I’m not lying when I say this was the best week of my life.
Nothing spectacular happened…just being a servant of the Lord will always be the best week of anyone’s life. I can’t even begin to type out in words the joy that comes from being a missionary. I know I say that every week.
Recently our Commander in Chief Monson asked us to spend some more time contacting LARCs (Less Active/Recent Convert) and working with members and their friends. They want us to do less tracting and more teaching. My personal theory on why they emphasized it: the greater the knowledge, the greater the responsibility. Father in Heaven knows something we don’t know–like when Christ is coming again. I don’t think those thoughts need to be expanded. Anyway, being exactly obedient, we have been seeing many people that haven’t come to church in a while. There’s a plethora of reasons why they choose to not have those blessings for themselves, including taking offense, being prideful, not having enough faith, etc. I’ve never been more bold in the past seven months than I have this week. And there’s been a lot seeing the fruits of my labor because of it! Three LA families at church yesterday. Oh yes.
We’ve been taking one of the greatest 17-year olds, Casey, around with us. Casey got baptized last year, and was a total golden referral. She can see through the investigator’s eyes…because she was one of them. I don’t know how we teach without her now! She just applied to BYU, and I am praying so hard that she gets to go. Casey is one of those girls that BYU was made for. She comes from a non-religious background, laughed at the missionaries when they showed up at her door, but gave Him a chance and found Christ at a critical time in her life–without any family support. Now, there’s nothing she’d rather do than serve the Lord. Her hard work, dilligence, and patience all combine together perfectly for an extremely mature girl who needs friends just like her. Anyway, that’s my Casey rant. I wish I could have been more like her at her age. She’s ready to tackle the world. Being with her, I’ve realized that I can change lives. (I know…you’d think a missionary would know that by now.) But it’s one of those things that just clicked. It’s not any of my power to do it with. It’s the power that was given me of the Lord to literally change the hearts of those who are seeking for the truth, even if they don’t even know it yet.
While hunting down those that have wandered, we’ve been so blessed with more people in our teaching pool than we can handle right now. We ask everyone for referrals and more often than not they give it to us. We were even making pancakes for a woman in our ward, and her non-member friend, Jim, walks in. (Not a coincidence.) He sees our nametags and says, “Where is wisdom found in the Bible?” Of course we shared James 1:5 with him, but he wasn’t satisfied. He kept asking us the same question over and over. “Proverbs,” he said. He told us he was a non-denominational minister, and knows a lot about the Bible. We started to tell him about the Restoration focusing more on the Apostacy. Eventually he said, “You girls know what you’re talking about. Do you have a pamphlet I can have?” (OH YEAH WE DO!) And we gave one to him. We invited him to the Christmas party the next day, he was there 30 minutes early, and had a great time. We have a lesson set for Wednesday. Jim is one of those that is humble enough to accept what feels to be true, even though he was brought up somewhere else. Miracle 1 of 100 from following the prophet.
Miracle 2 of 100: After a long night of plans and backup plans being cancelled, Sister Torres and I decided to visit a former investigator, Maria. We weren’t sure she was going to be home, because all of the notes in the area book told us that she is always busy and hard to get a hold of. Regardless, we tried it. As we were walking to her doorstep, she opens the door to let the cat out, and looked a little surprised to see us. Nonetheless, she let us in. We saw a bunch of wrapping paper and Christmas presents spread out, so we offered to help her with the job. We started a small conversation, which ended up to her telling us that she had prayed that someone could help her with wrapping the gifts. It was something that she hated to do, since her children were grown out of the house, and it wasn’t a “family project” anymore. It was a small task to remind her that she again lived alone. Little did we know she prayed to our Heavenly Father about this, and little did I know that it was a prompting from the spirit to visit her. She told us it was an answer to her prayers and even let us teach her while we were helping her. She wasn’t wrapping these presents alone anymore–she didn’t have to do anything alone anymore. I never knew that I would have one of “those” moments on my mission…and at the same token I couldn’t have told you it was a spiritual impression. But after pondering, I realized what we had done. We followed the still small voice to lead us to “comfort those who stand in need of comfort.” Let me tell you, that voice is really small.
Being on a mission teaches you the mindset of how to live the rest of your life. In high school, it was all about boys, school and work. That’s not what life is about at all. If I learn anything coming out of the mission field, it will be how to love people, and how to keep Christ centered on your thoughts. I never realized how much of a real life experience being on a mission is. I thought it was an escape from the world, but it is “real-life” training in it’s entirety. Nothing else is important. Sharing the gospel with others is the most productive thing you could ever do in your lifetime. In fact…I’ll give whoever is reading this a challenge. Because that’s what we do as missionaries–challgenge people. As Visitors’ Center sisters, we have access to send people’s contact information straight to the mission office in which they live. Will you all think of someone that you know that could seriously use the gospel? We all need it. But some may be fighting for it more than others at this point in their life. Maybe they just lost a parent, had a baby, moved to a new house, or switched into your class at school. If you feel comfortable enough, I would be more than honored to send servants of Jesus Christ over to their home to explain how they can have more peace in this life. Just send me their contact info, and a message from you, and I’ll make sure it gets to them. If you don’t have anyone in mind right now–think and ponder it, and get back with me. If you already know the missionaries in their home town, great! Give it to them. Then we can all be following the prophet.
Tonight we are headed to the Joseph Smith Farm to have a huge FHE with the Rochester area! Caroling, entertainment…it’s going to be so fun. Then tomorrow is our Christmas devotional and I’m doing a couple of musical numbers; one with Sister Raines and Elder Hole, and another with a few other sisters. I feel like I’m at a family reunion when I go to those meetings! Especially last night at the Rochester Mormon Choir! I’ve never felt so at home. I never ever want to leave this place. You may call me obsessed with missionary work…probably because I am! I think it’s because I’m finding more and more weaknesses in myself that I need to get fixed. Overcoming a weakness is the most fulfilling obstacle in the world.
I hope you are all having a great Christmas season. Spend time serving others by giving them your time to help them what they need help with. I’m also loving getting these Christmas cards from other people. and thanks Reading Ward for all of your letters! I loved them. Oh, and whoever can go see the lights on Temple Square for me this week, do it. Thanks, I appreciate it.