September 5, 2017
This week has been a whirlwind for sure! Many, many wonderful things happened and I am excited to share it with you!
Monday was fun! We went golfing with Brother Rodriguez in the ward and enjoyed our afternoon on the course. We were all struggling, but it was definitely a time of growth! On Monday night, we started exchanges. I went with Elder Melendez, our District Leader. He has about 3 transfers left, so he is quite experienced 🙂 We have a lot of the same struggles, and so we talked for a good amount in the evening, comparing stories and discovering new things about ourselves and how to overcome/manage stress. It was an amazing time!
Tuesday morning was also filled with more conversation. We talked about perfection versus doing your best and what the Lord expects of us and how there must be a balance in all things. It was refreshing and great to get new feedback. We spent the day in Peabody and really enjoyed focusing in one area. That night, we had ward correlation and Elder Melendez came to it. It was different, since Elder Merrill wasn’t there, but we were able to get some insights from his point of view!
Wednesday was Return and Report! It has been a while since I had been to one, but it felt really good. President expressed right at the beginning of the trainers meeting that he feels that we are doing very well as a mission, but that there is a lot we have to work on. All of the trainers felt the same way. We are accomplishing great things and we are doing great work, but there needs to be a daily improvement of the way we work and also in the our diligence each day. There were a lot of questions asked like,”How can I help my companion overcome tiredness?” or “How can we make the less exciting parts of the day more productive?” Many of these were questions were ones that I had had just as a missionary in general for a long time, not just about my companion, but about myself. Many missionaries answered from different points of view and the collective answers helped a ton! We are applying in many ways the things we learned from our question and answer session. President is really happy with the new missionaries and emphasized that if we are going to make positive steps forward, what better place to start than the new missionaries and their trainers. It was eye opening, a little stressful, but exciting to think about. We all came back together and the Assistants gave a training on Repentance. They clarified what repentance is and the blessings that come from it. We had role plays on teaching repentance and after some guidance, the second time, we were very focused on using less words. The result was powerful. We tried to convey our lesson briefly, but still containing the basic doctrines and commitments with a focus on helping them repent and experience the blessings contained therein. We were really happy about it! As Preach My Gospel and B.H. Roberts say,”To be known, the truth must be stated and the clearer and more complete the statement is, the better the opportunity will the Holy Spirit have for testifying to the souls of men that the work is true.” That afternoon, we had the opportunity to go through the Boston Temple and to do an endowment session. It is an amazing experience to go through the temple and to feel the peace that comes from the light and truth there. It was really comforting, and even though I didn’t have specific questions to search for answers to, the peace of the temple stayed for the day.
Thursday was Interviews!! President and I talked for about 20 minutes, but he shared many eternal truths. He said that there are a lot of soft hearted people in this area and that it has a reputation for prepared people just showing up and becoming strong members. He reminded me that just like him, I have 10 months left, and this is a great time to stop, reflect, and decide what has been good, and how I can improve. He said to focus on the four points in Preach My Gospel on page 7 and to make sure that everyone we talk to knows those clearly. He said that our purpose isn’t to warm those up who aren’t prepared, it is to find those who are prepared. Our responsibility is to have the Spirit with us, and He will show us where to go, what to do, and what to say. We just need to boldly follow His promptings! The key to happiness on a mission is contained on page 121 of Preach My Gospel in the big quote. Look it up!! But most precious of all, he told me to Pray, Study, and Ponder more. The Lord’s blessings will come more readily when we do so. Besides page 121 of Preach My Gospel, this is the key to happiness in life. The precious time we consecrate to studying the word of God is multiplied upon us each time we do it. Like Elder Hales says,”I testify that the efforts we make to become disciples of our Savior are truly added upon until we are “possessed” of His love.” We must keep enduring to the end until the perfect day. Devote more of your energy to studying, pondering and humble supplication with the Lord, and I know that you will be happier, have answers to your questions, and feel more of a connection to our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.
Friday was District Meeting. Elder Carter gave the training, and it was amazing…He had been under the weather and so he used his extra time resting to prepare for this training. He had read a lot of scriptures and hoped to piece them together to share what he had learned. He explained that from his studies, he had identified three main components of enduring to the end. The first: Forgive Others. When we forgive others, we have the ability to bounce off of tribulation and trials that have the potential effect of steering us off of our course to eternal life. The second: Continual Repentance. He explained that Faith and Diligence combined allow us to move forward. Faith being the catalyst and Diligence being the follow through allow us to progress and grow. Continual repentance enables us to take our mistakes and learn from them, making the stepping stones and not stumbling blocks. The third: Charity. He described charity as the fusion of two principles: Love and Sacrifice. Love, like faith, is the basis for Charity, but without sacrifice, our love has no direction or ‘lift off’. The prophet Joseph Smith said“… A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation;” Sacrifice allows us to enjoy the blessings that God has for us. It was an amazing lesson, and it definitely inspired us in many aspects to improve and ‘ponder the path of [our] feet”.
Saturday was fantastic, we had mini exchanges and knocked into an inactive member who wasn’t even on our records.
Sunday was busy, but our dinner with the Banks family was amazing! Their son, Franklin, grilled burgers for us and afterward for Family Home Evening, I got to play their imitation Steinway, and the sound that came from it was amazing, full, and ‘gorgeous’ (Elder Merrill’s new favorite word)!
Monday, we went to the temple. I had gotten a lot of answers about missionary work in the past, so this was an opportunity to just enjoy the temple. Many missionaries were there, and the Spirit was strong. Understanding, vision, and clarity came as we enjoyed the temple together as friends. I know that Heavenly Father loves us and cares about us deeply. I know that as we sacrifice, we enable ourselves to experience Heaven’s richest blessings. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know that you can know that it is true. I know that families are forever and that the sealing power, through Elijah, has been restored to the earth. I know this is God’s church and this is His message. Search it out, ponder it, and ask Him for an answer. If you knock, it will be opened. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.