mormon-messages/topics/ gratitude?v=1101413031001 Stop. Go back and click that link. WATCH IT! It is so perfect for how I feel right now as a missionary.
Wow. What a wonderful year it has been. It seems crazy from the outset. Who would leave it all and choose a "Spartan life of rejection"? And you know it really does sound like insanity to serve a mission when you look at it "logically"... Right up until you add in the fact that it is true. The gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored on the earth again and this is His kingdom we labor in. A year ago (to the day) I climbed on a plane and flew to Provo, UT to learn how to be a missionary in the Missionary Training Center. I said goodbye to my family and friends. I had my last taste of Coco Bean Cafe and their delicious Irish Caramel Frappe's made from chocolate beans. The MTC instructors and then my future companions taught me Spanish (well, they tried to haha). There have been tears of pain and of sweet joy along the way. I would have never guessed on that day as I embarked on this journey that I would have experienced all that I have experienced or met all the wonderful friends I have met. But now I wouldn't trade it for the world. There is nothing in my life that has taught me more than this past year. There is no amount of education or work experience that could ever compare. I was so blessed to be able to go to the temple this morning and to feel the wonderful Spirit of the Lord in this landmark moment in my life. There truly is no greater blessing than that of the Spirit's companionship. Two things particularly have been impressed upon my mind this morning that I have learned in this past year: Firstly Obedience, and Secondly Sacrifice.
An experience that proves this really hit me outta the blue this week. We were trying to make copies at the chapel but the Elders were already in the building. My companion asked me what we should do. No one would really know since no one was there and the Elders were probably on the other side of the building using the computers. But the rule says Elders and Sisters cannot both be in the building at the same time with out other people there. The first thing that popped out of my mouth was "There is NO substitute for exact obedience". I was befuddled. Never in a million years would I have expected that to come tumbling out of my mouth, and especially as an initial response. But it did! I'm still trying to sort through where that change within me occurred, but I am sure that it was somewhere in the process of fake-it-till-ya-make-it... As I have lived striving to become exactly obedient, I have come to appreciate the blessings that only EXACT obedience can bring.
So news for the past week and a half. I got a haircut! Probably about time, seeing as the last one was in February haha. No worries it was just a trim, nothing too crazy. (She used some Moroccan Oil product which smelled divine... That maybe a product I look into purchasing in the future haha). While leading an exchange here in Yosemite I managed to get Hna. Jorgenson and myself completely lost (with GPS even). Somehow we ended up in the Sierra National Forest... oh dear haha. There were definitely NOT houses there where GPS thought they should be, just these massive redwoods. With some helpful phone calls we managed to get ourselves straightened out and back in the right direction. Sister Vernon and I gave a training on Revelation through the Book of Mormon at our last District Meeting. And I ordered a salad of my own freewill! That is a miracle. I even kind of liked it! Proof that I must be changing haha. We also had Falon come on an all day team up with us. She has her mission call to go to Georgia in February. She was so great. Her companions are going to be so lucky to have her. We just wanted to keep her here with us lol.
I think that I am really starting to see and think big picture. I can view results that go beyond the end of a transfer or even my mission, even if maybe I can't directly see those harvests in my time of labor. An example of that came as we were filling out stake correlation paperwork. I felt impressed that there should be a multi-stake level training on the four purposes of the church for the Ward Council members. It would be so amazing and have such long reaching effects for these wards and branches. At the beginning of my mission there is no way that I would have felt confident enough to make such a huge suggestion as that, but now that was the only logical thing to do and it felt natural. Idk if that suggestion will be taken and implemented, but I just feel blessed to see the difference in myself and the types of suggestions I can offer now.
Another miracle this week came in the form of calmness. An investigator was very angry and attacking this week about two unimportant things. Seriously though, we got chewed out for "cartoons" ... or that our presentation on the Plan of Salvation the week before had offended her due to the visuals we used. She felt that she was much above that, that we had "dumbed" it down, and that she was superior intellectually because of the various religions she has studied in the past. And you know I just sat there and took it all in. I didn't break down in tears, I didn't burst out shouting, or storm out; I just listened. I then apologized and explained our point of view. As my companion and I were discussing the incident after the fact I was surprised by the level of calm that I had and still felt about it all. I wasn't broken up about it, crushed, devastated, angry, or depressed. I could clearly sift through the situation and see with perspective that I feel was not my own. I think about how I would have responded to a similar situation before my mission and I don't believe how much I have changed. The atonement is so real... and it helps us to change.
I love you all!!!!! Make it a great week!