Greetings from Biloxi, Mississippi!
Sister Barney has been plopped into El Dorado, Arkansas, where she will end her mission proud and strong. I'm officially halfway through my eighteen-month mission as of this week. But, get this -- so is my companion! What! I'm with Sister Abril, who came out with me. She's super awesome. We are going to have so much fun in Biloxi!
Biloxi is located in the Gulfport Zone, right down by the coast of Miss'ippi. We sisters cover a small section of the peninsula, where we have amazing opportunities to proselyte in apartment complexes, stores, and now the beach! I have always wanted to serve down by the coast, so I am excited for the adventures that Biloxi Beach has to offer.
Our ward is mostly military, with the military base located right on the peninsula. We have the opportunity to serve those who are serving our country. I've met some amazing people so far, who have truly hectic lives with big families that have to get up and move at any moment's notice. I appreciate and admire their love for their country and the gospel, and I wish them well on their way around the country. I won't get to see them much as they attend our ward, but I hope to still grow to love them, nonetheless.
While Purvis was cows and hills and trees, Biloxi is seagulls and sand and shops. We frequent the surf store by the beach when we need a break, and we try some fudge samples while we cool down. I'm now in a car-share, which means that we share two cars between three companionships. So, we have a car for two weeks, and then for a week we're on bikes! So fun! I am very grateful for the flat landscape of the coast. I would have died in Purvis.
However, being in Biloxi has strengthened my testimony of love and diligence. My companion, Sister Abril has a talent for loving those we teach and truly loving the work. Every hour is busy; every moment is filled with work. As we are working and putting ourselves out there, the Lord places us in the paths of others so we can talk to them.
On Memorial Day, we ran into a man who was splayed on a bench on the beach, shorts tattered, buttoned shirt open. His hair had plenty of salt and sand in it, and he gave us a toothy smile as we approached. We introduced ourselves and talked, and it turns out he was a former member of the Reformed Latter-day Saint Church, which is now known as the Community of Christ. (That's a big long history. All I can tell you is that we do not associate with that group; it is not part of the Church, nor do we affiliate with its teachings.) Not knowing that we were missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he told us all about how the Book of Mormon was invalid, how he was perfectly happy being atheist, and the like.
This guy was pretty great! He was supportive of us when we told him who we were. He fumbled with words for a moment, but we had a great discussion about the Church, religion, and the like. As we walked away, I couldn't help but smile and know that God puts us in the paths of others for a very specific reason. We don't usually know the reasons; we don't know what effect we have on others.
I know that there are people who are prepared for our teachings. I know that the message we have to share is the most precious thing we carry. There are people in Biloxi that the Lord feels like Sister Abril and I are prepared to teach, and vice-versa. I've met a few people who have already touched my heart, whose hearts are truly searching for truth and family. I know that this Church is where that family is.
Never have I felt more loved than when I am trying to align my will with my Father in Heaven's. He knows what's best for me, for others, and for the work. He has the bigger plan in His hands.
We sometimes aren't sure how to align our will with God's. We're afraid of what He might say -- but let me quote Nephi:
"But the Lord knoweth all things from the beginning; wherefore, he prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children of men; for behold he hath all power unto the fulfilling of all his words."
"I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they might accomplish the thing which he commandeth them."
You have the power to do all things God asks you to; all you have to do is rely on Christ. Have faith that all things will work according to God's will, and as long as you have the faith that He is working things out for your benefit, you will arise victorious.
In biking the beaches, watching the sunset bleed onto the gulf waters, and slipping into the throng of unsuspecting lives, I have seen God's will unfold. I have seen the love He has for each one of His children. We are the instruments to be played by His hand; we are the harmonies and melodies that He has composed. All we need to do is watch Him, be patient, listen for Him, and allow Him to work through us to bring about all the works He has in store for His children.
Don't doubt Him. He's got this.
I'm sure I say that at the end of every letter, but it never ceases to be any less true. I know that He loves us. He's placed me in Biloxi for a reason -- who's ready to figure out why?
I know I am!
|T-Day! (Sister Nash is the most fabulous, yes.)|
|Best sign ever!|
|Photoshoots with Sister Abril! And some scenery from the coast!|
|We thought this was hilarious because we reached our Hump Day!|
|Memorial Day Chalk Talk by the beach!!|
|Chalk talk, and Sister Abril and I on bikes because we let the elders have the car for the day! #RunningFromAStorm|
|And, one more selfie with my beloved Sister Barney!|