My first transfer is already almost over! It's so weird because I feel like I have been here forever, but at the same time it feels like everything is just happening at lightening speed. Being a missionary is really weird.
Remember those Chick fila tapes that we used to get in the kids meals and listen to all the time in the car? There were some Book of Virtues ones and then they had a couple cartoon ones about Helen Keller and Harriet Tubman. Well I went on exchanges this week and volunteered at the DI and WE SAW SOME. They were still in the plastic and everything! I never thought I would see those on my mission, much less for the rest of my life! If I had a cassette player I would have totally bought them.
Let's see, what happened this week... Well since Sister Magleby is the STL for this zone I went on a LOT of exchanges. We even have more this week.
WE HAVE A NEW INVESTIGATOR. Her name is Cecilia and she is this really cool native american woman and she has these awesome feather tattoos. The Zone Leaders are working with her husband so we have started working with her. The meeting that we had with her this week was when we were on exchanges so my trainer wasn't there. Sooooooo I was in charge of the lesson.
It wasn't that bad. We talked a little about the Atonement. The important part was we got a return appointment and she said she will come to church! YAY!
Oh my goodness things with Monique are going crazy. Pray for her. Seriously. This past Sunday was Stake Conference so we thought we wouldn't try to get her to come. But all week something was telling me that I should really try to get her there. Well a general authority came to the Yukaipa Stake conference- President Packer of the 5th quorum of the 70. He did SUCH a good job! (more on that in a bit). But the entire time he was talking I just felt like an awful missionary because I knew Monique should have been there. Morale of the story- LISTEN TO THE SPIRIT! President Packer was telling us a story and he said, "the Holy Ghost said to me, 'you missed it you big dope." Yup. That's how I felt in a nut shell.
Things really are going good with Monique though. Sister Magleby and I have planned extensively to make sure she makes it to church this week. It truly is amazing how much love I feel for her and her family though. The other day she took notes on the Restoration. SHE TOOK NOTES. Investigators don't do that! It was amazing!
So I'm not going to lie. This week has been rough for me. Sometimes I feel like I'm not being guided by the Spirit. I feel like I'm just working so hard and my butt is just getting kicked AND I'M SO TIRED. Mom. I cannot tell you how tired I am. And I just felt awful because I felt like I wasn't feeling the Spirit at all.
So here's the thing. I was dumb. The Holy Ghost said to me, "You missed it, you big dope." President Packer's talk reallyyyyy got to me. I had to really evaluate my expectations. The Holy Ghost isn't going to smack me on the head. It's little things- like feeling I'm supposed to make sure Monique gets to church. We need to be so so SO sensitive to the spirit. It really is just a tiny small little thing. Recognizing it can be tricky.
Usually missionaries don't get to go to the adult sessions of conference, but President Packer specifically invited us. Probably because the whole thing was about missionary work and the ward council. Councils are SO IMPORTANT in missionary work. Working with the ward council is HUGE for us. Missionaries come and go, so it is SO IMPORTANT that the ward council works closely with the missionaries to make sure that they're investigators are fellowshipped.
Anyway that was a tangent. But at the end of the adult session, President Packer said, "I sense there are several of you here tonight that are struggling and just trying so hard." He then said something about how important it is to really obey Heavenly Father's commandments and to really APPLY the ATONEMENT to our lives. That is something I really need to work on. We always talk about how the Savior suffered for all of our sins so he knows everything we go through. But how do we really apply that?
The Sunday session, President Packer talked about how we can develop our faith. 1st Pray. 2nd. Recognize the Holy Ghost. 3rd Apply the Atonement. Yup. Essentially everything that I need to work on. I really feel like that was meant for me, but then again so did a lot of people probably. But that's what's so cool about the Gospel. It applies to EVERYONE IN THE WORLD. Specifically and individually.
During conference he had all of the missionaries stand up.....Then he had all of the parents of missionaries stand up. That really got to me. I have never felt more humbled in my entire life. Heavenly Father does not need all of these people to do his work. He LETS us do it. There are seriously so many righteous and wonderful people that I get to serve with. There are so many righteous and wonderful people that have completely given up 18-24 months of their lives to completely serve others and to share the gospel. That is a huge testimony to me of how true this work really is. How cool is it that our whole family- not just me- gets to be apart of that?
The last thing I want to share is what President VanCott said. He bore his testimony at conference. President Packer had previously shared a story about how he forgot his shoes, but didn't realize it until he was almost at work and it pretty much screwed up his whole day because he had to go all the way back for them and was way late for all his appointments. President Van Cott said that President Packer had shared this story with him earlier this month. The night after he heard this story, he had a dream of two specific missionaries in the mission that were walking in a field and had forgotten their shoes. He was calling out to them, but they couldn't hear him. The next morning President Van Cott met with these Elders and they were able to sort everything out.
So I wanted to make sure that you all had your shoes on. That sounds sappy and Dad is probably rolling his eyes, but I'm serious! Are you reading the scriptures every night as a family??? I wanted to share a quote with you:“I feel certain that if, in our homes, parents will read from the Book of Mormon prayerfully and regularly, both by themselves and with their children, the spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein. The spirit of reverence will increase; mutual respect and consideration for each other will grow. The spirit of contention will depart. Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom. Children will be more responsive and submissive to the counsel of their parents. Righteousness will increase. Faith, hope, and charity—the pure love of Christ—will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace, joy, and happiness” (Ensign, May 1980, p. 67).
These promises—increased love and harmony in the home, greater respect between parent and child, increased spirituality and righteousness—are not idle promises, but exactly what the Prophet Joseph Smith meant when he said "the Book of Mormon will help us draw nearer to God.” (Ezra Taft Benson October 1986 General Conference)
I know this will really help our family. I pray for you all all the time! I love you so much! Please read and pray together. And mom and dad- you need to go to the temple more! I'm not trying to like chastise you, I just love you and I want you just to be showered with all those blessings.
Stay awesome family. Have an amazing week!!Love, Ashlee