For Thanksgiving our zone will be playing Flag Football against another zone. I’m super excited. (Not.) But I’ll go and try. If anything, it’d be a good workout in preparation for Thanksgiving. (Cool fact: We’re the only sisters in our zone. The rest are all elders.) Later on we’ll have lunch and dinner with different families, and we will be visiting and teaching the rest of the day.
I can hardly believe that 15 months have already flown by for me in the mission. It only seems like yesterday that I came from the Mexico Mission Training Center (MTC), and now here I am, with many wonderful miracles and memories. This last week in exchanges Hermana Sanchez taught me that I don’t need to study EVERYTHING in the morning — I study what I can that I feel will help me be prepared to serve and teach, and then I should leave the rest to the Lord and trust in Him. That has helped me have more peace during my studies and throughout the day.
This morning I was reading Mormon 1-2, and I realized how similar his day and age is to our day and age. Satan is attacking more furiously than ever, and he won’t stop. He wants to stick his foot into our lives and poison us by degrees. I am also learning how Satan knows our character and our weaknesses and knows how to pull us down. The past few weeks (and throughout the mission) he keeps trying to make me believe that I’m not good enough, therefore I’m not doing any good here. That my weaknesses and mistakes are hurting everyone. It hurts, as I’m still having hard times believing in myself that I can do this, but I think I am trying to put it all in my shoulders be do everything by myself. What is amazing to me is that each one of my companions has helped me get to the core of the struggle inside — layer by layer. I still have some times when I am discouraged, but Hermana Mena is helping me and I am learning to be more open about how I feel, and together we are learning the power of communication. I’ve been reading my patriarchal blessing and striving to keep my faith strong.
I am so grateful for the temple. It is truly the house of the Lord, and I feel the prettiest and the happiest when I am within its walls. Remembering the spirit I feel there gives me strength to keep moving forward even when I feel discouraged. This week we had more cancellations, but we kept going forward and we saw more miracles! One family invited us to their sealing this next year, which will be taking place in the Salt Lake Temple in February, right before I finish my mission. When I heard that, I could feel in my heart the spirit whispering to me: remember – you are here for a purpose. I need to look through the Lord’s eyes and see myself as He sees me and not let Satan put lies into my head and try to make me forget who I am and where I come from.
Another thing I am learning (through my experiences and weaknesses) is that God is the One in charge of this work — He is the one performing these miracles in the lives of His children. It’s not me, but He is giving me this privilege to serve and grow in love. His grace is so powerful, and I am only beginning to understand it.
I love the example of Saul/Paul and the connection with chemical changes. (Chemistry 101!) [Mom wrote this about their Primary lesson on Sunday: “In Primary today, we talked about the conversion of Saul. We told our students that our family had lived in Turkey about 20 miles away from Saul’s home, Tarsus. We mentioned how we had visited that town and that Dad even drank from a well that existed since the time of Saul. I began the lesson by reviewing some chemistry and physics: states of matter, physical and chemical changes. We discussed the various states of water and how (for the most part) any changes that occurred with it were physical. Water remains water. However, we also talked about changes that can occur with other objects and their change was chemical.
“After watching a great LDS Bible Video on ‘The Excursion to Damascus,’ we talked about the CHANGE of Saul to Paul. His, in a way, was a chemical change—as his change was permanent. He never went back to his “Saul days.” We shared that all people can change—that is the wonder of the Atonement.”] That just opened my eyes to the whole concept of conversion. The Atonement truly works miracles in our lives. Just when we feel that we are so dirty or stained that nothing could save us, He takes us by the hand and heals our broken heart and soul. I have seen his power working in the lives of others and in my own life here. …
The Utah Orem Mission Musical Fireside was beautiful. President Holland [Elder Holland’s son and President of Utah Valley University] spoke about the childhood life of the prophet Joseph Smith, and as he spoke and as we listened to the songs, I could feel the spirit bear witness to my heart of the truthfulness that Joseph Smith was an instrument in Christ’s hands to bring forth the dispensation of the fullness of times. And then, when we all stood up as a mission and recited the Living Christ, the spirit filled the room. And as we said the 6th paragraph about the description of Christ, tears fell down my cheeks, and I could feel of the truthfulness of what we were saying and that Christ truly does live and guides His church today. At the end we sang our mission song, and it is a song that I can sing in my head during rough times and remember why I am here on a mission.
The Lord is taking care of me. Even though I have hard times, I am realizing that He doesn’t abandon me — He’s there, helping me along. And I know He is there for you and His angels round about you, lifting you up. Keep sharing your testimony and taking advantage of those opportunities that the Lord places in your path to serve others and shine your light.