Leaps of Faith

I don’t exactly know where to begin. This week I had a series of profound experiences. I’ll try to relate them but first I will tell you of the goodness amongst our people! 

We had a lesson with Kham this week! She is the sweet woman from Laos. Our intention was to teach the Restoration, meaning God, dispensations, Christ, apostasy, Restoration, Book of Mormon, etc. With Kham we got through God. In about an hour. We’re going to have to take it slower with her but she is wonderful. When we feel the spirit like that in lessons we know we’re doing something right. And she came to church!!!!!! Teaching her is really exciting. There are many inactive people around here from Laos because they dissolved the Laos branch some time ago. It’s heart-breaking. We try  to visit – but they don’t speak english. In our opinion Kham is the key. And her brothers Mit and Chom. Anyway, she is wonderful and we’re meeting again this week. She calls us her “angels.” 

One of my favorite parts of church is the back row of old ladies. In one way or another they’re all widows, whether their husbands have passed away, or they’re not members, or they live in Texas or something. Sisters Anderson, Upchurch, Lee, and Doutre. My favorite people. We had dinner with them on Saturday night (because they hang out with each other) and they invited LYNN!!!!! So Lynn came and we were eating fried chicken and started having a conversation about the Book of Mormon. Each one of them testified of the Book of Mormon and what the loved and learned from it. Lynn mentioned that she’d been reading the Book of Mormon! Particularly, Mosiah 4 – which Sister Yorgason had recommended to her the week before at the concert. She said she read it over and over. Sister Upchurch told Lynn that she had an extra seat in her car for church and without missing a beat Lynn said that she would love to come!! And she did!!!!! We taught Gospel Principles again (because our mission leaders wife was potentially having a baby) and we chose to talk about faith. Lynn introduced herself and told what she had faith in! So exciting. We’re meeting with her this week!!! She says she’s ready for lessons again. We’re taking baby steps with her – it’s going to be great! 

Another hope-of-the-world story is Sister Baker. She is tall, beautiful African-American woman who has two insanely rambunctious boys. They were all baptized last summer. We went and visited with her this week just to see how she is doing. This week before she got to do baptisms for the dead!!! And her calling is to teach relief society!!! She is great. It is so inspiring to see someone who fully embraces the gospels and is eager to apply it to their life. Just in the short time I’ve known her she seems to have blossomed! It’s amazing. What I’ve learned from her is the need for constant prayer. Prayers of gratitude! Her commitment and devotion to the gospel is amazing. We just need to find her a righteous man and our work will be complete! 

And Joshua came to church! 

Ok. On to my life-changing revelations. A major blessing of the week was being able to attend the temple!!!!!!!!! St. Paul Minnesota Temple. I love that place. We got to go with our entire district! I saw Sister Clark at the temple!! One of our incredible ward missionaries from Cottage Grove! I also saw Sister Terry and Sister Shurtz!! It was like missionary day! It was soooooooooooooo good to just be there. I have a greater appreciation for like – everything – now.  But I went to the temple with a bundle of questions. I sat and prayed after the session for a long time because for some reason I didn’t feel good. Lately I’ve been feeling like maybe I’m not working hard enough or trying hard enough or something. Like no matter what I do I’m still incapable of this. I felt so great being in the temple but still not resolved. And now I know why. 

Two days after visiting the temple, right after studies, I broke down. It’s been a constant inner wrestle with myself. The whole time being here. I felt sick so I slept for a while. Something just wasn’t right and I could not sort it out. After I woke I had Sister Jenson sit there as I just talked to her. Just talked and she listened. And this is the remarkable part: after talking we sat in silence and the most beautiful feeling came into the room. It was like the scriptures say about being encircled by His love. We felt that. It was so strong and real. For both of us. We decided there were probably angels right there with us. At that moment I didn’t feel a super answer to my questions or anything but the overwhelming feeling of peace. Heavenly Father is so incredibly aware of us. Aware of me. Little me. After that Sister Jenson and I said a prayer and got back to work. Sister Clements had called but we didn’t get back to her until later that day. We should’ve gotten back to her sooner because she thought we were like dying or something. Pres and Sister Clements are still in Utah. But Sister Clements had been concerned and so she set up a meeting for me and President Ehlert. 

So the next day Sister Jenson and I drive to President Ehlert’s office and the whole time in my head I’m planning out what to say – all the reasons I need to stay on a mission. Apparently the Lord sometimes has other plans. After talking with President Ehlert for 3 hours (not kidding), and crying, and praying, and a priesthood blessing I KNOW that the Lord has plans for me. And they’re no longer here, or as a full-time missionary. 

It’s so strange. I thought that typing that sentence would break my heart, but I feel a quiet, constant peace. I’d said the words over and over throughout my life but it wasn’t until that moment with President Ehlert that I realized what it means to know that I am a daughter of God. I thought that my dearest desire was to be a missionary, so I was fiercely clinging to that even though it caused me a lot of pain and struggle. I then realized that my dearest desire is to serve the Lord. To serve Him. During that conversation I felt incredible. Heavenly Father is so smart. He knew that in some way He needed to get me and President Ehlert sitting in the same room together at that point in time. President Ehlert is ridiculously inspired. I can’t even share all of what was said and felt. At the beginning of the blessing I felt anxious, at the end I felt like I was on holy ground. I can honestly say I’ve never felt that way before. It was the most sacred experience maybe ever. We read Moses 1. What I know is that God has a great work for me to do. I don’t know what that is, and President Ehlert doesn’t know what that is. 

As we were talking we thought of a CES devotional be Elder Bednar. The one about knowing if you have the faith to be healed. Or the faith not to be healed. Do you have the faith that no matter where the Lord takes you it’s where you’re supposed to go? Do I have the faith to stay on my mission? Yes. Do I have that faith not to stay on my mission? Yes. If that’s the Lord’s plan, yes. It may not be what I want. However if it’s what the Lord wants then it’s what I want. he doesn’t want me to unnecessarily suffer. 

I’m not sure what’s going to happen. Or if it’s sunk in yet. But I know that it’s going to be ok. I have honestly learned and changed so much. President Ehlert told me that I am quick to observe. He told me that I have a great capacity to help people through my talents. He told me that when I accepted mortality that I knew what was coming with it. And that I would be ready for it. I’ve learned what I needed to learn here. I could write a book on what I’ve learned. Perhaps I will today, all we’re doing is like buying bananas and writing letters. 

So in conclusion, I’m a daughter of God and He’s got something He needs me to do. President Ehlert has been making phone calls. Talking to President Webb. Talking to Salt Lake. At this point I’m not sure what but I trust him with everything and he told me that he doesn’t want me to go home to nothing. I agree. My missionary work is not done. Whether it’s some type of service mission or something – I know not. But I’m excited! I feel good! It’s a little terrifying but good. Faith over fear, every day. 

I’m staying until at least that end of the transfer, which is next week. So, potentially, I’ll see you soon. We’ll all probably get more details soon. This is a big fat decision. I’ve made it. I can’t wait to tell you and show you all that I have learned!! Heavenly Father is so smart. And He loves me. I trust Him with everything. I like thinking about the Plan of Salvation and ponder and wonder think about what my small part in helping others back is. 

One thing that President Ehlert wanted to make sure was clear to me is that this is not a fail. That I am not a failure. I came here to serve, and serve I did. My world is kind of spinning around right now. This is kind of the definition of leap of faith. 

I love Minnesota. It will always be a part of me, and I highly doubt this is goodbye forever. Man, is this the most dramatic email ever?? It really is. I’ll end it shortly. 

I encourage to all go and read Moses 1. It’s amazing. 

Here’s some photos. On the way to the temple. 
Inline image 1

My beloved district at the St. Paul Minnesota Temple! 

Inline image 2
I love you all

Love, Sister Gessel

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