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Mesquite Nevada Stakes

Sister Hanna Haviland

How COVID affected my mission


I have loved having the chance to really focused on how my experiences as a missionary have strengthened my testimony of the Restoration. In this time of doubt and question, I have had great peace of mind and have never had much of a doubt that God is using this to build His kingdom here on Earth. I love getting to see families spend more time together and people start to realize what they really need to prioritize just strengthens my testimony that YES! the Lord really can turn anything into an experience for our good. We really do have a living prophet and God, through him, has been preparing us for this time when we can not gather together physically as Saints. But this is a new generation and time to become spiritually strong as we learn together how to have a more home centered and church supported learning system. I have loved being able to still keep the sabbath day holy and hold our own Church Service. As I sat down to write this, I had all of these wonderful moments of revelation flood back to my memory and a sincere appreciation for my mission and the restored Church and Gospel of Jesus Chriest fell over my heart. One of the most important truths that I have come to realize is the importance of the sacrament. My first sunday being home for quarantine, I showed up to our "church service" an hour early to prepare spiritually. It felt wonderful to have a sacrament meeting. It has been two Sundays since I have been able to take the sacrament and oh how I have missed it. but it didn't hit me hard until we started to sing the sacrament hymn and my Dad started to prepare the sacrament. My voice was lost in the tears that streamed down my face and I had an overwhelming portion of the spirit engulf my soul in a wave of love, forgiveness, peace and understanding. The understanding of how important the sacrament, priesthood, living prophets, and the restoration really is. I have had many of these witnesses within the first 14 months of my mission but none of them had ever hit me quite this strong. I am so grateful for the priesthood and the fact that God loves His Children enough that He allows the priesthood into each of our homes. Is is so important to live worthy of this blessing in each of our lives. I know President Russel M. Nelson is a prophet of God. I know the Book of Mormon is true and through it we learn many more restored truths. I know that Jesus Christ is still guiding His people and He will never leave us aimless. This is His plan, and we are a part of it. He is still leading us home.

I was blessed to serve in the two places that I needed the most. The Philippines will always be my mission, but the lessons I learned and the people I met while serving in Iowa will forever hold a special place in my heart. Even before I got my reassignment, I knew that my mission was not over. I was so close to the deadline that I really thought that I might not go back, but the spirit testified to me otherwise. He was preparing my heart to serve the Lord’s children in Iowa from the moment I learned we would be leaving the Philippines. I was only there for a short twelve weeks, but the moment I met my new companion I knew that I was where I needed to be. It wasn’t until I went home that I realized WHY I needed to be in Iowa, but God knew the whole time. I was learning line upon line but God was guiding ever step. COVID changed my mission because it changed how I did missionary work. From knocking doors 24/7 to sitting behind one, I learned that no matter the place, no matter the circumstances, The Lords work will go forward boldly, nobly and to all nations. Our missions do not start when we put on a tag and stop when we take it off. Each of us has the responsibility to gather Zion however and whenever we can. The spirit will always whisper to us how we can take part in, what our dear prophet refers to, as the greatest work. There is no greater work especially in these last days. COVID is our Father’s wake up call to us to stand up, get out and go to work. The time is not far distant that our Savior will return to call upon His sheep. So the question we must as ourselves is “am I ready?”. There is no greater way to prepare ourselves that to help others be prepared as well. Through teaching we learn, and by giving we receive.

How we react to this challenge will greatly reflect our level of conversion. Have faith. Forsake pride. Repent. Forgiveness freely. Be more careful and less casual in covenant keeping. Follow the prophet. Read the scriptures. And do it all little by little in the strength of the Lord. I testify that these things are the things that will help us to have happier lives and bring us closer to our Father in Heaven. This is our Savior's Church. I testify these things are true in His name, Jesus Christ, Amen.

-Sister Haviland

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