Thursday, February 18, 2016

D&C 123:17

Okay I did not use my time very wisely this week so I'm super sorry about that. This will be brief!
Here are a few semi-important things we did this week:
1. TEMPLE TRIP and sister Howell and I actually took a picture together!
2. We had to do a zone training because #STLduties. This was incredibly stressful, but ended up not being that horrible! It's weird for me training missionaries on how to be missionaries when I've only been out 5 months and don't even know myself how to be a missionary. But oh well.
3. We had our first exchange with the Conyers sisters! Exchanges are different now... both companionship's work the same area, rather than splitting up and it is SO STRESSFUL to plan for. Basically you are planning for two days in one. Planning has been my biggest weakness but thankfully the Lord has been blessing me to get things done!
4. John and Erika are progressing BEAUTIFULLY. Erika loves to read the Book of Mormon and prays every night! (Reminder: she's 11 and is a Less-active's foster child). She's also been super interested in temples lately... we found her a picture of the El Salvador temple (her homeland!) and she LOVES it--She said she wants to get married there one day! :) CUTE
5. We saw Sister C and Franklin this week (12 hairless cats lady) and Franklin has A CAT LANGUAGE. Yep, he was speaking to his cats in this language the other day. Probably the highlight of my whole mission.

Okay, I'm going to be brutally honest for a second. This week was HARD. One of the harder weeks I've had on my mission. Lots of tears shed, but also lots of answered prayers. 
It has been a huge struggle to be working hard following up with people in an effort to build up the teaching pool and seeing ZERO results. (You know how I am--I'm a bit of a perfectionist, and i like to be the best). I know that's how missionary work goes, but that doesn't make it any easier. The longer this goes on, the more Satan has been working on me. It's been difficult to feel like I'm using the Lord's time wisely when the "numbers" are low, and there aren't any results happening on the surface. I've been having a lot of negative thoughts about the impact I'm actually making as a missionary, and at times have questioned my decision to serve (as I'm sure many past missionaries can relate), so the motivation to go out and work hard has been extremely low.
One thought that has kept me going however came from my dear  companion Sister Howell and it literally changed my whole perspective. During a hard, tear filled companion study we had this week, she shared D&C 123:17 with me (somehow I've never heard this one), and it's become my new favorite scripture!

"Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still with the utmost assurance to see the salvation of God and for His arm to be revealed."

This verse has been going through my head all week long. It's hard for me to put my thoughts into words so I hope this comes out the way I want it to.
Sometimes in life, we go through really hard things. Sometimes life doesn't really turn out the way we want it to and we have to change our game plan. Sometimes what we want isn't always what God wants. But no matter what, He is always going to do what is best for us, and our efforts really do matter. As long as we keep pressing forward with a happy attitude and do everything we possibly can, God will make up for the rest. 
It's really hard to see what's going on "behind the scenes" when all we can see is our own movie screen, but if we take a step back, we are able to refocus our perspective and see the big picture. Heavenly Father truly does have His hand in our lives every step of the way and He knows what is best for us! This life is short but we are going to succeed! Our efforts DO matter and we ARE doing a lot of good. I've learned a lot about gratitude this week and it's really helped me to focus on the positives of the work we are doing, despite the lack of results we've seen: The faith of our less-actives is increasing ENORMOUSLY, our investigators are progressing at a faster rate now that we have more time to focus on them, and we are definitely planting a lot of seeds. I know that my efforts matter and that Sister Howell and i are doing a lot more for this area that we realize. 
I'm thankful that God is mindful of me and my situation, and I know that He's mindful of YOURS too. Keep your chin up, it's going to all work out in the end. :)

I LOVE YOU ALL and have definitely felt your prayers this week! i appreciate you.  Also you were all my Valentines this week.

Song of the week: Never Gone--Colton Dixon. (Lots of head-banging in a spiritual way to this one)

Sister Lawson
Temple fo daaaayyyzz

Matching. On purpose. (Me and Sister Howell

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