Tuesday, August 28, 2012


SAN DIEGO — This week has opened my eyes to how important it is that we follow the Spirit with all of the little promptings he gives us. 

I have had so many times in my life when I have had a thought or a feeling to do something, but just pushed that feeling aside. I realize now, that no matter what, any thought or feeling we have, just do it! As long as we are being good girls and boys, those thoughts are from heaven. Heavenly Father truly does inspire us to be at the right place at the right time, doing the right thing. 

Dad mentioned how hard it is in the world, that anything religion is taboo in the workplace in school, everywhere. Isn’t it interesting how our lives can compare to the people in the Book of Mormon? No wonder we are asked to read, understand and apply its teachings!

Yesterday, Sister Miller and I made our plans for the day. We got halfway through the night and one of our appointments cancelled. During our previous nightly planning, we decided to visit a former [investigator] named Sergio. We have had him in our backup plans for quite a while, and yesterday Sister Miller found a little piece of paper behind the couch with his name on it, from the other sisters who left, so we decided we better go see him. 

We knocked on the door and a Young Single Adult man answered — We thought it was Sergio, but it wasn’t. His name was Xavier. We started talking with him and he expressed that he grew up Christian all his life, and was now trying to look at other religions. He got all excited and couldn’t stop smiling after we set up a return appointment with him. We asked him what he was smiling about and he said, "You two have perfect timing! I was thinking about you Mormons all week. In fact I just saw two of you walking past this morning, I was going to yell for them to come up but I didn’t, and now you two are here!"   

What an incredible example that is to me at being at the right place at the right time doing the right thing.

I think sometimes we feel we have to teach as full time missionaries, or sometimes we are afraid of talking if other people ask questions we may not be able to answer. I am not the one to give advice, I have so much to work on myself, but I do gather my inspiration from a prophet in the Book of Mormon.

(Editor's note: the following part of Sister Newman's letter comes from Alma chapters 17-27)

Picture in your mind Ammon. The Book of Mormon doesn’t give insight to his thoughts or feelings as he starts heading into enemy territory to preach the gospel. I am willing to bet, his heart must have been thumping, he must have felt some anxiousness as he was captured by the Lamanites.
"And Ammon went to the land of Ishmael.... and as he entered the land, the Lamanites took him and bound him...."   

Aren't we walking around in enemy territory all day? Just like dad said, the places we work, teach, and study are sometimes places where even the talk of religion seems like "poison" to people. I know that feeling of not knowing what to do, what to say. I know what it is like to be scared. But look at what Ammon does: He doesn’t say anything really. He just asks Lamoni if he can be his servant. 

"And Ammon said, nay, but I will be they servant 

Isn’t that what we can do? Could you take a cart to the front of the store for a mom? Could you smile or encourage the lady at the grocery store? Could you not participate in a conversation that isn’t appropriate for disciples of Christ at school or the work place or even the home?

People aren’t inspired by what we say, they are inspired by what we do and by who we are.

Later in his ministry, Ammon does something really important:  
"And they went withersoever they were led by the Spirit of the Lord..." 
Just like what happened to me this week, you can be in the right place at the right time doing the right thing. Here is the thing, though: are you listening? I remember so many times that I had a thought, or an urge to do or say something, and I didn’t. I hope that you do better than me. Don’t question anything that comes to your mind — just do it! As long as you are keeping the commandments, it doesn’t matter where the thoughts are coming from, they will be from God :)

I just love you all. I know this world is getting tough, but we can do it! If you don’t know what or how you can shine your light, ask Heavenly Father! He will guide you as long as you are willing to move your feet and open your mouth.

P.S- Casey and Ryan are doing SO GREAT! They are getting baptized Sept 8th and Sept 29th. Yahooooo!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

When two worlds collide

SAN DIEGO — A lot has happened this week! I suppose I will start with some "Miracles around the World"

August 17, 2012

I served at the Mormon Battalion this morning. It was one of those loud and crazy ones, but despite the mayhem in the lobby, I saw a family of three walk up. I soon found out that they were from Florence, Italy. The daughter, Chiara, spoke perfect English and was able to translate for her parents, Elizabeta and Giovanni. Because her parents couldn’t understand English, they didn’t want to go on the full tour, so I took them to the back to share a brief story of the Battalion and let them see the artifacts. We ended up standing in front of the glass case that holds the Bible and the Book of Mormon. I told them that I knew they probably had questions about Mormons, and I would love to answer them. They, of course did, and I was able to teach them about the Restoration of the Gospel. What a special moment that was, when two worlds collided, allowing us both to talk about the truth.

While not an international experience, Sister Newman had another colliding moment when @zbloxham, a twitter friend of her brother's, came by the Battalion
Just a few hours later, I had another one of those "colliding" moments. This time, with Pak from China. Pak came on a tour and was smack-dab in the middle of a bajillion Mormon families. Somehow, miraculously, I was able to talk with him after taking everyone’s photo in the resource room. This time we spoke outside, underneath the grapevines (it was quieter than with all the screaming kids). 

He told me he was an atheist. I felt the Spirit tell me that was not true, so I asked him, "So you believe that you are just here and that’s it?" He changed his mind and told me that he believed in a higher Being, he just didn’t know what it was. We were able to talk about how God literally is his Father. He agreed to read the Book of Mormon and talk with me about it.

My journey around the world ended in Belgium. The sisters gave us a referral for a man named Jeroen. We sat across from each other in his humble student apartment (he is going to pilot school) and started talking to him. I was stunned with all the questions of the soul that he had. 

He wanted to know what his purpose was on earth. He didn’t believe that all we have to do is believe Jesus and be saved (YAY!), but knew the truth that we must live the Gospel for the Atonement to work in our lives. As I looked him in the eyes, neither of us breaking eye contact, I told him of the 14-year-old boy who prayed to know the truth. The Spirit was tangible. I was struck in awe as we walked through the apartment complex back to our car. I looked up at the sky and just wanted to yell, "THANK YOU" to Heavenly Father for letting us find all the people from many lands that were thirsting for the gospel today."...

I think that is the lesson I learned today. There are people wandering, searching for the truth because they know not where to find it. I was so blinded before my mission, thinking, So-and-so would never want to hear the Gospel."  Or "So-and-so would never be Mormon."

Let me tell you all something: THAT is a COMPLETE lie from Satan.

Did you know that just this week, we talked to a guy, Ryan, walking to a bus stop? We told him that we had some great news to improve his life. A teenage boy who looked like he had plenty other things to do accepted, we met him at the church and he wants to learn more about the Plan of Salvation.

The other day when we were on our way to Jeroen's, we walked past a mother with her baby in the stroller. We just told her how cute her baby was and that we had something to share that would improve her family relationships. She accepted to learn more.

A sister shared with me that she took a tour of a non-member lady who has been to the Battalion a bunch of times, and NO ONE ever asked if she wanted a Book of Mormon. This dear sister asked, and the woman gladly accepted.

NO ONE can tell me that God is not putting people in our paths. I chose not to act before I came out here. 

For 21 years, I let neighbors, acquaintances, and coworkers pass by me. I know what you're thinking: "But she’s a missionary, she can be bold." I’m not saying we have to go up to a person and say, "do you want to hear about the three degrees of glory?" But have you ever asked a dear friend, "have you ever had questions about Mormons?"Or have you invited a less active or nonmember over for dinner? Have you invited the grocer at the store to look on mormon.org and given them a card?

I PROMISE you as a messenger of Jesus Christ, that if you would only do those simple things, you will be a messenger and advocate for the Father in bringing the Gospel to all nations, kindreds,, tongues and people.

The world is curious. 

They are thirsty. 

It is our job to bring them the fountain of living water.

I love you all. I’ve just written this email. I hope you don’t go on to your every day lives, but I hope you ask yourselves as President [Boyd K.] Packer would say,


 Let's go out and do some good in this world.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Prayer — and Salvation — don't come cheap

SAN DIEGO — Sister Miller is a hoot and a half. She is so great. We are definitely learning lots. I’m so glad she is patient with me. I’ve had my fair share of mess-ups as a trainer, but we just pick up the pieces, move on, and do it better the next time. I guess that’s good practice as a parent.

She makes me laugh all the time. I can’t remember all the funny things she’s done this week, but just the other day we were gassing up the car. It was on her side, so I had her do it. She got back in and we started driving up the freeway, all of the sudden I hear, "clunk, clunk, clunk." I look over at her and she has the biggest, widest eyes looking back at me. She forgot to put the gas cap back on!!!! Silly sister, I love her!

We are seeing a lot of success in the Helix Ward. I think I told you about adding some investigators (FINALLY) last week. Casey is one that we added. He has been taught many times before, but it just hasn’t clicked with him. We had a lesson with him at the church this week. We were able to teach him the simple doctrine that God is literally his father and that He wants Casey to build a relationship with Him through prayer, reading the Book of Mormon and coming to church. The Spirit was so strong.

There are moments as a missionary when you know you have completely given in to the Spirit and what he wants. Unfortunately as humans, often, we only partially give in, but when we fully surrender to heaven, the miracles easily slide right down from the heavens, and that power is manifested clearly and profoundly. We had one of those moments sitting in the lobby of the church with Casey. We committed him to be baptized, and he said yes for September 8th. I know there is a lot going against him, but he can do this, so keep him in your prayers!!

Speaking of prayer, Sister Miller and I were able to go to the Young Single Adult conference on Sunday for church. It was such a great sacrament meeting. Elder Haney, and a member of one of the YSA wards spoke on prayer. They read out of the Bible Dictionary about prayer, and it really touched my heart.

"The object of prayer is not to change the will of God, but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant, but are conditional on our asking for them... We pray in Christ's name when our mind is the mind of Christ, and our wishes the wishes of Christ. We then ask for things it is possible to grant"

I have a huge testimony of prayer, but sometimes I think I have forgotten that I need to ask what is the right question to ask. I need to try to place myself in Christ’s shoes and make his will my will, and his wishes my wishes. I have a testimony that those kinds of prayers, sincere hard work, thought out prayers bring forth miracles. God does hear and answer us!

One last thing I want to tell you about before I go was about our goodbye party last night. Can you believe another transfer has ended? We all get together at the Battalion and the sisters leaving share their testimonies. Sisters Burden, Young, Nelson and Elder and Sister Stallings shared theirs. The Spirit was so strong, and I was so grateful to have served with these wonderful Disciples of Christ. Sister Young shared an experience she remembered with Elder Zwick, who said, 

"Don’t you dare be afraid of the hard things in life. Don’t take the road most traveled or the road of least resistance. There is more joy that comes from facing challenges and trials with faith."

I believe that with all my heart. Salvation is not a cheap experience. It wasn’t for Christ. Why would it be for us? Don’t be scared of the hard stuff! It will only make you stronger. 

I know Satan wants us to be afraid, but why should we be afraid? Christ has already paid the price. He has already helped us gain exaltation, we only need to live with faith, repent, keep our covenants, and endure to the end.

I guess my thought to you all today is to go forward with faith. Christ can heal you. He has healed me and continues to everyday.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Miracles happen every day

SAN DIEGO — Today, I have A LOT of miracle stories to tell you. I think Heavenly Father has been testing our faith, seeing what we are made of. Three weeks with no one to teach can be a downer, but we have been working our very hardest and very smartest to move the work forward. 

Heavenly Father showed us this week how important diligence is. Diligence is continuing to work hard, even when you’re tired and to work with a hope in Jesus Christ. Let me tell you, we have been so tired!!!! But God moves His work at His timing. Let me give you an idea of what happened this week. Here are some of my journal entries:

Saturday July 28th

"We tried to contact a former member today. She set an appointment with us last week, and we were full of hope that she would “come through". It's amazing to see God’s hand in everything. Here in San Diego, everything is gated. If there is a gift Heavenly Father has given me as a missionary, it is that gates mean absolutely nothing to missionaries. We can always find a way to get the lock open, whether it be that we pray real hard that someone drives out, or we talk a nice resident into opening it for us. The same thing happened today. Just as we walked up, a truck drove out and we were able to stroll right inside the gates.

It is a run-down community that we were in as we walked past some little kids playing ball in the street, giving them all high fives; it is so neat to see how that simple act brightens a child’s day. We knocked on the door and her mother told us to go away and come back later. This was one of Sister Miller’s first experiences with rejection, but she handled it like a champ. We decided to walk around the complex since we were here in the first place.

We knocked on another door and a big gruff bald man answered the door, with a resulting slam of the door in our face. Still, we kept walking. It was so neat to watch Sister Miller listen to the Spirit. We walked past a door and I saw her look at it, so we walked up and  we were able to talk to a man, which happens to be going to nursing school. He set up an appointment, and is going to meet us at the church this week.”

August 4th, 2012 
The Taylors' Baptism

"Sherrie and Amber Taylor got baptized today! They are the mother and daughter that Sister Tanner and I were teaching in El Cajon. It was kind of surreal seeing them dressed in white. The program was beautiful. Sister Tanner gave a talk on baptism; it was so simple and so pure. She laid out the promises we make with God and the promises He makes with us: pure doctrine. The Spirit was so strong. 

Sister Riggs sang a beautiful EFY song called, "Live Like You Believe."  The Spirit hit my heart with full force. Sister Miller, just the night previous, had been discussing how urgent the work is. She was feeling down, because she felt that she didn’t understand the urgency of the work like she felt I did. As Sister Taylor came up out of the water, Sister Miller looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, "I think I understand the urgency now". I wrapped my arms around her and knew exactly how she felt. This work is so important! The sisters played Reflections of Christ as the Taylors were getting dressed. I watched pictures of Jesus healing, helping, serving, and blessing. My spirit was touched with a remembrance of Him, of heaven. I know this work is real, how great Heaven will be to see all of our brothers and sisters who have accepted and are living the gospel of Jesus Christ..."

Monday August 6th 
Faith to Move mountains

"I’ve been trying not to get down with all that is happening lately. When I say all that is happening, I really mean all that has NOT been happening! I know that it all depends on the little things, so Sister Miller and I have been working on that nonstop — organizing the area book, getting members to every investigator, less active and recent convert lesson, asking everyone for referrals, making visions, plans and goals, loving, serving, and lifting. 

Today, I woke up thinking to myself, 'we just have to keep doing the little things, it will all work out, it always does'. Today that thought proved to be true. I think Heavenly Father has been testing our faith and patience, but WOW, the blessings have been poured out in buckets in just a few short hours!

1. We went to contact a referral and I got lost (of course). Because of that, we met a young single adult named Ryan who was walking to the bus stop. We talked to him about the Gospel, about the Restoration, and he agreed to meet with us!

2. A referral, Aaron, that we got from the Elders, wasn’t home. But we were able to meet his neighbor and sister’s babysitter who is a Jehovah's Witness, but surprisingly loves Mormons and has talked to missionaries before. Hopefully we will be able to work with her.

3. We stopped by a former member, Casey, who our ward mission leader asked us to visit. He agreed to meet with us this week!

4. Stopped by another former member, Ben. We set up a time to do service and he agreed to meet with us too!

5. Ended the day with a phone call from a girl named April, who the sisters gave a Book of Mormon to along time ago. She was going to a different church but didn’t feel right about it, so she started reading the Book of Mormon. She called us and told us she wants to be Mormon, and wanted us to meet her at the church on Sunday so she could go.

Miracles? I think SO! God works in his time, in his way, and by his means. I love being an instrument in his hands...


Just this morning as I was doing my laundry, I talked with a man named Robert. He had a friend who gave him a Book of Mormon, but he passed away. Robert has never read the Book of Mormon, but we were able to talk about it. I taught him the Restoration, and in the middle of the laundromat we taught him the First Vision. The Spirit was strong despite the noise, and the Elders that were in the area he was living just happened to be doing laundry at the same laundromat. We set up an appointment and he wants to learn more.

Can you believe the miracles that happen everyday? I realize that we many times fall into the trap that the people in the Book of Mormon did, by not noticing the little things that happen. When we stop being grateful, when we stop noticing the miracles, we open our hearts to Satan. 

Live the Gospel. Let it become who you are and be grateful for the miracles that come your way. They will come, I promise.