Dear Family,It's been quite an interesting week. If there is one thing I know, it's that my skin will be thicker when I return home! And hopefully my heart will be softer. I am grateful for the trials that have helped me to grow. One sister shared a spiritual thought this week in church about how adversity is meant to make us stronger. In the last conference, Elder Anderson gave a talk called "Spiritual Whirlwinds." Here is an excerpt from his talk:
"In nature, trees that grow up in a windy environment become stronger. As winds whip around a young sapling,forces inside the tree do two things. First, they stimulate the roots to grow faster and spread farther. Second, theforces in the tree start creating cell structures that actually make the trunk and branches thicker and more flexibleto the pressure of the wind. These stronger roots and branches protect the tree from winds that are sure toreturn.4
You are infinitely more precious to God than a tree. You are His son or His daughter. He made your spirit strongand capable of being resilient to the whirlwinds of life. The whirlwinds in your youth, like the wind against ayoung tree, can increase your spiritual strength, preparing you for the years ahead."
So this week hasn't been awful or anything, but it was a bit rougher at times, and I know that Heavenly Father has made us so that disappointments and trials will not tear us down but make us stronger as we rely on the Savior. He is continually preparing us for the future and aware of us and the things we go through.
Possibly my favorite miracle from this week: one of our investigators prayed after refusing for weeks to do so! His wife is a member, and we absolutely adore her. They have been going through a rough financial time, and so he decided he would turn to God, because there wasn't much else he could do. He is praying and hoping for a miracle, and we are praying that he will recognize the answer when it comes. One of the most important parts of missionary work is to help people become connected with their Heavenly Father through prayer. When that happens, the Spirit can come into their lives, and they can experience the peace of the gospel for themselves. I know that trials are not always taken away, but it kind of goes back to that principle I was just talking about. When we pray in our trials and when we rely on the Lord, we are made stronger for future experiences and we can gain a greater conviction that God loves us from the peace that He gives us! (John 14:27-Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth give I unto you...)
Another wonderful miracle: we have been teaching a less active woman and she is considering coming back to church after many, many years. She is such a neat woman. Just some of her talents include cake decorating, quilting, sewing, book writing. She is just awesome. She's having a hard time picking up the Book of Mormon and reading it, but we are getting there! She once had a beautiful testimony of the Savior that she shared with us, but she feels that she has lost it. I know reading the Book of Mormon will help her to come to know her Savior. I am so grateful for her humble attitude in wanting to come to know Him again. I just love her!
This week in my studies I was reading in Mosiah 24. Verses 13-15 talk about how the Lord eased the burdens which were put upon the backs of His people because of the covenant they had made. But what stood out to me most this time when I read the chapter was verse 21: "Yea, and in the valley of Alma they poured out their thanksto God because he had been merciful unto them, and eased their burdens, and had delivered them out ofbondage; for they were in bondage, and none could deliver them except it were the Lord their God." This makes me think about how many of us are in some kind of bondage-we all are! We all sin and fall short of the glory of God. We face spiritual bondage, emotional bondage, physical bondage. Whatever it may be we all have weaknesses and trials to face. And we cannot be delivered from it without Jesus Christ, "the Lord [our] God." Sometimes I just wish I could make people understand! They can't be free without Him. What wonderful message we have to share, that Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, lives. Here is a wonderful video about the Savior that I invite all of you to watch-I love it! http://www.mormonchannel.org/bible-videos?v=3595397361001 All the bible videos are awesome!
I love you all so much. Have a great week!