It feel crazy to say that I have already been gone one month. So much has changed in this short amount of time! I feel that I have already grown in ways I never even imagined... And I have so much more to learn! Missions truly are wonderful... I have learned to develop a stronger relationship with God and to rely on his spirit to lead and guide. I have also loved getting to know and love many of the people here in Chicago. It is amazing, as a missionary you are blessed to see all of Gods children through his eyes. The love he has for each individual is incomprehensible. Although all of Gods children may not be ready to receive the gospel... I know he is preparing the hearts of many, and it is my responsibility to go out and find them!
So this week was full of MEETINGS. Missionaries love meetings.... (Kind of) but it is practically our lives. This week we had new missionary training meeting on Tuesday... And zone training on Wednesday. I learned ALOT. President Woodbury talked a lot about Jacob chapter 5 and how it is our responsibility to be laborers in the vineyard in these last days preparing for the Savior. What an exciting time to be a missionary!
Many of you ask about my days and my companion.. So I shall share a little of my new life! I wake up at 5:45 AM every morning, I drag sister Meili along for a run... then come home and make green smoothies-thanks mom!. We shower and get ready and then study 8-11. We then usually have appointments scheduled for lessons. If not, we are visiting members, less actives, or new converts. We usually have dinner appointments 4/5 times a week. The members are very generous in welcoming us into their homes and providing a good dinner. We then spent our last few hours of the night trying to contact people and receive referrals. We come home, usually grab a snack and then plan for the next day.... Get ready for bed and start all over again! Its an adjustment... Going from thinking about myself with school and work all day long to only thinking of others... It takes time! But the more and more I get involved and lost in the work the happier I become and the less I miss my life back at home.
Maddy is progressing very well... We have been focusing on the restoration and the importance of Joseph Smith this week. Her testimony is growing every day as we are helping her prepare for her baptism date of September 5th. This week Maddy told me that she knew God directed her to the church, "I was just looking for something that was true and would draw me closer to God." Working with Maddy not only helps me recognize the importance of sharing the gospel, but helps me to understand that God is preparing people to hear and receive the gospel. I know the Lord is involved in this work. He is right along beside me as I seek for people to share the gospel with. Of course there are those times where everyone I come in contact with rejects me, and that is hard... But I find comfort in knowing... The Lord will lead me to those who are ready to know the truth. The best way we are able to find people is through referrals from ward members. Missionaries cannot work alone! We strongly rely on members to help us find people to teach.
Amazing experience this week. One of the families in our ward has a girl named Natalia visiting from Sweden, her parents both died last year and she needed a place to stay. Long story short we have had the opportunity to have many discussions with her about religion. She does not believe in God but seems to be fascinated with the church. She came to church on Sunday and that night we had a lesson with her and taught about gods love for all of his children. I bore my witness to her that I knew God loved her and that he knew her and was aware of her situation. She started crying the spirit was so incredibly strong. Ahh.... I wish she didn't have to go back to Sweden! We will most definitely keep in touch through Facebook! (Once I can get on, I am currently being trained for online proselyting) I pray for her!
It is a miracle. VICTORIA HAS AGREED TO START TAKING THE LESSONS. We met with her this week and she wants to know more about the gospel. We are meeting with her Monday night. I am praying all goes well and she will be able to learn from the spirit. We tried to meet with Jenkins this week, but he is extremely busy working and going to school to obtain PHD in business management. We Scheduled to meet with him on Friday and we are hoping he will stay committed to coming to Church! I think one of the hardest parts of being a missionary is when the appointments fall through and people don't keep their commitments. That is when I have to remind myself... That everyone is doing the best that they can. I am definitely learning the Christlike attribute of patience out here in the field!! Speaking of patience, this week they installed "TIWI" systems into our cars so they know exactly how fast we are driving, accelerating, and where we are at. Dad, I have never missed the corvette so much. Driving the exact speed limit is KILLING ME. But i know is teaching me to be a safe driver.... Be grateful in all things right?
This past week I have been pondering a lot about family history and the importance of remembering our ancestors. Mostly because I firmly believe that my ancestors and the ancestors of my investigators are on the other side helping me to find those who are ready to know the truth. Sister Meili and I are learning how to do family history from a woman in our ward who works as a genealogist. Our goal is to help our investigators and potential investigators discover more about their family history. We also want to get the youth of our ward involved in this exciting work! As a missionary I have recognized the importance of ordinance work for the dead. What wonderful evidence that shows God knows and loves ALL of his children and desires not only there salvation, but also exaltation. Family history is something that each of us can work on and help those who are waiting for their ordinances to be preformed on the other side! I encourage you to get involved in the work!
President has challenged each missionary to read through the Book of Mormon with a study journal. This week I pondered and read about Ammon and what a great missionary he was in being an example of Christ by standing truth and righteousness. Because of his courage he was then blessed with opportunities to share the gospel.
I have grown to develop a love for the scriptures, they seem to come to life as I read them with a desire to learn more. I truly believe that a higher level of comprehension is obtainable as you study the Book of Mormon with the spirit and pray to receive answers. Although I do not understand all of the doctrine in the Book of Mormon, I KNOW IT IS TRUE. There is so much for me to learn... And each day I continue to learn. I am grateful for God's patience with me! This applies not only to missionaries... But to all of us. When we are fully engaged with learning from the scriptures and we believe and know there is something to get out of it and apply to our lives to help us grow closer to our savior it all begins to come together. I have a testimony that the Lord provides answers and understanding to those who earnestly seek.
Thank you so much for the support!! I love you all and can definitely feel your prayers!!