Happy Easter Week!! This is most definitely my FAVORITE time of year!!
I don't even know where this past week has went, the time went by so
fast! Sister Patterson and I have been striving to work hard and to
accomplish the work in this little part of the vineyard!
On Monday evening we had a great lesson with one of our investigators
Alexia. Alexia was excommunicated from the church for some decisions
that she has made.. but her testimony is so incredibly strong and
powerful. We have been working with her, and were able to have a good
lesson with our relief society president. We shared the Easter video
about finding "new life" in Jesus Christ, and alexia was in tears..
The spirit was so so strong. She bore her testimony about how she
KNOWS that God loves her despite her mistakes and that she is a
DAUGHTER of God no matter what. Wow. It was powerful. Her testimony of
the atonement is SO strong and I could just feel gods love for her. I
know that God cares a whole lot more about the person we are becoming
rather than the person that we are now. It's all about the direction
that we are taking. It's kinda like climbing a ladder... Someone can
be at the bottom of the ladder and looking up, climbing higher... And
I believe that is more important than someone who is at the top of the
ladder and looking down. I keep this perspective in mind when working
with less actives and those who may be struggling.
Tuesday was such great day. We had about two hours to spend
contacting... And the weather was beautiful. Sister Patterson and I
felt the prompting to stop in a local bakery.. Pretty sure it was 90%
the spirit and 10% craving a fresh homemade cookie. (; anyways... We
decide to go in and check it out... And as we are scoping out the
cookies an old man walks in the door.. "Sisters! Where are you from?!"
Sister Patterson look around like... Is he talking to us? Ha kinda
caught us off guard... Usually we are the first ones to approach
people. His name is Sixto, he is from Cuba and he has definitely been
prepared by the hand of the lord. we spent about 45 minutes with him
teaching and talking to him about the church. He said to us that he is
"looking for the right faith, and felt many of the churches were
teaching the wrong truths... However his faith in God and Jesus Christ
remained strong." A set of elders tried to contact him in 2003 and he
was able to point us out today from the name tags, and recognize us as
missionaries for the same church. He told us that he knew we were true
messengers of God to help him come to know the truth. SO COOL. sadly
he is not YSA age but we are hoping to meet up with him sometime this
week and then we will be able to refer him to a different set of
missionaries. I have a strong testimony that as we are doing the lords
work with the righteous desire to serve and bring others to christ, he
will place those individuals in our path who are prepared to receive
the message of the gospel.
Hmmm. What else happened this week? We met with a new member in our
ward who just recently moved to America from South Africa.. She is the
COOLEST. It was so great to meet with her and getting to know her
better. She had been less active for the past five years and recently
committed to coming back to church. I love pippa! She makes me so
happy, helping her strengthen her testimony is one of my favorite
parts of being a missionary. How easy it is to forget when we stop
doing the small and simple things. I LOVE working with the young
single adults. So many are struggling to find their way... Not because
of lack of testimony..l but merely because a lack of faith and trust.
It is so easy for me to relate to them because I have and often time
do feel the same way. I have been thinking about the difference
between going through the motions and believing. Being a member of the
church it is simply not enough to just go through the motions, and
vice versa it is not enough to just only believe. Belief and action go
hand and hand. It's easy to show up to church every Sunday and partake
of the sacrament... But if not the right mindset and desire there is
no connection between belief and action. The gospel of Jesus Christ is
founded on belief in doctrine, yet is fulfilled through acting on
faith. I have come to realize that much of the work I will do within
this area is helping to strengthen and uplift the ward members. There
are so many who outwardly are going through the motions, yet are
struggling with their own testimony. The time is critical to
strengthen and uplift one another. In order to hasten the work of
salvation we must come together.
We had a lesson with Carleen at the bishops home on Thursday evening.
We taught her about the word of wisdom and the importance of daily
personal prayer and scripture study. We testified of how it truly it
is the small and simple things that matter the most. It was really
cool to have it with bishop because he was able to relate and connect
to Carleen and her situation very well. He converted to the church
when he was 24 and was also raised Catholic. Carleen had many good
questions and she is learning so much! She told us she feels her
prayers are getting answered and that God truly is softening her
parents hearts. She is so great.
So on Friday Zone conference... It was awesome! Sister Patterson and I
taught about finding and how to contact people... Teach, testify, and
invite in less than a minute. It went very well! I also had the
opportunity to play a special music number on the piano. It was
powerful. Such a good long day. We were sitting in the chapel from
9-5. If you think church is long.... Wait til you're a missionary. (;
So the law of compensation is REAL, I was feeling a little sad because
I'm missin a trip with my family to Mexico... And I was just prayin to
Heavenly Father for the desire to want to be there. So at zone
conference we always have lunch.. And guess what? Spanish members from
Mexico came and made a huge lunch for us.. HOMEMADE guacamole, pico de
gallo... Chips, horchata.. A little taste of Mexico. It truly was a
little answer to prayers. I know it sounds silly.. But God is aware of
the little details of our lives!
On Saturday I went on exchanges with sister Meili! It was so much fun
to be back with my trainer! We did a TON of contacting.. It was
reeeeal fun! Chicago is a good place to talk to lots of interesting
people! (; Sunday was theeee BEST. First of all, Carleen came... Ahh
she is awesome. Okay now for the best part. We had SIX less actives
come to church this week. #miracle we have been trying to focus in on
less active members over the past two transfers and it's finally
starting to pay off! So Missy (less active) came to church
unexpectedly... She just showed up! Sister Patterson and I were
smiling from head to toe! It was so Inspired. We had just met with her
earlier in that week and she is really struggling to know what
direction to take in her life right now and is looking for answers.
Well.. Guess what the whole sacrament meeting was centered around?
PERSONAL REVELATION and receiving answers. Man, it was so awesome, she
stayed for all three hours. Also, our less active Arleen came to
church again and brought her mom who hasn't been to church in years!
Another miracle... We haven't met with Tim (investigator) for awhile,
and he also came to church on Sunday and then came to the branch
activity afterwards! He is a pretty cool guy, but has lots of
interesting questions about the church.
I have been studying in the chapters of alma about how these
missionaries go forth and find great joy preaching and declaring the
word... Despite the many hardships that they face. So This week I have
been pondering What it means to find "Joy" in the work and how I can
find "Joy" and happiness, even when it gets hard! Sometimes I get
caught up in the mindset of.... My joy will be full when.... My
investigators get baptized... Or my joy will be full when I find a new
investigator... Or my joy will be full when this area is filled with
great success. When have those thoughts... I loose the "Joy" in today
and I find myself easily becoming a missionary who is ungrateful and
tends to murmur. It is amazing how studies always line up to answer
prayers. While pondering how to find joy in this work, I read chapters
29 and 31 of alma. Wow. It was an immediate answer to my prayers. In
vs. 3 of chapter 29 it says "for I ought to be content with the things
which the lord hath alotted me." Finding joy in what the Lord has
already blessed me with! In vs. 10 alma is reflecting on and
remembering what the lord has done. I know that when i take a step
back to acknowledge and remember what the lord has done for me and the
many tender mercies that I witness each day... I am able to see his
hand in this work and find true "Joy". In vs 13 alma rejoices in his
calling as a missionary and instead of wishing for more success he
thanks the lord for the success he has been given and his "Joy is
full". He then rejoices because of the success of his brethren. In vs.
14 I thought.. How often to I rejoice because of another's success?
Big awakening for me. I tend to get caught up in comparing my success
to others instead of being happy for them. Comparison destroys joy. I
believe the secret to finding joy is GRATITUDE. When we are
remembering and acknowledging the lord hand... How great is our joy.
He is always there and it is up to us to seek and remember him! I find
comfort and strength in the scripture alma 31:31-35, I know the lord
is there.. And he is a part of this great work!!
It has been a great week, I am looking forward to this upcoming week
as well! The week leading up to Easter is one of the most important
weeks of all time! Thank you for all of your many prayers! I am so
grateful for the opportunity that I have to serve as a full time
representative of Jesus Christ. I am grateful for his sacrifice and
that because of him we have the opportunity to live with those we love
forever. HAPPY EASTER!! #hallelujah