We had a great week this week. Sister B and I are getting along really well! We've been joking about going to BYU-H and being roommates (joking, only joking) She's really awesome though, it's been a lot of fun working with her.
We've had a lot to do this week! We've been planning for M's baptism, doing service and meeting with our investigators. M's baptism is still a go! She's really excited, any time someone asks her about it, she just lights up. We just need to work on her dad, G, who's been investigating since the dinosaurs.
For service, we have been working at the local Bishop's Storehouse, which has been a lot of fun! It serves for several stakes in all of New England, all the way up to Maine! So we get to meet people from all over the place. The other day there was a couple from the Hartford Stake and there's almost always people coming down from New Hampshire. It's fun to meet people and it's really fun to work there. The people are nice and my companion and I have fun playing tetris as we try to fit the orders into bags and boxes. We go on Thursdays and Saturdays. Heck, I'll probably go volunteer at the Bishop's Storehouse in Spokane when I get home! It's so much fun!
This week, we were visiting a woman from church named A. She has a lot of health problems so she takes a lot of pills. A man comes 2 or 3 times a week to change them out for her. Well he came while we were there and we started a great gospel conversations. His name is B and he's from South Africa. He's a pastor for a local church and was telling us he knew about what the protestants believe and what the catholics believe, but he didn't really know what the mormons believed. We gave him a book of mormon and a basic rundown of our beliefs. He had great questions and was really interested in what we were saying. It was fun to talk about him. Being a priest, he had a good knowledge of the bible, but he didn't bible bash. He had real, sincere questions as to why we believed certain things. Sister B and I think he's going to get baptized one day, then he can invite his whole congregation to come to church!
Saturday was the womans conference, which was just amazing! I love the new general woman's meeting. The talks were great, especially President Uchtdorf's. You can never go wrong with President Uchtdorf!
This week is going to be a crazy one. Tomorrow we're doing exchanges, Wednesday is MLC (Missionary Leadership Council), Thursday is a weekly planning day, Friday is our zone conference, Saturday is General Conference andis General Conference and Marisol's baptism. HOLY. COW. We're busy. I'm excited though. It's going to be a good week.
Hope you have a wonderful week! Love you all!
10 Things My Mission Has Taught Me
So I haven't been the best about emailing people. For those who don't know, the last 17 months have been a whirlwind involving me changing missions to the Massachusetts Boston mission for latent Tuberculosis treatment in January. I was never sick with it, it was just church protocol. I'm doing great here though. I'm still in the Spanish program and I'm still loving being a missionary. I'm currently serving Worcester, Massachusetts (but I've also been in Framingham, MA and Hartford, CT) As the number of days left of my mission is getting smaller everyday, I've been reflecting a lot on the things that I've learned and the person I've become. I wanted to share with you all 10 things that my mission has taught me (so now you'll all be getting another long missionary email to read every week), starting with the principle of obedience.
One morning during my personal study, I received the answer. It's a scripture I had read several times over, but this time it struck me in a different way as I read it though missionary eyes. "And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God." (Mosiah ) As I read this scripture over and over my perspective on happiness began to change. Up to that point in my life, my happiness had been obnoxiously dependent on the situation I was in. When things were good, I was happy; when things were bad, I was sad (although that was also probably a symptom of being a teenager). But I realized that happiness is not a product of our situation, but that it is directly linked with our obedience to the commandments of God. Obedience is happiness. As we continually keep the commandments we are elevated to a higher plane of happiness where we can find peace and joy, even through our darkest moments.
But why is it that obeying these seemingly ancient rules brings us happiness? Well first off, we need to understand what the commandments are. They aren't just a laundry list of rules and regulations, they are instructions on how to become our own free agents, set forth by a wise and experienced Heavenly Father who knows the path and wants to protect us from it's dangers. As we follow his command, not only are we protected, but we learn how to become like him. And that's the idea--that we become independently functioning spiritual beings. The Lord himself said, "For behold it is not meet that I should command in all things...verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will and bring to pass much righteousness; for the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves and inasmuch as men to good they shall in nowise lose their reward." (D&C 58:26-28)
I came to a better understanding of this principle when I was transferred to Hartford, Connecticut. My new companion did not feel comfortable driving so I was made the designated driver. Realizing that I wouldn't know my way around Hartford, I asked my parents to send me a GPS. For the first 3 months, I used that GPS everywhere we went. I really relied on that GPS because I knew that my limited knowledge of Hartford was not sufficient to take us where we needed to go, but I knew I could rely on the complex map the GPS had. As I followed it's directions, I began noticing patterns and recognizing certain routs, like getting home or to the chapel. Many times, although the GPS was guiding me, I already knew the route, but other times, I would try to navigate without the GPS, but would take a wrong turn and get lost. However, little by little, I became familiar with Hartford and 3 months later, after many wrong turns and many right ones, I didn't have to use the GPS anymore. It's the same with us. The commandments are our GPS and the more we follow them, the more spiritually independent we become. Sometimes we will succeed and sometimes we will fail, but all these experiences help us to be agents unto ourselves so that we won't even need the commandments because we will "have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually." (Mosiah 5:2)
That is why obedience makes us happy. The commandments teach us how to be like God, liberating us from sorrow. We find ourselves in a state of happiness that cannot be dampened by lasting pain. Yes, trials will come. We'll have bad days and stressful moments, but hose moments will not overcome the everlasting happiness that obedience brings into our lives.
Now, I did not realize all of this in that one moment of reading Mosiah back in that small apartment in Constitucion, but as I pondered what happiness really was, as I questioned if I was truly happy, the spirit began preparing my little greenie mind to receive a mission-long (and probably life-long) outpouring of revelation on obedience and happiness that I will forever hold sacred.
Because I love spanish so much, I'm going to include a spanish phrase every week that you can all learn...if you don't already know spanish...
Spanish phrase of the week:
vale la pena (BAH-leh la PEH-nah) means "it's worth it"
ex. A veces el guardar los mandamientos cuesta pero vale la pena.
(Sometimes keeping the commandments is hard, but it's worth it)