Have a fabulous week!
As always, it's such a treat to read all of your letters and hear about what is going on. A shout out to all of my dear missionary friends whose letters I also read and enjoyed this week. Y'all are fabulous examples to me always, and I'm so thrilled for your success and appreciative of your thoughts that often help me complete my own.
I can't believe how old my siblings and cousins are starting to look. I'm starting to see more adults and fewer and fewer kids these days. Aaron, is that a zit I see on your chin?! Thanks for the pictures, btw. I love having visuals, and the one you caught of Grandma and Grandpa is beautiful.
We've had a really good week. I love Sister I and we're going to have such a great transfer together. This is her last one, and she really wants to work super hard, so we're going to. A lot of time this week was spent planning for the transfer, which includes Christmas and Christmas conference as well as New Years and all kinds of fun exchanges etc, so we haven't done much teaching yet, but I have faith that we're going to. And it's going to require faith, because we are going to be busy! We'll be conducting six days worth of exchanges, helping to plan and execute Christmas Conference for the whole mission, we have two Mission Leadership Councils this transfer, as well as President's Interviews. It's going to be so much fun! My calendar is very colorful with all kinds of meetings and events. So, in the mean time, we're just going to turn things over to Heavenly Father, work as hard as we can, and trust that he'll help us to do what we need to do.
Last night, we had a meeting with Sister Slaughter and planned how to organize the making of 40 + gingerbread houses, one for each district. I had no idea that all of those years of gingerbread house making would come in so handy. I pointed everyone towards hot glue and egg white powder, and I think that's going to save us a lot of headaches. Wahoo!
The new ward is fabulous!! We have 15 ward missionaries, a fabulous ward mission leader, super solid members, and tons of dinners at members houses. We were really busy on Thanksgiving with all the transferring, but we were fed a lovely dinner and met a lot of ward members there. Also, our bishop is fabulous. I think Sister K must have just had a bad experience with him, because Sister I and I both find him to be very personable and helpful. Busy, obviously, but that's how you know he's a good bishop.
Friday morning after transfers, Sister I and I had the privilege of being able to clean the temple. While Sister I was taking her turn vacuuming the ordinance room chairs, I was able to take a close look at the mural on the wall and think about the beauty of the building we were in. We were "cleaning," but it was already so clean I hardly felt like we were doing anything. I just loved being there and thinking about the symbolism of the architecture, and knowing how much love and care was put into building it. What a blessing it is to be able to have temples and to receive the blessings and knowledge that Heavenly Father has for us there.
I feel like there was so much more this week than what I've lamely put into words, but I don't know how to explain it to anyone. I've just been so happy. I just love the gospel and I love being a missionary and I love Heavenly Father, and I love that I get to be here, and I love what I am learning, and even though I know there are still going to be more hard times up ahead, I'm ready for them, because I know that through the Savior's Atonement, everything will be alright. I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for each one of us. I've been thinking a lot about faith recently, and how great faith doesn't necessarily reflect the quantity as much as it does quality, consistency. Great faith is consistent, it shouldn't waver depending on whether we're having a good day or a bad one. At transfer meeting, President compared the story of Peter walking on water and the story of the Samaritan woman who pleaded for a miracle for her daughter but was ignored by Christ and rebuffed by his apostles several times before receiving the blessing she sought (Matthew 15). Simon was rebuked for having little faith even though he walked on water, whereas Christ told the Samaritan woman "great is thy faith." The difference is consistency. Even when Christ seemingly ignored this woman, she did not doubt, but continued to ask and to believe until she received the miracle she asked for her daughter. I love the verse in D&C 123:17 which was given to Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail "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."
We met an older man this week who lost his wife a while ago and is unemployed. He kept telling us "I'm older than you, and I know things that you haven't experienced yet. When your faith is doubting, come to me and I'll help you answer your questions, because I know that there is no God, but I know why people continue to believe in him." How sad I felt for this man because of the simplicity of the gospel that I know that he would not choose to listen to. I testify to all of you that there is a God, that he is the father of our spirits and that he loves us. He has a plan for each one of us, and that plan is centered on the Atonement of his son Jesus Christ. I know that as we do everything in our power to keep his commandments and diligently plug away one day at a time, we can stand back with utmost assurance to see the hand of the Lord. Heavenly Father knows we can be perfect eventually, but he doesn't ask us to do it today. All we have to do is be diligent.
I love the gospel, I love you all, I'm so grateful to be here and I'm so grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ, which is real.
Have a fabulous week!