Highlight of the week: our lesson with our investigator Cathy on Tuesday. We brought a stellar ward missionary with us, Sister Mitchell. We walked in, and Cathy said, "Oh, I really wish you wouldn't have brought her...I have something I need to tell you." That got me worried. We all sat down around her table and she said, "Okay, I need to come clean and tell you the truth. I've been lyin' to yinz." My heart sank. No no no no no no no. "Yeah, I've been trying to decide whether to become a Mormon or join my sisters' church (side note: her sister Dawnie is a member of a Christian mega-church). And I've made a decision." All three of us held our breath. "Sign me up, I'm gonna be a Mormon!" Do my ears deceive me? Not what I was expecting, but I WAS OVERJOYED. The Spirit flooded that room like a tsunami and the tears started flowing down my cheeks. That moment is absolutely one of THE MOST spiritual moments of my entire life. She proceeded to tell us that she decided to start General Conference over and listen to/read to the talks again. She told us she read "The Healing Ointment of Forgiveness" by Elder Duncan, and she just cried and cried. "It was talking about me, I know it was talking about me!" She was taking notes as she read and she was so excited. She had gotten her answer! Another thing that contributed to her decision, was her sister told her if she wanted to be a Mormon, she could be a Mormon; she wouldn't hold that against her. That meant a lot to Cathy because she loves Dawnie so much. I just can't even express my happiness for Cathy. She is incredible--she LOVES the gospel library, she studies on her own, she repents every night. Can you say golden? She's been meeting with the missionaries for a while, but she's finally ready to follow her Savior's example into the waters of baptism. And I couldn't be happier. I feel so privileged to get to teach her more about the gospel and help her take those steps through the gate of baptism. We haven't set her with a date yet, but we will be this week. I'll keep yinz posted!
Sadly enough, a lot of things fell through this week and didn't work out, but that one lesson with Cathy made this entire week worth it. Ups and downs of missionary work--but it all is okay in the end.
It's all about LOVE
I had a few other experiences this week where I was filled with an absolute pure love. One of which was helping this lady in a nursing home with a puzzle while we visited with her. Another was teaching a less-active member who lives in a personal care home. We taught him and his friends by reading together from the Book of Mormon. These both brought me so much joy and filled my heart with love. I have also felt love for so many other things. For the people we help and serve and teach, for this gospel, and for the Lord. As such, I've done some reflecting on love--true, Christ-like love. I have come to the conclusion that it is at the heart of missionary work. It is the great motivator to come on a mission, to stay on a mission, to work hard on a mission. It is what makes it so difficult to leave somewhere you have grown to love so much. It is what helps transform your heart and be willing to hand it to the Lord. It isn't about the numbers. It isn't about your rank or status as a missionary. It isn't about having the strongest testimony in the world...it's all about love. And if and when you acquire this Christ-like love, it will motivate you to do amazing things with the Lord's help.
At the perfect time this week, my dear friend Sister Beth Knight sent me a cute card that included this quote from her friend. I loved it so I thought I would share it:
"As you seek to develop that type of love, homesickness will fade, hard companionships will become blissful, hard-to-love companions and investigators will become our brothers and sisters, time will seem like a dream and God will become more real and tangible to you in your missionary work."
How true that is!! On the same topic, one of the Elders shared part of this talk for a dinner thought, and it is really profound (from "You Are My Hands" by President Uchtdorf):
"Love is what inspired our Heavenly Father to create our spirits; it is what led our Savior to the Garden of Gethsemane to make Himself a ransom for our sins. Love is the grand motive of the plan of salvation; it is the source of happiness, the ever-renewing spring of healing, the precious fountain of hope.
As we extend our hands and hearts toward others in Christlike love, something wonderful happens to us. Our own spirits become healed, more refined, and stronger. We become happier, more peaceful, and more receptive to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit."
Love is truly at the center of it all. How true it is that "charity never faileth" (1 Corinthians 13:8). His perfect and purest love for us, the love we can acquire for our brothers and sisters--when it is through Christ, it will never ever fail.
I know without a doubt Heavenly Father is completely aware of me and every single detail in my life. He places people, moments, counsel, tender mercies, everything in my path to show me how great His love is for me. I'm so grateful to know that even in moments when I feel that no one is aware of me, He is. And He always will be.
Also. Grandpa sent me this incredible article from the BYU magazine called, "God will use you. God will bless you." It was AMAZING. Y'all should read it! Also, I know he was inspired in sending it to me because it was EXACTLY what I needed to hear. God is so good.
"Keep loving. Keep trying. Keep trusting. Keep believing. Keep growing. Heaven is cheering you on today, tomorrow, and forever." (Holland)
Have a spectacular week and I'll see yinz soon! ;)
with love from Pennsylvania,
Me and Sister Smith chillin with some
frozen hot chocolate-DELISH!