Monday, October 6, 2014

23 - My First General Conference as a Missionary

LOVE Tracting in the "Cold" with Sister Gray
I have two weeks to catch you up on, since I only gave the story of the kidney stone last week. Speaking of which, I apologize, because I realized that basically I described: PAIN, AWFUL, MAN! but I'm ok, *smile.* The ratio of worrisome things and reassuring things was more on the worry side, so I apologize for that. I really am ok, promise. And the kidney stone only hurt me for those two days, and I was actually only in pain for less than twenty-four hours total. I believe I passed the stone in flecks, wasn't one big "small" thing, but little bits. So! It's all over and I'm actually glad I had the experience and I'm glad it wasn't more than a weekend ordeal! So there's no need to worry. I'm fine and had a regular week of missionary work, speckled with spiritual experiences as it always is. And lots of tracting in the cold with my companion.

But, there have been a few things that I have seen and learned this past two weeks.

1) "For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things" (2 Nephi 2:11). 

I have a great testimony of this principle. We have not been able to get in with Tracy and Adam in forever! The last solid lesson with them was when Tracy's friend had just died and Adam bore a simple testimony of love for all the people he both knew and didn't know.

That was awhile ago, and we finally had another lesson with her. She's just super busy working three jobs as a single mom and now only has an hour window where she's home and just started taking depression medication which she is bummed about because she doesn't want to be dependent on medication. We told her church is what she needs. And she agreed and committed to come, sincerely. She didn't end up coming because she had to watch her sisters three kids that day it turned out, but it was so good to reestablish contact and caring for her.

But, right as we left the lesson... we got a text from Jane, the one who retired at the end of July and who we also hadn't had contact with for about a month, saying: "I don't want to be baptized. I don't want visits anymore." ...

I was more frustrated than sad. ..She is choosing to deny the divine witnesses that she has had, to deny the truth that she felt, to deny what she so many times has pointed out herself, that we are heavenly messengers that are sent to uplift them in their time of trial. ...Satan has persuaded her to forget. But one day she will remember. I know it.

Now that I've said my piece about the two situations, I would like to point out that this incredible experience was followed by this devastating one. When there is a positive, there will also be a negative. And when there is a negative, there will also be a positive. In the end, there is a balance. It is difficult to remember, when all the negative is happening in one string, that happiness is still within reach. If it is a truth that there will always be good and bad, what then will we focus on? Let us focus on the good. This is what will save us from anguish of spirit, for "men are that they might have joy," (2 Nephi 2:25)

2) Immediate application brings blessings.

I went on exchanges with Sister Christiansen again to fill the 'one exchange a transfer' quota. I have gone on exchanges with her three times now and I learn something great from her each time, something that I can newly apply in my missionary efforts. During the exchange, we made a point not to waste time and, if we wrote it down, we did it. We plan every night for what we are going to do the next day, writing down plans for lessons and back ups for if they fall through, and specific street names or areas which we will tract. I decided this would be a new focus. That is, if it's written down, do it! Unless otherwise inspired of course.

The next day I intended to do just that, but we had something that still needed finishing. Tract, or finish companionship inventory, since we didn't know how long exactly that would take. So should we do companionship inventory first? But my companion reminded me of my resolve to stick to what we had written down. Boy am I glad we did. Because we did what we wrote down, we were able to make face to face contact with someone who we had only been able to talk to via phone for months. And also because of it, we tried a potential we wrote down, but we weren't there for the potential who didn't even answer the door, we were there for the family across the street.

They had just gotten home with groceries. Lots of groceries, in a big truck. We offered to help, but of course he said no, that he got it. There was a little girl who looked about three who was helping, and she had a disability, looking maybe like down syndrome or something similar, and... she was just the sweetest thing. I wish, I WISH I had a picture. The potential didn't answer, they were still working on the groceries... so basically I just started helping anyway, getting away with it by connecting with them by telling them of Marshall and how he has Spina Bifida. (Thanks Marshall, for being awesome and helping me connect with these people!) We found out that this five-year-old little girl had a rare chromosome deletion. Part of her 14th chromosome, like .248 of her 14th chromosome was missing. And they told us it was incredibley rare, that only 13 people in the world or so had it. And their little boy looked like he was disabled somehow too, not as severely though. And the little girl, she just kept telling us, "hi .......hi ...............hi" with a smile and a wave. She was so... so special. And I told the parents that. They weren't interested in our message, but I really, really just think that they needed to be told that their children were beautiful from someone who truly meant their words. I'm so grateful I had that experience. I treasure it dearly. It made me remember and miss Marshall. The both of them have such pure and sweet spirits. And we only saw them because we decided to do what we had written down on paper.

3) Written commitments are powerful.
Salt Lake City - Temple Square
Location of General Conferences

General conference was absolutely thrilling to watch this week. But I didn't come to conference empty handed. I had determined to think of a question to take to conference to help me receive revelation. It helped me know what to do to be a more consecrated missionary. But in order to truly get something out of conference I wrote down one thing that I would change because of listening to conference. 

I encourage you, invite you, exhort you! To ponder. YOU need to ponder over what you heard during conference and you need to write down one thing, just one, that you will focus on improving. You need to write it down because writing it down cements it and holds you accountable. And you need to choose only one because we learn line upon line, precept upon precept. And I promise that as you focus on one thing, other things will naturally follow. So chose one thing to improve. Write it down. As you do so, you 'will' be following our prophet's council, to "return to our homes resolved to be a 'little' better than we were in the past." You will be blessed for seeking truth from God and for sustaining our beloved prophet and by so doing, sustaining our savior, Jesus Christ. In his name, amen.

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