Monday, August 4, 2014

"whenever I get sad...I just stop being sad and start being AWESOME!"

Winner!!! not a chicken dinner but a LARGE STUFFED LEOPARD!? 
Hello - 

I sort of have a lot to say but not too much has happened this week. We received a lot of referrals that sadly did not turn into investigators. We are struggling to work with the branch but we so desire and need their help. We are happy and trying to eat healthy. Sister Drew and I are a little worried for transfers because we're not ready to leave each other or New Glasgow...but we will go where the Lord wants us to go. 

 AND I TRIED SUSHI!!! It was fine .. I don't need to ever eat it again but I was proud of myself for finally tasting it!

Heavenly Father taught me a lot of important lessons through others this week...He has placed such incredible people in my life and for that I will be forever grateful. 

     Katie sent me a letter, in it she quoted the talk by Elder Holland -- 
Missionary Work and The Atonement. He says, "As missionaries, we have to spend at least a few moments in Gethsemane..take at least a step or two toward the summit of Calvary, in order to better understand what Christ did for us." 
       That hit me hard. It is true, we will never be able to fully comprehend the pain, suffering and sadness Christ endured for you and me and everyone else who has lived or will yet live on the face of the earth. But i do grow to love my Savior more and more each time a door is slammed in our faces, when someone mocks the Book of Mormon or the Prophet Joseph Smith, when people hurry across the street to avoid us or when people laugh as we bear testimony and invite them to come unto Him. 
       These rejections are so small compared to what Christ went through. I'm thankful that each day I come to know Him and understand Him better. Each day I get to wear His name - on my heart. I am so thankful that I get to stand with my perfect Savior and testify that He lives! To know that He knows exactly what i am going through, exactly how I feel. 
      Elder Holland goes on to say, "I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation never was easy. We are the Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and He is our great and eternal head. How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him?" I am glad that this work requires effort, it requires our whole soul but because of Him - WE CAN DO HARD THINGS! I can't wait to get out and work again. To invite as many as I see to COME UNTO HIM and be saved. This is the best, hardest, most rewarding work in the world. I love it. 

   Then on a sisters conference call we had with President Leavitt he reminded us that we cannot be discouraged, even if all we are doing is finding. We cannot be sad. He told us that we are accomplishing much more than we think. He talked about Zion's Camp - simply the refiners fire for those early saints. So it is with our missions "you are being refined" - everything that I am experiencing, whether trial or joy is making me "fit for the kingdom" .. President said, "Let the work purify you. Let it make you a better person. This way Satan will have less power over you." He reminded us that every soul is great in the sight of God ( D&C 18:15) - you are precious to God. Your personal conversion matters so much to Him. 

There is the sweetest old man in the branch named Brother Hodder, his wife has been in a nursing home for several years. She has Alzheimer's, she can no longer talk or walk but he loves her so much. He drives 20 minutes there and back two times everyday just to be with her. To sit in her room and to see her smile. We went over Thursday night to sing to her. She can't respond but she did smile and Brother Hodder just sat there staring at her - thinking she was the most beautiful person he had ever seen. He loves her with the love that spans the eternities. It does not change with time or circumstance. It is such a beautiful thing and I am so thankful for his example. For his and miggy's (margaret) pure hearts and unchanging love for each other. 

Sara sent me a letter and told me how nana and papa went hiking with the family and on the way down they ran into them still pressing on - papa had tied a rope around nana and was pulling her up behind him. They were not going to give up. I am thankful for their love and the example they have set for me. Dad also sent me a sweet letter and told about your 30th wedding anniversary. He said, "mom is my best friend and makes me better every day" I am so thankful for your legacy of love. Each of you make me want to be a better person too :) 

We MUST have the Spirit in order for us to succeed. It is one of the greatest gifts of God. Papa told me of an amazing story from his mission. The importance of prayer and the Spirit - how he changed the course of an entire families lives - that influenced several generations to come - because he prayed and listened. In the letter he told me, "The most important thing in the mission field, is not baptism - it is having faith, being humble and forgiving, studying and praying, and being led by the Spirit in your mission and for the rest of your life." I am thankful for his wisdom. We all must learn to recognize the voice of the Spirit - prompting us to choose the right, to share the gospel, to serve your family members and friends, to go the extra mile and to say your prayers. I am so thankful that I get to learn more and more every day about what the Spirit's voice is like - though I do not follow its prompting perfectly I strive for the ability to do so - to never miss an opportunity to be an instrument in the hands of the Lord.

Sorry this is sooo long but I just love you all and wish we could talk for hours and hours on the phone about all of the things we are experiencing and all of the crazy emotions I feel in the space of a day...I am crazy. Thank you for teaching me and loving me and helping me feel the love that Heavenly Father has for me. Miss you to the moon and back (if that makes sense to miss you that much?)

Love, Sister G by the Sea

PS: Tell Robin and Victoria and Madeline that I am sooo thankful for the cute package and also a birthday shoutout to Joey Spafford. LOVE HIM!!!! Bye bye


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