It is seriously so mind blowing the experience you have on a mission. The people you meet the things you learn. I look back to who I was 7 months ago and just feel so blessed that I have had the chance to grow so much. I can only imagine what the next 11 months have in store for me. Yesterday at church it was just one of those days that every meeting seemed planned for me. In sacrament meeting the theme was missionary work. As I sat there listening to the speakers I couldn't help but smile because I am a full time missionary. I am one of the Lords full time servant at this time. What a blessing it is to serve. In gospel principles we talked about enduring to the end. What does it mean to endure? In zone conference President Ol explained that the word endure is often overlooked. We commit ourselves to "endure to the end" but what does that really mean? He said that when we endure we work to remain in the clean state that we were at after the ordinance of baptism and progress toward our full potential. Enduring is "real growth". It is becoming more like the Savior. It is not allowing the trials we face to become an excuse to sin. It means coming to understand the Doctrine of Christ better. It means developing a stronger relationship with our Heavenly Father. It means taking what is thrown at us and doing our best. God didn't promise that life would be easy but we know that all things are possible as we put our faith in the Lord. I think that endurance is linked closely with goal setting. If we don't have something we are working toward what is the point of enduring. We all have the ultimate goal to return to live with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. But how are we going to get there? What daily, weekly, monthly, annual goals are we setting to make it happen and to help gage our progress. Are we praying each day? Are we reading our scriptures? Are we serving others? These are a few of the things that popped into my head. As a missionary it is built in my daily schedule to do each of the things i just mentioned. But I realized that I am not going to be on a mission forever. It made me think, why do I do these things each day? Why are they commandments? It is simple. They are ways we can strengthen our faith and receive blessings in return. A win win situation. Finally we had the opportunity to teach young womens the third hour. Sister MC (a hilarious older lady from England) the YW president asked if we would fill in for her so she could be there for her grandsons first time passing the sacrament. Of course the lesson topic was on "Becoming a Righteous Mother and Wife". We laughed because a missionaries we're told to lock our hearts but at the same time we are told that a mission is the best marriage prep around. We focused on motherhood and the importance of developing the attributes we need to be a good mother now. I had the opportunity to talk about the influence my mom has had on me. I shared how grateful I am to have a mother that regularly shared her testimony with me. I told the girls that I didn't always appreciate the gospel twist my mom seemed to be able to put on everything until I can to understand who I truly was. Being a member of this church is not a lifestyle it is the core of who you are. My mom was never afraid to share that with me. And I appreciate it so much now. Being an example is truly one of the best ways to teach your kids the gospel. I love Sundays. I love the Spirit of being with other members. I love partaking of the sacrament and renewing my covenants. I love worshipping and learning more about my Savior and His plan of happiness. I love it all.
I don't have time to make any alterations so here is a chunck from my weekly letter to President O to give you a little update on some of the people I am working with:
We had the opportunity to work with many less actives this week. It has been so wonderful. I love seeing the light bulb go off in peoples minds and truth enter into their hearts from the influence of the Holy Ghost. The Lord truly does prepare people. Even if these people are already baptized members.
As we met with G this week she expressed to us how much she needed a refresher in the gospel. Nothing that we shared with her was new but it made more sense and she is at a point in her life where she is ready to act upon the teachings. To keep the commandments and follow Christ. We are still waiting for the bishopric to extend her a calling. We think a little responsibility would help her feel even more involved and needed in the ward. She committed to paying her tithing and fast offerings. She said it would be difficult but that she knew she couldn't live without the blessings. I have grown to love and care for Gaby very deeply. She has incredible faith and courage. I know she will continue to grow in the gospel with the help of the Spirit.
D came to church a week ago Sunday. It was inspired to say the least. A member of the bishopric asked if I would bear my testimony since the youth speaker was a no show. Of course I accepted the invitation. I was prompted to share my testimony on the importance of gratitude and giving thanks to the Lord at all times and in all things. I wasn't quite sure why I had shared that particular message. Yesterday when we had the chance to meet with D he talked about how glad he was that he was there for my talk and I knew in that moment that I shared what I did for him. The Lord is incredible. D continues to be torn between the need for success in the movie industry and coming back to church. He wants both but they don't support each other very well. His intentions are good but his actions not so good sometimes. We are working to understand what will help him see that developing a deeper relationship with his Savior is way more valuable and will bring much more happiness than any career success. He loves when we visit because we bring the Spirit. He wants so badly to have that Spirit with him. We are in the process of helping him see that he can he just has to be willing to make changes and prioritize.
We have visited with a lady named A J a few times in the past. She is married to a guy from New Zealand. Both less active. I know they have had some marital issues in the past but don't know details. They have 3 kids and live with A's mom. We had the chance to visit with A and her two daughters this week. The older of the two daughters (10 I believe) hasn't been baptized so we talked about why baptism is important. A is always very nice and listens to what we have to say but flakes out on us a lot. As we were wrapping up our visit she stopped us and asked if she could receive a priesthood blessing. I was kind of taken aback for a second. It is in moments like these that I see the true nature of Heavenly Fathers children. They know that He is real and loves them. A knows that the gospel is true and there is power in the priesthood. She expressed the need for her family to come back to church. It is just so hard to act sometimes. We are excited for the opportunity to go visit this week with some priesthood holders. I am hoping as A feels of her Heavenly Fathers love she will be more committed to make a change.
Our visits with other less actives went well. We continue to invite others to come unto Christ and testify of the blessings that will come as they do so. There is nothing more powerful than being filled with Spirit and promising blessings. :)
Our investigator M is progressing well to a certain extent. He is full of faith. He want to know the truth. He reads from the Book of Mormon. He prays. He keeps appointments with us. But he is not receiving an answer. At our last lesson we shared a message on the Holy Ghost and recognizing the Spirit. M agreed with everything we shared. He said that he is just waiting. My concern is that he is receiving an answer and not aware of it. Do you have any suggestions on how we could help him to know that his answer can come quickly? Since he works on Sundays coming to church hasn't been possible. He told us that once he knows that the things we are teaching him are true he will make sure he is at church. I invited him to put faith in God and come to church before he receives an answer because he might need the experiences of keeping the sabbath day holy. He didn't refuse but said he needed to wait until the end of the month. I am hoping he will keep his word and come to church this Sunday. I see so much potential in M. He would be such an asset to our ward.
The Newport Coast YSA ward elders had a baptism on Saturday and we had the awesome opportunity to invite our investigator Sister B to join us. She is married to a member and has been coming to church for years but is closer to getting baptized than ever. She is probably 65 and hispanic. We had Brother and Sister H from our ward drive them and work to help fellowship her. After the baptism Brother B told me that they had been to a lot of baptisms before but there was something special about this one. I agreed. The Spirit was very strong. Mormon messages played as Whitney (the young woman that got baptized) changed. Sister B said that they touched her and she loved watching them. After the baptism I asked Sister B, "when do we get to celebrate you and your baptism day?" She responded, "Soon. I think it's almost time." We are meeting to have lunch with her tomorrow. I can't wait to talk more with her and answer her questions. She is full of faith and desire to follow Christ.
Overall it was a great week. The work is moving forward. We are still struggling but doing our best to find new investigators. I love my companions. I love the ward I am in. I love my area. I love being a missionary. I love the people I am working with. I love the Lord.
I hope you all have an awesome week! Thanks for all your love and support!
Sister Kimball :)