Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Severe Mercy

 This week has been a happy and a cold one...there is snow falling outside.

Yesterday I found out that I am being transferred to Amherst!! 

Can't believe I am leaving so soon but I am grateful for new adventures and change. 
My companion is going to be Sister Coleman, she is from BC (British Columbia - Canada) and I am so excited to work with her. She is an incredible missionary. 

We also had the opportunity to do some great service this week, one day we were out working and we passed an older couple who had piles and piles of leaves in their backyard and more leaves covering the ground so we offered to help. We spent an hour and a half helping them rake and bag the leaves in our skirts and it was the happiest part of my day. They were so grateful for the help and we had a wonderful conversation with them. It is amazing to see service truly soften hearts. 

We also had the opportunity to help a member put siding on the shed she had just built. We put the pieces together and nailed them up..SO FUN! 

We also made cookies and delivered them to our investigators which made them very happy. 

I got a letter from dad this week AND Sara AND Grandma and Grandpa AND Nana and Papa - BEST WEEK EVER. Thank you!!!

On Monday, Sister D and I were invited to present a Family Home Evening at one of the members homes and we decided to spend our P day creating a board game about the Book of Mormon. The kids loved it and we had a lot of fun. Reminded me of mom getting us all together for a lesson and the struggle that was for her some nights but I am so grateful for those times we spent together. Dad leading the music..mom tearing up and everyone fighting over duke. I LOVE AND MISS YOU ALL!!

This week was full of lessons and moments of "awe" and gratitude for my Heavenly Father and my Savior and the power and peace they bring to our lives. I wanted to tell you the story that our stake president shared with us in stake conference yesterday. 

It is the story of Agnes Caldwell from the movie 
"17 Miracles" however, it is not the part when she and her friend skipped across the snakes. 

This account begins when the rescuers come. Only the saints who were very sick, nearing death, were able to ride in the wagons. So, frostbitten, tired, starving and determined to fit on a wagon - Agnes and her friends thought that if they could run after and catch up to the wagons, surely the men would let them ride. They ran as fast as their aching legs could carry them. One by one Agnes' friends gave up and stopped but she pressed on. As she finally approached the wagon, the driver called out to her "Would you like a ride?" Of course she did, she held out her hand and the driver reached out and grabbed it. Immediately the horses sped up, Agnes was forced to sprint even faster alongside the wagon. She must have thought he was purely evil, she might even have hated him but she had no choice but to sprint, he wouldn't let her go. Just as she was about to collapse. When she had reached her breaking point, the driver whipped her up, wrapped her in a blanket and placed her comfortably in the wagon. Because the sprinting had increased her circulation - Agnes survived. She realized that the man was not evil but that he had literally saved her life. That is what we could call "severe mercy." 

I love that story and oh how beautifully it applies to our lives. God stretches us to our limits, He places us often in a refiner's fire, He demands us to give our all - like Christ did, and there are times in our lives when He is holding onto our hands making us sprint almost to our breaking points - but right before we fall He lifts us up and saves us. 
I am so grateful for that "severe mercy" that God does make us sprint because most of the time 
it's the sprint that saves our lives. 

A missionary who is going home this week bore his testimony at district meeting on Thursday. He said (I believe quoting from Elder Holland) "Our missions are hard because what comes next will be so much harder." I am thankful for the things that I am going through that are hard because they are helping me and preparing me for the rest of my life. 

I am thankful for our Savior and His Atonement. I am thankful that it helps us change and progress. I am thankful that because of Him we can change our natures. I am thankful for God's "severe mercy" and that He stretches us and expects much of us so that we can truly grow. So that we can help others press forward. So that we can understand a little bit more of the pains our Savior endured. So that we can have confidence in ourselves. So that we don't give up early - but finish the race and sprint through the finish line. So that He can save us and eventually grant us ETERNAL LIFE. 

Thank you for your love and support. Thank you for believing in me and telling me that I CAN. Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for being my friends and biggest examples. I love you and miss you all. 
Love, Sister Gochnour

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