Saturday, July 30, 2016

Happiness is the object and design of our existence...


I am kind of out of time but there were a few quick things I really wanted to talk about so i'll do that!

1. I'm really proud of myself because we knocked on tons of doors for my first time ever in PTC and it wasn't even that bad! Prior to this, we never tracted because like i said, the area is tiny and everything has been knocked at least 3 times in the last year. Nothing really came of it, but still--the fact that we did it, and the fact that i hate knocking on doors but did it anyway and the fact that people didn't yell at us too much was a miracle itself. So i'm proud of that.

2. We visited with Mr. EJ again this week and HE AGREED TO READ A FEW CHAPTERS OF THE BOOK OF MORMON! 
But the best thing about this whole visit was this: "Ladies, since you've started coming to see me, you've brought life back into me. I'm 96 years old and to be honest, i was just tired of living. But you girls have brought me back on track and made me want to be a better person. I'm really grateful for you, and you young ladies are family to me now." 
OH, MY HEART! I never thought that I'd have a 95 year old best friend, but I do. I love Mr. EJ so much! He's going to be the hardest thing to leave behind in PTC when the time comes. He wants me to bring my future husband back to Georgia so he can meet him one day and he really wants us to be there for his 96th birthday party in October hahaha. Oh that man... <3

3. I had a lot of really special experiences this week as I was reflecting on my time here in PTC. The last few months here have really been the hardest of all of the months I've been out. I've been struggling with a lot of things, and I have honestly been having a hard time finding joy with what I've been given, and with being able to do the Lord's will.

While studying this week to find some answers to questions, I came across a talk called "Line Upon Line: Finding Joy in Progress" by Douglas F. Prawitt that honestly changed my life and helped me to understand even more why God gives us weaknesses and why it's important to strengthen them, as well as the role that charity and love play in our discipleship. A few quotes that meant the most to me were:
"Some people I've encountered seem to believe that we are here to prove to God, to everyone around us, and even to ourselves that we can and do live all of the gospel principles to their fullest, right from the start, never failing...This prideful perspective makes it hard to for us to see clearly and acknowledge just where we are on the path of progress. It leads us to harshly judge and condemn can lead us to judge others harshly, crowding our the ability to develop the crowning virtue of charity. 
Perhaps the Lord expects that we acknowledge that we are weak, that we have much to learn through the experiences we have and that we make mistakes and then prove to Him that we will repent and put our whole heart into doing better. That we are here to humbly learn and grow and to make changes and turn to Him as we go is a liberating truth. With such a view we will be more inclined to acknowledge and even accept what we are and where we are in our progress at any given point. Instead of trying to cover our sins, we will be inclined to search ourselves, to seek out where we fall short and to reach out for help in moving forward. And instead of perpetually berating ourselves for past shortcomings, we can rejoice in forward movement...."
(Matthew 22:37, 39-the second great commandment is to love thy neighbor as thyself)
"How are we to love our neighbor? As we love ourselves. But if we don't love ourselves very much-if we fall prey to harsh and excessive self criticism, if we are constantly condemning ourselves for our short comings and denying who we really are-how much good will it do to love our neighbors in the same way?...the reality is that you much love yourself in order to be filled with love toward others. We can and must love ourselves for who we are even if we are not satisfied with what we are or where we are at the present...when we do this, we will find greater tolerance and patience and love not only for ourselves but also for others. We can develop greater charity. And therein is peace and joy."

As i've been studying the Atonement lately, I've just really started to understand so much more that when we say "use the Atonement" when it comes to our weaknesses, it really just means "change according to God's will." Simple and Duh-I-Should-Have-Already-Known-That but seriously, it was life changing  this week, guys.

Anyway...that's all i have for right now.
remember always that God loves you and you are here to CHANGE FOR THE BETTER, so do it!

I'm out,
Sister Lawson

1. Us dressed like cows feat. the Merkley's 12-passenger golf cart.
2. DYING in the heat on our bikes feat. fashionable helmets
3. Me in my favorite trailer park 
4. A giant watermelon Mr. EJ gave us...that sweet man.
5. me in my favorite trailer park 
6. Cliche but cute "sister missionary compy pic"

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