Tuesday, October 17, 2017

"O that I were an angel"

The Lopez Family, oh my goodness I love them with all of my heart
 they are so amazing, and they have cutest little boys
who are already preparing to go on missions one day <3

What an incredible week! I think I've started every journal entry this week with the words "what a crazy day" 

Some highlights: 
getting a call at 10:26 at night when we were already asleep that our STL's had been locked out of their apartment and needed to come sleep with out
Finding out there was a homeless person hiding out in the church building, and creeping around (also with the STL's), looking in every room and feeling just a little bit like we were living in a scene right before the climax of a horror movie. 
Conquering fears and going to the eye doctor twice this week. Fun fact about Hermana Meredith, when I was little I was always really scared my eyes were going to fall out...still not sure why. So I hate going to the eye doctors. But I was having this weird pain in my right eye that made it really hard to focus and I couldn't drive because I couldn't move my eyes around and when we called the mission doctor she immediately told us to go to the doctor and get it checked out. So one visit here in Burnsville, then we got sent to Minneapolis to see an eye specialist, who also didn't know what was going on. But the pain has almost all gone away now and it has certainly been an adventure. 

But this week has also been crazy because of so many miracles. 
Jesus got confirmed yesterday! He is now officially a member, and already preparing to receive the priesthood. His journey has been such miracle from the start, and we are so excited for him to keep learning and progressing in the gospel. He really has been so changed by the gospel, and he smiles all the time now :) 

Some of you might have noticed our mission is now a Facebook mission. We're still having mixed emotions. We had a training at Zone Conference about it, and still not entirely sure what's going on. But President Barney seems just as scared as we do. There are so many incredible tools, and we have already seen so many miracles in contacting people through Facebook and sharing messages that we did not have the opportunity to share before. But, of course, there are also a lot of risks, and the temptation to waste time is ever more present with increased availability to use technology. I was looking forward to not even worrying about social media for a year and a half. However, I have also learned that this is a really good time to be able to develop good technology habits, and continue to use it wisely after my mission. It's also a good exercise about living in the world and not of the world. There are a lot of risks, living in an imperfect world, but there are also so many opportunities to use our agency wisely and grow. 

One of the miracles we have already seen with social media happened when were visiting a less active. She was active when I first got here, but she got offended by something and hasn't come since then. We've been trying to see her a lot, and we finally stopped by at a time when she was home. We were able to show her a video, and she opened us and told us that every Sunday since they haven't gone to church, her two little kids have asked "Are we going to church today?" And she says "no, not this Sunday" and they're really sad, and they've been doing that every Sunday without fail. And she told us she knows she needs to start coming back, but she just needs to be humble enough to come back and she doesn't know if she is yet. We asked her what we could do to help her, and she asked if we could send her scriptures to read or something. And we were able to add her on Facebook, and explain that we could Message her links to conference talks and scriptures on lds.org and she was so happy. Just that night we sent her a talk we had prayerfully chosen, and she immediately messaged us back that she had got it, then 15 minutes later she told us everything she had liked about it. She never texts us back, or answers her phone still, but we can always get in contact with her immediately through Facebook. Using social media doesn't replace our missionary efforts in any way, we still are going out and visiting people, just as much if not more, but we're using social media to supplement those efforts and keep people thinking about the message all week long. We are just getting started, and so excited about all the wonderful opportunities there are to use this technology we have been given wisely. 

Church yesterday was kind of weird, because Jesus was our only "investigator" at church, and he was getting confirmed. We have a part-member family, and two investigators who come pretty regularly, who weren't there. And then most of our solid members weren't there either, and our chapel just looked so empty. And those days, when we put in a lot of work this week, inviting people to church and visiting what felt like everyone, and still no one comes it's hard. But yesterday, during personal study, I found a really cool parable in the New Testament that I have always looked over, the parable of the seed growing secretly, in Mark 4:26-29:

And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring up and grow up, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.

So, at first I read this, and had no idea what it was talking about. But after thinking about it, and looking into the words of living prophets and reading in Jesus the Christ, this is a parable about missionary work. The preacher of the gospel is the sower, and he does what he can, but all he can do it plant the seed. He can tend to it, and watch over it, and encourage it along, but he can't decide whether or not it grows. And if it fails to take root and sprout, it has not been by his doing, but by other elements out of his control. Sometimes I wish so badly, and have the same thoughts as Alma "O that I were an angel" But our purpose, as we recite every morning, is to invite. We plant the seeds, and we help the people we teach, and we bear testimony, and we encourage them, but sometimes you just have to remember after all you can do, you just gotta walk away and move onto other harvests and see if the seed takes. "For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself." I don't know if that makes any sense, but it helped me a lot these last couple of days. One of our members came up to us yesterday at church and jokingly said "Hermanas, where are the investigators??" and I just said, "Hermano, we spent all week planting seeds, and I guess the harvest wasn't meant to be this Sunday" 

I love missionary work, and have found so much joy in spreading the gospel. We have recently been finding so much success in working with our members and offering them support in their efforts and we have been getting so many referrals. We had a relief society activity, and one of our amazing sisters came and told us about two of her friends she's been talking to and wants to have us meet them, so we were able to find them on Facebook, and set up appointments, and it's been so amazing to see how excited people are to share the gospel. As they look back and see how much the gospel really has changed their lives, they can't keep themselves from wanting to shout it from the rooftops. 

Thank you for all the love and support! Sorry this email was kind of all over the place, but it's been a great week. 

Relief society activity 
Zone Conference

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