My week's been FABULOUS, as usual :)! But a mission is just a rollercoaster, ups and downs, every single day. This may sound weird, but I feel like I'm doing so much LIVING! So much goes on each and every hour, I feel like I've been here for months. Time is still just crazy. Weeks feel like days, days feel like weeks!
We got to meet our new mission president, President Eaton, this past Wednesday at a zone conference! I LOVE HIM ALREADY!! AH he's a SPECTACULAR mission president, father, teacher...everything. He feels like a father to all of us, and I already know he and his wife love all of us. The gift of love is quite amazing that way. They already love us, we already love them...it's only been a week!
Some insights and things that really stuck out to me that meeting:
"The work of salvation is not just a thing going on in the universe - it's the ONLY thing going on in the universe."
Instead of just using the Book of Mormon to help others know the truth of the gospel so they can be baptized, I need to teach them how to use it DAILY to answer questions and I need to do that too! It's so pathetic that I haven't done that before now...but I've studied the Book of Mormon the last couple days with questions in mind and no matter where I'm reading, MY QUESTIONS HAVE BEEN ANSWERED! Yesterday I read with the question "why is baptism by the proper authority so important?" It was answered in 1 Ne 12: 10-11 - because without baptism, we can't fully repent and be clean. It's SO ESSENTIAL. Today I read with the question: "how can I keep going when I fail every day?" (fail at keeping all the commandments, etc). I don't have my scriptures, so I can't remember the exact verse, but I think it's 1 Ne 14:14 where it talks about covenants. That's the answer - we can keep going by drawing strength from our covenants. I never really have before, but now I know I can! And like Elder Holland's quote, imperfect people is all God has ever had to work with. He knows I'm not perfect, and He knows I'll fail every day - and keep failing. But He's endowed me with power from on high. He has prepared a way for me to keep going, and I can and will.
That question and scripture lead me to study the Abrahamic covenant, and OH BOY I will NEVER get married anywhere but the temple! After reading D&C 132:19 or 32:19 (it's in the footnotes of 1 Ne 14:14, i think) and about the promises from getting sealed in the temple...oh man. Mind blowing. I can't even comprehend what all those blessings mean, but I look forward to them, and I'll settle for nothing less!
More points from zone conference:
After 5 years of being members, only 10% of converts hold a temple recommend. 10%! I'm so grateful President Eaton and the ward are focusing more on retention and reactivation, because that is EXACTLY what we need - what people need. We bring people into the church to STAY, not just be baptized. The goal is the temple and eternal life!
First and foremost, we need to see ourselves as disciples of Jesus Christ. We're not [occupations], we're not community members, we're not even family members first. We are disciples of Christ. THAT is who we are. THAT is who we need to be. I LOVE when President Eaton said "You don't work for me. You work for the Lord." Instead of thinking "I'm not baptizing" I need to despair because "the people I love aren't getting baptized."
Another great thought: THEREFORE, WHAT? What are you going to do with this knowledge, what does it really mean in your life, and what are you going to do about it? Let's just say tears were shed at this meeting, and it affected me deeply. I FELT my heart being changed! Tracting that day was rough - I bet it's because we had such a spiritual experience and Satan was hitting us all the harder. But we pushed past and found and talked to Vince! he's this awesome dad, bald, white moustache that went down to his chin :) southern drawl - told us all about the cool stuff to do in Washington, and we taught him about the restoration! I'm excited to go back and teach him soon. Also that night, we had an awesome lesson with Frank about the Restoration and committed him TO BAPTISM! We helped him get into the Book of Mormon by reading a chapter with him. Unfortunately, (we think he talked to his Lutheran pastor) he dropped us on Friday, (said he didn't want to meet with us anymore, that he was happy where he's at). I knew we did all we could - that we did nothing wrong - but I still cried. I was (and still am) just SO sad because I know what he's missing out on! Maybe someday he'll be more ready.
So...I may have exaggerated the "getting hit with a car" story...sorry to get your hopes up ;). Since the senior companion drives, I get out to help Sister Morrow every time she needs to back up (mission rule). So I was doing that one day as we were leaving for the day, but there was a car coming, so I put my hands up to tell her to stop. But she was looking in a different mirror and didn't see me! I got a little worried when she didn't slow down, and when she was too close I had to slam my hands on the back of the car so she would stop! So she didn't actually run into me/over me...but I like to pretend she did. So there's the story.
Songs that have deeply affected me/made me cry: "leave better" by Benton Paul. A lyric, 'Leave better off than you find,' is basically my new motto. "The hardest thing I ever loved to do" by Jason Deere. "I am his daughter" by...? on the EFY CD.
We did companionship inventory last Thursday (the fourth of July) and Sister Morrow and I got really real with each other - hard but necessary. And I felt a fraction of what Ithink Jesus feels towards her - I just love her SO MUCH! I want her to see her own strengths, her own potential, her own goodness! It was (and is) so amazing to feel that.
We found the secret to missionary work! The secret: get people to talk about themselves - because people LOVE talking about themselves! We tried a different approach tracting and it worked miracles: we started out by asking what THEY believed. Through that approach, we had great conversations with Derek, Tyler, and Karina. It's always so cool to hear about others, their beliefs, and their experiences. That leads to a huge point of this week for me: I am SO INCREDIBLY GRATEFUL for this 18 months (now less than 17...WEIRD). I have to be allowed to be a part of these people's lives! To get to be in their lives. Even just for a split second when we make eye contact and smile. I feel so privileged to be a part of their lives. From an article about prayer I read in the June Ensign (everyone READ IT!), I came to understand that saying "in the name of Jesus Christ" with anything means to do His will. as I've tried to do that, it gets a little easier to keep going. My days feel consecrated.
I just can't even express how grateful I am to be here. I love the person the Lord is making me into. And I love seeing the light in others. This is the work of salvation, and every single person is a part of it, whether they know it or not! Do all you can to further it. I promise, if you open your mouth, THE LORD WILL FILL IT! But He can't steer a parked car - you have to act FIRST, before He can guide you. But He will guide you! He has not given us the spirit of fear, but of love, and of power. Trust Him.
LOVE YOU ALL!!!