Hello my dearest loved ones!!
Well first of all we have heard news about moving! We were told last
week that we are officially moving!! And then President called today
and told us that we are moving to Macungie, Pa on April 30! Which
should be fun! Anyway!
I hope everyone had a great week! My week was pretty hard, but in all
honesty I wouldn't want it any other way. Because the way I see it if
it isn't hard then you're not growing. Plus, what do you expect as a
missionary?! :) all the best things in life never come easy. I am
grateful for the hardships. Because it's in those times, that I found
we grow the most. And that's exactly how this week went! It was hard
but I learned SO much. And honestly this week was very uneventful, and
so considering what to write about I figured I'd just kinda make this
email one big giant spiritual thought! :)
The one thing I have tried to study and learn most about this week(and
since the very beginning of my mission) is agency, and all it
encompasses. Not only is our agency a gift from Heavenly Father and
allows us our freedom to choose between right and wrong and good and
evil, but but it's our ability to choose in the biggest and the
smallest decisions in life. This week I watched a few people who I've
become very close to out here, go through some pretty tough things.
(sorry to be so vague but i can only leave it at that) But watching
how drastically different some peoples attitudes were compared to
others. I watched how two sisters, Beth and Annie who were in the same
situation, handled it so differently. Beth was trying, in whatever way
she could to handle things in a positive way by trying to have faith
through this temporary trial that had come up and Annie was acting as
if she were ready to just give up entirely, because everything was
just getting too hard. I kept wondering what made the difference in
this situation and then it hit me. They were both simply exercising
their agency. One chose to try and be encouraging, have faith, be
positive, and keep going. While the other simply complained, acted
out, and just flat out had a bad attitude. (sounds harsh i know haha
but its true.) Now this doesn't mean that one sister was better than
the other, it just simply means that they both chose how they were
going to react to the situation. Over and over again i heard Beth
remind her sister that her attitude was her choice. I later asked Beth
how she was able to stay so calm while her sister was acting the
complete opposite. She told me that she had realized how much of her
attitude was her choice. And that even though she felt like getting
angry with her sister, she simply chose not to. She knew that if they
both acted in a negative way then there wouldnt be an opporunity to
progress and grow, but rather it wouldn't do either of them any good.
I found that to be very true. All turned out to be well and Beth and
Annie were fine.
But immediately after this I thought about the key role of the gift of
our agency. And during my personal study the other day I remembered
these famous verses from Doctrine & Covenants 121 when the Lord is
speaking to Joseph Smith and he says,
"My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions
shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God
shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes."
And then immediately after reading those verses I was reminded of a
quote by President Uchtdorf when he said, 'it's not the adversity
itself, but rather our reaction in the face of adversity that will
determine how our life's story will develop."
And I thought about how true that is! The Lord even told Joseph that
Himself. And as I have been studying the scriptures more and more (I
SERIOUSLY LOVE THE SCRIPTURES!!) I saw just how often we see this very
principle of agency being used in the midst of trials throughout the
scriptures. For example...Laman, Lemuel, Nephi and Sam. More than a
few times they were all in the same situations. But Laman and Lemuel
just complained and always had bad attitudes. Whereas Nephi and Sam
looked forward with Faith, and they knew that no matter how hard their
trials, the Lord would deliver them. And how many other times do you
see this pattern throughout the scriptures?? Countless times I can
tell you. I could seriously go on and on. But time is running short
haha... But my dear sweet Eminem sent me this quote by President
Monson when he said "Decisions, Determine, Destiny!" And obviously
that is so true.
Our decisions determine who we become, and our attitude towards those
situations and decisions show how willing we are to try and become
more like our Savior.
I also read over the conference talks again and one in particular was
one of my favorites. It was called "Choose To Believe" by Elder L.
Whitney Clayton. And if you remember he told the story of a young girl
who was in a plane crash with her family. Everyone in her family was
killed in the accident and though she had suffered much already she
set out looking for help. He goes on to explain how as she was
wondering through the darkness she climbed up to a peak and saw a
light out in the distance. She hoped that if she could just get to
that light she could find help. And so she kept pushing her way toward
He said "she saw a light in the distance and fought her way to
it--notwithstanding the wild countryside, the depth of the tragedy she
faced, and the injuries she had sustained. It is hard to imagine how
[she] managed to do what she did that night. But what we do know is
that she recognized in the light of that distant house a chance for
rescue. There was hope. She took courage in the fact that no matter
how bad things were, her rescue would be found in that light."
Throughout the talk though he applies it to us personally and though
he seems to be speaking more specifically about our personal
testimonies I thought it still applied in this respect also because I
love how he talks about agency and how it is our CHOICE. He goes on to
"After the crash, [she] had a choice. She could have chosen to stay by
the airplane in the dark, alone and afraid. But there was a long night
ahead, and it was just going to get colder. She chose another way.
[She] climbed up a hill, and there she saw a light on the horizon."
"Gradually, as she made her way through the night toward the light, it
grew brighter. Still, there must have been times when she could not
see it. Perhaps it went out of view when she was in a ravine or behind
trees or bushes, but she pressed on. Whenever she could see the light,
[she] had evidence that she was on the right path. She did not yet
know precisely what that light was, but she kept walking toward it
based on what she knew, trusting and hoping that she would see it
again if she kept moving in the right direction."
"Our lives can be like that too. There may be times when we have been
hurt, when we are tired, and when our lives seem dark and cold. There
may be times when we cannot see any light on the horizon, and we may
feel like giving up. If we are willing to believe, if we desire to
believe, if we choose to believe, then the Savior’s teachings and
example will show us the pathway forward."
I have found that statement to be so true. There are always going to
be hard times, because without them how would we have any
opportunities to grow? He goes on to say,
"Once she had seen [the light] she did her best to move toward it,
remembering what she had seen. We likewise must give place for the
hope that we will find spiritual light by embracing belief rather than
choosing to doubt. Our actions are the evidence of our belief and
become the substance of our faith. We are choosing to believe when we
pray and when we read the scriptures. We are choosing to believe when
we fast, when we keep the Sabbath day holy, and when we worship in the
temple. We are choosing to believe when we are baptized and when we
partake of the sacrament. We are choosing to believe when we repent
and seek divine forgiveness and healing love...Sometimes progress in
spiritual things can seem slow or intermittent. Sometimes we may feel
that we have lost ground, that we have made mistakes, or that our best
efforts to find the Savior are not working. If you feel this way,
please do not give up--ever. Go right on believing in Him and in His
gospel and His Church. Align your actions with that belief. In those
moments when the light of your faith has dimmed, let your hope for the
Savior’s love and grace, found in His gospel and His Church, overcome
your doubt. I promise that He stands ready to receive you. Over time
you will come to see that you have made the best choice you could
possibly have made. Your courageous decision to believe in Him will
bless you immeasurably and forever."
Sorry I kinda just used half of his talk in my entire email but he
seriously makes the point I'm trying to make better than I ever could!
But if I can say anything to just sum this all up then it's this...
Whatever it is that you're going through just remember that it's your
choice. It's your choice how you react in the face of adversity.
Okay I love you all so very much you have no idea!! Please please keep
looking for ways to come unto Christ this week :)
Until next week,
~Sister Amy Callaway~
And sorry these are the only pics we took this week :)