Family! December 1, 2014
This past week I was able to go back on exchanges to my first area of Winter Garden one last time! I always go down memory lane of the first few months of my mission when I am there. It brings a smile on my face as I think of those learning and growing times!
We had the BEST temple service this past week! It was a really cloudy day and I made a comment about hoping that it would rain on us at the beginning that most of the missionaries and temple grounds crew heard.... and guess what? It not only rained but was one of the most epic downpours that I have been in hahahaha Everyone was blaming it on me for God hearing and answering my prayer ;) It was sooo much fun though! We were pulling up all these bushes and we were SO muddy, but then it got more crazy when HUGE cracks of thunder started and we all thought we were going to die! haha! We were able to find shelter and then go back out in the rain once the lightening went away. It was a memorable experience but so fun to be apart of! :)
We had a lesson with Michelle's son, Marvin, on the Plan of Salvation and he has so many great, genuine questions!! He officially became a new investigator to start teaching this past week and we are super excited about it. He is super cool!
We also went over to the other Marvin's place this past week and HE taught US the Plan of Salvation.. and it was so good! He even used stories and analogies from the life of President Monson as he taught. He seriously is so cool. It's frustrating that he won't commit to things but he came to church this week and he even found out this week that he has cousins that our Mormon!!! haha! He is awesome and I really hope that you guys get to meet him.
Thanksgiving was great! We were able to see several families that day and it was great! We had a main Thanksgiving meal with the Herzog family. They are so nice! We went over to a less active's home later and they had a ton of dishes that needed to be clean so we spent about an hour to clean all of them for their family and the sister at the end said a prayer with us and said that it was the best thing that had happened to her all day. It was a heart warming moment to see that even the smallest acts of service can make such a big difference for someone!
On Friday, I went on exchanges with Sister Kara Allred again! It was so fun to be back with her! She is an awesome missionary. We had so much fun teaching different people as well as using the new church video 'He is the Gift' as a great tool to contact people! Holy cow! It works miracles! I can't tell you how many different homes that we have been able to go into to share the video! Plus! These people are so much more receptive to our message of the restored gospel and have been a lot more open to hearing more. Really, really cool. The prophets are so inspired. Sister Allred and I just had a blast all day working hard. The best part was that we were able to set up a dinner appointment that night to see her first convert, Singh. He was SO excited to see her. He set up this candlelight dinner, picked flowers and put them on our plates and started blasting John Denver... hahahaha! We asked for the music to be turned down but it was so cute to see how much missionaries mean to their converts. I've got to say that if Sister Allred and I had been companions.... we would tear it up!
Saturday night I got a text message from the bishop saying that he was planning on having me give a farewell talk before I left but that the couple that was suppose to give their talk the next day was out of town so I got to give a talk yesterday at church on service!!! I really appreciated the opportunity to share my testimony and to talk about service. :) I just want to share a few highlights from the talk:
When I think about service, one of the first things that comes to mind is the two greatest commandments: 1. Love God 2. Love thy neighbor. We can't truly love God if we don't love our fellowmen. Likewise, we can't love our fellowmen if we don't love God.
The more I have served on my mission, the more I learn more about WHO God is, the more I feel of His love and appreciation more deeply and the more I see service as not a duty but something that becomes apart of me... and I want to do it because I love my Father in Heaven.
Mosiah 2:17 states that when we are in the service of our fellow beings, we are only in the service of God. The more we seek to love God and our fellowmen, the EASIER serving becomes!!
Each one of us goes through trials and challenges but even when life gets hard, that's when we need to strive more to love God and our fellowmen! Jesus Christ was the perfect example of that. When Jesus Christ hear about John the Baptist's death, the scriptures say that he "departed thence by ship into a desert place apart"... meaning that he was probably going to find a place to mourn and be alone for awhile....BUT…it says that he saw this huge multitude of 5,000 people that were in need....and what did He do? He put his desires to be along aside and he was "moved with compassion" and healed the sick and fed 5,000 people with only 5 loaves and 2 fishes! What love Christ has for His Father and for His brothers and sisters! When He was going through challenges, He turned to service.
I know that each one of us goes through trials and challenges. The mission life can be full of heartache, frustrations, and disappointments as we try our best to serve those that make wrong choices or don't accept the gospel of Christ but the pain eases and is replaced with the spirit, guidance, and love of God as we strive to more diligently serve :)
At times we can all feel shorthanded or inadequate to be able to give the service we would hope to give. When the apostles told Christ that the 5,000 people were hungry and needed food, Christ told them to not send them away to find food but said, "Give ye them to eat. And the disciples said unto him, 'we have here but 5 loaves and 2 fishes'." ... can you imagine how the apostles must have felt with that task? I'm sure they felt overwhelmed with the task and unsure of how to even start!
Just as the apostles gave ALL that they had to the Lord, the scriptures say, "Christ took the 5 loaves and the 2 fishes, and looking up into heaven, He blessed and break and gave the loaves to His disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did ALL eat, and were filled and they took up the fragments that remained TWELVE BASKETS full, and they that had eaten were about 5 thousand." (Matthew 14: 19-21)
Many times we will feel as the apostles felt... overwhelmed and not sure how to help someone as we go and serve. We might feel inadequate with callings or simply being true disciples of Jesus Christ. The beautiful thing is that all that He asks of us is to give what we DO have and He will multiply it a thousand times over and we will witness great miracles!
There was a LDS commerical line several years ago that said," Sometimes the most important thing you can share is yourself." So true! There are so many different ways that we can serve and the church gives us great opportunities to such as Home and Visiting Teaching, callings, the bishop storehouse, family history and temple work, being parents, friends, coworkers, doing MISSIONARY WORK!!! :) I am so grateful for this time that I have to serve the Lord. I have never felt such DEEP love of God for me and for each and every one of His children. I know that the true joy of service should be done out of the love for God and love for His children... not for status or recognition... simply out of love. May we keep in mind as we serve that WE are not to be remembered, but for others to remember Jesus Christ.
I love you guys so much! So grateful for all the service that you render and the great example that you are to me. Have a great week!