Rubbing it in all of our faces (especially mine here in Cleveland) that she is out at night without a jacket!
It's Tuesday ... already! Where does the time go? It seems most afternoons go by slowly when no one is home and then all of a sudden it's the next afternoon ... and then the next Sunday ... and then I'm writing these emails home again!
I've officially been in Arizona for 2 months now. Feels like it's been a lot longer but I'm glad the year of 2010 means a full year of missionary work in Mesa!
This week we were reminded very poignantly we are missionaries, daily. (I don't know what that p word means but I thought it sounded good in the sentence). This week we had incredible trainings and very uplifting meetings. It started with Zone Conference last Wednesday. We were asked to prepare by reading Moroni 7:20-43 and we talked a lot about what real faith is. What type of faith produces miracles? What must we DO to develop this faith and continue nurturing and let our faith grow? It felt like everything that was said was something Hna Nielsen and I had been thinking/wondering about and how we can work to be better in those areas. Funny how that works: revelation. Our leaders are our called of God and teach us very specific things. I am humbled when I can tangibly see that evidence, of their calling of God, right before my eyes. President and Sister Bassett, our Zone Leaders. I am reminded of a book that President Eyring wrote where he talks about how we can know if our leaders are called of God. All we have to do is listen to their words with our hearts and with our spiritual eyes look for Jesus Christ. Whenever I have desired to know this, I have felt an overwhelming love from the Savior and our Father in Heaven that they are His children and have been called to this position. Anyway, random thought.
In Zone Conference we also talked about the different perspectives that Laman/Lemuel have in comparison to Nephi. Yet, they went through the same things. Strange? I think not. It had to do with their attitudes. "having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God" (1 Nephi 1:1) as opposed to "they knew not the dealings of that God who had created them" (1 Nephi 2:11). I am still in 1 Nephi 2 in my study of the Book of Mormon and finding treasures each time I open the pages. We CHOOSE happiness.
Sunday we also had Ward Conference. I haven't realized it, but I guess church is a little frustrating because I don't really understand it yet, with it being all in Spanish. I understand some, but not all. Usually I end up piceing (I have no idea how to spell that) what I think they're saying and thinking about the topic and trying to find something in the scriptures concerning it or how I can improve in that area (and ... there's always lots!) Anyway, this past week most of it was in English and then translated. Though it is slower that way, I really appreciated it, along with the great efforts of the stake to meet the needs of the ward. The topic was "como podemos obtener y seguir el espiritu santo" how can we obtain and follow the spirit. Everything that was taught was with so much humility and love. We we taught to Ask, seek, and knock. It was very powerful and simple instruction that I wish everyone we teach could've heard. The leaders invited the Spirit with their love and humility and allowed the Spirit to be the teacher.
Reading through a conference talk this week I found a quote that .... (when I do not say this?) ... I love! Reading it I felt like it directly applied to us, yet then I realized it applies to everyone, everyday.
"Remember that you are entitled to our [Heavenly] Father's blessings in this work. He did not call you to your privileged post to walk alone, without guidance, trusting to luck. On the contrary, He knows your skill, He realizes your devotion, and He will convert your supposed inadequacies to recognized strenths. He has promised: 'I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.' " -President Thomas S. Monson
This week I remembered what a break up feels like. It's rotten. You don't want to do anything for a while. You don't want to feel this way. Seferino, an investigator, told us he doesn't want to get baptized. Ouch. There are many things that went into this decision, as he said. I came across a scripture the next day that I helped me clearly see why this is so difficult: "I have labored without ceasing, that I might bring souls unto repentance; that I might bring them to taste of the exceeding joy of which I did taste; that they might also be born of God, and be filled with the Holy Ghost (Alma 36:24). The only way this felt different from a break up with a boy is that this is, essentially, salvation. We are saddened that we were not able to help him see the reason we go out as missionaries and preach the gospel.
Makes me think of how I can better explain our purpose to people so they can know we are different from every other church. This isn't OUR church, it is the church of Jesus Christ! He is the head of it! Ay! Oh how frustrating it can be to see people have this before them and not realize the innumberable blessings waiting simply for them to grasp it and begin to fill their whole souls.
Anyway, that is missionary work. It is the greatest joy and yet the deepest sorrows. I love the opportunity to serve and do the Lord's work. When else can I forget myself (still trying to do that ....) and help others come unto Christ? Oh it is brilliant and I enoy it. Even every bit of chipping off my shoulder to become who God needs me to be to better build His kingdom on the earth. Hna Nielsen and I are seeing the Lord's hand in His work. Miracles are everywhere if we will but look. We are being molded to become more like our Savior, Jesus Christ. Only through Him will we be able to accomplish this great task we have ahead of us.
Thank you for your love, prayers, and support. I wish I had more time. I think I will send some pictures. Oh and yesterday it was in the 50s and I was cold. HAHA I don't even want to think of Utah or New Jersey right now!
Love siempre, Hermana Clark