First off, my Zone Leaders say hello to y'all!
This week I have learned the true meaning of exhaustion. I could have slept on my coffee table on some nights, but that only means Sister Harrison and I are working hard and that's such a great feeling!
As Sister Harrison and I go out tracting, we always come across neighborhoods we had no idea existed. Flowood seems to be constantly building neighborhoods -- I'm not sure I can knock on all of these before I get transferred! What a challenge that would be!
The people here in Flowood are so hospitable. It's so crazy! The ward members are the same way. Our fridge is full of food from dinner appointments and ward get-togethers. Everyone always finds the missionaries afterwards and hands us bags and platefuls of food. I now see why everyone warned me about gaining weight while I was in the south...ha!
Despite the hospitality, it's been a bit of a trying week. We received a lot of no-thank-you's this week. Some people don't show up to their appointments. Some people have said, "I just can't go Mormon!" Which makes me laugh for a while, but it also just makes me so sad. I've stated before that we aren't here to "make people Mormon." We're here to bring others closer to Jesus Christ. We are not trying to convert people to a church -- we're trying to convert people to the Savior.
This message that we're carrying is the most important message on the earth today. That's what gets me up at six in the morning. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ; I am His representative because He cannot be here on the earth right now. When I'm reading about His ministry in the New Testament, it always astonishes me how Christ makes every moment into a "missionary moment." He knew the importance of His message, and He knew the joy and happiness that that would bring to every person He spoke to. We strive to do just the same as missionaries. Being out here has made me begin to understand the magnitude of eternity. This gospel is not empty stories. It is not a false message. It is not a scam; it is your eternity. It is the most joyous, uplifting, beautiful thing you could ever hear today, tomorrow, and forever -- so why not share it?
There is a less active woman in my ward who cannot come to church because her husband has her go to his church. Every time we visit her, she tells us how much she wants to go to church. She follows the gospel to the letter and she shares it with everyone she meets. She told us about the trials in her life, and then expressed deep, emotional pain about her situation to us. While she was talking to us, my heart just broke. I have discovered that so many people feel lonely. They feel that there is no one to turn to and no one to listen; no one is there who understands; trials come, they endure, and yet nothing seems to get better. I want to testify to all who are reading this that your Heavenly Father knows your situation. He knows what you're going through. He knows exactly what is in store for you, and He has given us His Only Begotten Son, who bled from every pore and withstood immense physical and emotional pain so He could extend His hand to you and say, "It's okay. You will be alright."
The trials we have here are so small and meager compared to the joy and beauty that awaits us in eternity. If we turn to the Book of Mormon and find Alma chapter 36, we read when he is speaking to his son Helaman, he talks about how he was able to overcome his transgressions, pains, and afflictions through Christ, and in verse 20, it reads, "And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!" This verse speaks volumes to me. Alma's joy so greatly exceeded every pain he had that he forgot all of it. It didn't matter anymore because he was happy. And to all those who are reading this, I promise that the same is in store for you. We are all heirs to a beautiful, marvelous kingdom of happiness if we desire and strive for it. Whatever is afflicting you right now, it is temporary. It is mortal. It is not forever. You can be happy. You will be happy. Happiness is there for you, and your Heavenly Father is waiting to give it to you. Just ask.
Sister Harrison and I had the privilege of seeing this happiness this past Friday as the Brandon Ward welcomed a new member named Vivian! The elders out in Forest found and converted her. She was baptized and confirmed this weekend, and she has such a sweet spirit. The first time I met her at church, I asked how she liked it, and she gave me the biggest smile and said, "Oh I love it! I just want to shout and jump for joy and give everyone a hug!" What a sweetheart!! And after she was baptized, she kept saying, "I did it!"
She also said something particularly wonderful that's stuck with me. The bishop was welcoming her to the ward, and she said, "I did it. Through God's grace, I did it." She said it so humbly and so confidently. A sweet feeling fell over the room, and I couldn't stop smiling. I am so excited for her, and I am also excited for all who are discovering the beauty and peace of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
There are many other people Sister Harrison and I have begun teaching. I encourage all of you to pray for missionary experiences and share your testimony with those you know. Pray to know the truth and weight of the restored gospel, and I know that if you do so with sincerity and with faith in Christ, you will know of its truth through the Holy Ghost.
Don't be afraid of what you know. Godspeed! See you next week!
BEHOLD! The Beautiful Scenery in Flowood!
|I took a picture of the card my mom sent me because it's just the best thing ever :)|
|I have a bike, courtesy of Sister James! So, thank you, Sister James (if you ever see this)! She left this bike here when she went home to "give away." So, this bike was given to me, and it's so wonderful!|