Happy January 5th everyone!!! I sure love you.
We had a harder week but miracles still came every day. I think it is important that we don't dwell on all of the things that went wrong, or all of the areas in which we fell short but rather we focus on the good - look to the future - and choose to be better. That is what I am striving for this week - TO BE SO MUCH BETTER. On January 1 (one year since I embarked on this incredible adventure) we had a deep cleaning day!! We were asked to spend the first three hours of the day cleaning our apartments. We worked hard and made our wood floors SHINE. It was so nice to be in a clean place, an environment that was conducive to the spirit and to see the hard work pay off.
The temperature has dropped and the snow has finally come. I am reminded, each moment we spend in the bitter cold, of last year in Fredericton when our mouths were so cold that we could no longer form sentences and the lovely wind that pierces to your very center. You can't cry or scream or run away - you just have to laugh and keep going. People don't exactly want to talk so we have to adapt our finding, talk to people in stores or knock on their doors because at least they are a little warmer. We also are trying to work through the members and less actives because that is when we find the people who God has truly prepared. We don't have any investigators right now so we are working hard to contact people and not allowing the cold to slow us down because the Lord's work cannot be stopped - it doesn't matter the temperature.
I learned a few very valuable lessons this week - most of them yesterday at church. There was a large snow storm and so when we arrived at church there was no one else there.. Soon the Lockheart's came with two other members. There were 6 of us when the meeting started, 4 of those being missionaries and only 1 priesthood holder. I was so grateful for Elder Lockheart and the reverent way he blessed and passed the sacrament to us. It was such a special experience. Three more members trickled in and we had our fast and testimony meeting. The Spirit was strong and pressed upon my heart. I shared the account in Matthew of Christ suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane - this is the story i shared in my farewell talk thought it didn't mean as much to me then as it does now -
36 ¶Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.
37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.
38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?
41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.
43 And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.
44 And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.
45 Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
All Christ asked was for His disciples to stay awake and wait for Him as He went to suffer for the sins of the world. But His disciples were tired and they feel asleep so Christ the greatest of all suffered all alone. Christ says in verse 41 " Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." I believe that each of our spirits are so willing to do what God asks but our flesh is weak and we often give in to our flesh. We do what we think is right, rather than what God knows is right for us. The natural man is an enemy to God and I know that as we strive to keep our eyes on the Savior, trust in Him and stand for Him - we will be so much better off. I am also amazed by Christ's humility and His willingness to do all that the Father asked. He suffered the pain of every person who had lived and would yet live on the earth and He asked if there was another way but in the end He submitted His will to the Father's and suffered patiently. We need to turn our lives over to God and accept His will. He knows what's best and He really can make of us much more than we can make of ourselves. Those are lessons I needed to learn this week.
We conclude with the hymn - "I Need Thee Every Hour" tears were in my eyes as we sang. I was so aware of how much we need Christ. We truly do need him every hour - in joy or pain - and the amazing thing is that He is always there.
This week I will strive to overcome the natural man and do all that God wants me to do. I will have faith in my Savior and remember that we do need Him every hour.
I love you all. Thank you for those who sent me your favorite scriptures with your testimonies -they encouraged me and inspired me. You are amazing people.