HAPPY DAY OF BIRTH TO MY BABY SISTER TODAY!! Oh. My. Goodness. I can't believe you are 18, that seriously weirds me out and I don't know why because I'm only 18 months older. But anyway I hope you have an awesome day baby sister! And Happy Birthday to Grandma and Zack this week!! I love you all and hope you have fantastic birthdays!
First of all, we had interviews with President this week! And I've said it before and say it again we have one of the best Mission Presidents that there ever was. He is awesome. He is so in tune with the spirit but has such a funny sense of humor at the same time. Anyway this week at interviews I was the first missionary to be interviewed of the transfer. And he helped me out with SO many things. And they always tell you how your mission president and his wife are your mom and dad while on the mission and they truly are. And this week I really saw felt like I saw the "dad side" of president come out. And it was awesome, just know that he cares and loves each missionary so much. That's just a testimony to me of what pure Christ like love can do.
So we had a pretty good week this week as far as teaching goes. On Wednesday we had the most lessons I have ever had in a day. We were running from appointment to appointment and by the end of the day I was literally SO exhausted. I didn't really know why but then Sister Jolley pointed out to me that we had 5 spiritual lessons that day and that spiritual experiences take a lot out of you. And they do. But they are SO worth it. By the time we got back to the apartment and finished planning I just passed out on my bed at like 9:30 haha. It was a great feeling though. I want to feel like that at the end of everyday, so that's my goal!
So this week we got a few new investigators. One whose name is Stephen and he is awesome! He is a friend of one of the young women in our Ward and he is great! He says he loves reading The Book of Mormon and he keeps texting us scriptures that he thinks are powerful and it is so awesome! He is great! He has so much potential and we are excited to keep working with him and helping him come into Christ. We also had a lesson this week with a new investigator, Gretta. Gretta is the best!! She is so funny and she has the most bubbly personality I just love it! This week we taught her The Restoration and as we did so once we finished the first vision she looked up at us and said "oh he was called of God! He was definitely called of God." And we testified to her that yes Joseph Smith truly was called as a Holy Prophet of God. As we invited her to read The Book of Mormon and to pray about we asked her if she wanted to know if these things were true and she said. "Oh I already believe that they are! I can't argue with anything you are saying. It just makes sense. I know it's the truth." The spirit filled the room. We were about to invite her to be baptized when she looked at the clock and said "oh no I've got to go take someone to their doctors appointment!" So we said a quick prayer and then she rushed to take her friend to the doctors, but we will be seeing her this week and we just love her to death. And most importantly we know she felt the spirit. We had quite a few other lessons this week but before I run out of time I wanted to share with you some more of what I have learned about the amazing gift of The Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Every transfer we have a new scripture that we recite. Sometimes from the bible and sometimes from The Book of Mormon. And so this transfer the scripture is Ether 12:27 which is a pretty commonly known verse in The Book of Mormon. It reads,
"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."
And when I heard that that was our scripture I thought to myself, "oh how appropriate." Ever since I came out on my mission I have only noticed ALL of my many weaknesses more and more. And sometimes I just feel so overwhelmed by all of them. But, as perfectly stated in Ether, there is a reason for them. They are there to teach us to rely on the Lord. And to be humble so that we can become all that He has created us to be.
At one point this week I was becoming a little stressed and overwhelmed by all of my many weaknesses. I was so focused on everything that I need to be doing, everything that I should be already as a missionary and looking at how far i still had to go in order to become what the Lord needs me to be. Well Sister Jolley noticed and quoted a talk by saying "The more Christ-Like we become; the more we realize our weaknesses." She then recommended a talk for me to read called "The Challenge To Become" by Elder Oaks given in the October 2000 General Conference. And this is one of my new all time favorite talks. In it he says this to his point,
"In contrast to the institutions of the world, which teach us to know something, the gospel of Jesus Christ challenges us to become something...The gospel of Jesus Christ is the plan by which we can become what children of God are supposed to become."
He mentions the event of the Final Judgement and then the story of the Prodigal Son and talks about them both in a new light that I had never understood before and that helped me to understand how we are to become what we are meant to be,
"...the Final Judgment is not just an evaluation of a sum total of good and evil acts--what we have done. It is an acknowledgment of the final effect of our acts and thoughts--what we have become. It is not enough for anyone just to go through the motions. The commandments, ordinances, and covenants of the gospel are not a list of deposits required to be made in some heavenly account. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a plan that shows us how to become what our Heavenly Father desires us to become.
A parable illustrates this understanding. A wealthy father knew that if he were to bestow his wealth upon a child who had not yet developed the needed wisdom and stature, the inheritance would probably be wasted. The father said to his child:
“All that I have I desire to give you--not only my wealth, but also my position and standing among men. That which I have I can easily give you, but that which I am you must obtain for yourself. You will qualify for your inheritance by learning what I have learned and by living as I have lived. I will give you the laws and principles by which I have acquired my wisdom and stature. Follow my example, mastering as I have mastered, and you will become as I am, and all that I have will be yours.”
This parable parallels the pattern of heaven. The gospel of Jesus Christ promises the incomparable inheritance of eternal life, the fulness of the Father, and reveals the laws and principles by which it can be obtained."
I love that. That the gospel helps us to become something greater than we now are. But also that we can't do it on our own. We needed an example to follow, and a someone who understands us and can help to make up for the mistakes we ourselves would make along the way. Someone to helps us become.
And Elder Oaks reminds us though in his talk how important families are in becoming what the Lord wants us to become by saying,
"As we do so, we should remember that our family relationships...are the setting in which the most important part of that development can occur. The conversion we must achieve requires us to be a good husband and father or a good wife and mother... Exaltation is an eternal family experience, and it is our mortal family experiences that are best suited to prepare us for it."
I have a firm testimony of families. And that it is within our families that we will become what the Lord wants us to become. Something else of what I have learned about becoming more like the Savior is that enduring to the end is an essential part. In a talk given by Elder Maxwell called "Endure It Well" he says that
"By taking Jesus’ yoke upon us and enduring, we learn most deeply of Him and especially how to be like Him. (Matt 11:29)"
When speaking of trials and endurance he said,
"if certain mortal experiences were cut short, it would be like pulling up a flower to see how the roots are doing. Put another way, too many anxious openings of the oven door, and the cake falls instead of rising. Moreover, enforced change usually does not last, while productive enduring can ingrain permanent change."
When I read that I thought about whatever trials I have gone through, though I feel that many of mine are small compared to that of the trials of others. But when inking about this I thought about a blog post that someone had mentioned to me once. About a story of a mother reading the scriptures with her little girl. They were reading about Daniel and the lions den. And when they read the part about the angel that came to close the lions mouth, the little girl looked up at her mom and asked "Mom, why didn't the Angel just take the lion out of there??" The mother gave a beautiful response but I thought of it also in these terms; the Lord isn't going to just take our trials away from us. Heavenly Father isn't going to just "take the lion out of the den." But rather he will give us the strength to endure, and he will send others to help and provide a way.
But Elder Maxwell also said concerning the trials of others something that I loved.
"When, for the moment, we ourselves are not being stretched on a particular cross, we ought to be at the foot of someone else’s--full of empathy and proffering spiritual refreshment. On the straight, narrow path, which leads to our little Calvarys, one does not hear a serious traveler exclaiming, “Look, no hands!”
Part of becoming like the savior is enduring but also helping others to endure the crosses that they have been called to bear. What greater example of Christ-like love can you have? I'm grateful for our Savior who provided the way for us to be able to become what he desires us to be. I'm grateful for a loving Savior and Heavenly Father who have given us families, and provided the way for us to be together for eternity. I know that they live and love us. And I am grateful for that knowledge. And I hope and pray we will all be able to strive to become what e lord wants us to be through living the gospel faithfully in all things.
I am so sorry if this email is so scattered and I am aware that I keep using talks in my emails but I just want so badly to share with all of you what I am learning and I'm not very good with words so it seems that the only way to adequately express what I've learned is through the words of the prophets and apostles. I hope you'll forgive me but I love you all!! Until next week!
~Sister Amy Callaway~