Sister Dixon didn’t include a picture for me to post this week. But she did include the paragraph below. If you’d like to participate, please send your testimony, favorite scripture, and/or favorite hymn to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll print everything up and include it in the “little book” I hope to send her December 23. Thanks in advance!
“I thought of a Christmas gift...I would love a little book that has pictures from my mission thus far and also little snippets from family members and friends with their testimonies, their favorite scriptures, and/or their favorite hymns.”
December 9, 2013
Hello family and friends!
We had a wonderful week here! Christmas is coming so soon and everyone is being touched by the spirit of the season so it is a great time to be a missionary. It was a difficult week as well due to the fact that almost all of our investigators, potential investigators, and members have been coming down with nasty colds and haven't been able to meet. I guess the spirit of the season is responsible for that too because the temperatures are dropping and it's been snowing quite a bit! It was difficult to schedule lessons and we experienced disappointments with many of our lessons being cancelled and people not showing up to the ward Christmas party and such, but it's amazing to see that the work is still progressing and that we still feel joy. I have come to learn as long as we are obedient, working hard, and using our agency to choose to be happy, there is no reason to ever feel discouraged or disappointed. There are many things we can't control, and as we seek to focus on becoming better ourselves and loving the people, Heavenly Father will provide us with tender mercies and opportunities to feel joy along the way.
For example: on Friday we had 3 member-present lessons set up, which we were really excited about. Well, in the course of about an hour, 2 of them canceled. We went to visit the third investigator and he said it actually wasn't a good time. We were walking away, feeling a little bit bummed, and then I slipped on his front porch steps and fell down all of them. Here is where agency comes in: We could have said, “Wow, that is the worst luck ever!” but instead we all laughed about it and went about our work. I know it sounds weird, but that was definitely a tender mercy from God. We laughed about it for sooo long and throughout the day we recounted what happened and it was still funny every single time. It brightened our spirits all day and we found ourselves being more charitable and excited about the message we get to spread. And now I have a HUGE bruise on my backside so that's fun. I bet you are glad to see that though I am changing in many ways, I am still the same old klutz I have always been.
We haven't been finding very many new investigators lately. It's been pretty hard. Please pray we will be able to! There are still so many other things to be grateful for, though. The Williamston ward hasn't had a baptism in over a year which is a huge contrast from the MSU ward. It's been hard for me to adjust and I have been pretty hard on myself at times, but I know the work is still progressing in different ways. I would really love your prayers!
We were able to make a ton of progress with Jaszzameen this week, though. We figured out she has a testimony of the gospel except she still lacks a testimony of Joseph Smith seeing God and Jesus Christ. We had a wonderful lesson about Joseph Smith and were able to share scriptural accounts of God appearing to men. The member we had with us bore a really strong testimony of Joseph Smith and her son had given a talk about Joseph Smith a few weeks earlier so she was able to share his experience as well. It was amazing. Jaszzameen still has to receive the answer for herself, but I know it will come soon because our accounts strengthened her desire to know the truth for herself. She wasn't able to come to church because she was sick, but her daughter came to the singles ward and then Jaszzameen came to the stake musical program and Christmas devotional and I know she felt the Spirit there. She is so close, I can feel it!
We had our ward Christmas party on Saturday night, which was wonderful. All of the investigators who said they would come ended up canceling because of sickness, but we still experienced a huge miracle. Sandy, one of our investigators, has a strong testimony of the gospel. We have set a baptismal date with her for January 4th and she is progressing and reading the Book of Mormon but she hasn't come to church yet because she is held back by her daughter Haley. Haley is really involved in a different church--she is in the choir and dance programs and has performances almost every week. Sandy and Haley were both going to come to the Christmas party. Sandy canceled but Haley was still able to come with a member in our ward and her daughter--they are in Girl Scouts together. It was such a blessing Haley got to come because she made so many new friends there and really got out of her shell. Sandy and Haley should be coming to church on the 22nd and we think it will be a much easier transition for them now Haley has a friend base! It was cool to see how that all worked out! There were also a bunch of less-active members who were able to come, so it was a really nice evening and a really fun party.
On Sunday there was a stake music program before the Christmas devotional. Holy cow, it was beautiful! There were many non members in attendance and the Spirit was so strong there. I was touched by how much Heavenly Father loves us--so much that He would send His precious Son to atone for our sins. The Christmas Devotional was really cool as well. It's crazy because I was at the Conference Center for last year's devotional. Time flies so fast! I really wish it would slow down. This will be my only holiday season on a mission, so I am really trying to embrace every moment.
This week I was really impressed by the story of Enoch in Moses 7. Enoch and his city have been translated. The Lord is looking at the residue of people and weeping because they are not following His path. The Lord loves His people SO much. Enoch cannot understand why the Lord would weep. These people have just rejected Him and are not choosing to follow His ways. The Lord explains to Enoch that these are all His children, despite whether or not they are following Him. Then, the most beautiful thing happens in verse 41. Heavenly Father grants Enoch the ability to love the residue as much as He does. "Aatold bheartIs that not the most beautiful verse? I love the phrase “his heart swelled wide as eternity!” I have learned loving the people, loving God, and loving your companion is really the only way to do missionary work. When we allow our hearts to align with God's heart, the necessity for the gospel becomes that much more urgent. We just know. The Spirit is much more able to penetrate our hearts. I aspire to have a moment similar to Enoch's--once he had that love, all eternity shook. I take that to mean the gospel was able to have success among the people. I just think that story is so beautiful.
Sorry this e-mail has been scattered. I wish I could adequately express my thoughts during my e-mails but it is pretty much impossible to write what I am learning and feeling out here. I am pretty sure I sound bonkers at times, but I want you to know that my testimony of the gospel is deepening every day and that I do have times where my faith wavers, but I am learning how to trust in the Lord and His plan more and more.
On a funnier note, we had a crazy experience this week where we helped a member clean his house that HE HADN'T CLEANED IN SEVEN YEARS!!!!!!! SEVEN!!!!! It was soooo disgusting and I volunteered for bathroom duty because normally I enjoy cleaning bathrooms (weird, I know). BIGGEST MISTAKE OF MY LIFE!! It was really fun though and I definitely gained a testimony of cleaning our apartments every P-day!
Thanks for your notes and experiences. Love you all and have a wonderful week!