Tuesday, July 22, 2014

12 - No Longer Green!

Missouri River

"Away, I'm gone away, across the wide Missouri."

See that? It's the Missouri River! A not so good picture of it, but I'm totally living minutes from the Missouri River, have driven over it and everything! I don't know, I just realized that a bit ago and it was really mind blowing to me because it's such a landmark river you know? And it makes me think of the song Shanandoah. But anyway!

No Longer Green!

I am officially no longer a greenie! Have have made it through my first 12 weeks, or 3 months, or 2 transfers, whatever variable of time you want to measure it with, and now am considered a full fledged missionary, meaning I could be called on to train a missionary just coming out of the MTC. Do I feel like I could do that? I would say I do! I haven't been asked to do that, but if I had been, I would've been ready. haha.

Every six weeks we have transfers; the mission president switches up companions throughout the mission according to what the spirit prompts him to change. Transfer calls are always the Saturday before. It's always a day racked with anticipation because seriously, the day's not over till it's over. President Anderson tries to call earlier rather than later, but there's a lot of missionaries in the field! Sister Easter has gotten a transfer call as late as 5:30 before. So you go through that whole Saturday trying your best to stay focused on your studies, your lessons, calls you have to make, but you are so paranoid about getting a call! You keep the phone at your side the whole day; it's litterally attached to your hip, because if you get a call you NEED to answer, and if you get a call that means someone's going somewhere for better or worse. Well. Always for better, but it can be a bit difficult these changes, as with all changes.

Soooooooo... the result? Drumroll please? .....................

Sister Sanderson and Sister Easter...Still Companions!
I'm staying! And so is Sister Easter! She's been here one transfer longer than me. Actually, not a lot of changes were made in Bismark... again! There were hardly any changes last transfer so we expected it to get pretty changed up, but nope. Elder Schneringer (Snare-reen-jur) is leaving though, which is sad. One of my first zone leaders, leaving Bismark, sad! And then our district leader's companion, Elder Hedmond, is leaving too. But they aren't leaving till tomorrow, so I'm going to take some action shots of us playing chair soccer later today, as is usual at around 3:30 on p-day, and I will post them next week! It'll be great.

Michael...Just baptized!
Oh, and Saturday we attended two baptisms. Neither of them were ours, but one of the people baptized will be in our ward, so that's awesome. And you know what else is awesome? This awesome card that this family made for Micheal, the baptism in the other ward.

Isn't that a genius card!? So great.

Awesome Card for Micheal
Being as I am now done of training... well, I should probably tell you what my 'training' consisted of. Each missionary when he or she comes out into the field goes through the 12-week booklet with their companion. There is an additional hour of time that you carve out of your day in order to do the assigned reading and videos etc, so basically it's just additional specific study, making sure all the bases of missionary work are covered and talked about. Each week there is a specific thing you apply to your missionary work, such as, "the new missionary will take the lead in extending the invitation to baptism." Stuff like that. And every week on Saturday for an hour you have a bridge call with the zone leaders and all the rest of the missionaries going through twelve week to see where they're at and whatnot.

SO! I'm done of all twelve weeks, and it's neat to reflect back on what I used to be, how I used to feel, and how I'm doing now. And, how the work in our area is doing now. And in my reflection I have come up with a few things I'd like to share.

What I've Learned

I've learned a lot about the spirit, though I still have lots to learn. I feel like I will always have questions about the spirit, how it works and how to utilize and access it. But I also know now that I can lean more readily on experiences that I've had with the spirit in order to answer my questions and back up the knowledge that I do have, even if it's just a testimony that I have and I don't know exactly why it works, just that it does. Which is another thing that I've learned, the power of testifying. I have a goal to bear testimony more because it's powerful and it seals your words so that the spirit might testify more clearly to the investigator the truth of our words. Because, when all is said and done, we are not the teachers. We use the 'spirit' to teach. We can bring the gospel to their hearts, but only the holy ghost can take it into their hearts.

And I've also noticed, I'm quite content with listening, more than I have been throughout my life I've noticed. There have been times recently where I think, 'should I share this and that?' and then I just don't feel inclined to share, but rather to listen. I used to always like to share what's on my mind, and I still do but, I guess now I'm just becoming more inclined to listen instead? It's important to listen to your investigators so that you know how to help them. And it's important to listen to people because sometimes people just need to talk.

It was a struggle adjusting to missionary life, not because of the busy schedule, but oddly enough, because of the lack of business. As missionaries, you go from being spiritually slammed in the MTC, getting 30-45 minutes for meals having absolutely no free time and barely enough time to get ready in the morning, to having a full hour to get ready for the day, and having a full hour for lunch as well as dinner, and you are commanded to use that time for yourself. I don't know, it was just a big struggle for me. I never felt that we were doing enough. I felt completely overwhelmed by what I wished I had a comfortable knowledge of and what all there was to do and how we were seeming to sit idly by while the work was still not done. And it's still a struggle, but it's better. I'm always trying to find solace in discussing with other missionaries how they find new investigators, because I want to know that we are doing everything we can. I find comfort in the scripture in Mosiah: "for it is not requisite that a man run faster than he has strength." We are given this extra time because otherwise we could not withstand the rigor of a year and a half to two years of mission life.

And, our area is progressing, just... very slowly. We taught 25 lessons total my first transfer, or my first six weeks. And this second transfer, we again taught 25 lessons. It seemed like we taught less lessons this transfer, so it was comforting to see that our lessons didn't decrease. Weeeeee are the tracting sisters. It's been established. I mean, we FINISHED tracting that 500+ trailer mobile home park. We will tract ALL of Bismark! Woo! We WILL see success! Our investigators are really struggling in their lives right now, but things will get better!

That love that everyone talks about that you have for the people in your area? I think I just, have a lot of love for people normally, because I seriously love these people like I love the people at the adorable little gas station back at home. I wish the best for them and want them all to succeed and have great lives and to comfort them in their trials that they are all going through right now. Sometimes it just seems like you're helpless and all you can do is pray... and that's really hard... but it's alright. People will be okay. I just pray that they will use these trials to shape them instead of to tear them down.

I'm grateful for my mission and for the chance to tackle this area for another six weeks with Sister Easter. We know how to work with each other now and I believe that we will see success, even if it continues to be slow. Improvement and progression are one eternal round. I've been told I have a natural ability to teach. I sometimes envision myself at night when I'm trying to sleep having these awesome powerful lessons of awesome where I just say all the right things and bring about clear understanding. I know that I can be that missionary. If I work hard and study hard, I can be that missionary. I'll have great experiences on my mission. I love you all and I want you to know that this gospel is true and that power and sacrifice have a direct correlation with each other. Learned that on Sunday. This gospel is true; it just makes sense. I'm so glad to be spreading it to those who are searching for a foundation to lay their lives on. I know the atonement is real and that you can find comfort and that your guilt will be swept away if you use it. 

I love this gospel and I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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