This week has been another amazing week! I'm trying to eliminate "what the heck" from my vocabulary right now. It's not really working... so that's where the "what in the world" comes from. But most of the time I say that it sounds lame. So everyone out in the real world should send me some substitutes. I suppose I could say as Canon used to say... "what in the jorge regula is going on here?!" I still don't know what that means, but it's catchy. Ok. But seriously. I feel so blessed to be here. Most of the time I wonder how and why I am so blessed and so lucky to be serving the Shoal Creek Valley ward at this time. It is the best. We have amazing members and so many amazing friends that I have the opportunity to teach and learn from!
First miracle of the week: Tracy is getting baptized! She set a baptismal date for October 11th! We are so excited for her and she has come such a long way. She quit smoking and drinking coffee all on her own, which is a miracle. That is one good thing that came from her hospital visit. She has been reading on her own and praying on her own, and keeping her appointments. Setting a baptismal date was merely a formality at this point because she has been talking about her baptism since she was in the hospital. We have seen such a miraculous change in her sincerity and growth. It is amazing how much I love that family. We have visited them at least twice a week, usually more, for the past 2 months. It has been amazing to watch them progress.
Meredith is doing really well. She is such a cutie and loves the gospel. She was even excited to go to Stake Conference yesterday... so awesome! Speaking of... here's a joke. Why don't the vampires like to come to the Missouri Independence Mission?-- because there are too many stakes in Zion... haha. Man. I won't be funny at all when I get home. Meredith is really funny though. Here's a snapshot of how our lessons usually go. We compared the celestial kingdom to a beautiful ball that you have to prepare for and then Meredith is like "oh yeah! One time on Facebook there was this picture talking about Jesus and it was of four bald princesses and it said bald princesses are the prettiest, everyone should shave their head in support of cancer." Good point. Not completely relevant. I tried to bring it back by saying... "yeah, it's great to do service and that will help you get to the Celestial Kingdom." Sometimes following the thought process of a 13 year old can be a little tiring.
Sister Wilson and I planned a completely inspired and awesome training for the Visitors' Center sisters in Independence. It was the best. We had 0 time to prepare and we were a little bit stressed about it. Welcome to the life of a sister leader (btw we had a zone conference on how to deal with stress and the more they kept talking the more I realized how much better I could be at dealing with my stress, which stressed me out. Funny, huh?). So we were at the HLJ at 9:45 p.m. prepping for the training the next morning and we kept getting idea after idea and it was amazing. Sister Wilson and I were both taught very important lessons about the Liberty Jail, our ideas came together, and we were able to prepare a really meaningful and powerful training. Thank goodness for the gift of the Holy Ghost!
Here is some of what we pulled together... these are just a few of the highlights:
- I have often wondered WHY. Why did the saints face so much persecution? Why did Joseph have to stay in the Liberty Jail? Why would God try the faith of these early church members so much? WHY? As I've really studied I've come to some answers... there are probably many, many more reasons, but these are just a few thoughts that are a little more out of the box.
1. The most obvious reason to me would be that adversity brings refinement and growth, and that was certainly true of the members of the church.
2. The suffering that these members went through helped Joseph Smith and the Saints to better understand the atonement. I love this quote by Elder Holland. It was true for Joseph. It is true for missionaries, and it is true for all of us..."I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation was never easy. We are the Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, He is our Great Eternal Head. Why would we believe, why would we think, that it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? In turn, how could we possibly bear any moving, lasting testimony of the Atonement if we have never known or felt anything of such an experience? As missionaries we are proud to say we are disciples of Christ-- and we are. That means we must be prepared to walk something of the path he walked, to feel something of the pain He felt, and to at least occasionally sometime during your mission shed one of the tears of sorrow that He shed." Isn't that the BEST! It's been my theme this week... and something that I know is true. Joseph was learning in a very real and physical way the depths of the atonement. Our trials help us with that as well.
Well, there is a small snippet of what I learned and talked about in the training... that is probably one of my favorite lessons of the Liberty Jail.
Transfers are coming up already. This month has flown by. I'm freaking out because I am afraid a part of me will die if I get transferred before the 50th Anniversary. Really I'm being dramatic, I'd get over it, and probably pretty quickly, but it sure would be a bummer.
Congrats to Rachy, my cousin who just got her mission call! Pueblo, Mexico won't be the same after you get there. If my calculations are right, you go into the MTC the same day that I come home!