Dear Family,It's been a great week! I first want to tell you how I have come to know a little bit more that God loves me and that it's ok that I am not perfect. On Saturday night, we got a voice mail blast from the office elders that are now serving in the Glacier Park ward. They excitedly told our whole zone of how they now have 2 people committed to baptism, one of them being a man I met and talked to twice while I served in that area, Melvin. I reflected upon my encounters with him and immediately felt regret and frustration at not having taught him more or invited him to receive the blessings of the gospel through baptism. It seemed that everything on my mission was either going to be failure or success in my eyes because of this experience. I am discovering that I often act as Dobby the house elfwhen I make a mistake. "Bad Dobby!" is how I let myself feel. I don't want to let go of the pain and regret, preferring to let myself wallow in it, just as Dobby tends to inflict punishment upon himself. Those who know me best know this about me, so it's nothing new. After hearing this voice mail about Melvin, I had to figure out how I was going to face my fears. What I feared most was that this would be the pattern of my whole mission, that I would meet people prepared to hear the gospel and then not do enough about it to help them receive the blessings. How could I be such a failure?! But then the Lord stepped in. On Sunday, the talks were all about home and visiting teaching, programs in the church that allow us to help and serve one another. The last man that spoke talked about why we sometimes don't fulfill our callings as home or visiting teachers, because we allow ourselves to be paralyzed by guilt or doubt at our ability to serve as good as someone else could. I couldn't believe how clearly he was speaking to me. The adversary tries to get us to knock ourselves down so that we don't see our potential and so that we don't move forward. He pulls us away from what is true, away from the fact that we always get a second chance, and that God is always willing to help us move forward and to fill us with joy. Then this morning in our studies, Sister Kirschner shared a quote about how we must move forward with faith, taking with us the glowing embers of the past and leaving behind the ashes. (Elder Jeffery R. Holland). This is all part pf the plan, making mistakes, then moving forward with faith in Jesus Christ that we can change and that we are loved infinitely by Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Even if I feel like I've been floundering around, not really knowing what to do my whole mission up to this point (and I don't really feel that way), I can feel and know God's love, and I can trust that this is His work and that He will pick up the slack where I fail or make mistakes. And of course in this whole process, the Spirit plays an important role in teaching us sweetly and quietly about this love. Even though I wanted to be so upset this weekend, the Spirit cushioned my heart and soul from my own negativity and determination to label myself as a failure. He taught me that God doesn't work in those labels, and that no matter the distance one of His children falls, He will always invite them back into His arms of love and mercy.
So on to the update, we have an investigator committed to baptism! Riley is 9 years old and autistic. His family has not come to church in a couple of years and they came yesterday! They have 2 other children that they are trying to adopt, DeVon and Katelyn.
DeVon is 8 and he also wants to be baptized. He soaks up any knowledge about Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father like a sponge. It is such a blessing to teach them!
Lots of other things happened this week, but I'm about out of time. I just rambled on in the beginning about that experience I had, so sorry. But it was a great week. We also had exchanges and I was with Sister Taylor, and I just love her. Love you and miss you all!