I discovered this week that there is a way that I like mango's... you just get it really fresh and serve it with coconut milk rice and it is fantastic! I learned this Tai delicacy while eating dinner with a member couple who served a mission in Thailand for two years. Their faith filled stories were an inspiration in this seemingly unsuccessful time for me here in Hanford. I know that even with the struggles I now grit my teeth at enduring that someday will look back and appreciate this time of growth. That is a point that has been reiterated to me again and again this week as I read over the conference talks from Apostles like Elder Holland, Elder Oaks, and Elder Uchtdorf.
A wonderful experience this week was hearing a less active member pray in her native language of Hmong. They are a beautiful family and though they have struggles their testimonies are so shining.
Funny of the week was realizing after three days of walking everywhere in 100-degree heat that we were in fact NOT out of miles for the month... Bittersweet moment. I was glad to be able to use the car more fully again, but I couldn't help but fill a moment of frustration at all the extra sweat I had incurred in those three days. Even as I type that though I think of the Savior and every drop of blood that he incurred for me... that he continues to feel in my moments of error and rebellion.
It has been a struggle for me to serve as a missionary. Many of you know that this was never a path I had envisioned for myself. Yet, here I am serving as a full time representative of Jesus Christ. In moments of desperation and sorrow I have begged to know why is this where the Father wants me, why is this where he needs me to be, what am I learning? He always so lovingly has answered my petitions. But still in moments of struggle I turn to these questions and ask them again and again. In a meeting with my district this week we discussed desire and vision; that before we have desire we must first have a vision of where we want to be. So this week I thought why am I here? And the answer again was because I felt the Lord asking me to come here, I felt an obligation/duty to serve. Despite the many times I have thought this before though, this time that answer was not enough. It is still true and those were part of the main reasons I came on a mission, but I realized that I want, actually I need, to get more out of this time than merely a sense of fulfilling an obligation. So I pondered what are my goals? I came here out of duty, but I want to use my time wisely and maximize its potential. So I set five goals:
1. Return with Honor
2. Temple Marriage
3. Christ Centered Home
4. Learn Spanish
5. Master Forgiveness
They encompass so much and I can't do them justice in explaining them thoroughly with my limited time emailing today. But I know that as I work towards these five goals (especially the first three) that I will find the joy and happiness that I have been promised. (It only took half my mission for me to figure out my direction, but better late than never). I encourage you each no matter what your position in life currently is to think of at least three goals that you have for yourself/your family. I know that as we set a vision for ourselves it is so much easier to have a desire to work towards these objectives. Our focus becomes more clear and directed.
I love you and know that the Lord truly is mindful of each of us and in the details of our lives. Turn to him and let his power and mercy lift you up.
2 Chronicles 25:9 "Man of God answered, The Lord is able to give thee much more than this"
Romans 8: 38-39 Nothing shall separate us from the love of God which is in Christ
Esther 4:14 "...and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for a time such as this?"
Job 11:16 " Because thou shalt forget thy misery, and remember it as water that pass away"