Dear Familia and Friends,
This week was one to remember. Filled with mice, interviews, and stake conference plus the over-encompassing knowledge that God is there, it made the cutoff.
This week Sister Judd and I have been going through our potentials and we prayerfully selected those we felt like we needed to try and contact. Then we went to and started knocking on their doors to find that some no longer lived there, some really didn’t want to see us (we saw them through the window and could hear them talking yet the door remained closed), and others had no way to contact them so sadly they could not remain in our areabook. We did however have a tender mercy from the Lord in meeting Corey. Corey remembered the missionaries that had come to his door before and he wanted to know about our beliefs and religion. It was amazing to see his openness and readiness to hear what we had to share. We ended up talking to him for about an hour and leaving him with a Book of Mormon. We extended Moroni’s promise to him and bore our testimonies that if he sought to know of the truth of the things we were sharing with real intent, that he would receive his answer. We are going back this week to see how it went but my companion and I were very excited. This was how our week began. Miracle blessed!
Fast forward to the end of the week where I received a witness again that the Lord knows me and through others he answered my questions, my concerns, and even, in a loving way, informed me that I needed to change. It started in district meeting where we talked about our true identity. We discussed who we really are as sons and daughters of God and what that means for us. We related that to knowing who we are as missionaries and what difference that makes in how we act, speak, and even think. It is so important to know who we are because we cannot go out and inform others who they are if we do not know who we are ourselves. (Did that confuse you? Hopefully not.) My district leader said that he had had the thought to do a training on this a while ago but he put it off, and it kept coming back.
How does this relate to me? I don’t know about all of you but sometimes in our lives we cannot see how much we have grown and changed. How over time we learn new things, become better than we were and yet to us we are still that ugly duckling that doesn’t fit in so we leave and hide. We refuse to see that we have changed and become a swan, until we decide to look at our reflections again. In the story the ugly duckling sees swans flying overhead and follows them. When he reaches them and the lake they are at, he finds to his surprise that he is just like them. I have met some amazing people and missionaries as I have been serving and for me I couldn’t see that all this time I have been changing. I knew that I had changed but I couldn’t see it all. When I got transferred here to Brownsville it was almost like I looked in that lake and saw who I have become. Sister Judd has helped me see how much knowledge I have gained, how much I have changed, and who I am becoming. She has been out six months and I have been out thirteen and with her I could finally see the difference in me. I found that things that I had found hard or scary before were no longer scary or hard. I had gained through experience that confidence that I could do the work the Lord asked me to do. And I know just like me, that if we chose to look at ourselves now, compared to where we were before, we would find that we had all become swans in our own rights. Tender mercy of the Lord.
However, that wasn’t it. Yesterday I had stake conference and in this stake conference our Stake President was released and a new one was called. It was an amazing experience and the spirit was so strong. We had Elder Blunk(?) and Elder Keetch come. Elder Blunk explained how a new presidency is called and the process is really cool. I’m not going to explain it but I will say that the Lord’s kingdom is one of order and just like everything else, there was order to this calling. The whole conference was about conversion and being converted but not in the way that you would think. It was how through prayer, church attendance and reading the scriptures the leaders that spoke gained their testimonies of the gospel and the confirmation that it was true. But not just that. President Carlisle (he was the stake president that got released) spoke about change and how we cannot be satisfied with where we are at, we have to be ready to change. He said we need to “change our hearts to submit our wills so that we are obedient to God’s commandments.” I love that. And for me it was a reminder. The message I received this weekend can basically be summed up in that line. The Lord was telling me that I need to be ready and willing to accept the change that comes into my life so that I will be in line with His will. That isn’t the easiest thing to do. To trust the Lord, to know what he is doing is best for me is hard and I think for most it is. But this is the promise that President Carlisle gave. In Mosiah 5 King Benjamin is talking to his people and when they accept his words and gain that confirmation that they are true, it says “…which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.” When we submit our wills to God we will want to continually do good. That is an amazing promise. I know that in our lives we sometimes wish that we could have an easy road or even just a different path than the one we are on. But I also know that God knows best and if we put our trust in Him and go forward with faith and align our wills with his we will be abundantly blessed to continually do good.
I love you all and would encourage you all to put your trust in the Lord and see the good that comes into your life.
Oregon Salem Mission
P.S. You are probably wondering about the mice. We found some in our apartment but with the help of our landlord they seem to no longer be a problem. But it added to the adventures this week.