Oh, boy, am I learning the principle of endurance. I LOVE Maple Valley, there is no doubt about that. But I will end up being here over half my mission at least-which makes me so happy! But I also see how Satan is trying to wear down my faith. I have had to do some reassessing concerning my faith, because it can be discouraging at times when you don't see the fruits you expect. But it is humbling, amazing, and gratifying to reflect upon how both I and the area have changed in the 9 months I've been here. There is no denying that the hand of the Lord has blessed me significantly, as well as the areas that I have served in. I am being blessed as the Lord is teaching me what it means to endure to the end, definitely on a smaller scale than what most people go through in their lives, but as real as any other experience. I've also seen how we have to endure the weaknesses that we each individually have. Sometimes I just want some different weaknesses-I'm tired of these ones! But the Lord has a great plan in store for each of us, and without those weaknesses we won't be able to become what he wants us to become. I'm sure I've quoted this to you before but Ether 12:27 says, "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their aweakness. I bgive unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my cgraceis sufficient for all men that dhumble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make eweak things become strong unto them." In church yesterday, the lesson was on the Plan of Salvation. What a precious gift to have the knowledge of that plan! To know that we all chose to come here, even knowing how hard it would be, makes me excited! We had faith in Jesus Christ before we ever even came to this earth. We knew he would be our Savior. We knew we would each have weaknesses and go through trials, but that through Christ we could be made strong. I also love that having a knowledge of this Plan gives us the perspective of who Satan is. In the introduction to the Doctrine and Covenants, it says that some of the doctrines are meant to teach us about "...the reality of Satan, the purpose of mortality..." We can better understand that God is our loving Heavenly Father and that all He wants is for us to be eternally happy, and that we need to constantly be protecting ourselves from the Satan's attacks. I think I have also quoted this scripture to you before as well, but Doctrine and Covenants 10:5 says, " aPray always, that you may come off bconqueror; yea, that you may conquer Satan, and that you may cescape the hands of the servants of Satan that do uphold his work." I have a testimony of that! If we pray with faith, we will be able to succeed and avoid the temptations we face. The more we understand God's Plan, the more protected and prepared we can make ourselves. I am so grateful for modern day prophets who help teach us these things, along with the scriptures!
And I definitely have a testimony that there is opposition in all things. I can't wait to tell you guys about some of the experiences I've had with people. All I can say is that my character has grown stronger!
We have seen quite a few miracles lately! Some less actives we have been working with have started coming back to church. In these instances it is a testimony to me that the Lord is in control of the work, because I feel like I have played a very small role in helping them come to church. We also had a young lady come to church with one of her friends. Hopefully we will start teaching her soon! She asked for Book of Mormon all on her own! She wants to meet with us, we just need permission from her parents. We also have some single sisters who have gone or are going to the temple soon! I know the temple is the house of the Lord and that we gain so much strength as we attend the temple and feel of the Spirit there. I also received a priesthood blessing at transfers, because we felt we needed some counsel and direction. And I am always amazed at how individual and specific the blessings are, and how even when the elder who gives it doesn't know everything we are going through, God does, and that is apparent in the blessing. I know the priesthood power has been restored to the earth by the prophet Joseph Smith, and I am so grateful!
I love you! Have a great week!