Howdy Familia! How are yall doing?
I thought I would start out the email super peppy, because I am actually doing really good today, and I had an awesome week last week, for the most part. My brain is starting to come back to speed. We are actually teaching quite a few people, and our schedules are so busy. BIGGEST BLESSING EVER!
On Tuesday, we were able to teach the investigator we found when we felt impressed to tract on Bolton Drive . She needs the gospel and can feel the Spirit. We taught her about prayer, and every time we teach her she has the most inspired questions that I just want to abound in joy and scream, "DON'T WORRY, WE HAVE THE ANSWER!" It is really fun to teach someone so interested and prepared. She came to take a tour of our church, and it was really cool because she said to us, "I can't believe you girls got me to come into a church. I haven't walked into a church since I was 11 years old." And she had her two young kids running around, so excited to be there. It was their first time in a church ever. It really took me back. Teaching her about primary, and young women's, and baptism. I think it is really easy to forget that some people have never been to church. Or had a church family. They don't even know what this is, and how often do we take it for granted? Or complain about going? Too often. Even I do it too often.
And then, we got to teach a new couple. Oh, I love them. They are newly married, and in their early 20's. We got to help them put together and understand the Plan of Salvation for themselves. The Spirit was so strong, as you can see their real desire and curiosity to know more. They have been praying and knows that God answers prayers. THIS IS HUGE! If we know God answers prayers, then we need to have faith, that as we seek for answers, HE WILL GIVE THEM TO US. I have real hope for them.
It is just so fun, and there are so many less-active families that are working to get back involved with the church. They know that it's the truth, it's just hard to make their way back. And that's what I have noticed. For the most part, people don't leave the church because they disagree with the doctrine. That happens, but a lot of the time, it is that people don't feel welcomed at church. Or had a bad experience with a member. Ah, it's so hard. We can never please everybody, but if we all would just look out for ONE other person, we could change their lives. You never know what people are going through. If we could only look after one...
In my mission, we only get to go to the temple every six months. And so, another six months has come and gone, and we had the opportunity to go to the temple. I had a question in my heart. I truly struggle sometimes with overcoming my fears, and having FAITH. Faith sounds so easy, I never thought it would such a struggle. But when you are faced with opposition, you really do have to decide where you stand, and what you will stand up for. So, I just prayed and asked for strength, to really feel that extra Spirit to help me push past my natural man and my natural fears. And I had a much better experience at the temple this time. I understood it and felt more comfortable. That was a tender mercy of the Lord, and I was so grateful to feel at home there. And to just sit, and ponder and read the scriptures. I think that the Lord talks to me through the scriptures. And I felt such an overwhelming feeling, that it was time for me to trust in the STRENGTH OF THE LORD. My strength is pooped, worn out, not working anymore. I need the strength of the Lord. And I am working on allowing Christ to really carry me through my trials. I am excited for this . . . let's see if I can get over my pride huh? HA HA
And I think the biggest thing I learned this week, is to use my inhaler before I go biking. I forgot I even had Asthma, but this bike is kicking my trash!! Tennessee hills are no joke, and I swear they are always uphill! I was huffing and puffing, and trying to be strong. I didn't want to tell my comp that I had asthma, because I thought, "Oh, I am just out of shape." But she caught me, and said, "Do you have asthma!" Oh, she could tell! So, learned that lesson. I will conquer the bike.
Seriously, we look so funny. Its the first time I have ever worn a helmet. And you have to tie your skirt to your bike, so it doesn't fly up and flash everyone around you. And you are carrying a little back pack.
Humility is my life ha ha. And so, I just laugh as people look at us, all confused, and i ponder about the meaning of life.
Saturday, we were biking to the church, and there are so many hills. I didn't know if I could make it...ah, gosh, I'm a wimp, and so I started praying and asking for help. And I thought about all the trails in our life. The pushing forward, the pain of growing, taking us up and up and up, closer to where our Heavenly Father needs us to be, and just before we think we can't handle it anymore, the hill starts to turn down, and we are able to coast down hill for a few moments. But all too quickly, another hill comes. Forcing us once again, upwards. And when we can't make it, we pray for help. We pray for guidance. The Lord will help us, and will strength us to make it. I don't think I have ever been happier to see a church building in my life. I could have kissed the ground. I was just so relieved!!! Relief just came over my sore back, and my tense legs. Ah, I could see the finish. And I thought of the scripture in Alma 34: 41. But that ye have patience, and bear with those afflictions, with a firm hope that ye shall one day rest from all your afflictions.
The journey of life is hard, sometimes painfully hard. But one day, God has promised that we will rest from our afflictions. To be taken back to His presence. To be calm. And happy. And full. That day will come, and how glorious that day will be, when we will be able to stand before our Father, with a smile, knowing that our burdens will be gone, and everlasting joy will fill our hearts. It will feel 100 times better, than seeing a church house to rest in, after peddling my life away.
How grateful I am for the gospel. For its truthfulness. For my family. For the knowledge that we will be together with our families forever! The thought of going into the ground, to just rot, makes me want to throw up. It's not true, and that is not our next destination. God has a plan for all of us. He will take care of us, and won't allow us to go through anything, without his angels our right and on our left, bearing us up!
I love you all. Thanks for your encouraging letters, and making me feel so loved. I need the support. I miss you all. You know what word I keep saying? Bomb-diggity. I thought ya'll would like that. And it makes my absolute LIFEEEEEE that you won't watch X Men until I come home. Seriously, that might be the coolest thing that's ever happened to me.
Keep praying for the people of Smyrna to be prepared for the wonderful knowledge that we have.