IT'S HALLOWEEN, YO.
SAY IT WITH ME NOW --
Halloween as a missionary is pretty lackluster, but we do our very best to make it as thrilling and not-scary as possible. Tracting is pretty pointless since most people would either laugh or maybe give us candy. Maybe. That's a very strong maybe, my friends. We also don't go out too late -- that's dangerous. We also aren't allowed to wear costumes. So, what do us missionaries do with ourselves on this wonderful holiday?
This year, God was like, "I'm going to give these missionaries a gift. Here, Halloween will be on a Monday." Cue hundreds of missionaries cheering in the distance. This P-Day, Sister Maughan and I are figuring out how many pumpkin spice flavored things we can eat. We're up to four, and it's not even noon yet. We're also spending the day eating unhealthy pumpkin treats and carving pumpkins with our dear Ocean Springs Sisters, Sister Lindberg and Sister Thompson. I love these gals. We're gonna party as hard as any missionary can!
This week has been so awesome. Can I just take a moment to mention the blessings the Lord has seriously been pouring onto us this transfer? I genuinely feel so grateful and so very blessed for the miracles I've been able to witness over the past five weeks -- and I'm even more excited to see what happens in week six!
Sister Maughan and I have been busy, busy, busy. We booked a bunch of our days, and we even had the opportunity to go on exchanges. With appointments falling out of our ears, Sister Maughan and I have been able to see all kinds of good things come from those we teach. Amidst the frustration, the crunch on miles, and the ever-unpredictable weather, we've realized that when you turn to the Lord and put the work in His hands, He shows you miracles you never could have imagined.
This week, people have kept their appointments. Awkward situations have turned into golden teaching opportunities. Answers to prayers have been laid out for us on silver platters, and as I think of the week, all I can do is smile and thank my Heavenly Father for allowing us to see and feel such blessings.
As I was studying this morning and pondering on the week's activities, I was able to read in Doctrine and Covenants section 127. On my mission, I've been able to gain a better appreciation for Joseph Smith and the trials he experienced. At home, I knew of Joseph Smith and what he did, but I didn't really understand him. I had my doubts, my speculations, my uncertainties. And so, Heavenly Father guided me to a mission where I was able to really spend time understanding all that Joseph Smith was able to accomplish after seeing the Vision.
Some part of me yearns to better understand him as I teach about him. His story relates with so many people! Even those of us who were born into the Church have to one day ask of God, just as James directs (James 1:5). This is what Joseph Smith did. And while none of us will see God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ we will receive our own pillar of light.
My pillars of light come and stay. They surround me and warm my testimony like a crackling fall fire. In a world that changes, with falling leaves and decaying life, I am able to turn to "thou who changest not" (Hymns, #166) and have my Father in Heaven stay by me and allow my revelations come to guide my testimony -- those lights are my beacons when the night grows dark, and how grateful I am for them.
In 1842, when Joseph Smith was being persecuted by unbelievers (as he always was), he still found time and energy to ponder upon the things of the kingdom. The most pressing matter on his mind was that of baptisms for the dead, which he discusses in part in section 127 of the Doctrine and Covenants. As I read that this morning, one verse stuck to me:
And as for the perils which I am called to pass through, they seem but a small thing to me, as the envy and wrath of man have been my common lot all the days of my life; and for what cause it seems mysterious, unless I was ordained from before the foundation of the world for some good end, or bad, as you may choose to call it. Judge ye for yourselves. God knoweth all these things, whether it be good or bad. But nevertheless, deep water is what I am wont to swim in. It all has become a second nature to me; and I feel, like Paul, to glory in tribulation; for to this day has the God of my fathers delivered me out of them all, and will deliver me from henceforth; for behold, and lo, I shall triumph over all my enemies, for the Lord God hath spoken it.
If there is one thing I know about Joseph Smith, it is that he waded through much tribulation. I do not know if I could stand to live through what he did, and I am grateful for the trials God has bestowed upon me because of it.
I am grateful for every moment of darkness, every section of peril, every wide and treacherous path God has seen fit to place me upon. God has been my beacon and my strength. He has given me my "pillars of light" and they light the way from whence I came and will light the way to where I go.
Be grateful for your trials, brothers and sisters. As weird of an admonition as that might be, on my mission I have had the opportunity to go through many afflictions. I have been "delivered" from all of them. Every single one of them. Right now, I am basking in the light of outpouring blessings. I am wading through brisk fields and warm breezes. The Lord is allowing me to see the lights brighter than ever, and I am so grateful for these blessings that I am so unworthy to have.
Some of you may understand this, and some of you may feel angry, or sad, or even bitter because right now that isn't how life is.
And that's okay.
One good thing about the restored gospel is that we know the truth, and we know and hope for a better tomorrow. That is the joy of being a Latter-day Saint; to know that tomorrow will always be brighter, will always be better, and will always bring blessings that you could not imagine.
Every blessing is a big one, brothers and sisters. Look for them. Watch for them. They're there.
What are your pillars of light?
Have a good week.
And have an especially good Halloween!
|We hit our fourteen months, yo! So, we decided to celebrate with pumpkin pie blizzards. This is always how I celebrate.|
|District pic! From left to right (starting from the top): ME!, Sister Maughan, Elder Ahanonu, Elder Houston, Elder Scoresby, Elder Clark. (Bottom row): Sister Lindberg, Sister Thompson, Elder Chukwu, Elder Hunt.|
|Sister Maughan caught me on my bike while we were headed down the beach!|
|We put a bike rack on the car! Well, actually....Sister Maughan did all the hard work. I took pictures and supervised. #Unity|
|The lady at the store told us these pumpkin spice chocolates were better cold. So...air vent?|
|The Robinsons let us come over and do some pottery!|
|Some photos from the Biloxi Ward's trunk-or-treat! We had so much fun! And LOOK AT ALL OF THESE TINY ONES IN COSTUMES! SO CUTE|
|The Ocean Springs library dressed up their statues. feat. a gross bug|