Well, here we are! In anything but freezing weather and I am so
stoked!! The snow and ice are melting and everything is perking up. I
didn’t realize how very badly I missed the sun and the grass and the
life of it all.
To be honest, I’ve been sick for most of the week. I’ve been fighting
something off for a long time and have kind of been in a permanent
state of stuffed nose and clogged ears. It’s the worst. I think I am getting better, though.
Anyway, that’s the physical state I’m in right now. Hoping to improve
and be able to go HARD real soon. I’ve been going, but doing so in an
unfocused and foggy state of mind for the past week. This week is going
to be awesome, though. I can feel it. I really feel like our ward is
on the edge of seeing a whole bunch of miracles happen. I don’t even
know why, really. But I feel like that.
I had an awesome split with one of my STLs is week–Sister Hall. It’s
always fun to go into a new neck of the woods for a bit and learn from
a leader. Her area is in Kingsbridge–my old area–and I feel like I
got a special treat in randomly seeing Isis’ mom on the street! I used
to teach her! It was just for a moment, but it was one of those tender
mercies from Heavenly Father that I think He sends our way to jog our
memory and help us remember so many miracles we have seen. She said
that Isis and her boys are doing great, and that Erickson has the
priesthood and is passing the sacrament. I was on cloud nine.
We taught another woman –Sister Ford–and talked about temples. She
is recently reactivated after turning her life COMPLETELY around and
is looking forward to going to the temple this month. We answered all
sorts of questions and shared scriptures–the usual–but what struck
me again and again was the glow she had about her. This loud and sassy
woman with a smile as big as the Milky Way and a burning and blooming
testimony that just radiated. Obviously it was my first time to meet
her, but I could just tell by the way she hinted at past events and
things she’s gone through that she wasn’t always this beaming, happy
woman. It was more evidence to me that the gospel is happiness.
Really, that is all it is. The recipe to lasting and enduring
happiness. Hope. Love. I loved my time with her and feel like I left
with a greater appreciation of the Plan of Salvation. It truly is the
plan of happiness. I love it so much. I love this gospel and I know it
At district meeting on Monday we had a wonderful spiritual feast. I
love our zone and district so much. We talked about extending
commitments and helping others keep them. Hear me out, I know that
sounds super lame. Anyway, as we talked about it and I reflected on my
own testimony and conversion (still underway), I thought about how so
much of my testimony–all of it, really–is built on tiny little
personal spiritual experiences I’ve had over years and years. One drop
of oil at a time, really. Anyway, commitments are pretty much my only
way to promise a “drop” of spiritual testimony to anyone. By asking
them to do all these little things that can sometimes seem so annoying
to them, I am promising them small, personal, spiritual and sacred
experiences. I don’t know why, but as we talked about it, I became so
grateful for the personal progress program, for mutual, for every
youth conference, and girls camp, and day at seminary, and family home
evening, and church attendance, and service project, and scripture study
I’ve had in my whole life. Though these weren’t in the form of
“commitments,” I grew drop by drop from all of them. I feel so
overwhelmingly grateful to all my leaders that slept in cabins and
took time away from their kids and woke up early and stayed up late
and planned and prepared and cooked and everything in between in order
to grant me these little, sacred, personal, spiritual experiences. I
can see the difference it made in my life. I can see the drops and
drops of spiritual experiences I have had that have laid the
foundation for more learning and understanding in later years (aka
now). When I think of the programs and the effort and the “homework”
from it all, and now see the results, the happy memories, the friends
and experiences and testimony I sprouted from it all, I would go back
and do it a thousand times. I love the programs in the church. I know
they are inspired and I know they have blessed my life so much.
Anyway, I am so grateful to all of you. And I want so badly for others
to have this same spiritual foundation I’ve been given. Sorry for the
rambling…..I just want others to jump into the plan of happiness and
have this same hope and joy that I cherish so dearly.
Church was awesome. We had an awesome time in Primary–learning about
repentance. Our super fun activity this week was an acting game we
played where there’d be a problem presented and then we’d have to make
a solution and repent. It was super hilarious. Hermana Molina would
draw something like a broken window and baseball and kid on the board,
and we’d act out what happened and then plan how to fix it. I always
love my time with the Primary kids–they are so dear and so celestial.
Their answers are so pure and so true. Why do we need to repent?
“Because we don’t want others to feel sad.” How can you feel better
when you do something wrong? “By saying I’m sorry and hugging my mom.”
Why do we say sorry to Heavenly Father, too? “Because we made one of
his kids sad, and he loves us.”
It is so darling. Their missing teeth and high voices and sincere
desires to do good and listen and their tiny attention spans. I love
them so much.
On top of that, we started our daylight savings church service with
hardly anyone there. And then, little by little, people came filing in!
We were filled! For the first time in a long time!! We had several
investigators and families and less active members come! I was so
stoked and so blown away by the goodness of God and this miracle. It
was so awesome.
Now something I just want to say:
My time in Olmstead has been hard. I keep wanting to blame it on
the weather and the snow and stuff, but honestly, it’s a lot more than
just that. Missionary work is hard–it is soul-stretching and
overwhelmingly fun and disappointing and miraculous all at the same
time. No wonder we need to serve with all our heart, might, mind, and
strength – otherwise we’d never make it! Anyway, dirty, smelly and
sometimes super sketchy Olmstead – though I have struggled here, very
much – has become sacred to me. With the trials I have faced and the
experiences I have had here, I have grown the most. I have searched
and dug and clung to the Savior and to this gospel more than in any
other time of my life. My efforts have not gone unnoticed and I know
the Lord has blessed me so richly through it all. I feel so much
closer to Him. Closer to what real life actually is. Though work is
slow and I’ve been sick and we’ve been juked and I’ve been peed on and
yelled at and whatever else, I feel so overwhelmingly peaceful and
happy. So HAPPY!! Against all odds, I’m stoked. And I know it is
because of Him. He is light. He is truth and He is eternal joy. King
Lamoni’s words have sunk into my soul and I truly would give away all
my sins to know Him.
I just know this gospel is true and that Jesus is the Christ. He is
salvation. He is my best friend and I never want to be anywhere except
with Him. I hope everyone feels the same, and if they don’t, please!
Do WHATEVER you can! Swallow your pride or throw it away or put it
down or get the heck out of there, and seek HIM. This scripture has
guided me perhaps the most as I’ve earnestly searched for Him:
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give
you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and
lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke
is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
My favorite part is the “rest unto your souls” part. Who doesn’t want
some of that?!?
I love you! I testify that His hands are stretched out still and that
He does love us. Father loves each of us personally, and Christ is the
way home to Them both.
Have a wonderful week! Be true.