Saturday, June 24, 2017

Week #49 – Is Heavenly Father Your Friend or Your Best Friend? – June 13, 2017 – June 19, 2017 (KK)

Is Heavenly Father your friend, or your best friend? One sister said this statement this week and it has stuck with me, a lot. First, what constitutes being a best friend? Probably someone you trust, can talk to and who will listen, can laugh and cry with, and loves you for who you are. Is this your relationship with God?

This week, we have been trying a new contacting method, a survey. There were 4 questions we asked that struck up some very interesting conversations:
1. Do you believe in God?
2. On a scale of 1-10, how close do you feel to God?
3. On a scale of 1-10, how close do you want to feel to God?
4. How do you think you can reach that goal?

I was surprised to find how many people did not know where they were on the scale, but they wanted to gain a strong relationship, at least 8 or above. Throughout this week, I had to ask myself these questions. I realized I wasn't where I wanted to be, and that I could improve. 

This week I have been studying a lot about The 12 Steps to Change. This is found on Even though these 12 steps to change are related a lot to addiction recovery, these are the 12 steps to repentance. Everyday, we are trying to change, to become better, and to ultimately do what we call repentance. This change is only possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

Everyday, I am repenting. Everyday, I hope you too are repenting. Now don't get me wrong, that doesn't mean you are a bad person, but that you AND I are not perfect, and need to change, to become better. The first step to change is honesty. Are you honest with yourself? With Heavenly Father? I invite you today to answer those survey questions, and be honest. Just check where you are spiritually today.

One way to grow that relationship with God, with Heavenly Father, is to have an open, honest prayer. Prayer is the way to communicate with God. This is also made possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Start your prayer by saying who you are speaking to, "Dear Heavenly Father". Then say the things on your mind and in your heart. How as your day today? What did you do? You can include questions such as, "Are you there? Are you listening? Do you care? Do you love me?" Include the things that were good and you were grateful for, as well as the secret pleadings of your heart. Since prayer is made possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, end with, "In the name of Jesus Christ, amen."

I am learning everyday how to have meaningful prayers and a deeper relationship with God, with my loving Heavenly Father. This is the first step to deepening that relationship and reaching the type of relationship you hope to have. I know the 12 steps to change are the 12 steps to repentance, the 12 steps to healing, the 12 steps to peace, and the 12 steps to happiness. Start today.

I love you all.

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


Sister Vranes

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Week #48 - Triangles: June 6, 2017 – June 12, 2017 (KK)

This week was crazy! It was very, very eventful, with Zone Conference, exchanges in Singapore, and the missionary open house. It feels forever ago that we had Zone Conference, but it was only on Tuesday. In Zone Conference, the topic was finding. President and Sister Simmons started with a focus on training the trainer. In the next few months of this mission, we are losing large groups of missionaries. At the end of THIS transfer , we lose 20+ missionaries, and then gain 20+ new missionaries. I forgot it's June already. Anyway, there's going to be a lot of turn over, and greenie fire. Whoot! 

In training, we learned how to adjust to life. There is a book called Adjusting to Missionary Life on We talked about how this book is really about adjusting to life. There are many things we can apply to life through this book, especially about stress. Sister Simmons said, "If you're not adjusting to missionary life, you are not repenting (changing)". Life is a constant change and at times, it gets very stressful. There are many ways and techniques to deal with these. The best manual to life, however, is The Book of Mormon. Take Nephi for example. Many times, his brothers oppose him, and at times, bully him. Instead of letting things just happen to him. He relies on the Lord, asks for strength (the enabling power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ), and take matters into his own hands, becoming an agent to do rather than be acted upon. Take a look through these two books and learn something to help you today.

On exchanges in Singapore, I was able to be reunited with my mission mama, Sister Durham. The duo is back and better than ever. It was lots of fun, with lots of contacting, and implementing the things I had just learned in Zone Conference. We went about Singapore talking to many people, rejected by many people, and giving commitments to everyone. We made a point to leave everyone we talked to with a commitment, such as write 3 things down that were good today. It was a great time! We taught English class later that night and were reunited with our Penang buds, Elder Elieson and Elder Hunt. 

Upon returning to Kota Kinabalu (KK), it was late at night, I got sick, and the next day we had a missionary open house. While riding back home with one of the members, we learned that all of KK had gotten sick overnight. We weren't sure if our decorations were complete for the room we were in charge of. No one had specific details to what we were doing specifically. To be frank, we thought it would be a complete disaster. In the end, it turned out better than expected. We were actually very impressed. Many people happily brought their friends that they had introduced and invited. Everyone's decorations were spectacular. Our investigators came and had a good time, and were even fellowshipped very well by the members. The next day we had church, combined with the other branch. Only a few people from the open house came, but the district was so unified. What made them all unified?

They remembered their purpose. They remembered that we are united in our love for Heavenly Father. In this mission, we often talk about triangles. Draw a triangle like this: an equilateral triangle, I/me on the left, you/them on the right, Heavenly Father at the top. In this triangle, you have to be equal. You draw nearer to your neighbor/spouse/friend/etc. by coming closer to Heavenly Father. If there was only you and the other person, you are the farthest apart. Additionally, without Heavenly Father, this triangle becomes a tug-of-war. There is no balance. When you remember Heavenly Father, there is perfect balance. Now it becomes a matter that both you and the other person must be coming closer to Heavenly Father. If not, the triangle becomes lop-sided. So, I invite you today to look beyond divides. Look beyond prejudices. Look beyond challenges and faults. Remember who you are and who those around you are, children of a LOVING Heavenly Father. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Week #47: May 30, 2017 - June 5, 2017

This week has gone by very quickly. Sister Evans and I are working hard to find new investigators and to prepare for the open house in KK (Kota Kinabalu) coming up on June 10th. One thought this week is the scripture found in Matthew 7:7, it says, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." I immediately went to the Topical Guide, and under Ask; Seek; Knock, a similar word is prayer. Look in the Topical Guide and in every scripture excerpt, replace "ask", "seek", and "knock" with "pray" or "prayer". In the footnotes of Matthew 7:7, to ask=prayer; to seek=meditate and study; and to knock=learn. This is THE secret formula to growing your own testimony. I testify that this is true. I know that prayer is the doorway to know truth, to gain answers, and to talk WITH Heavenly Father. Prayer is our phone call to God, scriptures are His loving answers. I know Heavenly Father loves you and listens to you. He knows who you are, the things of your heart, and the answers to give to you. Please, give Him a call today. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Week #46: Making History (actually my companion is) – May 23, 2017 – May 29, 2017

I got a new companion this week named Sister Evans. She is from Gilbert, Arizona. She has served most of her mission in KL, kicked me out of Penang for one transfer, and has now switched places with my old companion. Need I say more? She's actually really awesome! She's patient, kind, and funny. I remember my mom found her on Facebook from the Singapore Missionary Mom's page, and said to me, you need to be friends with her. Little did I know I would even be companions with her. She's an English speaking sister, but has actually learned a little of every language. She can kick my butt in Malay. She's the first English sister in all of this mission to break the East Malaysia barrier, and to be serving in Kota Kinabalu.

One miracle this week was riding the bus on Sunday. For most of this week, I had lost my voice because of my cold (the first time I have ever lost my voice in my life!) We had appointments set up, and while I was sick and recuperating, we scheduled additional appointments. However, we had to cancel many of the appointments of our Chinese investigators and Chinese less actives we were working with, because my voice did not improve. Sister Evans and I had faith that I would have a voice by Sunday, so we could call these people back and set up another appointment. Well the miracle came and I was able to call them! But none of them picked up their phones... We were a bit bummed, but started on our way to visit a member. As we rode the bus, we found that everyone we talked to could speak English, had run into missionaries before (mostly the senior couple a few years ago), and wanted to learn the gospel. It was an amazing day for us!

On Sunday, in church, we were able to share our testimonies as a Relief Society. One thing that came to mind were pictures of Jesus. When we see pictures of Jesus, He is always looking lovingly, warm, and is inviting. He often has open body language, a hand out, that is beckoning you to come. As I've been sharing The Book of Mormon, I'm learning that IT IS another testament of Jesus Christ. It tells us of Christ's life.  The people are all normal people with their own problems, yet they tell their testimonies/prophecies/experiences of Christ and how they came to know Him. In all of the examples of Christ and how He treats those around Him, He simply invites. He says, "Come". In KK, we've been preparing for a missionary open house. This is for the members to do member missionary work. I have never seen such amazing member missionary work than here in KK! As I've been thinking about missionary work, even as a member, we don't need to be afraid to share. We are not overbearing, nor forcing, we are inviting. We are simply doing as Christ would do. Elder David A. Bednar said, "Don't do missionary work because you are a missionary. Do it because you were baptized." Think today how you can follow Christ's example. Just say, "Come".

Sister Vranes could not upload pictures this week.