November 23, 2015
My Dearest Family and Friends,
Mission is the best thing that has ever happened to me, and I feel that I am suppressing the thoughts and feelings about coming home. I finally started packing this morning trying to figure out how much room I have in my suitcase and my heart just ached, the emotions associated with going home are unexplainable. Don't get me wrong I love you all, but leaving this experience is probably the weirdest sensation I have ever been through. I am not going home yet, but I know its finally coming. I know I have to close the book to this experience and open a new one; it’s just so hard.
We had pizza with President Erickson and the Lusaka Zone. It was fun. I love that man more than anything and I have enjoyed learning all that I have from him. He is one of a kind and he was just rambling and rambling all day about mission while we were there. And joking about the ones who are leaving December 8th! I will give a short update on my mission,
We have a prime investigator, Duncan. He is so sweet. He talks a lot. Very quick and grasps on to the truth so quickly and so enthusiastically. I can just see him as a missionary. The main concern was that he just BARELY got baptized in SDA (Seventh Day Adventist) but this week he told us that he was ready for December 6th. It was a miracle in and of itself, and I pray to stay worthy of him progressing and I pray to see him get baptized. And I also pray to see him stay worthy of his progression as well. He reads, he comes to church, he does everything right, I just pray that he will continue to pursue the restored gospel.
Grace--she is wonderful, has a great heart and a beautiful personality. She has many concerns and she seems to need a little more time. If a miracle occurs she could be baptized December 6th. She’s been to church enough; she reads enough… But she just isn’t quite there and she missed last Sunday. So we will see :)
Mwamba Ngila, He is a member’s brother. He is SO PRIME. I feel substantially blessed to be teaching him. I know he is not baptized yet, but I have a really hard time imagining him not progressing to his date December 6th.
We are taking over the Elders Area, so we will have the whole ward to ourselves… but only for two weeks. But they should have a baptism this Sunday, and I think they were planning to have two on the December 6th as well. But we will see.
What a blessing and a privilege to be serving a mission. I have inadequate words to describe my gratitude. Mission has taught me sacrifice and the truth of the quote from Brigham Young, “Shame on that man who would so call anything a sacrifice. For it is the very means of adding him Knowledge, understanding, power and glory.” I would never call a mission a sacrifice but rather a time of learning and growing.
I feel the Lord above all else has had to teach me the attribute of patience over and over again. The feelings of inadequacy as a missionary pile up more than ever before especially as you face trials or difficulties that prove just how unconsecrated that you are. But through them all, the Lord doesn’t just test your faith, he builds your faith, he builds your hope and he helps you to truly understand his ways are definitely higher than ours. I have also found much comfort as I face difficulties to realize that even the best men sometimes fail, I have found comfort in studying the life of Peter, and Lehi and many others. Peter will forever have a special place in my heart. I feel I can’t compare myself to him, but I feel I relate to him more than anyone I have yet to discover as serving a mission.
I have also felt my love for mankind has increased substantially and my desire to give my whole heart to every person I come in contact with has increased. And I am forever grateful for this experience and the time that I have had to be able to increase my love for my fellow beings.
Above all I have found one whom I admire above all, whom I adore and hope to one day emulate more fully and that is the Savior Jesus Christ.
As I have reflected on the Savior and his sinless life and the sacrifice he so freely gave. He not only gave his life but for a time he gave up every feeling of joy, every feeling of pleasure and replaced it with every feeling of guilt and shame and pain that each of us individually experience. I stand in awe. No greater love hath any man give than to lay down his life for his friends. I am absolutely confident that the only motive that could carry the Savior through that bitter day was his absolute perfect love for us. Love was and has been and will forever be the motive behind our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Christ’s love has made it possible for each of us to be able to find comfort through him. I truly believe that the Savior knew that he had to perform that painful atonement to make the resurrection possible, but also to be able to comfort and love us through and through. I believe that Christ begs us to come to him, he begs us to trust him, and he begs us to repent because he died to give us eternal life to become like him.
There’s meekness and humility in the fact that we need to rely on God. I have reflected on my life and I feel I have much pride to repent of. I have an attitude of I can do it, I don’t really need help. I feel the pride I have had can easily be seen as I reflect on past experiences. I am pretty stubborn when it comes to allowing someone to help me. I push people away as I face difficulties or not even push people away but act like everything is okay. Patricia Holland explains the importance of opening up to people in way that I never could, “It is not God’s will for us to socially “Go down with the ship” when rescuers are all around us I believe that ability to say, “I am hurting and I need help” is a humble and courageous act of meekness. Even Christ, when in agony, pleaded with his disciples to stay with him and pray with him as he himself prayed more earnestly to his Father. If Christ himself asked for help from friends, family and priesthood leaders, undoubtedly we will not make it through life without doing the same.” All I know is I am slowly learning to open up and I need to continue to strive to repent of the stubbornness that I do have.
The love of mankind is what carried Christ through Gethsemane and the love of God is what will carry us through our own tribulations and trials. I have pondered over much of the life of Christ. Christ’s suffering as he was tempted by the devil and was fasting gave Christ the power of the spirit (Luke 4 vs 14) The resistance or self mastery Christ obtained through these forty days is substantial. He didn’t perform any miracles until AFTER the spiritual strength he was endowed with AFTER he resisted, after he grew in knowledge and power and glory because of the trial he faced. So often we think of trials as just a proof to our Father in Heaven that we can do it, but it’s more than that. It’s a time where we are able to grow more fully and be endowed with more spiritual capacity than previously.
The miracles Christ performed were astounding. The miracles he performed allowed him to relieve some suffering from the saints. He healed the sick; he allowed the blind to see, cleansed the leper, allowed the cripple to walk. The list goes on and as wonderful as each of these events were it was a type or a foreshadow of the relief that the Savior was about to perform in the atonement. It did the world the most good, as hard as this was, to make it possible for all of us to return to him. And I feel as hard as it was it did the most good. And I feel you can compare it to each of our lives. Our hardest times and most trying times will and can bring forth the most good, I truly believe that if we humble ourselves the tree rings of growth will be well nourished with water during the season of trials and tribulation, but we MUST allow the trial to do us the most good, because trials can either make or break us.
Carrying our cross may be difficult, but will never reach our full potential if we do not carry our cross. The most good will come as we face trials. The atonement has given me the ability to realize the things we call sacrifices and the things we suffer are the greatest blessings the Lord could ever bestow upon me.
Also as I have pondered over the “Character of Christ” by Bednar. I have had a stronger desire to reach out to those who I come in contact with. I pray that I may be able to overcome the natural tendency to be self-centered as I face difficulties and to reach out as the Savior did. As I have reflected over the sending of angels to John after the temptations and also as I have reflected on the healing of the ear after Gethsemane, I admire the Savior’s ability to reach out when he suffers, but I also wonder if he is teaching us a lesson of how to deal with difficulties. Reach out as we suffer and our burden will become lighter.
I have pages and pages written as I have reflected over the life of Jesus Christ from my journal, but these are just a few.
On a final note, I would just like to testify of the craftiness and the evilness of sin. Sin itself distorts reality, destroys wisdom and limits our potential. Christ knows that when we sin we fall short of our potential. We sell our souls for something less because we don’t understand our worth. I truly believe the best way to help someone to turn away from their rebellion is to help them to know just how meaningful they are, and their potential to be relevant to God’s plan. Satan teaches us we have no worth, and he does it tactfully so that we may fall into sin and even have a more distorted view of our worth. Many who rebel, you will find them saying, “Its okay, it doesn’t matter” but I feel that under that statement there’s a greater belief of “I don’t matter”. Satan’s effective tool is to convince us we have no worth. We commonly see it even in ourselves--feelings of worthlessness and even inadequacy, but these are taking the Lords sacrifice in vain. Do we really imagine that the Lord would suffer so much for our worthless soul? Joseph Smith said it best, “The worth of every soul, (you and I) is great in the sight of God. The Lord calls you imperfect because he sees something greater inside of you.
I would like to testify that I know that He lives, and I have come to know Him more fully on mission. And I testify that I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ will carry you and will change you into the person the Lord expects you to be. I can in nowise deny the power of God because I have been changed by grace. Every time I think to doubt the reality of God, I remember the days when I have felt the grace of God and when I remember those times I have the inability to deny the power of God (Moroni 10 vs 10)
I love being a missionary. And I don’t know how I will ever take off my nametag, and get on that plane to the United States. My heart will forever be in Malawi and Zambia. But I will come home a new person with a stronger testimony of the divinity of God and continue to grow and develop into the person the Lord expects me to be.
Beautiful People! Sister Grace, Sister Natsala and Sister Claire. LOVE THEM ALL!!
This family is the best family I have ever come in contact with! Love them!
Christmas party way back when...
Just a picture from a long time ago...got the pictures from the mission office today