This will be my last post from the mission field.
I can't believe my time is coming to a close. It has honestly flew by in the blink of an eye. I have changed so much and learned how to be a true disciple of Christ. I can say that I have had a mighty change of heart.
I don't feel like I live the gospel now because I should, or because anyone is making me. I have found true happiness.
I have learned how to CHOOSE to follow the savior. He doesn't want to drag us.... but he is always there, drawing us to him.
As a missionary.... I have felt kindof like a doctor.
Everyone has problems. And I have told people how to make all their problems a little easier.... but something much better than temporary relief.
A new life can be ours for the taking!
And as I see people accept the message, accept the gospel, make promises and covenants, my heart is so happy. Of course, it is up to them whether they are going to keep it up! Life isn't easy. We have to put effort into making our lives something special. We have to rely on the savior to guide us. We have to accept his help when we feel like we aren't good enough.
There quite a few people I know and love here that mean so much to me and struggle with many physical limitations or challenges.
There are even many more that struggle with emotional or spiritual challenges.
They impress me SO much. No matter how hard things get.... they keep going. They love Jesus. They love the missionaries. They feel better when we share our testimonies and I can see how their challenges have shaped them into a disciple of Jesus Christ.
Sometimes that has to happen.
It happened to me!!!
The challenges we are faced with are opportunities to rely on HIM. They are not punishment. They are opportunities to increase our faith.
I can't wait till the next life when all our problems, challenges, trails... what have you.... are GONE. We are perfect. I can't wait to run and hug some of these people that I think about and now their problems are gone....
It will be so worth the run! When we can run to hug our brother, our savior Jesus Christ! Oh, how he loves us.
There was someone this week that really hurt my heart.
I know that the Atonement is for missionaries too.
A few tender mercies from the week:
1. The visiting teaching miracle:
We went visiting teaching with our Relief Society president, Sister Fay. I felt very impressed to see a sister that hasn't been to church in a long time. The Sister Missionaries that were here before I got here used to see Sister Lynch often. A few weeks after I got here, we made her cookies and went by... She told us she just got diagnosed with diabetes and she didn't really want the cookies, but that it was nice. She then told us she didn't really want church contact anymore.
That was about 7 months ago. We pass by her house all the time, but I remembered her wishes and never felt like we should go see her.
Whether it was the spirit, or an angel, I do not know. As Sister Fay picked us up in her car though, I got a very strong impression to go visit Sister Lynch.
I didn't know what to expect.
She welcomed us in warmly and after talking about her cats and her favorite TV shoes, Sister Fay asked if she could assign Sister Lynch some visiting teachers from the church to come and see her once a month and attend to her spiritual and physical needs! Sister Lynch said "no.....i'm not really looking to getting back into church at this time."
There was a bit of an awkward silence, but then I asked if Sister Nash and I could share a scripture about the savior. We talked about how his is the Bread of Life. That he can meet all our needs. And we wished her well and said a prayer to leave!
To my surprise, just as we are closing the door, Sister Lynch says "okay, okay, you can assign me some visiting teachers. As long as they call ahead before they visit."
Ah! That was a miracle! :) There is such power that comes from the scriptures and talking about the savior. It's amazing. There is only one person that can open hearts and we all know who that is..............
2. The Book of Mormon Miracle
Stories like this happen all the time... just so you know.
I had my last exchange with the other sister missionaries a few days ago! And guess who got to be my companion???? Sister Hartley! My very first companion from Canada!
We started together... and we are finishing together :)
Well Sister Hartley and I are both sprinting to the end. And we decided that Saturday we were going to set a goal to give out 3 copies of the Book of Mormon.
We planned to give one to an investigator, Miss Debbie.
Well we showed up for our appointment and she said that it was a bad day.... so we went to go see Sister Harris, Gabe's mom instead.
We shared a message with her and turns out we never gave her a Book of Mormon! So we were able to give her her very own copy!!!! (#1)
A few hours later, we were planning to go tracting (knocking on doors) But we had to stop after a few doors because it started POURING RAIN and there was lightening and thunder everywhere!
We saw a dog get struck by lightening! I can't believe that, it was so sad!
So we went to see Julie, her kids just got baptized in December, and her sister in law Linda got baptized in february. So we went to see Julie and she has a friend that is living with her right now! We were able to give her friend Tan a book of mormon too! (#2)
(P.s. Tan came to church this past sunday!)
A lot more happened throughout the day. I felt prompted to bring a Book of Mormon stories book in my purse to read a story to a family we went to teach in the afternoon. It is the Book of Mormon that is for kids and has comics and simplifies it a lot :) We didn't have time to go home after visiting the family so I just had to carry the Childrens book with me! I didn't think we were going to be able to give away another book of mormon because all we had left was a dinner appointment!
The people that fed us dinner are awesome and they do not believe in God right now, but they are raising their children to believe in God! They come to our church and bring their kids. It was so nice of them to feed us dinner!
Their daughter, Madi has a regular book of mormon, but it's hard for her to read because she is only 6.
We were able to give her the Childrens version and i'm so glad that I grabbed it and had to keep it with me because we didn't have time to go home!
Isn't the spirit amazing?
I have LOVED every moment of being a missionary. I can honestly saw that I don't think there was one day my whole mission that I wished that I was home instead.
I have been so grateful to be here.
Lately I have been breathing a little slower.... taking time to smell the flowers... admire all the trees and swamps.... and sometimes we will be walking and it will just hit me in the face...
I AM A MISSIONARY!
What a great calling.
I turn to my companion and say "Guess what! We are missionaries right now! Isn't it amazing!!!!!" Sister Nash is the best. :) She just smiles at me and is always so patient and diligent!
To be honest I am scared to death of going home! I know that not being able to do this full time will take a toll on my spirituality. I have learned good habits though, and I think that I have learned how to be in the world and not of the world
I was reading John this morning and it really inspired me.
"I must work the works of Him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work"
"Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whether he goeth..... While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light.
These things spake Jesus, and departed."
The savior will come again soon. We need to be ready. I am so grateful for all the light i have gained in my life. I can say that I am 100% more happy that I have ever been. And I can keep this with me forever, because I can keep the savior with me forever.
You don't have to be a missionary to have the savior stand by your side.
We all have the choice.
Are you happy?
To close, I will share with you one of my favorite scriptures.
I testify of the Savior's love! For each one of us personally.
I testify that the atonement is real. We all need to experience the healing power.
I know prayers are heard, I know that angels are all around us.
I know that we need access to that power... we need the spirit with us.
We need to know that grace is not just for the moments we feel we have it all together.
We need grace everyday.
And we need to love others. Above all, we need to treat others with kindness and love as the savior did.
I testify that we are happier when we get outside of ourselves.
I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day saints, is the TRUE and living church on the earth today.
The fullness of the gospel can be found. It is not lost. It is right here!
It is what I represent.
I am not perfect. But I have learned how to put my trust in God. I have given him all the bad parts of me and asked him to make me better.
I testify that Christ is the master shepherd. Do not make him come find you!
I know we are BLESSED as we keep the commandments.
I know the gospel is a place of JOY and Happiness.
Christ lives! The heavens are open! All we have to do is look.
As a representative of Jesus Christ, I know I have been called by a prophet of God on the earth today to testify of the restoration of the gospel, and to help people gain and strengthen faith.
I have done my best, and I will continue to share the wonderful, good news of our Lord every day.
In the sacred name of our savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.