I think missionaries have Twitter separation anxiety and don't know it. We end all of our text messages, meetings, and conversations with ridiculous hashtags (yes, verbal hashtags are totally a thing). Sister Matealona and I have a collection of ridiculous hashtags we constantly throw at one another, such as: #YouTwirlFlags
This week has been pretty great! We had interviews with President and Sister Olson, who are inspired individuals for sure. They've been traveling the mission interviewing the missionaries, reviewing their Area Books and planners, and giving suggestions on how we can improve our areas. Each area is different, so I know they have to have inspiration from our Heavenly Father in order to know how to handle each companionship's area.
As I've stated before, tracting in the Purvis area does little to nothing. We find potentials here and there, but it certainly isn't like what it was in Flowood. President and Sister Olson both had amazing suggestions for that problem! They've encouraged us to work with members and part-member families, as we've planned on doing, but they also suggested we have a "Why I Believe" fireside, where converts tell their stories and bear their testimonies on the truth of the gospel. We thought that was an AMAZING idea! So hopefully we see that unfold in March!
We've been working with our ward a lot more. The Purvis ward is full of amazing member-missionaries who are ready to spread the gospel. We talked to one member who said he always has five or six copies of the Book of Mormon on him when he goes out of town for work, and he always tries to give them out, and usually does! How amazing is that?! Missionaries aren't the only ones who can give copies of the Book of Mormon away. Have you considered carrying a copy of this sacred book with you? Do you remember how this book has changed your life? Is that something you'd want for someone else? Find and pray for an opportunity to share the gospel, and the Lord will most definitely find a way to make it happen.
I've been considering a lot of things this week. With few investigators and little opportunities to teach, I've been wondering what I could do better in order to bring my brothers and sisters into the fold of God. The hard part about missionary work (besides, well, the missionary work) is the fact that people have agency! Weird, right?! When you have the burning desire to change someone's life for the better with the gospel, share it with them, and do all you can to help them recognize the Spirit, you still have to sit back and realize that this person has the right to choose, just as you do. Just as you made the choice to talk to them and bear your testimony, they, too, have the opportunity to exercise their God-given right to choose whether or not they will accept what you've told them.
And sometimes they say no.
I've mentioned before the feeling of heartbreak for another person's salvation, the ache in your chest when someone looks you in the eyes and says they no longer want to pursue the gospel. It feels like a storm, like the waters of the ocean are piling against you and all you can do to evade it is try and push against the winds and hope somehow that they will see the promised land that they are missing.
It reminds me of Noah and the ark. Do we all know this story? We read about it in Genesis chapter 5; Noah, a prophet who truly walked with God received revelation that he must build a ship and collect two of every animal and board this ship with his family to be safe from the flood God was going to seize upon the earth. God unleashed a flood so great that "every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark" (23-24).
Can you imagine being Noah? Building a ship and hoping and believing that God would deliver you and your family from this horrible flood. If you didn't build the ship right, the whole thing would fall apart and you would all perish. What about all the animals? Would your family be okay with this? Your friends? Everything would be piled up against you, and yet you still would have had the faith to build that ship. You took a leap of faith, and you did your part.
I think of Noah during the storms while every living thing was being taken off the earth. Imagine the fear, the anxiety, the turmoil -- I would be terrified our ship wouldn't hold! Sometimes in the storms of life, we get caught up in that. In those moments where the person we love says no, when what we wanted to happen didn't transpire, when your storms are raging against you; beating on the ship you built with your God and you aren't sure if He knows what's happening. This is His storm, right? He knows what He's doing, so why must He toss you around so much and push you to the brink of unimaginable fear and despair?
That is when we read in Genesis 8, verse 1: "And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters assuaged."
Read that first line: And God remembered Noah.
He remembers you. He remembers us. He's never forgotten about you. He's certainly not forgotten about your friends, your family, everything you hold dear. He knows what scares you, and He knows that you are trying. Sometimes we lack in faith and hope. Those things are not the same and they go hand-in-hand; you must have faith in Christ and all that He can do, but you also must hope that God will fulfill all the promises He has made. And He will, in His own time.
Doctrine and Covenants 101:16: "Therefore, let your hearts be comforted...for all flesh is in mine hands; be still and know that I am God."
He is there. He always is. Know of His great and wonderful power, and know that He will make all things work for your good as long as you work your agency and are faithful, with a full brightness of hope.
In the midst of losing and reaching for investigators, Sister Matealona and I have been led to people this week. They are those with sincere hearts and open spirits, who desire to know of our beliefs and are close to the Savior. He is who we live for, and I am grateful to be serving in a mission full of people who know that.
Make no small plans and press on, brothers and sisters. Remember your Heavenly Father and the promises He's made you and ask: what part do I play for Him? What is it that He wants me to do?
Then, do it. Build your ship, board it, and sail to the promised land.
Have a good week.
|Our district meetings have themes: this week was crazy hair day! :D|
|Isn't Mississippi beautiful?|
|That's one dog while tracting...|
|...three dogs while tracting....|
|LOOK AT THIS HUGE BALL OF FLUFF NAMED HERCULES. He belongs to someone we tracted into. He's HUGE and ADORABLE.|
|YES HE IS!|