Wow. What a week. I don't even know where to begin. It was really
rough at the get go, but it ended on a very high spiritual note.
But real quick. Sister Taunima told me about an analogy having to do
with missions that I felt was very fitting. "Serving a mission is like
walking through a rose bush." And truer words were never spoken.
(There's some food for thought ;))
Oh my heavens I felt so spoiled on my birthday. The package was
practically perfect and I loved everything in it. THANK YOU!! I
definitely felt so very loved. So for dinner, we ate with the Greenway
family, and they were sweet enough to make me a cake. It was
delicious! One of their daughters made me a crown (see picture). It
was so adorable! Sister Taunima also fed me cake...ha ha it was quite
August 23rd meant three things this year: 1. I turned 20 years old; 2.
It has been 3 years since my brain surgery; 3. I have been on my
mission for 11 months. It is crazy that all of that ended on the same
day. I can't believe I'm 20. Out of the teens officially. Craziness.
And the fact that I am three years tumor free? That's amazing. I
literally could not be more grateful. Looking back at these past three
years, my life is forever changed because of them. If I had been
called back to my Heavenly Home three years ago, I would not have been
able to experience what I have. I am such a different person because
of what I have gone through. And He knew. He knew my work wasn't done
and there was more I needed to do. So here I am. 11 months in,
and it's hard to believe I've been on my mission that long.
As I mentioned a few weeks ago, Elder Anthony D. Perkins of the
Seventy and his wife came this week (as well and Elder Peter Meurs and
his wife) and we got to spend 4 days straight with them. It was
incredible and so very needed.
On Thursday we had our big meeting with half of the mission up in
Cranberry, PA. I learned so much from them, it was amazing. A few of
the things I took away from it:
- Every church meeting we attend should be a revelatory experience.
- While I am on my mission, I need to cherish this time that I
have--especially the time I have to study in the mornings. I'll never
have that again.
- "The best new ideas come out of old books." (AKA the scriptures and
Preach My Gospel)
- Revelation comes while you are on the move.
- Finding is partly about technique, but it is mostly about faith.
- It is at the end of the road of a difficult trial that beautiful
- Each day I need to ask myself, "Am I going to be a full-time
representative of Jesus Christ today, or a part-time representative?"
I got many promptings through the Spirit of things to gradually
implement in my missionary work. And there were other moments where I
felt like everyone else had disappeared and they were just talking to
me. I know God knows me and is so aware of me. Like I had mentioned
before, I got to sing "Savior, Redeemer of My Soul" and it turned out
beautiful. It was such an honor to sing with some of the best voices
in the mission. And the Spirit was definitely felt. Sister Taunima and
I got called on to do a role-play in front of everyone. When he called
our names my heart just sank and started beating a million miles a
minute. We role-played the Plan of Salvation and the senior couple who
posed as our investigators gave us a run for our money. Needless to
say, it was rough. But we survived. And I was reminded I have a lot to
work on. But it's alright, I'll take it one thing at a time. (One more
thing: we sang "Hope of Israel and Elder Meurs led it. But he made two
small adjustments. For the line ,"rise in might" we sang it with a
crescendo, and on "watch and pray", we sang it double-time and sang it
reverently. It was beautiful! I was amazed that two small alternations
could change the power of the song.)
Friday was our MLC meeting in Pittsburgh. President and Sister
Johnson, Elder Perkins and his wife were there as well as Elder and
Sister Meurs. It was one of the most powerful meetings I have ever
been apart of. The Spirit was so strong and I learned so much. We set
goals for things we can focus on with our elders and sisters. I'm so
excited! Good things are happening.
Saturday: Anne was chosen to receive a visit from Elder Perkins and
President Peterson (our stake president), and she invited us to be
there at the same time. It was so neat!! Anne was just on cloud 9,
which was so amazing to see that. She has come so far, and I know the
Lord has amazing things in store for her. During the adult session of
general conference, there was a moment where I couldn't tell you who
was speaking or what was being said, but I felt an overwhelming sense
of God's love. I immediately started writing thoughts and impressions
that came to mind, and I wanted to share them with you:
God's love is REAL. It is beautiful and tangible. It is changing my
life. As I have felt I so real in my darkest and lowest moments, I
have felt the light that comes with His love. Love has found me there.
And it will always find me there, where I am, wherever I am. "His love
will find you and gently lead you from darkest night into day." (Hymn
Sunday we had a wonderful session of stake conference in which the
Spirit was felt and it just added to the spiritual feast.
Being able to spend the past four days feasting and being taught by
President and Sister Johnson, Elder and Sister Perkins was just
phenomenal. It was so needed, I can't even tell you. A spiritual
feast, and I have been filled. I didn't want this weekend to end.
Mom, Dad, Cameron, and Brenden: This place, this beautiful state will
always hold a huge place in my heart. I love it so much. It is here
that I have felt the lowest valleys and highest peaks. It is here that
I am coming to realize how desperately I need my Heavenly Father. It
is here that I am coming to know Him and my Savior Jesus Christ on a
personal level. It is here that I am experiencing true conversion.
This place, this ground, will always be sacred to me. These past 11
months, as hard and trying as they have been, could not have been more
beautiful and sacred...I wouldn't trade it for anything this world has
"Keep loving. Keep trying. Keep trusting. Keep believing. Keep
growing. Heaven is cheering you on today, tomorrow, and forever."
(Elder Jeffrey R. Holland)
I love you so much!!!! I hope you have a beautiful week.
With so much love,
Meeting in Cranberry
Buddies from Sunbury Days - Elders Hansen & Haroldsen
The Big 2-0-!!!
With Sweet Kate who made my crown :)