September 2, 2013
Hey Family :)
Another P-day out in the field! It's so crazy how much faster every week gets out here. I swear I was just here writing you! After emailing you last P-day, we had soo much fun. The whole Zone got together and played soccer out on the grass behind the stake center across from the Orlando Temple. We played for about 2 1/2 hours and it POURED on us for about 20-30 minutes. It felt sooo good and I have never played soccer in rain like that before. It rained buckets! We were all laughing and having so much fun. The awesome thing about the rain here is that it's warm and it feels so good to get rained on. I LOVE IT! Of course after it stopped raining, the sun came out and we all got fried from being wet standing in the hot sun. Haha! It was awesome though and I hope that we can get together and do that again soon. It was such a good way to relieve stress. The normal hard work of being a missionary can be so stressful. Just being able to go run and have fun with other missionaries was the best! I got to know a lot more of the missionaries from my zone. It's so fun when we are able to get together with other missionaries. You are able to feel somewhat normal again when you do ;)
This past week, Sister Hoyt and I were able to meet so many of our weekly goals. It was awesome! Ever since I have been in Winter Garden we have only had about 1-2 members present at lessons per week... but this week we had 6 different lessons with a member!! It was such a miracle! The lessons when members are with us are so much more powerful.
This past week we ended up teaching the neighbor of Eugene, (the man with the stroke that I taught when I first got here.) His wife has a lot of health issues and she was willing to have us bring a member to the second lesson to give her a priesthood blessing. They were very open to the message about Joseph Smith seeing God the Father and Jesus Christ and are willing to read the Book of Mormon together as a family. They have a son, Billy Junior, who has been getting into bad things with friends and they are wanting their family to get closer together. They seem to understand and feel that we can help them get closer. It's so exciting! I love meeting people that are truly looking for help and guidance from the Lord and are willing to do their part. I will keep you updated on how things go with them, (if I'm still here in Winter Garden to see what happens...). This is my last week of my second transfer... so crazy. I think sister missionaries have 13 transfers all together...? Crazy! Crazy!
This past Saturday the ward had a softball activity at the Veterans Memorial Park. We had 5 investigators show up for the activity! Such a blessing! I think that going to a laid back activity like that really helped them feel comfortable with the people there and to see the kind of people that are members of our church. Yazay, the 12 year old, walked a really long way to get to the park... I felt bad that she walked such a long way, but she really wanted to make it to the party! So it was awesome to see that she was determined to go. That's always a good sign :) At first it was really frustrating because none of the members were welcoming and talking to the investigators... so it was really stressful and awkward.... but after talking to some of the members privately and asking them to go talk to them, things went a lot better. I was one big stress ball!!!
I have been reading the Book of Mormon for my personal study and just finished 4 Nephi. I have really felt increased love and gratitude for my Savior this week as I have been reading about Him coming to the Americas. One morning I sat down and wrote a big journal entry on what I had felt and learned from my studies and I just want to share it with you guys:
"While I was reading in 3 Nephi 16 and 17, I was moved by the thoughts I had imagining Christ being the Americas. What a miraculous time for not just the people of the Americas, but for Christ Himself. In 3 Nephi 17: 20-21 Christ says, "Blessed are ye because of your faith, and now behold, my joy is full." Verse 21: "And when he had said these words, He wept." I was so touched by that... A couple of days ago in companionship study we were studying charity and pointed out that the 2 times that the scriptures point out that Christ wept were when He was looking over Jerusalem and when He mourned with Mary before raising Lazarus from the dead. Both of those times he cried because He was sad...but in 3 Nephi when He is in the Americas, He cries with JOY. When you put things in perspective, Christ came to the Americas right after He had gone through so much pain and died for our sins and then overcame death through resurrection. That would be far from easy to accomplish. Christ had just gone through SO much sacrifice and suffering for ALL of us, even those that did such evil against Him. No wonder Christ wept with joy when He saw the faith of the American people. He was able to see and be reminded of WHY HE suffered for us and that there are still many of Christ's brothers and sisters that are striving to be good and are desirous to understand and strive to become like Christ. He was able to see that His suffering and sacrifice was not in vain but that there were good, righteous people on the earth that LOVED Christ, that wanted to follow Him…not tp spit upon Him and mock HIs teachings. I could keep going on and on about this…but, as you can see, the Holy Ghost taught me a ton this morning about Christ and some of the actual thoughts and feelings He had when He visited the Americas. What a beautiful, glorious day for HIM!! I absolutely love moments like this where the spirit teaches me so much more about my brother and my Savior, Jesus Christ. It's times like these that I so badly want to see Him, wrap my arms around Him and talk to Him face to face. I have had a strong desire and love to know Christ this past year but the desire to know Him more and more grows deeper and stronger the more knowledge I do gain. Even though the mission is hard, it's times like these where I feel the love I have for my Savior so strong that my spirits are so happy and all the little trials seem but nothing compared to the bigger picture because I know that my older brother is watching over me. I hope and pray that when I do finally come face to face with Christ that He will weep with JOY that I have come home at last."
I had to share that journal entry because I couldn't put it in any other words than I could at that moment. I love my Savior and have such a strong desire to come to know Him more. I really hope that you are taking enough time every day to study personally and as a family to come to know Christ and His gospel more. Christ is truly where you find pure joy, peace, strength and comfort. While I'm out here, I don't know exactly what is going on at home... but I know that no matter if you are struggling or loving life, the Lord is always the one and ONLY way to find true happiness. I have seen that more and more out here in the mission. Yes, the mission is hard. Yes, I get homesick. Yes, sometimes I just want to snuggle up in my sweats and a blanket with hot chocolate when it's pouring rain instead of go ride my bike out in it... haha… but I have found the most joy in the work at those times when I feel closest to Christ.
I love you guys so much. I hope that work, school and everything else is going well. You are always in my prayers and can't wait to hear from you again.
P.S. Will someone please write me a letter? I'm kinda feeling forgotten... :( haha I love emails but I don't get to see them until Monday! If you have any time I would love to get anything from you guys!! Love you.
P.S.S. Check out http://kjnielson.blogspot.com/... it's a blog of one of the senior missionary couples and apparently I'm on it a couple times!
P.S.S.S.!!! Angie, On September 13 (14th? sometime around there...) Sister Becky Baird, a lady from my ward is going to be a part of an old BYU comedian group called Garrins?? Or something closer to that... starts with a 'g'. Anyway, keep an eye out for that and go to the show!!! She is HILAROUS. She does quite a few shows at DisneyWorld... and is the voice for some Monsters Inc. show as well. Pretty funny! I think you would love her. If you go, which you should, you need to try and talk to her afterwards!!! Love her.
I LOVE YOU GUYS!!!!