“The strongest love is the love that can demonstrate its fragility.”
January 22, 2014
Alright, this week was so busy! My new trainee/companion is Sister Madreno. She was born in Mexico but moved to Provo, Utah when she was a kid, so she's pretty familiar with Utah, and she's been all the places I've been back at home. Although I was sad to say good bye to Sister Anderson, I'm really excited and blessed to have Sister Madreno as my new companion. She's seriously the cutest! I love her already, and we get along super well.
Honestly, this week has been super exhausting! The bags under my eyes seriously get bigger and blacker every day. We had a lot of traveling to do to and from meetings/move calls this week. So, I didn't have time/energy this week to write in my journal at all. haha Regardless, I'm still really, really happy, and the work is really moving forward!! It's true!
Something that stood out to me after talking with and getting to know Sister Madreno is how graceful and dignified she is. Both of her parents are converts to the church, and she really feels a burning gratitude and love for our God and His goodness. I was really happy that we became companions. I am STILL really really happy that we are companions. She's so sincere, so nice, and so chill. It just felt right when we were called to serve with one another.
On Sunday, Sister Madreno went up to bear her testimony/introduce herself to the wards. On Saturday morning during studies, she prepared and wrote out her talk basically all by herself. She's seriously so diligent and hard working, and I know that that attribute will really help her learn the language and help many souls out here in Taiwan.
Whenever I talk to Sister Madreno, she always says the greatest things. When I asked what she was trying to get out from the mission, she told me that she just really wants God to change her. She wants to really lose herself and do His work. As I thought and talked about what she meant by what she said, I really felt a love and admiration for her determination and reason for coming out on this mission.
This morning, Sister Madreno asked me what the hardest part of the mission was for me. I said that it was completely forgetting myself and getting to work. Sometimes, the only way to really find ourselves is to first forget ourselves. I related to her that the time on our missions isn't our time at all. The time that I have here in Taiwan is GOD'S time. I really am nothing when it comes to His work and His glory. Sometimes I really have to take a step back to see if I am really doing things for God or for myself. Coming on the mission, I have realized that in order to truly forget ourselves, we must unselfishly act in behalf of God. It's easy to brag, to complain, to talk about all the things we have accomplished and/or wish/hope to accomplish on our missions.
One of the hardest things being a missionary is having faith. When we have faith, we act. We keep and observe mission standards and rules in order to receive blessings that aren't necessarily or immediately seen at once. Remember when I mentioned Abinadi in one of my other emails?! I shared with Sister Madreno how we as missionaries should be like Abinadi. Sometimes, we keep the rules and commandments, pray, fast, and sacrifice for our investigators, but while we are here in this area or here on our missions, we don't necessarily see the fruits of our labors. Faith without works really is dead.
Haha Sorry. I'm like falling asleep as I type this, so I might just be jumping topics like crazy.
This morning, Sister Madreno and I went hiking with our investigator Lisa. It was absolutely beautiful. There were flights and piles of wooden/stone/dirt stairs that we could climb all over this mountain. The trees were extraordinarily luscious and green, and the air was fresh and clean. It was breathless as we hiked up and down the mountain, taking in all of God's glorious creations.
GAH! There are so many things and places that I wish all of you could see. Taiwan is one of the most absolutely beautiful/spectacular places in the world. If I could hike the mountain that we hiked this morning every single day, I would totally live here the rest of my life. It's THAT beautiful, and the camera definitely doesn't give it enough justice.
I've recently been doing the purification/consecration process. This Sunday, I fasted and prayed again for a specific purpose. I think I've probably said this once, but I just need to say it again. Fasting on the mission seems ten times easier than it was before! I don't know why, but every time I have fasted since I got on island, it's been a piece of cake!!! I love fasting not just because it's easy, but because it works.
My faith in God has grown a lot. I yearn and pray for God to allow me the Spirit every day, and I know that He answers.
Another change that occured this week was our new call to be over only the 2nd ward here in Yuanlin. President doesn't want us to be going on splits anymore during church. He doesn't want ANY of the missionaries to be going on splits at all from now on, so we are now the missionaries of the 2nd and not the 1st ward. So, this weekend, we collected all our 1st ward investigators and recent converts, updated their records one last time, and organized/wrote information about these people for the 1st ward elders.
I am actually really grateful and excited for this change. The second ward really needs a push, and now that all of our time and efforts can be made towards the 2nd ward, I feel like the members and church here in Yuanlin will really grow.
I know that the time I have here in Taiwan isn't mine to have in the first place. This work, this glory, ALL of this is for God. It's not for my friends. It's not for my family. It's not even for myself. It's for GOD. God did EVERYTHING for us. He still does do everything for us. His love is eternal, unconditional, perfect, whole...
If you think about it, I really am just a small part of this work, a small bit of this world, but I know that my worth is great. I know that God wants me to feel that my worth is great, and because of this knowledge, because of this truth, I will change. I will grow to be who He has always wanted me to be. I know that when we realize our worth, He testifies and makes it manifest unto us through the Holy Spirit, the Holy Ghost.
My family, my friends, there's definitely a change in my heart.
Can you feel it?
Can you feel that?!
Can you for once forget your carnal desires, your worldly hopes, your filthy wealth, your degrading fame and remember who you are?
Can you remember what kindness is?
Can you remember love?
Can you remember your God?!
If you can...NO - If you even in the slightest DESIRE to remember that great God, then I cry, I plead for you to repent - to change - to rise from the dust and grasp that rod of hope, to find and partake of that pure, everlasting fountain of Christ.
Do not listen to those who whisper in your ear and tell you that the world is right, that there is no hope, that you are filthy, that you are just an ugly duckling, a hopeless fool. Don't let those voice take away your right - your potential to be a God and Goddess - a royal heir to God's kingdom.
Here is the email that President Blickenstaff sent to all of us this week. I wanted to share it with all of you because I KNOW it is true:
President Gordon B. Hinckley once said, “It isn’t as bad as you sometimes think it is. It all works out. Don’t worry. I say that to myself every morning. It will all work out. Put your trust in God, and move forward with faith and confidence in the future. The Lord will not forsake us. If we put our trust in Him, if we will pray to Him, if we will live worthy of His blessings, He will hear our prayers.”
Nephi faced many challenges and constant rejection from his own brothers. One of my favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon is 2 Nephi 22, containing “Nephi’s Psalm.” This is written just after the death of his father and at the time that he had to separate himself and his family from his brothers and their families. I can only imagine the feelings of his heart. I am sure that one of them was discouragement.
Nephi gave us a great example of what to do when we are discouraged: •Read the scriptures (2Ne. 4:15). •Delight in and ponder the things of the Lord (2Ne. 4:16). •Trust the Lord and look to Him for support (2Ne. 4: 20-21, 34). •Engage in mighty prayer (2Ne. 4: 24). •Be industrious, work hard (2Ne. 5: 15, 17).
“Oh Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm. Yea, I know that God will give liberally to him that asketh. Yea, my God will give me, if I ask not amiss; therefore I will lift up my voice unto thee; yea, I will cry unto thee, my God, the rock of my righteousness. Behold, my vice shall forever ascend up to thee, my rock and mine everlasting God, Amen.” (2Ne. 4: 34-35)