waited...and waited...when FINALLY they came out of the classroom and said, "He's ready."  Everyone was all smiles, including _______. The baptism was beautiful and he shared his sweet testimony of beginning a new life. What a miracle. 

Another wonderful surprise for me came Sunday morning, I received a call from the "A" family, any of you who remember they are a special family to me - I taught them in my first area. I had my first dinner appointment on my mission with this family. I love them. They drove to Sydney to come to our ward to say goodbye to me. They are traveling to Fiji next week and won't be here when I leave, It was so nice to see them. They asked if the Ogden temple is close to me - I said, "Yes, very close." They told me their goal is to be sealed in the Ogden temple this year and would like me to be there. What an amazing miracle, the journey I've been on with this family, it's amazing. 

Sister Liu and I are doing well, we've been able to find some new investigators, one in particular is from Korea! We've been trying to contact him and our schedules just haven't matched up right but last night we got a call from him and he said, "I'm at your chapel!" We quickly ran across the street to the chapel to meet him, we gave him a tour and he just kept saying, "Yes, It makes sense." He joined us for family home evening and said to us "I can't wait to meet you again, thank you!" He's agreed to meet us this week and come to church on Sunday. Another miracle. 

We had a member of the Area Seventy speak to our mission yesterday in a mission conference. It was very motivating. He encouraged all of us to "seek for those spiritual experiences," that these miracles we see on our mission every day, we can see them even when we don't have a missionary badge. We just need to be prepared and tell the Lord we'll follow his promptings and then go to work. He shared a few experiences he's had lately and he said, "Elders and Sisters, these things happen to me ALL the time." It really hit me - that if we want to see miracles, we will see miracles, but we need to be willing to open our mouths and share the gospel. If we want to help others and changes lives, then we need to be prepared and willing to do so. 

I pray you all have a wonderful week and seek for a spiritual experience, just take a minute to look around and see who around you to serve. There are miracles all around us, the work is "Hastening." We're not hastening to plant seeds,we're hastening to HARVEST. The seeds have been planted, now go get the fruits. :)

I love you all, 
Sister Raitt

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A New Year!

Happy New Year!!

This year is off to a great start! I have a new companion! Her name is Sister Liu and she comes from Taipei, Taiwan! I absolutely adore her, she is the cutest thing ever and has the sweetest testimony. Not to mention that on our first night together, she comes out in her pajamas wearing a "minion" shirt...that's truly when I knew we were meant to be :)  She also is a full on chef! It was her major prior to coming on her mission.  She asked me the other morning if I would like some eggs...sure.  Next thing you know, she brings me these beautiful eggs with chopped onion and garlic with basil leaves on the side with some fresh chopped fruit! Haha, incredible! She's made herself right at home here in the city and she is learning quickly. I'm very grateful to train her and serve together. 

We had an amazing miracle. Since we are re-opening an area, we didn't have too much going on the first few days. We had just one investigator, her name is ________. She has been taught for a few months now by other missionaries and was supposed to be baptized months ago.  She backed out at the last minute because she didn't feel ready. During my first lesson with her a few weeks ago, she told me she's planning on moving up north for about 5 months. She said she'd consider being baptized after she returns. She is moving next week, but the next baptism we are holding isn't until the 11th...after she moves. 

So, in our companionship study Friday morning, Sister Liu and I were discussing ________ and how to help her.  I felt really strongly that we needed to invite her to be baptized one last time, but this time it would be inviting her to be baptized the following day. Seeing she was timid to commit to baptism in 5 months, this didn't sound too promising, but I really felt that if we had the faith and invited her then she would say yes. I was reading in Enos Chapter 1, which talks about this faith, that if we really believe and have a righteous desire then Heavenly Father will grant us what we're asking. So, I told Sister Liu, "Okay, this miracle is all dependent on our faith. Do you believe she can be baptized tomorrow?" Sister Liu said, "Yes, I do."   We proceeded to go over our lesson we planned to teach her and both of us were in tears as we practiced what to say with ________. 

The lesson was scheduled for 6:00 p.m. that evening. We asked the Zone Leaders to send out a mass text asking all the missionaries in the zone to say a special prayer for ________ and our lesson.  I gave Bishop a call and asked if it would be possible to throw together a baptism for tomorrow and he said yes. All was in order. 

Finally, the time came for our lesson with ________, we shared a few scriptures, talked about a few things and then invited her to be baptized the following day. She paused for a minute and then said, "No, sorry. I'm not ready. Maybe when I come back in a few months." I was shattered. I truly believed she would say yes. We all just sat there for a few seconds and then I asked her, "Okay.  Well, would you just do one thing for us? Will you kneel down with us and ask Heavenly Father in a prayer, right now, if you should be baptized tomorrow?" She said okay. So we all knelt down, I told her to focus on the Spirit and that we won't say anything until she does, and she can tell us what she feels. She said the prayer, a really sincere prayer. We all just sat there in silence for a good 6 minutes...waiting...waiting. Finally, she looked up at me and said, "I'm sorry, I'm not ready."  Again, I was crushed. But we just expressed our love for her and concluded the lesson. 

We had an activity at the church right after our lesson, so Sister Liu and I were occupied with members and investigators at the activity for the next hour and a half. All of a sudden, someone taps me on the shoulder and it's ________. She says, "Sister Raitt, can I talk to you?"  We walk out into the hall and she asks me a few questions about baptism and then she pauses and says, "Okay, I'll be baptized tomorrow." I said, "Really!?!" And then I just hugged her, I was so happy, I ran in to tell Sister Liu and we immediately went to get one of the Elders and she was interviewed right then for baptism. I couldn't believe it, what an amazing miracle! Within 24 hours she was baptized. We managed to find speakers and even someone to perform a musical number. The baptism went so smoothly, it was just beautiful. I was so grateful for this experience, especially for my new companion to experience. We both were strengthened and now have a greater testimony of Enos Chapter 1. 

Sister Liu and I have been working hard, talking to many people and we are excited to have many lessons this week with potential investigators. Things in our area are growing and growing quickly :) Another miracle...we were waiting for an appointment to come to the teaching center and it looked like it was going to be a no-show.  All of a sudden in walks M______! She is a girl that I taught with Sister Slade about 6 months ago! She just came in and there I was and she said, "Oh, Sister Raitt! It's been so long, could I have a lesson please?" haha...amazing. She told me in our lesson, "I know my faith may not be strong like yours, yet. But for some reason, I find myself keep coming back here." It was a great lesson. We're seeing her again on Wednesday

I've been told that the miracles really start coming in during your last few months on the mission and it seems to be true :) It's been a great week. I love you all, I hope your week is filled with miracles, as well. Take care,

Sister Raitt

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

Xin Nian Kuaile!!!:D

Happy New Year!!  Starting off the new year with a new transfer. I've been released from my leadership position and I'll be training a new missionary for my final transfer! I'm so excited, it's what I really wanted. There are 10 sisters coming in tomorrow, 2 are coming from Japan and 3 from Taiwan so I'm hoping to get one of them, but now that I've said that I'll probably get a real Aussie girl! As for right now, I'm serving in Ashfield (the Mandarin Ward) for a few days while we wait for the new arrivals to come. Family Home Evening was last night, It's the first activity I've been to that was all in Chinese! It was good though, we played a game at the end where you have to pass a basketball around the circle without using your arms, you can only use your feet but the ball can't touch the ground. Not a great game for sister missionaries in skirts, I'll say that much. haha.

Transfer meeting was yesterday,10 missionaries went home and I have served with each of them, so crazy how fast the time goes. The hymn, "God be With You Til We Meet Again" has a completely different meaning to me now, knowing that quite literally some of these people I might never meet again until we are at the very feet of Jesus Christ himself. Transfer meetings are always emotional, but it's amazing to see the missionaries going home and how they've grown and changed on their missions. We've all had experiences with each other that would just be impossible for anyone else to fully understand. I look forward to the day when we can greet each other in heaven.

Well, there is an expected 1.7 million people to be in the city tonight for the fireworks. All missionaries are to be home before 8 p.m. to do our annual deep clean :) haha, but until 8 p.m. we'll be hittin' the street looking for those who are prepared to hear the gospel. Wish us luck :) 

Beginning a new year is always exciting, we set new resolutions, a "clean slate" if you will. I've been thinking about this a lot the last few weeks and it makes me think of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, more specifically, the sacrament. What a blessing it is that each week we can come to church to partake of the sacrament to renew our covenants and begin a new week with a "clean slate,"  Of course, repentance is required to have a change of heart, promising to be better and to do better than you did the previous week. The blessing of the Atonement is that we don't have to wait 6, 8 or 12 months to start over, we can make the choice now or at any time to change, to accept the Atonement and through Jesus Christ become clean. "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Matt 11: 28-30

Through Christ, our burdens are made light. We can overcome any challenges that we might face in this life. I don't know if I'll ever be able to fully grasp the meaning of the Atonement, but I do know that it is real. And I know because I've seen others change as they've come closer to Jesus Christ, and I've seen myself change. It is real.

I love you all, and I wish you a Happy New Year!
Sister Raitt

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas here from Australia! :) We're running a little short on time but I'll try my best to give you the best update of our week!

We had a baptism on Saturday! Yayyyy! ________ was baptized along with 3 others, it was beautiful. He was so excited, his English isn't too good but he had someone come up with him to the pulpit to help him translate. Cutest thing ever, I was smiling the entire night. Greatest Christmas gift a missionary could have! We're going out to dinner tonight to celebrate with him and a few members. 

A pretty amazing experience happened Saturday night at the baptism. There was a girl who gave a talk on baptism and she mentioned twice how the "five" of them were getting baptized but it was a little awkward because there were only four getting baptized - she had the number wrong.  haha  But the baptism carried on and no one said anything. However, towards the end the first counselor stood up to give his "welcome to the ward" speech and he mentioned how she had said "five" instead of "four."  He said, "I just can't get it out of my head. I've been thinking about it throughout this whole meeting and I just have this burning feeling that I need to say something,  I know there is someone here in the congregation who was meant to be the fifth one, I feel it so strongly. Please commit and make the decision so in a few weeks we can gather here for you." and then he sat down.  Ironic that we had an investigator there with us, ________.  He's golden and has been taught everything and believes it all but just hasn't made the commitment to be baptized,  feels he's not quite ready but we all know that he is more than ready. After the baptism some people were making comments to him and he's like, "I know, I know....soon" :) We all know he will be baptized but for me it was just another testimony of the Holy Ghost, so cool that our first counselor felt prompted to say something and in fact, there was someone in the congregation who should have been the fifth...amazing. 

This week is the last week of transfers, always emotional saying goodbye to missionaries and new changes but we're enjoying it! It's going to be a great Christmas week, we're giving tours again at the temple lights on Christmas Eve, we're really excited :)

Sorry it's so short this week, I love you all very much, have a great Christmas! I also invite you all the read the Christmas story in Luke ch. 2. Sister Campbell and I will be reading it on Christmas Eve, you can join us from the other side of the world! Love you, 

Sister Raitt