Up and down. Yesterday was really up and down, the lowest of lows and then the highest of highs. I won't dwell on the lows. I spent most of the day rather depressed, but it really only takes 30 minutes and a bit of an attitude adjustment to turn things around. I was able to lead a really great presentation and un-invite myself to my pity party....then later on that night we had a tender mercy from the Lord.
We were pretty bummed all day that Tracy and Melba didn't come to church, when we thought both of them were going to be there. We visited Tracy, all good there... she is still recovering, but no response from Melba still. That hurts, I think that's one of the reasons why missionary work is so hard is that these people become our dear, dear friends. We think about them all the time, we pray for them daily, and we really want them to be happy. Here's the tender mercy. Sister White needed to grab her journal from a lady in our ward, Sister Pancic. She is the best. We get talking to her and she tells us how she went over to Tracy's, just for the heck of it (did I already mention that she is the best?) and Melba was there. Melba and Tracy had been reading their scriptures together because they didn't go to church and wanted to make Sunday special. That made me feel SO good. I realized that my perfectionist personality had been worrying way too much about little things. Sure, church is really important. It is. But how long did it take me to figure out how important church was? It took a really long time to fully understand that or to even partially understand that. Tracy and Melba were worshiping and strengthening their testimony to the amount that they understood, on their own. That made my whole day. It was such a miracle that we randomly stopped by Sister Pancic's on the way home, so that she could fill us in on how Melba was doing and so that I could go to bed feeling good. Thank goodness for tender mercies!!!!
This is my favorite scripture about tender mercies: 1 Nephi 1:20 And when the Jews heard these things they were angry with him; yea, even as with the prophets of old, whom they had acast out, and stoned, and slain; and they also bsought his life, that they might take it away. But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender cmercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of ddeliverance.
Meredith is doing great. She is the cutest. I got to bust out a few of my teaching skills on Saturday. She is a little behind in math and we went over and I tutored her for about an hour. It was so fun to teach. I have realized that I am a much better teacher because of my mission. I haven't stepped foot in a school classroom in over a year, but I think all around my teaching skills have improved. Funny how that works. I know that all aspects of our lives are blessed through gospel service. We did this really fun lesson on goals and creating a vision for our life. We cut out all these pictures from the New Era magazines and put them on a poster for her. It was neat to see how much her life can change as she grows in the gospel. Her goals included serving a mission, getting married, going to college... which was a far cry from what she looked forward to a few months ago. She told us that her biggest dream in life before moving was to go on a booze cruise in Greece. She doesn't even know about the Word of Wisdom yet and she already thinks that past goal is a stupid idea.
I am really excited for General Conference! It is the best as a missionary/also just the best. One of my favorite stories from the history we teach at the Liberty Jail is that of Jacob Haun. I have learned a lot from this story about our consecration, and I know it changed my attitude about General Conference and following the prophet. So Jacob Haun was one of the earliest settlers in a settlement of church members called Haun's Mill. It was a small settlement located near the outskirts of Caldwell County, the "safe" county for the members of the church. Violence was increasing throughout the counties and Joseph Smith had recommended that the members of the church in the outlying settlements move in. Jacob spoke with Joseph asking for permission to stay explaining that if they left they would lose their mill, their land, their homes, and everything they had. Joseph explained that it would be far better to lose their property than to lose their lives, and said again that they should move in to Far West. Jacob Haun continued to protest. He gave excuses and plans for how they would be kept safe and could be exempt from the counsel. Ultimately Joseph said that they were at liberty to do as they would... he commented that Jacob hadn't come for counsel but only for permission to do as he already had made up his mind to do. We know that just a short time later that same settlement of Haun's Mill was massacred by a mob and 17 people were killed and 14 badly injured.
This really got me reflecting about my commitment to following the counsel of church leaders and the Lord. Is our commitment conditional? Do we follow only when it is convenient and when the sacrifice fits into our ideals or schedule? I've realized more and more that safety lies in following the counsel of church leaders. They stand as watchmen, ready and willing to warn us and help us prepare temporally and spiritually. As our hearts are open we can receive that counsel, but we are always at liberty to do as we will. I'm excited for general conference and I hope we can all prepare to have open hearts and minds.