My dearest family!!!!
Oh how I love you all – it was so amazing to see you all on Christmas and to get to laugh with you and share with you. I love you all and I am so grateful for your love, faith, support, encouragement and trust in the Lord. It is amazing to see what has happened in all of our lives in the last year. I know that I have forever been changed because of this last year and I can’t wait to see what happens in the coming year. I can’t believe that it is almost 2014!!! I remember when I got my call and thought – 2014 that is FOREVER away. I am going to be a missionary forever. Fake out time has flown by.
Have I mentioned how much I love being a missionary and how if I had it my way I would extend another year and half? Nevertheless not my will but God’s be done. I am going to give him all that I have got always and forever no matter where in the world I am doing His work. I have forever been changed because of my mission. While I was reading my patriarchal blessing this morning, I felt so much gratitude and joy that I choose to serve and that the Lord has sent me here to South Florida.
This week we faced some big opposition. Our faith was tried and tried again. We dropped a couple of our investigators who were no longer progressing (which always breaks my heart – this is their salvation!!! I may or may not have told one of them that straight up…) and then all of our progressing investigators who were super solid dropped us!! AH!!! Well we did not give up we pressed forward with faith knowing that God would bless us with a Christmas miracle. On Christmas after we talked to our families we went out with renewed faith and determination to find. We OYM’d a woman sitting out on her driveway. We talked with her and shared our testimonies of the Savior she quickly went inside to get her friend who lived there and we were able to go inside with them and we gathered everyone to join us. We left the blessing and after the prayer the Spirit was so strong and they all readily accepted baptism!!! A FAMILY OF 7!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is the BEST Christmas present ever. I have been praying to find and teach a family of 7 since I started my mission. When we came back to follow up with them they weren’t home – we were devestated but we knew that they were so elect and so we went again the next day. MIRACLE they were all home. We have been teaching them since. They came to church and LOVED it. They can’t wait to get baptized this Sunday as a family. God truly answers prayers.
I LOVE the Book of Mormon. I am nothing without feasting upon the words of Christ each and every day. This week I have learned so much about faith and humility. One cannot have one without the other. Without faith our humility is weak and without humility our faith will die. Faith is like a little seed and humility is the good soil that it must grow in. We are all searching for “peace in this life and eternal life in the world to come” and our seed of faith will grow steadfastly into the Tree of Life as we are (1) humble and truly penitent (Alma 32:6-7) (2) repent of all our sins (Alma 32:13,15) (3) experiment on the words of life (Alma 32:27) (4) desire to believe – don’t give up! (Alma 32:27) (5) do not cast it out by unbelief (Alma 32:28) and (6) nourish it with great care – faith diligence and patience (Alma 32:41-43). We must do all of these to grow our own Tree of Life. I have been comparing “the faith experiment” to Lehi’s vision this week and it has really opened my eyes in the ways to cultivate and grow faith and the need to always nourish our faith by humbly relying on God.
I have been learning so much about pride and how we must always trust in God and recognize that he is the source of all that we have. I also have been learning about discernment. I believe the prerequisites for discerning are consideration and humility. We must also have pure intentions. As we do this the Lord blesses us with the revelation that we need to inspire others to come unto Him. The counterfeit of discernment would be assuming. It is a nasty thing that builds huge walls and destroys unity. There is no room for assuming (or sarcasm) in the kingdom of Heaven.
Sister Hartley is really growing. I love watching her grow and become. This week we have really worked on stepping out of our comfort zones to be equally yoked. It has made all the difference in our teaching, finding and testifying. I love the feeling that comes when you are equally yoked with the Lord as a companionship. I am forever grateful for all that I have learned on my mission and for the opportunity that I have to share that with my dear Sister Hartley. I will not die with the music left in me. With the Lord’s help I will share all that I am and all that I have with my brothers and sisters. This is my resolution now and forever – to give my will to the Lord.
I love you and am so grateful for you!